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The calculator options on Linux just blows the Windows calculator away. Imagine a calculator where you can solve extremely complicated expressions, or just convert between different measurements, and you’ve got Qalculate.

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In prior versions of Windows before Vista, you could always open control panel items by passing control.exe the name of the *.cpl file that represented the item you were trying to open. For instance, if you wanted to open the display properties you could run the command “control.exe desk.cpl”.

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Instead of re-typing long, painful error messages whenever you are trying to Google for a solution, did you know you can simply use Ctrl+C to copy the text of the message to the clipboard?

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The Scheduled Tasks feature of XP and Vista often seems to be overlooked.  This is a great tool to use for Automating Maintenance tasks for the OS.  There are a lot of things you can do with this handy utility.  In the following shots I demonstrate scheduling a Disk Cleanup in Windows XP.  Later this week I will feature the extra settings and features included in Task Scheduler in Vista.

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I have barely given this application justice with this post.  If you are a music connoisseur or looking for an easy way to convert your home recording files to mp3 you should download dBpoweramp!  dBpoweramp works great on both XP and Vista.  I look forward to hearing your experiences! 

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I’ve noticed quite a number of people mentioning that I’m covering Vista too much (is that possible?) and have requested that I cover more topics… so I’m going to open it up to you, the readers, for suggestions on what topics I should branch out into.

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Windows 7 and Vista have all the same Windows+X shortcut keys as other versions of Windows, such as Win+E for explorer and Win+D for the desktop, but adds in all of the Win+<num> keys to launch the shortcuts in the Vista Quick Launch menu (or switch to apps in Windows 7), as well as Win+X for mobility center, etc. But what if you want to disable all these extra keys?

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Windows Mobility Center is a fairly useful tool for those of us using Windows 7 or Vista on a laptop computer, but might not be for everybody, especially since it takes over the Win+X keyboard shortcut.

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The Tab Mix Plus extension has a gem of a feature buried deep within the settings: The ability to turn the Ctrl+Tab key from a direct tab switch into a popup menu that works similarly to the Windows Alt+Tab feature. It’ll pop up a tiny dialog window that gives you a list of your tabs, and then on release of the keys will switch to that tab.

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If you use the built-in file encryption in Windows 7 or Vista, you might be interested in adding an option to the right-click menu to more easily encrypt and decrypt your files, rather than having to use the file properties dialog.

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