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3 quick ways to fine-tune Windows 7

Get Windows 7 to run the way you want it

You've taken the plunge and installed Windows 7. We've rounded these apps and tips that will help you fine tune the OS so it runs just the way you want it to.

Migrating your bookmarks

I'd argue that the first thing a user wants upon migrating to a new PC - or, in this case, a new operating system on the same PC - is his or her bookmarks.

Fortunately, that's perhaps the single easiest chunk of data to move as part of our 'slow' migration to Windows 7.

All you need is Xmarks. Available for both Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer, Xmarks automatically and effortlessly synchronises your bookmarks between PCs and the web.

If you were already using it, just install the program in your new Windows 7 partition, sign into your account, and presto: All your bookmarks will magically appear in your browser.

All your web-site passwords, too, assuming you configured the tool to sync passwords.

If you weren't using Xmarks before, start by booting back into your previous version of Windows, installing Xmarks, and setting up an account. (Don't worry, it's free.) Then you can jump back into Windows 7 and install Xmarks there.

There are other ways to copy bookmarks, but this is by far the fastest and easiest - and you get the added benefit of having a password-protected copy of your bookmarks on the web, accessible from any PC.

Bonus Tip: Make Windows 7's taskbar more like Vista's

I like most of what Windows 7 brings to the table, but there's one thing I definitely don't like: the new taskbar.

Specifically, I miss the text labels that accompany each running program. Without them, it takes me an extra second or two to figure out what's what.

Fortunately, there's an easy way to make the Windows 7 toolbar look a lot more like the one in Vista (and, for that matter, XP). Here's how.

  1. Right-click on any open area of the toolbar and choose Properties.
  2. Click the 'Taskbar buttons' pull-down and choose Never combine.
  3. If you really want a more Vista/XP-like taskbar, check the 'Use small icons' box. Me, I like the bigger icons.
  4. Click ok.

Now, this won't give you exactly the same taskbar you remember (Windows 7's pinned icons tend to interrupt the 'flow' a bit), but at least you'll have the text labels and bigger buttons back.

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See also: 10 must-have downloads for Windows 7

  1. You've installed the OS so now get it to run the way you want it
  2. Migrating your bookmarks

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