This week we’re taking a look at how to tile application windows in Windows 7, remote controlling your desktop from iOS devices, and understanding exactly what Windows 7 libraries are.
Once a week we dip into our reader mailbag and help readers solve their problems, sharing the useful solutions with you in the process. Read on to see the fixes for this week’s reader dilemmas.
Tiling Application Windows in Windows 7
Dear How-To Geek,
Remember back in the day when tiling the application windows in Windows was hot stuff? No? Alright fine, I’ll admit that it’s kind of a silly thing that I love tiling the app windows but I do! The problem is, with my new Windows 7-loaded laptop in hand, I can’t figure out how to selectively tile. I don’t want to have to minimize or close all my other apps just to tile the two applications that are left. What can I do? Surely there is a trick for this?
Tilin’ in Toledo
Many of the tile and cascade features present in Windows XP were ditched or heavily modified by the time Windows 7 rolled out. Although it’s kind of a circuitous way to get to what you want the secret switch for tiling and cascading windows is now hidden in, of all places, the Windows Task Manager. Hold down CTRL while selecting the windows you want to tile or cascade and then right click and select the option, as seen in the image above, that corresponds to your desired outcome. You can read more about it here.
Control Your Windows Desktop with your iOS Device
Dear How-To Geek,
I got an iPad for Christmas and I’d like to be able to control my Windows machine from across the house. I know it’ll have limitations but really all I want it for is to zoom in on various apps and make minor changes (like checking on downloads, changing up playlists, and so on). What app would you recommend to do this?
Pad to PC Party Time
Dear Party Time,
We hear you, as awesome as some of the remote control apps and tools are for iOS devices many of them are hyper-focused on controlling a single aspect of the PC or application on it. If you want to do more than just control iTunes from afar you need a more general remote control app. RDP Lite sounds like a perfect match for you, it allows remote desktop access on Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. It works surprisingly well with the small screen of the iPhone and should look great on the iPad’s spacious screen. Check out our guide to setting it up here.
Taking Advantage of Window 7’s Library Function
Dear How-To Geek,
We recently got upgraded to Windows 7 at work and I decided to follow suit at home (I waited because I didn’t want to feel like I was taking an OS time machine trip every day when I went to work). So far so good, I really like Windows 7! The only thing that has me kind of stumped is the Library business splattered all over the file browsing windows. I don’t get it? Is the Library bit just a fancy new face for My Documents? I feel like I’m not using it at all but it’s so prominent it must do something really neat? Help!
Lost My Library Card
The Library system in Windows 7 is a big change from the functionality and interface of Windows XP. Think of the Library system as a way of tagging and grouping files. Have you ever wanted to include files and folders in a project but you didn’t want to break up the folder structure where they currently reside and you don’t want to have multiple copies all over your computer? The library function allows you to gather files together under the banner of different libraries. Your music library, for example, could actually be 5 different music folders from across your computer and home network but it would appear unified to you in the Windows 7 Library system.
We’d recommend checking out our previous guide to understanding and using the Windows 7 library system here. If, after you’ve taken it for a spin, you hate it and want to remove it from your file browsing experience you’ll want to read up on removing it here.
Have a question you want to put before the How-To Geek staff? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and then keep an eye out for a solution in the Ask How-To Geek column.
Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on Google+ if you'd like.
- Published 01/31/11