10 ways to speed up your PC

10 ways to speed up your PC

Get more from your PC in less time with our shortcuts and helpful tips

Are you new to Windows 7? Its many tweaks and tips will transform the way you use your PC, saving you both time and effort. In this article we’ll reveal ten ways to help change the way you work in Windows.

1. Use the Taskbar
Windows 7’s Taskbar is always on your screen. It gives you quick and easy access to the Start menu, your Taskbar Notification area icons and – crucially – your favourite apps. When a program is open, its icon appears in the Taskbar for quick and easy access. To create a shortcut, right-click the program’s icon, then click Pin this Program to Taskbar . Select it, and the program shortcut will always be accessible, giving you one-click access wherever you are.

2. Find jumplists
Want to find a recent document in a program? Right-click the program’s shortcut on the Taskbar , or click the > button next to its entry on the Start menu. After a short pause you’ll see a list of documents recently opened in that application. Click one to open it directly in that program. Roll your mouse over a favourite document and you’ll see a little pin appear next to its name: click this to add it permanently to the Pinned list at the top of the Jumplist, again, for easy access.

3. Pin to the Start menu
You can also pin applications permanently to the Start menu if you want to. Click the Start button. If the program’s shortcut is visible, right-click it and choose Pin to Start Menu. If it’s not visible, type its name into the Start menu’s Search box. When it appears in the list, right-click it to access the Pin to Start menu option.

4. Locate files quickly
Looking for a particular document or file? Click Start and select your username from the list to open your personal User folder. This is where the document is most likely to be. You can also browse to a Library or other location on your hard disk. To track it down, use the Search box to enter search terms, such as the name or description of the file, or words and phrases you know are inside it.

5. Get favourite folders fast
When browsing your hard drive, you may have certain folders you often go to. In every folder window a Favourites list will appear on the left, with shortcuts to useful locations like your Downloads folder. Add your own favourite folders to this list. Just locate the folder in the usual way and drag it into the Favourites list where you want it to go. Make sure the pop-up says Create Link in Favourites before letting go. Move the folder up or down slightly if the pop-up talks about moving or copying the folder, and you’ll see it appear in the list, accessible with a single click.

6. Work with libraries
You’ll see a number of Libraries in the Favourites list, such as Documents or Music. These contain a selection of related folders, giving you quick and easy access to all of them, even if they’re in different areas of your hard drive. Click the Libraries link in the left-hand pane, then right-click a Library and choose Properties to see which folders have been assigned to that Library. From here you can add more folders to the Library. Just click Include a Folder. You can also create brand new Libraries from scratch: return to the main Libraries screen and click the New Library button to begin.

7. Switch between open windows
The Taskbar also highlights open windows. This means you can roll your mouse over one to view its contents in a series of thumbnail windows. Click one to bring that window to the front of your screen. Want to cycle quickly between all open windows? Hold the [Windows] key as you press [Tab] – a 3D view of all open windows will appear. Press the [Tab] key again to view the next window, then release the [Windows] key when you’ve found the window you want.

8. Resize windows fast
Windows 7 features some nifty shortcuts for resizing windows on your desktop. Drag a window to the top of the screen to maximise it, or drag it to either side so it resizes to take up exactly half the screen. Drag one window to the left and another to the right, so you can view both side-by-side. There are keyboard shortcuts too: hold down the [Windows] key and press the up arrow to maximise the current window, or the down arrow to minimise it. Use the left and right arrows to pin the window to either side of the screen.

9. Change default programs
When you double-click a certain file, like a Word document, it automatically opens in Word. But what if you want it to open automatically in another app? The solution is simple: right-click on the offending file and select Open With > Choose Default Program from the context menu that appears. If the program you want is listed, select it and click OK. If not, click Browse to find and select it on your hard drive.

10. Keyboard shortcuts
The keyboard is the quickest way to perform tasks or to open applications. Holding down two or three keys together is always faster than pointing and clicking with the mouse. Press [F1] in Windows or an open program and search the Help file for keyboard shortcuts. The most useful shortcuts are assigned to the [Windows] key. Press [Windows] on its own to open the Start menu, for example, or [Windows] + [F] to perform a search of your entire computer.