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hidden tools in windows 7Windows 7 is by no means a new operating system. If fact, Windows 8 is already out there and available Try Out Windows 8 In VirtualBox Right Now For Free Try Out Windows 8 In VirtualBox Right Now For Free Are you curious about Windows 8, the upcoming operating system from Microsoft? Try it out in a virtual machine, right now, for free. All you need to do is download the free ISO file and... Read More for those who wish to try it. This why I was doubly surprised to realize that there are still some hidden tools in Windows 7 I did not know about.

If you’re a serious Windows fan, you probably know about these hidden gems already, but if you’re just a regular person who’s been using Windows 7, you might be surprised at some of the things that are built into Windows 7 and require no further download.

Snipping Tool

There are tons of simple screenshot tools 3 Light & Simple Ways to Take Screenshots in a Snap 3 Light & Simple Ways to Take Screenshots in a Snap Taking screenshots is something everyone needs to do once in a while. There are numerous screen capture tools out there – some very powerful and costly, and some lighter and cheaper. But let’s face it,... Read More out there, but did you know there’s a rather good one built into Windows? Simply start typing the word “snipping”  in the Windows search to find the snipping tool How To Take Awesome Screenshots In Windows 7 How To Take Awesome Screenshots In Windows 7 In principle, taking a screenshot is very simple. With the right technique however, you can save yourself a lot of time and hassle and greatly improve the look of your screenshots. In this article I... Read More . With it, you can take 4 kinds of screenshots – full-screen, window, rectangular or free-form.

hidden tools in windows 7

The snipping tool comes complete with a simple image editor where you can highlight things, mark things with different color pens and e-mail your screenshot to friends.

hidden windows 7 tools

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You can save your creation as HTML, JPG, PNG or GIF.

Sticky Notes

Another hidden Windows surprise – built-in sticky notes. To access this (very) basic feature, start typing “sticky notes” in the Windows search.

hidden windows 7 tools

It might not be a full-featured and sophisticated solution like Stickies (which is my sticky note app of choice), but it sure provides the necessary basics. You can create multiple sticky notes in different colors and use almost any keyboard shortcut you’d use in Word, including CTRL+ALT+L for lists, CTRL+1,2,5 for line spacing, and more.

Magnifier

This is a very useful tool for those who find common font sizes too small to comfortably read. One solution is to increase resolution, which makes everything look bad, and the other is to use Magnifier. Start typing “Magnifier” in Windows search to find this tool. Using it, you will be able to choose between magnifying your whole screen, using a lens for specific areas or using the docked version in which the top part of your screen becomes the magnified portion of the bottom part.

hidden windows 7 tools

You can choose the amount of magnification you get and how it changes when you click + or –. You can also use Magnifier to invert all your monitor colors, for a relaxed white-on-black experience.

hidden windows 7 features

Sound Recorder

There are many tools our there that can record, edit and convert audio to multiple formats. Sound Recorder is not one of them. Start typing “record” in Windows search to find this tool, which you can use to record simple WMA files, and that’s it.

hidden windows 7 features

If you have nothing installed and you just need to make a simple recording, you can launch this tiny tool and be done within seconds. Click “Start Recording” and record your sound. When you click “Stop Recording”, it will automatically open a saving dialogue and allow you to save your creation as WMA. If you wish, you can later convert this file to other formats using a different program.

Remote Assistance

Do you often need to help someone else using a remote control program? Or do you sometimes need some help yourself? There are some very popular programs that do this, and do it well, but there is also a built-in remote assistance solution in Windows 7. Start typing “remote” in Windows search and launch “Windows Remote Assistance”. You will be prompted to choose whether you’re giving or receiving help.

hidden windows 7 features

If you require assistance, you’ll be able to choose between creating an invitation file which you can send to your helper along with a password, or using Easy Connect, which is just exchanging passwords but it doesn’t always work.

You can also chat with your helper/helpee, and configure how much bandwidth the program will use, among other things.

Problem Steps Recorder

If remote assistance is not enough, you can use Windows’ problem steps recorder. This tool records everything you do, and creates an MHT file complete with screenshots (even of multiple monitors) and a description of every step you made. You can also add comments to every step. To run it, type “psr” in Windows search.

When you’re done recording the steps, the program will automatically save the output as a ZIP file containing an MHT file.

Malicious Software Removal Tool

This one is somewhat more known, and is a good tool to use in addition to other anti-virus programs. If your regular program doesn’t detect something, or if you happen to have nothing else installed, Windows provides its own malicious software removal tool. Type “mrt” in Windows search to find it.

