Many people are playing with Windows 7 these days, and so new tips to make your work more efficient are popping up every day on the web. In this post, I will share the seven tips I found most useful for my work with Windows 7.

1 Drag and drop to the command prompt ^

Daniel Petri discovered that drag and drop to the command prompt is back in Windows 7. This allows you to copy a file's path to the command prompt.

2 Pin files to a taskbar button ^

Paul Thurrott mentioned this tip. To associate a file with a certain application, you can drag and drop its icon to the corresponding taskbar button. You can then open this file from the app's Jumplist.

3 Dual Boot with Bitlocker ^

Keith Comb explained how you can encrypt your system drive with Bitlocker and still boot from a VHD. This is useful for dual boot environments

4 Revive the Quick Launch bar ^

I already mentioned this tip in a post about the Windows 7 taskbar. In my view, taskbar pinning is not really a good replacement for the Quick Launch bar. However, both ways for quickly launching applications complete one another.

5 Revive the Windows 3.1 File Manager ^

Mitch Tulloch talked about this tip in an interview at the Microsoft Press blog. You probably know that the new Aero Snap feature allows you to resize an application window to half screen by dragging it to the left or right side of the desktop. There are certainly many situations where this feature could be useful, but the one I like most is that it allows me to open two Explorer windows side-by-side this way. Mitch Tulloch refers to the Windows 3.1 File Manager, but this style of copying files reminds me of the good old Norton Commander under DOS.

6 Start Windows Explorer from My Computer ^

I found this tip in a list of 70 Windows 7 tricks (many of them already work for Vista). The Explorer in Windows 7 opens by default from the Libraries folder. If you want to start the Explorer with the My Computer page, you have to replace the shortcut target with %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /root,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}. Note that you can also open any other folder by just adding the corresponding path as a parameter to the launch command. For example, if you want Windows Explorer to start in C:\Program Files, the target for the Windows Explorer icon would look like this: %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe "C:\Program Files"

7 Make use of hotkeys ^

Windows has countless keyboard shortcuts and Windows 7 received a few more. It makes sense to skim over the list of Windows 7 hotkeys at least once. Perhaps you will find a key combination that improves your productivity. My favorite new Windows 7 hotkey is "Windows logo key +Down arrow". It minimizes the active window.

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Of course, there are myriads of other useful Windows 7 tips out there. I am curious to know which ones are your favorite tips.

6 Comments
  1. Petr 13 years ago

    %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /root,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}

    opens My computer but only explores the root, child objects will open in a new window. To make it explore child objects as well use the following code:

    %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe ::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}

  2. Michael Pietroforte 13 years ago

    Petr, thanks for the tip! I also prefer your option.

  3. Jim 13 years ago

    The native ability of changing of the login screen is pretty cool i think. You have to create/toggle (if already present the OEMBackground dword at HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background to 1. Once you’ve done that you can put any jpeg less than 256k in the C:\windows\System32\oobe\info\backgrounds and name it as backgrounddefault.jpg and it will become your login screen.

  4. Migration Expert Zone 13 years ago

    Great tips! Any suggestions on how to quickly launch two side-by-side Explorer windows? The first one’s easy, of course, but the second one requires two clicks. Two!

  5. Michael Pietroforte 13 years ago

    Jim, thanks. That could have been tip 8.

    Migration Expert, why two clicks? What is the difference to the first one?

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