9 Windows Treasures – The Hidden Magic

The suggestions below are for Windows7. Please be aware that while some may work for other Windows Versions, I use them in Windows7 only.


1. Sticky Notes: I use them everyday to help me get things done. Calendars, Word docs, and Notepad, are too cumbersome when all you want is a simple reminder that stays where you put it.

Works just like sticking the real thing on the refrigerator.Leave yourself notes that will be there each and every time you turn on your computer. Use color to help identify particular notes. Easy to add and easy to delete. They stay where you put them like a part of your desktop.

You should find them in your main menu or you can use the very helpful but certainly not hidden Search Programs and Files above the Windows Start Button.


2. God Mode: I have an idea. Instead of hiding access to all the controls in Windows, why not just list them in alphabetical order so we can see whats available and access it without a day long search? Bingo, GodMode. To find this very valuable treasure right click an open spot on your desktop, create a new folder, and then rename the folder: GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

Copy paste this string including the words GodMode and the period.This works for Windows7 and for Vista but there are reports of system crashes for users with 64 bit vista. This is a great way for a new user to see what controls are available and locate where to get things done. The next time you want to add a printer or update a driver, you’ll know were to go.


3. Easy Transfer: What a great feature. I first used this with the Beta release of Windows7. It made short work of transferring from Old installations to new installations. Simply a matter of making the transfer file, installing a new version of windows, and installing the programs you are using. Then you transfer all the data and you’re done. Email is setup and all of your documents and settings are carried forward. If you are using Windows7 now you can access the process by typing “Easy Transfer” into the search box. It will walk you through. You can use this application with XP, Vista, or Windows7.


4.Permanently Delete Files: By now everyone knows that just because you delete a file doesn’t mean it’s gone. Files can still be recovered using several methods. What most people don’t know is that there is a utility built into Windows to prevent this recovery. It is available in XP Pro, Vista, and Windows7. How do you do it? Easy, launch a command prompt and type Cipher/W:X. This will overwrite all free space where X is the drive you want cleaned. In most cases the drive will be C. To recap please go to Start/All Programs/Accessories/Command Prompt/Type “cipher/w:C” without the quotes

Of course you can always buy programs like Erase, CCleaner and the like but why do that when Windows provides a way that’s much easier.


5. Pin Folders to Taskbar: By now you know that you can right click programs and pin them to the Windows7 taskbar. Did you know you can do the same with Folders? Right click any folder, drag it to the taskbar and let go. Now when you right click the Explorer button you’ll find the folder in the Jump List.


6.Unit conversion: Here’s a hidden treasure that needs to stay hidden. It is part of the calculator but is not as useful. I find it cumbersome and incomplete. I’ve included a link for a great little FREE conversion application for Windows. Unlike the Windows application this one has about everything you’d want. Give it a try. Convert For Windows

7.Black Box : Known simply as PSR (problem steps recorder) I just found this and I’ve already used it. Let’s say you’re having issues with your computer and you call your favorite computer geek on the phone and try to explain the problem. Sometimes it can be hard to tell someone exactly what you saw and when you saw it or what caused it. This problem is now solved and I wish I had known about this from the beginning. Automatically record screen shots so others can help you with issues. This Windows utility records every move you make and takes a screen shot of what you’re doing that leads up to the issue.(Very Cool)


8.Display to external projector: Happens every time. It’s simple to connect the projector to your laptop, but now what. Don’t get flabbergasted, you’re only a couple of clicks away. Go to Start and then type “projector” without the quotes in the search box, tThen click on projector. Faster still, you can simply click the Windows Key + P to bring up the Control Screen. From here you can select to Duplicate, Extend, or Projector only. Can’t get much easier and it works.


9. Snipping Tool: I used a paid program called SnagIt for years but the handy Snipping Tool included in Windows is just as good. It does free form, Rectangular, Window, and Full Screen.

You can find in Accessories or Go to Start/All Programs/Accessories/Snipping Tool. Right click and you can pin it to the Start Menu or the Task Bar. Great for quick screen shots, capturing recipes or any information you would like to keep in it’s original form. I even used it to take these pics for this article.

I hope some of these are new for you and that you enjoy them. If you would like, include the ones I’ve missed and add them to the comments section. It’s always fun to see what was sitting right in front of your nose.

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55 thoughts on “9 Windows Treasures – The Hidden Magic

  1. The folder does not have to be named ‘GodMode’. I named mine ‘RoboControlPanel’, for example. And it does not have to be on the Desktop. You can put it on a USB drive, which makes it handy for PC support techs.

