Tag Archives: windows-7

How to Add Clocks to Windows System Tray

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Our friend Matthew is back this week with a video explaining how to add multiple clocks to your system tray. There are actually several different reasons people choose to do this. Perhaps you want to keep track of what time it is where family members live. If you work with a remote team, like the folks at Lockergnome do, it’s useful to know that you aren’t trying to contact someone in the middle of the night. If you game with friends in another time zone, a quick check of the system tray clocks will let you know whether you can team up for a Rift raiding party or Halo firefight.

In order to make these changes to your Windows system:

  • Click on the clock down in your system tray.
  • Click “Change Time and Date Settings.”
  • Click the “Additional Clocks” tab.
  • Click a box which says to “Show This Clock.”
  • Choose the time zone you wish to display.
  • Enter a display name for this particular clock.
  • Click the “Apply” button to apply your changes.
  • Add another clock or click the “OK” button to close the window.

When you are finished, YOUR time is the only one that will show. However, you simply single-click on that time in order to pop up your additional clocks.

The limitation is that you can only have three total clocks on your system tray, one of which has to be your normal time.

There are many different little tweaks you can make to your Windows systems in order to personalize them to best fit your needs. Windows 7 is definitely full of neat surprises. For instance, you can:

  • Change the window border glass color. – Head to your Control Panel and choose Personalization. From there, click on “Window Color and Appearance.”
  • Add a toolbar to the taskbar. – Right-click your taskbar and choose “Toolbars.” You can add any folder on your computer and name it whatever you wish for fast access to everything you need.
  • Move the taskbar. – If you wish to move the taskbar in Windows Vista or Windows 7, simply drag it to the top or one side of your monitor and let go.
  • Customize the Start Menu. – Right-click the Start button, then choose Properties. From there, you’ll click the Customize button. Choose if you wish to show things such as computer, Games, Music, Control Panel and more. You can also decide in this area if these shown items should offer a menu when you click on them.
  • Change how your Power button acts. – In Vista, the Power button puts your computer into sleep mode. In Windows 7, it shuts the computer down. In order to change what the power button will do, go back to those Start menu properties from the last step. In the Start Menu tab, you can let the operating system know what you want it to do when you click the power button.

These are just a small sample of the types of things you can do to your Windows installation to make it suit your needs. What other tweaks have you made to OWN your Windows install?

How to Buy a Computer

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Buying a new computer can be quite confusing. There are so many brands out there – so many choices. You have to attempt to figure out if you want a desktop or laptop. Then you need to narrow down your choices. How much do you plan to use your machine? What types of tasks will you be performing with it on a regular basis? The answers to these questions can help you figure out which computer is right for you. According to the team behind the Windows Twitter account, a lot of you simply aren’t sure what you are supposed to be looking for when purchasing a new system.

Computers are a lot like clothes: not one size fits all. What you want will be different from what the rest of us want. Microsoft has developed a tool called Windows PC Scout to help you make the right choice. This tool will step you through a series of questions to get you to your ideal machine.

The experts behind Windows went on a hunt to find the best of the best, and the PC Scout will help you figure out which of those works best for you. There are no paid placements. The machines recommended on the site are only there because they were determined to deliver the best Windows experience possible.

If you already have a general idea of what type of specs you want in a machine, the tool can help you narrow down your choices by giving suggestions of the best laptops available which fit your specific criteria. You can choose from categories such as everyday usage, gaming rigs, multimedia machines and connected companions.

The more you spend, then happier you will be several years from now. If you don’t spend much, you’re likely going to become frustrated with the limitations of that device within a much shorter period of time. Many of you feel you need to have the latest and greatest – and that’s okay. It’s honestly all a matter of personal choice. Its’ about what works for YOU.

If what you have right now is working just fine, stick with it – especially if your software is up to date. You need to always keep your software updated… including (and most importantly) your operating system. If you don’t have a computer running Windows 7, I honestly think you should upgrade. Microsoft and software/hardware vendors are developing their products to run most effectively on Windows 7. Yes – they make work well with older versions, but they won’t run at their level best. Don’t you deserve the best?

