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How to Customize Windows 7 Interface

Windows 7 is a good operating system, but you might find some of its features incompatible with your work style. Here are three tips for altering the interface to better match your preferences.

Restore the Classic "All Programs’ Menu"

Vista offers the option of restoring that "classic" Start menu, but Windows 7, inexplicably, doesn’t. Fortunately, you have at least two ways to accomplish this: one, a simple Registry tweak; the other, a shareware utility. I'll start with the latter, since it’s arguably the easier of the two. Classic Start Menu Pro software replaces the Windows 7 Start menu with just what you'd expect. Install and run the utility, and then click Start for a blast from the XP past.

Classic Start Menu also takes advantage of Windows' Aero features, so you get some of the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the app is nagware for the 30-day trial period; it will cost you $20 to own free and clear.If you'd prefer a free alternative, you can modify Windows 7 so that the Favorites menu becomes an XP-like Programs menu.

Read Also: Why You Should Use Genuine Windows 7?

1. Click Start, type regedit, and press Enter.

2. Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders key.

3. Double click the Favorites entry, and replace the existing path with C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\WIndows\Start Menu\Programs.

4. Move to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders, and repeat step 3.

5. Exit Regedit, and than restart your PC.

Now, when you click Start, you should see a Programs menu on the right side. Mouse over to see the fly-out menu of yore. (If you don’t see it, Right-click Start, and click Properties. In the Start Menu tab, click Customize. Scroll down to the Favorites menu entry, click its check box, and then click OK, OK.)

SEE ALSO: Windows 8 Pro (Professional) : Features And Review

Restore the Classic Control Panel in Windows 7

First, allow me to champion the new Control Panel for a moment specifically, its search capabilities. For example, suppose that I want to adjust the settings for my mouse. All I have to do is click in the Search Control Panel field (in the upper right) and type mo. The first thing that it shows me is the Mouse category, along with numerous options. I can click an option or keep typing; if I want to modify the mouse-wheel settings, for instance, I type mouse wheel.That said, if you really want the old XP-style Control Panel, just click the View by menu (located in the upper-right corner, below the Search field), and then choose Large icons. The result isn’t exactly the same, but it's close. And the Search option still works.

Windows 7 control panel

Show More Icons in the Windows 7 System Tray

The Windows system tray is a necessary evil. It shows status icons for system elements (like volume and network connections) and programs running in the background. Until Windows 7, controlling what did and didn’t appear in the system tray was challenging at best. Now, Microsoft has made it easy to choose what you see.Start by clicking the small white arrow at the left edge of the system tray. You’ll see any icons that aren't currently configured to appear full time in the tray. Click Customize for a list of all the Notification Area Icons. Click the drop down menu next to one of them, and you get three choices: ‘Show icon and notifications', 'Hide icon and notifications, and ‘Only show notifications'Notice that any changes you make are implemented immediately (no clicking Apply or OK required). Obviously your changes won’t be permanent until you do click OK; this just gives you a chance to see what your system tray will look like before you finalize it.

Windows 7 system tray
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  1. I general I like Windows 7 but, really, I miss the classical presentation of the menu. I'm still lost in most options. :(


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