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Windows 7 vs Windows Vista: the UAC Benchmark

Posted by ascultradio on November 20, 2009

Windows 7 vs Windows Vista: the UAC Benchmark :

 

One of the most hated features of Windows Vista is the User Account Control, or UAC in short. Many people found it annoying and chose to disable it right away, even if this meant exposing their system to additional security threats. In Windows 7, Microsoft has seriously changed this feature. Now users have a lot more control over it and how it works and it should provide a better user experience. To see how much improvement this means in numbers, I have run a comparison between the default Windows Vista and Windows 7 UAC levels. Let’s see which one wins and why.

Benchmark Description: What I Tested

and customized it a bit to be as relevant as possible for both Windows 7 and Windows Vista.

The list of tests I ran is the following:

  • Running an application as an Administrator – I ran random applications as an administrator, by right-clicking on their shortcuts and choosing ‘Run as administrator’. This is done when you need to use older applications, compatible only with Windows XP, and which need access to system files and settings.
  • Changes to files and folders in the Windows and Program Files folders – I tried to edit random system files found in both Windows and Program Files folders. I also tried to create new folders and then delete them.
  • Installing applications -I installed several applications, from CD burners to browser plugins and antivirus software.
  • Uninstalling applications – I uninstalled the same list of applications used in the installation exercise.
  • Installing & uninstalling device drivers – in order to test this, I installed drivers for all the components in my PC and then I uninstalled them.
  • Installing ActiveX controls – for this test I used the ActiveX from Nvidia’s driver download page.
  • Changing settings for Windows Firewall – with Windows Firewall enabled, I customized some of its settings and rules.
  • Changing UAC settings – for this test I turned on and off the User Account Control feature.
  • Configuring Windows Update Settings – I changed the Windows Update settings.
  • Adding or removing user accounts – I created and deleted multiple user accounts, both as standard users and administrators.
  • Changing a user’s account type – this test involved changing the type for one of the test accounts from standard to administrator and vice-versa.
  • Configuring Parental Controls – for this test I set different Parental Controls rules for different user accounts.
  • Running Task Scheduler – this test is pretty weird. In Windows Vista, if you run the Task Scheduler from Start Menu -> Accessories -> System Tools, no UAC prompts are shown. However, if you run it from Control Panel -> System and Maintenance -> Administrative Tools, you do get an UAC prompt. Therefore I ran the shortcut from the Control Panel in both Windows Vista and Windows 7.
  • Backup & Restore Files and Settings Using Backup & Restore or Windows Easy Transfer – I used both tools to backup and restore user data and settings.
  • Viewing or changing another user’s folders and files – this meant browsing through another user’s folder, adding and removing files and folders.
  • Running Disk Defragmenter – I ran this tool to defragment several drives
  • Changes to system-wide settings – I changed different settings in the Control Panel applets, including security policies.

All these tests were run with the default UAC levels. In Windows Vista this means having UAC turned on while in Windows 7, it means having it turned on and set to ‘Notify only when programs try to make changes to my computer’.

Test Results

The test results are summarized in the table below..

 

In Windows Vista, an UAC prompt is triggered in all 17 scenarios. In Windows 7, in only 5.5 of them. The half of point was assigned due to the fact that, when uninstalling some applications, Windows 7 can show an UAC prompt. This happens only when you uninstall applications which modify important system settings. In the tests I ran, only the uninstall of the Microsoft Silverlight plugin triggered an UAC prompt, while all other applications did not. Depending on what type of applications you are working with, you might never encounter an UAC prompt when uninstalling an application.

As you can see in the graph below, in Windows 7 you will not encounter UAC prompts in at least 11 of the scenarios where Windows Vista triggered one.

This means a reduction of approximately 67%, depending on how you use your PC and which are the most common tasks you perform.

 

Posted in Tutoriale Windows 7, Windows 7 vs Windows Vista | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

How to Upgrade Your Windows 7 Test Version to the Final Release

Posted by ascultradio on November 20, 2009

How to Upgrade Your Windows 7 Test Version to the Final Release :

Starting August 6th, Windows 7 is available through several official channels such as TechNet and MSDN. People who already use test versions of Windows 7 will want to grab their own copy as soon as possible and upgrade their systems. By default, the Windows 7 DVD setup allows you to upgrade only from Windows Vista or Windows XP, not from a test version of Windows 7. To help you out, I created this guide on how to upgrade from your current test version to the final version of Windows 7. As you will see, the procedure involves a very simple tweak of the normal installation procedure.

NOTE: Depending on the test version you are upgrading from, this procedure is prone to failure. Before you try to do this, make sure your data is properly backed up. In case of issues you will have to make a fresh installation.
Also, this procedure works only if you upgrade to the final version of Windows 7 Ultimate. Upgrades to other versions are not supported.

Tweaking the Windows 7 Setup Files

First, you need to have a DVD with the Windows 7 setup available. If you have an ISO image of it, you can burn it on a DVD using the Windows Discs Image Burning application included in Windows 7 or you can mount it using a tool such as Daemon Tools or Virtual CloneDrive.

NOTE: To make sure everything goes well, make sure that you have at least 16 GB of free space on your Windows 7 ‘C:’ drive. That’s the recommended requirement for the upgrading process.

Now, insert the Windows 7 DVD in the DVD-ROM unit, or mount the image, and click on the ‘Open folder to view files’ option, when the AutoPlay window opens. If AutoPlay is disabled, start Windows Explorer and open the contents of the DVD.

Create a new folder on any of your partitions and copy all the content from the Windows 7 DVD to that folder. Then, remove the Windows 7 DVD from the DVD-ROM.

Open the folder you just created and search in the Sources folder for a file named cversion.ini.

Open the cversion.ini file and modify the MinClient field number to 7100 or the test version of Windows 7 you are upgrading from. If you don’t know your current test version, it is written on your desktop in the bottom-right corner.

By changing the number from the MinClient field, you are bypassing the version checking process of Windows 7, so that the upgrade from your test version will work.

Save the file and run the setup.exe file from the folder where you stored it.