You can choose between a quick scan, a full scan and a customized scan, and MRT will scan your computer and give you a report on its findings.

The tool only scans for a somewhat limited list of malicious software, so it cannot replace an anti-virus, but you can use it for extra security, and it also provides links to further reading on each malware on the list.

Disc Image Burner

This is more of a bonus than a hidden tool, but it can still be pretty useful. If you have ISO files you need to burn, and you don’t happen to have any other burning software installed, double clicking it will open the Windows Disc Image Burner.

hidden tools in windows 7

You can use this simple tool to burn the disc image, and that’s pretty much it. If you’ve associated ISO files with another program, you can access the disc image burning by right-clicking the file, choosing “Open with…” and clicking on Windows Disc Image Burner.

Conclusion

If you already knew about all these tools, don’t be put off, even a reminder of something you already know can be quite useful at times. Some of these tools can be quite useful, especially on a new machine where you still have nothing installed, but not only then. If some of these were new to you – welcome to the secret Windows 7 tools club!

Know of some more interesting hidden tools in Windows 7? Share them in the comments!

Image Credit: Shutterstock

  1. dan
    March 10, 2016 at 7:23 am

    When I tried using the Sound Recorder tool (by playing a YouTube video), saved the output, and replayed the 'wma' file I created, there was no sound. Do I have to first monkey around with the Windows input settings?
    Dan

  2. Kanak
    March 10, 2016 at 5:13 am

    Thank you dear....

  3. Regan No
    June 17, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    thanks for the info man! One thing, the sound recorder has been around since win95, though ^^;.

  4. Lishoy Mathew
    February 18, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Thank you so much Yaara for your time and sharing the info..Can you do one for Windows 8.1 too.

  5. Tenderheart04
    December 11, 2011 at 6:22 am

    I cant find the image burner. I really needed it.

    • Yaara
      December 13, 2011 at 12:16 am

      What version of Windows 7 are you using? What happens when you double click an ISO file?

  6. Nahla A. Dimapunong
    November 11, 2011 at 8:30 am

    How about pressing Windows+S to launch OneNote's Screen Clipping feature? I use it
    often than the Snipping tool. It's pretty nifty since it will automatically
    transfer the clip to OneNote, which I constantly use. Try Windows+N too to launch OneNote in a smaller window.

     

    To enable, open OneNote then go to Tools=>Options=>Other=>Check the
    box “Place OneNote icon in the notification area of the taskbar” then press
    OK and then you’re done! B)

    • Yaara
      November 12, 2011 at 7:49 am

      Thanks for the tip! I never actually worked with OneNote. 

      However, this post was meant to cover tools that are built into Windows, not ones you need to download, so I couldn't mention OneNote in here.

  7. Randy
    November 6, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Did someone forget sfc , system file checker which checks the validity of the files in the operating system.  the command sfc /scannow is what you would use to start the process.

    • Yaara
      November 7, 2011 at 5:59 am

      Thanks for the tip!

  8. sai@dailyblogtools
    November 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    thanks for the great tool "Sticky Note".i donno about this tool.great share :)

  9. Remedies For Insomnia
    November 1, 2011 at 6:24 am

    really very interesting to read your article. i have checked with my windows with your article. superb navigation.. thanks for sharing such a informative article 

  10. Keith Larsen
    October 31, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Snipping tool does not have a built in Print function. Seems odd... The easiest way we have for printing in
    Right-click - send to email recipient as attachment.  But don't send it.
    Just right click on the file to print it.

  11. Hazel
    October 31, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I use Snap all the time...is it not considered hidden? 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzQQcdw1qmY

    • Yaara
      November 1, 2011 at 5:38 am

      AeroSnap is really convenient, but I think it's more a feature than a tool. But AeroSnap, AeroShake and friends are definitely good things to know about. Thanks for the comment!

  12. K H
    October 31, 2011 at 4:45 am

    Hi, I use the starter edition of Win 7 and I can't seem to find sticky note or the snipping tool, is it only offered in other versions of win 7?

    • Jack Cola
      November 1, 2011 at 2:49 am

      Windows 7 Starter Edition doesn't seem to have snipping tool :(

  13. Shayde716
    October 30, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    To Rix & Yaara: Yaara, you did state to type "psr" in the search bar, and not "pst" as Rix "thought" they saw, so there was no typo involved!!!Up your visual magnification, Rix!!!!

