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.
Watch tuner-free TV in Media Center
Works in: 7
Although Windows Media Center does a pretty good impression of Sky+ with its DVR features, you typically need at least one TV tuner to watch and record live shows.
If your PC doesn't have a tuner, however, you can just stream shows on demand - the Windows 7 version of WMC makes that possible, though it doesn't exactly have a massive selection of programs.
To get started, click TV, Guide; you'll see an entire grid of internet TV, headlined by Sky Movies, and including categories such as sports, entertainment and kids.
To access any of the programs, you'll first need to agree to terms and conditions and install Sky Player. Once this is complete you're free to browse and watch the selection of shows.
However, to access the content for free, you will need to be a subscriber to that particular sky package, otherwise you'll have to fork out around £1.50 per show.
Stream your media to other PCs
Works in: 7
Much like the popular Orb service www.orb.com, Windows 7 allows you to stream your music, photos, and videos (including recorded TV) from your home PC to other PCs running Windows 7.
That's great if you're on the road with your laptop or netbook and you want to watch the football game you recorded at home. What's not so great is the number of hoops that Microsoft makes you jump through to set the feature up. Here's how to do it.
Start Windows Media Player, and click Stream, Allow internet access to home media. Click Link an online ID, and then select Add an online ID provider.
On the web page that appears, choose either Download for 32bit or Download for 64bit, depending on which version of Windows 7 you have.
Save and then run the downloaded file, which installs the Windows Live ID Sign-in Assistant app.
When that's done, return to the Link Online IDs window and, under Online ID Provider, click Link online ID. Enter your Windows Live ID username and password. (Don't have a Live ID? Click the link in the box to sign up.)
Finally, click OK. Return to Windows Media Player, and click Allow internet access to home media.
That's one computer done. On your second system (say, your laptop), you'll need to repeat the entire procedure.
Afterward you'll be able to browse the Other Libraries section in Windows Media Player to find the music, videos, pictures, and/or recorded TV that you want to view from afar.
Setup may be a hassle, but Windows 7 media streaming works beautifully.
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