After you receive an UAC

prompt, you will see the Windows 7 setup window. Click on the Install now button from the installation window.

Windows will copy some temporary files needed for the upgrade and it will ask if you want to download the latest updates and hardware drivers. Click on the option that you want and proceed to the next step.

Next you will see the license terms of Windows 7. Read the terms and check the ‘I accept the license terms’ option. Then click on the Next button.

Now you can choose from two installation options: custom or upgrade. Click on the Upgrade button.

Windows will check the compatibility of the hardware and software that you have installed on your system with the new operating system version. If any incompatibilities are encountered, you will see a list which contains all of them and you will have to decide if you want to continue the upgrading process or not. In this case I recommend you to exit the upgrading process, uninstall the software applications that are not compatible with the new version of Windows 7, search for compatible hardware drivers and only then try again to upgrade Windows 7.

Depending on your choice, click on Next or close the installation window to cancel the upgrading process.

If you clicked on the Next button, the upgrading process will begin. Windows will restart automatically several times before it finishes. The whole upgrading process should not take more than one hour to complete.

After the upgrading process finishes most settings will remain intact and you can continue using your PC without any issues.

Posted in Final Release, Tutoriale Windows 7 | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Make Vodafone Mobile Connect & Huawei Modems Work on Windows 7

Posted by ascultradio on November 20, 2009

Make Vodafone Mobile Connect & Huawei Modems Work on Windows 7 :

One of the very few problems I have with Vodafone Romania is the fact that they do not provide proper software and driver support for mobile internet users. I have a Huawei E220 USB modem which doesn’t get recognized by Windows 7 and I cannot use it to connect to the Internet. At this moment, Vodafone doesn’t seem to have a software & firmware upgrade for it so that it works on Windows 7. After a bit of digging I managed to find a solution which works for Windows 7 and Windows Vista on both 32 and 64-bit versions. If you have the same issues, click on read more to find out how to fix them.

NOTE: Following the procedure below might make your Vodafone warranty void. In case of issues, please consult the links & documentation suggested below. Unfortunately, our team cannot provide tech support on issues with this modem.

Upgrade Your Huawei Firmware

There is a Malaysia mobile phone operator called Maxis which seems to provide great software support for this device. Go to this download page and download the E220 Software Upgrade package. Below it, you will also find a guide on how to install the software upgrade, called PC Software Upgrade Guide. Once you download the software upgrade, follow the instructions from the guide and install it according to the instructions.

To summarize, you need to do the following:

  • Do all the installations from a computer with Windows XP installed. I tried to do this from Windows 7 directly and it did not work. Chances are it won’t work from Windows Vista either;
  • Install first the E220 Firmware from the archive you downloaded;
  • Next, install the E220 Dashboard.

If you are unsure on any of the steps or you have issues, don’t hesitate to check the PC Software Upgrade Guide and the FAQ page from Maxis.

Upgrade To The Latest Version of Vodafone Mobile Connect

Now you have a modem with proper firmware and drivers installed, which will work on both Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit. The problem is that you also have the software from Maxis which doesn’t work with the Vodafone network. In order to connect to the Vodafone network, you need to install the latest version of Vodafone Mobile Connect. This can be found here. From this page, download and install the version available under the ‘For the PC (Windows)’ section. This installation should be done on the laptop/PC with Windows 7.

How To Use Your Huawei E220 USB Modem

To access the Vodafone network, do the following: plug-in your modem, wait for Windows 7 to detect it and install the appropriate drivers, start the Vodafone Mobile Connect application and connect to the Vodafone network.

Posted in Huawei Modems, Tutoriale Windows 7 | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Windows 7 Networking Do You Want to Know About it?

Posted by ascultradio on November 18, 2009

Windows 7 Networking Do You Want to Know About it? :

In the coming weeks we will start writing a long series of articles about networking in Windows 7. We will try to be as complete as possible so that you can use these articles to answer all your questions about this topic. In order to make sure we don’t miss out on anything important we would like to get your feedback. Please take a look on the things we plan to talk about and add your opinions and suggestions. Your feedback is highly appreciated.

Windows 7 Networking – Planned Topics

After some initial tests and analysis, we decided that we would like to talk about the following:

  • Network and Sharing Center – an overview of all the available options;
  • HomeGroups – understand what is a homegroup and how to work with one;
  • Sharing files and folders – how to share files, folders, partitions, printers and other devices, how to configure your file sharing settings, offline files, how to enable or disable files sharing, how to share different things over different networks, etc;
  • Troubleshoot network problems – understand what is the status of your network connection and how to fix problems with it using Windows Network Diagnostic and other tools;
  • Wireless Networks – how to connect to all types of wireless networks;
  • Bluetooth connections – how to connect via Bluetooth to different devices;
  • Mapping Network Drives – how to map drives to shared folders from your network;
  • Networking Tips – share any interesting tips we discover while writing the series;
  • Best Practices – what to do in order to be safe while connecting to different types of networks;
  • Windows 7 vs Windows Vista – a comparison on how networking has improved versus Windows Vista;

The articles will be published in no particular order. We will start with one of these topics, elaborate on it and publish several articles to cover as much as possible from all there is to know about that topic.

What Would You Like Us To Investigate For You?

We want your to comments on this series. Do share with us: things we did not cover in our plan, cool ideas for an article, common networking problems you are aware of, etc. We will be reading all of your comments and all cool ideas & suggestions will be taken into consideration when writing this series. Type your comments!

Posted in Networking, Tutoriale Windows 7 | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tutorial Online Windows 7 Connect to Wireless Networks

Posted by ascultradio on November 12, 2009

How to Connect to Wireless Networks :

A growing number of people use laptops, notebooks and netbooks instead of desktop PCs. As a result of this trend, lots of wireless networks appear every day and more people use them on a regular basis. Windows 7 might not be very suited for netbooks but it works perfectly well on all other types of mobile PCs. Also, it offers all you need to connect to wireless networks effortlessly. In this tutorial I will show you how to detect wireless networks in Windows 7 and how to connect to them. As you will see, the procedure is very simple and requires very few steps.

On the right side of the taskbar, you will see a wireless network icon like the one below. Click on it.

