Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Change and customize Windows 7's Logon screen wallpaper

While experimenting with several Microsoft Windows 7 systems recently, I spent a lot of time staring at the Logon screen. During that time, I began to think about changing the Logon screen wallpaper. Now, I have changed the Logon screen wallpaper in just about every version of Windows I’ve used, so I knew that there had to be a way to do so.

However, when I began to investigate the procedure in Windows 7, I discovered that changing the Logon screen wallpaper in the newest version of the Windows operating system is easy, once you know the steps — and you don’t even need any third-party software to do it.

In order to make it easy for OEMs to customize Windows 7, Microsoft built the ability to change the Logon screen wallpaper right into the operating system. Read more.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The TaskList Gadget makes it easier to troubleshoot running processes

When you’re troubleshooting problems in Windows, one of the tools you’re likely to use is the Task Manager. It’s designed to provide you with detailed information about the programs and processes that are running on a system. However, Task Manager doesn’t really give you the full picture when it comes to the running processes. For instance, what if you suspect that a DLL is at the root of a problem and want to find out what DLL modules a particular process is using?

To get the information you need, you can shell out to a Command Prompt window and use the TaskList command-line utility, along with a couple of special parameters. But working from a Command Prompt can get fairly tedious. So I created the TaskList Gadget, which automates the TaskList command. Read more.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Be a power user: Customize the file management features of Windows Explorer

While the new Libraries features is notably the biggest enhancement to Windows Explorer, Microsoft did indeed make many other standard file-management enhancements in Windows 7. Over the past couple of months I’ve uncovered and begun to use many of these to enhance my productivity. While some of them are obvious, many of them are a bit tricky to find and harness. Read more.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Take full advantage of the new font features in Windows 7

Microsoft made some pretty dramatic improvements in Windows 7’s graphics subsystem in order to improve performance for the entire spectrum of usage scenarios, from the day-to-day desktop displays to the extreme CAD and game graphics. However, what you may not know is that Microsoft has also made some pretty dramatic improvements in Windows 7’s font system. Read more.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Put the Classic Start menu in Windows 7 with Classic Shell

On more than one occasion, I’ve looked through the discussions for the Windows 7 blog posts that I have written here at TechRepublic and found messages from angry Windows users that go something along the lines of “Because Microsoft took away the Classic Start menu in Windows 7, I am not going to upgrade!”

When I see these types of messages, I imagine curmudgeonly folks sitting in front of an old Pentium II computer running Windows NT. Of course I know that is not a fair assessment, because many people I know who have either Windows XP or Windows Vista installed also use the Classic Start menu feature.

Still I have a hard time imagining anyone wanting to forego all the underlying advances in the Windows 7 operating system just because of a dislike of the Start menu and other user-interface features. However, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.

In any case, those die-hard classic Start menu fans have a champion out there. At, which claims to be the world’s largest open source software development Web site, a fellow by the name of Ivo Beltchev has created a wonderful program called Classic Shell. In addition to bringing the Classic Start menu to the Windows 7 user interface, Classic Shell brings a number of other classic features to Windows 7, such as the Windows Explorer toolbar, complete with the Up button. Read more.