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The WindoWs
     The WindoWs


                       guide
                    guide
                      The Windows Power User Guide 1
The WindoWs
                                         guide
                                          Automation and ease of use are
                                          all well and good, but Mike
                                          Williams believes you can get
                                          more from your PC by taking
                                          control with advanced features




M
                  icrosoft has done      Windows 7’s hidden options and
                  a fine job with        tools, which will enable you to
                  Windows 7. All you     tailor the operating system around
                  need do is pop in      your personal style of computing.
                  an installation disc   Take your PC knowledge to a whole
and provide the installer with some      new level as you learn how to make
internet access information, then        Windows work your way!
you can leave the room and make
a cup of tea. When you come back         Unlock your apps
you’ll have a fully working PC,          Let’s start our quest for hidden
replete with features that make          power in a familiar and frustrating
working and playing easier.              place – program lockups. One
    Windows 7’s Taskbar makes it         moment your application is ticking
quicker to find, launch and manage       along nicely and the next it’s
your apps. There are also Libraries,     completely unresponsive. In the
which help you locate related files      past there was nothing you could
so you can view your work without        do other than wait an aeon and
spending ages browsing your hard         then close the program manually,
drive. You get improved security, a      often losing valuable data.               1 Find out why a program   else, you’ll see it here. You’ll be able
host of new and revamped applets,            If this happens to you, launch        has locked up – and        to close that process in a few clicks.
low-level tweaks that improve            Windows 7’s Resource Monitor              maybe get it going again       If you opt to close a process, be
performance and much more.               (resmon.exe). When it’s running,          – in a couple of clicks.   careful. Kill a critical component
    However, for PC power users          you’ll see a list of processes that are                              and you’ll bring your PC to its
like us, there’s a lingering question:   plodding along happily. Look down                                    knees. Conversely, if you know the
life might never have been easier,       the list and you’ll probably see one                                 process in question isn’t important,
but could it be better? With a little    process highlighted in red. This                                     shut it down and your locked PC
effort, some digging and a bit of        is likely to be your troublesome                                     might start working again.
clever tweaking, could we squeeze        program. Right-click it, select                                          There you go – proof that a little
more from our machines? With this        ‘Analyse Wait Chain’ and if the                                      digging and taking control of your
in mind, we’ve gone on the hunt for      program is waiting for something                                     PC can save time and future hassle. 3

                                                                                                                      The Windows Power User Guide 3
    The Windows power user guide



    Remote access
    Fix problems on a friend’s PC without stepping away from your desk



B
3               eing a Windows 7 power                                                                                    working. However, this relies on
                user is generally a                                                                                       Windows 7 being able to work with
                very good thing. You                                                                                      both your routers, and it’s prone to
                understand how                                                                                            being disabled for other reasons.
                everything works,                                                                                         A more reliable option is to ask
    know all the shortcuts and can                                                                                        them to click ‘Use email to send an
    freely bend Windows to your will.                                                                                     invitation’. This will launch their
    However, with this power comes                                                                                        email client with an invitation file
    responsibility. As news of your                                                                                       attached, and they’ll need to send
    guru-like status spreads, friends                                                                                     this to your email address.
    and family will start expecting you
    to solve their computer problems.                                                                                     Taking control
        Heading next door to fix your                                                                                     Either way, Windows Remote
    neighbour’s PC isn’t too much of                                                                                      Assistance should open a new
    a hassle, but if the system is much                                                                                   window on your friend’s PC with a
    further away then you’ll want an             1 Wizards make it easy to connect to and control a remote PC. You
                                                                                                                          12-character connection password.
    easier alternative. That’s where             can also use text chat to communicate with the PC’s owner.
                                                                                                                          They’ll have to pass this to you
    Windows Remote Assistance can                                                                                         separately, and you’ll then have
    help. This tool enables you to see           computer to be controlled remotely’                                      everything you need to log in.
    the desktop on a remote computer,            box must also be checked.                                                    If you’ve opted for the email
    run programs, find the problem                   Once its core functionality is                                       approach, wait for the email
    and make the tweaks needed to fix            enabled, your friend can launch                                          attachment to arrive, open the
    it, all from the comfort of your PC.         Remote Assistance (msra.exe). They                                       file with Windows and Remote
                                                 should click ‘Invite someone you                                         Assistance should fire up. Enter
    Preparations                                 trust to help you’ to do this. If both                                   the password that your friend is
    The configuration process starts on          of you have Windows 7 then, in                                           looking at and you’ll be connected.
    the remote PC – the one that you’re          theory, they can click ‘Use Easy                                             If you’re trying Easy Connect,
    trying to view. First, ask your friend       Connect’ to get Remote Assistance                                        you need to launch Remote
    to click ‘Start’, then right-click                                                                                    Assistance (msra.exe) manually.
    ‘Computer’ or ‘My Computer’,                                                                                          Click ‘Help someone who has
    select ‘Properties’ and view their
    Remote Settings. The ‘A llow
                                                   Friends and family will start                                          invited you’ and select ‘Use Easy
                                                                                                                          Connect’. If this works, Remote
    Remote Assistance connections’
    box must be checked, and if they
                                                 expecting you to fix all their                                           Assistance will then ask for your
                                                                                                                          friend’s password. If it doesn’t, try
    click ‘Advanced’, the ‘A llow this           computer problems                                                        the email method instead.


