If you are thinking of installing an application but aren’t quite sure what it’s going to do to your computer, I would absolutely recommend creating a restore point before you install that application, and here are the steps to do so. Note that most application installs automatically create a restore point, but you can do this if you are really worried.
I like to have the quickest access possible to folders on my desktop, which usually means putting something onto the taskbar if possible. You can add the Computer menu as a folder on the taskbar for the easiest access to your drives. You could also use this tip for any folder you want.
This isn’t for everyone, but you can enable a mouse mode in Windows 7 or Vista where just hovering over a window with the mouse will switch to that window. In the old days, this used to be called the XWindows mode, and was enabled through TweakUI, but now it’s built right into Control Panel for everybody to use.
So you’re in the middle of doing something important on your computer when the “Restart your computer to finish installing important updates” dialog comes up, and asks you to restart your computer.
Many utilities need to be run as administrator in order to function properly, especially older utilities that haven’t been updated to support Windows 7 or Vista yet.
The quickest way to lock your computer screen is to just use the Win+L keyboard shortcut. Some people prefer to use the mouse to lock the workstation, however, or would just like to have both options.
It’s really very simple to enable the system clock to show military time in Windows 7 or Vista, but the setting is not in an obvious place, so you might not have found it.
If you can’t stand the User Account Control prompts, but you’d still like to retain a little bit of security, you can disable it for Administrator accounts only. What we’ll be doing is actually changing Windows Vista to automatically elevate the privilege level for administrators without prompting.
The default action for the Power button on the start menu in Windows 7 is shutdown, and in Vista is Sleep, which isn’t necessarily useful for everybody, so we’ll explain how to change it here.
Some icons are just obvious enough that nobody should need text below them to tell them what the icon is for. A good example of this is the icon for Internet Explorer. We’re all really used to it by now, and the text just makes it ugly.
One of the biggest annoyances for me in Windows 7 or Vista is that you can’t immediately open the Network Connections list to see the list of adapters like you could in XP.
A number of people have asked me how to enable the old Run dialog that existed on every other version of Windows until Vista, and is still gone in Windows 7. One of the nice features of the old Run dialog was that it saved the history of what you had typed in.
Warning: Do not delete system files. Bad things will probably ensue.
It drives me crazy when my monitors turn off while I’m watching a movie. If you want to quickly change the monitor timeout using the command line, it’s actually pretty simple.
If you are just running a home computer for gaming or something unimportant, you might not want to have to log in every single time you reboot your computer. There’s an easy tweak that will let you autologin.
Windows 7 or Vista automatically configures Disk Defrag to schedule defragment to run once a week, usually at 1am on Wednesday. I don’t know about you, but I’m usually awake at 1am on wednesday, and I’d rather schedule it for a different time.
If you are running a dual-boot setup with more than one Windows operating system, It’s pretty easy to configure the default boot operating system with the GUI interface. Note that if you are using Windows 7 or Vista as one of the operating systems, you will need to make this change from 7/Vista, not XP.
Windows’ System Restore feature will make sure that software installations, drivers, and other updates can be rolled back. The only price to this feature is some disk usage. If you want to disable System Restore, which is a bad idea, it’s really pretty simple.
If you want to speed up browsing around in explorer, you might think about disabling thumbnail previews in folders.
Windows Vista uses large icons by default in the start menu, and it hides the setting for small icons pretty well. No matter, we’ve located it. (Thankfully Windows 7 is a bit easier)
In Windows 7 or Vista, the screen goes dark when the User Account Control window comes up, which is extremely annoying. They call it the “Secure Desktop”, but I think it’s obnoxious.
Windows Vista or Windows 7, will have problems running some older versions of applications, just because so much has changed under the hood from Windows XP days. Thankfully there is a compatibility mode that can be easily set per application.
If you are in a folder and would like to quickly resize the icons, there’s a shortcut you can use with your mouse wheel to resize the icons. This is a great way to show off the beauty of the new vector icons in Vista to your friends.
One of the new changes in Windows 7 and Vista is that each user has a “Home” directory that is actually accessible and meant to be used. In XP and 2k, you had a hidden home directory that you weren’t meant to muck around in.
Windows 7 and Vista include an enhancement to the system clock that lets you display 2 additional clocks when you hover your mouse over the system clock.