Thursday, May 19, 2011

Troubleshoot instantly with the Windows 7 System Diagnostic Report

You can delve into the Microsoft Windows 7’s Event Viewer to track down issues you are having with hardware and software, but doing so requires effort as well as an understanding of what you are looking at. Fortunately, Windows 7 comes with a host of troubleshooting tools, such as Event Viewer, Resource Monitor, and Reliability Monitor, that you can use to help diagnose all sorts of problems.

One of the other tools that you can use is called the System Diagnostic Report, which is a part of Performance Monitor and can display the status of hardware resources, system response times, and processes on your computer along with system information and configuration data. The neat trick with the System Diagnostic Report is that you can use it to gather troubleshooting information on-the-fly while the problem is occurring. Read more.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Augment your data storage options with Windows 7 Live File System format

If you are looking to augment or expand your existing data storage options and you have a CD- or DVD-burner on your Microsoft Windows 7 System, then you need to investigate the Live File System format. This new system will allow you to essentially use a CD-RW or DVD-RW disk just like a USB flash drive. In other words, you’ll be able to incrementally add individual files or groups of files to the disc over time. Read more.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Explore the benefits of the Multiple Local Group Policy feature in Windows 7

If you have ever been responsible for managing stand-alone or workgroup Windows XP systems with multiple user accounts, chances are you wished you could have used Group Policy to set different policies for different users. Unfortunately, Windows XP’s Local Group Policy doesn’t work that way. Fortunately, Microsoft realized that something more was needed and developed the Multiple Local Group Policy system. This new system, available for Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions, will allow you to configure different policies for different users. Read more.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Troubleshoot Windows 7 with the built-in Problem Steps Recorder

There is still a large number of Windows users who are still running Windows XP. That started me thinking about all the great new Windows 7 features that those folks still running Windows XP are missing out on. For instance, that means that more than half of all the Windows users in the world won’t be able to take advantage of the extremely handy Problem Steps Recorder for helping to solve technical support problems. When started, this new tool will essentially record each and every step a user takes and document the entire operation in both screen captures and step-by-step details. When stopped, the Problem Steps Recorder will save the recorded information as a compiled HTML file and package it up in a ZIP file that an end user can then e-mail to a technician. Read more.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Use a USB Flash Drive to create Windows Password Reset Disk in Windows 7

Do you have an old 128MB or 256MB USB Flash Drive in the back of your desk drawer gathering dust? If so, you can put that dusty old drive to use again as a Password Reset Disk for Microsoft Windows 7. Read more.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Flying Toasters - A look back at After Dark for Windows 1.0

In March of 1991, Berkeley Systems released the After Dark for Windows 1.0 screen saver program and the $49.95 package soon became as common on the PC as it was on the Mac. After Dark for Windows came with 35 screen savers, including the wildly popular Flying Toasters. I recently came across a copy and installed it in a virtual Windows 3.1 system and began reliving those fun times. Take a look at this gallery of screen shots.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Decipher Svchost processes in Windows with Svchost Viewer

Back in November of last year in my blog post titled “Identify and Get Detailed Information about Processes in Windows 7,” I showed you how to use Windows Task Manager to track down detailed information about any process running in Windows 7. However, I recently came across a tool that specializes in just Svchost.exe processes, called Svchost Viewer. Read more.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Vintage Computer Advertisements from the late 1970s

On a recent attic cleaning expedition, I encountered a box of Scientific American magazines from the late 70s. Each magazine is full of computer advertisements that provide an interesting peek back at the beginning of the computing industry. In this gallery, I will show you what I found.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Give every window in Windows 7 a tabbed user interface

I recently received an email from a reader who was looking for a way to add tabs to Windows 7’s Windows Explorer. However, I have discovered tool called WindowTabs that can add tabs to every running application’s Window and allows you to group these tabbed windows together as a single entity. As such, you can open multiple instances of Windows Explorer and group them together to create your own multi-tabbed version of Windows Explorer. Read more.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fine tune the Windows 7 Search Index for better performance

I recently received email from readers wondering about how the Search Index in Windows 7 works and if it were possible to customize it. Some readers wanted to add different locations to the Search Index and some wanted to remove certain locations. Others wondered about adding or removing certain file types from the Search Index. I also heard from readers who were encountering problems with the Windows 7’s Search and wondered how to fix it. Read more.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tag your files for easier searches in Windows 7

In a recent Windows Desktop Report, “Take Advantage of Search Filters in Windows Explorer,” I showed you how to use and take advantage of the Search filters built in to Windows Explorer’s Search box in Windows 7. As I told you in that blog post, as soon as you begin typing text in the Search box, Windows immediately begins sifting through the search index for that text in folder names, file names, the contents of the file, and file properties, such as Tags. Since that blog was posted, I have received several emails from readers asking how you go about tagging files so that you can search on Tags. Read more.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Inside Microsoft Entertainment Packs 1 - 4

Back in the early 90's, Microsoft released set of games designed exclusively for Windows 3.x called the Microsoft Entertainment Packs. In this series of galleries I'll take you back to the Windows 3.x days and look over the games and screen savers that came in the Microsoft Entertainment Packs.