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A window with available network connections will open. As you can see from the screenshot below, the list is split by the type of available network connections. At the top you will have dial up and virtual private network VPN connections, while at the bottom you will have a list with all the wireless network which Windows 7 has detected. To refresh the list of available networks, click on the button highlighted in the screenshot below.

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You can scroll down through the list of available networks. If you leave your mouse cursor over a network for a second, you will see more details about it. Windows 7 will show the following: network name, signal strength, the type of wireless security used (if any) and its Service Set identifer (SSID)

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Once you decided on which network to connect to, click on it. If you plan to use that network in the future, make sure you check the box that says ‘Connect automatically’. This way, when you start your laptop next time, in the same area, it will automatically connect to this wireless network without requesting any manual intervention. Next, click on the Connect button.

NOTE: be cautious with wireless networks which have no security enabled. They can be used to steal personal data. If you connect to such networks make sure your security solutions are turned on.

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After a few seconds, you will be asked to enter the security key. Ask the administrator of the network for the wireless security key or, if you are in your own home network, take it from the control panel of your router. If you are in a public place, it is best to check the ‘Hide characters’ box so that other people don’t see what you are typing. Then type the security key and click on OK.

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If you typed an incorrect password, Windows 7 will request you to type it again and again until it matches the password of the network you are connecting to. If everything is OK, Windows 7 will connect to the network you selected using the given security key. When the connection is successful, the wireless icon from your taskbar changes as shown below

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NOTE: this procedure works only if your wireless adapter is enabled. If it is not enabled, you won’t see any wireless networks being available. The procedure of enabling the wireless adapter is different for each model of laptop.

Done !

Posted in Connect to Wireless Networks, Tutoriale Windows 7 | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Windows 7 Task Manager

Posted by ascultradio on November 12, 2009

Easily Enable or Disable the Task Manager Using TaskMgrED :

When getting infected with a virus, one of the most common things that can happen is for the Windows Task Manager to be disabled. In such a scenario, every time you try to launch it, you will receive a message saying that the ‘Task Manager has been disabled by your administrator’. In this case, the first thing you should do is to install a good antivirus solution and disinfect your PC. If you need recommendations on good security solutions, check our ‘Security for Everyone’ series. After you disinfect your PC, you can enable your Task Manager again by using a free tool called TaskMgrED, developed by one of our team members. In this article you will find out how this tool works and also receive the download link.

First, download TaskMgrED using the download link at the bottom of this article. When you run it, don’t forget to right click on the file and select ‘Run as administrator’. When launched, the tool looks like in the screenshot below. To enable the Task Manager, click on the Enable button. If you want to disable it, click on Disable.

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The tool has not been tested by many people so it can fail to work on some PCs. Therefore, we provide it as-is, with no warranties. In case you see an error as the one shown below, it means you forgot to run it as an administrator. Therefore, close it, right click on the file and select ‘Run as administrator’.

tme2

 

If you encounter other issues with it, let us know via the comments below. We will do our best to fix it.

NOTE: this tool works also on Windows Vista and Windows XP.
TOOL UPDATES: TaskMgrED has been updated & improved. Version 1a should no longer generate the error message shown above. This has been replaced with a user friendly message reminding users to run this tool as an administrator.

 

Done !

Posted in Task Manager, Tutoriale Windows 7 | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Tutorial Windows 7 Network and Sharing

Posted by ascultradio on November 12, 2009

What is the Network and Sharing Center? :

In all our tutorials about Windows 7 networking you will see that we mention the Network and Sharing Center. This panel is the entrance point to any networking task. Therefore, in this article I will show you what is the Network and Sharing Center, how to launch it and which are the main tasks you can do starting from here.

What is the Networking and Sharing Center?

Simply put, the Network and Sharing Center is the control panel from where all networking settings and tasks can be launched in Windows 7.

How to Start the Networking and Sharing Center?

The Network and Sharing Center can be launched using several methods. The ‘shortest’ way is to launch the Run window by pressing the Windows key + R, type control.exe /name Microsoft.NetworkAndSharingCenter and click OK.

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A second alternative is to click on the network icon from the right side of the taskbar and then on ‘Open Network and Sharing Center’.

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The third way is to go to Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center.

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Tasks which are Launched from Networking and Sharing Center

The Network and Sharing Center window is split in two. On the left side there is a column with shortcuts to tasks such as: managing your wireless networks, changing settings for all network adapters and changing network sharing settings. On the bottom left side there are shortcuts to the HomeGroup settings panel, to the Internet Options panel and to the Windows Firewall control panel.

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On the right there is a big white area split in two parts. The upper-side shows you basic information about your current network connection: the name of the active network, access type and the Home Group to which your computer belongs. The lower-side contains links towards wizards which help you do the following: setup a new connection or network, connect to another network, change HomeGroup and sharing settings and troubleshoot problems.

Posted in Network and Sharing, Tutoriale Windows 7 | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Tutoriale Windows 7 Network & Internet Problems

Posted by ascultradio on November 12, 2009

How to Troubleshoot Network & Internet Problems :

his episode of our Windows 7 networking series is about how to troubleshoot networking problems. With the help of the network and Internet troubleshooting wizards, anyone can identify the root cause of any networking issue and fix it in minutes. In this tutorial I will show how to start the network and Internet troubleshooting wizards and how to work with them so that you understand what’s wrong with your network and how to fix things.
How to Start the Network and Internet Troubleshooting Wizards
One of the easiest ways to access the network and Internet troubleshooting wizards is to open the Network and Sharing Center and click on the Troubleshoot problems

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An alternative is opening Control Panel and searching for the word ‘trouble’. The first result will be the Troubleshooting link. Click on it.

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There you will see several types of troubleshooting tasks. Click on Network and Internet.

