PDQ Library:  Windows 7 Tips

Information written for Windows 7 will indicate it in the heading.
CTRL+ indicates holding down the Ctrl key while hitting another key shown after the "+". "START" indicates pressing the Windows Start key (also CTRL+ESC).

Windows 7 Searching Made Easy

You may haved used The “Search programs and files” box that appears at the bottom of the Start menu. Windows Search can also be used in the file explorer (an input box with "SEARCH.." in it). The results of search for a word results in a list of all file names containing the word plus files that contain text that matches (drummond will also match Drummond). You can search for more than one word, or put quotes around the word to search for an exact phrase. To narrow your search, you can use a prefix like these:

  1. file: recipe finds only documents with “recipe” in their file name, and ignores files that contains “recipe” inside the file. Case is ignored.
    Searching for mov not only found files with extension mov, but also other video files like mp4 and 3gp - a mystery!
  2. name: recipe {same as file: above}
  3. ext: mp3 finds all files with extension mp3
  4. date:yesterday find files modified yesterday
  5. kind:pics find pictures (JPG, PNG, GIF, ..)
    kind:pics NOT jpg find all pictures except JPG
    kind:pics date:this week find pictures modified this week
  6. kind: email finds all your email messages. You can also look for: calendar, appointment, meeting appointments in Outlook, iCal or vCalendar files; communication email plus attachments; contact or person vCard, Windows Contact, Outlook contacts; doc or document text, Office, PDF, web files (HTML); folder folders, .zip or .cab files; link shortcut icons; music or song audio files, Windows Media playlists; pic or picture such as JPEG, PNG, TIF; program programs/applications; tv shows recorded by Windows Media Center; and video for movies.
  7. created: 2/13/12 files you saved for the first time on Feb. 13, 2012 **
    created: today all files created today.
    created: <2008 files created before 2008.
    created: <yesterday files created since yesterday (today)
  8. modified: today **
    modified: >last week files modified since last week.
  9. received: 3/1/2010..3/15/2010 ** finds all the email messages you have received from March 1 to 15, 2010.
  10. size: >2gb finds all the big files on your PC.
    size: 2 MB..5 MB will find files between the range 2 - 5 MB.
  11. tag: family finds only icons with “family” as a tag, not part of the title or the file contents. Useful for finding photos. (Learn how to set tags below.)
  12. rating: <*** finds documents that you have rated with 3 stars or less in music files.
  13. camera model: HP 607 finds all the pictures you took with that camera.
  14. folder: Pictures Susan limits the search to your "Pictures" folder or library for any files with Susan in the name.
    in: Pictures Susan {same}
    under: Pictures Susan {same}
    path: Pictures Susan {same}
** In date searches you may use these:
  1. today, yesterday, this week, last week, this month, last month, last year, June (a specific month) or 2012 (a specific year).
  2. < and > can be used before a date:
    >2010 - since 2010.
  3. Date range using double-dots can be used as a date:
    3/1/2010..3/15/2010 - March 1 to 15, 2010.
  4. Wildcard characters * can also be used to find file (names). Searching for P100*JPG finds photo file P1000081.JPG but not movie file P1000946.MOV.

Creating "Tags" in Files

If you tag all photos of "Jim" with his name, later searches for "Jim" will find files with "Jim" in the name or with the tag "Jim"! To tag a photo (file) you first select it (highlight it). To select a number of files, select one, then hold down the CTRL key to select another, and so on until you're done. To select a sequential group of files, select the first photo, then hold down the SHIFT key and click the last photo.

Once the photos are selected, carefully right-click on one of the selected files and click on Properties in the popup menu. The Properties window opens - click on the Details tab and you will see on the left. Type "Jim" to the right of Tags, then click OK. All the selected files will now have a new tag. You can add multiple tags to files. (If you add the same tag to a file a second time, it's ignored.)

To see all the possible search terms, open Windows Explorer and right-click any column heading in "Details" view. From the popup menu, choose "More". There are over a hundred listed!

Display & Text Settings

Start > Control Panel (classic view) > Display

Select Medium 125% will enlarge text and other items on your screen. It would seem odd that the default size is "small" since high resolution screens that new computers use already make text smaller. You may find a few poorly written programs that do not recognize this setting.

If you use standard Windows Aero display, you must choose a Windows Theme to change sizes of text and other items. Select "Personalization" in the Control Panel and you will see many choices. However if you use the classic Windows theme, you may change the size of window items individually. Select "Personalization" in the Control Panel. Then select "Windows Color". An Item drop-down box contains many items you can enlarge, such as title bars, window border width, menu text, scrollbar width,  tooltips, icon size and text, icon spacing.  When you exit this window, you will see an "Unsaved Theme" in the "My Themes" list - right-click on this and save it with a meaningful name such as "2011-Jan" or "Pat_11Jan".

Mouse Pointers that are Easier to See

Start > Control Panel (classic view) > Mouse > Pointers tab

Changing the scheme and selecting a large pointer will increase its visibility. Within the "Pointer Options" tab you can set more options for visibility and speed. You can also change movement speed for your mouse and scrolling speed for its wheel.

Double-Clicking Mouse Problems

For people who have trouble double clicking, you can select an item with a single click then press the ENTER key to execute an option.

In the Mouse control (above), you will also find many useful settings. In the Activities tab, you can change (and test) how fast you must double-click to start an icon. If you cannot click quickly enough, set it to Slow. If you often double click by accident, set it to Fast.

Keyboard - Preventing Accidental Locks

Start > Control Panel (classic view) > Accessibility Options > Keyboard tab

Check "Use ToggleKeys" to be notified of hitting the [CAPS LOCK], [NUM LOCK], and [SCROLL LOCK] keys with a sound - one for toggle on, another for toggle off. You'll never again accidentally hit one of those keys without knowing. The Settings button provide even more options.

Enlarging Web Browser Text

In the FireFox browser CTRL++ (hold Ctrl key while pressing the =/+ key) increases both text and graphics magnification. CTRL+- decreases both text and graphics magnification. CTRL+0 (zero) will return to default size. It may be easier to hold the CTRL key while rolling your mouse wheel up or down to enlarge or reduce the size. You will notice that this enlarges everything on the browser window.  If you want to enlarge ONLY the text size but not the images, go to the VIEW menu and select ZOOM, then click on "Zoom Text Only" to toggle it on. This may result in odd effects, but may allow the web page to continue to fit in your window.

Blocking Windows 10 upgrade icon

GWX Stopper can be downloaded and run to permanently remove the Windows 10 icon from your Windows 7/8 system. When this is gone from your system, you can now run Windows Update without being forced to upgrade your operating system.

During a normal security update, I chose to block the Windows 10 upgrade - I had concerns about not being able to run my printer/scanner. This choice apparently blocked all future security updates. For 3 months I received no further notifications from Windows Update - what was Microsoft thinking! With a choice between upgrading and security updates I had to find a solution fast! GRX STOPPER removes Windows 10 from your system so you don't need to make the changes manually (which I had to do).

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