    • Yaara
      November 1, 2011 at 5:39 am

      Thank you for the comment Shayde. :)

      They were actually right about the typo, I just got the editor to fix it when I found out about it. These things happen! :)

  14. Charles Rachor
    October 29, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    huh....i knew all of them except the Malicious Software Removal Tool.....nice to know about.

  15. Bill Gates
    October 29, 2011 at 11:55 am

    These are old tips and everyone is acting like its something totaly awesome. It aint that great. I take it Win7 must be all your first OS!

  16. Nkrumah Boakye
    October 29, 2011 at 8:50 am

    I like it than ohter o/s

  17. Rafael Oliveira De Santana
    October 29, 2011 at 4:36 am

    I was surprised by two applications:Snipping Tool and Sticky Notes. Begin to use them now! They are very useful!!!!Thanks for the tips!!!!

  18. Bill Hanson
    October 29, 2011 at 2:23 am

    Thanks.  I needed that!

  19. Browndavidc
    October 29, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Nice tips. Thank you

  20. Ray
    October 29, 2011 at 12:31 am

    I love the Snipping Tool.   Used in conjunction with the Character Recognition in Microsoft Document Imaging (part of the Office package), I can convert almost any screen content to text

    I especially liked being able to snip and convert details on lists of files in Windows explorer...

    Very nice capacity...

  21. captainsensible
    October 28, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    most of these are already in Windows vista, which is my favourite OS. I use Win7 at work and Vista SP2 in the home.

  22. Adam
    October 27, 2011 at 12:22 am

    What about God mode?

    • Yaara
      October 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      Ah, now you're talking true secrets! 

      I don't know, I find that aside from the "cheat" that lets you access it, God Mode is not actually that useful... I love the way you get to it though. :)

  23. Anh Tao
    October 26, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Wow, I never knew we had something like PSR built-in in Windows 7. What a great tool it is. Thanks for the article!

    • Yaara
      October 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      It really is awesome!

  24. Dane
    October 26, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    thanks for your wonderful article. I found SnippingTool.exe through search function, but i cannot run it:(

    • Yaara
      October 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm

      Glad the article was useful for you. :)
      What happens when you run the snipping tool?

  25. Mark Schneider
    October 26, 2011 at 3:00 am

    virtual wifi and an advanced calculator might be of interest to some. 

    • Yaara
      October 26, 2011 at 11:20 am

      I'm not familiar with virtual Wi-Fi, I'll check it out. Advanced calculator is a good addition, thanks!

  26. Babar
    October 25, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    very helpful article for me. Thanks 'Yaara'

    • Yaara
      October 26, 2011 at 11:20 am

      Great, happy you can make use of it!

  27. pedro parkero
    October 25, 2011 at 1:26 am

    The snipping tool  is my favorite new thing about Win7! I didn't know about the Problem Steps Recorder. Could be quite handy in helping someone, as I just disable Remote Assistance in my computers (being it's quite a security risk).
    If I remember correctly, there used to be a duration limit in Sound Recorder in the older versions of Windows (1 min.?). Is there a similar limit in Win7?

    • Yaara
      October 25, 2011 at 7:50 am

      As far as I know, there's no time limit in Win7 (and wasn't one in Vista either). If there is one, it's definitely not 1 min.

  28. JoeyDee
    October 24, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Spammers SUCK.

    • JoeyDee
      October 24, 2011 at 8:52 pm

      I see our "spammer" has left (been ejected from) the building...another one bites the dust lol.

  29. Henry Lahman
    October 24, 2011 at 1:10 am

    vista has snipper too

  30. Jack Cola
    October 23, 2011 at 1:16 am

    I knew Windows 7 had the problem step recorder, but I completely forgot about it - thanks for jotting my memory back

  31. JoeyDee
    October 22, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    I just about wear out the snipping tool on a daily basis, lol. The 7 Native disc burner along with the Win 7 USB/DVD Tool has rendered installed progs ImgBurn & Nero Burning Rom 11 (trial ver) rarely used on my pc.

  32. Jgl590
    October 21, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Found most of these the first week I had my Windows 7 computer; only thing different was instead of typing I just clicked down in the corner with my mouse and located most of these right away.  The Snipping Tool is right at the top.  Most of the rest are in Accessories or Ease of Access.  (Thought I would mention it for all the "mousers" like me.)  Thanks for describing everything for us though.  

  33. Edertef
    October 21, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    psr.exe is amazing !!

    Thank you for saving my world !

  34. Anonymous
    October 21, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I think the on-screen keyboard is a good addition to the list. It's not new to 7, but is kin to the magnifier as to accessibility. Besides, it may add an extra layer of protection when typing in online forms. It can be launched by typing "osk" on the Start menu search box.

