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Windows 7 tips and tweaks

Discover new tools and functions from the Start menu

It is sometimes said that 90% of prople only use 10% of a program's features and this is certainly true of Windows 7. The problem is that there are so many hard-to-find features, hidden functions, obscure dialogs and options that most people simply don't know half of what's available. If people knew what was in Windows and where to fund stuff, they might actually make use of it. You could set out to find all the hidden features by exploring every program, Control Panel item and dialog, but there is an alternative way to find things and that is to use the search capability of the Start menu. It's interesting and it's fun.

Click the Start button and type in a word. A good one to try is 'configure'. You will see a list of about 15 items, but at the top is a heading that says 'Control Panel (62)' or something similar. Click this heading to open a window that shows all the items.

Everything is organised into categories and there are internet options, system, speech recognition, administrative tools, sound, devices and printers and more. Under each category heading is a link to the items that contain the word 'configure', so under Internet Options you get Configure proxy server, Block or allow pop-ups, Manage browser add-ons and so on. This long list of items is quite interesting and there are links to some useful items that you might not be familiar with, or you might not know where to find.

Other good words to enter into the search box on the Start menu are 'setup' and 'settings'. Try entering some of your own words, or even just a letter or two, like 'pr'. You might see other categories in the search results on the Start menu, such as Programs, Music, Videos, and Files. Not all the results will fit on the Start menu, so click the category heading to see the full list. You'll find lots of interesting items.

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