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2011-01-11, 18:08 #1
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- Jan 2010
- Seattle, WA, USA
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Twenty-six ways to work faster in Windows 7
By Lincoln Spector
The easiest operating system Microsoft has ever released, Windows 7 gives you all sorts of slick and simple ways to open folders, navigate windows on the desktop, and launch applications — so many, it's hard to remember them all.
Here's our compendium of tips for working faster in Win7, none of which requires downloading or installing anything. Some are new, some recycled from XP and Vista.
The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2011/01/13/06 (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).
Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
2011-01-13, 01:39 #2
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- Gold Coast Australia
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Loved the column but it really opened a can of worms when it came to putting my document, music, video folders into the library. I have those folders on a network drive; a D-Link DNS-323. I had all sorts of problems trying to get the drive recognized by my WIN 7 Professional 64 bit system. I think I found a workaround by using Sync Center to make the files available offline (which really defeats the purpose of having a network drive, you have to copy all the files onto your system hard drive), then disabling sync'ing after the indexes are built (which deletes the copies on your local system drive). I THINK it worked, but I'm not really sure. Don't know if it built a full index, or just an index of the files that were copied over before I stopped the sync process. To be honest, I wasn't really sure what I was doing.
This site is typical of the frustration people are feeling trying to get this done (even adds a new Microsoft conspiracy theory; MS want us to only buy their file servers): Microsoft Forum http://social.technet.microsoft.com/...1-5cf525b9f8de
Anyway, if you could look at this problem and come up with a simple solution/explanation, that would be great.
Thanks for a great column, Andy.
2011-01-13, 13:41 #3
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- Dec 2009
- Seattle, WA
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Excellent article Mr. Spector! One caveat to keep in mind regarding UAC is that turning off notifications means that if the user does not have permission to perform the initiated activity, e.g., install software, then the action will fail with no notification. From the IT side of things, that's a good way to keep the Help Desk phones warm. But UAC should be managed from Group Policy in that case, shouldn't it?
2011-01-14, 17:41 #4
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- Dec 2010
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Hello, I thought I'd share what I do on XP that provides most, and in many cases more, functionality than cited in your terrific article. I like the areas you honed in on. I'm an XP holdout, I cannot stand the Vista/7 UI. There's a lot to like in terms of security and functionality, but the GUI gets in the way so much to this keyboard/command line user that I remain on XP (and don't let me get started on that Office Ribbon ).
Seven fast ways to open a folder
- I can't live without FileBox eXtender (http://www.hyperionics.com/; free but no longer updated/supported; 32- and 64-bit versions). It sits in the system tray, in every file open/save dialog box, and in every Windoze Explorer window. I can instantly add the current folder (or remove it if it's already saved) and navigate to ones I've been in recently.It allows for separators and sub-menus. It is a HUGE boon to my productivity! I'm constantly in and out of files, working on various projects, and use this constantly all day long.
- Another, related, app is FlashFolder (http://sourceforge.net/projects/flashfolder/). It does much the same thing, and more, and I would use it instead of FileBox eXtender except for the fact that it's only shows it's wonderful face in "file open/save" and browse for folder" dialog boxes. If it sat in the system tray and showed up in Explorer windows then I'd use it exclusively. I like it because it sits on top of the dlg box showing me the full path of where I am and, in addition to showing history of where I've been recently, also shows me open Win Explorer paths. I've used that feature a bunch.
In Windows 7's Search feature loses another customer you mentioned Google Desktop (GD). I used to use that and it saved me many times, including ability to recreate a document that had been deleted. Due to my concerns with how much information Google has on me I now stay away from GD; I also want to stay away from tools that index in order to not bog down the system with additional processes (MS Search was really bad in this area) and hard drives with large indices. Instead I found and use these two gems (free, of course ):
- Jam Software's UltraSearch (http://www.jam-software.com/freeware/#UltraSearch). This tool uses the MFTs to provide very quick search results, nearly instantaneous after the first result (I don't defrag often and so my results could potentially be faster than they are). Very, very handy and my first option when looking for a file. There's a very popular alternative, Everything, which I tried but prefer UltraSearch (I forget why).
- UltraSearch only searches local drives and for file names. When I want to look for a file on a network drive or search for text within a file I turn to UltraFileSearch (by Stegisoft; www.ultrafilesearch.com). Lots of ways to customize the search to narrow in on that missing target.
I suspect others have done some detailed analysis into how GD integrates with the Google Borg (calling home carrying what payload).
Seven ways to alter the desktop with a keystroke
- WinSplit Revolution is a wonderful, free utility to manipulate windows. It has hotkeys and customizable window positions to make it even better than what Win 7 offers (at least as far as I've tried).
- MinimizeMe allows you to move a window to the MimizeMe system tray icon; there are freeware tools that will move a window to the system tray, but I wanted to move them to a single system tray icon and this one does just that... at the touch of a hotkey. You can restore all apps back through a hot key or one at a time through right-click
Five ways to launch an application
- I like the Vista/Win 7 start menu's ability to type to find a program or file (or folder?). Other than that I like the XP style much more (faster for me to delve into the menu structure, which I've altered and organize everything by category). To get that functionality on XP there are a few free tools out there; I use Start Menu 7 (http://www.startmenu7.com/index.html).
Three mouse-free ways to select a program
- I use VistaSwitch (www.ntwind.com). Not as "pretty" as the slick Win+Tab combination but is quite functional including numeric access and screen preview.
Two Windows Explorer shift + right-click tricks
- Windows XP Power Toy "Command Prompt Here"
- Ninotech's Path Copy--used this all the time when I was in network management; still use it when doing batch file development and web work. You can set up custom copy methods but the various built-in ones were extremely functional. Also you can select multiple files (or all files) in a folder and copy the filenames. Woohoo!
One way to copy/move files to an unopened place
- The Windows Explorer toolbar has a couple icons to copy and move to unopened places. If yours doesn't show them then add them by customizing the toolbar.
I hope these prove to be helpful to folks on XP. Cheers!
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