Every day, I learn more about Windows 7 and it’s sometimes hidden features. Since I skipped Vista, a great deal of the options and settings are new to me.
There are dozens of utilities and settings applets built into Windows 7 and Vista. Often the easiest way to find them is to search for them by name in the Start menu.
The problem is that there are far more settings and utilities available than any average user would find on his own. What if you don’t know the name of the app or control you are looking for? What if you didn’t know it existed?
Some people at “The Windows Club” have tried to make it easier to find all the applets and controls with their new “Windows Access Panel“.
Here’s what they say about it:
“Windows Access Panel v 1.0 is meant to minimize your trouble in accessing such programs. It has been tested on Windows 7 & Windows Vista. It can simply be downloaded and used as a portable application. Place it in your Programs Files and Pin its shortcut to your Start menu and you are all set to a faster way of accessing the ‘hidden’ Windows system utilities.”
I tried it and it’s simply great, but I do have a couple of recommendations for it’s improvement.
I was not able to resize the Windows Access Panel (WAP) in any way. It was very large and disappeared from my screen on the sides. I think they need to make this window re-sizable and perhaps add more tabs to better organize the tools into smaller groups.
In the future it might also be nice to be able to add your own shortcuts or commands into WAP.
Techie Buzz Verdict:
It’s safe, it’s useful and will save you time. I especially like the fact that it’s portable. However, I look forward to improvements that will make it a “must have” application.
Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5
Do you have any questions about Windows 7? Do you have any ideas you’d like to share? Be sure to add a comment below or email me. I’d love to hear from you.
Windows ships with dozens of system utilities which allows the user to modify almost every aspect of the operating system. However, many of these utilities are buried deep within the Control Panel. Even worse, it is impossible to access some of these utilities like the DirectX diagnostic tool (dxdiag), unless you know exactly what you are looking for.
Windows Access Panel is a portable utility developed by The Windows Club which includes shortcuts for launching forty eight Windows utilities. The utilities are grouped into two tabs Basic and Advanced. The basic section contains many commonly required utilities like Checkdisk, Registry Editor, Group Policy Editor, Windows Firewall, System Restore and Disk Defragmenter. The advanced section contains utilities like DirectX Diagnostics, Memory Diagnostics, Performance Monitor, Resource Monitor, Task Scheduler and Problem Step Recorder.
Techie Buzz Verdict
Windows Access Panel doesn’t add anything to Windows. It basically acts as a launcher for Windows system utilities. It is something all PC repair guys (and tech enthusiasts who love toying with their system) should have in their collection. Windows Access Panel will also help novices discover useful Windows Utilities they might not have been aware of. It is a nice little application which definitely serves a purpose.
Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)
Download Windows Access Panel for Windows Vista and 7 (32 Bit only)
When Windows Vista arrived, Microsoft made a few changes to Windows Explorer and added some new features. If you’re still using Windows XP, I can recommend QTtabbar or ViSplore to get some of these new features. If you are using Vista or Windows 7, keep on reading.
One of the most useful features that I’ve found for the new Explorer is the ability to select files using a check box.
You may not immediately find the Folder and View options that you were used to seeing in previous versions of Windows Explorer. I’ll show you how to find them once again and enable the check box feature.
First, start Windows Explorer by double clicking Computeron your desktop or typing Windows Explorerin the Start Menu search box and launching it.
Once Explorer opens, click on the Organizemenu and choose Folder and search options.
When the Folder Options dialog opens, select the Viewtab and place a check-mark in front of Use check boxes to select items.
Click the OKbutton to finish up and you will now have this feature enabled.
Be sure to comment below if you have any questions or comments about this or any other Windows 7 feature.
It’s common knowledge that Windows Vista was a rushed release. Even Bill Gates admitted that it could have used a little more polish. Vista is full of rough edges. One of the most annoying oversights being the dozens of ugly icons, bitmaps and animations left over from previous builds of Windows.
Vize is a free GUI enhancer for Windows Vista which replaces most of the icons, bitmaps and animations Microsoft forgot to replace. Vize works by directly patching more than 75 system files. This ensures that Vize doesn’t require any additional resources to run.
Vize completely automates the process of replacing system files, however it is recommended that you create a system restore point before installing Vize. Go ahead and give your Vista installation the fit and finish it deserves.
[ Download Vize for Windows Vista ]
Here’s how to change the standard icons you normally see on your Windows Desktop.
These instructions are for Windows XP.
Scroll on down further to see how to do this in Vista or Windows 7.
