Windows® 7 Secrets®
Windows 7 Secrets
®
®
Chapter 17
Seven to Go: Windows 7 Mobility Features
ISBN: 978-0-470-50841-1
Copyright of Wiley Publishing, Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Posted with Permission
Seven to Go:
Windows 7
Mobility Features
Chapter
17
In This Chapter
Managing the Windows 7 user interface settings for optimal
performance and battery life
Discovering new power management features
Creating and using your own power plans
Utilizing the Windows Mobility Center
Exploring new features aimed at presentations
Accessing files and folders while disconnected from the network
Using Windows SideShow
Improving performance with ReadyBoost
Windows 7 and netbooks
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W
indows 7 is the best version of Windows yet for users on the go. Whether you use
a notebook computer, netbook, Tablet PC, or Ultra-Mobile PC, you won’t get a
better mobile experience than what’s available in Microsoft’s latest desktop operating
system. This time around, Microsoft has fortified Windows 7 with an evolved version of
the user interface, power management, and presentation capabilities that debuted in
Windows Vista along with dramatically improved performance and a suite of mobileoriented applications and utilities that tie it all together. You’ll learn about each of these
features in this chapter.
Windows 7 on the Road
Over the years, Microsoft has steadily improved Windows to better take advantage of the
unique hardware features and capabilities offered by portable computers such as notebooks, laptops, Tablet PCs (including a smaller new generation of tablet devices called
Ultra-Mobile Personal Computers, or UMPCs), and, in Windows 7, a new class of low-cost
portable PCs called netbooks. For the most part, using Windows 7 on a notebook computer
or other portable PC is just like using it on a desktop PC. That is, a notebook computer can
do anything a desktop PC can, and Windows 7 doesn’t have a limited feature set when
you’re using a portable PC. In fact, if anything, Windows 7 offers more functionality on
portable PCs than it does on desktop computers. That’s because certain features really
only come to life when they’re used on a portable PC.
That said, some PC makers may opt to saddle their netbook computers with the
low-end Windows 7 Starter Edition in order to save money. If that’s the case with
the machine you’ve purchased, then you actually have a version of Windows 7
that is, in many ways, less capable than more mainstream versions. Check out
Chapter 2 for information about using a feature called Windows Anytime Upgrade
to upgrade this Windows 7 product edition to a more capable version.
You may want to approach Windows 7 a bit differently when using a notebook computer.
Certain operating system features, such as the user interface or power management plan
you select, can affect both performance and battery life when you’re not connected to
power. Windows 7 also includes special presentation, security, and networking features
that are often specific to portable computers, or at least work somewhat differently when
you’re using a portable PC. Windows 7 also includes certain software applications, such
as Mobility Center, that are available only on portable computers.
This chapter uses terms such as portable PC, portable computer, notebook, laptop,
and even, occasionally, Tablet PC to describe mobile computers running Windows 7.
For the most part, these terms are interchangeable in the context of this chapter
unless specifically stated otherwise. This is also true of netbook PCs, though we discuss them separately because their unique form factors and capabilities warrant a
separate examination.
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Working with the Windows 7 User Interface
One of the most obvious niceties of Windows 7 is the Windows Aero user interface, which
is discussed in Chapter 4. Windows Aero offers several unique features compared to the
other UI options available in Windows 7, including translucency, various special effects,
and even access to certain Windows features (such as the Windows Flip 3D applicationswitching utility and Aero Peek). Conversely, Windows Aero is more hardware intensive than other display modes and can thus drain battery life more quickly than the
other user interface options. Your decision whether to use Windows Aero—shown in
Figure 17-1—depends on how you feel about battery life, performance, and usability.
Figure 17-1: Windows Aero is gorgeous-looking but can drain a notebook’s battery more
quickly than other Windows 7 user interface options.
Before getting to that, however, you should also be aware that many portable computers—
especially those made before 2008—simply don’t include enough graphical processing
power to even run Windows Aero. If this is the case, you will typically see the Windows 7
Basic user interface instead. (On some versions of Windows 7, there’s also an option
called Windows Standard that offers an enticing middle ground between the beauty
of Windows Aero and the power management thriftiness and performance of Windows
Classic, the low-end user interface that is designed to resemble the user interface from
Windows 2000.)
