Apr 3, 2011

How to make Windows 7 multifunctional

Windows 7 is not just another pretty face. Underneath all those fancy Aero effects , transitions and translucent windows lies an operating system that has a many tricks up its sleeve. These are just a few.

God mode

If there is one single tweak you can do to Windows 7, God Mode should be it. God Mode works with 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and is officially a hidden feature; something you won't find in the user manual. God Mode gives you all possible settings, control panel items, all possible configuration options in one place. To enable God Mode, make a new folder anywhere on the PC and name it GodMode.{ED7BA470-8 E54-465 E-825 C-99712043 E01C}.

The folder icon will instantly change to one that looks like a control panel, and inside the folder you'll get one-click access to all the settings on your computer. The name is actually inconsequential , but a rather clever way of propagating the idea. So, if you use the code "Testing.{ED7BA470-8 E54-465 E-825 C-99712043 E01C}", it still works. These codes are part of Windows Globally Unique Identifiers of GUIDs. A full list of various GUIDs can be found at http:// goo.gl/9311U.

RSS wallpaper

If you're on an unlimited internet plan, you can enable an automatic RSS wallpaper with Windows 7. Many different themes for Windows 7 are available that take advantage of this feature. For example, download the Microsoft Bing theme from http:// goo.gl/iqwlW.

Once downloaded , double click the theme to activate and select the option to download the attachments when prompted. Then, right click on an empty area on the desktop and click 'personalize' to view the themes. Click the newly installed Bing theme and click 'Desktop Backgrounds'.

Here, you can change how often you want the desktop wallpaper to change and select between the wallpapers that have already been downloaded. Many more RSS themes for Windows 7 can be found with a simple search.

Windows 7 as Wi-Fi router

A free prog RAM called Connectify (www.connectify.me) works with Windows 7 to turn it into a Wi-Fi router, so that other nearby devices can connect and use the PC's internet connection.

This virtual Wi-Fi feature is only available in Windows 7 and it becomes possible to use the wireless adapter as a wireless hotspot. Another open-source software that does the same thing is Virtual Router Manager (http:// virtualrouter .codeplex.com).

Problem steps recorder

This Windows 7 tool can help you retrace any steps that lead to a problem you are facing. For example, if a certain sequence of events is leading to an error message, you can record your actions with the Problem Steps Recorder (PSR) and send it to a friend for diagnosis. To start the PSR, simply click the start button, type PSR and hit enter.

In the window that pops up, click the record button and perform the action needed. Once finished, give the file a name and it will get saved as a zip, including the problem details and screenshots of the actions you performed along the way.

Display colour calibration

Most laptop and desktop monitors are not properly colour calibrated, with the result that what you see onscreen may not be the same as what you print or what you see on other screens.

For a quick colour calibration of your display, click the Start button, type DCCW and hit enter. The Display Colour Calibration tool will start, to provide a guided, stepby-step process (In case you are using multiple monitors, move the DCCW window to the display you want to calibrate).

Automatic docking

These handy shortcuts can help with window docking; rather than resize windows manually (which is always an option), use the Windows key in combination with the four cursor keys to dock the active window in various locations.

Clicking Win + left will dock the active window to the left half of the screen, Win + up will maximize, Win + down will minimize and so on.

Mouse gestures

Windows 7 includes some helpful mouse gestures that work as shortcuts . If you have several programs open, to access the jump list (contextual menu) for each, you would normally right click on the program's icon in the taskbar. But if you left click and drag the cursor upwards, it performs the same action.

Or if you click and drag a window to the top of the screen, it maximizes the window. Drag it to the left or the right and the window will get docked to the left or right of the screen.

Customise the shut down button

The Windows 7 start menu is quite different from previous versions. If you need to Sleep or Hibernate the PC for example, you have to click the Start button and then click on the appropriate action in a sub menu.

To customize what the Shut Down button does, right click the Start button and click properties. Under the Start Menu tab, you can choose the default action for the Shut Down button.

Ready boost on steroids

Ready Boost is a Windows feature that uses a USB flash drive to provide an instant speed boost to your system. The feature uses the additional space on a USB drive as RAM and therefore the USB drive has to meet speed requirements to be used as a Ready Boost drive.

To check a USB flash drive for Ready Boost compatibility or to enable Ready Boost, simply plug a drive into an available port, open 'My Computer' , right click on the drive's icon and click 'Properties' . Here, you will see a tab for Ready Boost.

Note that you can either set a portion of the drive or the entire available space to be used for Ready Boost, but you will not be able to use that allocated space for anything else.

Ready Boost was also available on Windows Vista, but with Windows 7, the feature has been enhanced to include support for multiple drives and higher capacities . With Windows 7, if you have enough free USB ports and flash drives lying around, you can use them to provide a massive speed boost to your system.

Zany keyboard shortcuts
The Windows + Home key minimizes everything except the current window, Win + G displays the desktop gadgets in front of other windows, Win + + (plus key) activates the magnifier and enlarges the area of the screen you are looking at you can Shift + left click any window on the taskbar to open another instance of it. Some power users like to keep multiple instances and multiple windows running.

So for example, if you have 10 Windows explorer windows, and 10 each of Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents open, using the standard Alt+Tab method to switch between them will be time consuming. Just hold down Ctrl + click on any explorer icon in the taskbar to cycle through only the explorer windows.

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