Computer Active (UK) - - Reader's Tips Special Issue -

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.

Cliff Grover

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

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 (­vance­, 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

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