Right click on an empty spot on your desktop and select Properties. Then choose the Desktoptab as shown.
Click the Customize Desktopbutton. Select the icon you wish to change and then click the Change Iconbutton.
You’ll see the location of the current icon and clicking Browsewill allow you to choose a new icon.
Here you can see that I’ve selected an icon from the shell32.dllicon library. Hit the OK button after you’ve selected the icon you wish to use.
You should now see the changed icon in the list. If you are done changing icons, you can hit OK to save your changes. You will have to hit another OK button after that to exit the Desktop properties.
Now you can see the changed icon on your desktop.
Instructions for Windows Vista and Windows 7
Right click on an empty spot on your desktop. Then select the Change desktop iconslink.
The rest of the procedure is pretty much the same as what I showed you above for Windows XP.
That’s all there is to it. Now you can make your Windows a little more personal.
Why would you ever want to do that?
Keith just posted an article telling you how to make Windows 7 look like Windows XP. I’m actually dual booting XP and 7 so I don’t miss XP yet. I’d also be the first to tell you that I love the new eye candy in Windows Vista and Windows 7. However, it does come with a price. The window transparency and other visual effects might make an older PC that was designed for XP run just a little sluggish. The same is true on machines that were made to run Windows 95 or 98 but now have Windows XP on them.
Are you on a minimalistic kick?
Sometimes I’m in favor of dropping the eye candy and going back to basics. Maybe there are a few others out there who feel the same way.
Do you need to squeeze every last ounce of power out of your PC?
Some PC gamers would agree that anything you can do to drop Windows system requirements will help you boost your FPS (frames per second) and get you more kills in that favorite game.
Here’s what I’ve done.
The basic procedures are the same for Vista and Win7. In XP you won’t see step B, you’ll just select the Advanced tab.
A. Right click on My Computeror Computerand choose properties.
B. Click on Advanced System Properties
C. Click on the Performance Settings
D. Put your dot in the Adjust for best performance.
E. Click OKall the way home.
Now Compare Win7 and Win2k.
As you can see, the main similarities are the window borders and the Start button.
Windows 7 screenshot
Windows 2000 screenshot
win2k image from guidebookgallery.org
That’s it. All of the features are still there, it’s just got that old Classic look to it. Do you love it or hate it? Do you have a better idea? Please comment below.
The Ultimate Windows Tweaker which was earlier available for Windows Vista only has now been updated to work to version 2 and will work with both Windows Vista and Windows 7.
The freeware utility for windows allows users to tweak and optimize several settings in windows, which are usually hidden deep and not easy to find.
The tweaker detects whether you have Windows 7 or Windows Vista installed and accordingly offers you the relevant tweaks only.
New Features in version 2 include:
- Revamped UI similar to Windows 7/Vista UI controls
- Improved: Optmize services, enable/disable services and start/stop as well instantly
- New information is added to the system information page.
- New information added to personalization page.
- More options available for UAC, System performance, security settings and Internet explorer page.
- Additional tweaks are added.
Ultimate Windows Tweaker is a portable software so you can use it anywhere.
Download Ultimate Windows Tweaker 2 [via TechNet]
Windows Vista service pack 2 had been released and been pushed to most of the users now, it has been pretty stable as we have seen it, however it does use up a lot of disk space to store the old files just in case you want to do a rollback or uninstall the SP2.
Just like how we had told you how to free disk space by making Windows Vista SP1 permanent, here is another tip on gaining some disk space by making Windows Vista SP2 permanent.
In the windows run box, invoked by typing Windows + R (more windows hotkeys)key simultaneously, type in compcln.exewithout the quotes.
This should open up a command prompt that should look like the screenshot above, just type Ywithout the quotes and hit enter, this should delete all the files that were created as backups by Windows Vista SP2 some disk space for you. Thanks Kishan.
Windows 7 has several new things built into it, one of it is that it displays both the date as well as the time in the system tray.
Windows XP and Windows Vista do not have this feature built into them, but if you want to display the date and time in the system tray, AskVG has discovered a tiny portable utility called TClock will help you with it.
Continue reading Windows 7 Date/Time Format In Windows XP & Vista
Windows Operating provide users with a way to enhance their experience with the help of themes, however there are not many themes to boast of when it comes to using the in-built themes provided in Windows.
Windows Vista which does have a beautiful UI can be enhanced with the help of more attractive themes, but where do you find themes for Windows Vista?
Continue reading 7 Places To Find Free Themes For Windows Vista