7 Windows 7 Tips for July 2010

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

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After a long period of no posting to my blog I return with an installment in the 7 Windows 7 Tips series.

Tip #1: Solving problems signing in to Windows Live Messenger Wave 4 – error code 800706ba

Like a lot of you I recently installed Windows Live Essentials Beta (Wave 4). After the upgrade I had serious problems logging on to Live Messenger, which provided me with the following error message at every attempt;


Searching around in forums and knowledge base articles came up with a lot of possible solutions – none that worked for me. I then went into the Microsoft Management Console to check out which services were enabled by default or not and found the culprit. So if you are experiencing the abovementioned error message try the following:

  • Click the Start orb and type in services.msc in your searchbar.
  • Once there scroll down to Windows Live ID Sign-in Assistant;


  • Right click on it and select properties;


  • Make sure Startup type is set to “Automatic” and click Start to start the service, then “Apply” and “Ok”

You should now be able to log into Windows Live Messenger again.

Tip #2: How-to change your default Windows Explorer folder

When you click on the Windows Explorer icon in your taskbar you are by default taken to the Libraries folder. If you want to change this behaviour you can do it by following these steps;

  • Right click on the Windows Explorer icon in your taskbar, and then right click on Windows Explorer in the jumplist and select Properties;


  • In order to change the default location you need to make changes to the Target field in the Properties dialog box


  • If you want it to open a spesific folder of your choosing you enter %windir%\explorer.exe c:\YourFolderNameHere
  • If you want it to open to spesific pre set locations, like My Documents, you will have to enter special syntax into the target field
  • For My Documents enter: %windir%\explorer.exe ::{450D8FBA-AD25-11D0-98A8-0800361B1103}
  • For Computer enter: %windir%\explorer.exe ::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}
  • For Network enter: %windir%\explorer.exe ::{208D2C60-3AEA-1069-A2D7-08002B30309D}
  • If you want to revert back to the default libraries folder you will have to enter: %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe
  • After you have made your choices hit “OK” and you are done!

Tip #3: How-to make your own Search Connector for searching your designated site within Windows Explorer

One of the really handy new features of Windows 7 is the ability to search not only your own computer, but also designated websites from within Windows Explorer. In order to do this you need a so-called Search Connector for the sites you want to search. There are many ready-made Search Connectors available out on the internet, for instance Long Zhengs Flickr-search connector which can be found here. If you want to make your own connector, say to be able to search a favorite website or blog, like AboKevin.com (;-D) you can easily make your own in a few steps:

1. Open up Notepad

2. Copy the following text and paste it into Notepad as is

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<OpenSearchDescription xmlns=”<a href=”http://a9.com/-/spec/opensearch/1.1/””>http://a9.com/-/spec/opensearch/1.1/”</a> xmlns:ms-ose=”<a href=”http://schemas.microsoft.com/opensearchext/2009/””>http://schemas.microsoft.com/opensearchext/2009/”</a>>
<Description>Search Abokevins Blog using Windows 7 Federated Search</Description>
<Url type=”application/rss+xml” template=”<a href=”http://api.bing.com/rss.aspx?source=web&amp;query={searchTerms}”>http://api.bing.com/rss.aspx?source=web&amp;query={searchTerms}</a> site:abokevin.com&amp;web.count=50″/>
<Url type=”text/html” template=”<a href=”http://www.bing.com/search?q={searchTerms}+site:abokevin.com“/></OpenSearchDescription>

3. If you want to change to another website of your choosing change the text in bold;

  • <ShortName>AboKevin</ShortName> – here you give the Search Connector its name (you don’t have to have the text in bold)
  • <Description>Search Abokevins Blog using Windows 7 Federated Search</Description> – Here you give the description of your Search Connector
  • In the two instances of site:abokevin.com you change it into your websites URL without http://www.

4. When done editing your text click save. In the save dialog make sure you do the following;


  • Change Save as type to “All Files” and give the connector a name with the osdx file type ending. In my case: AboKevin.osdx
  • Make sure the Encoding is set to “UTF-8”
  • Click Save

5. Find your Search Connector in the folder you saved it to and double click it – You will be asked if you want to install the Search Connector – click Yes and you are done

6. Open up Windows Explorer and you will find your Search Connector under Favorites in the left pane – click and enter a search term and… voila!

