15 Best Windows 7 Tips and Hacks

image17   15 Best Windows 7 Tips and HacksYou have upgraded to Windows 7, love the new taskbar, and enjoy the power of using the cool Libraries feature.

But now you want more. You want the cool tips and tricks that make Windows 7 fun!

So here are the best ones to help you get the most out of your new OS. In this article, we will focus on the Windows 7 interface to get you started on the road to becoming a Windows 7 Power User. In Part 2, we will be looking at advanced tips for usability, performance, and security.

1. Use Keyboard Shortcuts

Using the mouse, you can drag-“˜n-dock windows to either side of the screen, or drag it to the top to maximize it. These keyboard shortcuts are even faster:

  • Win+Left Arrow and Win+Right Arrow dock the window to the left and right side of the screen
  • Win+Up Arrow and Win+Down Arrow maximize and restore/minimize
  • Win+M minimizes everything
  • Alt+Up, Alt+Left Arrow, Alt+Right Arrow navigate to parent folder, or browse Back and Forward through folders in Explorer
  • Win+Home minimizes/restores all open windows except the active window
  • Alt+Win+# accesses the Jump List of program number ‘#’ on the taskbar

2.Rearrange System Tray Icons

SystemTray   15 Best Windows 7 Tips and Hacks

You can rearrange icons on the taskbar as you wish and start new (or switch to running) instances of the first ten taskbar programs using Win+1, Win+2, and so on. The cool thing is you can also rearrange system tray icons. Reorder them on the tray or move them outside or back in the tray. Take control of what you want to always keep an eye on, and from which apps you’ll require notifications.

3. Access Jump Lists with the Left Mouse Button

Jump Lists usually show up when you right-click on a taskbar icon. However, they can also be accessed by holding the left mouse button and dragging upwards. If you’re using a laptop touchpad or a touch screen, this is convenient because you do not have to click any button to access a context menu.

4. Add Any Folder to Favorites

AddToFavorites   15 Best Windows 7 Tips and Hacks

You can add any library or folder to the Favorites section in Windows Explorer. To add a folder, navigate to it in Explorer, right-click Favorites in the left navigation pane, and select Add current location to Favorites. Now you get quick access to your favorite folders in all File->Save As dialogs!

5. Pin Frequently Used Folders to the Taskbar

Right-click, drag, and pin your favorite folders to Windows Explorer on the taskbar. They will now show up in the Jump List when you right click on Explorer giving you quick access to your favorite folders.

6. Pin Control Panel to the Taskbar

PinControlPanel   15 Best Windows 7 Tips and Hacks

You cannot pin the Control Panel to the taskbar via the Start Menu or by drag and drop. Open the Control Panel and right-click its taskbar icon to pin it to the taskbar. An advantage of this is that Control Panel’s Jump List allows quick access to recently used functions.

7. Create Keyboard Shortcuts for Programs

You can create keyboard shortcuts for any program in Windows 7. Right-click the program icon and select Properties. Select the Shortcut tab, click in Shortcut key, to set the keyboard shortcut for that program.

ProgramShortcutKey   15 Best Windows 7 Tips and Hacks

8. Open Command Prompt in Any Folder

Like the command prompt? Miss the “˜Open Command Window Here’ Windows XP power toy? Press “˜Shift’ when right-clicking on a folder to get that option in the context menu. This also works on the desktop. No power toy required!

ExpandedContextMenu   15 Best Windows 7 Tips and Hacks

9. View Expanded ‘Send To’ Menu

Press Shift when right-clicking on a folder to get an expanded Send To menu.

10. Adjust Screen Text with Clear Type

Use Clear Type Tuner for the best look on your LCD monitor or laptop screen. Run “˜cttune.exe‘ from the Start Menu search box, or go to the Control Panel Display applet, and select Adjust ClearType Text from the left.

ClearTypeTuner   15 Best Windows 7 Tips and Hacks

11. Get Exact Colors On Your Screen

If you are an artist or you work with colors, use the Calibrate Color option in the Control Panel Display applet or run dccw.exe from the Start Menu search box. You can adjust gamma, brightness, contrast, and color balance, ensuring that colors are displayed correctly on your screen.

12. Customize the Power Button

If you restart your computer more often than you shut it down, change the default Shutdown power button to Restart. Right-click on Start, select Properties, and choose the Power button action that you use the most.

