Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Whole New Way to Navigate

Published by Sunbelt Software FORUMS | RSS | MY PROFILE | PRIVACY  

Vol. 1, # 5 - Oct 8, 2009 - Issue # 5 
 A Whole New Way to Navigate

This issue of Win7News is sponsored by
  1. Editor's Corner
    • Cybersecurity Awareness Month Survey
    • A Whole New Way to Navigate
    • Recommended Book: Windows 7 Inside Out
    • Follow-up: What's new in Media Center
    • Quotes of the Week
  2. Cool Tools
  3. News, Hints, Tips and Tricks
    • How to find out whether your computer will run Windows 7
    • Will you be able to buy Windows 7 PCs before October 22? Well, maybe
    • What's your Windows 7 personality?
    • Windows 7 Tablet from Gateway leaked to the web
  4. How to: Using the New Win7 Features
    • How to back up or copy Windows 7 sticky notes file
  5. Windows Security
    • Phishing scheme compromises Hotmail passwords
  6. Win7 Question Corner
    • No taskbar previews
  7. Win7 Configuration and Troubleshooting
    • Create a shortcut to back up user and system files
  8. Fav Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  9. Product of the Week
    • Free PC Matic - Performance & Security Scan

Free PC Matic - Performance & Security Scan

PC Matic is a collection of PC Pitstop's award winning technologies in one integrated architecture. Including the world renowned OverDrive scanning technology with over 200 million scans run. No other product on the market today will do as much to improve the overall performance, security & stability of your PC.

Run Free PC Matic Scan now to see what this incredible new application can do for your computer.

Editor's Corner

Cybersecurity Awareness Month Survey

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. We're interested in getting your feedback on how you use antivirus software, as well as your experience with top security issues like phishing, malicious web links, and protecting your identity online. We've put together a survey and want to hear from you!

A Whole New Way to Navigate

Those of us who started using Windows "way back when" had many years to get used to the old way of accessing the programs and files we needed. For programs, we've had the quick launch bar for a while (and before that, the third party toolbars like the PowerDesk toolbar that inspired it), but for those applications we rarely used (and thus didn't put on our toolbars) we generally ended up clicking through menus. Have a need to run an obscure utility like the character map? Your natural tendency might be to click Start | All Programs | Accessories | System Tools, but there are better ways.

It's no longer necessary to go through all those steps. Probably the one most useful feature introduced in Vista was the "SuperSearch" box on the Start menu, and it carried over to Windows 7. Now you just click Start, type the first few letters in "character map" and there's the clickable link to open it. Doesn't matter if you don't know which Programs folder it's in.

Even better, you can do the same thing with files. Type part of the name or a key word in that same Search box and you'll see a list of files that fit the criteria. No more navigating through layer after layer of folders, trying to remember exactly where you saved that Word document or photo. You can even find email messages this way. Here's a good video that shows you how to use the search tools in Windows 7:

Not everything on your computer shows up in these searches, though. The information has to be indexed first, and you might not have your system set to index everything. Or maybe you aren't really sure of the name or words associated with the file you want. Maybe it's a picture, with a numbered name given it by your digital camera. You can search for a certain file type, of course, using wildcards (for example, *.jpg). Or in Windows 7, you might find it more efficient to browser the libraries.

Just as the Search box changed our navigation habits in Vista, the Libraries feature is changing them again in Windows 7. I keep data on several different computers. I put most of my files on servers on my network, but sometimes I also have files on my local computers. With Libraries, I don't have to worry about where my data is. Instead, I can organize it according to logical divisions. All my photos show up in the pictures library, whether they're stored in my local Pictures folder, on an external hard drive attached to my computer, on the server, or on another computer on the network. Likewise, I can find documents in different places via the Documents library, and the same thing goes for music and video. In addition to those default libraries, I can create a new custom library. I might want a library for downloaded programs, or for saved URLs. No problem: just right click in the Libraries window and select New and then Library.

To add folders to your libraries, just right click the library name and select Properties. Under "Library Locations," click the button labeled Include a Folder and navigate to the folders where those types of files are stored, either on the computer or on the network. Now when you're looking for that freeware program you downloaded so you can reinstall it, but you don't remember whether it's in the Downloads folder on the computer you're at in your study or on the family computer in the den, it doesn't matter. The contents of both of those folders will be in your Downloaded Programs library (as long as you've added the appropriate folders to the library).

