In this edition, we’re going to share with you some Windows tips and tricks to get the most out of Windows 7. Why Windows 7 and not Windows 8, you ask? Simple. We don’t yet have a Windows 8 machine. SURE, we can upgrade our current computers to 8, but that requires an investment into touchscreens, which, frankly, are too expensive still. Yes, Windows 8 can run with a standard keyboard and mouse but it’s real allure is touch and that’s where it’s best features come into play. That being said, on with our Windows 7 Tips and Tricks.
- If you run dual monitors (or even three or four or more), use the “Windows Button” + “Left Shift” + “Right, Left, Up, or Down” cursor keys (depending on how your monitors are arranged), to move the current windows to the next monitor. This is so much easier than dragging the title bar of the application sliding it to the other monitor, which can be tricky if you have large monitors and small mouse area. The keyboard shortcut will save you time, and probably some frustration too.
- For you single monitor users such as laptops, you can setup two applications to be side by side without having to do a bunch of resizing of the windows. Simply drag one app to the edge of the screen until you see an outline appear, then release the mouse button. Drag the other app to the same screen edge until its outline appears and release the mouse button. Then simply drag the overlapping app next to the first app. This makes it very nice if you need to refer to something while writing a document or updating a spreadsheet.
- Use the “Search” dialog box in the start menu to quickly start an application. Searching through the Start Menu can be daunting. Rather than waste precious moments trying to find notepad, paint or calculator in the Start Menu (all of which are under Accessories), try typing in the “Search” box “notepad”. This box can also be used to locate files on your computer. It’s quite universal. Click on the Start Orb and just type what you want to start.
- Make use of the System Restore feature. This little guy can save you from a virus because it will take a checkpoint of your computer prior to any software installation and Windows updates. It also takes periodic checkpoints if none of the above were performed. By default, this is enabled out of the gate and with hard drive sizes so big these days, there really isn’t any reason to turn it off. It safe guards critical system files and even your system settings in case something goes bad; such as a corrupt driver, a virus, or even the remote chance a Windows update didn’t complete properly because of a power outage. System restore does NOT backup your personal data and it will not destroy this data if it is used to get your system back up and running. It simply protects Windows system files and your personalization of Windows itself.
- Miss the text next to the program open in the taskbar? Bring it back! Just right click on the task bar area (not an icon), then choose Properties. In the Taskbar Buttons section, choose either “Never Combine” or “Combine When Taskbar is full”. Click on OK. You now have the text label back to your running taskbar programs.