Tip #4: How-to make Windows Live Messenger run from the notification area

One minor annoyance in Windows 7 compared to previous versions of Windows is the fact that when you run Windows Live Messenger it will no longer default to the notification area. It is very easy to fix this, although you will loose some functionality.

  1. First of all: make sure you close down all instances of Live Messenger
  2. Locate the messenger executable which can be found in the Program Files folder on x86 systems and in the Program Files(x86) folder on x64 systems. You then have to drill down to the following folder – Wimdows Live – Messenger
  3. Once there right click on msnmgr (highlighted in the screenshot above) and select Properties
  4. Select the Compatibility tab and set it to run in Compatibility mode for Windows Vista (Service Pack 2) – Click OK and you are done – The Messenger icon should now appear in the notification area when you log into Windows Live Messenger the next time.
  5. I mentioned earlier that you will loose some functionality, spesifically the ability to set your status just by clicking on one of the four buttons in the preview that pops up while hovering over the Live Messenger Icon while it resides in the taskbar (shown in the screenshot below). If you can live without that one – go ahead and follow the steps lined out above.

Tip #5: How-to speed up the display of thumbnail images on the taskbar


When you mouse over icons of running applications in the taskbar you will get a thumbnail preview of said application. If you think that it takes too long for this preview to show up an easy registry hack can make it appear faster.

Note: I advice that you create a restore point before editing the registry, and editing it is done on your own responsibility

1. Start your Registry Editor by entering regedit in the Start orbs search bar

2. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Mouse.

3. Double-click MouseHoverTime and set the value to something lower than the default 400. I recommend trying 150. Click OK

4. Close the registry editor. You now have to either log off or restart your computer for the new settings to go into effect.

Tip #6: How-to copy and move files the way you want it

When you drag and drop files and folders from one location to another Windows sometimes copies the files and sometimes moves them depending on the location of source and destination. Simply said as long as Windows sees that the source and destination location is on the same partition/hard drive it moves the file/folder and as long as they are on separate partitions/hard drives it copies them. But what if you want something else to happen? How do you move a file from one location to the other without having to right-click – select cut – move to new location – right-click and select paste?

There is actually several ways to go about this:

Force a copy while performing drag and drop: Hold down CTRL while dragging and dropping will force a copy operation regardless of source/destination location.

Force a move while performing drag and drop: Hold down SHIFT while dragging and dropping will force a move operation regardless of source/destination location.

Force creation of a shortcut while performing drag and drop: Hold down both CTRL and SHIFT while dragging and dropping will force the creation of a shortcut regardless of source/destination location.

And the best of them all:

If you drag and drop with a right-click instead of the normal left-click you will be presented with the following choices when you release the mouse in the new location:



Tip #7: Download the Windows Live Essentials Beta (Wave 4)

The last tip is really a software recommendation. I have been running the Live Essentials beta for a while now, and I highly recommend it. The package includes updated versions of Windows Live Photo Gallery, one of the best free applications for managing your photo collection, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Writer, Windows Live Sync – updated with most of the technology behind the previous Live Mesh service – a brilliant tool for keeping files and folders synced between 2 or more PCs, Windows Live Mail, Windows Movie Maker and Live Family Safety as well as an updated Bing bar for Internet Explorer. You can select which ones of the programs you want through the installer which you will find on this page. Go ahead – this one is a no-brainer. Good luck!


Windows Live Writer Beta


Windows Live Mail Beta


Windows Live Messenger Beta


Windows Live Movie Maker Beta


Windows Live Sync Beta

So – there you have my 7 Windows 7 tips for this time. Your comments, suggestions and general feedback is most welcome!

