Saturday, October 24, 2009

Windows 7 tips and tricks

Windows 7 is a great Operating System, but if you do not know some of these tips and tricks you may not realize how user friendly it is.

1. The new Aero features - Peek and shake
You can view live thumbnails of all your windows when you roll over the app in the task bar. You can scroll your mouse over each thumbnail to bring a preview of the window to focus, you can close the window within the aero thumbnail, if you shake a window it will make the rest of the windows minimize. To bring all the windows back you simply shake the window again.

2. Search bar
Finding files, programs, and features never got easier with the new and improved search bar in both the start menu and every explorer window. Search makes it easy to find anything. Perhaps you want to open a program but do not have any shortcuts for it other than in the multi-level start menu. Rather than click start, all programs, Microsoft office, Microsoft Excel simply click the start menu icon (or press the windows key) and begin typing 'excel'. The search comes up with the result as fast as you can type it. 90% of the time the program or file you were looking for will be the top item in the search and thus already highlighted. So, opening a program can be as easy as typing [win key] exce [enter]. This goes for folder names, file names, programs, or even topics in the control panel that you cannot easily find. The same handy search bar is in nearly every explorer window but searches faster than ever where you can find what you're looking for in literally seconds just by typing in the first few letters of the title.

3. Pinning programs to the task bar
At first many users will hate that it is not 'easy' to create a quick launch toolbar in the task bar like they had on Vista and XP. At first this 'missing' feature made me hate Windows 7. If you too were like me here is how to add the quick launch bar to the toolbar in Windows 7. It wasn't long before I learned how to pin programs to the tool bar. If you pin internet explorer to the tool bar but have a IE window open already an want to open a new one, it can be annoying to right click then click on 'Internet Explorer'. Well, you don't have to! Simply hold the shift button down while clicking on the window in the task bar OR use your middle scroll button on your mouse to click. Both will open a new instance of the program instead of bringing the existing window to focus. Once I figured out this tip I was a lot happier with the new tool bar in Windows 7.

4. Rearrange the order of the windows in the task bar
You can now click and drag the items in the bottom tool bar and rearrange how they are ordered. This seems like a small detail but it is handy when you have a lot of windows open.

5. The permanent show desktop button
On the bottom right of the screen you see a small empty space to the right of the clock. This is a dedicated 'show desktop' button. Hovering your mouse over it will allow you to 'peek' at the desktop while clicking it will work just like the old 'show desktop' icon did minimizing all windows. Clicking it again will bring all of those windows back from their minimized state.

6. Easily change the screen resolution
Now it is very easy to change the resolution of the screen. Simply right click in an empty spot on the desktop and click 'Screen Resolution'

 I will continue to update this list as I have time, but here is a link to another persons rather large list of tips & tricks for Windows 7

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