  2. Great suggestions. It will take a while to take all of them into account, but I appreciate the tips. Another good bit of info from SHOGAN. Thanks

  3. OMG. what a bunch of losers. or at the least, people whom refuse to completly read or spend a second on trying to comprehend what they’ve read. the man could not have used any more CLARITY in this article. just which part of “DOES NOT WORK ON VISTA 64 BIT” did you NOT UNDERSTAND. you totally deserve whatever happened to your computers and all the hard efforts it took to remedy it. GEESH. READ, people, READ………

    • Hey tool, the original article didn’t mention his CLEAR warning on Vista 64 bit. Why don’t you try reading when the warning was added. But why try that when u can spew instead right?

  4. If you are still using vista…. buy a sledge hammer to solve all of your windows problems. then go buy you a real computer and OS. Just saying

  5. I have not seen one negative comment for “Godmode” for Win 7/64bit

    I created the folder, (in a shortcut directory), and then deleted it prior to use when I started reading the nightmares. But, since I was able to crate it and nothing happened, does that mean it should be safe on my machine? I am fairly competent when editing the registry.

  6. On the email I received it CLEARLY says:
    9 Treasures Hidden in Windows
    by Steve Hogan
    Steve uncovers 9 cool and useful features buried inside Windows 7.
    —————
    Hey, Vista users: Vista is NOT Windows 7. Sorry for your issues, but maybe you have larger issues involving comprehension.

  7. First of all, everything in Vista is a disaster (biggest piece of garbage ever made). Second, CCleaner will over write your space 35 times (try recovering that…and if someone is trying you’re on your way to prison anyway). Greenshot (open source), is a fantastic screenshot utility that will capture any or all of your screen. Messing with your OS is not something you should be advising everyone to attempt, and if you can’t do a system restore you have no business running cmd prompts or creating new registry entries. It’s a recipe for disaster. Must be a slow news week.

  8. For those of you with Vista 64 bit, I’ve put a warning in the article that using GODMODE can sometimes cause your system to crash. If you have had this problem the fix is to boot into safemode and delete the folder and then empty the reycle bin. You can also try accessing the Boot options screen and choosing last known good configuration but I think simply deleting the folder is best.

    I had used GODMODE with Vista but mine was a 32 bit Vista.

    • @Steve Hogan: My machine is Vista 64 bit and I got an instant reaction as soon as I created the ‘God Mode’ folder. The folder disappeared right away and the endless loop of explorer starting and stopping notices began. I could not reboot into Safe Mode either – just a black screen with white icons flashing rapidly. Returning to a normal boot up the began again as soon as the desktop loaded. I used Task Mgr and started ending processes randomly until something vital was stopped and I got a BSOD. Rebooting brought calm and a message saying Windows had recovered from a serious error. The God Mode folder was visible with its correct icon and the machine operated normally until I tried to delete the God Mode folder which made it disappear and brought back the endless looping.

      Finally found a fix using another pc to research and thew link below was a great help to finally get rid of God Mode.

      http://office-watch.com/t/n.aspx?z=12&a=1363

      I used Safe Mode with command prompt to initiate the fix. I know next to nothing about DOS but eventually managed to navigate to Desktop and use rmdir command to delete the folder. This was scarier than the last several virus/malware infections!! Hope this will help others with the problem.

  9. GodMode does not work with Vista 64bit. This fact is known by a simple web search but it should have been written in the article. To Fix, start in safe mode. It may take a couple of trys. Drag the GodMode icon to trash. Empty trash. Computer should reboot fine.

    • In my case, I finally got safe mode to open, but the icon wasn’t there. I typed godmode into search, and right-clicked the result, and deleted. Then emptied recycle bin. Then ran check-disk for good measure. Works fine now.

  10. Tried God mode. My PC is toast. Had 64 bit Vista. Now I have a flashing lump of garbage!!
    My nephew said he’ll come see if he can fix it after work. He also said he’s read a few times that this ‘tip’ will ruin 64 bit Vista. Were you aware of this?
    Thanks for the tip.

  11. Just because someone lists or suggests programs to try does not automatically ensure they are going to work on every PC under every condition with all the possibilities of software combinations. If you always remember NOT to exceed your computer knowledge; Ex. If I try this and something goes wrong, do I have the knowledge to repair/uninstall the program if my computer does not boot into Windows? I owned and ran a very successful PC store for 7 years and I was astounded by what people would try to do to their computers and their reason was almost always,” I read somewhere that…. or My friend came over and installed….”. Please, just be cautious!!

  12. Thank you! I have Windows 7 and no problem with any of these! I knew about the sticky notes and use them (in fact to write down these tips!:) but the rest are new. One of the most helpful things I’ve ever read! Many thanks!

