Here's how to get Windows 7, Microsoft's upcoming PC operating system, to bend to your will.
We've got plenty of tips, hacks and secrets to keep you busy for a long time, including automatically opening Windows Explorer to a folder of your choice, bringing back the Quick Launch toolbar, forcing User Account Control to act the way you'd like, keeping your Explorer searches secret from others, and more.
So check out these tips. If you like them, we'll keep more coming.
Note: A few of these tips involve editing the Windows Registry. Before messing the Registry you should always create a Restore Point. Frankly, if you're not sure about this, you shouldn't go anywhere near your PC's Registry.
Windows 7: general tips
We'll start with a few nifty tips that can make it easier to get around and increase your computer's power efficiency.
1. 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 - you'll have to minimise them individually.
With Windows 7's new "shake" feature, though, you can minimise 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 remain on the desktop; while still holding the title bar, shake it quickly back and forth until all of the other windows minimise 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.
2. Kill the Send Feedback link
The beta of Windows 7 includes a "Send Feedback" link at various places throughout Windows 7, including at the top of Internet Explorer and on top of dialog boxes. Don't like the link? You can easily get rid of it, using a Registry hack.
(Important: always create a Restore Point before editing the Windows Registry.)
- Launch the Registry Editor by typing 'regedit' in the Search box and pressing Enter.
- Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop, and double-click the FeedbackToolEnabled entry.
- Change the value to 0, exit the Registry and restart your PC. The feedback link will now be gone. To turn the link back on again, change FeedbackToolEnabled to 3 and restart.
3. Get a power efficiency report
Have a laptop and want to get more battery life out of it? 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 do it:
1. First, 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\En Energy_Report.html
where \Folder represents the folder where you want the report to be placed.
3. For the next minute, Windows 7 will examine the behaviour of your laptop, and will then analyse 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.
NEXT PAGE: Windows Explorer tips