StartMenuProperties   15 Best Windows 7 Tips and Hacks

13. Customize Number of Items in Jump Lists & Start Menu

Right-click Start, select Properties, click Customize and choose the number of recent programs to be shown in the Start Menu and the number of items displayed in Jump Lists from the Start Menu Size section below.

14. Search Internet from the Start Menu

SearchInternetStartMenu   15 Best Windows 7 Tips and Hacks

Enable Internet search from the Start Menu using your default browser. Run GPEDIT.MSC from the Start Menu search box to start the Group Policy Editor. In the left pane, go to User Configuration->Administrative Templates->Start Menu and Taskbar. In the right pane, right-click to Edit and Enable Add Search Internet link to Start Menu.

SearchInternet   15 Best Windows 7 Tips and Hacks

15. Add Videos to Start Menu

Windows 7 does not place a link to your videos on the Start Menu by default. To add a link to your videos on the Start Menu, right-click Start, select Properties, click on Customize. In the Videos section at the bottom, choose Display as a link.

AddVideos   15 Best Windows 7 Tips and Hacks

Did you like these tips? Tell us or share your tricks with us in the comments! Don’t forget to watch out for Part 2!

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17 Comments -

Doc

Most of this is already available in Windows XP. Win+M, customizing the power button, rearranging System Tray icons, ClearType Tuner addon, Command Prompt Here PowerToy, Color Calibration addon, expanded SendTo menu, hotkeys in shortcuts all work on my system already. Most of the Windows-key shortcuts can be made available with AutoHotKey scripts easily as well.

Mahendra Palsule

@Doc: Like you mention, many of these can be made available via addons, powertoys, etc., while Windows 7 has them inbuilt.

However, this post is not a comparison of XP and Win 7, or a list of reasons you should switch to Win 7. In fact, some of these tips are intended for XP users to get comfortable using Win 7. The reasons why you should consider upgrading are outside the scope of this article.

Jeremy

Alot of this stuff you can do with XP even. I have Windows 7 installed and I love it. Another cool key combo is Windows key and + or -. This will zoom in on your screen. Great for designers like myself.

Nice tips!

jollyrogue

Cheers for this list.. I’m walking away with; 2,7,14,15.

shevopato

Very useful tips! I could add, middle-clic on a taskbar icon to open a new window and middle-clic a thumbnail to close it.

blah

Nothing to the author, but this is all stuff that’s been possible via 3rd party programs for years.

For this Vista 2.0 thing to be the dominate OS in 2010 is a bad joke.

The hardware gets more powerful and the system becomes some dumb down… I don’t know what. Is it made my Microsoft or Mattel?

Blake Elias

Number 8 was already in Vista, don’t remember if it was in XP.

Jersey Bob

In Vista and XP, you can edit Taskbar properties so that it hides specific icons from the Notification area. Windows then ignores your settings and shows whatever icons it wants anyway, possibly based on the phases of the moon divided by the square root of your zip code.

Does anyone know if Microsoft discovered the concept of “software testing” and fixed this?

Razor

The function you are referring to is based on the executable name and data. Often when an application performs an update it overwrites the executable associated with the system tray icon. As a result, Windows recognizes it as a new application instead of just an update or patch.

This is most noticeable in applications that update very often, such as Steam.

myname

thx for this, but start menu web search did not work for me dough.

George

Very well laid out web site. Good adviceand clear! Most are damned hard to follow!
Thanks for your efforts.

Tips And Tricks

Great Post thanks You Very Much

Gower IT

Some nice tips. I think some of these new features from Microsoft are a gimmick though.

Nick

Not sure if you ever got your answer. But i am currently developing in Windows 7, and have experiences no major hiccups. There are some annoyances when first configuring your environment. First being you have to always run visual studio as admin. If not you will have issues building and even opening .sln files. The major hurdle was learning how to use iis 7s admin tool. But other than that it was an easy transition and development (compile time) really seems to go faster within Windows 7.

prithviraj

nice not bad

roger

14.Search the internet from your start menu – I have Windows 7 Home Premium and apparently you cannot open the Local Group Policy Editor in that (I thought I was doing something wrong as, even signed in as administrator, I got the message “No Items Match Your Search” when entering “GPEDIT.MSC” in start). However I did find at Windows Seven Forums (http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/557-startmenu-add-search-internet-link.html) a small programme that does the job for you.

Aamir

Nothing new in Win7 only benefit is that embedded application code that why its faster then xp, developer are copy some few concept for mac code.
Sorry for comparison here,Any way i am waiting for sex scene operating system.