Ok, you’ve been hearing the buzz about Windows 7, and you want to give it a try. Let’s say you downloaded Windows 7 RC for free , installed it and are now sitting there wondering “Wait, so what’s so cool about this?”.
This is the blog entry for you, I’ve going to try and sum up every cool tip and trick for Windows 7 that i could find online (and from my own experience) and post it here for quick and easy consumption. So get ready to either memorize everything below, or just print the page out.
Aero Window Management Keyboard Shortcuts
Below is a list of the cooler keyboard shortcuts that you can now use in Windows 7 for quickly managing your windows.
◦Dragging any window against the LEFT, RIGHT or TOP edge of the screen will perform the following operation:
• LEFT: Anchor window against left side of screen, vertically maximize window and fill about half the screen horizontally
• RIGHT: Anchor window against right side of screen, vertically maximize window and fill about half the screen horizontally
• TOP: Maximize the window
◦ WINDOWS-KEY + LEFT/RIGHT: Dock the current focused window against the LEFT or RIGHT side of the screen, maximizing it vertically.
• Add SHIFT to the keystrokes above to send windows across multiple monitors to other desktops.
◦ WINDOWS-KEY + UP/DOWN: Maximize the current focused window to full screen (UP) or restore it’s original size (DOWN) or minimize it to the taskbar (DOWN again)
◦ WINDOWS-KEY + HOME: Hide all windows except the current focused window. Pressing the keystroke again will un-hide all the hidden windows. This is a convenience keystroke for visually decluttering your monitor.
◦ WINDOWS-KEY + SPACE: Momentarily make all windows transparent, allowing you to look at your desktop. Can we helpful if you are trying to double-check the name of something or possibly view a gadget.
◦ Hold CTRL while clicking on a taskbar icon that has multiple instances of the app open will cycle through all the windows of that same kind. For example, having 5 Firefox windows open, I can hold CTRL and keep clicking the Firefox taskbar icon, and each window will popup focused until I see the one I want.
◦ WINDOWS-KEY + T: This will focus the taskbar and allow you to use LEFT and RIGHT to cycle through the apps on the taskbar.
Tips, Tweaks and Launch Apps
Below is a list of some of the cooler tweaks or tips on using Windows 7 that you’ll love.
◦ Hold SHIFT + RIGHT-CLICK on any folder in Windows Explorer to show the advanced items in the context menu such as Open command prompt here:
◦ WINDOWS-KEY + 1/2/3/4/5: Will automatically launch 1-5 of the pinned icons from your Taskbar for you. For example, if Firefox is my first pinned icon on my taskbar, I can launch it with WINDOWS-KEY + 1.
◦ Hold CTRL + SHIFT + LEFT-CLICK to automatically launch an application in Administrative mode. No need to right-click > Run as Administrator anymore.
◦ Hold SHIFT + LEFT-CLICK on any application icon in the taskbar (pinned or unpinned) will start another instance of whatever app you clicked on.
• TIP: You can even just use a single MIDDLE-CLICK on the app to launch a second copy if your mouse has a 3rd middle mouse button.
◦ Adding NAS folders to Windows 7 Libraries. By default Windows 7 doesn’t support adding NAS folder locations to your Libraries, Chris Hunkele tells us that the reason for this limitation is that the remote host serving up the folders must be running the new Indexing Service — which most 3rd party NAS’s (like the ReadyNAS series) won’t be running. You can work around this issue two different ways:
1. If you are just trying to replace your My Music, My Videos, etc. folders with NAS-located folders, bring up the properties for those folders, go to the Locations tab, and “Move” the location from the current hard-drive location to your NAS location:
2. If you are trying to add additional folders to the libraries that are on your NAS, you can use this tip using mklink (sort of like Unix’s symlinks) to link what Windows thought was a local dir, out to a NAS-located dir out from under it, allowing you to get NAS folders into your libraries.
Hidden Cool Apps
“Hidden” in the sense that there are not Start Menu shortcuts for these apps, and the jobs they performance are pretty slick.
◦ Problem Steps Recorder (psr.exe): A
troubleshooting tool that will record mouse movement, keyboard input and screenshot
every changed screen of a workflow and when done (”Stop Recording” is pressed), will
ZIP everything up with screenshots into a nice ZIP file that can be shared with a
• TIP: For any software companies out there,
you can use this to make capturing
documentation flows a lot easier!
◦ Display Color Calibration (dccw.exe): Used
to tweak the color and display calibration of your monitor. I found this wizard to
be designed in a sub-optimal way, showing you the “target” display examples on one
page, and then asking you to adjust your settings for “optimal viewing” on the next
page — where the example of what you wanted was no longer visible. I can’t say I saw
a huge improvement with this.
◦ ClearType Text Tuner (cctune.exe): Used to
tweak the hinting and way ClearType
text is displayed on your LCD monitor. I didn’t end up needing this, but if you have
a problem with how text is displaying, this can help.
◦ Burn Disc Image (ISO burning support): You
can double-click on any .ISO file now
and be prompted with an application to burn it to a disc:
. Windows Movie Maker: You’ll notice in Windows 7 RC, Windows Movie Maker is
missing. It’s now part of the Windows Life Essentials package and is currently being
reworked inside Microsoft for inclusion in Windows 7 final release. In the mean time
you will have to make due with Windows Movie Maker 2.6: