7 Windows 7 Tips For Week 45-2009

Written by AboKevin on . Posted in 7 Windows 7 Tips, Tips, Windows 7;

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Clubhouse Tags: clubhouse, story, Windows 7, tips, tricks, how-to

7 Windows 7 Tips I am starting a series of articles here on my blog titled the 7 Windows 7 tips for week WW-YY… which (obviously) will be a weekly installment. If anyone of you out there have any tips or tricks you want to see here feel free to contact me through the comments section of this post..

In this first installment I have the following 7 Windows 7 tips;

Tip #1: Managing Your Windows

Windows 7 have made managing your windows much more easy than it ever was. You can dock your active window on the right or left side of the screen by clicking on and dragging the window to either side and then releasing it to see it fill up half the screen. You can also drag the window to the top of the screen to maximize it (or by double-clicking the top of the window). If you want to maximize the window vertically while still keeping the same width, you double-click on the top or bottom edge of the window border.

The keyboard shortcuts for achieving the same thing are;

image  + LEFT ARROW  and image + RIGHT ARROW docks to half the screen

image + UP ARROW and image + DOWN ARROW maximizes and minimizes the window

image + SHIFT + UP ARROW and image + SHIFT + DOWN ARROW maximizes and restores the vertical size of the window.



Tip #2: Use Aero Peek To Gain Quick Access To Your Desktop

In order to gain quick access to your desktop in Windows 7 you can click on the rectangle in the lower right hand corner of your taskbar.


You can also use the keyboard shortcut  image + SPACE to achieve the same thing.



Tip #3: Missing Applications in Windows 7? Download Windows Live Essentials Suite

Have you upgraded from Windows Vista to Windows 7? Then you are probably missing a lot of applications that you were used to like for instance Windows Photo Gallery or Windows Movie Maker. Do not worry. Microsoft decided to pull all of those applications out of the OS, but are offering them for free in the Windows Live Essentials. The easiest way to get them is to click image then hover over GETTING STARTED before clicking on GET WINDOWS LIVE ESSENTIALS. You can also get to them by clicking here.

Once you have started the installer you will be greeted by a window like this one (similar) where you can make your choices. Click INSTALL and you should be done.

Windows Live Essentials are highly recommended!


Tip #4: Hide All Inactive Windows

Multitasking is nice, but having the computing power also means that you more often than not find yourself with too many windows open at the same time. Windows 7 was all about removing the clutter, so hit image + HOME to minimize all inactive windows, hit the same key combination again to restore the inactive windows again.



Tip #5: Want To Burn An ISO?

In Windows 7 it is finally possible to burn and .ISO image from within the OS itself, without the need to revert to any third party application. All you need to do is to double-click the .ISO file in question in order to open the Windows Disc Image Burner application;




Tip #6: Reopen Your Last Closed Tab in IE 8

Tabbed browsing was for many introduced in Internet Explorer 7 (I know Opera introduced this way back when, and that for instance Firefox have had it longer – but for most users I think IE 7 introduced this feature). It is very easy to close the wrong tab with too many of them open. Internet Explorer 8 has made it easy to reopen your last closed tabs as it stores the last 10 in memory. To open your last closed tab in IE 8 click CTRL + SHIFT + T. If you have closed more than one tab just hit that key combination again, and again until you have reached the limit of 10.



Tip #7: Double Up Your Open Window

Are you for instance running Windows Explorer? You want to run another instance of it? That is easy. Just hold down SHIFT and click the icon again. Voila!



There you have it, my first 7 Windows 7 tips. Stay tuned for 7 more next week. Comments and suggestions

can be left underneath this post.

HOW TO: Set up XP Mode in Windows 7

Written by AboKevin on . Posted in Microsoft, Tips, Windows 7;, Windows XP Mode

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In this how-to article I am going through how you can set up and use XP Mode in Windows 7 for solving an application compatibility issue.

First of all; What is XP Mode exactly? XP Mode for Windows 7 is Microsoft’s new and brilliant solution to legacy compatibility. One of Microsoft’s biggest challenges has always been backwards compatibility. Their biggest customers are businesses and selling a huge corporation on the idea of upgrading their OS’s is not an easy task to undertake. Being backwards compatible has thus been important. The problem with this has always been that keeping legacy code around hampers the development of a new and better OS. Windows 95 had to be backwards compatible with Windows 3.11 and thus kept support for 16bit applications around while introducing 32 bit computing to the masses. In Windows 7 Microsoft has not made a clean break with the past, but still keeps legacy code in the OS, but they have – I think – introduced the way to solve this problem for the future; XP Mode. XP Mode is a version of Windows XP running in a virtual machine within Windows 7, but made seamless so that it appears that application are running in Windows 7. In order to run the applications in XP Mode you find them exactly where you would have found them had they been running in 7, you can even pin them to the taskbar, like native Windows 7 applications. This implies that in future versions of Windows, Microsoft may make a clean break with the past and remove redundant legacy code, and solve that particular problem with a solution similar to XP Mode – plain brilliant. In Windows 7 XP Mode is available for people running Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise editions.

