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My Personal Windows 7 Tips and Tricks

January 20th, 2009 · 16 Comments · Windows

  • Drag and drop notification icons between the overflow and the visible tray to set them to always show or always hide (if you want to reset an icon to the default auto-hide option, you need to use the “Customize…” dialog still).

  • Shift+Click a taskbar icon to launch a new instance of that program.
  • Ctrl+Click a grouped taskbar icon to cycle through the windows in that icon.
  • Shift+Ctrl+Click a taskbar icon to launch a new, elevated instance of that program.
  • Press Win+P to quickly and easily configure a multi-monior system.
  • Use Win+Up, +Down, +Left, +Right to Maximize, Minimize/Restore, and dock windows to the left or right.  You can drag windows to the sides and top of the workspace for a mouse-based version of the same commands.  “Shake” windows to minimize all other windows.
  • Disabling the “Base Filtering Engine” service and all dependant services is a good way to cut down on running services if you don’t need the Windows Firewall.
  • Don’t disable the “Function Discovery” or “HomeGroup” services as it will break file and folder sharing.
  • If your computer is waking up every day at 3am, stop and disable the Windows Media Center Receiver Service, and then go to Power options’ Advanced settings and disable wake timers.
  • Disable the Send Feedback link (you can still access the tool from Control Panel).
  • Make the taskbar not always on top (makes jump lists and group windows popups appear under other windows unfortunately).
  • Slim down glass.  Go to Personalization, click on Window Color at the bottom, then Advanced appearance aettings.  Select Border Padding from the drop down and scale it down to 0 if you want super slim borders like in XP.  You can also click the title bar and size it down a few notches if you want.  Color settings may or may not take effect based on how apps use them (they’ll effect unthemed apps as well as the borders of 16-bit apps) but all size settings should.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Right Click an empty spot on the start menu and click Exit Explorer to shut down explorer and save its settings without logging out (use Task Manager to start it up again, just make sure it’s not elevated if you’re using UAC).
  • If you accidentally pinned the Computer or Network icons to the start menu you may find you can’t unpin them.  However you can reset the pinned list and regenerate it.  Exit Explorer using the option above and run regedit.  Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\StartPage and delete all entries starting with “Favorites”.  Then run Explorer and the list will be empty.  You can quickly refill it with program shortcuts you used to have by opening %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\StartMenu.  Then right click every item there and click Pin to Start Menu (pinned items are cached here, probably so the Distributed Link Tracking Client service can automatically fix moved programs’ shortcuts).
  • You can make UAC less annoying by disabling the “dark background” if you find it results in annoying delays.  However note this is less secure so only do this if you don’t normally have malware problems anyway or otherwise know exactly what he consequences of this chance could be.  Open the Action Center and choose User Account Control settings.  Slide the bar down one notch to the second notch from the bottom and you’re in business.
  • Fix Windows Installers that crash when run… if you have a third party MSI that crashes when run (such as UpdateStar‘s), try setting HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\SQMClient\Windows\CEIPEnable to 0 and run the installer again.  It might help.  This setting likely enables Customer Experience Improvement Program functionality in Windows Installer.  Disabling it should only stop install experience information from being sent to Microsoft.
  • Make sure you’re using Windows Update to grab drivers, it’s a lot easier than installing them manually.
  • If your games are running a bit sluggishly, try going into the game shortcut properties, Compatibility tab, and checking “Disable desktop composition”.  Glass can eat up considerable CPU and this option will disable it for as long as your game runs.  It may help.

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16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Andrew Minton // Jun 25, 2009 at 4:38 am

    How to you exit MCE on Windows 7 to return to desktop? been racking my brains for ages trying to figure this out!

  • 2 Dan Bugglin // Aug 1, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    I think it’s under Settings or some dumb thing. But ALT+F4 should work just fine. If not I recall ALT+ENTER to switch to windowed mode allows you to reach the close button.

  • 3 Cory // Oct 3, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Have a question for you, I swear at one time I found a windows key command to maximize four windows on one screen like win right or left moves half screen. This moves four different windows to quadrants. You know to key command, or did I just dream this up?

  • 4 Eric // Nov 25, 2009 at 4:38 am

    unreal tips

  • 5 nonW00t // May 21, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Last suggestion is stupid, glass isn’t in effect when a fullscreen directx app is running anyway, it relinquishes control. So if doing what you suggest helped your games, it’s really another coincidence issue.

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