     Set up a Virtual Private Network




    1 Open the door
        A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a secure
    way to connect PCs over the internet. First,
                                                           2 Make the connection
                                                                On the other Windows 7 PC, go to ‘Network
                                                           and Sharing Centre | Set up a new connection
                                                                                                                 3 Troubleshooting
                                                                                                                       Can’t connect? Configure your firewalls to
                                                                                                                 open the Point-to-Point Tunnelling Protocol
    configure a PC to accept incoming connections.         | Connect to a workplace’. If you’re asked if you     (PPTP) port 1723. If you have a router, turn on
    Go to the ‘Network and Sharing Centre | Change         want to use an existing connection, choose to         ‘PPTP’ or ‘VPN’ (or ‘VPN pass-through’), and
    Adaptor Settings’, press [Alt] + [F] and select        create a new one. Click ‘Use my internet...’, enter   ‘Generic Route Encapsulation’. You may need to
    ‘New Incoming Connection’. Choose the user             the remote computer name or IP address, then          create a port forwarding rule to pass port 1723
    account belonging to the remote person, or             click ‘Next’. Enter the username and password         traffic to your PC’s local IP address. Check your
    add one now. Click ‘Next’, check ‘Through the          for your account on the other PC, click ‘Connect’     firewall/router logs – they may report incoming
    internet’ and click ‘Next | Allow Access | Close’.     and watch the connection dialog.                      connections and reveal where any problem lies.

    4         The Windows Power User Guide
                                                                                                   The Windows power user guide


Your copy of Remote Assistance
can’t simply log in to your friend’s
                                                 That’s the first stage complete.
                                                 You should now be able to see the
                                                                                             Fact file                        relying on descriptions, which they
                                                                                                                              may give you later, and could be
                                                                                             If you can’t make a
PC, even if you have the necessary               remote desktop. It may not look                                              enough for you to figure out exactly
                                                                                             Remote Assistance
password – that could be a security              very pretty – the background will           connection to a Windows
                                                                                                                              where they’re going wrong.
issue. Instead they’ll receive an                have been removed and colour                7 PC, ask your friend to            If you need to take charge, click
alert, warning them that someone                 will be set to 16-bit for bandwidth         run the Problem Steps            ‘Request Control’ on the Remote
is trying to use Remote Assistance.              reasons – but it’s adequate.                Recorder instead (psr.exe).      Assistance toolbar. Your friend will
    This alert asks whether they’re                  If you simply want to watch             It records everything            then be asked if they’ll allow you to
                                                                                             they’re doing and sends
willing to allow you to connect to               and understand what your friend                                              take control, and if they say yes,
                                                                                             you zipped-up screen
their PC. This dialog will display               is doing, then you can use the ‘Chat’       grabs, which are useful for
                                                                                                                              you’ll be able to run programs on
your account username for                        button to tell them so (it’s text chat      diagnosing problems.             their PC yourself. You can browse
reassurance that it’s you, although              – no microphones required). Your                                             the Start Menu, launch Control
if your username is something                    friend can then fire up whichever                                            Panel, check their Registry, open
anonymous like PowerUser then                    application is causing them                                                  the command line and generally
it’s best to tell your friend this in            problems and attempt whatever                                                apply whatever tweaks are
advance. They’ll need to click ‘Yes’             they’re trying to do, while you                                              necessary to get their system back
to permit this connection.                       observe. It’s far more effective than                                        into full working order.


