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Tricks & Tips

Posts Tagged ‘Windows’

Video Demo: Windows 7 is Ready

October 22nd, 2009

Windows 7 is available for purchase/install today.  I’m really excited – downloading my official copy right now.  All the reviews are highly positive for this new release.

Cali Lewis says Windows 7 is as great as Mac OS X and, “PC users finally have an OS that is a joy to use”.  Her review is says it best… watch now:


What is Windows 7?

January 15th, 2009


Windows XP, Vista, and now, Windows 7 is Microsoft’s latest operating system.

The previews look clean and simple.  I’ve been impressed with everything I’ve seen and read.  Check out great screenshots, and a few videos here.

More details…
Currently called Windows 7, it will be all that Vista should have been,  without the annoyances.  Windows 7 was announced late last year, and Microsoft recently released a public beta.  Although officially it should be available late 2009, early 2010, many speculate it will be available mid-2009.

To find out exactly which Windows version you’re running, follow these steps:

  1. Click  Start
  2. Click  Run (if you don’t see it, skip this step)
  3. Type:  winver
  4. Hit  ENTER

Your Computer Knows Where You Are

November 13th, 2008

New location-aware services, such as with maps on iPhones or BlackBerry’s, are moving to your computer.  Soon your computer will know where it is physically located and offer services based on this information.

A few examples might include…

  • Loading weather.com to see weather without having to enter city information
  • Finding coffee shops nearby
  • Exact driving directions from your from porch
  • Now, “They Know.”   😉

Right now the technology uses nearby wireless signals, not GPS.  But soon new options will be upon us.  Services will be built in to the next version of Firefox (3.1).  And Microsoft officially stated the next version of Windows will include geo-location tools.

I was skeptical.  So I tried installing pre-release extensions to make my web browser instantly locate me.  I was amazed!  I headed to Google Maps and clicked Current Position.  It zeroed right down on me in the very building I was in.  Google loaded a Street View and Flickr images for the area.  Nice.

Learn more?
You need Firefox + Greasemonkey + Geode:  http://labs.mozilla.com/2008/10/introducing-geode/


Add Today’s Date to Your Tray

November 11th, 2008

Here’s an easy way to include the date in your system tray on your task bar.  Download this small, free utility:  http://www.rcis.co.za/dale/tclockex/.

Windows only shows the time in the tray.  Although you can hover your mouse over the time to get the date, some might prefer it permanently attached.

This application requires little resources, so your system still runs fast.  You can customize it to display a simple date + time, or change the font and go wild with colors.  Very configurable.  Very easy.

For example:



It can be aggravating to have a program start every time you turn on your computer. If you don’t use AOL Instant Messenger but see it every time you login, or Weather Bug pops up, or Adobe Updater, etc. These all just slow down your startup, and running Windows in general thereafter.

If we’ve worked on your computer, we’ve probably limited your start items. This is common practice for any tech savvy person to help “clean up” your computer. The method below may seem technical, but it is in fact quite simple and effective.

Here’s how…

  1. Click on the Start menu
  2. Click Run (skip this step for Vista users)
  3. Type: msconfig and hit enter
  4. Click on the Startup tab across the top (see image example)

Here you will see a complete list of items that start when you load Windows. Some may look like Greek to you, no worries! Look for the program you don’t want to load and uncheck it. Click OK and reboot your computer. After your computer loads, you may see a popup warning. Check the box and hit OK. You won’t see it again thereafter.

Extra help…

How about all the other stuff you see in that startup list? NONE of it is required to run Windows. However, some of it could be very important. For example, your backup program is probably listed, probably something to run your sound or mouse, etc. Have a look through the list and feel free to turn off anything, give it a try, and turn back on if there is a problem. Be careful here as you could disable something that you shouldn’t.

Some programs have built in options for startup. You should review these first.


Speed Up Your Computer

August 7th, 2008

– Contributed by Terry Kirby

Speed things up by running Disk Defragmenter periodically.

It’s easy to forget simple things when there are so many third party cleaning programs out there.  As routine maintenance on your PC, you should defragment your files periodically.  Over time, accessing files and programs, installing new programs, and even uninstalling programs can disrupt the flow of data on your hard drive.  A simple fix is to run Disk Defragmenter.

To run, simply follow these steps:

  • Click the Start menu
  • Select  All Programs
  • Select  Accessories
  • Select  System Tools
  • Select Disk Defragmenter
  • To start, click Defragment

Defrag Example

This process can take an hour or more, depending on the size of your drive.  This tool should be used periodically as a routine maintenance, once every 3 months or so.

If you notice your PC is running slower than usual, let Disk Defragmenter analyze your drive and get you back into shape.


Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

June 24th, 2008

As you advance your computer skills you will prefer less interaction with the mouse.  There are tons of shortcuts you can use on your keyboard to limit back and forth from keyboard to mouse.  So you can work more efficiently, here are a few shortcuts I use daily.

Spacebar – When browsing the web, use the space bar to go down a page

F2 – With a file selected use F2 to quickly rename it

PrtScr – This button will copy the entire screen.  Use the Edit menu and Paste the picture to an email or image editor for a fast screen shot

CTRL + C (hold the CTRL button and tap C) – Will copy text for you to paste elsewhere (text must be highlighted first)

CTRL + V – Pastes your copied text to the area you have selected

CTRL + F – Find text on a page

ALT + TAB – Cycle through your open programs

Windows Key + D – Minimizes all screens so you can see your desktop instantly

ALT + F4 – Closes the open window

Delete – Everyone uses backspace, but do you use the delete key? It does the same thing as backspace but from the left side of the cursor instead of the right. Try it!

Windows + L – Quickly lock your computer