By Andrea Eldridge
The route you take to work is probably so familiar that they could build a bridge directly from your street to your parking lot, and you’d likely drive right past it for at least a few weeks. We get used to navigating around the computer in much the same way. Taking a few minutes to explore, however, can unearth some handy tools hidden in the Windows 7 framework that you’ve likely never used or known existed. Here are just a few of the most useful, under-utilized tools built into Windows 7.
Even if a fingertip scanner doesn’t appeal to you (really? James Bond doesn’t sell you?), Windows Credential Manager will securely store usernames and/or passwords on your PC. Just go to Control Panel - User Accounts and Family Safety - User Accounts and choose “Manage your credentials” from the menu on the left. Add “credentials” for websites or other computers on a network, and Credential Manager supplies the information automatically upon visiting a recognized site. Your credential “vaults” are more secure than storing logins in your browser, and they can be transferred to a disk or thumb drive if you need to transfer them to another PC.
Win Logo Key (Win) opens or closes the Start menu.
Win+F opens the search function, allowing you to quickly search names and contents of all files on your system for a keyword.
Win+ Arrows allows you to resize or dock program windows. I often operate multiple programs at once, using the split screen function to view and move between programs simultaneously. Set up usually involves a frustrating minute of moving and re-sizing minimized program windows to get them lined up with the edges of my screen, on the correct side, and expanded to the maximum horizontal and vertical dimensions to fit the viewing area. Using the Windows key does all the resizing automatically:
Win+ Up Arrow to maximize current application.
Win+ Down Arrow to minimize current application.
Win+ Left Arrow to send a minimized application to the left side, and expand to the edges of the left ½ of the screen. Win+ Right Arrow to send to the right side.
Win+ D minimizes all running windows to instantly return you to your desktop. Press again to re-launch.
For details of how to grant and/or get access, check out Windows Remote Assistance info page, and review links to “Get help with your computer using Windows Remote Assistance” and “Help someone with a computer problem using Windows Remote Assistance.”
Just like finding that new-to-you shortcut to work, these hidden tools can make your life easier, no additional software required.