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Depending on your hardware, your choice might already be made: if you install Windows 7
on a portable PC and the user interface is set as Windows 7 Basic and not Windows
Aero, then you may be out of luck: your system is most likely not capable of displaying
Windows 7’s highest-end user interface.
It is possible that your mobile computer can handle Windows Aero even if
Windows 7 Basic appears by default. There is a chance that Windows 7 simply didn’t install the latest driver for your display hardware. Before sinking into
despair, consult the documentation for your notebook, find out exactly which
display hardware it uses, and then visit Windows Update via the Start menu to
obtain the latest driver and see if that makes a difference. Alternately, visit the
hardware maker’s Web site; sometimes the vendor offers drivers directly to
consumers as well.
If you’re not the kind of person who reads documentation, Windows 7 offers a
few utilities that can help you determine which display hardware your system
is utilizing. The first is called System Information (type System Information
in Start Menu Search). Under the System Summary list on the left, choose
Components ➪ Display. You can also try the DirectX Diagnostic Tool (dxdiag
in Start Menu Search): you’ll see information about your display device on the
Display tab of this application, shown in Figure 17-2.
Figure 17-2: You can find out about your display hardware using the DirectX
Diagnostic Tool, a hidden Windows feature.
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In order to run Windows Aero, you need a DirectX 9–compatible video card with
64MB or more of discrete graphics RAM, depending on the resolution of your display
(64MB is adequate for a 1024 × 768 display, but you need 128MB or more for higher
resolutions). Newer integrated graphics chips—the types that share RAM with the system and are more common on notebooks—are now capable of displaying Aero.
Assuming your machine is powerful enough to display Windows Aero, you might still want
to opt for the Windows 7 Basic user interface because of its thriftier power management.
However, Windows Aero is more stable and reliable than other user interfaces because of
the way it interacts with the underlying system and required signed drivers from hardware
makers. Like all trade-offs, the decision is not an easy one. Our advice is to test how your
particular system behaves on battery power while using both user interfaces. If the battery life difference between the two is negligible, go with Windows Aero.
To change the user interface, right-click the desktop and choose Personalize from the resulting pop-up menu. This displays the Personalization control panel. In the top section, you
can choose between various themes, including Aero Themes, which utilize the Windows
Aero UI. As shown in Figure 17-3, the Personalization control panel lets you choose between
these Aero Themes and other less impressive themes, such as Windows 7 Basic, Windows
Classic, and some high-contrast themes aimed at those with vision handicaps.
Figure 17-3: Personalization lets you choose between various UI themes.
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While using Windows Aero, you can make one change that affects the performance and
battery life of Windows 7 while retaining the other features that make Windows Aero
worthwhile: you can turn off Windows translucency by clicking Window Color in the bottom
of the Personalization control panel and then unchecking the Enable Transparency option
that appears in Window Color and Appearance, as shown in Figure 17-4. Translucency
is a fun feature, but it doesn’t really aid productivity and it’s a bit taxing on the battery,
so this is an obvious candidate for change.
Figure 17-4: From Windows Color and Appearance you can disable transparency.
Alternatively, you could use Windows 7 Basic instead of Aero. To do so, click the Windows 7
Basic theme in Basic and High Contrast Themes.
Back during Windows Vista’s development, Microsoft promised that the OS
would seamlessly move between Windows Aero, while attached to power, and
Windows Vista Basic, while the machine was untethered and running on battery.
This feature, sadly, was never added to the final version of Windows Vista, forcing users to manually switch between user interface modes—and it’s missing in
Windows 7 as well. But there is one related improvement: now, when you move
between Windows Aero and Windows 7 Basic, the transition is much speedier.
In Windows Vista, the system would often freeze up for several long seconds,
making you wait while it transitioned between themes.
