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Cheat Sheet

Windows 7 All-in-One For Dummies

From Windows 7 All-in-One For Dummies by Woody Leonhard

In Windows 7, discover how to find the features you grew to love in Windows XP or Vista. Pinpoint important setup tasks in Windows 7 and check out the cures for common Windows 7 problems.

Set Up Windows 7 and Protect against Viruses and Spyware

Here are some Windows 7 setup tasks to complete immediately to make your computer more effective to use and safeguard against viruses and spyware:

  • Show filename extensions. Windows 7, by default, hides the filename extension — that’s the last (usually three) characters at the end of each file’s name. This extension dictates how Windows treats the file and is a key piece of information that can help you identify and avoid viruses. So set up Windows 7 to show the filename extensions.

  • Create a password reset disc. If you have a password on your Windows account, drop everything and go make a Password Reset Disc so that you can regain access if you forget your password.

  • Protect your PC from scumware and spyware. Use PC Safeguard to clean up after computer users who install smiley face programs and other spy-versus-spy scumware.

  • Clear out any messages in the Action Center. Click the flag in the Windows 7 notification area, next to the clock. Then choose Open Action Center from the resulting menu. The Action Center lists the tasks that Windows 7 wants you to take care of, and you can do so one by one.

  • Turn off Automatic Updates. Let Windows 7 tell you when updates are available, but don’t download or install them until you’re good and ready.

  • Get the rest of what you paid for Windows Live Essentials. Microsoft tore three major applications from Windows 7 and put them on the Internet; you have to download and install them. If you use instant messaging, download Windows Live Messenger. If you want to put mail on your PC and you didn’t buy Outlook, download Windows Live Mail. Windows Live Photo Gallery has a few features that make it better than Google Picasa, but if you already know Picasa, stick with it.

How to Find Vista or XP Items in Windows 7

In Windows 7, you may find that the Windows Vista and Windows XP features you know and love have moved or changed. If you’re going from Windows XP straight to Windows 7, here’s what changed:

  • The menus disappeared! Windows 7 doesn’t show the menus (File, Edit, View, Tools, or Help) in Windows Explorer or Internet Explorer. To bring them back, press the Alt key. And instead of the menus in Paint or WordPad, you get a Ribbon, and that’s it.

  • The Up navigation button disappeared, too. When you went spelunking through Windows XP folders, you could always click the Up button to move up one level. Windows 7 doesn’t have an Up button. Instead, you can usually click the appropriate right arrow or down arrow to wade through a bunch of folders.

  • You can’t pick your photos. The Windows XP Photo Import Wizard lets you choose the photos you wanted to import from your camera by selecting little check boxes next to each photo. Windows Live Photo Gallery doesn’t have anything like that.

  • Finding your computer’s IP address is difficult. In Windows XP, you could easily find the 192.168.xxx.xxx number providing that your PC got hooked up to the network. In Windows 7, you have to click the Network icon (down near the clock), choose Open Network and Sharing Center, and click the Change Adapter Settings link. Right-click the adapter, choose Status, and then click Advanced.

If you’re jumping from Vista to Windows 7, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Workgroups don’t mean squat. In Windows XP or Vista, you gave your network a name — a “Workgroup” name. Windows 7 still has workgroups, but they don’t mean much. Instead, Windows 7 offers the powerful HomeGroups sharing method.

  • Internet Explorer downloads moved. In Windows 7, to see your Downloads folder, choose Start, click your name, and double-click Downloads.

  • The wizards disappeared. If you go looking for your favorite Windows XP or Vista wizard, chances are very good that you won’t find it: Wizards have fallen out of favor. When in doubt, start with the Windows 7 Action Center by clicking the little flag down near the clock.

  • The Reliability Monitor remains, although Microsoft moved it to an obscure link in the Windows 7 Action Center.

How to Cure Common Windows 7 Problems

Here are the five most common problems that Windows 7 users face — from missing files and cursors to bad Internet connections — and how to fix each one:

  • Cursor doesn’t show or move. If no mouse cursor appears on the screen or the cursor doesn’t move no matter how much you move the mouse, shut down Windows 7, make sure that the mouse is plugged in, and restart the computer. If that doesn’t work, flip the mouse over and use your fingernail to scrape off built-up gunk, and wipe off the laser hatch with a Q-tip dipped in isopropyl alcohol. If the cursor still doesn’t move, get a new mouse. (Mice are cheap.)

  • Internet service is interrupted. If you suddenly can’t access your e-mail or get on the Web even though you could get to it yesterday and you haven’t changed a single thing, chill. Chances are good that nothing is wrong with Windows 7 but that your Internet service provider (the place your computer connects to) is having problems. Come back in a few hours. Don’t change your settings in Windows 7.

  • A file is lost on the computer. If you can’t find a file that was sitting around yesterday, chances are good that either it’s in the Recycle Bin or you dragged it somewhere weird. Double-click the Recycle Bin icon. If your file is there, double-click it and then click Restore. If your file isn’t there, click Start, type anything you can remember about the file into the Start Search box, and press Enter.

  • Hardware installation isn’t working. If you spend the money to buy an expensive piece of hardware — a new video card, a second hard drive, a fancy force-feedback mouse, or a different cable modem — spend a little more money and have the retailer install it. Life’s too short.

  • Computer user’s nerves are frazzled. If the stupid computer won’t work right, turn it off. Go read a book or watch a movie. Get some sleep. Come back when you’re not so tied up in knots. Few pursuits in the history of humanity are as frustrating as trying to get a recalcitrant computer to behave itself.

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