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In the Network and Internet Troubleshooting window you have several options. Use them as follows:

  • Internet Connection – this can help when you are connected to a network but the Internet doesn’t seem to work or you have trouble accessing particular websites;
  • Shared Folders – use this when you have problems accessing shared files and folders on other computers from your network;
  • if you have problems viewing computers or shared files and folders in your, it is recommended to use this option;
  • Network Adapter – this comes in very handy when you have problems with your wireless or network adapters and anything that seems to be related to your physical connection to the network;
  • Incoming Connections – this is useful when other computers have trouble connecting to your computer’s shared files and folders;
  • Connection to a Workplace Using DirectAccess – this can be used when having problems connecting to enterprise network domains and it works only for Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 7 Enterprise users.

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Start the Network and Internet Troubleshooting Wizards from the Command-Prompt

The network and Internet troubleshooting wizards can also be started from the command line, using the parameters below. All you need is to copy and paste these commands in the Run window (press the Windows key + R) or in the Command Prompt:

  • To open the Internet Connections troubleshooter – msdt.exe -id NetworkDiagnosticsWeb;
  • To open the Shared Folders troubleshooter – msdt.exe -id NetworkDiagnosticsFileShare;
  • To open the HomeGroup troubleshooter – msdt.exe -id HomeGroupDiagnostic;
  • To open the Network Adapter troubleshooter – msdt.exe -id NetworkDiagnosticsNetworkAdapter;
  • To open the Incoming Connections troubleshooter – msdt.exe -id NetworkDiagnosticsInbound.

How to Work With the Network and Internet Troubleshooting Wizards

Once you start one of the available wizards for troubleshooting, click on Next. For this article, I chose the Network Adapter troubleshooting wizard which seemed to be the most used in our home network.

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Depending on your hardware configuration, you may be asked to select the network adapter to diagnose. If you have problems with your wireless connection select Wireless Network Connection, otherwise select Local Area Connection. When done, click on Next.

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The troubleshooting wizard will now start the diagnostics process and show you a progress bar like the one below.

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In case a problem was found, it will show you a summary of the problem and the steps you need to follow in order to fix it. Follow these steps and then click on ‘Check to see if the problem is fixed’.

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If the problem is now fixed, it will tell you that ‘Troubleshooting has completed’. Click on Close and you are done.

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NOTE: if the troubleshooting wizard hasn’t detected any problems but you still have issues, it might mean that you used the wrong wizard. In this case, try another wizard from the list which is related to the symptoms you are experiencing.

Conclusion

Windows 7 has a very complete list of troubleshooting wizards which can help you identify the root cause of your networking problems and ways to fix them. In two months of using it, I never had a networking problem which Windows 7 couldn’t identify correctly. The instructions I received helped me fix most issues by myself. When not, they contained very useful information which helped in the dialog with my Internet provider and their technical support people understood what’s happening and what they need to fix.

If you have other useful tips about how to troubleshoot networking problems in Windows 7, don’t hesitate to share them in a comment.

 

Done !

Posted in Network & Internet Problems, Tutoriale Windows 7 | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Windows 7 Tutoriale Control Panel

Posted by ascultradio on November 12, 2009

The Control Panel – Switching Between the Classic & Category View :

 

The Control Panel from Windows is the place where you can find all important system settings. Therefore it has been tweaked with each version of Windows and Windows 7 makes no exception to this rule. The new version packs lots of usability improvements which help people find & change settings much faster. Even so, there are always people who will prefer the older versions. That’s why, in this article, I will compare the new Control Panel with the one from Windows XP & 2000. I will also show how to switch between the classic view and the new default view, so that you can find your way faster.

The Control Panel Comparison: Windows XP vs Windows 7

The classic view of the Control Panel from Windows XP & 2000 is split into a long list of configuration items. Since the search option is absent, finding the option you need might prove to be slightly tricky.

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The Control Panel from Windows 7 improves on the changes introduced by Windows Vista. You have eight main tasks categories to choose from and you can easily search for an item by using the Control Panel search box.

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Clicking on a category will open a list with sub-categories and the main configuration items. When you open a sub-category you can reach all configuration items available for it. For efficiency purposes, simply use the search box located in the upper-right side of the Control Panel.

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This speeds up the process of finding the configuration item you want and, after using it a few times, you will become addicted to it and find the Windows XP Control Panel to be quite inflexible and difficult to use.

How to Switch Between the Windows XP & Windows 7 Views

Open the Start Menu and click on Control Panel. On the right side of the window there is a ’View by’ field with several values available for selection. Click on the arrow near it and select the way you want to view your Control Panel items.

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Selecting ‘Large icons’ or ‘Small icons’ is the equivalent of the classic Control Panel view from Windows XP. The difference between these options is only the size of the icons shown. Category is the default option in Windows 7 and it means having all items split by categories.

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If you want to go for the classic view from Windows XP, all you have to do is use the Search Box located in upper-right corner of the window. It will help you find items much faster than scrolling through long lists of shortcuts.

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Done !

Posted in Control Panel, Installation Guide, Tutoriale Windows 7, Tutoriale Windows XP | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Tutorial Windows 7 System in Windows Virtual PC

Posted by ascultradio on November 12, 2009

How to Install an Operating System in Windows Virtual PC :

 

Once Windows Virtual PC is installed, start the tool by going to Start Menu -> All Programs -> Windows Virtual PC -> Windows Virtual PC. Once you open the tool, click on the ‘Create virtual machine’ button highlighted below.

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This will start the ‘Create a virtual machine’ wizard. First, you will need to enter the name of the virtual machine you are creating. One good tip is to use the name of the operating system you are about to install in this virtual machine. Next, you need to provide the location where the virtual machine will be stored. Click on Browse and select the folder where you want to save it. When done, click on Next.

TIP: it is recommended to save your virtual machine file on a partition separate from the ‘C:’ drive. Also, make sure the partition has plenty of space with a few gigabytes available.

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Next, you need to specify the amount of RAM memory you want to reserve for this virtual machine each time you use it. By default, Windows Virtual PC books 512 MB of RAM. For improved performance, it is better to raise this limit up to 3582 MB. Generally, 1 – 1.5 GB of RAM will guarantee you really good performance for many virtual machines. You can also check an option which says ‘Use computer network connections’. Checking this box will allow the virtual machine to access your network. If you want to keep it disconnected from your network, uncheck this option. When done, click on Next.