How To Upgrade Windows 7

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If you take a look at the official Windows Twitter account, you’ll see that all types of general computer use questions are answered on a daily basis. If you are reading this post and happen to be a power user – great for you! Please try to remember, though, that you yourself was once a complete n00b. We all have to learn sometime, and I’ve decided to help answer some of the basics for those seeking answers at the beginning of their computing career.

With so many different flavors of each Windows operating system available, it’s no wonder people become confused when trying to figure out which one they need. Heck, even the upgrade terms themselves can be a little puzzling.

A Windows 7 upgrade is an upgrade from an older version of Windows, like Vista or XP. An Anytime upgrade is one in which you upgrade your current version of Windows 7… such as from Home to Ultimate. Microsoft MVP Ed Bott put together a fantastic comparison chart which shows you the core differences between the versions of Windows 7 that is available.

Knowing what type of features are important to you will go a long way towards knowing what version you should be installing. Do some research and become familiar with each of the things offered in the various flavors. Don’t just assume that you need Ultimate simply because it offers the most. Are you truly going to miss any of the things that it includes and Home Premium doesn’t?

If you already have Windows 7 installed and do decide you need to upgrade, Microsoft has come up with a seriously slick idea. Perhaps your computer came with Windows 7 professional but you know you want Windows 7 Ultimate. Simply run the Anytime Upgrade tool with your legally purchased license key, and you’ll be finished in about ten minutes flat. You’ll keep your documents and settings exactly how they were and be able to take advantage of the new features opened up to you with the upgraded version.

If you aren’t sure what version of Windows 7 you have installed right now, it only takes a moment to find out. Click on your Start button and then right-click on the Computer icon. From there, choose the “Properties” button. Alternatively, you can also click the Windows key and Pause key at the same time to bring up that menu.

Windows 7 takes the confusion out of the operating system equation. Let the software do the work for you.

How to Change Screensavers in Windows 7

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Back to basics! My dad asked me how to do something routine: change the screen saver in Windows. This isn’t the desktop background, mind you. It’s just a screen saver – you know, the software thingy that moves imagery around the screen after a specified period of time? And why not just right-click the desktop and do it from there? Well, there’s a reason I step a user through the help applet. The next time they need to figure out how to do something in Windows, they’ll know what to use. Can’t right-click the desktop for everything, yo.

Clicking on the little blue orb with the Windows logo at the lower-left corner of the screen bring up the Start menu. Click the option to the right that says “Help and Support.” At the top of the new screen, you will see a white box that says “Search Help.” Click your mouse there to bring up a cursor and type in “Change Screensaver.” Hit the Enter key, and the best results will pop right up.

Choose the top option. Click the blue hyperlink that tells you to “change a screensaver.” This will bring up step-by-step instructions to help you change your screensaver.

Keep in mind that you need to be careful where you’re downloading screensavers from. Not all of them come from safe and reputable sites. If you’re ever unsure, send me an email. I’ll gladly send you a list of safe sites.

You can use this same method of help and support to change or find other things on your computer.

Install Hold ‘Em Poker on Windows 7

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Bowman is back this week for his regular Thursday screencast to show you how to install the epic Hold ‘Em game on your Windows 7 machine. This nifty gem from Vista days has suddenly disappeared in the newest OS. Now you can once again gamble the hours away.

Hold ‘Em will install in just three easy steps. Microsoft has promised to release it later through Games for Windows, but we know most of you won’t want to wait that long.

This link will take you to where you can download one folder which contains installers for either 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate. It installs smoothly within a matter of seconds. As you can see in the video, it only took Bowman about thirty total seconds from start to finish.

There you have it. If you miss playing Hold ‘Em, take a minute of your time to install it on your machine.

