The following are general technology tips that anyone who uses a Windows computer may find useful.
Easy Photo Printing Wizard
If you are in Windows Explorer and right-click on an image file, you should be able to select 'print'. This brings up a "Photo Printing Wizard" which is really helpful - you can select which images to print, how many you want printed per page, how many copies and if you want landscape or portrait, and the wizard will automatically resize, collate and print them for you.
Have you been wondering what with that key on the keyboard with the Windows icon, other than pulling up the start menu? As it happens, it can be really useful. Here are some ofthe shortcuts you can use:
- Windows+m - Minimise all open windows, revealing the desktop.
- Windows+e - Opens windows explorer.
- Windows+r - Opens the ‘Run’ window. This is particularly handy for running quick commands like ‘calc’ (brings up the calculator), ‘cmd’ (brings up an old DOS-style command prompt) or ‘regedit’ (opens windows registry editor).
- Windows+f - Opens a Windows search window.
- Windows+l - Locks your computer - great if you have sensitive info on screen and you need to duck out for a minute.
Managing the Start Menu
The Start Menu (the menu that pops up when you click the ‘Start’ button) can sometimes get out of control, especially when you install quite a few new programs. Personally, I like to tidy this up. If you right-click on the Start Menu, you can choose ‘Explore’, which opens Windows Explorer on the ‘Start Menu’ folder. The great thing here is that the whole start menu is just a series of shortcuts in in standard windows folders, so it is really easy to create new folders and move exisiting ones. What I do is go into the ‘Programs’ folder and create a few main folders like ‘_Graphics&Multimedia’, ‘_Internet’, ‘_Hardware&Drivers’, ‘_Utils’ and ‘_Business’. I then move all the other folders (except the default windows folders) into these main folders. Now its really easy to find the application I want to run.
NOTE: I put an underscore at the front of my main menus so that they are easy to see and so that they rise to the top of the list when they are viewed in Windows Explorer.
Also NOTE: I reccommend you read the tip below called ‘Managing the Start Menu - Multiple Users’ before trying this yourself.
If you have certain applications you use a lot, you can copy that shortcut and paste it somewhere that really easy to access. Its up to you, but good places to paste a shortcut are:
- In the ‘Programs’ folder - saves you going into a sub-menu.
- In the ‘Start Menu’ - in some configurations, will show up as soon as you click the start button.
- On the desktop - you can see it as soon as windows has booted up.
- In the Quick-Launch tray - I discuss this more in ‘Managing the Quick-Launch Tray’.
Managing the Start Menu - Multiple Users
If you right-click on the start button, you will notice you can also ‘Explore All Users’. Give this a go. You will notice it looks similar to what you did in the previous tip, but if you look at the address of the folder you are in, you will notice it is subtly different:
- ‘Explore’ takes you to: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Start Menu
- ‘Explore All Users’ takes you to: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu
As the name suggests, anything available in ‘All Users’ is visible to anyone who logs into that machine. Shortcuts etc that are the Start Menu under your personal username are only visible to you! Understanding this can prevent a whole can of confusion. I reccommend you open both of these Start Menus in Windows Explorer and move almost everything over to the ‘All Users’ version. Don’t move some of the basics like ‘Accessories’ and ‘Startup’ because windows keeps some user-specific information in there. This touches on ‘Managing Users’, which is discussed later.
Using the ‘Startup’ Folder
Managing the Quick-Launch Tray
Make your own Shortcut Keys
Getting the Most out of Windows Explorer
Saving to a Folder
Cleaning out your Temp Folder