Created originally for facilitating on-the-road presentations, the often-overlooked Windows Mobility Center brings together shortcuts for frequently used system settings.
Since its first release in Vista, the Mobility Center has been refined by Microsoft and customized by the various laptop vendors — and some third-party developers.
A simple tile interface for fast app launching
I can’t remember the last time I gave a presentation. But I can say without hesitation that the last time I used the Windows Mobility Center (WMC) was today, and not just to research this story. This convenient collection of Windows utilities provides a handy, one-stop resource for common laptop controls — no presentations necessary.
WMC’s tile-based UI might seem like an unintended precursor to Windows 8’s new-interface tiles, but WMC is far less intrusive — it is, perhaps, what Win8’s tiles should have been.
WMC enables instant access to various — primarily mobile — system settings, saving multiple trips to the Control Panel, system tray, or elsewhere. Windows supports up to eight WMC tiles by default; OEMs can add up to eight more. As shown in Figure 1, the default controls typically include speaker volume, display brightness, battery status, wireless network status, external display connection, Sync settings, and presentation settings. WMC is included with Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions and with Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT. It’s disabled on desktop PCs but reportedly can be enabled by making changes in the Registry.
Depending on how a laptop manufacturer has configured WMC, some of these settings might be omitted and additional ones added (see Figure 2).
There are numerous ways to access the Windows Mobility Center, such as clicking Control Panel/Hardware and Sound, or via Start/All Programs/Accessories. But the quickest way is to simply enter Windows key + X in both Win7 and Win8 (where it will show up in a list of system tools). Pinning it to the taskbar is quicker yet. Just launch WMC, right-click its icon on the taskbar, and select Pin this program to taskbar.