Creating a new user account in Windows 7

Just like Windows XP and Vista, Windows 7 lets you create different user accounts on the same computer; this is extremely useful not only when you share your computer with another member of your family, but even if you want to keep and use two different configurations on your computer and want to be able to switch between them real quick.

How to create a new user account in Windows 7

Click the Start button and then Control Panel; under User Accounts and Family Safety click Add or remove user accounts.

On the next window click Create a new account

Choose a name for your user account, select the account type and click the Create Account button. There are three types of user accounts on Windows 7: Administrator, Standard and Guest. It is generally a good practice to have only one administrator on a single computer; the administrator has full access to all settings and programs, he can make any changes that he desires, including deleting and creating user accounts. The standard user account cannot delete system files, install new software, but can use most of the programs on the computer and access all files and folders. The guest account has very limited access permissions, which is why it is usually created when you want to give someone a temporary access to the computer.

Once the account has been created and you are logged in as the administrator, you can set a password in order to protect it, change the account type, set up Parental controls, change the account picture or delete the account altogether.

Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7

If you were hoping to do a quick and easy in-place upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7, then you will be somewhat disappointed – if you want to install Windows 7 on your computer and you are currently running XP, your only options are purchasing the Full version pack or purchasing Windows 7 Upgrade pack and doing a custom install. In both cases, you will have to re-install all your programs after the transitions.

If you have just purchased a new computer with no Operating System installed or you have formatted your hard drive, then you will have to purchase one of the Windows 7 editions’ Full versions (which is more expensive than the upgrade) and do a clean installation.

If you have a genuine copy of Windows XP running on your computer, you can do custom installation: you can make the transition easier with the help of Microsoft’s Windows Easy Transfer utility, which you can download for free. Before going any further though, make sure that your computer meets the minimum requirements; it is also highly advisable to download and run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor (freeware), which will inspect your computer configuration and inform you of any potential issues. Once you are certain that your PC is Windows 7 compatible, you are ready to make the migration.

What you need to remember when doing a Custom installation:

1. You need to back up all your data – for most users the Custom installation is easy to perform, but you should back up all your important files and documents in case something go wrong. You can also make an image of your entire hard drive, using software such as Acronis True Image, Norton Ghost, Paragon Drive Backup, or other similar tools.

2. Download the Windows Easy Transfer (freeware) from Microsoft’s web site and run it: you will need a second hard drive, an external hard drive, or another partition on your hard drive with enough free space. The Wizard will let you choose which settings you want to keep such as: programs and user account settings, files, folder and documents.

3. Perform Custom Install of Windows 7 from the Windows 7 DVD

4. Use the Windows Easy Transfer to import all your files and settings that you saved in step 2.

5. Re-install all your programs.

After Windows 7 is installed and running and your programs re-installed, you can download the Windows 7 Product Guide from Microsoft’s web site and familiarize yourself with Windows 7 new features.

How many computers can I use my Windows 7 license on?

As with previous versions of Windows you can use one license per computer only, regardless of the edition that you purchase. There is one exception and that is the Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade Family Pack. There are a few things you should know though: the Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade Family Pack is not available for download and is only available in certain locations.

The Windows 7 Home Premium Family Pack allows you to install Windows 7 on three computers in your household, providing that they are running genuine copies of Windows XP or Windows Vista; the pack costs approximately $149.00.

Hot to create a shut down shortcut in Windows 7

1. Right click on your desktop and select New -> Shortcut

2. Type taskkill /im explorer.exe under Type the location of the item and click the Next button

3. Choose a name for the shortcut and click the Finish button.

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If you want to change the icon of your newly created shortcut:

4. Locate the shortcut on your desktop and right-click no it, then select Properties and click the Change Icon button.

5.Select one of the icons and click OK and the OK once more

6.Double-click on the shortcut and you will see the Shutdown dialog box

Now you can drag and drop your shortcut to your taskbar or your quick launch bar if you want to.

How to start Windows 7 in safe mode

If you want to start Windows 7 in safe mode do the following:

1. Reboot your computer
2. Right before the Windows 7 splash screen start tapping the F8 key on your keyboard
3. Once you see the advanced boot options screen use the arrow keys to get to Safe mode and press Enter

If you do not see the advanced boot options and Windows 7 continues to load normally, then simply restart and try again.

