My Top 10 Windows 7 Tips - by Terry Blount - Windows 7 Tweaks, Tricks, Tips, Secrets, Shortcuts, Solutions and Fixes 1. Clone your hard drive! Hard drive prices are down to 5 cents per GB, which is VERY cheap. Acronis True Image is the premium program for cloning. There are free versions for Seagate and WD hard drives on their sites. The cloning process takes about 15 minutes per 100gb. When your drive is cloned you have the simple option of changing your boot priority in your bios to be up and running in less than 90 seconds - if you have a system or primary hard drive failure. Everything is exactly as it was when you did the last clone, no software to install, nothing to setup or activate. I would say it's the closest thing to a miracle there is in protecting your data and recovering from a failure. True Image also has an option to test "stuff" and NOT change your system, unless you give it permission to save the changes. It's called Try and Decide. 2. Backup to the internet. Even if you only move between home and office you'll find it easy to attach documents to an email and shoot them off to a Yahoo or Gmail account and have them backed up and available from any computer in the world with Internet access. For larger files an FTP site is better. Your provider probably gives you a gb of webspace for a home page. 3. Google's RSS reader... I find the Google RSS reader the best time saver, by far. It's easy to setup and you can use it from any computer in the world that has Internet access. You can add RSS feeds for major news sites and all kinds of feeds, ranging from twitter, blogs, forums, jobs, price watching, etc. You will never miss anything important to you AND you'll have the time saving advantage of looking over all the headlines that may be interesting or useful in your research without wading through dozens of websites. If a headline looks good you can click to get full details. http://reader.google.com 4. Shortcuts to websites frequently used... if you like to check a few specific websites daily or bi-weekly, or just every Friday, it's a hassle to go to favorites or to saved shortcuts on the desktop and load them individually... AND they will overwrite the previous website. Instead, create a batch file that will open all your favorite websites in their own separate windows instantly like this: *First you may have to show the file extensions so you can create a .bat file: Click "Start" and type and enter "hide file" and uncheck the box "Hide extensions for known file types." *Right click on your desktop and select "New" "Text Document" then press enter twice. That will put you in edit mode in the txt file. Copy and paste the following lines to the text file. (Note: These links are for "hot deals" sites and forums, you can easily edit the url's to load your favorite sites.) START /d "C:\Program Files\internet explorer" iexplore.exe SlickDeals.net Forums START /d "C:\Program Files\internet explorer" iexplore.exe hot-deals - constantly updated with the best deals START /d "C:\Program Files\internet explorer" iexplore.exe Woot : One Day, One Deal (SM)*Save and close. With the batch file highlighted press F2 and rename .txt to.bat (for example new text document.txt to deals.bat ) When you click on the batch file the web sites will be opened in their own IE windows. If you only want to open one desktop shortcut link in *it's own window,* so that it doesn't overwrite other open webpages, go to "Tools" "Options" "Advanced" under "Browsing" uncheck the setting to reuse the window or tab, or open a new window. 5. Google a program named StartupMonitor and run it. It will alert you when software is trying to insert itself to load when your computer boots... and give you the option to say no. This program catches stuff almost EVERY time you install software because nearly ALL software inserts something like version checker or nagware to load and run all the time. It also shows you that EVERY time you run MS Live Messenger and some other software that is already installed, it wants to set itself up to run automatically all the time. StartupMonitor give you power over all this nonsense and frequently catches viruses and trojans that creep on via websites. 6. Click "Start" run "Msconfig" and uncheck all unwanted stuff that is loading at startup... and click "Start" and type and enter "ind" and turn OFF indexing. The search feature is plenty fast without it and you probably won't be searching for many files since documents, photos and music have their own folders that are directly accessed from the start menu. 7. I personally recommend turning off Task Manager because it runs about 150 unnecessary programs/tasks, that are automatically kicked off by various events. You will have to defrag and run a spyware program manually from time to time but that's a small price to pay because many programs, spyware, nagware and viruses are using the Task Manager to launch themselves without your permission or notification. Disabling the Task Manager will shut down this avenue for attacks and give your applications more processing power. You can't actually turn it off. You have to rename the file so it can't be found and run at bootup. In order to gain access to rename it you have to run two commands from the command prompt. Go to the command prompt and run these 3 commands: takeown /f c:\windows\system32\taskschd.msc /a icacls c:\windows\system32\taskschd.msc /grant administrators:f ren c:\windows\system32\taskschd.msc c:\windows\system32\taskschd.mscc 8. Cool tool If you did a clean install or bought a new computer system, here is an online application that can make installing FREE software easy. Just select the software you want and it will be installed for you. About 70 applications to chose from, including Microsoft Security Essential, Ccleaner, Defraggler, WinRar and many more. Ninite Easy PC Setup - Download/Install Multiple Programs Fast 9. System File Checker - A great Windows fix tool. Not so many people know about the System File Checker but YOU should. It checks your main system files and automatically replaces incorrect corrupted, changed, or damaged versions with the correct versions if possible. At the risk of over-hyping it's value I'll say that it's frequently as good as re-installing your OS. I would recommend running it when you do weekly/monthly maintenance. Run it from a command prompt and when it finishes it will give a brief report. It takes a few minutes to run and it may tell you that you have to reboot to finish any repairs it needs to make. SFC /scannow If you get a message saying it couldn't fix some something: Load: C:\WINDOWS\LOGS\CBS\CBS.LOG in a text editor and search for "unfixable" You can take a stab at manually fixing a problem -- or if your system runs ok you can ignore it. Two more great diag/fix features include: Click Start and type "perfmon /report" and press enter... it takes 60 seconds to gather a comprehensive diagnostic report and then it presents resolutions. Click Start and type and enter "ev" and it will run the Event Viewer. Look under Custom at the Administrative logs. Problems with initializing drivers are logged here at startup. 10. Save America, VOTE but do NOT vote for ANY incumbents in the next few elections. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different outcome.