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Windows 7 tips and tweaks

Display thumbnails faster

When programs are started, Windows adds their icon to the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Some applications, such as web browsers like Internet Explorer, are able to open multiple windows. To make it easier to switch from one window to another, a thumbnail image is displayed just above the taskbar when the mouse hovers over a taskbar icon.

You can speed up or slow down the display of these thumbnails by changing a value stored in the registry. Most people will find that the default setting is fine, but if it isn't to your liking then here's how to change it.

Click Start and then enter regedit into the search box. Hit Enter to start the registry editor and then find and select the following key in the left-hand pane: HKEY_CURRENT_USER \Software \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion \Explorer \Advanced.

Now look in the right-hand pane for a value called ThumbnailLivePreviewHoverTime and if it doesn't exist, select Edit, New, DWORD Value. Name it ThumbnailLivePreviewHoverTime and then double click it to edit its value. Set the base to decimal and then enter the number of milliseconds delay before thumbnails are drawn. Try values in the range 100 to 500, which is one tenth to half a second.

Taskbar thumbnails

You will need to quit the registry editor after making this change and then restart Windows to see the effect in action.

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