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15 great Windows 7 tips, tricks and tweaks

How to customise Windows 7 to work your way

Here's how to get Windows 7, Microsoft's upcoming PC operating system, to bend to your will.

Windows 7: more Windows Explorer tips

6. Protect the privacy of your Explorer searches

When you search through your PC from Windows Explorer, you can see the most recent searches that have been performed. If you share a PC and don't want others to see what you've searched for, you can turn off the recent searches feature:

  1. In Explorer's Search box, type GPEDIT.MSC and press Enter to launch the Group Policy Editor.
  2. Go to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Explorer.
  3. Double-click "Turn off display of recent search entries in the Windows Explorer search box" and select Enabled from the screen that appears. Then click ok. The recent searches feature will now be turned off.

7. Build your own Internet Search Connector

Windows 7 has a very useful new feature called a Search Connector that lets you search through a website from right inside Windows Explorer. With it, you type in a search term and select the Search Connector for the site you want to search; Explorer searches the website without having to open Internet Explorer, and the results appear inside Windows Explorer. Click any of the results to head there using your default web browser.

Normally, you'll need to get each Search Connector from the website through which you want to search, and very few Connectors are available. Sites normally need to adhere to OpenSearch standards in order for their Connectors to work.

However, there's a work-around that will let you easily build your own Search Connector for any site, using Windows Live Search as a kind of go-between. Don't worry, you don't need to know any code to write a Connector. Just follow these steps:

1. Copy the following text and paste it into Notepad. The text you'll need to change is in bold, all-caps text:

NAME YOUR SEARCH

DESCRIPTION OF SEARCH

2. In place of NAME YOUR SEARCH, type in the name of the search as you want it to appear. In our case, we're going to build a Search Connector for PC Advisor, so we'll just type in PC Advisor.

3. In place of DESCRIPTION OF SEARCH, type in a longer description of the search. In our instance, it will be Search through PC Advisor.

4. In the first SITENAME.COM entry, enter the website's domain. Don't use the http:// or www - just the domain name. In our instance it will be PCAdvisor.co.uk.

5. To the right of "count=", type in the number or results you want to appear. In our instance, we'll keep it at 50.

6. In our example, here's what the code should look like (no bold necessary):

PC Advisor

Search through PC Advisor

7. Save the file in Notepad, choose UTF-8 from the Encoding drop-down box near the bottom of the Save As screen, and give it an .osdx extension. In our instance, we'll call the file PC Advisor.osdx.

Congratulations! You've successfully installed a Search Connector.

8. In Windows Explorer, right-click the .osdx file and select Create Search Connector. The Search Connector will be created, and you'll see a screen like that shown to the right.

9. You can now use the Search Connector. To get to it, in Windows Explorer go to YourName > Searchers > Connector, where YourName is your account name, and Connector is the name of the Connector.

NEXT PAGE: UAC tips

Index

  1. Windows 7: general tips
  2. Windows 7: Windows Explorer tips
  3. Windows 7: more Windows Explorer tips
  4. Windows 7: User Account Control tips
  5. Windows 7: Taskbar tips
  6. Windows 7: more nifty taskbar tips


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