Readers offer more ways to enhance Windows 7

Dennis o'reilly By Dennis O’Reilly

Like pouring hot fudge onto vanilla ice cream, there’s nothing like making a good thing better.

Even with near-universal positive reviews, Windows 7 could still stand some improvements — and Windows Secrets readers know just how to enhance the new OS.

Sure, some hardware vendors have been slow to provide Win7 device drivers for some of their products. And some people attempting to upgrade to Windows 7 are greeted with blue screens and infinite loops. But most Windows 7 users wouldn’t think of reverting to their previous OS.

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That doesn’t mean they haven’t found ways to make using Windows 7 even better. For example, Cris DeRaud discovered a script that lets you create a Win7 restore point with a single click:
  • “I found today that creating a restore point in Windows 7 takes on a new twist and requires knowledge of the proper paths and security settings. When my computer is running really sweet, I’ll add restore points of my own. I name them ‘smooth sailing.’

    “Well, I ran into a snag today trying to make a restore point the Vista way because the option link is all changed in Windows 7. I found an easy alternative from a group of Windows 7 lovers who spell out all the options [on the Windows Seven Forums site].

    “I chose the option to download the script and icon file they have available. Now I just click the icon, name my restore point, and click OK.”

If you prefer to use the manual approach to creating a restore point in Windows 7, right-click the Computer icon, choose Properties, click System Protection in the left pane, verify that System Protection is on, click the Create button, give the restore point a name, and click Create again.

Free MS tool facilitates networking XP PCs

In his Nov. 5 Woody’s Windows column (paid content), contributing editor Woody Leonhard described ways to network PCs running Windows 7, Vista, and XP. Stuart Berg reminds us of a free utility from Microsoft that makes finding XP systems on a home network nearly automatic:
  • “In your article ‘Add Windows 7 PCs to Vista and XP networks,’ you never mentioned adding the Link-Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD) Responder to XP. I believe that it makes the networking experience easier and more reliable. If running XP SP2, it can be downloaded [from the Microsoft Download Center], and if running XP SP3, it can be downloaded [via Knowledge Base article 922120].”
Note that the LLTD Responder utility requires a Windows Genuine Advantage scan and works only with 32-bit XP PCs.

UPDATE 2009-11-19: In the Nov. 19 Known Issues column, reader Ian Journeaux describes the manual method for installing the LLTD Responder utility.

Bring the Quick Launch toolbar back to Windows 7

In the Nov. 5 Known Issues column, Ed Kirkpatrick described how he created a custom Windows 7 toolbar to replace the Quick Launch toolbar, which is missing by default in Win7. David Shirly was one of several readers who provided us with instructions for restoring Win7’s Quick Launch toolbar:
  • “Regarding Dennis O’Reilly’s piece on Windows 7 early adopters: Quick Launch is still available, but it’s hidden by default. You have to know where to look:

    C: Users  username  AppData  Roaming  Microsoft  Internet Explorer  Quick Launch

    “Simply create a new toolbar and point to this location. You’ll have to enable ‘show hidden files’ to find it.”
UPDATE 2009-11-19: In the Nov. 19 Known Issues column, reader Al Arntson points out that using Windows 7’s Pin to Taskbar context-menu (right-click) option to place application shortcuts in the taskbar is simpler than re-enabling the Quick Launch toolbar.

Thanks to David and everyone else who let us know how to find this (suddenly) hidden Windows 7 feature. Anybody know where I can find Win7’s Program Manager?

Readers Cris, Stuart, and David will each receive a gift certificate for a book, CD, or DVD of their choice for sending tips we printed. Send us your tips via the Windows Secrets contact page.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2009-11-12: