When it comes to using the computer, there are essentially two groups of people: those that always have their hands on the keyboard and are obsessed with keyboard shortcuts and those that do everything technically possible with the mouse. If you belong to the latter group, this article is for you.
In this article I will show you how to optimize your Windows 7 desktop for working with the mouse and point out tricks to increase your productivity.
1. Enable Toolbars & Quick Launch Bar
Keeping all your program shortcuts on the desktop is not very productive if it’s always covered by open windows. Hence the better solution is to enable Taskbar Toolbars for your most used programs or add program and folder shortcuts to the Quick Launch Bar.
Add Taskbar Toolbar:
- right-click Taskbar
- expand > Toolbars
- check desired toolbar or select > New Toolbar…
You can turn any folder into a custom toolbar and fill it with shortcuts.
Enable Quick Launch Bar:
Per default, the Quick Launch bar is disabled in Windows 7. However, it’s quite simple to add it.
- follow steps above and select > New toolbar…
- under > Folder enter the path > %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch and click > Select Folder
- to customize your new Quick Launch toolbar, unlock the taskbar
- you can now right-click > Quick Launch and set your preferences
- while the taskbar is unlocked you can also drag and drop it to a different location
You can now use the Quick Launch bar to hold shortcuts for frequently used programs, folders, or files. Simply drag and drop them from the desktop into the Quick Launch bar.
Check out these articles for more Windows 7 tips and tricks:
- 5 Cool Ways To Customize Your Windows 7 System
- 15 Best Windows 7 Tips and Hacks
- 12 More Windows 7 Tips & Hacks
2. Use Aero Peek
Aero Peek is a Windows 7 features that replaces the ‘show desktop’ shortcut that was formerly found in the Quick Launch bar. If you don’t want to clutter your Taskbar with toolbars or a Quick Launch bar and prefer to keep your shortcuts on the desktop, Aero Peek allows you to quickly show the desktop using your mouse. Simply move the mouse to the bottom right of your screen. After a second, all windows will become transparent and the desktop will show. A left-click will minimize all open windows and another left-click will restore them.
Need more help with Windows 7 Aero effects? Have a look at these articles:
- How To Enable & Troubleshoot Aero Effects In Windows 7
- Top 5 Most Common Windows 7 Problems and How to Fix Them
- How To Get Aero Shake, Aero Peek & Aero Snap Features In Vista & XP
3. Add Handy Shortcuts To Your Desktop
Handy Shortcuts is a free portable app for Windows 7 and Windows Vista that can add up to 20 different Windows functions as shortcuts to your desktop. Simply download and run the executable file, then click > Create next to the Windows functions you wish to see as shortcuts on your desktop.
My favorite three shortcuts are:
- Shutdown Windows
- Add and Remove Program
- Safely Remove Hardware
We have previously reviewed a similar tool for Windows XP here: Windows System Tools at your Fingertips with FastKake.
Need more ideas how to make the most of your mouse? Check out these posts:
- How To Set Up Shortcuts for Your Mouse using StrokeIt
- Just Gestures Lets You Use Mouse Gestures To Control Windows
- How To Run Windows Keyboard Shortcuts Using Your Mouse
Not convinced that working with the mouse is for you? MakeUseOf has also published a great selection of articles covering keyboard shortcuts:
- The Essential Keyboard Shortcuts to whip your Windows
- It Takes only 7 SHORTCUTS to Become a Lightning Fast User
- Some Cool Keyboard Tricks That Few People Know About
- 25 Cool Windows 7 Keyboard Tricks That Will Impress Your Friends
- How To Quickly See Available Keyboard Shortcuts On Windows Desktop
- How To Shut Down or Re-boot Windows from the Desktop
- How To Find and Remove Broken Shortcuts Automatically
What are your favorite computer shortcuts? What do you consider the most useless desktop shortcut ever?
Image credits: Slavoljub Pantelic
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