 Share files easily with IIS




1 Getting started
      Install Windows 7 and you get a functional
copy of Microsoft’s internet Information Services
                                                           2 Welcome screen
                                                                Click ‘OK’ and Windows will install IIS and
                                                           configure its settings. When it’s done, confirm
                                                                                                                    3 Directory browsing
                                                                                                                         The default folder for your site is C:\inetpub\
                                                                                                                    wwwroot. You’ll see two files there: iisstart.htm
(IIS) – a web server that you can use to share files       that it’s working by entering http://localhost in        and welcome.png. Copy these to a backup folder
over the internet, or locally on your network.             your browser. If all is well then you’ll see the         (or delete them – they’re not important), then
IIS can be enabled in a moment. Click ‘Control             IIS welcome page. The same applies to other              drag and drop some files into the wwwroot
Panel | Programs | Turn Windows features on or             PCs on your network. If they can access you              folder. Click ‘Start’, type IIS and click ‘Internet
off’, check ‘Internet Information Services’, then          normally, they should be able to see the same            Information Services (IIS) Manager’. Click ‘Default
expand and select all the boxes for FTP Server             screen by entering http://, followed by your             Web Site’, double-click ‘Directory Browsing’ and
and Web Management Tools.                                  PC’s network name: http://MyPC, for instance.            click ‘Enable’ in the right-hand Actions pane.




4 Share freely
      Return to a network PC, enter http://MyPC
(using your host PC’s network name) and you’ll
                                                           5 MIME Types
                                                                 IIS only allows you to share files for which
                                                           it has a MIME type – a mapping standard that
                                                                                                                    6 Going global
                                                                                                                         If you’d like to share your files over the web
                                                                                                                    then IIS must be allowed through your firewall.
see an HTTP folder and the files it contains. Click        tells the system what it is. Place an MP4 file into      You’ll also have to enable port forwarding in your
on these to view or download them. This isn’t              your wwwroot folder, for instance, and people            router, passing http traffic (port 80) through to
attractive, but it lets you share files locally with       will be able to see, but not download it. To fix         the internal IP address of your PC. Then anyone
any http-capable device that can connect to                this, return to the IIS Manager and double-click         can enter your connection’s IP address into their
your network: Linux systems, Macs, phones and              ‘MIME Type’. To add support for .MP4 files, click        browser and view the files. Opening your PC in
more. To make it look better, you could create             ‘Add’, then type .mp4 in the ‘Extension’ box and         this way does constitute a security risk, so launch
an iisstart.html file that provides links to the files.    enter video/mpeg as the MIME type.                       IIS Help and read the IIS checklists first.         3


                                                                                                                                       The Windows Power User Guide 5
    The Windows power user guide



    Optimisation & calibration
    Improve your PC’s reliability and performance with help from these little-known tools



    W
3                      indows 7 will
                       generally do its
                                                 looks out for processes that are
                                                 particularly unstable, detects
                                                                                            Fact file                       inconsistent. From your point of
                                                                                                                            view, a program will seem horribly
                       best to work fully        those that seem to crash due to            If Windows 7 won’t load,        unstable, then start working again
                                                                                            you may not need to
                       automatically,            memory issues and applies several                                          for no apparent reason. Or, if you’ve
                                                                                            resort to using your
                       managing your             real-time fixes that may help solve        system disc. Press [F8]         made some tweak yourself, you
    PC with no intervention. There are,          the problem. If these work, great;         as your PC starts, choose       may think you’ve fixed the problem
    however, situations where a more             if not, it reverses the changes.           ‘Repair Your Computer’,         when the FTH deserves the credit.
    hands-on approach pays dividends.                Although it’s an excellent tool,       and Windows will load               To check for a situation like
        The Fault-Tolerant Heap (FTH),           FTH can be confusing because it            and display its selection       this, run REGEDIT, go to HKEY_
                                                                                            of recovery tools.
    for example, is a smart feature. It          makes application behaviour seem                                           LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\


