Tweak Windows 7

For those of you who used Tweak UI for the earlier version of Windows, here’s an application you’ll love that allows you to tweak most aspects of Windows Vista and 7.  It’s called Ultimate Windows Tweaker, and I found it to be very useful today while setting up a couple of Win 7 machines.

The 345KB application has a small footprint, and is contained entirely in the executable so no installation is necessary.  It also only displays options that pertain to the OS version your running it on.  Just fire it up, and over 150 customizable aspects of Windows are at your finger tips, no digging through countless steps to access them.

If you’re like me, and you want Windows to operate exactly as you want, not how Microsoft thinks you want it, you owe it to your self to download a copy and give it a try.

Wonderful World of Windows 7: Pinning

This is my first post for Hijinks Inc and I’m happy to be part of the team. My name is Angela and I’m a general technology and gadget lover that’s been working in computer system support and management for the past 10 years. I plan to cover a vast variety of tech related topics and provide helpful tips and tricks for Windows and OS X. I’m pretty agnostic when it comes to operating systems; I use both an iMac and a Windows 7 laptop as my main machines. I’ve also played around a little with Linux, mostly Ubuntu, but nothing on a serious use basis.

Now with introductions over, let’s get on to today’s post:

Wonderful World of Windows 7: Pinning

Anyone that has used Apple’s OS X should recognize the system of pinning icons and this feature is now available in Windows 7. This replaces the old shortcut system from older versions of Windows and it is one that I use frequently both at home and at work.

So what is pinning?
Pinning allows you to place quick access to not only programs but also to files and folders. In order to pin something you simply need to right click on it and choose either “pin to start menu” or “pin to taskbar.”

Pin to Taskbar Screenshot

Once a program has been pinned you will discover additional features when it comes to accessing your files. For example, once you pin Word to your task bar, if you right click on the icon you will have access to recently opened documents as well as the ability to further pin documents for quick access. I find this really handy for documents that I use on a daily basis.

Pinned Taskbar List Screenshot

Pinning really works for me and my workflow plus it helps keep me from losing documents that I need to update frequently. This is one of my favorite features of Windows 7 and I hope you find this information useful.

Microsoft Academic Alliance

There’s two colleges in the town where I live. The state university, and the community college. The university has the football team, the prestige, and most importantly the student discounted software available for those who enroll. Naturally, I go to the community college ($47 per credit hour? Yes please).

I spent some time being bummed about my lack of cheap operating systems and copies of Office. Than I started in the Microcomputer program, and enrolled in the Microsoft Academic Alliance. I knew it included access to programming suites, but that was about it. Here’s a sampling of the more useful programs available for my educational pleasure:

  • Microsoft Access
  • Windows XP Pro
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Server 2008
  • MS-DOS 6.0 (!)
  • Visio Professional 2007
  • XNA Creator’s Club Subscription

The one that really surprised me was the XNA Creator’s Club subscription. It’s basically an SDK for making games for the xbox, and the ability to rate and critique other member’s creations. You can learn more about it here. Normally they charge you 100 bucks for a subscription, which although a mere drop in the bucket compared to the price of say..Windows Vista still nothing to sneeze at.

DOS Tips: Part 1

Back in May I started a series of posts about how to better take advantage of the Terminal in OS X, now months later without my MacBook Pro, I’ve resorted to DOS. I suppose it is only fair that DOS gets a series of its own.

[1] net user administrator /random
Who knew Windows XP had a random password generator built in? Just make sure and write it down, or else you’ll be in big trouble next time you try and login.

[2] label C: new drive name here
Sure you could just rename the volume from My Computer, but this is more fun. Swap out C: for whatever drive letter is attached to the volume you’d like to rename and you’re good to go.

[3] cls
Clears the screen. Simple, yet handy.

[4] dir
Displays a list of files in the current directory.

[5] rd directoryname
The RD command lets you remove entire directories, just replace the directoryname variable with the name of the directory you’d like to nuke and fire away.