Windows 7 SP1 is on the Horizon

So much of our Geeky attention was focused on WWDC today that the Windows announcement seemed to slip through the proverbial cracks. The team from Redmond told TechEd attendees that a public beta of Windows 7 SP1 should be available next month. The official release is expected later this year. IT administrators should be ready for the beta to arrive. This will give you the opportunity to check for compatibility and integration testing when getting ready to transition to the service pack.

According to the official press release, “SP1 will not contain any new features that are specific to Windows 7 itself. For Windows 7, SP1 will simply be the combination of updates already available through Windows Update and additional hotfixes based on feedback by our customers and partners. In other words, customers can feel confident about deploying Windows 7 now!”

Speculation is that Microsoft is pushing out the beta quickly in the hopes of attracting more enterprise customers. If the operating system is already this secure, why haven’t you upgraded your business yet? Thoughts?

Be sure to stop by our downloads center to see what we have for you today.

Love is in the Air for Apple Fans

If you are an Apple fan, nothing would be worse than hooking up with the “perfect” person – only to discover that they are a Windows user. That is likely the biggest deal-breaker of all. Thanks to new service Cupidtino, you’ll never have to worry about this again. The site promises to bring Apple fan-boys and girls together in a relationship nearly guaranteed to last:

Die-hard Mac & Apple fans often have a lot in common – personalities, creative professions, a similar sense of style and aesthetics, and of course a love for technology. We believe these are enough reasons for two people to meet and fall in love, and so we created the first Mac-inspired dating site to help you find other Machearts around you.

This may sound like some sort of weird scam, but it’s very real. The site is set to go live sometime in June, but you can sign up to beta-test it now. I’ve read a lot of commentary about this studly service today, but none of them sum it up better than Mike over at TechCrunch when he said that “Apple fans can be annoying when they’re on their own. The thought of them breeding and creating little Apple fans, a whole family of hard core hipster Apple lovers, is just not a good thing. On the other hand, making sure that Apple fans only date other Apple fans is a good way of stopping them from spreading their Apple fan genes to the general population, I guess. So maybe this site isn’t all bad.”

My only question now is: How soon will we see a Windows-only (and Linux-only) dating site? Which of you are going to step up and start it?

Love of one platform or another is not required to grab some of the latest software and apps for your devices. We welcome all people!

No Kids Meal Toys in Fattening Fare

Santa Clara County out in California has announced that they will now regulate what kids meals are allowed to give away toys in the hopes that your children will become healthier. Any meal which has more than 485 calories, 600 milligrams of sodium will no longer be allowed to offer a toy along with dinner. Additionally, if the meal has more than 35 percent of calories from fat or more than 10 percent of calories from added sugar, the toy ban will be imposed.

County Supervisor Ken Yeager says that the new ordinance will “prevent restaurants from preying on children’s love of toys to peddle high-calorie, high-fat, high-sodium kids’ meals.” This, of course, rules out those super-awesome Happy Meal toys that every child crave. Can you imagine where the world would be right now if we had never had the Beanie Baby craze several years ago? I shudder to think about it, honestly.

While I applaud the fact that the county wants to promote healthy eating, I cannot help but think there has to be a better way. Why are you going to deprive children of something they love because of bad choices their parents make for them?

All of the software and applications we collect for you are 100% calorie-free!

The Death of Two Devices

Today saw the death of two devices that we were actually looking forward to getting our hands on. Neither of these gadgets ever saw the light of day outside of their respective manufacturer’s offices. Both of them were going to be truly innovative in their own ways. Neither of them will get the chance to prove themselves in an ever-changing market. Both the HP Windows 7 Tablet device and the Microsoft Courier project are now dead in the water.

Interestingly enough, Microsoft never confirmed a single Courier rumor until the day it was put to rest. This is actually depressing news. The combination of both touch- and pen-based computing was compelling, and we waited with bated breath for news of its impending arrival. That arrival has been indefinitely delayed, and the wind has gone out of our sails.