     Monitor calibration




    1 Launch the wizard
        If you use your monitor’s default settings,
    there’s no way to be sure it’s displaying images
                                                          2 Gamma
                                                               The program is a straightforward wizard,
                                                          albeit in the slightly odd Windows Vista/7 style
                                                                                                                   3 Brightness
                                                                                                                        The next test is for brightness. You’ll need to
                                                                                                                   access and tweak the brightness control on your
    accurately. Your photos may look great to you,        (the ‘Back’ button is top-left on the screen,            monitor so that you can distinguish the man’s
    but appear washed out or with poor colour             making it easy to miss). Read the instructions           black shirt from his black jacket, while keeping
    balance to everyone else. The solution? Calibrate     and keep clicking ‘Next’ until you reach an              the ‘X’ in the background at a point where it’s
    your display. Use any software that came              explanation of the first test: the gamma check.          only just visible – it shouldn’t stand out, as it
    with your monitor first, otherwise launch the         You need to use the slider on the next page to           does here in the right-hand ‘too bright’ picture.
    Windows Display Calibration Wizard, either            minimise the visibility of the dots in the centre        Click Next and adjust your brightness, clicking
    from Control Panel or directly (it’s dccw.exe).       of each circle. Click ‘Next’ to give this a try.         ‘Back’ to remind yourself of the sample images.




    4 Compare and contrast
          Click ‘Next’ and you’ll be presented with
    the contrast test. Turn your monitor’s brightness
                                                          5 Colour balance
                                                               The colour balance test follows. Click ‘Next’
                                                          after this explanatory screen and you’ll see a
                                                                                                                   6 Tune your text
                                                                                                                         Windows 7 now displays the ClearType Text
                                                                                                                   Tuner, which checks that your PC is displaying
    setting up so that the two colours in the             range of grey bars – or at least that’s the idea.        text as clearly as it can. A range of text samples
    background are a bright white and deep black          If your colour balance is incorrect then you may         is displayed and you need to click the ones that
    (neither should be tending towards grey). Go          see a slight colour tint to the greys, which will        look best. Windows should now display images
    too far, however, and the creases in the man’s        also influence colour images. Use your monitor’s         and text accurately and clearly. Bear in mind that
    shirt begin to disappear. You need to turn            colour balance controls to correct this. Click           this calibration is affected by variables such as
    the contrast up as far as you can, but stop just      ‘Next’, and if you’re happy with what you’ve             room lighting, and you should calibrate the
    before the point where you start to lose detail.      done, click ‘Finish’ to recalibrate your display.        monitor again if there are any dramatic changes.

    6        The Windows Power User Guide
                                                                                       The Windows power user guide


Microsoft\FTH and examine the
State key. Any executable protected
by FTH will be listed there.                                                                                              5 Relocating your search
    To turn off FTH monitoring, set                                                                                          index to a faster drive
the ‘Enabled’ value to 0. Your PC                                                                                                      can improve
will probably be less stable, but if                                                                                                 performance.
there are crashes you’ll be able to
spot the program responsible –
FTH won’t be masking things.
    Experimentation is key here
– you need to change the FTH
monitoring algorithm to suit your          1 The Resource Meter provides an
needs and computing style. Drop            in-depth view of what’s running.
the ‘CrashVelocity’ value from 3
to 2, for instance, and increase           be essential drivers or Windows
‘CrashWindowsInMinutes’ from 60            components, but if a program
to 120. FTH will now intervene if          you’ve installed seems to be causing
an application crashes twice in two        regular system slowdowns, consider


