Top 5 Windows 7 Tips

Get the most out of your OS!

Just got your hands on Windows 7 and want to bend it to your will? No problem. We've got plenty of tips, hacks and secrets to keep you busy for a long time. We'll start with 10 nifty tips that can make your desktop more interesting, make it easier to get around and increase your computer's power efficiency.

  • Shake Your Desktop Free of Clutter                                                              If you frequently run multiple programs simultaneously, your desktop can get extremely cluttered. This can get annoying if you're working on one program and want to minimize all the other windows -- in previous versions of Windows you had to minimize them individually. With Windows 7's "shake" feature, though, you can minimize every window except the one in which you're currently working -- in a single step. Click and hold the title bar of the window you want to keep on the desktop; while still holding the title bar, shake it quickly back and forth until all of the other windows minimize to the taskbar. Then let go. To make them return, shake the title bar again. You can accomplish the same thing by pressing the Window key-Home key combination -- although doing that is not nearly as much fun.
  • Launch Taskbar Apps Without a Mouse                                          Likewise, you can launch any program on the taskbar without the mouse. Press the Windows key and the number that corresponds to the position of the application on the taskbar -- for example, Windows key-1 to launch the left-most application on the taskbar, Windows key-2 to launch the second left-most application and so on.
  • Search the Internet from the Start Menu                                                   The Start Menu's search box is a convenient way to search through your PC -- but you can also have it do double-duty and perform Internet searches as well. To enable this feature:1. In the Start Menu search box, type GPEDIT.MSC and press Enter to run the Group Policy Editor.2. Go to User Configuration --> Administrative Templates --> Start Menu and Taskbar.3. Double-click "Add Search Internet link to Start Menu," and from the screen that appears, select Enabled. Then click OK and close the Group Policy Editor.
  • Select Multiple Items The Easy Way                                                 Everyone knows the old way: Hold down the Ctrl key while you click on each file with the mouse, highlighting the specific ones on which you want to take action. There’s an easier way in Windows 7, though you need to dig a bit to activate it. In a given folder, click on the Organize button at the top of the Windows Explorer window. Choose the Folder and search options entry from the menu that ensues, to launch the Folder Options dialog box. You’ll see three tabs; click the one called View. In the Advanced settings list that appears, scroll down and look for the entry Use check boxes to select items. Make sure it has, um, a check mark in it, then hit OK.
  • Get a Power Efficiency Report                                                                   Windows 7 includes a hidden built-in tool that will examine your laptop's energy use and make recommendations on how to improve it. To use it:1. Run a command prompt as an administrator. To do this, type cmd in the search box, and when the cmd icon appears, right-click it and choose "Run as administrator."2. At the command line, type in the following:powercfg -energy -output \Folder\Energy Report.htmlwhere \Folder represents the folder where you want the report to be placed.3. For about a minute, Windows 7 will examine the behavior of your laptop. It will then analyze it and create a report in HTML format in the folder you specified. Double-click the file, and you'll get a report -- follow its recommendations for ways to improve power performance.

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