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Power Management
Although even desktop-based computers running Windows 7 support various power management features, this functionality is much more relevant on portable computers, which is
why we’re discussing it in this chapter. Windows 7’s power management functionality can
be accessed throughout the user interface in various ways, but the easiest way to understand power management in Windows 7 is to realize that it comprises three basic areas:
a system notification battery meter icon, a Power Options control panel, and a simplified
set of power management plans. This section examines each of these features.
Battery Meter
Mobile computing users are quite familiar with the battery meter that has resided in the
tray notification area since Windows 95. This handy icon has been updated yet again in
Windows 7 and can appear in various states, each of which changes the look of the icon.
The state you see depends on whether the machine is connected to a power source, and
how well the battery is charged. Table 17-1 summarizes the various icon types you can
expect to see.
Table 17-1: Windows 7 Battery Meter States
Icon
State
What It Means
Charged, plugged in
The battery is completely charged and the system is plugged
into a wall outlet.
Charging, plugged in
The battery is charging while the system is plugged into a wall
outlet. (This icon is animated.)
On battery power
The battery is discharging because the system is operating on
battery power.
Although the battery meter now offers far more functionality than before, you
may find it a bit bewildering. That’s because the Windows 7 battery meter offers
a completely different experience depending on how you decide to interact with
it. Here are the various actions you can perform with the battery meter:
• Mouse-over: If you move the mouse cursor over the battery meter, it will
display the pop-up window shown in Figure 17-5. This pop-up window summarizes the state of the battery, but unlike Vista, it no longer includes information about the currently used power plan.
Figure 17-5: This pop-up provides you with an at-aglance look at the state of your battery’s charge, but it
no longer provides info about your power management plan.
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continued
• Single-click: If you click the battery meter icon once, you’ll see the larger
and interactive pop-up window shown in Figure 17-6. This pop-up window
provides more information than the mouse-over pop-up, and it enables you
to select from one of two preset power plans (Vista offered three), which are
discussed in the next section. You can also access other power management–
related OS features from this window. (Note that the plans shown in the
figure are a subset of Microsoft’s defaults: PC makers often replace at least
one of these power plans with their own custom plan, so what you see here
may vary.)
Figure 17-6: This pop-up offers a wealth of power
management functionality in a relatively small space.
• Right-click: If you right-click the battery meter, you’ll see the pop-up menu
shown in Figure 17-7. From this menu, you can adjust the screen brightness, access Power Options (discussed later in this chapter), access Windows
Mobility Center (also discussed later in this chapter), or click an option titled
“Turn system icons on or off” (It was called “Show System Icons” in Windows
Vista), which brings up the new System Icons control panel, from which you
can determine which system icons appear by default in the tray.
Figure 17-7: This pop-up menu offers a way to access
the Windows 7 mobile and power management features.
If you’re running a desktop PC, the Power tray notification icon is unavailable,
so there’s no obvious way to enable it; but that doesn’t mean you can’t change
the power management settings on a desktop PC. To access Windows 7’s Power
Options on a desktop PC, just open the Start menu and type power options
in Start Menu Search. Alternately, you can access the new System Icons control
panel directly by typing system icons in Start Menu Search.
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Curiously, if you double-click the battery meter, nothing happens.
Power Plans
Microsoft has further simplified the power plans in Windows 7, compared even to the
work that began with Windows Vista. These power plans are used to manage your PC’s
use of its power resources, both while attached to wall power and while running on battery. Three preconfigured power plans are included in a stock installation of Windows
7, though only two of them are available from the Power icon in the tray for some reason.
But you can choose any of them, modify each to suit your needs, and even create your
own power plans.
Confusingly, your PC maker might make its own machine-specific power plans as well,
so if you purchased a notebook with Windows 7 preinstalled, you might see additional
plans listed. You can edit any plans, however (including those made by Microsoft or
your PC maker), and create your own plans. You can also delete plans added by your
PC maker, though this isn’t necessarily a great idea, as the PC maker probably knows
more about the power management characteristics of their hardware than you do.
The three built-in power plans are Balanced (the default on all stock Windows 7 systems),
Power Saver, and High Performance. By default, only Balanced and Power saver are
available from the Power icon in the system tray, but each is discussed in the following
sections.