I had thought of testing XP Mode, but had put it off for the time being. Then I encountered serious problems with an application (Elkjøp Fotoservice – a brand specific version of CEWE Fotoservice) in Windows 7. I just could not make this app run in Windows 7. So I decided that it was time to test XP Mode on a real problem…



In order to download the RC of Windows XP Mode, head over to this site and follow the instructions there.

NB! It is important to note that in order to run XP Mode you need Windows Virtual PC and that this again requires a CPU with the Intel Virtualization Technology or AMD-V feature turned on. The Microsoft download site for Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode RC provides links to pages where you can check whether your PC is capable of this and whether this feature is turned on or not. I recommend that you perform this check prior to downloading and installing XP Mode.

After downloading the two applications; Windows Virtual PC and XP Mode, you start off by installing them in the reverse order pr Microsoft’s installation guide;

To install Windows Virtual PC RC and Windows XP Mode RC


1. Install Windows XP Mode RC:
Double-click WindowsXPMode_nn-NN.exe (where nn-NN is the locale, for example: WindowsXPMode_en-us.exe) and follow the instructions in the wizard to extract and install Windows XP Mode RC.

2. Install Windows Virtual PC RC:
Double-click Windows6.1-KB958559-x86.msu or Windows6.1-KB958559-x64.msu (depending on your architecture).

3. Reboot Windows 7 to complete the installation.

4. To start Windows XP Mode RC Setup:
Click Start, click All Programs, click Windows Virtual PC, and then click Windows XP Mode.

5. Follow the instructions in the wizard to complete Windows XP Mode RC Setup and Configuration. Record the password that is provided during the Setup because it is required to log on to your virtual machine.

Setting up XP Mode

While setting up Windows XP Mode you will be greeted with a tutorial explaining what XP Mode is, as well as an intro to how you install an application. The following screenshots show some of these;

Setting up 

what is xpmode

Step 1

Step 2

Underneath you can see the familiar warning that Windows XP is loading your personal settings.

loading personal settings

And here is the XP desktop ready for first use. Note that you need a separate Anti-Virus application for the XP Mode.


Installing applications is done exactly like you did in XP itself. Here I have double-clicked the .exe file for the Elkjøp Fotoservice.


Running applications in XP Mode

The really neat thing with XP Mode is that once you have installed your applications in it there is a seamless integration with Windows 7. As you can see from the screenshot beneath I go into the Start menu – All programs – Windows Virtual PC – Windows XP Mode Applications to find my application and can run it from here. As I stated above you can also pin an XP Mode application to the taskbar if you need easy access to it.


And here is the application running in XP Mode;




Does it work?

The big question then is; Does it work? Well – yes, it does. But –  do not expect stellar performance. When starting an application in XP Mode it takes quite a while before the application shows up on the desktop, and although this is just my personal experience, I don’t think that the application will run as fast as it would in a native XP environment. But as a solution for having just that particular application that you just have to have run on your Windows 7 system, and you have exhausted all other efforts to make it run, XP Mode works just fine. For me, I could not get the Elkkjøp Fotoservice application to work satisfactory in Windows 7, and after having installed it in XP Mode it is working just fine, and I can once again make and order my Photo books online. That said, I am looking forward to a Windows 7 compatible release of the said application. 

XP Mode is at the time of writing available as a RC download. I expect that the final version of it will be available as a Windows Update for Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise by the time Windows 7 hits the store shelves on 22 October.

Try it out, and tell me what you think.

My favorite Windows 7 RC tips and tricks

Written by AboKevin on . Posted in Microsoft, RC, Software, Tips, Windows 7;

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This post was originally posted for the Windows 7 Beta, but has been reposted since most of the tips are still valid for the RC.

I have been using Windows 7 RC for some days now, and I must say that it is still growing on me – like on a lot of other people, for instance Mac lovers Pogue of New York Times, Mossberg and CNET’s Reisinger. There are less reliability problems (iTunes is btw behaving better) and in use I all the time find small improvements and changes that I really appreciate. I have been searching the internet for useful tips and tricks for Windows 7, and so far Tim Sneath from Microsoft has the most complete and best list there is.