Those who are resistant to change (for example, my husband) are suspicious of the Libraries feature at first. His protestation was "I want to know where my stuff is." Well, that's not a problem, because the library view still shows you the actual location of your folders and files. But it really, really speeds up the whole navigation process. If you didn't see it back in the summer when I posted it, check out my Living in the Libraries entry in the Amazon End User blog at

And tell me what you think about the new navigation methods. Do you still cling to the old ways, or have you embraced the Start Search box and the Libraries? Is there anything you don't like about those features? How could Microsoft make navigation through the file system even easier? We invite you to discuss this in the forums at

Recommended Book: Windows 7 Inside Out

Despite the wealth of online how-to information, Windows Help files and other sources for learning about a new operating system, many computer users still prefer to do it the old fashioned way: by reading (or looking it up in) a book. After all, most of us relied on books for learning throughout our school years, and there's something about the printed page that just seems more permanent and more universally accessible than the new electronic learning aids. After all, you can turn to a book even if you can't get connected to the Internet - or if your computer won't boot up at all.

Computer books can be expensive, though, often ranging from $20 to $50. Many of you can't afford to buy several of them. Thus my friends, relatives and readers often ask me to recommend one good book that will provide them with what they need to know about an OS or complex application. I've long been a fan of the "Inside Out" series published by Microsoft Press. The books are comprehensive, they're well written and they fill that big niche for readers who are neither "dummies" nor IT pros.

Ed Bott, one of the three authors of Windows 7 Inside Out, was kind enough to persuade his editor to send me a free review copy, and I've been going through it for the last few days. The first thing I noticed was that, at 1026 total pages, it's only slightly shorter than its Vista counterpart, but substantial skinnier than the Windows XP version, which came in at a hefty 1469 pages. The same three authors - Ed Bott, Carl Siechert and Craig Stinson - wrote all three books, so they've had plenty of practice ferreting out all the little OS secrets that users need to know in order to get the most out of their PC experiences.

From installation and configuration to file management, organizing and enjoying digital media, security and networking and tuning, tweaking and troubleshooting, these guys cover all the new features (and some that are left over from its predecessors). There are plenty of screenshots to help you orient yourself in the GUI when performing the described tasks, but unlike some of the "fat books," this one doesn't waste space printing screenshots for steps that are obvious. I particularly like the boxed tips (labeled "Inside Out") that are sprinkled throughout the book. They contain interesting and sometimes obscure factoids, "gotchas" for which you should be on guard, or "quick and dirty" how-tos that can be summed up in a few sentences.

Included with the book is a companion CD that contains a full electronic copy of the book, for those who prefer not to tote the heavy page copy around with them, as well as troubleshooting tips, references and downloadable tools and gadgets for customizing Windows 7.

One thing I know about the MS Press books is that I can recommend them with confidence. Having participated in Microsoft's editorial process, I know that you can count on the information being accurate because they go through a grueling tech review process, unlike some computer books that get rushed to market complete with both grammatical/spelling errors and technical inaccuracies.

In an interesting aside, Microsoft Press recently entered into a deal with O'Reilly Media, by which the latter company will distribute Microsoft Press books as ebooks that are free of digital rights management restrictions. You can read more about that here:

Tell us what you think. Will you buy a "fat book" to help guide you through the process of getting acquainted with Windows 7? Or do you prefer to use free web resources and/or just learn by doing - clicking around in the interface to see what happens? Do you have a favorite tech book publisher? A favorite computer book series? Favorite tech authors? Would you be more likely to buy a book that's part of a series you've already sampled and liked? Will paper tech books soon go the way of the dinosaur? Do you prefer electronic books that are easier to search and can be stored on a tiny flash card, a lightweight DVD or on your hard drive? We invite you to discuss this topic on the forums at

Follow-up: What's new in Media Center

In last week's editorial, I wrote about Windows Media Center, which should be Microsoft's killer app for consumers by now, but has been held back by all the unnecessary hoops you have to jump through in order to record high definition content.

Based on the forum discussion, our readers are using a wide variety of home entertainment solutions, including DVRs provided by the cable and satellite companies as well as the telecoms (AT&T's U-verse and Verizon's FiOS TV). Many of you are apparently happy with what you've got, but others are chomping at the bit to build a Windows 7 HD-capable Media Center now that it has become possible for individuals to do so.

It's always interesting to see how different people have such completely different experiences with the same product. Whereas Miked wrote that Media Center is "slow to respond and not user friendly," LloydKuhnle agrees with me that Media Center is one of the best features in Vista (and now Windows 7). Lloyd did ask if Media Center extenders are supported in Windows 7 and I can assure you that they are. Each time I've upgraded one of the computers on our network to Windows 7, it has immediately found our extenders and offered to set them up to work with that Windows 7 computer. Unfortunately, as with Vista, you can have multiple extenders paired with one Media Center computer but you can't pair an extender with multiple Media Center PCs.

