Windows 7 Hidden Gems - Additional functionality

I’ve been living with Windows 7 for a good few months now and in that time have discovered a couple of little ‘hidden gems’ which I wanted to share with you:

Aero Shake
In Windows 7, when you click on the title bar of any window and shake it every other open window gets minimised straight back in to your taskbar, reducing clutter on your screen. This allows you to focus on the one window and then when ready shake it again and the other windows will reappear.

There are additional Aero user interface related features which make a welcome debut. These include Aero Peek which allows you to immediately see what’s going on in an application just by hovering over the icon in the task bar and Aero Snap which quickly allows you to rearrange your desktop by slamming any open window against the left, right or top side of your screen; try it!

Sticky Notes
Proof, if needed, that some of the simplest applications make the largest differences to the end user experience. One of the most commonly used applications on my PC used to be the incredibly simple ‘notepad’ as I find that my working life works a lot better if I simplify everything down in to lists.

Rather than jotting notes on random pieces of paper that will almost certainly get lost throughout the day I used to dump everything in notepad and ensure that every line was eventually cleared so I was left with a blank page before I went home.

Sticky notes have a similar application. To get started click on the start menu and type in ‘sticky’ and begin typing tasks for the day or things to remember in to little post it notes that stick to your screen. When complete either close or minimise the application to get back to the job in hand, safe in the knowledge that once Sticky Notes are reopened, these tasks will reappear exactly as you left them. When a task has been completed or the note simply isn’t needed, it can be deleted with one click of the mouse.

Improved Calculator
Windows 7 calculator has improved considerably; now rather than being an arithmetic only affair, it can be operated in four modes - Standard, Scientific, Programmer and Statistical. It can also perform unit conversion, for example grams to ounces, metres to feet and Celsius to Fahrenheit along with a couple of unexpected features such as the ability to calculate the number of days between two dates or the value of your mortgage repayment. Surely in the next version of Windows the calculator application will finally gain graphical capabilities.

Windows Disk Image Burner
For some time now the preferred method of copying and storing CD’s and DVD’s has been by using an ISO file; a single image which includes the contents of an entire disk. Reading these files used to require a specific application (the likes of which I’ve covered previously in Click) but every version of Windows 7 now includes support for these straight out the box; simply double click on the ISO file that you wish to burn, insert a blank CD or DVD and you’re done.


About the Author - Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.