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The ‘Create a virtual machine’ wizard will now ask you to add a virtual hard disk. Virtual hard disks provide storage for a virtual machine and they are saved as a file with the ‘.vhd’ extension. Also, it is required to have at least one in order to install an operating system. Here you have three options:

  • Create a dynamically expanding virtual hard disk – this option is the most flexible. It allows the virtual hard disk to grow in size as needed when used. If you choose this option, type the name of the ‘.vhd’ file that will be created and then browse to the location where it will be stored. Ideally, you should choose the same location as in the first screen of the wizard.
  • Use an existing virtual hard disk – this option can be used if you have an existing virtual hard disk you would like to use. When selecting it, click on Browse, navigate to the virtual hard disk you want to use, select it and click on OK.
  • Create a virtual hard disk using advanced options – when choosing this option, you will see a new screen with additional explanation on the available choices.

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You will see three new possible choices:

  • Dynamically expanding – this option is identical with the first option (Create a dynamically expanding virtual hard disk) detailed above.
  • Fixed size – it allows you to create a hard disk with a fixed size which doesn’t change when you add or delete data to the image.
  • Differencing – this options assumes the existence of a parent virtual hard disk. So, if you are starting from scratch and you have no virtual hard disks available, you can safely ignore it. When choosing it, it will create a separate disk in which it will store the modification to the parent hard disk. Compared to the Undo Disk feature, Differencing disks allow you to save changes associated with a parent disk, while the Undo Disk feature saves changes associated with a virtual machine and all disks assigned to it. The differencing disk will expand dynamically as data is written to it and can grow as large as the maximum size allocated for the parent disk when the parent disk was created.

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When choosing any of these three options you will be asked for the location of the virtual hard disk and its maximum size. The third option will also ask for the location of the parent hard disk.

One last available option is ‘Enable Undo Disks’. Checking this option will mean that Windows Virtual PC saves changes to the virtual machine’s data and configuration in a separate undo disk file in case you want to reverse the changes. It will provide you with a way to decide whether to permanently modify a virtual machine and its disks each time you end the virtual machine session. When you enable Undo Disks, it applies to all virtual hard disks installed on the virtual machine. When done configuring the virtual hard disk settings, click on Create.

You will now see the Windows Virtual PC window and the newly created virtual image. Select it and click on Settings.

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Now it’s time to set the DVD drive you want to use, in order to install your operating system. From the list of settings, select DVD Drive. If you want to use a bootable ISO image, select ‘Open an ISO image’, click on Browse and select it. If you want to use a bootable DVD, select ‘Access a physical drive’ and then select the letter of the drive where you will insert the installation DVD. When done, click on OK

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Insert the installation DVD (if any), select the virtual machine you just created and click on Open.

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The virtual machine will start and boot from your DVD or ISO image. From here onwards, follow the installation procedure as if you were installing the guest operating system on a normal computer.

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NOTE: If you want to exit the virtual machine while the operating system is installing and use your host operating system, press the keys Ctrl + Alt +Tab at the same time.

 

Done !

Posted in Tutoriale Windows 7, Virtual PC | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Tutorial Online Windows 7 How to Work with Windows XP Mode

Posted by ascultradio on November 11, 2009

How to Work with Windows XP Mode :

n a previous article we talked about the requirements and installation procedure of  Windows XP Mode. Now it is time to show you how to actually work with it. I will start with where to find Windows XP Mode, continue with how to use it’s interface and finish with how to run an Windows XP application directly from Windows 7. Also, I’ll be showing how to work with USB devices in Windows XP Mode.

Where to Find Windows XP Mode :

After you install Windows XP Mode, you can find it in Start Menu -> All Programs -> Windows Virtual PC -> Windows XP Mode or you can search for ‘xp mode’ in the Start Menu’s search box and click on the appropriate search result.

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How to Work with the Windows XP Mode Interface

When you open Windows XP Mode, you will see the default appearance and features of Windows XP and a top menu with a few buttons: Action, USB, Tools, Ctrl+Alt+Del and Help.

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The Action button will allow you to view in full screen Windows XP Mode, to Close, set to Sleep or Restart the virtual machine. The USB button allows you to access USB devices while the Tools button gives you access to the Windows Virtual PC settings.

The last two buttons are self-explanatory, Ctr+Alt+Del can be used to Lock the virtual machine, Log Off, Shut Down, Change Password and launch the Task Manager.

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The Help button will show you local and online help resources.

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How to View Full Screen Windows XP Mode

In order to view Windows XP Mode in full screen, click on the Action button from the top menu and select ‘View Full Screen’.

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In a few seconds, Windows XP Mode will automatically adapt to your screen resolution allowing you to use Windows XP exactly like you would in a non-virtual environment.

The top menu will still be available with a few extra options. You can hide the menu if you click on the small pin icon, you can switch to the Windows 7 desktop if you click on the Minimize icon, you can revert to the default window size or you can close Windows XP Mode.

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NOTE: If you unpinned the menu, it will appear again if you keep your mouse a few seconds on the top of the screen.

How to Sleep, Restart or Close Windows XP Mode

To make Windows XP Mode Sleep, Restart or Close, click on the Action button from the top menu and select the option that you want. The Close option will cause Windows XP to hibernate.

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NOTE: If you are using Windows XP Mode in full screen the Sleep option will not be available.

How to Access an USB Device from Windows XP Mode

First, you have to physically plugin your USB device. Then, click on the USB button from the top menu to see all the devices that are connected to your PC through an USB port.

For example, I have a flash memory stick attached to my PC. As you can see, the item has the attribute Shared. This means that the device is shared between Windows 7 and Windows XP Mode using the integration features. Click on it to disconnect it from Windows 7 and to attach it to Windows XP Mode.

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A new window will pop-up asking if you want to continue attaching the device to the virtual machine. Click on Yes.

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In a few seconds the flash memory stick will be visible and accessible from My Computer in Windows XP Mode.

Now, if you want to make the USB stick available to Windows 7 again, click on the USB button from the top menu of Windows XP Mode and click on the Mass Storage Device option. This time the attribute of the USB stick will be Release. In a second the USB stick will disappear from Windows XP Mode and will appear in Windows 7.

