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20 great Windows 7 tips and tricks

Our favourite tweaks for Microsoft's latest OS

Getting to know Windows 7? Here are 20 ways to get around the interface and make it act the way you want.

 

Get back the Quick Launch bar
Windows 7's new taskbar functions as a program launcher as well as task switcher.

As a result, the old Quick Launch bar, the area on the left side of the taskbar that contained shortcuts for frequently used programs, has been banished.

However, if you really miss the little applet, you can add it back. Here's how to do it:

  1. Right-click the taskbar and choose Toolbars > New Toolbar.
  2. You'll be asked to select a folder for where the new toolbar should live. In the Folder text box at the bottom of the dialog box, enter this text:%userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch
  3. After you do that, click Select Folder. A link for the Quick Launch bar will be added to the taskbar. It will be on the right of the taskbar, just to the left of the Notification area.

It's not particularly useful docked all the way to the right with no application icons showing, so we're going to have to do a bit of work on it to make it useful.

  1. Right-click the taskbar and, in the pop-up menu, remove the check next to 'Lock the taskbar'.
  2. Now right-click Quick Launch and remove the checks next to Show Text and Show Title.
  3. Once you've done that, drag the vertical triple dotted line next to the Quick Launch bar to the left until you expose its icons.

To prevent further changes, right-click the taskbar and check Lock the taskbar. You can now use the Quick Launch bar as you could in Windows XP and Vista, including adding icons to it and deleting them.

Laptop buying advice

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See also: 10 must-have downloads for Windows 7

  1. Our favourite tweaks for Microsoft's latest OS
  2. Shake your desktop free of clutter
  3. Modify UAC
  4. Start Menu tips
  5. Windows Explorer tips
  6. More Windows Explorer tips
  7. Build your own internet search connector
  8. Taskbar tips
  9. See taskbar thumbnails without a mouse
  10. Get back the Quick Launch bar

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