7 Excellent Windows Tips and Tricks


Windows tips and tricks are often very easy to find, as there are number of blogs and websites which focus on this particular topic. Here in this post we have collected 7 short and sweet, easy to apply tips and tricks for windows (7, 8 and vista 7).

Windows 7

1. Quickly minimise inactive windows for a better overview 

If you use multiple applications during work and often shift focus, the desktop tends to get completely covered. You can manually minimise all inactive applications but there’s a quicker way. Simply press [Win] + [Home] to hide all but the currently active window. For this, you require administrator rights so must either be using an elevated account or provide the appropriate password when prompted. As soon as you reuse the button combination, all applications which were minimised appear again exactly as they were. You can also use [Win]+[D] to hide or restore all windows including the current active one.

Windows Vista 7

2. Restrict user account space

If you and your family share a computer and you would like to prevent other users from filling the internal hard disk with downloads, you can easily do so with individual user accounts. With individual user accounts, every member is allocated an area to save his/her data. However, if you would like to provide a limited amount of space on the hard disk to every user account, Windows can manage memory allocations. To do this, start Windows Explorer, click with the right mouse button on the icon of the hard disk for which you would like to set up memory allocations. Then select the command ‘Properties’ in the context menu, activate the tab for ‘Quota’ in the following dialogue and select ‘Show quota settings’.

For this, you require administrator rights so must either be using an elevated account or provide the appropriate password when prompted.

Put a tick in front of ‘Enable quota management’ to limit storage space for user accounts. Also activate the option ‘Deny disk space to users exceeding quota limit’. You can now define a standard limit for new users. To specify the memory location of existing user accounts, click ‘Quota entries’. Windows will present all user accounts in a list with their settings for storage limits as well as the location currently in use. You can see absolute values as well as proportional usage of the restricted memory amount. If an account is missing in the list, create a new entry for it with ‘Quota’ | ‘New quota entry…’. For confirmation, double click any user account. In the following dialogue, you can specify the maximum memory amount for the account as well as a warning threshold level. Exit the dialogue with ‘OK’ or by clicking the red cross icon in the title bar.

NOTE if the amount of data a user has reaches the warning level of the limit of the memory quota, Windows will show a notification on the taskbar.

3. Using the ‘Address’ toolbar in the task bar

Usually, you start programs like the Registry Editor by typing its name in the Start menu’s search field, which also doubles as the ‘Run…’ dialogue. However, Windows also gives you an option to integrate similar functionality directly in the taskbar. For this, click the bar with the right mouse button and select the option ‘Toolbars’ from the context menu and then click on ‘Address’. Now, an input field just like the one used for typing in websites in Internet Explorer appears. This comparison is appropriate since you can enter any website name here and open it with [Enter]. Your default browser opens and loads the desired page. However, if you enter a program name like ‘regedit.exe’ or ‘calc.exe’, then the operating system will run the desired tool. The program file must be located in the default system folders or the system will ask you to specify the program’s complete path.

NOTE: If desired, you can reposition the input field on the taskbar by clicking it with the right mouse button and removing the tick in front of the ‘Lock toolbar’ option. Drag the checkered line on the left side of the field to resize or relocate it. You can lock the taskbar after you’re done.

4. Getting a good idea of the energy consumption of a computer

For diagnosing energy consumption, type ‘cmd’ in the search field of the Start menu and then click the file ‘cmd.exe’ with the right mouse button and select the context command ‘Run as administrator’. After confirming the User Account Control prompt with ‘Yes’, type the command ‘powercfg/ energy’ in the window and press the [Enter] key. Windows will now audit the system behaviour for 60 seconds. In the meantime, you can go on working. Subsequently, the result is saved by default as a file with the title ‘energy report.html’ in the currently open folder which you see in the command prompt. Optionally, you can also define a custom target file with the parameter ‘-output’.

Windows 8

5. Save screen shots directly as an image file

Use the button combination [Windows] + [Print] to save a screen shot of the current view on your monitor as a PNG file. PNG files can be opened and processed by image editing programs later. While doing so, the display will go dark for a short while as an indication. The file is saved in the folder “Individual images” of the current user profile. The name follows the sample “Screenshot (1).png” with a consecutive number in brackets. The other ways to do this known so far for screenshots as well as the snipping tool function the same.

6. Restarting Windows Surface quickly

From time to time, you would want to restart Windows Surface to make it function faster and for more responsiveness, but you do not need to go through the complete boot process to do so. This was so far possible by ending “explorer.exe” in the task manager and manually restarting it. This has been made simpler in Windows 8. For this, open the task manager with [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [Esc] or the context menu on the toolbar. In the following dialogue, click left on “More details.” In the apps list, mark the “Windows explorer” in the windows processes section. You shall find the new command “New start” in the right side in the dialogue as well as in the context menu of the elements concerned. Without additional queries, let Windows Surface end automatically and restart.

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