Balanced
This default plan balances power management between power consumption and performance. It does this based on how you’re using the computer at the time. If you begin
playing a game or accessing Windows 7’s multimedia features, the system automatically
ratchets up the processor speed and other hardware features to ensure that you don’t
experience any slowdowns. Similarly, if you’re just browsing the Web or reading text
documents, Windows 7 will slow the processor down as much as possible, conserving
battery power.
The Windows 7 power management plans are far more aggressive than they
were in Windows Vista. The reasoning here is simple: better power management
equates to better battery life. But you may be surprised to discover how quickly
the screen on your notebook dims, especially when you’re running on battery
power. Windows 7 is serious about saving the juice.
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By default, with the Balanced power plan, your system’s microprocessor will
be running at about 65 percent of its maximum performance. Based on need,
Balanced enables the processor to use as little as 5 percent of its maximum
performance and as much as 100 percent. This is true when the system is either
running on battery power or plugged in, so don’t assume that using Balanced in
some way prevents your computer from working at its full potential. If you need
the processing power, you’ll get it.
While plugged into a power source, the Balanced power plan dims the display after
5 minutes of inactivity and turns it off after 10 minutes of inactivity. However, the computer won’t normally go to sleep.
On battery power, it’s even more aggressive: 2 minutes to dim the display and 5 minutes
to turn it off. The PC goes to sleep after 15 minutes of inactivity.
In our experience, the default Balanced plan is the optimal power plan to use for portable
machines of all kinds. Heck, it’s even the right plan for desktop machines. This time,
Microsoft got it right.
Power Saver
This plan sacrifices performance for better battery life. It should be used only by those
with light computing requirements or those who are trying to maximize uptime while
on the road. We often switch to Power Saver mode when we’re on a flight and need to
maximize battery life in order to get some writing done or watch a DVD movie. (Hey,
you gotta relax sometimes, too.) However, because Power Saver adversely affects system
performance, you won’t want to use this mode while performing complex tasks like playing a game or editing video.
By default, with the Power Saver power plan, your system’s microprocessor will
be running at about 40 percent of its maximum performance. Based on need,
Power Saver allows the processor to use as little as 5 percent of its maximum performance; and, as with Balanced, it can actually reach up to 100 percent (whereas
in Vista, it topped out at 50 percent.) But unlike Balanced, Power Saver truly is a
compromise: in the interests of maximizing battery life, Power Saver forces the
processor to work with the lowest possible performance required to get the job
done. This is a problem because the system will sometimes struggle to keep up,
depending on how much you’re doing.
Here’s how Power Saver affects your power management settings. Windows 7 aggressively
decreases the processor speed and display brightness at all times. On power, Windows 7
dims the display after 2 minutes and turns off the display after 5, and then puts the computer to sleep after just 15 minutes. On battery power, the display dims after 1 minute of
inactivity and is turned off after 2 minutes of inactivity, and the computer goes to sleep
after just 10 minutes of inactivity.
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Power Saver is also the only power plan to use what Microsoft calls an adaptive
display. That is, if you’ve configured your system to use the Windows Aero user
interface and you switch to battery power while using the Power Saver plan,
Windows automatically switches the display to Windows Standard, removing
translucency and other Aero effects. Once you plug in the system again, the Aero
effects return automatically. Power Saver does this because certain Aero effects
are unduly taxing on the system from a power management perspective.
High Performance
The High Performance plan provides the highest level of performance by maximizing the
system’s processor speed at the expense of battery life. This plan is aimed at those who
spend most of their time playing modern video games or working in graphic-intensive
applications. While this used to be the default power plan for all desktop PCs in Windows
Vista, that’s no longer the case in Windows 7. In fact, High Performance isn’t even available as an option from the pop-up menu you see when you click the Power icon in the
system tray. To enable this plan, you need to visit the Power Options control panel, which
is discussed in the next section.
Yes, you guessed it: Under the High Performance plan, Windows 7 provides 100
percent of your CPU’s processing power, all the time.
Under the High Performance plan, Windows 7 will dim the display after 10 minutes of
inactivity when on wall power and turn it off after 15 minutes of inactivity, but never put
the PC to sleep. On battery power, you’re looking at 5 minutes until the display dims, and
10 minutes until the display is turned off. But again, the computer is never put to sleep.