    • Yaara
      October 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      Good addition, thank you!

  35. Gho5t
    October 21, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    HOMICIDE_1.iso 
    IMDB rating: not yet ratedPlot: In series one of this thriller, Ms. Lancet (Yaara Lancet) masquerades as a freelance writer, editor and tech blogger by day and a the vigilante crime fighter at night. Her MO, to solve homicide cases before the local police can find and arrest the perp. Her mission to rid the nights of evil. Her resistance, the public, curious about dodgy ISO's being burnt to disc. Homicide_1 is now out on general release. Rated R for violence from the onset.

    • Yaara
      October 21, 2011 at 3:23 pm

      That's pretty funny. :)

      If you're curious, it's an image of a Homicide: Life on the Street DVD. :)

  36. Marshall
    October 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Thanks for the tips! 

    One minor correction though.. To access the Problem Steps Recorder you should type "psr", rather than "pst". Thanks again!

    • Yaara
      October 21, 2011 at 3:22 pm

      Thank you! It's typo. :) I will get it fixed.

  37. Suhel
    October 21, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    hehe... knew em all ^^. (proud)

  38. Arun
    October 21, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I can't find mrt....

    • Yaara
      October 21, 2011 at 3:22 pm

      Maybe Start -> Run -> mrt.exe?

    • JoeyDee
      October 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm

      On my Win 7 SP1 Home Prem x64 searching "mrt" in the start menu search box gives me option to launch the MSRT.

      Start>>Run>>mrt does the same.

      What ver of Win 7 is installed on your pc?

  39. Rix
    October 21, 2011 at 10:21 am

    CORRECTION - The Problem Steps Recorder is launched by typing "psR" in Search, not "psT" as you mention in the article...

    • Yaara
      October 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm

      Oops, that's a typo, you're absolutely right. Thanks for the heads up!

    • rainvibe
      October 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm

      should have started with pssst! ;o)

  40. Seppe
    October 21, 2011 at 9:12 am

    That snipping tool is nice! Never knew about it, always used print screen and paint for my screenshots. Thanks a lot!

    • Yaara
      October 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm

      I was really excited when I first found this one too!

      • Lizzi Thomp.Tremayne
        October 29, 2011 at 1:10 am

        me too! Thanks so much, Yaara! Have had little time to learn many tricks before now, but really need then now! Thanks!

        • Staying
          November 7, 2011 at 7:11 pm

          love the snipping tool, just wish it had a little text tool

  41. Cell Travis
    October 21, 2011 at 6:33 am

    I used to see the Malicious Software Removal Tool while updating Windows but I never knew where i got installed or what it did. Thanks for the heads up. This should be useful.

    • Yaara
      October 21, 2011 at 8:21 am

      Glad you found it useful!

  42. Ye Olde Windows User
    October 21, 2011 at 5:14 am

    In fact, Magnifier and Sound Recorder was there in the blessed old Windows 98 as well.

  43. Ye Olde Windows User
    October 21, 2011 at 5:12 am

    Magnifier; Sound Recorder and Disk Management are all carried-on from Windows XP. It's time you knew your A-B-Cs. Or rather X-Ps.

    • Yaara
      October 21, 2011 at 8:20 am

      I did not mean to imply that these tools are all brand new to Windows 7. Most Windows users use 7 these days, so I made the article about Windows 7.

      Thanks for the input!

      • Kaveh
        January 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm

        Thanks Yaara, don't be put-off by " WE KNEW IT ALL" people, great article.

        • Yaara
          January 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm

          Thanks Kaveh!

    • David Posh
      October 30, 2011 at 4:54 am

      The Magnifier operates much differently (and better in my opinion) than it does in XP-Pro.

  44. mick register
    October 21, 2011 at 2:27 am

    I did happen to know of these. Might I point out one more?

    Disc management:
    This tool is more for advanced users, and lets you manage partitions on your hard disks.
    I think it is quite a bit more hidden, as it is not listed in the start menu of every default boot like those mentioned above are.
    All you do is type partition into the search bar.

    • Yaara
      October 21, 2011 at 8:18 am

      Thank you! I did not include this one simply because I thought it might be useful to a smaller group of people, but it's indeed hidden and indeed useful.

  45. Mr Rage
    October 21, 2011 at 12:44 am

    WINDOWS 7 HAVE SOME OF THAT LOL!

    • BillP
      October 29, 2011 at 11:25 am

      SOME OF THAT LOL...  Huh?
      Can we have some of it too, please?

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