Windows 7 – Lesser Known Interesting Features

These are taken from “77 Windows 7 Tips”

6. Shift to and from Explorer and CommandPrompt. The classic Windows power toy Open Command Prompt Here is now an integral part of Windows 7 Explorer. Hold down the shift key then right-click a folder to add this option to the property menu. While you’re in a command prompt, if you want to open an Explorer window with the focus of the window on the current directory, enter start.

17. Embrace Troubleshooting Packs. Designed to help users troubleshoot and solve problems on their own, you need to update your support procedures to acknowledge these Packs. For example, don’t force users to repeat steps the Pack already walked them through, and consider developing your own Packs (in Windows PowerShell) to support in-house systems.

21. Presentation Nirvana. Press Windows+P to access the new Presentation mode, and easily turn on your projector and laptop screen at the same time. No more messing with vendor-specific utilities and arcane keystrokes. (Windows+X accesses the Mobility Center, with additional presentation options.)

26. Restore Point Previews Many of us used to shut off System Restore because we were terrified to actually use it; under Windows 7, we can be much calmer. After selecting a Restore Point, Windows will now offer to show you which files and folders will be affected by restoring to that point.

29. RoboCopyCopyCopy. The always-useful Robocopy.exe can now run multi-threaded; run Robocopy /? to review its new parameters (like /MT for multithreading) and make your copies go faster.

33. Drag-and-Drop Notification Icons. The redesigned notification area displays only a minimum number of icons; all other notification icons are moved to a side window. Rather than using the Customize option to select icons for the main display, you can drag-and-drop icons from the side window to the notification area.

37. Shortcut the Taskbar. The Windows key is great for shortcuts. You can select the Windows key and a number to correspond to items on your taskbar. So, if IE (for example) is the third icon on your taskbar (not counting the Start button), you can hit the Windows key and the number three to launch or open IE.

38. Manage Passwords. Control Panel includes a new application called Credential Manager. This may appear to be a completely new tool that allows you to save your credentials (usernames and passwords) for Web sites you log into and other resources you connect to (such as other systems). Those credentials are saved in the Windows Vault, which can be backed up and restored. However, you might see this as similar to a tool we have in XP and Vista. From the Instant Search, type in control /userpasswords2 and you will be brought to the Advanced User Accounts Control Panel, where you can also manage passwords for your account

42. Remove Apps. Although some applications have been moved off of Windows to become an optional download, other apps, such as IE8, Media Player, Media Center and DVD Maker are still included. In times past, especially when it came to IE, the applications were tied into the OS. However, in Windows 7 you can easily remove them if desired. Head to the Program and Features applet in Control Panel and select the “Turn Windows features on or off” link in the top left-hand corner.

44. Analyze Processes. One of the coolest new features in the revamped Resource Monitor (resmon) is the ability to see the “wait chain traversal.” An unresponsive process will be shown in red in the Resource Monitor; right-click the process and choose Analyze Process. This will show the threads in the process and see who holds the resources that are holding up the process itself. You can then kill that part of the process if you like.

45. Create Virtual Worlds. Virtualization capability has been added to the Disk Management tools. If you open Computer Management, go to the Disk Manager tool and then click the Action button at top, you will see the options Create VHD and/or Attach VHD. This allows you to create and mount a virtual hard drive directly from within the GUI. Note: With Windows 7 you even have the ability to boot a Windows 7 VHD

46. Encrypt USB Sticks. Use BitLocker To Go. Maybe you’ve managed to never misplace or lose a USB key, but for the rest of us mere mortals, it’s a fact of life. Most of the time it’s no big deal, but what if it contains sensitive data? BitLocker To Go enables you to encrypt data on removable storage devices with a password or a digital certificate stored on a smart card.

49. Restore from Backed up Restore Points. You can choose to include restore points in your backups and restore from them when using System Restore. This is convenient if you want to create a baseline of a working configuration and be able to restore to it in the future without overwriting other data on the hard disk.

56. Calculate. Another basic utility that received a major overhaul is the venerable calculator. In addition to standard and scientific views, there are now programmer and statistic modes. You will also love the conversion and calculation features. Want to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit but can never remember the formula? Use the conversion panel. You’ll also enjoy the data calculation extension. Quickly find the difference between two dates or calculate a new date by adding or subtracting years, months or days.

57. Manage Services from Task Manager. The Windows 7 Task Manager now includes a tab to manage services. You can quickly see at a glance the status of all services on your machine. Click a column heading to sort. You can even start and stop services with a simple right-click. If you need full-blown service management, use the Services button to launch the Services management console. You may often have the Task Manager running in the system tray; now, having service management access means one less window to have open.

66. Win+Shift+arrow – Move current window to alternate screen

68. Win+E – Launch Explorer with Computer as the focus

69. Win+F – Launch a search window

71. Win+L – Lock the desktop
Windows Biometric Framework Fingerprint readers are everywhere—even the cheapest laptops sport the shiny swipe spot. Although the lack of built-in support in prior versions of Windows left the devices unused, PC makers delivered systems with the drivers installed anyway. The poor quality of much of this code caused a fair number of blue-screen crashes, many of which dutifully reported themselves to Microsoft.
Armed with this knowledge, Microsoft added native biometric support to the OS

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