Things You Probably Didn’t Know But Really Needed in Windows 7

There comes a time in one person’s life, when he or she makes a paramount discovery of certain settings, features, or tweaks of Windows 7 that open doors to a brand new lifestyle. That moment could be now for you, depending on whether you know absolutely everything about your operating system or not. This is the moment of truth, the moment in which you’ll have to face reality and realize that Windows 7 can pack a bigger punch if you give it a nudge in the right direction.

For those of you living alone, or those of you who share a computer with people who you wouldn’t mind poking around, you don’t necessarily have to keep typing your password at Windows’ logon screen. Versions of Windows as early as XP have been supporting automatic logins for quite some time although not many actually know about this.

Access the Start menu, type “netplwiz” and press “Enter.” If this isn’t functioning, type “control userpasswords2“. This will take you to the same place. Once in the user accounts window, clear the checkbox labeled “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer.” You should find it here:

win7exp-useraccounts

Click “OK” when finished and you’ll never have to type in a password again.

If you prefer using a shortcut to turn off the computer, there are some neat tricks you can use to create a shortcut for any of the “shutdown menu” options that you normally find on your Start menu. This is especially useful if you’re the kind of person that switches to the desktop before turning off the computer, making it easier to shut it down without having to waste time fumbling after the options in your Start menu.

Right-click any area on your desktop and go to “New -> Shortcut.” Type “shutdown.exe -s -t 00” in the field provided and click “Next.” Name your shortcut and continue the wizard until you feel happy with what you’ve done.

Use these shortcut locations to perform other actions:

  • Restart = shutdown.exe -r -t 00
  • Lock computer = Rundll32.exe User32.dll,LockWorkStation
  • Hibernate = rundll32.exe PowrProf.dll,SetSuspendState
  • Sleep = rundll32.exe powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState 0,1,0

Once you’ve set your shortcuts, you can double-click them from the desktop or move them to a more appropriate location. One neat trick is to pin these to the taskbar for easier access, even when you’re not at your desktop.

Wouldn’t it be cool to browse your computer the same way you go through your programs list in the Start menu? Personally, I wouldn’t like the clutter, but some people really like the hierarchical menus. This fix will put the “Computer” directory that you normally access by clicking “Computer” on your Start menu in the taskbar instead of Windows Explorer. Let’s walk through the process.

Right-click your taskbar and hover the mouse over “Toolbars.” Select “New Toolbar.” Select your desktop and click “Computer” once. Don’t double-click it. Click the “Select folder” button at the bottom of the browsing window and you’ll see “Computer” appear at your taskbar near the icons on the right-hand side, like this:

win7exp-computertaskbar

Once you click the arrows to the right of “Computer,” you’ll see a repository of all directories in your drives.

Files in Windows 7 have a certain level of hierarchy that could annoy most people attempting to make modifications to any part of the file system. For this, you can easily add a “Take Ownership” option to the context menu that pops up when you right-click a file or folder on your computer. Instead of going through the tons of steps required to add this context menu, we found a file that does this for you! This is what “.reg” files are good for. Download this registry hack and run it. To uninstall the context menu, there’s another “.reg” file placed within the archive for you.

Until now, the only two ways you can move or copy your files to another folder were:

  1. Opening both folders and dragging the file from the source to the destination, or
  2. Opening both folders and pressing “Ctrl+C” on the source and pressing “Ctrl+V” on the destination, using “Ctrl+X” in place of “Ctrl+C” to move a file.

This can get quite annoying if you have to copy something quickly. Adding “Copy to” or “Move to” to your context menu when right-clicking a file will help you eliminate the need to open both of the folders. You’ll only need to open the source folder. Download this registry hack to make it happen.

win7experience-caps-lock

We all know that key that helps some people shout in comments sections on YouTube and post awkward questions on forums. If you’re not the type that often uses the Caps Lock key, you’d probably be more annoyed by its existence than its absence.

Let’s get rid of it with this downloadable registry hack. The files contained in the archive modify your registry to perform different functions. You can tell which one you want by reading the title of each file. Have fun!

Oh, this one’s a huge pet peeve among my colleagues, and I’m sure that some of you hate having to stay awake during the night because you shut down your computer only to realize you need to turn it back on. Instead of waiting 10 seconds for the computer to shut down, you have to wait what seems like the entire night for the computer to finish installing updates before you can power up again. Your computer, in light terms, is in “update limbo.” So, how do we take it out of this zombie-like state?

win7experience-shutdown-forced-update

Open up your registry editor by typing “regedit” in the search bar within your Start menu and pressing “Enter.” Once in, navigate to

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU

If any of these keys don’t exist, just create new ones with the names shown here.

Add “NoAUAsDefaultShutdownOption” to the right-hand side of the window as a “DWORD” value. If the value exists, you don’t have to do this. Modify the value to “1″ and restart your computer. The computer will no longer hold you down while shutting down.

Let us know what you think about these awesome tweaks in the comments section below! We’d also like to hear you if you’re stuck somewhere. You’ll get an answer very quickly.