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You can also attach USB devices that are not shared by the integration features, like an USB webcam. Just like in the previous case, plug the USB device in the USB port of your PC and click on the USB button from the top menu of Windows XP Mode. There you will see an Unidentified Device with the attribute Attach. Click on this Unidentified Device to make it available in Windows XP Mode.

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In a few seconds the USB device, in my case a web camera, will be accessible from My Computer in Windows XP Mode.

To make the USB device available for Windows 7 click on the USB button from the top menu of Windows XP Mode and then click on the device which now will have the attribute Release. Also, you can simply close Windows XP Mode, for the same result.

How to Access Applications Installed in Windows XP Mode

A great feature of Windows XP Mode is that you can launch applications installed in this mode, directly from the Windows 7 Start Menu. This is helpful when you have to use old software which has no support for Windows 7.

First you need to install the application in Windows XP Mode, exactly like you would on a Windows XP system. Just start Windows XP Mode, run the setup file and install it with the options you want. I choose for demonstration purposes only, Yahoo Messenger (version 6).

To launch the Windows XP application from Windows 7 you have to Log Off and then Close the Windows XP Mode.

Now you can use the instant search from the Start Menu to search for the application or you can browse to Start Menu -> All Programs -> Windows Virtual PC -> Windows XP Mode Applications an select the application that you want to run.

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If you receive a warning about Windows XP Mode that was closed with a user logged in, click on Continue. In a few seconds the application will start.

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To easily access an application, you can create a shortcut on the Desktop or pin it to the Start Menu or the Taskbar.

Done !

Posted in Tutoriale Windows 7, Work with Windows XP | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Tutoriale Windows 7 New Features

Posted by ascultradio on November 11, 2009

New Features & Improvements in the Windows 7 Taskbar :

 

Windows 7 has introduced a major redesign of the taskbar which packs a lot of improvements. The list includes features such as Aero Peek, overlay icons and progress bars, jump lists, pinned items and so on. In this article I will provide you a complete overview of the new features and changes introduced by Windows 7. I will start with the most visible changes compared to Windows XP and then I will introduce all the new features.

Taskbar Changes vs. Windows XP

Compared to older versions, Windows 7 introduces a lot of taskbar changes. The list is surprisingly long and they all represent usability improvements, even though you might not agree at first try:

  • Quick Launch – the Quick Launch area from Windows XP has been removed. It is no longer available as a separate area of the taskbar. Now the whole taskbar is a Quick Launch area which you can fill with shortcuts.

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Show desktop shortcut – the ‘Show desktop’ shortcut is now changed and moved. You can find it on the right side of the taskbar. It’s basically a small transparent rectangle. When you keep your mouse over it, you will see the ‘Show desktop’ text above it. If you click it, you will see the desktop. If you click it again, it will restore all the open windows in their last known position. Also, if you keep your mouse over it and the Aero Peek feature (presented later in the article) is enabled, you will see a transparent contour of all open windows.

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Notification Area – the notification area has been changed as well. By default, it will hide all icons except the ones for the Volume Mixer, Network and Action Center. To access the other icons, you need to click on the arrow on the left.

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Grouping of similar items – by default, Windows XP grouped opened windows only when there were too many of them to fit inside the taskbar. In Windows 7, all similar items are grouped together, no matter how few.

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Bigger icons – this is actually the first change you will notice. All icons are bigger than they were in Windows XP. However they can be configured to be of a smaller size and look like in the screenshot below.

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New Features

In this chapter I will present the list of new features introduced in Windows 7. As you can see the list is long and very exciting. There is plenty of improvement which makes the usability of the Windows 7 taskbar superior to all previous versions of Windows.

  • Pinning items – pinning items to the taskbar means adding shortcuts to it, just like you would do in Windows XP in the Quick Launch area. To pin a shortcut, you can right click on it and select ‘Pin to Taskbar’. Then you will see a new shortcut being added.

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Jump Lists – this is a very cool feature of Windows 7. When you right-click on a shortcut from the taskbar, you will see a mini Start Menu customized for it, which shows you commonly used destinations (e.g: Libraries in Windows Explorer) or most frequent tasks (e.g: ‘Open new tab’ in Internet Explorer). However, Jump Lists have these options only for applications which are developed to take advantage of this feature and right now there aren’t too many. Upcoming versions of the most popular applications will surely include enhancements to support this feature and transform it into a true usability improvement.

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Interactive, Grouped Thumbnails – in Windows 7, all taskbar windows are grouped together, regardless the number. When you have multiple windows of the same application open, you will see its icon and some additional rectangles on its right. If you leave your mouse over the application icon, you will see a real-time preview of all its open windows. These preview windows are also interactive. You can close any of the windows by clicking the x button on the right and you can open a specific window by clicking on its thumbnail. This behavior can be confusing at first but, once you get used to it, you will not want to go back to the old ways.

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Aero Peek – this feature complements the interactive thumbnails very well. When you hover the mouse over a thumbnail preview on the taskbar, you will see also its corresponding window on the desktop with all other windows faded away into glass sheets. This feature is very helpful to users when identifying if the window they are about to open is the correct one. You get, at the same time, a real-time thumbnail preview plus the whole window with just a hover of the mouse. Aero Peek is also noticed when you hover the mouse over the ‘Show desktop’ button. You will see the desktop with all loaded gadgets plus the glass contour of all open windows. This is helpful when working with Desktop Gadgets which you want to see briefly, without requiring to switch windows.

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Thumbnail Toolbars – it allows the generation of window controls to appear when you hover the mouse over the thumbnail of an open window. When a movie is open, it allows you to stop it or start playing it directly from the thumbnail. Or, when listening to music, you can skip the current track or pause it. This feature is really great but, unfortunately it is available only for applications programmed to work with it. And, at the time of Windows 7′s launch only Windows Media Player takes advantage of it. It would be great to see lots of applications making use of it.

