The Windows 7 Taskbar- How to make it work for you

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Mar 222010
 

Taskbar

A great new feature in Windows 7 is the taskbar.  It can be a bit of a shock though, and many people want to revert back to the ‘old way of doing things’. Allow me to explain what you have to gain by leaving it as-is, and show you some tricks to make it even better. Then, if you still don’t like it, I’ll explain how to put it back to Windows XP behavior.

First. what is it that’s going on down there?  You used to just have a clean taskbar, maybe a little area with quick launch icons that stayed tucked out of the way and left room for all the program windows. Now they’re huge, and when you launch them, you don’t get a program window at all, it just glows!

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Windows Search. Kill it with fire?

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Mar 192010
 

Indexing[1] I wanted to take a moment and talk about this feature Windows added awhile back.  I know quite a few people who when ‘optimizing’ a computer will go through a ritual of setting certain things up, and removing other processes/programs. I have a ritual like this, and I’ll admit some of it might be voo-doo or superstition. One of these often targeted programs is Windows Search, and I don’t think it necessarily deserves to have its service disabled as a setup measure.

Windows Search 4.0 has a purpose, and it can be pretty handy, depending on how you use your computer. First, it only indexes a few common places (Desktop, My Docs/Pics/etc, Email). What does it mean to index vs. plain old search?  When you search your hard drive with Search Companion, your computer is taking the time to look at each file, determine if it meets your criteria, and moving on. With Indexing, it searches beforehand (this is the thing people complain is slowing their computers), and places all the relevant data into a database. When you perform a search with Indexing, it can sort the database, and find your answer MUCH faster. The key is to limit how much work it is to maintain that database. Continue reading »

What to do with Windows 7 libraries?

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Mar 112010
 

Windows 7 LibraryThey’re one of the neatest features of Windows 7.  They’re in your face, all clickable, and …useful?  What do you DO with them? Is it just a fancy name for My Documents and My Music? How do I make Windows 7 Libraries do something new? I was right there with you when I started using Windows 7.

First, however… They are not new!

Believe it or not, the core functionality of a library (known as a virtual folder) first entered the Windows environment with Vista, where they were known as Search Folders. They operated a little differently, and were less in your face.  Couple that with the fact that next to no one used Vista, and you have all you need to know about why they feel all fresh and new.

Libraries are virtual folders that don’t actually exist in the folder tree on the hard disk. Their job is to run a constant search, index the results, and display them to you inside the virtual folder. So… what do you do with them?

Give your C:\ some room to breathe!

The simplest and best use for libraries is to allow you to store data  on another drive without having to look elsewhere to find it later. I’ll use the Music library as an example.
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Windows Media Player, we were such good friends.

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Mar 042010
 

NOT emptyI spent days organizing my music, fixing tags, and you faithfully kept track of my changes.  Where did I overstep my bounds? Was it asking for volume leveling? I think it was.

As the picture shows, WMP12 believed my library was empty, and no amount of option changing, folder adding, or applying of changes would change that.  I’d like to thank Mike Woelmer at srtsolutions for pointing me to the quick fix.  …if you don’t mind rebuilding the whole damn library, it works like a charm!

In these steps, you will delete all library information. It won’t delete any real data that WMP 12 won’t be able to rebuild with a little time.

  1. Shutdown Windows Media Player.
  2. Stop the media sharing service.  Press the Windows Key+R to launch the Run box. Type Services.msc and hit enter to launch the Services panel.
  3. Scroll down and right-click on the Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service and select Stop.
  4. Navigate to %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Media Player.
  5. Delete the file(s) named CurrentDatabase_*.wmdb and the file(s) named LocalMLS_*.wmdb.
  6. Back in the Services panel, right click and choose start for Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service. Close the Services panel.
  7. Open WMP. It should start building your library again.

…is 102GB alot?