Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Five tips for getting the most out of Windows 7 Jump Lists

Windows 7’s new Jump Lists feature is designed to make it easier to find what you want and perform common tasks associated with an application. As with anything new, Jump Lists may take a little getting used to — but you’ll probably find they’re worth the effort. Here are some tips to help you put this handy feature to work. Read more.

Take advantage of Sticky Notes in Windows 7

While the Sticky Notes applet may not be the most exciting feature in Microsoft Windows 7, there are actually a number of situations where this little applet can come in handy. And, believe it or not, there’s a lot more to Sticky Notes than meets the eye.

I must admit that when I first looked at the Sticky Notes applet in Windows 7, I really wasn’t that impressed and promptly forgot about it. However, I recently reached for a real sticky note and discovered that somebody had absconded with the last pad of 3M Post-it Notes from my desk drawer. With no other option, I clicked the Start button, typed sticky in the Start Search box, and launched the Sticky Notes applet.

Ever since that day, I have been using the Sticky Notes applet here and there, discovering its features and its shortcomings, and of course learning about workarounds. Read more.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Move the Recycle Bin to the Taskbar in Windows 7

After writing last week’s blog, “Take Advantage of the Taskbar Features in Windows 7,” I found myself focusing on the taskbar to make sure that I was taking advantage of all the features it has to offer. While I was doing so, I began to think about the only icon that I had on the desktop — the Recycle Bin — and wonder if there was a way to put the Recycle Bin on the taskbar.

When the Recycle Bin first made its appearance in Windows 95, I really enjoyed dragging and dropping unneeded files on the trash can icon and watching them disappear. It was just so cool! (Keep in mind that was 15 years ago and the drag-and-drop capability was a new feature.)

However, more often than not, the desktop and the Recycle Bin icon were buried behind a bunch of open windows, and as time went by and the operating system evolved, I began using the other methods to delete files. Most often, I would select a file and click the red X Delete button on Windows Explorer’s toolbar. I also would right-click on a file and select the Delete command, or after selecting a file just press the [Delete] key on the keyboard. I still use these techniques today as I am sure that most of you do too.

However, there’s just something that is innately satisfying about dragging a file to the trash can icon and dropping it in there. My wife says that it must be a guy thing. And then she reminds me of how excited my buddies and I get throwing beer cans halfway across the room to the trash can in the corner on Poker Game nights. We raise our fists in the air and yell “Score!” when someone makes it in.

Anyway, I discovered a way to put a working copy of the Recycle Bin on the taskbar in the lower right corner adjacent to the notification area. That way it is always visible on the screen no matter how many open windows you have on the desktop.
Read more.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Take advantage of the Taskbar features in Windows 7

As you may remember, back in the Windows 3.x days, Microsoft gave the operating system the ability to run multiple programs at the same time, which was a revolutionary change. Unfortunately, taking advantage of the new capability was rather difficult because the operating system didn’t provide us with a good method for keeping track of, or switching between, all the running programs.

Fortunately, in Windows 7, Microsoft has provided us with several very cool, very graphical methods for switching between open windows or tasks. Of course, Windows Flip 3D, which uses visual depth to give you a very interesting way of switching, immediately comes to mind when speaking of new task-switching features. However, the tried-and-true taskbar has received many new and improved features in Windows 7 that not only enhance task switching but add a host of other features designed to improve the overall usability of the operating system.

However, it is all too easy to simply focus on the basic aspects of the taskbar and overlook all the other neat features. Read more.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Add the Copy To and Move To folder commands to the Windows Explorer context menu

After last week’s blog, Move and Copy files the old tried-and-true way in Windows 7, was published, several folks asked about adding the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands to the context menu and to Windows Explorer’s toolbar, just like back in the Windows XP days. Fortunately, adding the commands to the context menu in Windows 7 is possible with a pretty straightforward registry edit. However, adding the commands to the toolbar in Windows Explorer isn’t as easy as it was back then.

I’ll show you how to add the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands to Windows Explorer’s context menu. I’ll also take a closer look at the context sensitive features of the toolbar in Windows 7’s version of Windows Explorer. Read more.