Put multiple clocks in the taskbar
Are you a Windows 7 power user? Do you want to be? I’ve scoured my archive of tips, shortcuts, and secrets to find the hidden gems even some Windows experts don’t know about. These aren’t esoteric tweaks – they’re honest-to-goodness productivity boosters that will save you time and keystrokes.
Let’s get started …
Quick! What time is it in Abu Dhabi right now? How about London, Moscow, or Beijing? Even if you could memorize the time zones, good luck keeping up with the changes in Daylight Saving Time.
Normally, that doesn’t matter, but if you have friends, family, or co-workers in a distant time zone, knowing the exact time can help you coordinate times for phone calls or online conferences.
For a foolproof solution, make this small tweak to the Windows 7 clock. Click the time at the right side of the taskbar and then click Change Date And Time Settings. On the Additional Clocks tab, you can define one or two extra clocks, each with a time zone and a custom label of your choosing.
After you get things set up, click the time to see your custom clocks. The big one is local time, and the ones next to it are your custom additions.
Minimize annoying sounds with the Volume Mixer
I don’t know about you, but the little beeps, blurps, and whoops that some Windows programs make are like fingernails on a chalkboard. Do you really need to hear a sound every time someone one of your friends tweets something?
If you want to keep those sounds around but tone them down, use the Volume Mixer. Right-click the speaker icon next to the clock to open the menu shown here. Click Open Volume Mixer to display a set of sliders, with a master volume control on the left and individual sliders for every open program.
Use shortcut keys to open your favorite programs
This is one of my absolute favorite Windows 7 tips. You already know you can pin program icons to the Windows taskbar, and you can drag them left or right to arrange them in any order you want.
That order is actually more meaningful than you think. Each one of the first ten icons on the taskbar is associated with a unique keyboard shortcut: press the Windows key plus the number of the shortcut to open that program, or switch to it if it’s already running. (Use Windows key+0 for the 10th icon on the taskbar.)
So, in the example shown here, as long as you know that the IE9 icon is in position 1 and Chrome is in position 8, you can get to each program any time.
Your shortcut keys will, of course, be different. If Chrome is your absolute favorite program, you can pin its icon in the first position and it will open for you with Windows key+1.
For programs that show thumbnails for each open document, you can use the keyboard shortcut to cycle through each one. IE is a good example: in this example, based on the layout of icons I have on my desktop, I can press Windows key+1 repeatedly to cycle through all open tabs.
Copy the path for a file name
This tip might sound weird and esoteric until you think about how you many times you’re likely to use it.
You’re looking through Windows Explorer and you find a file you want to upload to Facebook or use as your Twitter profile picture. So you open your web browser, find the upload page, and then … ah, crap, you have to browse through all those folders until you find the folder with the picture in it. Right?
In Windows Explorer hold down the Shift key and right-click on the file you want to upload. That extra keystroke reveals the hidden Copy As Path command on the shortcut menu. Click it, and the full path of the file is copied to the Clipboard.
Now go back to that web page, open the Browse dialog box, and paste in that copied path. No browsing required.
I use this shortcut constantly. It’s amazing how many times it comes in handy. It will save you many, many clicks.
Get detailed system info
When I’m helping a friend or family member tune up a slow or troublesome PC, one of the first things I check for is whether they have the latest BIOS revision. Most people never update their BIOS, and in the case of hardware or OS upgrades it can often be the key to solving mysterious crashes.
You can use a search engine to find the latest BIOS release for a particular PC model, but how do you know what’s in the PC you’re working with?
Use the System Information utility. You can find it easily enough: just click Start and begin typing System Information in the search box. The shortcut should pop to the top of the list within four or five characters.
The System Summary page includes a wealth of information, including the manufacturer and model (for major-brand PCs), the exact processor, and the BIOS version and date.
TO BE CONTINUE IN NEXT POST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,