Windows 7 may not be the newest version of Microsoft’s operating system, but it’s still quite popular, especially with Windows XP users who haven’t yet made the switch to Windows 8 or 10. With any operating system, there are bound to be features that people use without even realizing it — and then there are hidden features that are kept secret until you discover them yourself. Whether you’re using Windows 7 on your computer at work or at home, check out these eight hidden tricks and shortcuts so you can do more with the software in less time! 8 Windows 7 Hidden Tricks You Didn’t Know
1) Open Task Manager from Desktop
Many people know how to right-click on a taskbar icon and select Task Manager, but there’s another way that is quite handy—simply hit Ctrl+Shift+Esc. When you do, you will open up Task Manager on your desktop, which is where many people don’t expect it to be.
2) Right-Click Shut Down Button
One of my favorite hidden tricks for Windows 7, is that you can right-click on your shut down button in your system tray and choose Shut Down to turn off your computer. This is helpful when you have other people using your machine, like family members or colleagues who don’t know how to shut down a computer properly. When they see that shutdown button there (which appears by default on all Windows computers), they think they can just click it and they’re good.
3) View System Properties from Task Manager
One of my favorite hidden tricks is how to view system properties from Task Manager. The dialog box that you’d normally see by going to Control Panel > System can actually be seen by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc on your keyboard! There’s no need to go digging through menus if you just want a quick look at what’s installed on your computer or how much RAM is available.
4) Change Taskbar Transparency
The transparency setting for your taskbar may be set too high, making it impossible to read text on an open window when you have multiple applications running. To change transparency in Vista and XP, click Start, then Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Taskbar and Start Menu. In Windows 7, click Start, then click Personalization.
5) Make Quick Access Toolbar Easier to Read
The Quick Access Toolbar is one of my favorite additions to Windows 7. It’s a small bar that resides near your Start button and contains some important shortcuts, including ones for shut down, search, and other features. The problem with it is that there are too many icons packed onto too little space. Let’s clear off some room by removing all but a few important shortcuts.
6) Show All File Extensions
When you double-click a file on your computer, it always opens with an associated program. In most cases, you can tell what type of file it is because its extension shows at the end of its name (like .DOCX or .ZIP). The problem is that some files don’t show their extensions, meaning they appear to be something else entirely—say, a text document when they are actually a ZIP file.
7) Add Music Controls to Your Desktop
When listening to music with your computer, it’s not uncommon to get caught up in your work and forget about your tunes. To prevent that from happening, you can add desktop controls for iTunes and other music programs that are playing. The instructions are a little complex, but Lifehacker has all of them here.
8) Drag Folders Into Quick Access Toolbar
The Quick Access toolbar, located at the top of every Explorer window, is a built-in way to get at commonly used folders quickly. But it can also be customised—and you can drag other things onto it, too. For example, right-click on a folder in your user profile and choose Add to Quick Access Toolbar; that folder will now appear here. It’s like having another Start menu in Explorer. Handy! (Windows 8 has a similar feature.)