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Monday, December 27, 2010

Three Nifty New Tricks in Windows 7

Windows 7 comes with new features and along with them are some new tricks. Included in the new “Aero” desktop themes are some things that are unlike anything in previous versions of Windows. Here are three of these new tricks that I think you’ll like. They work in all versions of Windows 7 except Starter. They do require reasonably up to date graphics processors, however.

Keyboard shortcut to minimize all open windows except one

If you like to have a lot of programs and files open, the desktop can get completely covered. Then comes the time when you want to see or use the desktop while keeping the working window open. Windows 7 provides a keyboard shortcut to do just that. To minimize all open windows except the active one, press the keyboard combination:
Windows key + Home.
If all you wanted to do was see the desktop, you can then restore all the open windows by repeating Windows key + Home. However, if you carry out some operation after minimizing, you’ll have to restore the minimized windows the usual way.

Use “Aero Shake” to minimize all windows except one

“Aero Shake” is an example of the features called “gestures” that are becoming more common in computers. It does the same thing as the preceding tip but uses the mouse. Place the mouse pointer on the title bar of a window you want to keep open. Hold down the left mouse button and rapidly move the window back and forth three times- left, right, left. All other open windows will suddenly minimize. The gesture may take a little getting used to. If you shake too slowly, it doesn’t work. Repeat the gesture and all windows are restored. But, if you do something else first after minimizing, the gesture won't restore the minimized windows.

New way to reveal the desktop

Another way to see the desktop when it is crowded with open windows is to use the Show Desktop tool. It is the blank upright rectangle at the end of the Taskbar. (If you have your Taskbar on one of the sides of the screen, the tool is at the bottom.) Hover your mouse pointer on this area and all the open windows become transparent with the windows outlined. Move your mouse away and everything returns.

There is also a keyboard shortcut to do the same thing. It is:
Windows key + Spacebar

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