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The Best Articles for Tweaking and Customizing Windows 7

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Do you love to tweak your Windows 7 system, customizing it to fit your personality and the way you work? We have shown you many ways to customize the Taskbar, Start Menu, Desktop, Windows Explorer, and other parts of Windows.

We’ve collected links below to many of our best articles about adding and creating themes, adding wallpapers, pinning programs and files to the Taskbar, moving the Taskbar to another part of the screen, adding items to the Start Menu, tweaking the Desktop, creating shortcuts and hotkeys, customizing Windows Explorer, adding items to the context menus, and many more customizations.

NOTE: Some of the following articles may require you to tweak the registry. Before doing so, be sure you back up the registry. We also recommend creating a restore point you can use to restore your system if something goes wrong.


Themes/Wallpapers

If you work on your computer all day, wouldn’t it be nice to look at a background showing a relaxing picture or one of your favorite pictures and different icons from the usual? The following articles show you how to get new themes, access hidden themes, create custom wallpapers, and even how to create your own Windows 7 theme pack from scratch.


Screensavers

When you’re away from your computer, Windows 7 provides different screensavers you can activate to hide the screen from prying eyes. The following articles show you how to customize the default screensavers, create icons to quickly enable and disable the screensaver, and how to automatically lock your computer when you leave it.


Taskbar

The Taskbar in Windows 7 was changed to become a very useful part of the Windows desktop. You can pin programs to it, preview thumbnails of open programs, and use jump lists to easily access open files in programs. The following articles show you how to change the color of the Taskbar, show the Quick Launch Bar on the Taskbar, change the icons for programs, change the size and speed of the Aero thumbnail previews, and even pin files other than program files to the Taskbar.


System Tray

The System Tray contains icons of running programs and allows access to options for these programs. The following articles show you how to customize the clock and the icons on the System Tray, disable all notification balloons, and even how to completely disable the System Tray.

customizing_system_tray


Start Menu

The Start Menu in Windows 7 can provide quick access to programs and files. You can add items to it and organize it to reflect how you work. The following articles show you how to organize and tweak the Start Menu, add items to it, disable the highlighting of newly installed programs, show items in an expanded view, customize and even remove shutdown and restart from the power button. You can even revert to the classic-style Start Menu from previous versions of Windows.

windows_7_start_menu


Desktop

Maybe you like a very minimal desktop and without a lot of icons on it. Or, you might use the desktop as your main center for accessing programs and files. The following articles provide tips to help you to customize the desktop, showing you how to add and remove icons, remove text and shortcut arrows from icons, add a Vista-style Sidebar to your Windows 7 desktop, disable Aero, Aero Snap, and Aero Shake, disable gadgets, and how to use some third-party tools to organize your desktop and dock windows on the side of your desktop, among other useful tips.


Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer in Windows 7 has been significantly changed and improved since the days of Vista and XP. The following articles help you to customize Explorer, with tips such as setting the startup folder, adding your own folders to the Favorites list, changing the “Up” keyboard shortcut, setting the Navigation pane to automatically expand, disabling the Search history display, and even adding tabs for easier file browsing in Explorer.


Context (Right-Click) Menus

Context, or right-click, menus are available in Explorer and on the Desktop in Windows. By default, context menus provide useful options that apply to the current location or selected item. However, you can make them even more useful by adding custom items and removing items you don’t need. The following articles show you how to add and remove items and how to access hidden items on the context menu.


Shortcuts/Hotkeys

There are all kinds of ways to speed up access to programs and files and to perform other actions. The following articles provide many shortcuts and hotkeys to quickly perform many useful Windows tasks, easily open applications, and even to quickly create new Google documents.

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Other

Here’s even more articles about customizing Windows, such as enabling and disabling User Account Control (UAC), changing the buttons on your mouse to be left-hand friendly, enabling the “How-To Geek” Mode (or God Mode), customizing and cleaning up the logon screen, managing power settings, and even removing or hiding unused items in the Control Panel.


Happy Tweaking!

Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 02/18/12

Comments (8)

  1. ultimatepsv

    AutoHotKey does a lot of the keyboard shortcut tasks mentioned.

  2. NEOPHYTERAJAN

    Thanks

  3. sam weller

    Lory rocks!

  4. mur_phy

    For years I made use of Copernic WinKey Enhancer and when getting the W7 computer was most disappointed that it did not work with 64 bit so was most interested when seeing that you were suggesting using this little program to create WinKey shortcuts. Unfortunately, Copernic has still not updated the program to work with 64 bit o/s. Not sure if there is a work around but would be interested to know if it is possible.

  5. Algonquin Park, Canada

    Fabulous compilation Lori,

    Many, many thanks

    Geoff

  6. Mike

    The Cap Lock key is really a pain in the rump. How can I make it go away?

  7. XxChungxX

    Very helpfull *thumbs up*

  8. Hank

    To Mike,
    Try Key Tweak Keyboard Remapper. A tiny, free, but sometimes opaque program.
    http://www.tucows.com/preview/327616

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