10 Windows 7, 8, 10 Tips and Tricks

The New Windows 7, 8, 10 OS is out and running on a lot of new computers. If you installed it on your old computer or just bought a new computer with Windows 7, I have some cool tips and tricks to help you out. You will find Windows 7 has a lot of new enhanced features that will improved your performance and productivity, plus give you stronger security and a lot more.

1. Burn images, The easy way.
The New Windows 7 OS has finally introduces a feature that other operating systems have had for a long time - the ability to burn ISO images to CDs or DVDs. And it couldn't be much easier to use. Just double-click the ISO image, choose the drive with the blank disc, click Burn and watch as your disc is created.

2. Startup repair, Just Do it.
If you've downloaded Windows 7 (and even if you haven't) it's a good idea to create a system repair disc right away in case you run into problems booting the OS later on. Click Start > Maintenance > Create a System Repair Disc, and let Windows 7 build a bootable emergency disc. If the worst does happen then it could be the only way to get your PC to boot up and get it running again. Just do it.

3. Take control.
If your tired of the kids installing dubious software or running applications you'd rather they left alone? Then try using Applocker, AppLocker is a new Windows 7 feature that ensures users can only run the programs you specify. Don't worry, that's easier to set up than it sounds: you can create a rule to allow everything signed by a particular publisher, so choose Microsoft, say, and that one rule will let you run all signed Microsoft applications. Launch GPEDIT.MSC and go to Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Application Control Policies > AppLocker to get a feel for how this works.

4. Enable virtual Wi-Fi.
Windows 7 includes a little-known new feature called Virtual Wi-Fi, which effectively turns your PC or laptop into a software-based router. Any other Wi-Fi-enabled devices within range - a desktop, laptop, an iPod perhaps - will "see" you as a new network and, once logged on, immediately be able to share your internet connection. This will only work if your wireless adapter driver supports it, though, and not all do. Check with your adapter manufacturer and make sure you've installed the very latest drivers to give you the best chance. Once you have driver support then the easiest approach is to get a network tool that can set up virtual Wi-Fi for you. Virtual Router (below) is free, easy to use and should have you sharing your internet connection very quickly.

5. Recover screen space.
The new Windows 7 taskbar acts as one big quick launch toolbar that can hold whatever program shortcuts you like (just right-click one and select Pin To Taskbar). And that's fine, except it does consume a little more screen real estate than we'd like. Shrink it to a more manageable size by right-clicking the Start orb, then Properties > Taskbar > Use small icons > OK.

6. Enjoy a retro taskbar.
Windows 7 now combines taskbar buttons in a way that saves space, but also makes it more difficult to tell at a glance whether an icon represents a running application or a shortcut. If you prefer a more traditional approach, then right-click the taskbar, select Properties, and set Taskbar Buttons to "Combine when taskbar is full". You'll now get a clear and separate button for each running application, making them much easier to identify.

7. Custom power switch.
By default, Windows 7 displays a plain text 'Shut down' button on the Start menu, but it only takes a moment to change this action to something else. If you reboot your PC a few times every day then that might make more sense as a default action: right-click the Start orb, select Properties and set the 'Power boot action' to 'Restart' to make it happen.

8. Use Sticky Notes, To do list.
The Sticky Notes app is both simpler and more useful in Windows 7. Launch StikyNot.exe and you can type notes at the keyboard; right-click a note to change its colour; click the + sign on the note title bar to add another note; and click a note and press Alt + 4 to close the note windows (your notes are automatically saved).

9. Protect your data
USB flash drives are convenient, portable, and very easy to lose. Which is a problem, especially if they're carrying sensitive data. Fortunately Windows 7 has the solution: encrypt your documents with an extension of Microsoft's BitLocker technology, and only someone with the password will be able to access it. Right-click your USB flash drive, select Turn on BitLocker and follow the instructions to protect your private files.

10. Speedy video access.
Want faster access to your Videos folder? Windows 7 now lets you add it to the Start menu. Just right-click the Start orb, click Properties > Start Menu > Customize, and set the Videos option to "Display as a link". If you've a TV tuner that works with Windows 7 then you'll appreciate the new option to display the Recorded TV folder on the Start menu, too.

11. Bonus Windows 7 Tip and Trick: Keyboard shortcuts. The new Windows 7 OS supports several useful new keyboard shortcuts.

Alt+P : Display/ hide the Explorer preview pane
Windows Logo+G : Display gadgets in front of other windows
Windows Logo++ (plus key) : Zoom in, where appropriate
Windows Logo+- (minus key) : Zoom out, where appropriate
Windows Logo+Up : Maximise the current windows
Windows Logo+Down : Minimise the current window
Windows Logo+Left : Snap to the left hand side of the screen
Windows Logo+Right : Snap to the right hand side of the screen
Windows Logo+Home : Minimise/ restore everything except the current window

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