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Windows 7 hints and tips

Getting Started in the Control Panel

Windows 7 is different to Vista and some changes are quite large while others are small. Remember the Welcome Center in Vista? It's a Control Panel item that is run automatically when Vista is started and after the first week you probably disabled it and forgot all about it. It has been renamed and redesigned in Windows 7.

There isn't an item in the Windows 7 Control Panel called Welcome Center, but there is a new item called Getting Started. If you run it you'll see that it displays a large 'Welcome' and it provides some of the functions of the old Welcome Center. There are two sections in the Vista Welcome Center - Getting Started with Windows (14 items), and Offers from Microsoft (6) items. In Widnows 7's Getting Started there is a total of just nine items.

Go online to find out what's new in Windows 7: This is actually more useful than you might think and there are Windows 7 themes, desktop backgrounds, desktop gadgets, and Sideshow gadgets to download. (SideShow gadgets are mini-programs that run on a device compatible with Windows SideShow and update the device with information from your computer.)

Use a homegroup to share with other computers in your home: Homegroup is a new networking feature in Windows 7. You can set up two or more PCs to share pictures, music, documents, videos, printers and so on. PCs not in your homegroup will be barred, so it's a sort of secure group of PCs on your home network.

Windows 7 Getting StartedBack up your files: Runs Backup and Restore in the Control Panel.

Personalize Windows: Runs Personalization in the Control Panel.

Choose when to be notified about changes to your computer: User Account Control used to have two settings - on and off. Now there are four levels and this opens the dialog to let you view of change the level.

Add new users to your computer: Opens User Accounts in the Control Panel.

Transfer files and settings from another computer: This opens a utility called Windows Easy Transfer. Same as in Vista. With a network, connecting cable or USB disk drive or flash memory drive, you can transfer settings, mail, documents, photos, music and so on to the new PC.

Go online to get Windows Live Essentials: Download email software, an instant messenger, video editor, and other software. Windows 7 is bare bones software and you download the extras you want. It's probably slightly confusing for complete novices, but for most people it means that you get to choose what you want to install. For example, why bother with email software if you only ever use webmail?

Change the size of the text on your screen: Opens Dsplay in the Control Panel.

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