Desktop PCs utilize power plans as well, and though you may believe that High
Performance has some advantages over Balanced, it may not be the best option,
especially if you’re concerned about the environment and saving energy. Instead,
we recommend leaving even desktop PCs set to Balanced. Windows will be more
aggressive about putting the system to sleep and your PC will use less power
(and thus draw less energy) in normal use. And, of course, if you need the full
power of the processor—for example, when playing a game or using a graphics
application—Balanced will provide it. This plan truly is the best of both worlds.
Scanning through the power plans, it’s likely that you’ll find a plan that at least somewhat
matches your expectations, but you don’t have to accept Microsoft’s default settings. You
can easily modify any of the existing plans, and even create your own power plans. You’ll
look at those possibilities in the next section.
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Power Options Control Panel
Windows 7’s power options are, go figure, configured via the Power Options control panel,
which is available in Control Panel ➪ Hardware and Sound ➪ Power Options on any
kind of PC. (For some reason, there were different ways to access this control panel in
Windows Vista, depending on whether you were using a portable PC or a desktop PC.) As
always, Start Menu Search is your friend: just type power options into Start Menu Search
to get there quickly, regardless of what kind of PC you have.) Shown in Figure 17-8, this
control panel initially presents a selection of two of the three power plans mentioned
previously. (Again, you may see different options if your PC maker decided to configure
its own custom plan.)
Figure 17-8: Power Options is your central management console for the Windows 7
power management features.
There’s a lot more going on here, however, and some things have changed since Windows
Vista. On the left side of the window are a number of power management–related tasks.
If you’re using a mobile computer of any kind, navigate through each of these options
to ensure that your system is configured exactly the way you want it. These options are
interesting to desktop PC users as well. You can also quickly access the screen brightness
settings directly from this window, a new addition in Windows 7.
Requiring a Password on Wakeup
The first option, “Require a password on wakeup,” varies a bit according to your system’s
capabilities and there’s a lot more going on here beyond the password option hinted at
in the link. On a typical desktop PC, this power plan settings page resembles what is
shown in Figure 17-9.
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Figure 17-9: Desktop PCs don’t have many power management options related to
hardware features.
But when you view this page on a typical notebook computer, you’ll see the options shown
in Figure 17-10. These options are directly related to the additional hardware buttons and
features included with mobile computers.
Figure 17-10: Notebook computers and other mobile PCs offer power management
options related to the lid and other hardware features.
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Here, you can modify how Windows 7 reacts when you press the PC’s power button; press
the sleep button; or, on portable computers configured with a lid-based display, when you
close the lid. Each of these options has different settings for when the system is operating
on battery power versus plugged in.
Complementing the “Require a password on wakeup” option described previously, this
dialog also includes a single wakeup-related option that determines whether you need
to log on again each time the system wakes up after being in the sleep state. By default,
Windows 7 does require you to log on again to unlock the computer as a security measure.
We strongly advise leaving this feature enabled, especially if you’re a mobile computer
user who often accesses the PC on the road.
If you do decide to change the “Require a password on wakeup option,” you
may very well discover that the options “Require a password (recommended)”
and “Don’t require a password” are grayed out and thus unavailable for editing.
No problem: to change this option, click the link titled “Change settings that are
currently unavailable.” You’ll see a small Windows shield icon next to it, indicating that this choice will trigger a security-oriented User Account Control (UAC)
prompt. But, go figure, no UAC prompt actually pops up, unlike with Windows
Vista. See? Windows 7 really is less annoying.
Returning to the Power Options display, the following additional options are available on
the left side of the window.
Choose What the Power Buttons Do
Humorously, this option triggers the same display described previously. The top half of
the dialog relates to this option.
Choose What Closing the Lid Does
This option, which is available only on portable computers with a lid, also brings you to the
same dialog described previously. Why three different options all land on the same display
is a question best saved for the UI wizards at Microsoft. (And, on a related note, how was
this silliness carried over from Windows Vista to Windows 7 with nary a change?)
