Windows 7 Tricks

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This page is a compilation of simple, but useful tricks in the various versions of Windows.

Automatic Login

To turn on automatic login, click Start, and type the following in the search box:

netplwiz

Under the Users tab, uncheck the "Users must enter a user name and password for this computer."

Check If a User Has Administrative Rights

Check Windows Version / Bit Type

These methods will help you figure out the version of Windows.

Basic

The simplest way to detect the Windows bit type is to check for a "C:\Program Files (x86)". If it exists, this is a 64-bit system.

MSInfo32

Click Start, Run, and type in the box:

MSInfo32

The relevant information is found under OS Name, Version, and System Type.

Registry

Click Start, Run, and type in the box:

RegEdit

Bit Type is found at:

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentCongtrolSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment\Processor_Architecture

Disassociate File Types

Windows 7 and Vista don't allow you to disassociate a file types, but you can use this program to do so: winhelponline.com/blog/unassociate-file-types-windows-7-vista/.

Force a Reboot

If you don't have access to the shutdown there are several methods for forcing a reboot.

Shutdown.exe

If you have access to the command window, you can execute "shutdown.exe -i" to bring up the shutdown interface. To force an immediate reboot, use "shutdown.exe -f -r -t 0"

Kill lsass.exe

LSASS.exe is the Local Security Authority Process. Windows requires this program to be running, and if it ever closes, Windows will initialize a mandatory shutdown after 30 seconds.

Manually Add a Port

Add Hardware - Manually.png

Windows 7 removed "Add New Hardware" from the Control Panel, but the program still exists. To open it:

  1. Click the Windows button.
  2. Click Run
  3. In the Open box, type hdwwiz.exe
  4. Click OK.

This gives you the opportunity to add Serial COM Ports and other legacy devices.

Network Sharing

Getting Windows to share files through the network is a lot more complicated than it needs to be.

Windows XP

  1. Open Explorer.
  2. Click Tools -> Folder Options -> View Tab -> Advanced Settings List
  3. Uncheck "Use simple file sharing (Recommended)".
  4. Right-click on the shared folder, click properties.
  5. Select "Everyone" in the Group or user names list.
  6. Check the "Full Control" under the allow column in the Permissions for Everyone list.
  7. Click "OK".
  8. If connection still fails, map a network drive, and click the link "Connect using a different user name." and enter a valid user name and password.

Windows Vista / 7

  1. Check simple sharing, turn it off if it's on.
  2. Right-click the shared folder, select Properties, click the Security tab.
  3. Click Edit to bring up the "Permissions for Folder"
  4. Select the Administrators group, and check Full Control.
  5. Click Add, under "Enter the object names to select" type "Guest" if the server is XP of "Everyone" if the server is Windows 7, click "Check Names", click "OK".
  6. Click on Guest/Everyone in the Group list, click Full Control.
  7. In Windows 7, do the same in the "Sharing" tab.
  8. Click "OK".

Quick Launch Toolbar In Windows 7

The Quick Launch Toolbar was a wonderful feature of Windows XP that was removed in Vista which used the less-intuitive Pin/Unpin feature. To re-enable it, do the following:

  1. Right-click on the taskbar.
  2. Select the Toolbars menu.
  3. Click on New Toolbar...
  4. Navigate to .\Users\Your User\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch.
  5. Highlight the Quick Launch folder, and click "Select Folder".
  6. Right-click on the new Quick Launch toolbar in the taskbar.
  7. In the menu, uncheck "Show Title" and "Show Text".
  8. Use the toolbar's handle to drag it fully to left to position it like XP.

Rebuild Icon Cache

Windows stupidly doesn't update the icon cache even when an icon file has been altered. This is a problem for anyone who creates icons. To force windows to purge its existing icon cache, do the following:

  • Open the Run window.
  • Run the command: ie4uinit.exe -ClearIconCache

Remove Windows 10 Nag Message

Search In File Contents

By default, Windows will not search in text files and other documents. To force it to do so, do the following:

  1. Open a file explorer window.
  2. Press ALT to reveal the hidden menu.
  3. Under Tools, select Folder Options.
  4. Under the Search tab, in the "What to search" frame, select "Always search file names and contents".

Search Inside Zip Files

By default, Windows will not search in compressed zip files. To force it to do so, do the following:

  1. Open a file explorer window.
  2. Press ALT to reveal the hidden menu.
  3. Under Tools, select Folder Options.
  4. Under the Search tab, select Include compressed files.

Speed Up File Explorer

Windows Vista and 7 tries to optimize media folders by assigning them special templates. Folders with a lot of media are given special templates which slow down File Explorer because it tries to read the meta data out of every file even if it's not one of the viewable columns. When hundreds of folders with media content exist, this can lead to File Explorer taking several seconds to open a folder. To prevent Windows from doing this, right-click on the problematic folder, and select Properties. Under the Customize tab, set the template to Documents. This takes awhile to process, but it will speed up File Explorer considerably for future views.

System Configuration

Run "msconfig.exe" to get access to the booting config, services, and a quick list of windows tools.

Toggle Ping

If you have ping response disabled, you can re-enable it by doing the following:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Open Windows Firewall.
  3. In the side-panel, click on Advanced Settings.
  4. In the side-panel, open Inbound Rules.
  5. Select each "File and Printer Sharing (Echo Request - ICMPv4-In)".
  6. Right-click to open menu.
  7. Choose "Enabled" to allow ping, "Disable" to disallow ping.

Turn Off AutoPlay

Windows 7 has an autoplay dialog, but even when you turn everything off, it still runs every time you plug in a USB hard drive, flash drive, and even when you switch drive letters for a hard drive. The UI is useless (typical), but there is still a way:

  1. Click the Windows button.
  2. Click Run.
  3. In the Open box, type gpedit.msc and click OK.
  4. This opens the Local Group Policy Editor.
  5. In the tree view on the left, expand Computer Configuration.
  6. Then expand Administrative Templates.
  7. Then expand Windows Components.
  8. Click the folder labeled AutoPlay Policies.
  9. In the list on the right, double-click Turn off Autoplay.
  10. This opens the Turn off Autoplay dialog.
  11. Select Enabled on the left and click OK.