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Overlay Icons and Progress Bars – this is another great small feature. It allows a program to show an icon or progress in context of its taskbar button. The most noticeable is when copying files and folders in Windows Explorer. During the copy activity you will see a progress bar showing the status of the copying process. When done, it’s going to fill up and disappear. This is extremely useful as you no longer need to open the Windows Explorer window to see how the process is progressing. Again, applications can be programmed to take advantage of this feature. For example, it can be very useful for file archivers.

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Color Hot-track – when moving the mouse over a running window from the taskbar, you will see a dynamically colored light effect. This light effect follows your mouse movement over the taskbar icon and it is based on the color of the icon. As you can see in the screenshot below, the colored light is orange for Winamp, a mix of white and orange for Windows Virtual PC, blue for Windows Help and again orange for Firefox.

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Conclusion

The Windows 7 taskbar was seriously enhanced. The usability improvements are just awesome and you will never want to go back. After using Windows 7 for a couple of weeks the old taskbar will feel very outdated and cumbersome. If you already used Windows 7, don’t hesitate to talk about your experience. Also, if you know some nice tricks for the new taskbar, don’t hesitate to leave a comment. Most of our readers will be interested to know them.

 

Done !

 

 

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Tutoriale Windows 7 Pin Any Folder

Posted by ascultradio on November 11, 2009

How to Pin Any Folder to the Windows 7 Taskbar :

 

How to Pin a Folder to the Taskbar

In order to pin a folder to the taskbar, you first need to create a shortcut on your desktop towards it. To do this, right-click on the empty space on your desktop and select New and then Shortcut.

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In the ‘Create Shortcut’ window, click on Browse to find the folder that you want to add to the taskbar. Navigate to that folder, select it and click on OK.

NOTE: You can add even folders that are shared in your local network.

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The path to the folder is now shown in the location field. Before you press next, you need to add one more thing. In front of the folder path, write the following word: explorer. Also, make sure that there is a space between this code and the path of the folder. When done, click on Next.

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Insert a name for the folder shortcut and click on Finish.

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Now you have the folder shortcut on your desktop. To have it on your taskbar, make a simple drag and drop. Alternatively, you can right-click on it and select ‘Pin to taskbar’.

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After pinning the folders you want to have on the taskbar, you can go ahead and delete their shortcuts from your Desktop. The taskbar shortcuts will continue to work.

How to Pin a Start Menu Folder to the Taskbar

Sometimes you might need to add a folder from the Start Menu to the taskbar. For example, it can be useful to have the Microsoft Office Start Menu folder on your taskbar instead of all Microsoft Office shortcuts. You click on the folder shortcut, open it and then start the Microsoft Office tool you need to use.

To do this, you have to copy the path of the folder that you want to pin to the taskbar. The easiest way is to hold down the SHIFT key, right-click on the folder that you want to pin to the taskbar and select ‘Copy as path’.

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Now you need to create a shortcut on your desktop, using the procedure described above. The difference is that, instead of browsing to the folder, you just Paste the path directly. Don’t forget that you can Paste using the Ctrl+V key combination.

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Also, don’t forget about having the word explorer before the Start Menu folder path.

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How to Change the Icon of the Taskbar Folder

In order to change the default icon, right-click on the newly created shortcut and select Properties.

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Go to the Shortcut tab and click on ‘Change icon’ button from the Properties window.

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Click on Browse to select a different icon then those that already appear in the Change icon window.

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After you found the icon that you prefer, select it, click on Open, then on OK and again on OK.

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Known problem/bug: We noticed one weird behavior which happens when you pin Windows Explorer to the taskbar plus some other folders. If you open the shortcuts of a folder plus Windows Explorer separately, the folders thumbnails will be shown under the Windows Explorer taskbar shortcut, not their own. The folders shortcuts will remain inactive.

Conclusion

As you can see, the procedure is not that hard. However you do need to be attentive so that everything works properly. If you know simpler methods, do share them via the comments form below.

Done !

Posted in Pin Any Folder, Tutoriale Windows 7 | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tutorial Windows 7 Items to the Taskbar

Posted by ascultradio on November 11, 2009

How to Pin Special Windows Items to the Taskbar :

 

Pin Windows Explorer Categories

Step 1. Open Windows Explorer and look at the main categories from the left side of the window: Favorites, Libraries, Computer and Network. To pin any of them or their sub-categories, first create a shortcut to your desktop. The fastest way to create it is to drag-and-drop the item from Windows Explorer to the desktop.

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Except for the Favorites sub-categories, you can do this with all items you want to pin. If you try to do this with Favorites sub-categories, you will see that the drag-and-drop will move the item from Favorites to the desktop. This happens because the Favorites sub-categories are already shortcuts. Therefore you need to simply select these shortcuts, click on Copy, go to the desktop, right click on it and select Paste.

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Repeat this process for all the items that you want to pin to the taskbar.

Step 2. Now you need to create a new folder on your desktop. To do this, right-click on the empty space from your desktop, click on New and then on Folder. Choose a name for it, something suggestive, like ‘taskbar shortcuts’ because you will move all the shortcuts that you want to pin to that folder. Move all the items that you want to pin to the taskbar to the newly created folder and move the folder to a location where it is not going to be deleted.

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Step 3. Open the folder, right-click on the first item that you want to pin to the taskbar and click on Copy.

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Step 4. Go back to your desktop, right-click on the empty space, select New and then click on Shortcut.

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Step 5. In the ‘Create Shortcut’ window, paste the shortcut you just copied. This will add the path towards the shortcut.

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Step 6. Add the word explorer in front of the shortcut path, press once the Space key from your keyboard and click on Next.

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Step 7. Enter a name for the new shortcut, preferably the same name as the item that you want to pin to the taskbar. Then, click on Finish.

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Step 8. Now you have the shortcut on your desktop. To have it on your taskbar, make a simple drag and drop from desktop to the taskbar. Alternatively, you can right-click on it and select ‘Pin to taskbar’. After the item is pinned down to the taskbar you can delete the shortcut from the desktop. Also, you can change the default icon with another one.

Repeat steps 3 to 8 for all shortcuts that you want to pin.

