Things To Do After Installing Windows 7

So, after seeing a countless amount of positive reviews, playing around with it a bit on a friend’s PC or at the store, perhaps trying out the Beta and RC, and simply hearing your geek friends talking amongst each other about 7, you finally decided to make the switch. Whether you’re upgrading a current system, or purchasing a new PC, there are a few things you can do to spruce up your experience and make it even better.

1. Reinstall 7 if you purchased a new PC with 7 – Yes, you heard right. If you purchased a new OEM PC from a store like Best Buy, FutureShop, CompUSA, Costco, etc., or from another similar store, than it’s best to go and purchase a fresh copy of Windows 7 from that same store and re-install your OEM PC right after purchasing it. Why? Because the installations of Windows that come with these OEM systems are clogged with bloatware, causing system crashes, instability, sluggishness and various other issues that can be eradicated with a clean copy of Windows. Myself and many people I know do this with all the systems that they get their hands on, and it’s been proven to make a positive difference.

2. Run Windows Update – It’s very important to have the latest drivers and security patches on your machine for optimal performance. This is why it’s important to check for updates after an installation, and to let it automatically install important updates to keep your system safe and speedy.

3. Adjust UAC – If you were one of the many people that were annoyed by User Account Control (UAC) in Windows Vista, than I have good news for you. In Windows 7, you can keep the protection offered by UAC without the intrusiveness. To do this, go to Start > Control Panel > User Accounts > Change User Account Control Settings. From there, you can either disable UAC altogether or simply tone down the intrusiveness.

4. Skin it – Even though Windows 7 only hit the shelves on October 22nd, there already are a few rather nice skins out there for it. In a previous GeekSmack post, titled 7 Stylish Skins for Windows 7, you will see my personal favorites at the moment. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of skinning, skinning is basically patching your machine so that you can use custom skins instead of the default Aero look alone. Skinning isn’t harmful at all towards your system, and it’s something that many people do.

5. Set up a homegroup – Among the many other improvements in 7, networking was also made better and easier. With homegroups, you can set up a password-protected network of PCs that are all running Windows 7, which makes it easier to share files, printers, and stream media. To get started with homegroups, simply go to Start > Computer (or any Explorer window of your choice) > Homegroup (in the left pane). From there, it’s quick and easy to start a homegroup, and all you need to do from there is connect the other PCs to the homegroup.

6. Learn the time-saving keyboard shortcuts – By using some of the spiffy keyboard shortcuts built into Windows 7, you can save time and interact with your PC more using your keyboard. There’s some great keyboard shortcuts out there, such as the ones listed below:

Picture of Windows logo key + number - Start the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number. If the program is already running, switch to that program.

Picture of Windows logo key + Up Arrow - Maximize the window.

Picture of Windows logo key + Left Arrow - Maximize the window to the left side of the screen.

Picture of Windows logo key + Right Arrow - Maximize the window to the right side of the screen.

Picture of Windows logo key + Home - Minimize all but the active window.

Picture of Windows logo key + Shift+ Left Arrow or Right Arrow - Move a window from one monitor to another.

There’s many more keyboard shortcuts to learn about, and you may do so by going to: Start > Help and Support > Type “Keyboard Shortcuts” in the search box > Click on the first link titled “Keyboard Shortcuts”.

7. Install XP Mode – If you’re one of the many people out there that need to use software not supported by 7 (or even Vista) that works on XP, than there’s no need to fear. XP Mode, a program that utilizes virtualization technology to basically run the incompatible apps in XP while still using 7 may prove useful to you. It will allow you to run applications incompatible with 7, for example IE6, in a Windows XP window alongside the usual 7 applications in their appropriate Windows 7 windows. As XP mode utilizes virtualization technology to do this however, you will need to have a compatible CPU. Check to see if your system supports XP mode and download it over at the XP Mode official website.

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