If tapping the F8 key doesn’t work disable the no GUI boot up option:
. Click the start button
. Type msconfig in the search box
. Press Enter
. Open the Boot tab
. Disable the no GUI boot option

Now you can try one more time rebooting your computer and tapping the F8 key.

Another way to start Windows 7 in safe mode is to:
. Type msconfig in the search box
. Press Enter
. Open the Boot tab
. Choose Safe mode and select one of the four different options: Minimal, Alternate Shell, Active directory repair, Network, press the OK button and restart your computer.

How to speed-up Windows 7

How to speed up Windows 7 in 10 easy steps

Windows 7 is quite fast and even after you have installed and uninstalled a few programs, have cluttered your system and polluted your hard drive with countless useless files and leftovers, you shouldn’t see a dramatic decrease in your computer’s performance. However, if you want to make Windows 7 even faster, then follow these easy steps.

1. Configure Windows 7 for best performance

If you want to see instant increase in your computer’s speed, then you have to optimize it for best performance. Simply right-click on the Computer icon on your desktop and select Properties:

On the next window click the Advanced system settings link

Click the Settings button under Performance

On the Performance options windows select Adjust for best performance.

Now your Windows 7 will be much faster, but you will disable some of its great features; in order to prevent that simply choose Custom in the previous step and only disable the features that you don’t need.

2. Disable some of the start-up programs

Click the Start button on your taskbar, type msconfig in the search box and press Enter. Once the System Configuration window opens, click the Startup tab and deselect the programs that you don’t want to start with every boot-up.

3. Defragment your hard drive regularly

Make sure that disk fragmentation scheduling is turned on: Click the Start button, then All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Defragmenter. See that the Scheduled defragmentation is turned on. Keep in mind that while the disk is defragmenting it might slow down your system, which is why you should choose time of the day that you aren’t likely to be using your computer.

4. Run Disk Cleanup regularly

Click the Start button, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Cleanup.

Select the drive from the drop-down menu and click the OK button. Wait for the tool to inspect your drive and then select some of the items such as Temporary Internet Files, Recycle Bin, Downloaded Programs, etc.

5. Change your computer power plan for better performance

Open Control Panel, click on System and Security, click on Power Options. Expand the Show additional plans and select High Performance.

6. Enable write-caching

Write-caching is a useful feature since it saves your data and I would advise you to disable it only if you have an UPS or aren’t concerned about losing your data in the case of power failure or computer malfunction. In order to disable write-caching open the Device Manager and click on Disk Drives to expand it:

Right click on the drive and select Properties, on the Device Properties Window open the Policies tab and make sure that Enable write-caching on the device is ticked.

7. Disable thumbnail preview in Windows 7

In most cases the thumbnail preview isn’t useful, so you might want to disable it. Double click on the Computer icon on your desktop, click Organize and then Folder and search options:

Open the View tab in the Folder Options window and select Always chow icons, never thumbnails, click OK to confirm your choice

8. Turn off the System Sounds

Click the Start button and in the Search box type mmsys.cpl and press Enter. Open the Sounds tab, click Windows Default and choose No Sounds from the drop-down menu if you wish to disable all sounds.

9. Disable some of the Windows features

Open Control Panel, then click Programs, Programs and Features and then click the Turn Windows features on or off link

In the next Window deselect the features that you wish to turn off:

10. Enable ReadyBoost

In order to use ReadyBoost you need a flash drive. Just plug it in and if Auto Play starts, choose Speed up my system; if it doesn’t open Windows Explorer, click Computer, right click on the flash drive and select Properties.

Open the ReadyBoost tab and select Use this device. Click OK to confirm.

Missing icons in Windows 7

Missing Computer icon in Windows 7
Missing Recycle Bin icon in Windows 7

If you can’t find your Computer, Recycle Bin, or any other icon on your Windows 7 desktop try the following:
Right click on your Desktop and select Personalize, click the Change desktop icons link, then tick the checkbox of your missing icon.

missing icons windows 7

missing desktop icons windows 7

If this doesn’t fix your problem or if the icon checkbox is grayed out, then in order to restore your missing desktop icons, you can try the following:
Click the Start button and in the search box type gpedit.msc and press the Enter key on your keyboard.

gpedit.msc

The Local Group Policy editor window comes up: under User Configuration expand Administrative Templates and click Desktop. Now in the right pane of the Window click on the respective icon settings. If your Computer icon is missing, then click on the Remove Computer Icon on the desktop, then click the edit policy settings link.

local group policy editor

Here you can make the necessary changes.