The HP device announcement is a bit different. They are killing the idea of a tablet running Windows 7. But… they haven’t said much yet on the speculations surrounding what the company will do with their newly-acquired webOS. According to Nick Eaton, “iPad’s user interface is simple. It’s not a keyboard-less laptop with a touch screen, it’s its own type of device.” In order to begin to compete with it, HP and other companies are going to need to keep that in mind. Think about it. What if an HP tablet came out running a new version of webOS? Imagine the possibilities…

My mind boggles as I struggle to come up with the possibilities of what we may soon see. These companies know that they have to come up with something truly new, different and genius in order to begin to compete with what Apple has done. I know that the technology and the brains to put it to use are out there. I can’t wait to see what they come up with, can you?

Public Microsoft Live Meeting for Community Members

Are you a Windows 7 user? Learn how people within the Microsoft and MVP organizations interact with the community by joining a public virtual meeting. The online live conversation with Microsoft Community Managers Matt Bernardy and Jake Grey will be held on May 4th, 2010 from 9:00 A.M. – 10:00 A.M. PMT. This is your opportunity to learn more about the Clubhouse, Microsoft Answers, the MVP Program, and to ask questions about all of the Windows community programs.

My assistant, Kat happens to be a Microsoft MVP in Consumer Security. She’s held this position for five years running, and has been asked by Jake to speak during this broadcast about her MVP experience.

To join the Live Meeting, follow these simple steps:

  • Find out what time this Live Meeting is in your country/region.
  • Download Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007. We recommend you download the program several hours in advance to avoid technical difficulties during the session.
  • Enter the meeting and fill in your name.

This is an excellent opportunity to ask any questions you may have about how Microsoft works with you – the consumer – to make your experience a positive one. There are many new and exciting things going on, and you won’t want to miss out on this discussion.

Blizzard Cashes in on Virtual Game Spending

I think I am in the wrong line of business. I knew already that Facebook’s Farmville was a huge hit. Every time I log into the site, I see people harvesting their crops and begging me to fertilize them. I’ve also seen people cooking up delicious things in their restaurants on Cafe World. I’ve heard (and read) that you can use real money to advance yourself in these games. I had no idea, though, just how huge of a market this is until now.

The people behind World of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment, struck gold this week – literally. In the past, they have occasionally offered limited-edition virtual pets for sale in their online store. Pay Blizz some real money, and you can have yourself a seriously cool pet on the toon of your choosing. This week, the geniuses introduced a new Celestial Steed, which allows you to “travel in style astride wings of pure elemental stardust.” I’ll admit that the steed is pretty cool looking. But I can’t see paying twenty-five real dollars for it if I was already paying fifteen every month just for the privilege of playing the game.

Apparently, one heck of a lot of people disagree with me, though. Blizz is reporting that in the first four hours that the mount was available they made an astonishing two MILLION dollars just off of that pet alone. That is over eight-thousand smackers per minute.

The mount doesn’t give a player any advantages in the game over other subscribers. It simply looks cool. Who knew that you could make a fortune in moments through a virtual game? I need to put my brain to work to come up with one of my own.

Photo courtesy of MMO Champion and Blizzard Entertainment.

You don’t have to play WoW or even join Facebook in order to see what’s new in our software center.

Which is More Usable – a Mac or Windows PC?

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During live calls the other night, I had a guy ask me whether I felt that Macs are becoming more mainstream than Windows machines. He went on to say how he knew that in the past Macs weren’t very “user friendly,” and that he feels they are much more so now. The user interface on a Mac has certainly changed over the years, yes.

But you have to look at it like this: it’s still completely different than what Windows users are used to. Many long-time Windows power users give up when trying out a Mac. They feel they cannot find their way around. I’ve seen it happen many times. With that said, though, it all comes down to a matter of opinion and preference. I cannot possibly tell you which is better for you – or anyone else – to use. It depends what your likes and needs are.

I made a change to Mac as my primary system back when I was completely disgusted with Windows Vista. Vista had zero usability as far as I was concerned. The Mac operating system had what I needed, and works well for me. I don’t have a problem with Windows 7. In fact, I have a machine right in my office that runs it. For my needs, though, Apple builds a better system.