                                                                                     Optimise Search
hours, rather than three times in          uninstalling or updating it.
one hour. This will make it more                If you want a more in-depth look
likely to detect and fix problems.         at how your PC is being used, the
    The system does have its limits.       upgraded Windows 7 Resource
If the crash isn’t heap-related it’ll      Monitor is a useful tool. To access,
do nothing, but there’s no harm in         it, click ‘Start’, type resmon.exe        Find the files you need quickly and easily
trying and tweaking further. Find          and press [Enter]. You’ll find tabs       with our Windows tuning tips
out more about FTH by visiting             that detail your running processes
Microsoft’s Ask The Performance            and their use of CPU, RAM, hard           Click ‘Start’, type Index and click ‘Indexing Options’ to see
Team blog at www.bit.ly/d1JStu.            drive and network bandwidth.              the locations indexed by Windows 7’s Search tool. Some
    Windows 7 has many other                    Do you want to know which            programs are added automatically, so click ‘Modify’ and
weapons in its fault-finding               programs are accessing the                uncheck the box next to any you don’t need. Add any other
arsenal. Chief among these are the         internet? Click ‘Network | TCP            folders you’d like indexing so they can be searched quickly.
management and monitoring tools.           Connections’ to view them all. Is             Next, click ‘Advanced’ and select the ‘File Types’ tab.
These do a great job of monitoring         your hard drive thrashing for no          If there’s a file type that you’re sure you’ll never want
your PC’s boot and shutdown                apparent reason? Click ‘Disk | Disk       indexing, clear the box to its left. If you’ve more than one
processes, and will alert you to any       Activity’ to spot the culprit. Perhaps    hard drive, click ‘Index Settings’ and ensure ‘Index Location’
programs that are slowing things           a file is locked, making it impossible    is pointing at a folder on your fastest storage device.
down. Launch the Event Viewer              to move or delete. If this happens,           This should yield some speed improvements, but there’s
(eventvwr.exe) and browse to               you’ll need to know which program         more scope for increased search performance. To advance
Applications and Services Logs\            is to blame. Click ‘CPU | Associated      things further, it’s necessary to tweak the Registry. Launch
Microsoft\Windows\Diagnostics              Handles’, type the file name in the       REGEDIT and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\
– Performance\Operational to take          Search box and press [Enter].             Microsoft\Windows Search\Gathering Manager.
a look. Scroll down the list and                The more you use Resource                If you want indexing to be as unobtrusive as possible,
you’ll see many services, programs         Monitor, the more you’ll grow to          even if it’s relatively slow, set ‘RobotThreadsNumber’ to
and processes that are listed as           love it. It gives you a great handle      1 (one worker thread only) and ‘PerformanceLevel’ to 1.
compromising your computer’s               on what’s happening under the
performance. Many of these will            hood and is an indispensable tool.
                                                                                        Windows Search syntax
                                                                                     isn’t commonly exploited,
                                                                                     but can pay dividends
                                                                                     If you’d prefer indexing to be as fast as Windows can make
                                                                                     it, set ‘PerformanceLevel’ to 5 and ‘RobotThreadsNumber’
                                                                                     to 0. The indexer will decide how many threads it needs.
                                                                                          The indexer can consume a lot of RAM. Windows corrects
                                                                                     this over time, but you can recover RAM manually by
                                                                                     launching an elevated command line and entering net stop
                                                                                     wsearch and net start wsearch to stop and restart the tool.
                                                                                          You can find things even more quickly with Windows
                                                                                     Search syntax. This isn’t commonly exploited and can pay
                                                                                     dividends. To see how it works, enter content:taskbar.
                                                                                     This searches even unindexed files for the word ‘taskbar’.
                                                                                     Microsoft publishes an excellent guide, which can be
                                                                                     downloaded from www.bit.ly/9pisUz. Finally, remember
                                                                                     that [F3] displays the Search window at the desktop, while
1 Is your PC booting slower than usual? If so, Windows 7’s performance diagnostics   shifting focus to the Search box in Explorer windows. n
may be able to tell you which processes are causing the problem.                                                                                       3


                                                                                                                      The Windows Power User Guide 7
    The Windows power user guide



    Hardcore media
    Extend the capabilities of Windows Media Center



    T
3              he Windows 7
               incarnation of Media
                                                 good, but not perfect. However,
                                                 with a little power user trickery you
                                                                                            Fact file                   If you don’t have a TV tuner, Media
                                                                                                                        Center won’t show you much.
                                                                                            We’ve highlighted two
               Center is streets ahead           can make it a whole lot better.            great Media Center          Install TunerFree MCE for instant
               of its Vista cousin. The             TunerSalad (www.mychannel               add-ons, but there are      access to live TV. You can stream
               interface has been                logos.com/TunerSalad.aspx),                many more around. Point     content from BBC iPlayer, ITV
    tweaked to make navigation easier,           removes the four-tuner limit. It           your browser at Hacking     Player, 4 on Demand and Demand
    and there’s a Media Center Gadget            does this by modifying system files,       Windows 7 Media Center      Five at 720p resolution, as well as
                                                                                            (www.hack7mc.com) for
    for simpler control. But the more            so although it’s well-regarded, you                                    BBC Radio and BBC HD. Media
                                                                                            some of the best.
    time you spend in Media Centre,              should always save any work and                                        Center may provide higher image
    the more you become aware that it’s          back up your PC before you start.                                      quality than you get on your TV.


