Customization of Windows 7 and Vista .

Customization in Windows 7 and Vista

Customize Windows 7 Power Button Action

Windows 7 User Account Control displays less warning than UAC in Vista, and lets you customize UAC according to your need and preference between security and a less annoying desktop experience.

UAC prompts in Windows 7 are not as much as in Vista as very few programs require elevation, and Administrator can adjust these UAC prompts.

Go to Start
> Control Panel
> User Accounts
> Change User Account Control SettingsHere you can select when to notify or bring the UAC prompt.

There are 4 levels of security which includes:
> Always Notify
> Notify me only when programs try to make changes to my computer
> Notify me only when programs try to make changes to my computer (do not dim my desktop)
> Never Notify Select them according to your balance between security and desktop experience and adjust the level of UAC prompt.
Any change to the level of the UAC will prompt for confirmation.

Desktop wallpaper Slideshow :

Shuffle Desktop background The “Shut Down” button in Windows 7 can be customized with another action, if you use shut down action very rarely, but you more often restart it or put it on hibernate.

To change the action of shutdown button, Right click the Start Button, go to Properties and choose the „Power Boot Action” to do whatever you want, from the given options.

It will give you a drop down list amongst following option to select from.

> Switch user
> Log off
> Lock
> Restart
> Sleep
> Hibernate
> Shutdown Now the button at Start Menu would change and perform the action as selected.

Disable Wallpaper Change

Windows 7 has a new feature which can display all wallpapers in a desktop Slideshow.
Earlier there were few software that can display a slideshow of all your Wallpapers (Webshots being one of the most popular).
To setup a desktop slideshow:
> Right-click at the desktop
> Select Personalize
> Desktop Background Here you can browse the Picture location to select a folder to choose images for desktop slideshow.
> Select and click as many images from the folder you want for desktop slideshow.
> Duration of slideshow can be chosen (anything from daily to once every 10 seconds), also order of appearance can be selected as sequential or shuffle.
Click Save Changes and enjoy the Slideshow.

Display a Message at Start Up

Desktop wallpaper can be restricted and can be set against any change for wallpaper.

Often Administrators in an organization feels their need to put their Organization wallpaper on their computer which is fixed and cannot be changed by any other user on that computer.

This can be done easily using a Group policy editor setting.

Although the same can be done with Registry, Third party Software.

This setting lets you specify the wallpaper on user‟s desktops and prevents users from changing the image or its presentation.
> Open Run Dialogue Box (Win + R) and type gpedit.msc
> Navigate to Local Computer policy
> User Configuration
> Administrative Templates
> Desktop in left hand side pane.
> Select Desktop Wallpaper setting from right side pane.
> Open it and enable it.
> To use this setting, type the fully qualified path and name of the file that stores the wallpaper image.
You can type a local path, such as C:Windowswebwallpaperhome.jpg.
Also this setting specifies that the wallpaper image be centered, tiled, or stretched.
> Press OK.

Note: This setting does not apply to remote desktop server sessions. Also Log off or restart is required to make the changes affect.

Display Multiple Clocks in System Tray

At the time of Windows boot up a popup message can be added which contains any message you wish to display.
In many organizations there a display of a message to display instructions or policies of Organization etc.
In Windows, whenever you boot it. Here is how you can do it too:
> Open Registry Editor (Go to Start Run type Regedit and press enter) > Navigate to : HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesSystem
> In the Right Side pane select and open LegalNoticeCaption and enter a value that you want to see in the Menu Bar.
> Next to it open LegalNoticeText and insert the message you want to display each time Windows boots.
> Close Registry and Restart for changes to take effect.

Setting up Menu bar text using LegalNoticeCaption key: Setting up Message to Display after computer Boots up using LegalNoticeText key: This trick works with Windows 7 and earlier Versions of Windows as well.

Dock Windows to Left Right Up down

Many users need to keep track of time in multiple time zones, there‟s a nice feature in Windows 7 to help users keep track of time in Multiple Time zones.
The feature is multiple clocks in your system tray.
This feature can display up to 3 clocks in your taskbar from 3 different Time Zones.
Click on the Clock in System tray Next, click on the „Change date and time settings‟ to open Date and Time Window.
Click on the tab for Additional Clocks.
Here you can add up to two additional clocks .
Enter time Zone and Clock Display name. Check the „Show this clock‟ box to enable the clock.
Click OK.
Hover over the clock and it would show you Time in text for all 3 Time Zones (including the one your Local one).

Encrypt USB drive using BitLocker

Windows 7 comes with an interesting feature through which managing all the open Windows becomes easy.

Document and program management is simplified by allowing “docking” a window or changing its size with a simple key combo or a mouse click.

