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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.

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 minimise all the other windows - in previous versions of Windows you had to minimise them individually.

With Windows 7's '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 keep 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.

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 use it:

  1. 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\Energy_Report.html ( \Folder should represents the folder where you want the report to be placed).
  3. For about a minute, Windows 7 will examine the behaviour of your laptop. It will then analyse it and create a report in HTML format in the folder you specified.
  4. Double-click the file, and you'll get a report - follow its recommendations for ways to improve power performance.

Laptop buying advice

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  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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