     Configure your Windows PC as a media server




    1 Getting started
        You’ve probably built up a sizeable collection
    of multimedia files, so why limit them to your
                                                          2 Sharing the right way
                                                               If your main network is labelled ‘Public
                                                          network’, but it’s only used to connect trusted
                                                                                                               3 Tuned sharing
                                                                                                                    To share all your media across the network,
                                                                                                               launch Media Player and click the ‘Stream’
    PC? Apply a few tweaks and you’ll be able to          PCs in your home, click the ‘Public network’ link    button. Then click ‘Automatically allow devices
    access them from anything connected to your           and choose ‘Home or Work network’ instead.           to play all my media’ to enable full-scale media
    network. However, this will only work if your PC      Make the same check on any other Windows 7           sharing. If that’s not appropriate, you can click
    currently accesses your network using the Home        PCs on your network. This will provide access to     ‘Stream | More Streaming Options’ and decide
    or Work Network type. Right-click the network         shared Media Player music libraries. Open Media      which devices can access your media files.
    icon in your system tray and select ‘Open             Player on one of the network PCs and it will         Remember, this is for secure networks only –
    Network’ and ‘Sharing Center’ to take a look.         discover the tracks on your main computer.           don’t turn it on unless you trust every system.




    4 Make it available
         Click ‘Stream | Allow remote control of my
    player | Allow remote control on this network’.
                                                          5 Playlists
                                                               Windows Media Player will display a ‘Play
                                                          To’ window that enables you to add other
                                                                                                               6 Remote access
                                                                                                                    You can also access your media from a PC
                                                                                                               not on your network. To do so, click ‘Link an
    If you have any other Windows 7 PCs in your           media, then push it directly to your chosen PC       Online ID | Link Online ID’ and sign in with your
    network, repeat this and the previous step on         or device. That’s good, but there’s a better way     Windows Live ID account. Then select ‘Allow
    each of them. (They must be in a HomeGroup,           to share a playlist. Windows Media Player now        Internet Access to Home Media’. Remember,
    too.) Now right-click a song, video, picture or       enables you to share your media collection           business networks may block the necessary
    other media, choose ‘Play To’ and you’ll be able      online, making it accessible from almost             ports, or you might have to configure your
    to send it to another PC, a DLNA-certified device,    anywhere. Click ‘Stream | Allow internet access      router manually. See Microsoft’s guide (www.
    or a media extender such as the Xbox 360.             to home media’ to start setting this up.             bit.ly/bpcMuP) for details on how to do this.     3


    8         The Windows Power User Guide
                                                                                                  The Windows power user guide