  13. Most of these are marginally useful at best, and the “permanent delete” utility probably gives a false sense of security, as it’s been demonstrated that professionals with good forensic software can recover data that’s been overwritten several times – or recover data from a drive that’s been formatted.
    .
    If you really want to make sure that your incriminating personal data is gone, the best way is a sledgehammer.

    If you want to actually keep using the drive, get a good “shredder” program that follows the DoD 5220.22-M specification. (I think there are freeware programs out there.)

    • “it’s been demonstrated that professionals with good forensic software can recover data that’s been overwritten several times”

      Orly? I’d like to see proof of that since there’s no company I’m aware of that offers a guarantee the they can indeed recover overwritten data.

  14. HOLY MOLY!!!! Been involved with computers, PC’s, Windows3.0 and on, for 30 years. Never knew all this stuff was to be found in one place! A Bazillion Thanks! You just saved me at least 13 months of search time trying to make these adjustments by locating them one-by-one! This tip is really “Divine.”

  15. Hey Shogan,
    I have to say you do GOOD COMPUIN ! Tested most of these and they are just as you said they would be very helpful Thank you too much
    Just Keep em coming please.
    Ciao For Now
    Cheech

    • My version of windows vista includes the snipping tool, but not in a menu anywhere. Dig it out of the system32 folder (if I remember rightly) and put a shortcut to your desktop.

    • I tried god mode on 64-bit Vista and it shuts down windows explorer,even in safe mode. Any advice as to how to find and delete the folder from a command prompt?

  16. So I tried godmode with Vista per a Facebook comment above and appears that it was poor advice….as soon as I hit enter Windows explorer had been in a constant loop of stopping and restarting. 3 hard boots and a restart in safe mode has not solved the issue. Any ideas on how to fix???

    • Here was my solution to godmode, which wasted my @#$%ing afternoon.
      1) Power down.
      2) System restore
      3) log in — i got a black screen
      4) use cntl-alt-del and run the task manager
      5) start a cmd window (from file menu of t.m.)
      6) ren the godAwful file to be “foo” (it wouldn’t let me delete it.)
      7) Now from the t.m. file menu, run explorer. It should be in C:Windowsexplorer.
      8) Tell shogan that he needn’t bother to ask to be facebook friends.

      My experience after #7 was that explorer ran without being coaxed the next time I restarted.

  17. I just tried GodMode in Vista sp2. Disaster. Explorer crashed. Powered down. Would not start normally, expolorer crashed again. Had trouble starting in safemode as Ad-Aware kept wanting to run. Once in safemode, tried to delete the GodMode icon. Seemed like explorer crashed again. Powered down. Restarted in safe mode. Dragged GodMode icon to trash and emptied trash. Computer now boots normally.
    Dragged Godmode icon to

  18. the author should state that these are NOT in every version of windows vista. I don’t have any of them. BUT I did read your column. Thanks any way

  19. I’m interested in the “Snipping Tool” mentioned in your newsletter. But, everytime I click on the Snipping Tool link, it takes me to Convert.Whats up with that???

    • @Steve Solot: Snipping tool is already on your computer, no need to click the link in the article.
      Just go to Start/All Programs/Accesories and it’s in there. You can right click it and go to “Send to”/Desktop to create a shortcut on the desktop, or right click & select pin to taskbar or Start Menu, whichever is your preference.

  20. I cannot find the Problem Steps Recorder on my start menu. I would like to have it there and also on my taskbar in order to make it handy and as a mnemonic (that it is available).

  21. Sticky Notes – “They stay where you put them like a part of your desktop.”

    I can install the sticky notes pad to my sidebar. But how does one “put them anywhere?” I can only write on the pad then add more notes under the top one. Can’t move them.

  22. Karen. I don’t believe the fact that you upgraded from XP is the problem. Actually the upgrade is a new installation.

    Did you try copy/pasting the whole string. Or you can copy/and click Ctrl+V

  23. For Godmode, mine say’s I can’t use characters like /:*?” But I’m not.
    I tried with and without that brackets.
    Mine is an XP upgraded to Win 7, so possibly it won’t work?

    • For no apparent reason I had this problem. To resolve, I created a new file in desktop and then opened it to list all desktop files. I selected and renamed the unamed file as per instruction. Bingo.

  24. Jonathan.

    Absolutely. You can create the transfer file on your existing external drive. Hook up you new drive, install windows, install your email program, I suggest live mail, and the rest. Then while on the new open Easy Transfer from the search window and start the process. Direct the process to the old drive. Obviously both will need to be connected to the computer. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/features/windows-easy-transfer

  25. Re Easy Transfer…

    I would like to do that. My “Old COmputer” is now an external hdd. Is there some way I can use this to recover all my email and Bookmarks folders? Not much else is wanted, and what is I can redownload or reinstall, but the email stuff confuzilates me.

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