To dock half size window on Left Side of Screen:
Mouse Action:
Drag the Window to left Keyboard Action:
Press Win + Left Arrow To dock half size window on Right Side of Screen:
Mouse Action:
Drag the Window to Right Keyboard Action:
Press Win + Right Arrow.
To maximize window on Screen: Mouse Action:
Drag the Window to top Keyboard Action:
Press Win + Up Arrow.
To minimize window on Screen: Keyboard Action:
Press Win + Down Arrow.
The key combo above would first Restore down the window then Minimize it.

Find out How Healthy Your Battery is on Your Laptop

Since Windows Vista, Windows comes bundled with a security feature BitLocker, a hard drive encryption scheme designed to protect sensitive data from being accessed on lost or stolen computers mainly laptops.

To protect important data stored on USB drives, Windows 7 features the encryptions scheme called BitLocker To Go.

It allows USB drive encryption and restricts access to it with a password.

During the encryption process, Windows 7 installs a special reader on the USB drive.

When you connect the USB drive to a computer running XP or Vista, the BitLocker To Go Reader takes control, prompts for the password, and then basically makes the USB drive a read-only device.

To set up password on a USB drive:
Insert a USB drive, and go to Control Panel
> BitLocker Drive Encryption.

Here BitLocker To Go can be enabled for USB drive.

As soon as you do, BitLocker To Go will begin initializing your USB drive.

During the process you don‟t have to worry about any data that is already on the drive.

After the initialization process is complete, BitLocker To Go will prompt for a password which you can use to unlock the drive later.

You can also use your smartcard PIN to unlock the drive.

Next to password setup, BitLocker To Go will prompt you to store a recovery key that helps unlock your drive in case you forget your password or lose your smart card.

Recovery Key can be saved in a file or can be printed as well.

There after it would ask a confirmation for encryption process.
You‟ll be prompted to begin the encryption process once you save the recovery key.
During the encryption process, you‟ll see a standard progress monitor which tells the percentage of drive encrypted.
The amount of time that it will take to complete the process will depend on how large the drive is.
While the encryption process is going on, status of Drive can be seen as Encrypting in control Panel.

When the encryption is complete, a prompt would display Encryption is Complete.

Now the drive is encrypted and password prompt on plugging the USB drive starts from next plug in.

Encrypted USB drive would prompt to enter the password immediately after it is inserted.

The drive can be used only and only if Correct password is entered.
BitLocker To Go encrypted drive works in Windows XP/Vista as well i.e. it would prompt password in XP/Vista as well even if drive is encrypted in Windows 7.

The USB drive has a closed lock as an icon till it is unlocked and thereafter the icon changes to an open lock signifying drive is unlocked and ready for use.

Find Windows 7 Keys for all Versions

Windows 7 has a feature through which we can find out exactly how much battery you are actually getting from your Laptop battery, i.e. its efficiency, maximum charge potential.

+ It‟s a well-known fact that as the age of lithium battery increases its charging capacity decreases and it wont charge to its full potential as when it‟s new. We can find out exactly how much the battery of laptop is giving now. We can use the powercfg -energy to find out how health your battery is.

+ 1. Open elevated command prompt by typing cmd in your start menu and opening it with administrator privileges.

+ 2. Type powercfg –energy into the command prompt and press Enter.

+ 3. The command enables tracing for 60 seconds and would collect all the data after observing the system behavior.

+ 4. After analysis it would generate a report. 5. The energy report is generated in HTML format in the directory shown in the command prompt.

+ Cmd Prompt Address\energy-report.html by default.

+ 6. In the HTML file, scroll to the end till you get information like this:

+ This shows the battery ID, Manufacturer name, Chemistry, Design capacity and most importantly the last full charge.

+ So as above screenshot my Dell Studio 15 battery has design capacity of 5200 and now it‟s giving max full charge of 3565 that counts its efficiency to around 70% it has degraded around 30% in 6 months.

Find your Computer Uptime

So you missed your activation CD Key for windows 7 and still clueless about that.
You can find it easily without registering for the Windows 7 DVD again and searching over the net.
In fact you can find the cd key of this version as well as few other versions of the Windows 7
.Here is how to get through it -

  • Extract the Windows 7 ISO. Its a tough one because it‟s a UDF Format and you would be requiring external software like CDExtractor or ISoBuster to do the work.

  • In the DVD root folder there is a folder sources….open it.

  • Find a configuration file product.ini

  • Open this file

  • Scroll till the end and you can find number of various keys for versions like Ultimate, Professional, Starter and many more…

Font Issues: Make easier to Read Screen Text

A trick for all geeks who would like to know how long since they haven‟t shut down their computer.

  • Go to Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc brings without UAC popup)

  • Go to performance tab.

  • In the system Information you can check out the uptime in the format Day : Hour : Minute : Second .
  • You can track your computer uptime easily now.

