Six cool tips for Win7
1. Protect your MP3 files
Along with many good new features, the Windows 7 beta also includes a nasty bug. Its version of Windows Media Player 12 will automatically add missing metadata, including album art, and this can overwrite the first few seconds of the file. Oops. Installing an update may fix this (see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/961367) but it would be a very good idea to back up your MP3 files, too.
2. Fix the taskbar
The new Windows 7 taskbar acts as one big quick launch toolbar that can hold whatever program shortcuts you like (just right-click one and select Pin To Taskbar). And that’s fine, except it does consume a little more screen real estate than we’d like. Shrink it to a more manageable size by right-clicking the Start orb, then Properties > Taskbar > Use small icons.
If you’ve no problem with the taskbar size, but find the way it combines icons to be confusing, then right-click the Start orb, click Properties > Taskbar and set “Taskbar buttons” to “Combine when taskbar is full” for a more familiar XP and Vista-style look.
3. Keyboard shortcuts
Windows 7 supports several useful new keyboard shortcuts.
Display/ hide the Explorer preview pane
Display gadgets in front of other windows
Windows Logo++ (plus key)
Zoom in, where appropriate
Windows Logo+- (minus key)
Zoom out, where appropriate
Maximise the current window
Minimise the current window
Snap to the left hand side of the screen
Snap to the right hand side of the screen
Minimise/ restore everything except the current window
4. Customise UAC
Windows Vista’s User Account Control was a good idea in practice, but poor implementation put many people off – it raised far too many alerts. Fortunately Windows 7 displays less warnings by default, and lets you further fine-tune UAC to suit your preferred balance between security and a pop-up free life (Start > Control Panel > Change User Account Control Settings).
5. Burn images
Windows 7 finally introduces a feature that other operating systems have had for years – the ability to burn ISO images to CDs or DVDs. And it couldn’t be much easier to use. Just double-click the ISO image, choose the drive with the blank disc, click Burn and watch as your disc is created.
6. Speedy video access
Want faster access to your Videos folder? Windows 7 now lets you add it to the Start menu. Just right-click the Start orb, click Properties > Start Menu > Customize, and set the Videos option to “Display as a link”. If you’ve a TV tuner that works with Windows 7 then you’ll appreciate the new option to display the Recorded TV folder on the Start menu, too.