His bumper list of so-called Windows 7 secrets contain many tips – here are my favorites (the list is edited and shortened by me, for Tims original posting, with some additional tips/secrets see here):

  • Windows Management. 
    With Windows 7 you can dock a window to the left or right half of the screen by simply dragging it to the edge. You can also drag the window to the top of the screen to maximize it, and double-click the window top / bottom border to maximize it vertically with the same horizontal width. Here are the accompanying keyboard shortcuts:

        • Win+Left Arrow and Win+Right Arrow dock;
        • Win+Up Arrow and Win+Down Arrow maximizes and restores / minimizes;
        • Win+Shift+Up Arrow and Win+Shift+Down Arrow maximizes and restores the vertical size.
        • This side-by-side docking feature is particularly invaluable on widescreen monitors – it makes the old Windows way of shift-clicking on two items in the taskbar and then using the context menu to arrange them feel really painful.
  • Display Projection.
    For an easy access to the different options for displaying the desktop on different displays and projectors hit Win+P, and you’ll be rewarded by the following pop-up window:
    The Win+P Projector Settings window allows you to quickly switch display settings.
    Use the arrow keys (or keep hitting Win+P) to switch to “clone”, “extend” or “external only” display settings. You can also access the application as displayswitch.exe.Win+X opens the Windows Mobility Center, which allows you to turn on a presentation mode that switches IM clients to do not disturb, disables screensavers and sets a neutral wallpaper.
  • Cut Out The Clutter.
    Working on a document in a window and want to get rid of all the extraneous background noise? Simply hit Win+Home to minimize all the non-active background windows, keeping the window you’re using in its current position. When you’re ready, simply press Win+Home again to restore the background windows to their original locations.
  • Multi-Monitor Windows Management.
    The earlier tip on window management showed how you can dock windows within a monitor. One refinement of those shortcuts is that you can use Win+Shift+Left Arrow and Win+Shift+Right Arrow to move windows from one monitor to another – keeping them in the same relative location to the monitor’s top-left origin.
  • Find more themes/styles on your computer.
    If you’ve tried to change your desktop wallpaper, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a set of wallpapers there that match the locale you selected when you installed Windows. (If you picked US, you’ll see beautiful views of Crater Lake in Oregon, the Arches National Park, a beach in Hawai’i, etc.) In fact, there are several sets of themed wallpapers installed based on the language you choose, but the others are in a hidden directory. If you’re feeling in an international mood, simply browse to C:\Windows\Globalization\MCT and you’ll see a series of pictures under the Wallpaper directory for each country. Just double-click on the theme file in the Theme directory to display a rotation through all the pictures for that country. (Note that some countries contain a generic set of placeholder art for now.) I have posted a separate post explaining this one in more detail. You can find it here!
  • Problem Steps Recorder. 
    The Problem Steps Recorder provides a simple screen capture tool that enables you to record a series of actions. Once you hit “record”, it tracks your mouse and keyboard and captures screenshots with any comments you choose to associate alongside them. Once you stop recording, it saves the whole thing to a ZIP file, containing an HTML-based “slide show” of the steps. It’s a really neat little tool and I can’t wait for it to become ubiquitous on every desktop! The program is called psr.exe; you can also search for it from Control Panel under “Record steps to reproduce a problem”.The Problem Steps Recorder provides an easy way for users to record a problem repro for later diagnosis.
  • Which add-on in IE8 is slowing it down?
    If you feel like Internet Explorer is taking a long time to load your page, it’s worth taking a look at the add-ons you have installed. One of the more helpful little additions in Internet Explorer 8 is instrumentation for add-on initialization, allowing you to quickly see whether you’re sitting around waiting for plug-ins to load. Just click Tools / Manage Add-ons, and then scroll right in the list view to see the load time. On my machine, I noticed that the Research add-on that Office 2007 installs was a particular culprit, and since I never use it, it was simple to disable it from the same dialog box.
  • Rearranging the the Taskbar icons. 
    Tthe icons in the new taskbar aren’t fixed in-place and can be reordered to suit your needs, whether they’re pinned shortcuts or running applications. What’s particularly nice is that once they’re reordered, you can start a new instance of any of the first five icons by pressing Win+1, Win+2, Win+3 etc.You can also drag the system tray icons around to rearrange their order, or move them in and out of the hidden icon list.
  • Installing from a USB Memory Stick.
    If you want to install Windows 7 on a computer that does not have an optical drive you can use a USB memory stick instead. Reformat the memory stick as a FAT32 drive, and copy the contents of the Windows 7 Beta ISO image to the memory stick using xcopy e:\ f:\ /e /f (where e: is the DVD drive and f: is the removable drive location).
  • Windows Vista-Style Taskbar.
    If you for some reason want the new taskbar to resemble the way
    the taskbar in Vista operates you right-click on the taskbar and choose the properties dialog.The Windows 7 Taskbar can be configured for a Windows Vista compatibility view.
    Once there you select the “small icons” checkbox and under the “taskbar buttons” setting, choose “combine when taskbar is full”.
  • Keyboard Shortcut for Aero Peak.
    Instead of using the mouse and  the Aero Peak button in the lower right corner you can simply press Win+Space.
  • Running with Elevated Rights.
    Want to quickly launch a taskbar-docked application as an administrator? It’s easy – hold down Ctrl+Shift while you click on the icon, and you’ll immediately launch it with full administrative rights (assuming your account has the necessary permissions, of course!)
  • How to open more instances of one application. 
    If you’ve already got an application open on your desktop (for example, a command prompt window), and you want to open a second instance of the same application, you don’t have to go back to the start menu. You can simply hold down the Shift key while clicking on the taskbar icon, and it will open a new instance of the application rather than switching to the existing application. For a keyboard-free shortcut, you can middle-click with the third mouse button to do the same thing. (This trick assumes that your application supports multiple running instances, naturally.)
  • Switching between several windows of the same application. 
    If you’ve got five Outlook message windows open along with ten other windows, you can quickly tab through just the Outlook windows by holding down the Ctrl key while you repeatedly click on the single Outlook icon. This will toggle through each of the five Outlook windows in order, and is way faster than opening Alt+Tab and trying to figure out which of the tiny thumbnail images relates to the specific message you’re trying to find.
  • Walking Through the Taskbar.
    Press Win+T to move the focus to the taskbar. Once you’re there, you can use the arrow keys to select a particular window or group and then hit Enter to launch or activate it. As ever, you can cancel out of this mode by hitting the Esc key.
  • The Widescreen Tip.image
    Almost every display sold these days is widescreen, whether you’re buying a notebook computer or a monitor. While it might be great for watching DVDs, when you’re trying to get work done it can sometimes feel like you’re a little squeezed for vertical space.The solution: Dock the  taskbar to the left hand side of the screen. The Windows 7 taskbar feels almost as if it was designed with vertical mode as the default – the icons work well on the side of the screen, shortcuts like the Win+T trick mentioned previously automatically switch from left/right arrows to up/down arrows, and so on. The net effect is that you wind up with a much better proportioned working space.
  • Pin Your Favorite Folders.
    If you’re always working in the same four or five folders, you can quickly pin them with the Explorer icon on the taskbar. Hold the right-click button down and drag the folder to the taskbar, and it will be automatically pinned in the Explorer Jump List.
  • Starting Explorer from “My Computer”.
    If you spend more time manipulating files outside of the documents folders than inside, you might want to change the default starting directory for Windows Explorer so that it opens at the Computer node:
    The Computer node in Windows 7.
    To do this, navigate to Windows Explorer in the Start Menu (it’s in the Accessories folder). Then edit the properties and change the target to read:
    %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /root,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}

