Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Interesting functionality in Windows 7

Once and awhile I run into interesting features of Windows 7 that I never knew existed. Sometimes I find they are common knowledge and sometimes no one has ever heard of it. Below is a list of these features. Note: Since posting each one as I find it would make for a ton of posts, I'm going to update this one post.

Aero Shake
If you grab a window by the title bar and “shake” it back and forth it will minimize everything else.

Gadgets
Gadgets are like little refrigerator magnets that you stick to your desktop, but these do things. To find them, right click on the desktop and choose "Gadgets" from the menu. Check them out... they are interesting. They would be much more interesting if Windows had multiple desktops and you could stick them all on one desktop screen, but that's just me.

Show the Desktop Button
For the longest time I thought that Windows 7 had got rid of their Show Desktop icon until I ran across it on the Microsoft website: http://goo.gl/pDVN2
It turns out that the Show Desktop icon is a little rectangle on the taskbar all the way to the right past the time display. However... I miss the icon on the quick launch toolbar. It's possible to create a Show Desktop icon and pin it to the taskbar.

1. Create a new shortcut on the desktop.
2. Name it "Show Desktop" or whatever you would like.
3. On the new created shortcut, go to properties.
4. In the target field, put in the following:
    %windir%\explorer.exe shell:::{3080F90D-D7AD-11D9-BD98-0000947B0257}
5. In the start in field, put the following:
    %windir%
6. Change the icon if you wish. I prefer the Windows screen icon found here:
    %SystemRoot%\system32\imageres.dll
7. Right click on your new shortcut and pin it to the taskbar. Move it to the far left.

This will toggle the Show Desktop with one click. Note that there are several methods I've found where you can restore the Show Desktop icon. To me, the shortcut method is the simplest and the cleanest.

Full disclosure: I found this method on another website, but when I went to get the link and post it here, I couldn't find it, so I had to recreate it from the icon I had. If anyone happens to find the link let me know and I will give them proper credit.

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