Create a Power Plan
When you click this option, you’re brought to the Create a Power Plan page, a short wizard
you can use to create your own power plan:
1. First, choose the preset power plan—Balanced, Power Saver, or High Performance—
that you would like to base your plan on (see Figure 17-11). Give the plan a name
(ideally, something more inventive than My Custom Plan 1, the default) and click
the Next button.
2. In this step of the wizard, shown in Figure 17-12, specify when the system will
dim the display, turn off the display, and put the system to sleep, on both battery
power and when plugged in. (Desktop PC users will see only a single option for
each, as these PCs are always plugged in. You may not see a “Dim the display”
option on desktop PCs either.)
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Figure 17-11: New power plans are modeled after one of the existing plans.
Figure 17-12: Here, you configure what happens when.
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3. Click the Create button to create your plan, which will be added to the list of
available plans, as shown in Figure 17-13. Annoyingly, it replaces one plan in
the so-called Preferred plans list, though that plan is still available in the less
impressive-sounding Additional plans section.
Figure 17-13: Custom power plans replace the plan on which your plan was based,
but the old default plan is still available.
This is all well and good, but the short wizard you just used doesn’t really provide access
to all of the power management options you can configure; and isn’t that the point of this
exercise—to create a custom power plan that exactly matches your needs and desires?
To modify your custom plan (or an existing preset plan for that matter), click the Change
plan settings link next to the plan name in question. This brings you to a dialog that
resembles the second phase of the wizard just described, but with one difference: there’s
now a Change advanced power settings link. Click that link to modify other settings.
Doing so opens the Power Options Advanced settings dialog, shown in Figure 17-14.
The Power Options Advanced settings window is, by nature, confusing. The window itself
is not resizable, so it provides only a postage-stamp-size view of the many power management features you can customize. More problematic, you have to expand nodes in a tree
control—arguably the worst PC user interface element of all time—to find all the options.
Nonetheless, it’s worth the trouble if you’re serious about modifying a power plan.
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Figure 17-14: Use this rather complicated dialog
to handcraft your power plan using every single
power management option available to Windows 7.
Here are the power management options available via this dialog:
♦♦ Balanced/Power saver/High performance: This setting, which is named after
the power plan you’re changing, lets you configure whether the system requires
a password when it wakes from sleep. (Portable PCs divide this option into two
sub-options: one for when the system is plugged in and one for when it’s attached
to a power source.) The default option is Yes for both, and you should leave them
alone unless you’re interested in playing Russian Roulette with private data stored
on your PC.
♦♦ Hard disk: Use this option to configure the hard disk to wind down after a period
of time to preserve power. (As with many settings, portable PCs have separate
options for battery and plugged in.) On battery, you want this time to be reasonably
low, maybe five minutes, but you should also configure a desktop PC or powerattached portable PC to wind down the hard drive after a short period as well, if
only to conserve power consumption.
♦♦ Desktop background settings: This setting determines what should happen when
you’re using a desktop theme with multiple images (in a slide show). There are
two settings, one for battery power, and one for plugged in, and two possibilities
for both: Available, which leaves background image changing on, and Paused,
which prevents the background from changing to save battery power.
♦♦ Wireless Adapter Settings: This option may seem fairly esoteric, but it can affect
the performance of your wireless card (a common feature in portable PCs) and
the PC. This feature is of interest only to portable PC users. By default, under
most power management plans, the wireless adapter is set to run with maximum
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♦♦
♦♦
♦♦
♦♦
performance. The only exception is the Power Saver plan, on battery power: in
this mode, the wireless adapter is configured to run under maximum power-saving
mode, which conserves power by lowering the effectiveness of the wireless radio.
You can configure this option as follows: Maximum Performance, Low Power
Saving, Medium Power Saving, and Maximum Power Saving. Frankly, this might
be too fine-grained for most people, and we’ve had little success determining what
effects each state really has on power management and performance overall.
Given this, our recommendation is to leave this setting at its default, based on
which power plan you based your own plan on.
Sleep: This section supports four options: Sleep after, Allow hybrid sleep, Hibernate
after, and, new to Windows 7, Allow wake timers. The first and third are straightforward, but the second and fourth options might be confusing.
