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Windows 7 hints and tips

Shrink window borders and title bar

The user interface that Vista has is on the whole pretty good and it looks more modern and smarter than previous versions of Windows. It isn't quite perfect though and it needs a few minor tweaks to make it just right.

One attribute that you might find a tad irritating is the thickness of the window borders and the size of the title bar and buttons. They seem to thick and too big, and this is especially true if you have to work with Vista on a small screen like a laptop computer. Some of the smaller models are only 800 pixels in the vertical direction and you don't want to give away too much space to unimportant items like borders titles and buttons. You should shrink them a little to give more space for the window contents.

Window color and appearanceThe dialog that is used to change these window attributes hasn't changed and it is the same one in Windows XP, Vista and 7. What's different in each version of Windows though, is how to access it. Instead of keeping it in the same place so that everyone knows where it is and how to access it, Microsoft keeps moving it around. It is just plain confusing.

It is not obvious where it is in Windows 7, but there is a way to find out. Click the Start button and type change into the search box. In the list of matching terms that is displayed, click Change window colors and metrics.

Click the title bar of the active window in the preview and then set the font size to 8. This not only chooses a slightly smaller font, it also shrinks the title bar and buttons a little too.

Select Border Padding in the Item drop down list and reduce the padding to 1 or even zero. As you do this you will see the windows grow in size in the preview because there is more space available to them and less is wasted on the borders. Click Apply and OK to finish.

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