What graphics card do I have

If you are unsure what graphics card you have on your computer you can easily find out just by following these simple steps:

Hold down the Windows key and press R.
In the Run dialog box type devmgmt.msc and press Enter.

This should bring up the Device Manager window, expand Display Adapters and you will see your graphics card listed. You can right click and select properties in order to see more details about your graphics card or its drivers and perform additional tasks.

what is my graphics card

Windows 7 Movie Maker

If you have just upgraded to Windows 7, you will discover that quite a few applications that were present in previous Windows versions are missing, and Windows Movie Maker is one of them. However, if you want to get the Movie Maker on your Windows 7 running machine all you have to do is follow a few easy steps.

Click the Start button and type: essentials and then click the Go to Windows Live Essentials link.

windows 7 essentials

This will take you to the http://download.live.com/ where you should scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the link next to “upgrading to Windows 7.” The programs that you can download are:
* Messenger
* Mail
* Writer
* Photo Gallery
* Movie Maker
* Family Safety
* Toolbar
* Microsoft Office Outlook® Connector
* Office Live Add-in
* Microsoft Silverlight

Click the download button and save the installation file on your hard drive. Once you run it, you can choose which applications you want to install. If Windows Movie Maker is the only one that you need, then deselect all the others and finish the installation.

The Windows Live Movie Maker is slightly different from the previous versions and it seems that it has been created with the novice user in mind – it is extremely easy to use and you can create a movie from your pictures and videos in a matter of minutes, but if you need a serious editing program, you might have to look for other alternatives.

Enable or disable System Restore in Windows 7

How do you enable or disable System Restore in Windows 7?

System Restore helps you restore the files on your computer to an earlier point in time and it is generally a good idea to have it enabled. However, if you really need that extra space on your hard drive you might want to disable it.

This is how you access System Restore in Windows 7:

Click the Start button -> Control Panel -> System and Security -> System and then click System Protection in the left pane.

system restore in windows7

Click the System Restore button to restore your system to previous state, click the Create button to create a System Restore point, or click the Configure button to change some of the System Protection options.

How do I burn CD and DVD in Windows 7?

Windows 7 comes with three different options that allow you to burn your files, music and pictures on a CD or DVD.

1.

The first option is the DVD maker. In order to launch the DVD maker in Windows 7 just type DVD maker in the search box and then click the link.

dvd maker windows 7

Use the Add Items button to add your files or simply drag and drop them.

dvd maker windows7

The DVD maker allows you to make a new DVD from your own video and image files, if you need to change the default settings click the Options link: you can change the DVD playback settings, the DVD aspect ratio and the video format.

2.

The second way to burn files on a blank DVD is to insert the DVD in your DVD ROM tray: the autoplay window will prompt you to choose from a few options and then you can select Burn files to disk or Burn a DVD video disk using Windows DVD maker.

burn files to disk

Once you choose the first option (Burn files to disk) you can burn the disk in two ways:
using the disc like a USB flash drive
with a CD/DVD player

burn a disk windows7

What is the difference between the two options?
The first option (live file system) lets you copy files any time and you should choose the second option only if you intend to copy all your files at once. Please note that disks burnet with the first option might not be compatible with all your DVD players or machines running older operating systems.

3.

Burn a CD or DVD from Windows Explorer
Navigate to the folder, which contains the files that you want to copy and click the “Burn” button, and then follow the wizard.

burn files in windows 7

Windows 7 – how to find the Device Manager

There are a few ways to find the device manager in Windows 7.

1. Click the Start button -> Control Panel -> System and Security -> click System and the Device Manager link appears in the left pane:

device manager windows 7

2. Click the start button and in the search box type devmgmt.msc and click Enter

windows 7 device manager

3. Type “device manager” in the search box and the link will appear under “control panel” right above the search box, then all you have to do is click that link and the device manager will appear.

Windows 7 – what is the Windows Experience Index?

First of all how do you find out what your computer’s Windows Experience Index is?
Click on the Start button – then Control Panel -> System and Security -> System and in the next window you will see your Windows Experience Index.

windows experience index

If you click on the link you will see how the different hardware on your computer has been rated – your processor your graphics card, etc.

windows 7 experience index

The Windows Experience Index gives your computer a “base score” that measures the capability of your computer hardware – the same “base score” is used in PCs that run Windows Vista, but for the XP users who have upgraded to Windows 7 this is something new.

