Still, as good as Windows 7 is, it’s not perfect out of the box. Here are a few tweaks and tricks you can use to make this excellent OS even better.
1. Get Quick Launch
Once you have the Quick Launch bar on your taskbar, you can drag programs to it as you did in Vista. See my Quick Launch bar in Figure A, on the right side of the taskbar next to the notification area.
2. Bring back the Vista taskbar look and behavior
Even though I like the new taskbar, I know some people don’t. They’d prefer to have the old Vista/XP look and behavior, where the taskbar uses less screen space. If you’re in that camp, it’s easy to change the taskbar so it will be similar to the old look:
5. Display Control Panel applets with small icons
By default, the Windows 7 Control Panel shows the Category view (Figure C), similar to the default in Windows Vista.
The default Control Panel view in Windows 7 is Category.You can easily change to a more classic view by clicking All Control Panel Items at the bottom of the categories list, but that gives you a list of the items represented by large icons, as shown in Figure D.
Clicking All Control Panel Items gives you a view of the applets with large icons.What if you’d like to display the items with small icons so more of them will fit in the same space? Your first thought might be to click the View menu on the taskbar, but at least in the public beta (build 7000), the icon size choices are all grayed out. However, there’s a little trick: Right-click on an empty space in the window, and you’ll get a context menu from which you can pick View Small Icons. Selecting this command will allow you to display many more items in the same size window.
6. Format the text in sticky notes
Another new feature in Windows 7 is the built-in Sticky Notes application. You’ll find it on the Start menu. You’ve probably already discovered that you can change the color of notes by right-clicking and selecting a new color. You may also have figured out that you can use the Ctrl + B and Ctrl + I shortcuts to format the text as bold or italic. But did you know that you can make bulleted and numbered lists in your sticky notes, and increase or decrease the text size? Here are some more handy keyboard shortcuts that work within sticky notes:
7. Turn off Windows features
Microsoft gives you much more flexibility with Windows 7, allowing you to turn off Windows components — such as Internet Explorer, Windows Search, the Gadget platform, and media features — that you couldn’t disable in earlier versions of Windows. Here’s how:
8. Make Adobe Reader display PDFs properlyIf you’ve installed Adobe Reader in Windows 7, you may notice that sometimes when you try to open a PDF file, you get an error message and the file doesn’t open. It seems Adobe doesn’t play well with IE 8 in Windows 7 and won’t open the files (or at least won’t open some of them) in the browser.
9. Use the new keyboard shortcuts
10. Install Windows 7 from a USB thumb drive