Windows 7 Tips

This thread is being created for members to donate their Windows 7 Tips for general use. Here is my initial contribution.

Preface: I have Windows 7 Ultimate. I trust this procedure is valid for all versions of Windows 7, but I can not verify it.

If you're a former Vista user, you probably noticed that Quick Launch is missing from the Taskbar.
If you're like me, you found Quick Launch to be useful tool so here's how to enable Quick Launch in your Windows 7.

The Quick Launch directory can be found at C:\Users\(user-name)\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch.
NOTE: Replace (user-name) with your specific user-name.
Right click on the Taskbar.
Move the mouse over the Toolbars option.
Left click on New toolbars...
In the Folder: text box, copy/paste C:\Users\(user-name)\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch.

Click on Select Folder.
You should now have Quick Launch >> on the right side of your Taskbar.
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  1. Thanks Gandalf! Here's one from me:

    Windows 7 hides empty drives (both fixed, and removable drives) by default, but many people don't realize this. If you could swear you had a freshly formatted drive just hooked up to the computer, but can't seem to find it, click on Organize, Folder and Search options, select the View tab, and uncheck the Hide empty drives in the Computer folder box.

    If the drive is not yet formatted, make sure you run through the steps above (so you aren't further confused in a minute), and then type diskmgmt.msc into the Start Menu search bar. Here you should see all drives connected to your computer. Format as necessary and then they will appear in the Computer folder.
  2. The following guide was provided by daved1948 in this post

    How to run Windows XP Mode in Windows 7 using VirtualBox when hardware virtualization is not available.

    Migrating your operating system to Windows 7 is attractive to many XP users for no other reason than XP has bugs, limitations and after nine years old. Windows 7 really is very stable and pretty smooth even on four-year-old hardware.

    I'm running Windows 7 on a Dell Optiplex GX280 with a 3.4GHz Pentium P4 and 3GB of RAM and it has pretty good performance.

    But XP doesn't actually upgrade to 7. Instead, you must overwrite or install a fresh copy of 7, perhaps on a new hard drive. And after installing it, you will discover some applications you used with XP are incompatible with 7.

    My older applications like Act! 2008, QuickBooks 2002 and others will not run on Windows Vista or 7.

    So Microsoft's Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate include a license which allows users to run a virtualized copy of Windows XP, SP3 "on top of" Windows 7 at no additional cost. This way, you can run your older applications in a real XP environment.

    Find instructions and download it here.

    Microsoft provides two tools - Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode. XP Mode is actually a .vhd file with a copy of XP preinstalled, ready to license and run. A KEY.txt file containing an installation key is included in your C:\Program Files\Windows XP Mode folder.

    However there's one very big "gotcha" here which can quickly sour your enthusiasm.

    Windows 7's version of Virtual PC will only run on systems with hardware virtualization capability, found only in the newest processors with Intel VT-x or AMD-V designs. Most older PCs do not have this, and believe it or not many new PCs don't either! Some systems have the feature, but you must enable it in your system's BIOS before it will work.

    This means, even though your system may be new, and has Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate installed, you might not be able to run Windows Virtual PC or Windows XP Mode. Bummer.

    But don't let that slow you down because there is a solution.

    It turns out Windows XP Mode's license is carefully worded to allow its use on alternative virtualization products such as VMware, Parallels, Xen and Sun's VirtualBox. And interestingly, these products can open the .vhd file either natively, or by converting it. While these products can use the hardware virtualization feature, they don't require it.

    Excellent news!

    So my old Dell would not run Virtual PC, but does run VirtualBox very well. VirtualBox opens .vhd files as easily as it does it's own .vhi files.

    The only problem I had the first time I tried it was an error message saying VirtualBox could not open the file for read/write. Then I copied and changed the new file's security to "Full" for "Everyone" and bang - it took off immediately.

    The XP Mode virtual machine presented itself as an expand-on-demand 127GB hard disk image, taking up less than 1.4GB when configured.

    Virtual machines require some special drivers and extensions to talk to your desktop through the virtual environment. Since Microsoft created the .vhd, only their own drivers were preinstalled, requiring me to install VirtualBox's extensions to fully support the display, keyboard and mouse. But that is required anyway when creating a Virtual Machine in all these products.

    Sun's VirtualBox, free for personal use, is available at

  3. I've noticed a lot of printer driver related issues, especially in regard to HP's. As far as I know, HP has updated most of their printer drivers for W7, but they may not have done so for older models. Here is something I posted on the matter a few months back:

    Just figured I'd offer a quick tip to those who may have issues installing drivers for select HP printers when W7 hits shelves in a few weeks. I'm not sure where HP is in updating their drivers, but I suspect it will take awhile before they get everything sorted out and compatible with W7.

    Anyways, I have two HP printers (I've always thought their printers were great): A laserjet 1020 and an F300 All-in-One. I suspect newer printers won't have a problem, but older printers will. I didn't have a problem with the F300, as W7 recognized it and downloaded the drivers on its own (the RC). However, the laserjet was recognized and W7 found drivers, but they didn't work. I then went for a manual install of the Vista drivers, but that didn't work either through both HP's set up utility and through windows). So I gave the XP drivers a shot and it worked, i.e. following the HP setup program.