Get Vista like taskbar in Windows 7

A lot of Windows 7 users are facing problems in the display provided in OS, it includes fuzzy Fonts in Windows 7 that makes the text unreadable most of the time. However it can be adjusted according to a user‟s need in Windows 7 using Control Panel. Steps to adjust Font/Graphics in Windows 7:

  • . Navigate to Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > Display
  • Select the option on Left hand side pane Adjust Clear Type Text.

  • It will open ClearType text tuner which would help to improve the readability of text on LCD‟s.

  • After checking if your monitor is set to its native resolution it would provide 4 screens where you have to select a sample of text amongst the rest which you feels best.

  • Check finish to complete the procedure to improve readability of fonts and to make their appearance sharper and clearer.

How to Create Themes in Windows 7

If you are new to windows 7 and not able to go along with it smoothly then here is an option that you can follow to get the Taskbar icons as the same we had in Vista.
In Vista whenever we minimized an application (folder, word etc.) it is accessed by a tab @ taskbar which describes about process and has an icon as well.
But in Windows 7 this thing has been replaced by an Icon so you can‟t get any text over there.
To get back the similar feel in Windows 7 do the following: Navigate to taskbar and Right Click it.
Open taskbar properties.
Go to option taskbar Buttons.
Here you have 3 options: hide labels, combine and never combine Choose the third one.
It would restore the Taskbar buttons like they were used to be in Vista.
This is how taskbar would look like now.

How to disable restrict USB/Flash Drive in Windows 7

In Windows 7 it is possible to personalize and customize windows 7 with self-made custom themes.

Windows 7 has several default themes and you can create your own Windows 7 themes using the steps below.

Also there has been launch of Several Official Themes from Microsoft time to time.

A theme pack contains following things:
> Desktop Wallpaper
> Screensaver
> Sounds
> Slideshows
> Color of the theme
> Mouse Pointers
> Desktop icons And good thing about Windows 7 is you can customize all of these without pain.

  • . Right Click on your Desktop and Select Personalize from Context Menu

  • Now click on desktop background to set background wallpaper of Theme.

  • Click Browse to locate folder of wallpapers

  • Select check images/wallpapers for slideshow feature in your theme and save changes.

  • . Set Windows color to change color of windows, background, and cursor for theme.

  • Click on sound to change system sound default

  • Click on Screen Saver to set screen saver for the Theme.

  • After setting all the components of the Theme Pack click on save theme option in your personalization window.

  • Enter theme name and select themepack as save type

  • . Double Click on the theme pack to install it.

How to Remove “Folder opens in New Window” Problem

Recently one of my friend asked me how a USB drive can be disabled on a particular computer.
So it‟s a pretty much Registry Tweak. To disable the access to USB port, in windows XP, Vista and Windows 7: 1. Click Start, and then click Run.

  • . Type regedit, and then click OK. (Or simply open registry)

  • Navigate to the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesUsbStor

  • In the right pane, double-click Start.

  • In the Value data box, change its value to 4, which was 3 and then click OK.

    To re-enable a disabled port:

    • Click Start, and then click Run.

    • Type regedit, and then click OK. (Or simply open registry)
    • Navigate to the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesUsbStor

    • . Quit Registry Editor.
    Now whenever a user will attach a USB storage device which is already installed in system, Windows will not detect it and it‟ll not be shown in My Computer.

    However, disabling USB ports totally also disables the ability for Windows to use USB based keyboard, mouse, webcam, printer, scanner and etc., which are common devices for a computer nowadays and essential ones as well.

  • Install Windows Vista and Windows 7 using bootable USB storage device

    There is an issue that whenever click any drive in windows is clicked it opens it in new window and then each every single folder opens in new window. In such cases following actions can be taken to solve the problem:

      • Reset the folder options view Organize

      • Folder and search Options

      • >General

      • > Browse Folders

      • > Select “Open each folder in same windows”
    • Organize

      • > Folder and search Options

      • > View

      • > uncheck Launch folder windows in a new process.

    • Open Registry editor by typing “regedit” in Run dialog box and hit enter. Navigate to the key “HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTDirectoryshell”.
      On the right hand side pane there is a value named “Default” double-click on this value and Set the value to “none“.
      Once you make this change, your folders should instantly be back to normal.
      You must start explorer (Restart/Logoff) for changes to take effect.

    • Get your Antivirus updated and thoroughly scan your computer as Virus may create an Autorun.inf file in each folder which may cause this problem as well.

    Jump lists Customization

    Windows Vista and Windows 7 can be installed via a bootable USB drive as well.
    And the installation would be much easier and faster than installation via DVD.
    Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 also can be installed via USB drive except installation of Windows 7 and Windows Vista.
    Initially Windows Vista/7 DVD or installation source (setup backup files stored on local hard disk) and a 4GB USB 2.0 Storage device would be required.
    You can follow the steps to install Windows Vista/7 from USB Drive.

