YOUR TOP TIPS FOR... WINDOWS
Get more vertical desktop space
In magazines I always see references to the Windows taskbar “at the bottom of the screen”. Today’s monitors often have very wide, shallow aspect ratios, which are designed to show films widescreen. Using these screens for tasks such as document writing, on A4 portrait-orientated paper, means a limited vertical view and a lot of scrolling. This is made worse by wide toolbars such as the Microsoft Office ribbon.
One very easy way to give yourself more vertical viewing space is to move the taskbar to one side. Right-click the taskbar, select Properties, ‘Taskbar location on screen’. I set mine to be on the left in Windows 7 (see screenshot below left).
In Office, you can hide the ribbon using the small up arrow at top right of the screen. In Adobe Reader, you can selectively hide some toolbars using F8 and/or F9, or jump to full-screen using Ctrl+l.
And finally, one worthwhile trick in most browsers is to hit F11 to jump to full-screen. In my version of Firefox, I have to hit F11 again to get back, not Esc.
See all your PC’S programs
Sometimes pesky programs just forget to put their icon on your desktop or in the Start Menu (or you forget to tick the box ‘Create a Desktop Icon’). Thankfully, there’s an easy way to see all the programs installed on your PC. This can also be used to find some of Windows 10’s
pre-installed junk. Press Windows Key+r to bring up the Run box, then type shell:appsfolder (see screenshot below left opposite). This will bring up a folder containing all your programs’ shortcuts. Padraig F Pearlman
Pin more than 12 files to a Jump List
A quick way of launching Excel and simultaneously opening a specific file is to pin regularly used files to the Excel icon in your taskbar (known as a Jump List). You can click this icon to open the Jump List, run Excel and open the selected file. Unfortunately, unlike Windows 7, Windows 10 doesn’t make it easy to increase the number of pinned files to above the default (12).
To overcome this limitation you need to open the Registry Editor. Type regedit in the Windows desktop search box, then click ‘Run command’. Then look for HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\windows\currentversion\ Explorer\advanced, right-click ‘Advanced’ folder and select NEW, DWORD (32-bit) Value. Rename the item by typing Jumplistitems_maximum (see screenshot right), then double-click it to open the Properties window. Enter the number of items you wish to pin (I suggest 20 to 30), click ‘decimal’, then ‘OK’. Exit the Registry Editor and you’ll now be able to pin more files to the Jump List.
To pin a file, open it, right-click the taskbar icon, then select the file in the list and click the pin symbol. Pinned items will be listed in the order they were pinned. You can also use this process for other programs with an icon in the taskbar, such as Word. David Bickell
Go fullscreen with keyboard shortcut
In a slip of the keyboard last year I inadvertantly discovered something I wish I’d known about years ago – using the Windows Key with my keyboard’s direction buttons.
Try Windows Key+left. This moves the active window to the left half of your screen. You can then do the same with Windows Key+right, letting you compare two documents, bank statements or financial spreadsheets. Or even two Folder views for moving photos.
Press Windows Key+up to ‘maximise’ the screen (go full screen). Press Windows Key+down once to go back to a normal view (‘unmaximise’), and twice to minimise it to the taskbar.
You will also see (in Windows 10) that doing this to one window then puts any others into a greyed-out selection panel on the other half of the screen, letting you quickly choose what you want to do there. I don’t know which version of Windows this started on but none of my friends or work colleagues knew about it! Edmund Chavasse
Find and fix missing system files
You can find missing or corrupt system files that may be causing problems for your PC by typing sfc /scannow in Command Prompt and running System File Checker (Microsoft explains how to do this at www.snipca.com/25989).
If you repeatedly see a message that the fault can’t be fixed, try typing this command instead: DISM /Online /Cleanup -Image /Restorehealth (highlighted in yellow in the screenshot left). This works with all versions of Windows, I think, from XP to 10, and, after a reboot and running sfc /scannow one more time, corrupt files should no longer be found.
It should take about 20 minutes to run, and appears to freeze at 20 per cent, but be patient because it will resume. Alan Donald
Make Windows show photos in correct order
Have you ever made a photo slideshow and backed it up, only to find that Windows has changed the order they were in? This is because Windows struggles ordering named files, but not numbered ones.
To avoid Windows messing things up, first give your photo folder a name, then place the photos in the order you want to view them. Next, give each photo a four-digit number (so the first one will be ‘0001’ and so on). Now when you carry out any kind of backing up Windows won’t reorganise them.
If you have a large batch of photos you can use a free program called Advanced Renamer ( www.advancedrenamer.com, see screenshot above). Print the instructions in the User Guide tab and follow them exactly. Note: you must drag and drop because copy and paste does not work. You can ignore the prompts to buy, register or update. Keith Norton
Give yourself more vertical viewing space by moving the taskbar to the side of your screen
See all your PC’S programs by typing shell:appsfolder into the Run box
Type this command if you repeatedly see a message telling you that faults with system files can’t be fixed
Press the Windows key and arrow keys to maximise and minimise your screen
Type this into the Registry Editor to add more pinned items to the taskbar
Rename multiple files in one go using Advanced Renamer