NOTE: Make sure that you don’t delete or move the folder where you placed the shortcuts (e.g: ‘taskbar shortcuts’) because the items that are pinned down to the taskbar will not work anymore.

Pin Control Panel Items

Before explaining how to pin a Control Panel item to the taskbar, let’s see how to pin the Control Panel itself. First, open Control Panel.

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Right click on the Control Panel icon from the taskbar and select ‘Pin this program to the taskbar’.

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Now let’s see how to pin to the taskbar any item from the Control Panel.

Open the Control Panel and drag-and-drop the item you want from the Control Panel window to the desktop. This will create a shortcut on the desktop for it.

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Do this for all Control Panel items that you want to pin to the taskbar. When you’re done, move all the shortcuts to a new folder or to the ‘taskbar shortcuts’ folder that you have previously created and follow exactly the same procedure as above, starting with step 3.

Pin Administrative Tools

To open the Administrative Tools, search in the Start menu search box after ‘administrative tools’ or follow this path: Start Menu -> Control Panel -> System and Security -> Administrative Tools.

All the Administrative Tools are already shortcuts, which means that you don’t have to save them to another folder. Simply right-click on the tools that you want to pin to the taskbar, select Copy and then follow the procedure from above, starting with step 4.

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Conclusion

As you have probably noticed, there is only one simple rule that you have to follow in order to make almost any item “pinnable” to the taskbar: create a shortcut, save it somewhere safe so you don’t delete it by mistake, create a shortcut to that shortcut and add the explorer word before its path. Then you have a shortcut which you can pin to the taskbar.

If you have simpler solutions, don’t hesitate to share them via the comments form below.

Done !

Posted in Items to the Taskbar, Tutoriale Windows 7 | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Tutorial Windows 7 Libraries

Posted by ascultradio on November 11, 2009

Libraries – A Great Feature of Windows 7 :

 

Libraries are one of the coolest features introduced by Windows 7. They can help people organize their files and folders very efficiently. By using libraries, you can easily build a system so that you can always find what you want in seconds. Not only that, but you can also sort, tag or edit files and folders with just a few clicks. In this article I will explain what libraries are, show how they work and how to create new ones. Also, I’ll show how to add new folders to a library, how to modify its properties and how to delete a library.

What is a Library in Windows 7?

Think of a library as a virtual collection of folders on your system. It is virtual because it doesn’t exist as an actual folder. A library is a reference to one ore more folders on your computers and the files inside them. For example, you can have documents stored in multiple locations like: your Documents folder, on the desktop and some other locations. You can have a library called Documents which includes references to all these locations. When you open the library, you will see all these folders and their contents as if they would be sub-folders of the Documents library. This feature helps you organize all your files together in one place regardless of where they are stored. This has many benefits in terms of productivity when working with lots of files split in many locations.

By default, you have the Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos libraries. Three of them can be found, by default, on the upper right side of your Start Menu, as highlighted below. However, you can create as many as you want.

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They can also be accessed from the left side menu of Windows Explorer, as shown below.

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When clicking on any of the libraries, Windows Explorer will open all files or folders contained by it.

How to Create a Library

First, open Windows Explorer. Then click on Libraries from the Navigation pane. On the button bar on the top of Windows Explorer, you will see a button entitled ‘New Library’. Click on it and then type the name of the newly created library.

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Another way is to right click on the empty space in the Libraries window, go to New and then Library.

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How to Add Folders to a Library

Now you have a new but empty library. To add folders to it, double click on the library to open it. Then, click on ‘Include a folder’ and browse your computer for one of the folders you want to include in the library.

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After you select the folder, Windows Explorer will scan the contents of that folder and include it in the library. The process can take a while, depending on the number of files & folders included. During this process, you will see a progress bar like the one below. When done, it will disappear and you will see the whole content of the newly created library.

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Another way is to right click on the library you want to add folders to and select Properties. Then click on ‘Include a folder’, browse, select the folder you want to include and click on OK.

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Another alternative is to open Windows Explorer and navigate to the folder you want to include in your library. Then, click on the Include in Library button, on the top of the Windows Explorer window. From the drop down menu, select the library in which you want to include the selected folder.

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How to Sort the Content of a Library

In the Libraries space, every type of file has its own set of personalized characteristics, as follows:

  • Documents: Folder, Author, Date modified, Tag, Type, Name;
  • Pictures: Folder, Month, Day, Rating, Tag;
  • Music: Folder, Album, Artist, Song, Genre, Rating;
  • Videos: Folder, Year, Type, Length, Name.

These are the sorting tags that you can use for each category. To use them, go to the Library you wish to sort, click on the button that is next to ‘Arrange by’ and select the criteria of arrangement.

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How to Edit the Properties of a Library

To open the properties window, right click on the desired library and select Properties.

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The following properties are available for customization:

  • The ‘Set save location’ gives you the possibility to select default save location for files and folders. When you add new files or folders to the library, Windows will store them in this location.
  • The ‘Include a folder’ button will let you include a new folder in the library and Remove will remove the selected folder from the library.
  • The ‘Optimize this library for’ drop down menu changes the way you sort through files and folders in that library. From this menu, select the type of content contained in the library. This will make Windows Explorer show relevant tags and sorting fields to the content of the library. Also, it will change the icon of the library to match its contents.
  • The ‘Shown in navigation pane’ attribute allows the library to be shown in the navigation pane on the left side of the Windows Explorer window. When this is disabled, that library is not shown in the navigation pane.
  • The Shared attribute tells you if the library is currently shared or not.

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If you changed the settings of a library and you want to revert back to its initial settings, click on ‘Restore Defaults’.

How Deletion Works

Deleting any content from a library means deleting it from your hard disk. Deleting the library itself deletes the library but not the folders and files contained by it. As mentioned earlier, a library is a virtual collection of files and folders. Deleting it has no effect on its contents.

To delete a library, right click on it and select Delete.

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Conclusion

As you can see, libraries are a great feature which can come in handy in many scenarios. They can help you organize your files and folders very easily so that you will find what you need very fast. If you have some cool tips about working with libraries, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

Done !

Posted in Libraries, Tutoriale Windows 7 | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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