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1. Troubleshoot problems
If some part of Windows 7 is behaving strangely, and you don't know why, then click Control Panel > Find and fix problems (or 'Troubleshooting') to access the new troubleshooting packs. These are simple wizards that will resolve common problems, check your settings, clean up your system and more.
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2. Startup repair
If you've downloaded Windows 7 (and even if you haven't) it's a good idea to create a system repair disc straight away in case you run into problems booting the OS later on. Click Start > Maintenance > Create a System Repair Disc, and let Windows 7 build a bootable emergency disc. If the worst does happen then it could be the only way to get your PC running again.
3. Take control
Tired of the kids installing dubious software or running applications you'd rather they left alone? AppLocker is a new Windows 7 feature that ensures users can only run the programs you specify. Don't worry, that's easier to set up than it sounds: you can create a rule to allow everything signed by a particular publisher, so choose Microsoft, say, and that one rule will let you run all signed Microsoft applications. Launch GPEDIT.MSC and go to Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Application Control Policies > AppLocker to get a feel for how this works.
4. Get a power efficiency report
If you have a laptop, you can use the efficiency calculator to get Windows 7 to generate loads of useful information about its power consumption. Used in the right way, this can help you make huge gains in terms of battery life and performance. To do this you must open a command prompt as an administrator by typing 'cmd' in Start Search, and when the cmd icon appears, right-click it and choose Run as administrator.
Then at the command line, just type in 'powercfg -energy' (without quotes) and hit Return, and Windows 7 will scan your system looking for ways to improve power efficiency. It will then publish the results in an HTML file, usually in the System32 folder. Just follow the path it gives you to find your report.
5. Understanding System Restore
Using System Restore in previous versions of Windows has been something of a gamble. There's no way of telling which applications or drivers it might affect - you just have to try it and see.
Windows 7 is different. Right-click Computer, select Properties > System Protection > System Restore > Next, and choose the restore point you'd like to use. Click the new button to 'Scan for affected programs' and Windows will tell you which (if any) programs and drivers will be deleted or recovered by selecting this restore point. (Read our full Windows 7 System Restore tutorial.)
6. Automatically switch your default printer
Windows 7's location-aware printing allows the operating system to automatically switch your default printer as you move from one network to another.
To set this up, first click Start, type Devices, and click the Devices and Printers link.
Select a printer and click Manage Default Printers (this is only visible on a mobile device, like a laptop - you won't see it on a PC).
Choose the "Change my default printer when I change networks" option, select a network, the default printer you'd like to use, and click Add.
Repeat the process for other networks available, and pick a default printer for each one.
And now, as you connect to a new network, Windows 7 will check this list and set the default printer to the one that you've defined.
7. Burn images
Windows 7 finally introduces a feature that other operating systems have had for years - the ability to burn ISO images to CDs or DVDs. And it couldn't be much easier to use. Just double-click the ISO image, choose the drive with the blank disc, click Burn and watch as your disc is created.
8. Use Keyboard Shortcuts
Using the mouse, you can drag-n-dock Windows to either side of the screen, or drag it to the top to maximize it. These keyboard shortcuts are even faster:
9.Rearrange System Tray Icons
You can rearrange icons on the taskbar as you wish and start new (or switch to running) instances of the first ten taskbar programs using Win+1, Win+2, and so on. The cool thing is you can also rearrange system tray icons. Reorder them on the tray or move them outside or back in the tray. Take control of what you want to always keep an eye on, and from which apps you’ll require notifications.
10. Add Any Folder to Favorites
You can add any library or folder to the Favorites section in Windows Explorer. To add a folder, navigate to it in Explorer, right-click Favorites in the left navigation pane, and select Add current location to Favorites. Now you get quick access to your favorite folders in all File->Save As dialogs!