The base score ranges from 1.0 to 5.9 and can serve as a guide for purchasing and adding new hardware to your computer.

Windows 7 – how to add locations to the Favorites in Windows Explorer

In Windows 7 Windows Explorer the Favorites are in the left pane

windows7favorites

and in order to add a location to your Favorites, simply navigate to the location, then right click on the star and choose the Add Current Location to the Favorites option

windows 7 favorites

Windows 7 how to enable the quick launch

In Windows 7 the quick launch is disabled by default, so in this blog post I will show you how to enable it.

First of all right click on the taskbar and select Toolbars -> New Toolbar.

quick launch in windows 7

In the new dialog, in the Folder field type:
%userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

and click the Select Folder button.

win 7 quick launch

You will see the quick launch appearing on the right-hand-side of the taskbar.

quick launch windows 7

Ok, now that we have the Quick Launch on our Windows 7 machine I want to move it on the left, so what I have to do is bring my mouse on the left-hand side of the taskbar and click on the dotted lines and hold down the button.

quick launch in windows 7

Then drag the mouse to the right and you will see that the quick launch is now on the left hand side of the taskbar.

Windows 7 – how do I delete the Windows.old folder?

Click the Start button, then choose All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Cleanup

Select the drive that contains the Windows.old folder and click OK:

delete windows.old

Click the “Clean up system files” button:

disk cleanup windows 7

Select Previous Windows Installations:

previous windows installations

then click OK -> Delete Files

Can I upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7

Now that Windows 7 has already been released and judging by the feedback is one of the best MS products up to date, millions of users are asking themselves the million dollar question: “Can I upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7?”

It turns out that we, the XP lovers, are in for a big and not so pleasant surprise. If you are running Vista, you can upgrade to Windows 7 in a few minutes time; if you, however, are running XP will have to take quite a few extra steps if you want to install Windows 7 on your computer.

And if you think that you can just back up your data, files and programs settings, format your hard drive and use the cheaper upgrade version, then you might run into a few problems or to be more specific the “The Software Licensing Service determined that this specified product key can only be used for upgrading, not for clean installations” message. If you happen to get that message there’s an easier (although unofficial) workaround – instead of entering the Windows 7 key when prompted, move to the next step, finish the installation and only then use the key.

And if you don’t want to format your hard drive, then simply print out the Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 guide from Microsoft and follow the steps.

DVI to HDMI no sound on TV

PC to TV – no sound

Ok, despite what many people will tell you actually can get audio from a DVI to HDMI connection, providing that your card has a SPDIF (S/PDIF) output.

The (super-scary) definition of SPDIF (S/PDIF): protocol or physical layer that carries digital audio signal between devices. Well, all we care about is the fact that if your graphic card has a SPDIF output you will be able to get sound on your TV when connecting the PC and the TV with a DVI to HDMI cable.

So, how do I know if my graphic card has a SPDIF output?

Check the card manual, but if you have purchased the card in the past six months then there’s a good chance that your graphic card will have SPDIF. The bad news is that in most cases you will have to connect the SPDIF output from your graphic card to your motherboard with a small cable, conveniently named SPDIF cable and the worse news is that even though you might have paid a few hundred dollars for your graphic card that cable might have not been included. And you have two options: buy a SPDIF cable for your graphic card (the wiser choice) or butcher one of those old audio cables (that we used to connect our CD ROMS to the motherboard in order to get sound).

No matter what you do, you will have to connect the cable correctly – the SPDIF pin from the graphic card to the SPDIF pin on the motherboard and the ground pin from the graphic card to the ground pin on the motherboard.

If you get that wrong you might damage your card or your computer!!!!

…although many will argue that this is very unlikely. Whatever the case, you better get it right the first time. You should refer to your card and your motherboard documentation in order to find which pin is which, but in most cases the black wire on the SPDIF cable will be the ground. Take a look at the pics below to see what the SPDIF output and the SPDIF cables look like (they might be different for different graphic cards of course).

spdif output on nvidia

spdif cable

Once you get the SPDIF cable connected from the graphic card to the motherboard, plug in your PC, connect the DVI to HDMI cable to the computer and your TV and boot up. If you have done it all correctly you should hear sound on your TV now.

PS You might need to change the playback settings on your computer – in Windows 7 right click on the speaker icon in the right-hand side of the taskbar, click “playback devices” and then right click on the “digital audio S/PDIF” and tick the “set as default device” option.