7 Windows 7 Tips for January 2010

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

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

Tip #1: Install Windows 7 on a Netbook without optical media

If you want to install Windows 7 on a Netbook that comes without a CD/DVD-drive Microsoft has provided a neat little tool called the Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool. What this tool does is to take an ISO image and easily transfer it to a USB-memory key. You can then boot from it and install Windows 7 to your netbook. I also use it to install Windows 7 on other computers with optical drives, as I find that it speeds up the already fast process. So how do you go about using this tool? Read on;

Step 1: Download the Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool and install it on your system

Step 2: Click the Start button, and click Windows 7 USB DVD Download tool in the All programs menu

Step 3: Browse to and select your ISO file and then click Next.


Step 4: Choose the media on which you want to install (mount) the image – in this case your USB device


Step 5: Select your USB device and click on Begin copying


Step 6: Once that process is done, make sure the computer on which you want to install has the boot from USB device option selected in the BIOS, reboot and the installation process should begin.

If you have more questions regarding this device the Microsoft Store has more information here.

Tip #2: See all Control Panel tasks in a categorized list – aka God Mode

This tip is making its rounds around the internet at the time of writing. In some places described as the God Mode, which actually is not the case. This tip in no way will give you access to hidden and unknown tweaks, but it will provide you with easy access to all the different task that you can perform from the different menus and submenus in the Control Panel.

Right click on your desktop and create a new folder. Rename it to: GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} (You can actually call it anything you want instead of GodMode. Just make sure that everything after the word Mode is exactly as stated above – including the dot)

Your new folders icon will automatically change into a control panel icon;


When you click on this icon an Explorer window will open with the mentioned tasks listed like this screenshot shows;


Ed Bott has more on this feature over on his blog.

Tip #3: Use Autoruns to manage startup applications and services.

image There are many programs out there that gives you the ability to manage your startup applications. Included in Windows 7 you will of course find the Microsoft Configuration Utility (msconfig.exe), but Microsofts Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswells Autoruns program (part of their Sysinternals suite of useful applications) is head and shoulder above the competition. Go to the TechNet Sysinternals site and download Autoruns, then extract it to a location on your hard drive. In that folder right click the autoruns icon and run it as an Administrator and you should see the following application;


First select the Logon tab, then go into the Options dialog and select Hide Microsoft and Windows Entries, then hit F5 to refresh the view. You will probably be surprised by the amount of applications that automatically runs with Windows. Deselect any that you do not want to run automatically. I also recommend visiting the Internet Explorer tab as well as the Scheduled Tasks tab to deselect any entries you do not want in those locations. Once you are finished, all you have to do is to close the Autoruns application – no need to save anything. The next time you start your PC your new settings are applied.

Tip #4: Create your own Windows 7 themes

Windows 7 are more customizable than previous versions of Windows. One notable change is the ease with which you can create your and apply your own themes to the OS. How easy you ask. As easy as 1-2-3. Just follow my lead;

Step 1: Right click on your desktop and select Personalize;


Step 2: In this view lets start by selecting the background pictures we want as part of our theme. Select Desktop Background.


Step 3: Browse to the location of your pictures and select the ones you want there.


Step 4: Choose the position of your pictures as well as how often they should change and click on Save changes.


Step 5: When you are back in the Perzonalisation view, select Windows Color and choose your… windows color ;-D


Step 6: Once back in the Personalization view again, the next option is to select Sounds. There you can select from a number of sound schemes as well as make some new ones of your own (more work!). For this theme I chose the Landscape scheme.


Step 7: The next option is to set your Screen Saver. Here I chose the Bubbles screensaver. Make your selection and click OK.


Step 8: Now it is time to save your theme. In the main Personalization view scroll down until you see the Save Theme option and select it. Give your theme a name – mine is called Christmas 09 – and you are done!


Tip #5: Use SkyDrive Explorer to access your SkyDrive folders

If you are using Windows Live services you are hopefully aware of the fact that you have 25 GB of online storage for free courtesy of Microsoft through their SkyDrive service.


If you haven’t done so already, I suggest that you head over to home.live.com and sign up for an account straight away.