    I'm not sure if anyone else has had this issue with HP printers, much less any other brands. Then again, it may be just me. But when in doubt, no matter the model, give the XP drivers a shot through HP's set up program and it may work.
  4. When you customize your taskbar icons there is always icons left over from software you have uninstalled well this is how to remove/reset those icons/options.

    Click - Start
    Type - regedit
    Press - Enter
    "HKEY_CURRENT_USER, Software, Classes, Local Settings, Software, Microsoft, Windows, CurrentVersion, click TrayNotify".
    -On the right pane, highlight both IconStreams and PastIconsStream, right click on them and click Delete.
    -Start task manager, close explorer.exe, then start new task and start explorer.exe.

    Your customize system tray icons list will be reset.

    Some recommend backing up your registry before making changes to it because mistakes can lead to disaster.

    This is the best way to fix that issue that I have found.

  5. I use this tool to help identify device drivers that have been updated...

    While the full service requires payment, I use the scan function (for free) to identify the outdated drivers. With the application of a little common sense, the information provided about the updated driver is sufficient to find it on the internet. Of course you can always sign up for the paid service, if that is your choice.

    This free scan is good for three individual computers only.
  6. Yeah - it's a Microsoft listing, and some of the points clearly originated with the marketing folks, rather than techs... But there's some real gems in there that make the marketing BS worth wading through, like:

    13. Find New Tools. Within Control Panel is a single Troubleshooting link that leads you to all of your diagnostic tools on the system. There are additional tools, however, not installed by default. Selecting the "View all" link in the top left-hand corner will help you to see which troubleshooting packs are local and which ones are online. If you find a tool that you don't have, you can grab it from here.


    Keyboard shortcuts from the above (MSFT sourced) listing.

    The 14 Best Windows 7 Keyboard Shortcuts

    64. Win+h - Move current window to full screen

    65. Win+i - Restore current full screen window to normal size or minimize current window if not full screen

    66. Win+Shift+arrow - Move current window to alternate screen

    67. Win+D - Minimize all windows and show the desktop

    68. Win+E - Launch Explorer with Computer as the focus

    69. Win+F - Launch a search window

    70. Win+G - Cycle through gadgets

    71. Win+L - Lock the desktop

    72. Win+M - Minimize the current window

    73. Win+R - Open the Run window

    74. Win+T - Cycle through task bar opening Aero Peek for each running item

    75. Win+U - Open the Ease of Use center

    76. Win+Space - Aero Peek the desktop

    77. Ctrl+Win+Tab - Open persistent task selection window, roll mouse over each icon to preview item and minimize others

    ..and there's a lot more, since Microsoft maintain a LISTING OF ALL WINDOWS 7 KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS
  7. A keyboard shortcut that (surprisingly!) isn't listed:

    When you pin items to the toolbar, you may launch them with (Windows key + Number), in order from the start orb over/down. For example:


    You can lauch Excel with (Windows+3), since it is the 3rd app pinned to the toolbar. Explorer in this example would be (Windows+1).
  8. I found this tip from xtreme systems by Laguan X. This is a bandwidth and internet speed tuning tip

    I am running windows vista ultimate, on a desktop computer. Not everyone will see this tip, but it worked wonderful for me.

    Internet Speed Tuning
    go to desktop->My computer-(right click on)->properties->then go HARDWARE tab->Device manager-> now u see a window of Device manager
    then go to Ports->Communication Port(double click on it and Open).
    after open u can see a Communication Port properties.
    go the Port Setting:----
    and now increase ur "Bits per second" to 128000.
    and "Flow control" change 2 Hardware.

    apply and see the result

    Increase your bandwidth by 20%

    Windows uses 20% of your bandwidth! Get it back

    A nice little tweak for Windows. Microsoft reserve 20% of your available bandwidth for their own purposes (suspect for updates and interrogating your machine etc..)

    Here's how to get it back:

    Start-->Run-->type "gpedit.msc" without the "

    This opens the group policy editor. Then go to:

    Local Computer Policy-->Computer Configuration-->Administrative Templates-->Network-->QOS Packet Scheduler-->Limit Reservable Bandwidth

    Double click on Limit Reservable bandwidth. It will say it is not configured, but the truth is under the 'Explain' tab :

    "By default, the Packet Scheduler limits the system to 20 percent of the bandwidth of a connection, but you can use this setting to override the default."

    So the trick is to ENABLE reservable bandwidth, then set it to ZERO. This will allow the system to reserve nothing, rather than the default 20%.

    This takes like five minutes at most.
  9. How To Show Hidden Device Drivers in "Device Manager"

    -Click Start, type "cmd"
    -Right click cmd, select run as administartor
    -in the command prompt type "set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1"
    -then type "start devmgmt.msc"
    -In the Device Manager click view then show hidden devices

    Now all of the device drivers that are not in use are shown and shadded out.
  10. An easier method to Show Hidden Device Drivers in "Device Manager"

    Right click Computer icon
    Left click on Manage > Device Manager > View > Show hidden devices
  11. For anyone interested in customizing their Windows 7 install media (integrating patches and drivers, including post-Windows setup applications to install, shutting off services by default, etc...) have a look at It's the same idea as the popular nLite and vLite utilities made my Dino Nuhagic, but it's designed for Windows 7 (side note: To my knowledge, Dino has no part in the development of the RT Se7en Lite program). It's in beta right now, but seems to work fairly well.
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