Early adopter of Windows 7 shares his secrets

Dennis o'reilly By Dennis O’Reilly

For most Windows users, the transition to Windows 7 will be bump-free.

But even if the initial installation goes smoothly, you know there’ll be glitches — some big and some small.

There’s no teacher like experience. Fortunately, however, there’s also no reason we have to learn everything the hard way. You can avoid a few potholes by listening to one early Win7 adopter, Ed Kirkpatrick:
  • “We have been using the released-to-manufacturing version of Windows 7 Professional since it became available through our Microsoft TechNet account. You may have already learned these facts about Windows 7, but I haven’t seen them written up in any reviews yet.

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    • 1. There’s no ‘Classic View’ of anything (no workaround available without third-party software).

    • 2. There’s no Quick Launch toolbar available (see below for a workaround we like even better).

    • 3. The WPA2-Personal wireless security key can be seen in clear text by anyone after it has been typed in (see below for Microsoft’s suggested workaround).

    • 4. There’s no way to copy User Profiles (except the Default User profile — see below for more info).

    “If anyone has found a resolution to any of these ‘problems/features,’ we are interested to hear about them.

    “We opened up a security issue case (ID 109083169417505) for #3 above, and a technician was very helpful with the other issues as well.

    “A workaround for #2 is to create a folder in the root of C: (we called it QuickLaunch) and put links there to all the programs you would normally put in the Quick Launch. Then right-click the taskbar, choose Toolbars, New Toolbar and direct it to the folder in the root of C:. We then move this toolbar over against the Start Menu so it’s in the same position as the Quick Launch.

    UPDATE 2009-11-12: In the Nov. 12 Known Issues column, reader David Shirly describes how to restore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7.

    “For #3 above, the Microsoft tech-support engineer stated that Microsoft’s stance is that WPA2-Personal (or lower) is only for ‘home use’ security, and the owner/user should be able to see the security key at any time. If enterprise security is required, he said, WPA2-Enterprise with a Radius server should be implemented. I asked him about an in-between scenario — i.e., a public implementation where a Radius server is not feasible — and his answer was to use WPA2-Personal along with MAC address listing.

    “For #4 above, the Microsoft tech-support engineer told us Microsoft’s stance is that user profiles shouldn’t be copied all the way down through Windows 2000. So with Windows 7 you just can’t. One workaround could be to use Microsoft’s USMT (User State Migration Tool). [See Microsoft’s User’s Guide to USMT.] But this is primarily to move user data from one computer to another, not to copy user profiles from one profile to another on the same computer.

    “A more-reasonable method seemed to be to ‘build up’ the default user profile, which can be copied. [See ‘How to customize default user profiles in Windows 7,’ MS Knowledge Base article 973289.] We haven’t had time to try this yet, but hopefully it will do what we need.”
This is just the first of a torrent of Windows 7 tips and tweaks you’ll be reading about from Windows Secrets in the months to come. I hope you’ll take us along on your personal Windows 7 adventure. Enjoy the ride!

Reader Ed Kirkpatrick will receive a gift certificate for a book, CD, or DVD of his choice for sending a comment we published. Send us your tips via the Windows Secrets contact page.

The Known Issues column brings you readers’ comments on our recent articles. Dennis O’Reilly is technical editor of WindowsSecrets.com.
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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2009-11-05: