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Essential Windows 7 Tweaks: Part 1

Every person has different tastes when it comes to their installation of Windows.  Through the years that have been many things that I do right off the bat when getting my install “just right”.  In the XP days, the first thing I would do was to stretch the taskbar, enable Quick Launch, add an address bar, unlock it, then move those around a bit.  If my taskbar wasn’t set up this way, I HATED IT… in fact, I would move other people’s around when I worked on their computers!  Windows 7 is no different for me, however, the list isn’t as exhaustive yet. This is a multipart series, so stay tuned for more.

1. Display file extensions

Unfortunately, some file extensions can easily be spoofed and what may look like readthisdoc.txt may actually be readthisdoc.txt.exe and execute a malicious program.  If you display file extensions, you can easily see this.

This is a big one in my book… A file name extension is a set of characters added to the end of a file name that determine which program should open it. Follow these steps to choose whether Windows displays these file extensions.

  1. Open Folder Options by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then clicking Folder Options.
  2. Click the View tab, and then, under Advanced settings, do one of the following:
    • To hide file extensions, select the Hide extensions for known file types check box, and then click OK.
    • To display file extensions, clear the Hide extensions for known file types check box, and then click OK.

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About Joe DiFiglia

I have always had a passion for everything computing. In early 2000, I decided to take my passion to the web. Thus, C.O.D. was born. Through the years we have made many great friends at C.O.D. and hope to continue our journey for years to come.

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14 comments

  1. 5. Turn on or Tune ClearType. All my netbooks & notebooks are usable with my 24 inch portrait 1080 LED LCD TV. (Portrait is easier to read, scroll text; 24 inch is ok for YouTube in Portrait mode).

    if you are using an external monitor, you need to recalibrate ClearType.

  2. 4. Turn on Remote Desktop: make sure your firewalls are up! Especially if you are WLAN or Internetting. Ms inbuilt firewall will not stop malware from sending out your stuff. So use any of the freeware firewalls; Zone Alarm is my recommendation.

  3. 3. Disable System Restore is unadvised. (Rickyf, Xantor earlier). The administrator has the option to determine the amount of Sys Restore on every (read-write) drive used. Ten % of a 1 or 2 TG drive is too much Sys Restore, so I have enough for at least a few restore points – 1 gig.

  4. Worth noting that remote desktop is not available in Win7 HP – you can RDP to it, just not from it.

  5. Disabling system restore is definitely not for everyone. I've fixed a few of my friend's PC after a botched driver install. Thankfully, a system restore point was created prior to the installation.

    Backup and Restore Center is a good but different alternative to System Restore. The advantage of System Restore is that usually points are created prior to various software/driver installations (which is usually where the problem starts) whereas Backups are periodic and might erase/replace more data than needed.

  6. While instructions are great, I'd love some explanation for why you do or do not like these features.

  7. I disagree with two of your recommendations.

    1. "Disable System Restore" is not warranted on new systems with lots of storage. It is better to have the restore points than not if a failure occurs.

    2. "Turn on Remote Desktop" should be enabled if the system will be remotely accessed, otherwise this is a security risk.

    • I agree with you partially, for some users.

      With system restore, I find it simply takes up too much space and gives the users a false sense of security. My personal opinion is that an end user will benefit more from having decent backup software than system restore turned on. Windows 7 already comes with backup features and I feel as though these should be used instead.

      Remote Desktop is a must. I use it endlessly and security is an issue without it. If your wireless / network is wide open, what does it matter if RDC is off or on anyway?

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