Alright, Windows 8 fans. You’ve taken our advice and speed-ran your way through a clean installation (or upgrade!) of Microsoft’s latest OS. You’ve created or attached an existing Windows Live account to your installation, you’ve taken care of the few prompts Microsoft’s asked you to fill out or click through, and you’ve even given a cursory glance to the company’s brief “How to use Windows 8” video.
Whoops! Closed that tab. Not to fear--you can immediately reopen tab after tab, in order of their departure, by merely holding down shift+control and tapping the "t" key on your keyboard within Google Chrome. Easy, right?
Now, what happens if you want suddenly want to reopen a tab that you closed a few iterations ago? It seems kind of pointless (and arduous) to open eight different tabs to get to the one you wanted, only to have to reclose the additional seven just to rid them from your browser tabs for good. Too much work, if you ask me! And that's just where the extension Sexy Undo Close Tab comes into play. Heck, with a name like that, it's just hard to resist this add-on's... appeal.
I can't count the number of times that a Web site prompts me to have some kind of Eureka! moment. If I read a slammin' review, I have to tell myself to investigate said product at my local retailer of choice. If I read an awesome article, I have to remind myself to consider subscribing to the magazine at some point in the future. If I see a really funny cat, well, I want to make note of what I can do to make my own cat look just as silly.
It's not very fun to keep a running Word document open to collect all these thoughts. Nor--heaven forbid--would I ever turn to the archaic concept of a yellow sticky note or manual notepad. Blegh. Thankfully, the Google Chrome extension Note Anywhere keeps me away from the Stone Age of note-taking by dropping the digital equivalent of said sticky notes right into my browser. And, yes, these notes stay with the given Web page I stick them on. That's just plain cool.
Unless you have some super-fancy configuration set up, odds are good that you--like most--default to Windows Media Player as your multimedia software of choice for playing just about anything that comes across your system. There's no shame in that. While a number of freeware tools support more codecs and/or file formats, and come bundled with other fun features and extensive customizations, it's alright to admit that you use Windows' built-in tool for the job.
In fact, you might very well have found yourself quite fond of your operating system's default media player. That's alright too. I'm not about to show or suggest third-party tools that might add confusion to your routine. Instead, you might want to check out a little chunk of software called Windows Media Player Plus! This app--really, a series of plugins--isn't a replacement for Windows Media Player. It simply builds free enhancements into Windows Media Player to give you even more options to tinker with and features to enjoy.
Since its inception, the Window Recycle bin has operated with one purpose in mind: holding your stuff. As well, the recycle bin has always come with a super-bonus feature that, when activated, sends said stuff into the digital ether of your hard drive--or, technically, it marks the location of said stuff as "free space" on your hard drive, rendering said location available for an overwrite at some indeterminate point in the future.
There goes the joke.
Anyway, that's about it. You can send things to the Recycle Bin and you can delete things from the Recycle Bin. End of story. But thankfully--and finally--there's a piece of freeware that extends the usefulness of this digital trash pile just a wee bit past its original intention. It's not a monumental shift or crazy new feature, just a little, necessary tweak to an old friend.
What's on your PC? It's a fairly innocuous question, one that even the most tired of geeks should be answer without a moment's hesitation. But let's face it -- you sometimes spend a decent amount of time between upgrades. So much so, that you might have very well lost track of the exact names of the parts and pieces inside your system. Do I personally remember the exact model name of my motherboard? Nope! I won't tell you the manufacturer, but I've definitely had to pop off the side of the case and scan around, flashlight in hand, just to find my motherboard's actual model number for a firmware update search.
Don't let that be you. Furthermore, now's as good a time as any to get a solid inventory of not only the parts and pieces attached to your rig, but a full list of your installed software (and running services) as well. Why's that? Suppose your rig crashes tomorrow--I'm talking about the big one. No hard drive. All your data's wiped out. Can you honestly tell me that you'll remember each little freeware app or utility you installed on your system when you go to rebuild your machine? Wouldn't it be nice to have a little checklist to help you along?
And thus enters this week's download of the week--an application that goes above-and-beyond the call of duty to give you a full load-out of every little thing, hardware or software, that's in any way connected to your system. But that's not all...
What's the first thing you're going to do after installing the Windows 7 operating system? If you live in Japan, perhaps you'll go celebrate your new, wallpaper-shifting desktop with some cardiac arrest. If you're one of the stalwarts still clinging to your XP or Vista operating system, well, you're probably going to spin your chair around in smug defiance of Microsoft's latest bit of software. And if you're a Maximum PC reader, I would hope that you're going to treat your fresh new installation of Windows 7 as an October spring cleaning of-sorts.
In fact, I urge you to. One doesn't often get a chance to reinstall an operating system from scratch. Or, rather, it's always easier to think of the hundreds of reasons why it's just not the right time to wipe-and-reinstall the contents of your primary hard drive. Resist the temptation to take the easy route. Backup your drive, give it a good format, and install Windows 7 onto your clean-as-a-whistle partition.
And once you've done that, read the rest of this article. While my colleagues at Maximum PC have given you some good first steps into your new Windows 7 world post-installation, I'd like to go one bit further and list out my typical post-installation routine for any Windows operating system. There are a number of key freeware choices that you'll want to slap onto your system to establish a baseline environment that's as efficient as it is secure--that, and you should really take this time to establish preventative measure that will keep your PC as clutter-free as can be throughout its new Windows 7 lifespan.
Windows Vista replaced the antiquated, tape-oriented Windows NT Backup wizard with a new backup system optimized for external hard disks, and some editions also included true "bare metal" disaster recovery. However, Vista's Backup and Restore Center was missing some vital functionality: there was no way to create a Recovery Environment disc to boot your system (you were expected to use your Windows Vista DVD), file and folder backup and system image backup were performed with different programs, and Home Premium users who needed image backup had to purchase a third-party program.
To find out how Windows 7 has completed the transformation of Windows Backup from awkward adolescence into full maturity, join us after the jump.
Microsoft's latest Windows version, Windows 7, has already proven to be too popular for the Internet's own good. Back in January, Microsoft planned to offer the Windows 7 beta to only 2.5 million lucky downloaders over a two-week period, but that didn't last long. As servers crashed under the weight of digital "gold rush" fever, Redmond extended the date to February 10th while lifting the download cap.
This time, with early demand for Windows 7 RC from TechNet and MSDN members crashing servers at the end of April, Microsoft is telling the public to relax:
You don't need to rush to get the RC. The RC will be available at least through July 2009 and we're not limiting the number of product keys, so you have plenty of time.
Wondering how to get more product keys the easy way? Having problems restoring a file backup you made with Windows 7 Beta to Windows 7 RC? Join us after the jump.