Top Seven Windows 7 Tips and Tricks

Windows 7 Tips and TricksWindows 7 has received an overwhelmingly positive response and many people (including me) are using it as their primary operating system. Here are my favourite tips and tricks that would allow you to enjoy your Windows 7 to the fullest.

Arrow 1:Open “Computer” with Windows Explorer

By default Windows Explorer’s launch page is the Libraries directory. Clicking on the Explorer button on the taskbar also launches your Libraries directory. However, most of us would rather have My Computer as the launch directory. In order to do this type “explorer” into the Start Menu search field, locate the Windows Explorer shortcut and select properties from its right click context menu.
Change the target from “%SystemRoot%explorer.exe” to “%SystemRoot%explorer.exe /root,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}”.
Save the changes and you are done!

If you want to change the properties of the taskbar entry only, right click on the explorer button on the taskbar, right click on Windows Explorer (near the bottom of the jumplist) and select properties. Then change the target to “%SystemRoot%explorer.exe /root,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}”

Arrow 2:Learn the Hot-Keys

Hot-Keys are not just for geeks. Knowing some of the essential keyboard shortcuts can seriously improve your productivity. Here are some of my favourite not so well known keyboard shortcuts :

Circle Alt+P : Toggles the Explorer preview pane.
Circle Win+G : Displays gadgets in front of other windows.
Circle Win + +(plus key) : Launches the magnifier and zooms in.
Circle Win +- (minus key) : Zooms out
Circle Win +Up : Maximizes the active window.
Circle Win +Down : Minimizes the active window .
Circle Win +Home : Minimizes/ restores all background windows.
Circle Win +Left : Hotkey for Aero-Snap. Docks the window to the left edge of the screen and resizes it to half the screen size.
Circle Win +Right : Same as above, but snaps the window to the right edge of the screen.
Circle Win + T : Changes the focus to the taskbar. Once focussed, you can use your arrow keys to select any taskbar item.

Arrow 3:Create Another Instance

If you have an application open, then you can launch another instance of it by simply pressing and holding Shift key while clicking on its taskbar icon. There is no need to go hunting for it again in the start menu.

Arrow 4:Tweak the Taskbar

The first thing you notice in Windows 7 is the new taskbar. Button labels have been done away with and the buttons themselves have been made larger. If you are not comfortable with the new taskbar here are a few suggested modifications :

Circle Intelligent Grouping : By default Windows 7 always groups similar windows together. This is counterproductive as you need to hover over an entry to first select that group and then click on the desired instance. A better approach is to group windows only if you are running out of space. To achieve this right click on the taskbar, select properties and set taskbar buttons to Combine when full, instead of Always combine, Hide labels.

Circle Small Buttons : Many people also dislike the bigger buttons in Windows 7. To slim down your taskbar just enable Small Buttons from Taskbar Properties (Right click on taskbar and select properties).

Circle Quick Launch : The new taskbar makes the quick launch redundant, but if you preferred the old style you can still get it back. Right Click on the taskbar and select New Toolbar from the Toolbars section. Enter “%userprofile%AppDataRoamingMicrosoftInternet ExplorerQuick Launch ” as the selected folder. Once again bring up the right-click context menu by clicking on the taskbar and make sure that Lock Taskbar isn’t enabled. Now right click on the divider and disable Show Text and Show Title. Move the Quick Launch section to the desired position and Lock the taskbar.

Arrow 5.Windows Gestures

Windows 7 doesn’t support mouse gestures per say. However, it does include support for touch-screen devices and the touch-screen gestures works even with the mouse. There are two of them which are particularly useful.
Circle Click on any taskbar entry and drag your mouse upwards. This would bring up the trigger the Jumplist.
Circle Click and drag your mouse downwards in Internet Explorer address bar to unveil your browsing history and bookmarks.
Circle There is also Aero Shake, which was designed to work with the mouse. If you shake a window (click-hold titlebar of any window and move up and down rapidly) all background windows would be minimised.

Arrow 6.Tweak User Account Control

UAC in Vista was a serious pain in the ass. Thankfully, Windows 7 allows you to tone it down. To change UAC settings navigate to Control Panel –> Action Center –> User Account Control Settings. The slider allows you to set the notification level (or even disable user account control). If you want more control fire up the Group Policy Editor by typing gpedit.msc in the start menu search box. Browse to Computer Configuration/Windows Settings/Security Settings/Local Policies/Security Options. At the bottom of the list you would find the following UAC settings :
Circle User Account Control: Admin Approval Mode for the Built-in Administrator account.
Circle User Account Control: Allow UIAccess applications to prompt for elevation without using the secure desktop.
Circle User Account Control: Behavior of the elevation prompt for administrators in Admin Approval Mode.
Circle User Account Control: Behavior of the elevation prompt for standard users.
Circle User Account Control: Detect application installations and prompt for elevation.
Circle User Account Control: Only elevate executables that are signed and validated.
Circle User Account Control: Only elevate UIAccess applications that are installed in secure locations.
Circle User Account Control: Run all administrators in Admin Approval Mode (i.e. as standard users).
Circle User Account Control: Virtualize file and registry write failures to per-user locations.

To edit any setting select properties from the right click context menu.

Arrow 7.Calibrate Your Display

Windows 7 includes a display calibrator that adjusts basic colour settings, gamma, brightness, contrast, colour balance etc according to your display device. Type dccw in the Start Menu search box to launch the Display Color Calibrator.

That’s all I have for now. Did you find these tweaks useful? What are your favourite Windows 7 tweaks and tricks?

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11 Responses to Top Seven Windows 7 Tips and Tricks

  1. Attorney-Optimization.com April 14, 2009 at 5:31 pm #

    Top Ten Tips To Improve System Speed 1.Let your…internet files regularly. 7.Defragment your hard drive once every…3DS Max etc) in the second partition. Windows uses all the available empty… lol ty props to you ………..

  2. thegands April 15, 2009 at 11:23 am #

    wow.. its very complete. But it is very lamentable i don’t have windows 7 installed on my PC.

  3. Attorney-Optimization.com April 22, 2009 at 11:42 pm #

    Can anyone give me some tricks and tips that are great little things. 10 points easy for the person giving out the best and most tips and tricks.

  4. Underfloor Heating May 5, 2009 at 6:26 pm #

    hey people! today i am going to install the windows messenger
    i been hearing a lot of things that makes the windows messenger unsafe.especially when i heard that i can get a virus or spyware through the windows messenger. any tips or hints that can keep me clean of those?thanks in advance.

  5. Atul June 2, 2009 at 1:11 pm #

    useful win tips

    Atul’s last blog post..Murphy’s Laws on Girls

  6. mark allen December 16, 2009 at 12:26 am #

    Re: user account control #6 on your list. There is no action center under control panel.

  7. Pallab December 16, 2009 at 11:15 am #

    You can find Action Center within System and Security Options.

  8. Ashish December 24, 2009 at 11:43 am #

    Happy to know about the shortcuts to Aero snap & the taskbar trick :)
    .-= Ashish´s last blog ..Integrate Skydrive in your windows explorer =-.

  9. ppc professionals February 11, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

    I knew some of the hotkeys but not all of them. This will really help out.

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