Newer PCs support a new type of Sleep mode called Hybrid Sleep, which enables
the machine to appear to turn off and on almost immediately, like a consumer
electronics device. If you have a PC manufactured after mid-2006, it might support
this feature, so experiment with enabling Hybrid Sleep, especially since it likely
won’t be enabled by default. If it works well, use this instead of Hibernation, as
Hybrid Sleep is essentially a replacement for that older form of power management. Otherwise, you might want to enable Hibernation, which was a major power
management feature in Windows XP. Hibernation is faster than turning on and off
the PC, but much slower than Sleep or Hybrid Sleep. Although the PC is turned
off, it preserves the state of the system so you can get up and running with your
applications more quickly.
Allowing the user to configure wake timers is new to Windows 7. Wake timers
are used by applications and the OS to wake an idle PC to perform certain tasks
that would be impossible if the system were in Sleep mode. By default, wake
timers are disabled.
USB settings: Your PC can optionally turn off selected USB devices when it enters
certain power management states. This can improve battery life, as USB devices,
like mice, storage devices, cameras, and other devices, draw power from the PC.
However, it also prevents you from using these attached devices. Suspended USB
devices will wake up again once the system is plugged in to a power source.
Power buttons and lid: What you see here varies according to the hardware
capabilities of your PC, but you can usually draw the distinction neatly between
desktop PCs and portable PCs. Desktop PCs typically see two options: Power
button action and Sleep button action, whereas portable PCs have an additional
option: Lid close action. Power button action determines what happens when
you press the hardware On/Off switch on the PC (this can be configured separately for battery power and plugged in). Options include Do nothing, Sleep,
Hibernate, and Shut Down. Lid close action behaves similarly, but refers to what
happens when the lid of a portable computer is shut: you can choose between the
same four options. If your PC has a dedicated Sleep button (as do many portable
machines), the Sleep button action provides the same configurability, but for that
particular button.
PCI Express: This option should typically not be changed. On a desktop PC, it
should be set to Off so that hardware expansion cards attached via the PCI Express
bus are always available. On portable PCs, it is set to Maximum Power Savings or
Moderate Power Savings, depending on the power plan and whether the system
is running on battery power.
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Windows Vista supported a fourth option here, called Start menu power button.
In Windows 7, this option is not related to power management—which makes
sense—and is instead available from the Start menu tab of the Taskbar and Start
Menu Properties window, shown in Figure 17-15. (You can access this UI by
right-clicking the Start button and choosing Properties.)
Figure 17-15: The Start menu power button is
fully configurable; you just need to know where to look.
♦♦ Processor power management: This setting has some of the biggest impact on per-
formance and battery life and should be carefully chosen. Here, you can fine-tune
how much processor power is used under certain states. Earlier in this chapter,
we described how the default power plans affect processor performance, and you
should use that as a guideline. Note, however, that you will likely be disappointed
with the system’s performance while doing multimedia tasks if 100 percent of
the processor’s performance isn’t available. Note that whereas Windows Vista
supported the Minimum processor state and Maximum processor state options,
Windows 7 adds a third, new option: System cooling policy. This option is designed
for PCs with active cooling systems only and should not be modified unless you
know what you’re doing.
♦♦ Display: Here, you can specify how quickly Windows 7 dims and turns off the
display, which is pretty straightforward, and configure the display brightness in
both normal and dimmed modes.
♦♦ Multimedia settings: One of the nicest features of Windows 7 is that it makes it
very easy to share media such as music, videos, and photos from PC to PC and even
across the Internet. However, when you’re running on battery power, media sharing can be overly resource intensive and thus exacerbate energy consumption, so
you may want to curtail media sharing on battery power. Available options include
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Allow the computer to sleep, Prevent idling to sleep, and Allow the computer to
enter Away mode. The first two are self-explanatory, and portable computers should
always be allowed to enter Sleep mode while on battery power. The final option,
however, might be confusing. Away mode is a modern power management option
(related to media sharing and the Windows Media Center feature) that enables
background media tasks, such as Media Center recording of TV shows and media
sharing, to occur in the background even while the system otherwise appears to be
asleep. This mode thus provides most of the power management benefits of Sleep
while still allowing media sharing to occur.