    Features to master                                                                                               Command
    Improve your PC productivity with these handy Windows 7 shortcuts
                                                                                                                     line tricks
    M
3                     any of Windows 7’s
                      features appear
                      straightforward, yet
                                                                                                                     Work faster and more
                      have considerable                                                                              effectively with the
                      hidden depths. The                                                                             command prompt
    Taskbar, for instance, is far more
    powerful than many people realise,                                                                               Every power user will use the
    and mastering its secrets can make                                                                               command line from time to
    a real difference to your PC.                                                                                    time. It’s sometimes the only
        Taskbar icons can launch more                                                                                way to get a job done. To get
    than applications. They can also                                                                                 the most from your command
    represent folders, drives – anything                                                                             line sessions, you must first
    that you can place in a shortcut.                                                                                ensure you’re running with
    To try this, create a text file on your                                                                          administrator’s rights. If you’ve
    desktop, rename it to example.exe,                                                                               got a shortcut to the command
    then drag and drop it onto your           1 Taskbar icons can represent anything that you can place in a
                                                                                                                     line, just right-click on it and
    Taskbar and delete the original file.     shortcut. Left-click a Taskbar icon and drag to see its jump list.
                                                                                                                     select ‘Run As Administrator’.
    Right-click the shortcut, right-click                                                                            Alternatively, hold down [Shift]
    its file name and select ‘Properties’.
    Change the ‘Target’ and ‘Start In’
                                              Fact file                      this becomes too chaotic, you can
                                                                             hover your cursor over a Taskbar
                                                                                                                     and [Ctrl], then double-click on
                                                                                                                     your command line icon.
                                              If you gave up on
    boxes to point at the drive or folder                                    button, then middle-click an Aero            Essential though the
                                              ReadyBoost in Vista, it’s
    of your choice, and click ‘Change         time to try it again in
                                                                             thumbnail to close that application.    command line is, working with
    Icon’ to choose an appropriate icon.      Windows 7. The operating                                               it can be fiddly – particularly
    Click ‘OK’, and that’s it – the drive     system enables you to          Libraries                               if you’re grappling with long
    or folder you’ve specified is now         combine USB drives with        If your hard drive is untidy, try       paths. Thankfully, Windows 7
    accessible with a single click.           larger caches for the best     Libraries – another underused           has a trick to make this easier.
                                              possible speed boost.
        If you prefer keyboard shortcuts,                                    feature. Libraries aggregate the        Drag and drop a file or folder
    hold down the [Windows] key and                                          contents of several folders and list    onto the command line window
    press 1 to launch the first Taskbar                                      them in a single view. This enables     and the associated path will be
    icon, 2 the second and so on, up to                                      you to collect related documents,       filled in automatically.
    0 for the 10th. Alternatively, press                                     wherever they’re stored on your              Scrolling back to find
    [Windows] + [T] to move the focus                                        hard drive. Best of all, it lets you    information takes a while too,
    to the Taskbar, then use the left and                                    search only those folders, so you’ll    but again there are ways to
    right arrows to select an icon and                                       always get results quickly.             improve this. Right-click the
    press [Enter] to launch it.                                                  To begin your exploration, Click    command window title bar,
         Once an application is running,                                     ‘Start’, type Libraries and click the   select ‘Properties’, increase
    hold [Shift] and click or middle-                                        ‘Libraries’ link, then double-click     the number of buffers and the
    click its Taskbar button to launch                                                                               prompt will remember more
    another instance. Holding down
    [Ctrl] while you click on a Taskbar
                                                Libraries collect related                                            lines. Then right-click in the
                                                                                                                     window and select ‘Find’ to
    button cycles through all instances       documents, wherever they                                               search for any text you need.
                                                                                                                          If you want to use text
                                              are on your hard drive
    of that application (an app-specific,
    faster version of [Alt] + [Tab]). If                                                                             elsewhere, you could send it
                                                                                                                     to the clipboard directly. Enter
                                                                             the ‘Documents’ Library. Initially      a command such as DIR “C:\
                                                                             the Library says it includes ‘Two       Program Files” | CLIP, for
                                                                             locations’, but click that link, then   instance, and the final CLIP will
                                                                             ‘Add’ and you can include any other     pipe the files in the folder you
                                                                             folders that you like. These stay in    specify to the clipboard.
                                                                             the same disk location – the only            Our favourite Windows 7
                                                                             change is that the contents will be     techniques involve updated
                                                                             visible in the Documents library.       tools such as defrag.exe. This
                                                                                 To create custom locations,         now includes switches to run
                                                                             right-click in the Libraries folder,    defrags at a higher priority (/H)
                                                                             select ‘New | Library’, and add a       and to defrag several drives at
                                                                             library for your projects. Next,        the same time, which improves
                                                                             add folders from across your PC to      performance. Enter defrag /?
                                                                             bring all your work files together.     to see what’s on offer. n
                                                                                 Libraries take a little getting
                                                                             used to, but when you understand        Learn to take control of your PC
    1 Use keyboard shortcuts to move between Taskbar icons. You can          their benefits you’ll wonder how        with PowerShell – see p56.
    reposition the Taskbar to the top, left or right of your screen.         you ever lived without them. PCP

                                                                                                                           The Windows Power User Guide 9
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