And Kenneth Fleischer was correct that I slipped up by implying that Clear QAM is broadcast over the air. The Clear QAM channels are generally those same HD channels that you can get over the air (the local network affiliates), but are rebroadcast over the cable media. QAM stands for "quadrature amplitude modulation," which is the format used to encode and transmit these digital channels. You'll note that many TV tuner cards have inputs for both ATSC (over the air digital) and QAM signals, as well as the old analog transmissions, called NTSC (some tuner cards will also include an input for an FM antenna).

Thanks to all of you who joined in this discussion.

'Til next week,
Deb Shinder, Editor

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And for IT pros, there's our "big sister," WServer News, at

Look for the VIPRE fan page on Facebook!

Quotes of the Week

All of the biggest technological inventions created by man - the airplane, the automobile, the computer - say little about his intelligence, but speak volumes about his laziness. ~Mark Kennedy

Kiss Your Antivirus Bloatware Goodbye

We asked users of antivirus products what they didn't like about their AV software. They told us they are resource hogs and slowed their computer down. They told us that scan times took way too long, and that the AV software nagged them. In short, old-style AV software takes too much Memory and CPU. Time to switch to VIPRE! It gives you malware protection that combines antivirus, antispyware, anti-rootkit and other technologies into a seamless, tightly-integrated product.

Even if you run "free" antivirus software, it hijacks 20% of your PC, so it's really not free at all! Get VIPRE now and see how fast your PC can really be:

Cool Tools


PC Matic: Performance, Stability & Security The World's Most Comprehensive PC Tune Up Scan is Free

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What was that password again? Organize password and order info with RoboForm. Saves me a ton of time and hassle! Secure password storage:

WhiteSmoke 2009 is an innovative proofreading and editing tool with a single aim - to help you write better.

Search for a driver and you get a ton of Driver Software offers instead. But how do you know which one is good? Try Driver Genius 9.0. Free scan.

Advanced Vista Optimizer does a great job tweaking Vista for Max performance.

Backups? Why back up when you can sync? Simply replicate every piece of data to another drive in real-time. Set it and forget it.

Your Uninstaller! 2008 takes the place of the clunky Windows Control Panel "Add/Remove Programs" and offers many other useful functions

Kill the background tasks belonging to (legitimate) software that run all day. Why? To get your speed back! But which ones can I kill? Try this:

News, Hints, Tips and Tricks

How to find out whether your computer will run Windows 7

Many of us found out the "hard" way - by simply installing it. But if you're not quite that adventurous, never fear: Microsoft is putting up a "compatibility center" on the web, where you can find out if your computer is already ready for the new OS, will need some of its software and/or drivers updated, or is just too old to bother with. The site is already up but it's not complete; however, it should be ready to go when Windows 7 launches later this month. Read more here:

Will you be able to buy Windows 7 PCs before October 22? Well, maybe

We all know that Windows 7 is set to officially hit the shelves on October 22, and we all know that many folks have been running the OS for months, first in beta, then the RC and now the RTM. But if you want to buy a new computer with Windows 7 preinstalled, is there any way you can get it early? No one is absolutely sure, but there are indications that it might be possible - although you'd only beat the crowds by a few days at best. Find out how here:

What's your Windows 7 personality?

First a disclaimer: it's all just for fun - but if you're curious about what your computing habits say about you, now you can take the Windows 7 Personality Quiz, posted by the Windows 7 Hong Kong Group. My results: "You are an independent person, with the spirit of perseverance and courage to solve problems. Windows 7 Trouble Shooting Platform is your personal IT support, allowing you to fix all your computer operation problems on your own without seeking help from others." Find out your own results here:

Windows 7 Tablet from Gateway leaked to the web

We're expecting a number of vendors to take advantage of Windows 7's multi-touch capabilities and bring out new Tablet style computers for the new OS. If this leak can be believed, Gateway has a very attractive offering in the work. Finally, a Tablet PC with a decent amount of RAM (up to 4 GB, according to the rumors). It looks slick, too; that glossy finish reminds me a little of the pricey Toshiba Portege R400 a couple of years back. Let's just hope it doesn't cost $3000+ like that one did. Check the Gateway out here:

How to: Using the New Win7 Features

How to back up or copy Windows 7 sticky notes file

I'm a big fan of making notes. For many years, I had little slips of paper stuck on my monitors, reminding me of article deadlines, appointments, payments due, etc. Sure, you can use Outlook or another calendar program to pop up reminders but somehow that has never worked as well for me as having a constant written reminder sitting there staring me in the face. Most of the reminder alerts are both too "in your face" and not in your face enough. They always pop up at the wrong time, and then you have to click them to make them go away before you can do anything else with the program.