The only similarity between Microsoft and Apple is the fact that they both create an operating system. That’s where it begins – and where it ends. Apple makes a piece of hardware to go with that software and attempt to control it. Some people don’t like that. However, as consumers, we SHOULD like it. We know who manufactured each and every part inside of our Mac system. We know who to blame if it goes wrong. We know who to contact if things go awry.

Apple is pretty much the only company on the planet that controls everything from stem to stern… hardware, software and service. Don’t get all freaked out because you have to pay for Apple’s One Care. You have to pay for ANY extended warranty, right? It doesn’t fail me – ever. Every problem I’ve had was covered under the repair system. I don’t have to question “who is to blame for this problem?” It was all made by Apple, and it all goes back to Apple.

If I had to wager a guess, I’d say that HP will come the closest to being what Apple is as a company. Its problem, though, is that it currently has to support another company’s operating system.

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Unlock Hidden Windows 7 Themes

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Why would you want a theme on your computer, anyway? There are several reasons you might choose one… the most common, though, deals with the way things look. You want your colors and icons to look good to your eye. Themes will make sure that everything matches and scales well together and gives you an environment you can really work with.

This screencast was created by Joshua to help you learn how to unlock the extra themes found in Windows 7.

Open a Windows Explorer window, and click on the Organize tab at the top. From the drop-down menu, choose Folder and Search Options. In the View tab, make sure that “Show Hidden Files and Folders” is selected. Now you’re going to want to type this into the address bar at the top of the Explorer window: \Windows\globalization\MCT\.

This will open a window that has five different folders contained in it. Click the first folder open, then scroll down and open up the Theme folder, and you’ll see the theme in there. Each of those five folders have a theme inside.

If you still aren’t happy with any of the themes you’ve come across, maybe you should try your hand at creating your own. Once you’ve customized your new theme, you can share it with others. Save it in a .themepack file format and email it to others, or send it via social networks or on an external hard disk. There are also several other themes to look through on the Windows Personalization website.

These extra themes are simple to install to your themes directory, and they’re all gorgeous. Your computer will pop – your background will come alive. Okay, perhaps it won’t exactly come alive. But it will look better, I promise!

Thanks, Joshua, for this screencast. Well done!

Are Compact Discs Dead?

In just a few months, Universal Music Group is dropping the prices on their CDs to between six and ten dollars each in an effort to boost sales. While the company does have its hand in the music download and streaming side of things, their profit margins are much better with physical disc sales. Up until now, however, it usually cost far more to buy a copy at the local WalMart than it did to purchase the entire album digitally.

In addition to the lower cost, UMG plans to add extra content to physical CDs that cannot be purchased online. Their hope is the combination of the lower cost packed with additional features will bring sales out of the serious slump they find themselves in. I personally love this idea, and will likely buy more compact discs than normal. I do buy music online, sure. But there’s just something about owning those sweet little silver discs that I am hopelessly addicted to. What about you? Will the lower cost cause you to go out and buy more music in hard copy form?

Don’t forget to stop by the software center and see what’s new today.

Twitter Announces the @Anywhere Platform

Even though many people walked out during the SXSW keynote today, delivered by Evan Williams, there was a very interesting announcement made. The new platform will allow publishers to integrate Twitter deeper into their site and recreate the “open, engaging interactions” their readers expect from using Twitter “without sending them to the Twitter website itself.”

Using the new platform, users can identify and follow Twitter users on third-party sites without ever leaving that site. Some of the ones that will soon use this new service include Yahoo, Bing and Digg. This lets publishers make sure their audience is aware of their Twitter feed. The user can also elect to follow a site’s feed without ever leaving the actual site. This lets you get more followers, and allows Twitter to bring more users to their site, as well. According to Ev, Twitter is launching the service because it wants to make it easier on everyone to use Twitter. Given their growth has recently slowed, it makes sense to try to bring the service to the attention of more users.

What are your thoughts? Do you believe this new platform is a big step in the right direction for Twitter?

Don’t forget to stop by the software center to see what’s new today!