Opening New Windows in Windows 7

If you’ve used Windows 7 at all, you’ve probably noticed that the taskbar is completely different than it has been in previous versions of Windows. Instead of seeing a long information bar with a small icon and the title of the program you have open, you just get the little icon of the program next to your start menu. The taskbar is now extremely similar to the old-style quicklaunch menu.

If you have more than one instance of a program open, instead of seeing multiple separate taskbar entries, or a taskbar entry with a number inside of parentheses indicating how many instances you have open, you simply see slightly offset versions of the icon layered over top of each other (as shown in the image below).

Run Cisco VPN Client in 64-bit Windows 7

For about the past six months, I’ve been trying on and off to get Cisco VPN Client to run successfully on my computer. As you may or may not know, Cisco has no plans to ever update the VPN Client software to work on 64-bit Windows systems. Instead, Cisco chooses to strong-arm its clients into purchasing a Cisco AnyConnect. AnyConnect, from what I can tell (I am by no means an expert, so please forgive me if I’m wrong), is a new VPN server that deploys its own client whenever someone connects to it. The catch is, of course, that the entire network needs to be updated and reimplemented in order to use AnyConnect; it’s not something that one or two users can do on their own computers.

Since AnyConnect didn’t look like a viable option in my case (after all, there are only about 5 of us using 64-bit systems, and the current VPN setup works pretty well for everyone else that’s using it), I started looking for other solutions.

Two Windows 7 Tips

Throughout the course of the day today, I came across the need to perform two tasks on Windows 7 that were not exactly straight-forward. Actually, I needed to undo two things I had done earlier.

Undo AutoPlay

This morning, I started ripping some CDs and accidentally indicated that I wanted Windows to use Zune to rip audio CDs every time I insert one in my computer. Of course, that’s not really what I want Windows to do each time I put a CD in my computer, so I had to figure out how to stop it from doing so.

To change your autoplay settings, simply open the Control Panel and search for “AutoPlay.” You can then open the AutoPlay settings and adjust any settings you need to.

Libraries

Earlier this week, I got tired of constantly browsing through multiple folder levels to get to a specific directory I use fairly regularly. To avoid having to browse to it all the time, I decided to add the directory to my “Documents” library (which can be done by simply right-clicking on the directory and choosing “Include in Library” from the context menu).

However, when I did so, I didn’t realize that it would actually include all of the folders and files inside of that directory in my Documents library, rather than including the directory (in other words, I thought I would open the Documents library and see the folder I had just added, allowing me then to navigate inside. Instead, as I said, it simply added all of the inner folders and files, causing my Documents library to get cluttered.

So, I decided that I needed to remove the folder from my Documents library and then go back and add its parent directory to my Documents library. Removing a folder from a library, however, is not quite as intuitive as adding one.

To remove a folder from a library, you need to right-click on the root of the library itself and then choose “Properties.” Within the properties dialog, you will see the list of folders included in that library. You can then select the folder you want to remove and then click the “Remove” button to exclude it from your library.

Both tasks are extremely simple once you realize where you’re supposed to look.

ObjectDock – Add a Dock/Toolbar to Windows 7

A few weeks ago, I bought Windows 7 and installed it on my computer at home. After installing, I started trying to organize things the way I want them. On all of my computers, one of the first things I do is to move the taskbar to the top of the screen and create a quicklaunch toolbar docked at the bottom of the screen. Unfortunately, after a lot of playing around and a lot of research online, I found there was no way to do that; until I discovered ObjectDock.

Windows 7 Nearly Free For Students

Microsoft announced today that they will be selling Windows 7 Home Premium to students within the U.S. for a mere $29 (75% off the normal price). If any of you are thinking that price sounds familiar, you’re absolutely right. That’s the same price at which Apple is selling upgrades to the new Snow Leopard operating system. There are some major differences between Apple’s offer and Microsoft’s.

Microsoft On Its Way Back Up?

Alex Wilhelm, one of our friends over at TechGeist, made a post yesterday about the resurgence of Microsoft. Alex posits that there have been over the last few months and will be over the next few months many occurrences that, by themselves, look rather innocent; but, put together, are propelling Microsoft back to the top of the tech world. For the most part, I agree with him. I think Microsoft has made giant strides within the last year or so to improve its image among techies and non-techies alike.

To begin with, the laptop hunter ads have been extremely effective at pointing out the advantages of purchasing a Microsoft PC rather than a Mac. In addition, the Xbox 360, in spite of its technical difficulties (RROD, laser burn, etc.) has consistently dominated the Playstation 3. This fall, Microsoft will be releasing Windows 7, the Zune HD, multiple exclusive games for the Xbox 360 and will most likely begin revealing details about the new WinPhone (which is the term being used to replace Windows Mobile) operating system and devices. Really, though, Microsoft’s journey back toward the top of the heap (though, it’s debatable as to whether they were ever truly unseated) has been a fairly even mix of innovation and simply good marketing.

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