Window tips: Windows 7 shortcuts and more

Get your fresh tips here: Must-have Windows 7 keyboard shortcuts, XP backup tips, and jazzing up your Start menu

Windows 7 adds some new keyboard shortcuts to the mix, all of them based on the Windows key. Here are my favorites:

Win-Home: Minimize all windows except the one that's currently active. Hit it again to restore the windows.

Win-Space: Makes all windows transparent so you can see through to the desktop.

Win-Up Arrow: Maximizes the active window.

Win-Left/Right Arrow: Docks the active window to the left or ride side of the screen.

Win-[+/-]: Enables the magnifier and zooms in/out.

Win-P: Opens Windows' presentation settings so you can quickly adjust display settings to include a second monitor or a projector.

Instantly Create Folders in Windows 7

Here's one straight from the What-Took-Them-So-Long Department: A keyboard shortcut for creating new folders: Ctrl-Shift-N.

I know, I'm excited too. You can use this on the desktop or in an Explorer window: Just give a tap and presto, you've got a new folder ready for renaming.

Back Up Your Windows XP Service Packs

If you're running Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or even Service Pack 3, what happens if you have to perform a system recovery using your original XP CD? Hassles, that's what.

Reader Ralph recently experienced that exact scenario, resulting in an awful lot of Windows Updating after the installation. That's because the old CD doesn't have all the patches and updates you've downloaded over the years. It could take hours or even days to re-download and reinstall all that extra stuff, during which time your PC is more vulnerable to viruses and outside attacks. (A lot of those patches tackle security issues.)

Consequently, Ralph wanted to know if there was some way to back up the Windows Service Packs so he wouldn't be in the same boat next time.

There is--you can download the Service Packs as standalone installers directly from Microsoft (here's SP3, for example)--but I propose a different solution: slipstreaming.

Slipstreaming is the process of combining your existing Windows XP CD and the latest Service Pack into a new CD. When you're done, you can install Windows XP with SP3 outright.

This is easier to accomplish than you might think, provided you've got your original CD and the aforementioned standalone Service Pack. However, I'm not going to repeat the details here; check out Lincoln Spector's "Slipstreaming Service Pack 2 on an Old Windows XP CD." Just substitute SP3 for SP2 and you're golden.

Can you do likewise with Vista? Digital Inspiration has instructions on slipstreaming Vista with SP1 (you'll need a DVD for that), but I suspect you could just as easily swap in the new SP2.

Add Fly-Out Menus to the Start Menu

How do you routinely access, say, your Documents folder? Or your C: drive? Or the Windows Control Panel? Whatever your method, there's an alternative you might find more convenient: fly-out menus.

Specifically, it's possible to tweak the Start menu so that options like Documents, Pictures, Computer, and Control Panel produce fly-out menus when you mouse over them. I find that preferable to opening those items in new windows, which is the default setting. That just involves extra clicks and more searching.

With fly-out menus, I just mouse over the desired option, then choose the item I want. Here's how to configure your system accordingly. (This example is for Vista, but it's virtually identical in XP. A few of the Start menu items have slightly different names.)

1. Right-click the Start button, and then click Properties.

2. In the Start Menu tab, click the Customize button. (XP users should then switch to the Advanced tab.)

3. You'll see entries marked Computer, Control Panel, Documents, Games, Music, and so on. For any or all of them, enable Display as a menu.

4. Click OK twice to exit.

Now, when you venture into the Start menu, you'll see that these items have little arrows. Mouse over one (or click it outright) and you'll see the associated options in a fly-out menu.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Windows 7

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rick Broida

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?