Outlook also has a Notes feature and I use it, but if you close Outlook, the notes you've put on your desktop go away too. And then when you reopen the application, they're saved in your Notes section but they don't automatically come back to the desktop. So I like the little Sticky Notes feature in Windows 7. There were third party programs you could install to get the same thing in previous operating systems but they were often flaky. The Windows 7 Sticky Notes feature is built-in, simple and just works. However, my immediate question was "how can I back up my notes?" That involved finding the file where the sticky notes data is actually saved. Here's how you do it:
  1. Navigate to Users\ \ AppData \ Roaming \ Microsoft \ Sticky Notes \ Stickynotes.snt
  2. If you don't find it there, or just want to go to the file the easier way, click Start and type stickynotes.snt in the Search box.
  3. Copy the file to another location to back it up, or set up a program like SecondCopy to automatically copy it on a set schedule.
If you have a second Windows 7 computer and want to transfer your notes to it, you can copy this file to a USB stick and then copy it into the same location on the second computer.

Windows Security

Phishing scheme compromises Hotmail passwords

Thousands of user credentials for Windows Live Hotmail accounts were posted on an Internet site on October 1. They were apparently stolen via a phishing scheme. If you have a Hotmail account, it's probably a good idea to change your password, just in case. Makes me glad that I don't use my main Windows Live ID account for Hotmail. Read more here:

To change your Hotmail password, log on at and in Options, go to Manage Your Account and click "View and edit your personal information." Under "Password Reset Information," click the change button and type in your old and new passwords.

Win7 Question Corner

No taskbar previews

I installed the Windows 7 RC on my computer and I have all the cool goodness, like the thumbnail of each program in the taskbar when you put the mouse pointer on its icon. I love that feature, but my brother installed the same RC (from the same disc even) on his computer and he doesn't get the pictures of the program window, just text showing the name (for instance, the name of each Word document). I figure there's a setting somewhere that needs to be changed. Can you help? - Jay L.

The taskbar previews only work with the Aero theme (other features such as Peek and Snap are also disabled), so the most likely scenario is that Aero is either turned off or not supported by his hardware. Just click the Start menu and in the Search box, type Aero. Then click "Enable or disable Transparent Glass on Windows." If the hardware supports it, you should be able to turn Aero on this way. If that doesn't work, repeat the first two steps and select "Find and fix problems with transparently and other visual effects." An Aero troubleshooting wizard will appear and check the components (video card, Desktop Windows Manager service, amount of RAM, theme, power settings) that could be causing the problem.

Your brother's computer might need a new video card, or just a driver for the existing card. You can also try this trick to force enablement of Aero (caution; it involves editing the registry so be sure to back up your registry first):

Win7 Configuration and Troubleshooting

Create a shortcut to back up user and system files

We all know that we need to back up our systems frequently, and with the Windows 7 Backup utility, you can set a schedule - but sometimes you might need to create a backup when one isn't scheduled. If you find that happening often, you can save some clicks by creating a shortcut that you can put on the taskbar or Start menu. This site gives you instructions for creating the shortcut and even provides a download for those who don't want to do it themselves.

Fav Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

Disclaimer: VistaNews does not assume and cannot be responsible for any liability related to you clicking any of these linked Web sites.

Product of the Week

Free PC Matic - Performance & Security Scan

PC Matic is a collection of PC Pitstop's award winning technologies in one integrated architecture. Including the world renowned OverDrive scanning technology with over 200 million scans run. No other product on the market today will do as much to improve the overall performance, security & stability of your PC.

Run Free PC Matic Scan now to see what this incredible new application can do for your computer.

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Personal & Educational Use Only This blog consists mainly of FREE newsletters from computer web gurus that I receive. I thought you might like to see them all in one place than try to discover them on your own. A moderate amount of editing may be done to eliminate unrelated repetitious ads or unnecessary text which bloat the post. However I have given the authors full credit and will not remove their site links because you deserve to see where it comes from and they deserve to get credit for what they have written. Your use of this site is simply for educational purposes. For more computer-related help go to: CPEDLEY.COM for free software, advice and tips on low cost products which are very helpful. If you want to contact the editor, please go CPEDLEY.COM and check the Contact page for email address.