Until recently, one of the problems with SkyDrive was that you had to go the webpage and use the interface there for adding and removing files as well as other file-related tasks. This could be tedious and was obviously not the most user-friendly way to do things. SkyDrive Explorer to the rescue. SkyDrive Explorer is a free extension to Windows Explorer that allows you to add and remove folders and files to SkyDrive from your Windows Explorer interface. According to SkyDrive Explorer the latest version of their software can;

  • View the structure and contents of folders in SkyDrive™;
  • View files information (type, size, creation date in GMT format);
  • Create new root folders and subfolders;
  • Copy files into the storage;
  • Delete files and folders;
  • Copy files from the storage to the computer;
  • Copy folders and subfolders from the storage to the computer keeping their structure;
  • Use Drag & Drop for files operations;
  • Rename files and folders;
  • Create links to SkyDrive™ folders on your computer;
  • Copy URL of the selected object(s) to the Clipboard;
  • Automatic check for the latest version;
  • Bidirectional languages support;
  • Selection of your preferred interface language

Head over to SkyDrive Explorers site to download and install it. Once you have done that your SkyDrive Explorer will pop up in your Explorer window as a station. You will have to sign in with your Windows Live ID in order to access your SkyDrive through this interface;


Once you have done that your SkyDrive Explorer extension gives you access to your SkyDrive folders and files directly in your Explorer window;


Tip #6: Optimize your AMD system for games with AMD Fusion Utility for Desktop

This tip is for those of you that are using PCs powered by AMD and are playing PC games (a dying breed according to Paul Thurrott :-D). AMD has released an application that shuts down unnecessary processes and application depending on what activity you are about to embark on, in order for you to use whatever PC juice you have got for that particular task and that task only. This application is called AMD Fusion Utility for Desktop, and is currently in beta. I haven’t actually done any benchmarks to see whether this works, but my impression after playing Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 2 both with this application and without it, is that it actually works. There seems to be less lagging and visual artifacts, and the game seems to be running smoother.

Head over to this AMD site and download AMD Fusion Utility for Desktop. As the site states you will probably get better results if you also install the AMD Overdrive and the latest Catalyst Control Center. Once you have installed the application, run it and you will be greeted with this button on your desktop;


By clicking the button it automatically shuts down all running applications and processes that it deems unnecessary for you to run your games. Clicking the button again restarts everything that was shut down previously. If you want to streamline your applications and processes to other tasks as well, click on the Advanced Mode button and the application changes into this interface;


In this interface you select the Profile you want and then click on Run Profile in order to activate it. When finished with your activity just click on Stop Activity to set your system back to its previous state. Check it out for yourselves and have fun. A word of caution though; this application tampers with some security settings so pay attention to the warnings you are getting and try to understand them before accepting them.

Tip #7: Access additional options in the right-click menus

By hitting Shift and right clicking on a folder, file or icon you get additional options in your right-click menu. Underneath you find three examples of normal and extended right-click menus





The screenshots above shows the extended right-click menu for folders.




The screenshots above shows the extended right-click menu for the Send to option.

image image

And these screenshots show the added Open command window here option when you hit Shift and right-click on your desktop.


That’s it for this time. I hope you will find all or some of these tips useful. If you have a tip – hint – or software recommendation you want to share feel free to send me an email or add it to the comments section underneath this post.

Until next time…

The problem with being too ambitious…

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

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Clubhouse Tags: clubhouse, story, personal, tips

In week 45 I started something that I wanted to be a weekly series of Windows 7 tips. My performance so far in fulfilling that “promise” has been poor to say the least. Two meager weeks I was able to produce before reality and work hit me like a hammer. The period before Christmas was insane at work, and with a toddler in the house, I just did not have neither the time nor the will to produce blog-posts. So I think I will have to put my ambitions in check. I will produce posts, for sure, but this being a hobby, and work and family taking the priority I no longer will “promise” weekly updates, nor the stated amount of 7 tips. What I will promise is that I will post, among other things, tips for Windows 7 for you all to enjoy. How often you ask? Time will tell, but hopefully on a more regular basis than for the last month or so.

To those of you that are regular readers, and came to expect something I did not deliver; I am sorry.

New tips are on the way… 😀

lick by lick


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