    • Plug your USB storage device and run CMD and execute the following commands one after another.
      o Diskpart Run Disk partition utility o List disk To get disk index that is used to perform disk partitioning.
      o Select disk 1 Selects disk to perform disk partitioning.
      o Clean Flush your existing all USB drive’s partitions. o Create partition primary Creates a partition as primary partition.
      o Format recommended Format your USB drive with recommended parameters. (No need to worry about file system format) o Active Set the partition as active to hold bootmgr. o Exit To quit Diskpart utility.

    • After executing the above commands simply copy all Windows Vista/7 files from DVD/Backup storage to USB storage device.

    • Change boot settings from BIOS and set it to boot with your USB drive, you can install Windows Vista/7 via bootable USB storage device.

    That is it. Note: For boot problems try Fixing your USB Storage drive with the command I:BootBootsect.exe /NT60 I: where I: is the drive letter of USB storage device

    Jumplist in Taskbar Application

    Windows 7 comes with a very handy feature called Jumplist.
    This feature shows a list of related tasks and Recent documents of a process or shortcut icon which is in taskbar.
    You can view and customize it easily.

    • Right click on any icon in the taskbar.

    • It will show a list of related tasks to that application as well, Number of recent applications.

    • If there is a shortcut you wish to see every time you open the Jump list of that application you can pin that as well to Jump list.
      Say for Windows Media Player you have recent shortcut of a movie and you wish it to appear permanently then you can pin it to the jump list.

    • You can also customize number of Recent Items in Jump list.

      • Right click on Start Button or taskbar (Super bar) of Windows 7

      • Click on properties. It will pop up Taskbar and start Menu properties.

      • Select the tab ‟startMenu‟.

        This will bring Customize and Privacy options.

      • Select Customize button there.

      • Select Number of items in Jumplist from 10 to number you wish to.

    • Also you can choose default settings if you wish to undo all the changes you have done.

    Launch Multiple instances of an Application

    Windows 7 includes a new Jump List-based utility for finding and connecting to all the last Instances of the application in the Taskbar. As an e.g. here in the Screenie above Application MS Paint when clicked shows the last instances i.e. all the last files where the application MS paint was is an easy 2 navigate or Jump list. Each application will have unique jump lists which will correspond to the features unique to the application whether it be recent files opened or common tasks like Paint : Last opened images WMP : Last played media Notepad : Last opened Text so on.

    Lock The Screen Shortcut

    Multiple instances of a program can easily be launched in Windows 7.
    If one instance of a program is already running then you can still start another by a simple Keyboard + Mouse click Combo.
    You can simply hold down shift key while Right clicking to any application i.e. Combo of Shift key and Mouse Click and new instance of that application would be launched .
    Notice number of instances has increased of Internet Explorer, Windows Explorer, Paint, and Live Writer after Shift + Right Clicking them.

    Network Access Protection : Secure your Network

    To Lock Screen in Windows 7 you have to press the Windows Key + L to lock it, now.
    The screen would be locked and password protected in case you have one.
    In case you don‟t like shortkeys or you keep forgetting them, there‟s another option for screen lock.
    Simply create a new shortcut to C:WindowsSystem32rundll32.exe user32.dll, LockWorkStation and place it whenever you want.
    It will work same as Win + L combination, it use Mouse Click event instead of Keyboard Button press in Win + L Key combination.

    New Autoplay Autorun options in Windows 7

    Network Access Protection (NAP) is a platform that network administrators can use to help protect the security of a network.
    When you connect to a corporate network that uses NAP, your computer is checked to make sure that it has the required software and settings, and that the software and settings are up to date.
    If anything is missing or outdated, your computer can be automatically updated. Your network access might be limited during that time, but usually this process happens quickly, after which full network access is restored.
    So it checks if the computer you are connecting over network is really safe to connect or not.
    If any violation to NAP protocols is there such as presence of Virus, Trojans etc.
    over the network computer you are connecting NAP won‟t allow you to connect.
    Enabling NAP enhances your security over network and you will be much safer.
    You can see if it is Activated here: Control Panel >System Security>Action Center>NAP Status On/Off

    On Screen Keyboard

    Another post for the day, I have accumulated all of them since last weekend.
    Pushing them all at now.
    Working online and using your Internet Banking Facility, Key logging Software‟s can take out your password the moment you type them and further misuse them.
    You can simply take advantage of On screen Keyboard utility provided by Microsoft to type without using keyboard.
    It will bring a keyboard on your desktop and you can use your mouse pointer to click to type any key.
    How to get it?

    • Use Win+R key to get Run dialog box

    • Write OSK and press enter.

    • Your Onscreen Keyboard is at your service.

      • Alternatively you can find the same in StartMenu-

      • >All Programs-

      • >Accessories-

      • >Ease of Access-

      • >On screen Keyboard.
    This is how an On Screen Keyboard looks in Windows 7.


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