    If you want the change to affect the icon on the taskbar, you’ll need to unpin and repin it to the taskbar so that the new shortcut takes affect. It’s worth noting that Win+E will continue to display the documents library as the default view.
  • ISO Burning.
    Ever wanted to burn ISO images? Without the need for third party utilities you can do it directly in Windows 7: Double-click on any DVD or CD .ISO image and you’ll see a helpful little applet that will enable you to burn the image to a blank disc.You can burn an ISO image to disk with this built-in utility in Windows 7.
  • Hiding the Windows Live Messenger Icon.
    In Windows 7 the Windows Live Messenger icon is now very visible in the taskbar (see image below). If you prefer it the way it was before; hidden in the system tray there is a solution for this as well;Windows Live Messenger appears by default on the taskbar.
    Close Windows Live Messenger, edit the shortcut properties and set the application to run in Windows Vista compatibility mode.

    UPDATE!: As Kevin points out in the comments below this tip unfortunately does not work any more. If you are running the original beta or any interim builds it does work, but not in the RC version.

  • System Repair Utility
    Windows 7 now includes the ability to create a system repair disc, which is essentially a CD-bootable version of Windows that just includes the command prompt and a suite of system tools. Just type “system repair disc” in the Start Menu search box, and you’ll be led to the utility.


Tim Sneath;

lick by lick


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Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to produce
a great article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and don’t seem to get nearly anything done.



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