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25 essential Windows 7 tips

Plus performance-enhancing tweaks for Vista and XP

Windows 7 is a brilliant OS and offers us loads of long-overdue improvement and upgrades. However, like any OS it can benefit from a few tweaks. We've rounded 25 essential tips to make your PC run faster.

Expert tip: Watch Netflix from the sofa
Works in: Vista, 7

For US users that are Netflix subscribers, the Netflix Windows Media Center plug-in isn't just optional, it's practically essential. Just click Movies, Netflix in Media Center to install the plug-in and sign in to your account.

Then get ready for a shock: the Netflix plug-in offers far more functionality than you get from, say, a standalone Xbox 360.

While those devices also provide Netflix access, they limit you to viewing your queues and streaming movies from whatever is in your Instant Queue.

The WMC plug-in, on the other hand, lets you browse and search the entire Netflix catalogue, adding movies to your standard queue or Instant Queue as you go.

Expert tip: Enjoy Hulu in comfort
Works in: Vista, 7

Hulu Desktop is an experimental, Hulu Labs-devised app that gives you a 10foot, remote-controllable interface for the TV-streaming service.

Just one problem: You have no way to reach that interface from within Windows Media Center.

The free but unimaginatively named Hulu Desktop Integration download adds a Hulu Desktop icon to WMC. One click closes the latter and opens the former in maximized, full-screen view.

When you've finished streaming, click Close to exit Hulu Desktop and return to WMC. It doesn't get much easier than that.

However, it's currently available to US residents only.

See also: Windows 7, XP or Vista: which OS is best

  1. These tricks will make your PC even faster
  2. Switch to Chrome
  3. Remove Shovelware
  4. Make it safer
  5. More tips to make Windows safer
  6. Make it easier
  7. Reload all your apps after a reboot
  8. Make Windows more fun
  9. Watch tuner-free TV in Media Center
  10. More expert tips

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