Windows 7 is Microsoft’s latest and greatest OS. Here are some tips and tricks for getting your Windows 7 computer running just the way you want it.
October 5th, 2007
If you have the My Computer (or Computer if you are running Vista) icon on your desktop, you can add the Calculator to the context (Right-Click) menu for much easier access.Â You can do this by creating a simple reg file and merging it to the Windows registry, here’s how:
- Open up Notepad (or right-click the desktop, mouseover New and select Text Document).
- Select and copy the following:Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
- Paste it into the new text file.
- Save the text file and rename it to for example, XP_Calculator_MyComputer_Context.reg.It should look like this:Â
- Right-click the newly created reg file and select Merge.Â A prompt will appear verifying that you want to add the information from the reg file to the registry, click Yes.
October 2nd, 2007
If you like the functionality of Windows XP but long for some of the eye candy that Mac OS X offers, then the FlyakiteOSX transformation pack is something you should definitely take a look at.Â FlyakiteOSX works on Windows XP (both Home and Professional), Windows 2003, and Windows Media Center Edition (2003, 2004, and 2005).Â By utilizing such 3rd party applications as Y’z Shadow, WinRoll, and Docks, plus the Tiger Visual Style (all of which are included in the transformation pack), your XP machine will be “aquafied”.
First you’ll need to download FlyakiteOSX (Click on the Normal Edition link).Â Once the zip file has finished downloading, extract the contents and begin the installation by double-clicking on the executable.Â When the Setup Wizard appears, click the Next button.Â The next step is to choose what components you wish to install, it also provides the option to create a System Restore Point.Â To take full advantage of the transformation pack, check all of the checkboxes to get all of the eye candy goodness that these components provide.Â After you have selected the components, click the Install button.
Once the installation has completed, click the next button.Â You will be prompted to reboot your system.Â Make sure you have no other applications open, then click the finish button.Â Your computer will go through the reboot process.
When mine came back up, I was greeted with this (kind of odd seeing Mac OS X right under “Welcome to Windows”):
After I logged in I noticed that my desktop had gone from this:
A rather significant change!Â Here’s some other screenshots:
You can do some further customization by altering the settings and options of the 3rd party applications.Â By right-clicking the icons for WinRoll and Y’z Shadow (in the notification area next to your clock), you can access their preference and options windows.
You can also right-click on the Dock bar to change it’s options as well.
If you ever decide that you no longer wish to look Macish, simply uninstall the transformation pack and you’ll be back to the XP look in no time.
September 14th, 2007
If you have become bored with U3 or if the U3 Launchpad doesn’t work on your system, you can easily remove it. The first step you will want to take is to copy all of your files from your flash drive and put them in a safe place. When we remove the U3 Launchpad, we will also end up erasing the data on the drive itself.
After you have copied (and verified) the data from the flash drive, you will need to download the U3 Uninstall executable from the U3 site. Make sure to note the location that you are saving the file.
1. Connect your flash drive to your computer. Make sure that it is the only flash drive that is connected.
2. Run u3 uninstall.exe .
3. When the U3 LLC License Agreement appears, select the Accept radio button and click Next.
4. Check the I want to remove the U3 Launchpad and erase ALL data on the device checkbox and click Next.
5. The process for uninstalling the U3 Launchpad will begin.
6. Once the U3 Launchpad has been uninstalled, remove your flash drive and then reconnect it to your system.
Now copy the data you saved off of the drive originally back onto your drive. Now your drive is U3 free and ready to use.
September 23rd, 2006
I am often asked why I spend so much time and effort tweaking Windows XP.Â I feel that Microsoft did great with the operating system, it isn’t about that.Â The main reason I got started is because a network admin told me that “Windows 2000 is for tweakers, XP is for everyone else.”Â From that day forward, I have been very focused on the great things that can be tweaked in XP.Â It has been a while since those words were spoken to me, and they don’t bother me anymore, now it is a challenge to find something else that can be modified to save time or to increase performance.Â I have most of my favorite tweaks included in my copy of XP that I made using nLiteÂ (my origingal XP discs are put away for safe keeping).Â Â Â That way, when it is time for a reload, my tweaks are already set up and all that is left is loading software and a little fine tuning.Â
September 20th, 2006
I rarely used XP’s My Computer for anything more than a mere entry point into my various drives. However, after using a few easy-to-do registry hacks, My Computer has become very useful and saves me time and mouse clicks. One such tweak will allow you to add any combination of the following to the My Computer window: Printers and Faxes, Administrative Tools, Scheduled Tasks, Network Connections, Recycle Bin, My Network Places (See Expand The Functionality Of My Computer). To give My Computer even more functionality, you can add many different applets to the context (right-click) menu. You can add any or all of the following (click the link to see how to add it):
- Add/Remove Programs
- Control Panel
- Disk Defragmenter
- System Configuration Tool
- Device Manager
- Command Prompt
Remember to back up your registry before making any changes.
September 2nd, 2006
While the Windows Places bar isn’t as customization-friendly as the Office My PlacesÂ bar (see my recipe for how to modify it), it can be altered.Â
1. Type GPEDIT.MSC in the Start, Run
2. Navigate to this location:
User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Explorer -> Common Open File Dialog
3. Double-click Items displayed in Places Bar and add your places.
September 2nd, 2006
Thumbs.db is a file which is created in a folder with Movies or Pictures so that you can view a piece of their content without actually opening them (you can’t see thumbnails unless you have the option to view system files turned on). Thumbs.db is there so that you don’t need to reload a thumbnail every time you browse that folder. Sad fact is, is Thumbs.db takes up about 2kb per file and if you edit a lot of stuff its annoying to keep seeing them popping up all over your computer. You can remove Thumbs.db quite easily by following the following steps:
Go to “Run” in the startmenu.
Click OK and the Group Policy will open.
Go to User Configuration/Administrative Template/Windows Components/Windows Explorer.
Scroll down to the bottom of the long list of stuff that now shows up in the menu on the right. Double-Click on Turn off caching of thumbnail pictures.
Click on Enable then Apply, Ok. And now you no longer have this annoying problem.
Alternatively or if you use XP Home you can make this change in Control Panel -> Folder Options -> View -> “Do not cache thumbnails”
NOTE:Â Disabling thumbnail caching will considerably slow down opening folders in thumbnail view. So if you use thumbnail view a lot, think about it.