20 Windows 7 quick tips and tricks for IT admins

Make working in Windows 7 even easier with these easy-to-miss tricks

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10. You can run a private version of Internet Explorer. If you are at a conference or in a public location and want to run a private version of Internet Explorer, you can quickly jump to the InPrivate Browsing mode to do so. There are several methods. You can click and drag the IE icon up or right-click it to get a contextual menu in which you choose Start InPrivate Browsing. Or in IE itself, choose Safety > InPrivate Browsing or press Ctrl-Shift-P to open a new, private IE window. You can also set a desktop shortcut for IE that automatically launches in InPrivate Browsing mode; just append -private after the application path, with a space before the hyphen. No matter how you launch that private session, IE won't retain any of the information you view or type during that session.

11. You can turn off auodetection of your location and other such browser information. Sometimes, when you go to a site, it locates your connection point and asks, for example, "Would you like to know the weather in [your location]?" That may freak you out a bit, but you can use a new IE feature called InPrivate Filtering, located in IE's Safety options, to choose what browser information you want to filter out from sites' access.

12. You can set up a quick home network. Use the new feature called HomeGroups to share documents, pictures, and printers easily with other members of your home network also running Windows 7.

13. Find out what's causing reliability issues. If your PC has issues every once in a while, such as crashes or application hangs, type reliability in the Instant Search bar to open the Reliability Monitor; it will show your system's reliability history over a period of time and what seems to hit your reliability the most.

14. See a system diagnostic of your computer in 60 seconds with minimal effort. Rather than go to Administrative Tools, then to Performance Monitor, and finally to Data Collector Sets just to launch the System Diagnostic DCS, simply open up an administrator command prompt and type perfmon /report.

15. You can enforce time limits and game restrictions on users. Use the Parental Controls in the Control Panel. Yes, they're great for home control but also for libraries, schools, and kiosk systems not connected to a domain.

16. Find missing tools such as Windows Mail and Photo Gallery. These have been moved to a download site called Live Essentials.

17. Work fast using PowerShell. PowerShell v2 is included with Windows 7, which also offers a new semi-GUI version of the tool called PowerShell ISE. PowerShell ISE has three panes: The bottom one is for direct command input, the middle one is for output, and the top one is for scripting and saving those scripts as PS1 files. One tremendous benefit of PowerShell v2 is its remoting capability, which lets you perform tasks on other systems through the command line.

18. Control application access control via AppLocker. This tool uses rules and file properties to provide access control to applications. Although you'd typically use AppLocker on a domain, you can play with the settings and become more familiar with AppLocker by opening Administrative Tools, opening the Local Security Policy, and expanding the Application Control Policies. There, you can create rules that relate to the publisher, path, and/or file hash, along with a host of other settings.

19. Get automatic email alerts for error events. Have an error event in Event Viewer that you want to be emailed about when it happens again? Open Event Viewer, locate the event error through the logs, select the event, and use the Attach Task to This Event wizard in the Actions pane to attach a task to that event, such as displaying a message, running a program, or sending an email.

20. See your Windows Experience Index (WEI) performance score. Type wei in the Instant Search bar and click the Check the Windows Experience Index link to see your system score (aka the Base score) and individual component scores. To see the underlying XML files that are created when this score is calculated, go to c:\Windows\Performance\WinSAT\DataStore and look for the latest (Formal) assessment XML for a full review of the results from the Windows System Assessment Tool (WinSAT). Finally, if you want to have some nerdy fun, you can adjust the permissions settings and give your system a higher WEI score.

What really showed how far we have come in the past 10 years is that in my 75-minute TechEd presentation, I did not once -- not once! -- mention the registry!

Have any tips and tricks you would like to pass on to fellow readers? By all means, include them in the comments section below.

This article, "20 Windows 7 quick tips and tricks for IT admins," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blog and follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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