Inside Microsoft Entertainment Pack 1

Inside Microsoft Entertainment Pack 2

Inside Microsoft Entertainment Pack 3

Inside Microsoft Entertainment Pack 4

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Weed through your files Part Two: Windows 7 Group By and Filter features

In last week’s blog, “Weed through Your Files with the Windows Explorer Arrange By Feature,” I showed you how to use the Arrange By feature in Windows 7’s Windows Explorer to gain a different perspective on the data files that you have stored on your hard disk. However, the Arrange By feature isn’t the only method that you can use to gain an interesting perspective on your data files. There are two other features that you can use to weed through your files: Group By and Filter. Read more.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Weed through your files with the Windows Explorer Arrange By feature

No matter how organized you are with your data files, chances are good that you don’t know where every document is located. Nor do you even remember every document that you have on your hard disk. While Microsoft Windows 7’s Search feature can help you out when you have an idea of what you are looking for, it really can’t help you when you are not sure what to look for. Fortunately, you can use Windows Explorer’s Arrange By feature to gain a different perspective on the data files that you have stored on your hard disk. Read more.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Take advantage of Search filters in Windows Explorer

I recently received an email from a reader who was frustrated with the Search feature in Windows Explorer. His complaint was that the Search feature is good in Microsoft Windows 7, but it always turns up too many results, so it is hard to find exactly what he wants. Of course, I agree that the Search feature built in to Windows 7 is great. However, it also has a terrific Search filtering system built right in to Windows Explorer’s Search box. Read more.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Add the Up button to the Explorer Command Bar in Windows 7

In last week’s blog post, “Why Breadcrumb Navigation Is Better than the Up Button,” I told you that if after reading that post you still were not convinced that the breadcrumb navigation system was better than the Up button, I would show you how to add the Up button to the Windows Explorer Command Bar in Windows 7. After spending some time researching the idea, I did indeed find a way to put the Up button on the Command Bar via a little-known keyboard shortcut, a short VBScript, and some registry edits. Read more.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Why breadcrumb navigation is better than the Up button

Almost as soon as last week’s blog, “Modify Windows Explorer Command Bar for All Folders,” hit the site, I was receiving emails from readers asking if the technique could be used to put the Up button on the Command Bar. After spending some time researching the idea, I did indeed find a way to put the Up button on Windows Explorer’s Command Bar in Microsoft Windows 7 via a little VBScript magic and some registry trickery. Read more.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Evolution of the Windows Start menu

We all use the Windows Start menu every day, but did you know that it wasn’t always called the Start menu? Take a look at this gallery of images.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Modify Windows Explorer Command Bar for all folders

In last week’s blog, “Use Special Codes to Add Commands to the Windows Explorer Command Bar,” I told you about special codes that exist in the registry that you can use to add commands to Microsoft Windows Explorer’s context-sensitive Command Bar. I also told you there is a key in the registry called Generic for all the other folders that do not appear in any of the Libraries. I then explained that to add commands to the Windows Explorer Command Bars for all the other folders that do not appear in any of the Libraries, you’ll have to do a bit more work. Read more.

How Many Floppy Disks Would It Take To Equal 1 Gigabyte?

Have you ever wondered how many floppy disks it would take to equal 1 Gigabyte? Check out this image gallery and find out.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Use special codes to add commands to the Windows Explorer Command Bar

I like having the Show the Preview pane button on the Command Bar in Windows Explorer, but when I use it, I want to hide the Navigation Pane and the Details Pane to give me more room for the preview, as shown in Figure A. However, to get there, I have to go to the Organize menu, access the Layout menu, and select the Details Pane toggle, and then I have to go back through all that again to select the Details Pane toggle. It is a real pain (pun intended). I have always wished that Microsoft had put buttons or commands on the Command Bar for those two options, just like they did for the Preview Pane button. Recently, I discovered a set of keys in the Registry, one for each type of Library, that are designed to configure the context-sensitive Command Bars that appear in Windows Explorer. Read more.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Make the Windows Key a good habit in Windows 7

As you may know, the Windows Key was introduced on the first Microsoft Natural Keyboard in 1994, and while it is now a mainstay on just about every PC keyboard, I am still surprised by the fact that not many people use it to their advantage. Sure, lots of folks use Windows Key to open the Start menu or in combination with the [Tab] key to launch the Windows Flip 3D feature, the rotating carousel-like interface for switching between tasks. However, there are many other really handy, timesaving features that the Windows Key can provide for Windows 7 users if, and only if, you take the time to learn the keystrokes and make using them a habit. Read more.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Access the real Administrator account in Windows 7

As you know, the User Account Control (UAC) system is the heart and soul of the security system in Microsoft Windows 7. It is designed to protect your system from inadvertent or malicious incidents that could compromise stability or security while you are logged on using an account with administrative privileges, where you have full access to the system. Of course, you can perform administrative operations simply by working through the UAC prompt. Or, if you totally dislike the UAC system, you can also easily disable it. However, there certainly are times when it would just be nice to log on to your Windows 7 system with a good old-fashioned, full-fledged Administrator account. When you do, you’ll never encounter a UAC prompt. Read more.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Take advantage of Windows 7 Gadgets to create room on the Taskbar

As you may know, Microsoft first introduced Gadgets in Windows Vista, where they existed in a docked container called the Sidebar. In Windows 7, Microsoft did away with the Sidebar, and now Gadgets are free to be positioned anywhere on your desktop. I love this feature and have used it to move to the next level and am now really taking advantage of Gadgets. Read more.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Create your own Classic Start Menu in Windows 7

As you may know, Classic Shell allows you to revive the Classic Start Menu in Windows 7. However, using Classic Shell isn’t the only way that you can get a Classic Start Menu in Windows 7. In fact, you can create your own Classic Start Menu and position it right next to the new Start Menu in Windows 7. With this side-by-side arrangement you can have the best of both worlds. You can use your custom Classic Start Menu for the majority of your tasks and then use Windows 7’s new Start Menu when you have time to get used to how it works. Read more.