For a normal Windows 7 users, most of the time, you will just accept the default setting of the operating system and not change too much of its internal settings so as to reduce the chances of breaking the system. However, there are some of us who love to tweak the settings to make our workflow more productive and effective. Below are 4 great Windows 7 tips that are seldom covered and should get your productivity up.
1. Reduce time to display thumbnails in the taskbar
Sometimes it’s nice to be able to preview the current state of a program without switching to it. Windows 7 has a great little thumbnail feature, whereby if you hover over a program tab in the taskbar, it displays a thumbnail. However, the wait to display the thumbnail is a little on the long side. It’s possible to modify this so the thumbnail displays more quickly.
Note: Please create a restore point before modifying the registry as you could break something!
1. Click the Windows button and type “regedit” in the search box. Hit Enter.
2. Browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Mouse as per the image below:
3. Double click on MouseHoverTime. The default value is 400 – change it to around 150. This is the time in miliseconds until a thumbnail is displayed. Click OK and exit the registry editor. The change will take effect once you’ve restarted.
2. Use Hidden Themes
When you select your regionalisation option for Windows 7, it actually selectively installs a set of wallpapers and themes. If you selected Australia as your region on install, for example, you won’t be able to see the themes for the United States or Great Britain. There’s a way to gain access to them, thankfully, and it’s all quite simple.
1. Click the Windows button and type: C:\Windows\Globalization\MCT and hit Enter.
2. An explorer window will open and show you a list of folders as per the image below:
3. MCT-AU is the Australian set, MCT-CA is the Canadian set, and so on. To install one of themes, simply browse into the folder, then the “Theme folder”, then double click the only file in there (which will be AU.theme, CA.theme and so on), as per the image below:
4. New theme now installed and activated! Easy right?
3. Customise the Shut Down Button
If you’re anything like me, you might like to have the system automatically sleep or hibernate when you click shutdown, instead of shutdown. Yes, you could just click the little arrow next to it and select hibernate, but why not make your life easier? After all, this site is called Make Tech Easier, right?
1. Click on the Windows button and then right-click on the “Shut Down” button, click properties.
2. From the pulldown box, select what you want the power button to do.
4. Set a Different Location When Launching Explorer
When you launch explorer, it always opens in the Libraries folder. You might want it to open somewhere else, like Documents. In order to do so, we’ll need to change the explorer shortcut.
1. If you run explorer from the taskbar, ensure all explorer windows are closed and right click the explorer icon and click properties. If you run it from the Start menu, click the Windows button, type in explorer, and right-click the shortcut and click properties.
2. Looking at the image below, we can see that the default target for the shortcut is: %windir%\explorer.exe
Depending on which folder you want it to open in, we want to change it to: %windir%\explorer.exe c:\The Folder
So, for example, it could be %windir%\explorer.exe c:\Downloads as per below:
Now, when I click on the shortcut, it will open in the C:\Downloads folder.
What other Windows 7 tips did I miss out?
Image credit: Alan Dean
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