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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.

 

Set a new Windows Explorer launch folder
When you run Windows Explorer, it always opens to the Libraries folder. That's fine if you use Microsoft's default file organisation, which designates Libraries as the overall container for your folders.

But what if you don't? You might prefer to have Windows Explorer open to Computer or any other folder you choose. Here's how to do it:

  1. Right-click the Windows Explorer icon on the taskbar (it's the one that looks like a folder), and then right-click the Windows Explorer icon from the context menu that appears and select Properties. The Windows Explorer Properties dialog box appears.
  2. You'll have to edit the Target field on the Shortcut tab of this dialog box in order to change the default location at which Explorer opens.

If you want Explorer to open to a specific folder, simply enter the name of the folder, substituting your folder name for Folder, below, like this:

%windir%\explorer.exe c:\Folder

So to open Explorer to the folder named Budget, you would type this in the Target field:%windir%\explorer.exe c:\Budget

If you want Explorer to open to special, pre-set locations, such as Computer, you'll need to enter special syntax in the Target field.

Following is a list of four common locations and the syntax to use, followed by the syntax for the Libraries folder in case you ever want to revert to the default.

Computer: %windir%\explorer.exe ::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}
My Documents:%windir%\explorer.exe ::{450D8FBA-AD25-11D0-98A8-0800361B1103}
Network: %windir%\explorer.exe ::{208D2C60-3AEA-1069-A2D7-08002B30309D}
Libraries: %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe

After you've changed the Target field, click ok. Next time you launch Windows Explorer, it will open to the new location you've designated.

Show all your drives in Windows Explorer
Depending on your system settings, when you go to Computer in Windows Explorer, you may be in for a shock - you may not see all your drives such as memory card readers if those drives are empty.

If this disconcerts you, there's a simple way for you to see them even if there's nothing there:

  1. Launch Windows Explorer and press the Alt button to reveal the top menu.
  2. Select Tools > Folder Options and click the View tab.
  3. Under 'Advanced settings', uncheck the box next to ‘Hide empty drives in the Computer folder'. Click OK. The drives will now always be visible.

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NEXT PAGE: Build your own internet search connector

  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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