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Windows 7 Tips And Tricks

With a new version of Windows comes all the ‘fun’ of learning the in’s and out’s of it. Thankfully, Windows 7 seems like a more polished version of Vista with only a few tweaks, rather than the big  jump from XP to the first very buggy version of Vista, which no-one really liked.

It may only appear to be on the surface that Micosoft have been working, with the new ‘aero’ windows and the ridiculously named ‘superbar’ replacing the taskbar, but dig a little deeper and there are some great hidden features and shortcuts that haven’t been advertised.  So, without further ado, I bring you the top tips and tricks for Windows 7:

As well as the new ‘snap’ feature, whereby windows will automatically snap to the full or half screen size by dragging the window to the top or side, there are shortcuts that do the same, and more:

Windows + Arrow keys (up, down, left, right) – As part of the snap options, you can fill a screen with the touch of a button by pressing Windows + Up, or snap it to the right  and make it half size with Windows + Right. A really handy tool, especially if you’re using more than one monitor.

Windows + Shift + Arrow keys – Adding the shift key in presents another set of options. Win + Shift + Right or Left moves the window between sides of the screen (or between monitors), whilst Win + Shift + Up/Down maximises the window vertically or minimises it completely.

Windows + + (the plus key)

Windows + – (the minus key) – These enable the magnifying tool, allowing you to zoom in to varying degrees on either the whole desktop of a section of the screen.

Windows + Home – This minimises everything apart from the active window you are working in.

Windows + E – New explorer window.

Windows + P – This allows you to quickly change your display set up, be it multiple extending your desktop, duplicating it or connecting to an external source such as a projector.

Extra Control Panel – With the new control panel, not all the options are present that were in the last one. If you really feel you need access to all those little options you used to have, simply create a new folder and name it:

Everything.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

This will give you access to over 250 different options from power to networks and sharing, troubleshooting to the action centre.  You can also replace ‘Everything’ with whatever you want the folder to be called.

Windows + T – The replacement for the old Alt + Tab combination, Windows + T cycles through your open windows and gives you a little preview.

Windows + Space – This make all of your current windows transparent, so you can see the outline of them but also the desktop behind. The windows re-appear when you let go of the windows key.

Aero ’shake’ – if you have loads of windows open and you need to minimise them all quickly, grab the front window and give a shake. All the rest will minimise automatically.

Power Efficiency Reports – If you’re running Windows 7 on a laptop, you can maximise the battery life by using a hidden built-in tool that looks at what processes you’re running an makes recommendations to improve them.

To do this, type ‘cmd’ into the search box, then when the cmd icon appear, right click on it and ‘run as administrator’. In the command line type ‘powercfg -energy -output FolderEnergy_Report.html’. After Windows has examined your computer for a minute or so a screen of recommendations will appear.

Desktop Slideshow – as well as coming with loads of stunning wallpapers, Windows 7 has another great feature, that of a desktop slideshow. Simply right-click on any empty part of the desktop, select Personalise > Desktop Background, then select the images you want. You then choose how often the images cycle, select shuffle and voila!


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