Away mode first debuted in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Update
Rollup 2 (UR2), the last major Media Center update before Vista shipped, but
it was enhanced in Windows Vista and 7. The important thing to remember is
that Away mode cannot be invoked unless this power management setting is
explicitly changed to “Allow the computer to enter Away Mode.” In Windows 7,
Away mode is used by Windows Media Center Extenders connecting to the PC
(see Chapter 15) and media sharing (see Chapter 11).
♦♦ Battery: This option, available only on portable PCs, determines how the system
battery is configured to warn you or perform certain actions at specific times, such
as when the battery is low or critically low. Options include Critical battery action
(what happens when the battery life falls to a “critical” level), Low battery level (at
what percentage of full the battery is considered “low”), Critical battery level (at
what percentage of full the battery is considered “critical”), Low battery notification
(whether the system informs you of the transition into this state), Low battery action
(what happens when the battery life falls to a “low” level), and, new to Windows 7,
Reserve battery level (an additional warning level between “low” and “critical,”
kind of like the red area on your car’s gas gauge right before true Empty).
♦♦ Third-party power management settings: Many hardware makers have created
their own advanced power management settings, which can be exposed to the
user via this control panel and configured accordingly. For example, display card
maker ATI has an ATI Graphics Power Settings option that helps you configure
how ATI Mobility Radeon graphics products impact overall power consumption.
Choose When to Turn Off the Display
This option triggers the same dialog previously described (Edit Plan Settings).
Change When the Computer Sleeps
This option also triggers the same dialog described previously in the “Requiring a
Password on Wakeup” section.
In Windows Vista, you could delete custom power plans in a straightforward
manner. Oddly, this capability was removed from the Power Options control
panel UI in Windows 7.
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725
Windows Mobility Center
If you’ve ever owned a mobile PC, you’ve probably marveled (and not in a good way) at
the cruddy utility applications that PC makers seem compelled to ship with their hardware. Microsoft feels your pain. In Windows 7, the software giant continued the work
it started in Windows Vista toward creating a centralized management console called
Windows Mobility Center for all of this functionality, and it has preloaded this dashboard
with all of the utilities a mobile user could want. Best of all, PC makers are free to extend
Mobility Center with their own machine-specific mobile utilities. We can’t guarantee
these products are any good, but at least they’re easily located in this new centralized
management console.
Shown in Figure 17-16, Windows Mobility Center is available only on mobile computers.
You won’t see it on desktop PCs.
Figure 17-16: Windows Mobility Center looks nothing like most
other Windows 7 applications.
The secret keyboard shortcut WinKey+X also starts Mobility Center.
In Windows Vista, you could cause a limited version of Windows Mobility Center
to appear on desktop PCs using a registry hack. That hack no longer works in
Windows 7, but if we discover a way to implement such a hack, we will write
about it on the book’s Web site at www.winsupersite.com/book.
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You start Mobility Center by finding it in the Start menu or by typing mobility into Start
Menu Search, which is quite a bit faster.
Curiously, Windows Mobility Center does not really visually resemble any of the other
applications that Microsoft bundled with Windows 7. It presents a set of mobile-related
options that are arrayed in square tiles across an unadorned window that cannot be resized
or formatted in any way. These options, which vary according to the capabilities of your
PC, can include Brightness, Volume, Battery Status, Wireless Network, External Display,
Sync Center, and Presentation Settings.
Basically, each of these tiles launches a setting that mobile PC users need fairly often,
as shown in Figure 17-17. Click the icon in the Volume tile, for example, and the Sound
control panel appears. Alternately, you can set or mute the system volume from directly
within Mobility Center.
Figure 17-17: Windows Mobility Center is really just a front end to other Windows 7
functionality.
With one exception, all of the options available in Mobility Center are available
elsewhere in the Windows 7 user interface. That one exception is Presentation
Settings, covered in the next section.
Remember that you might see additional tiles here that were installed by your PC
maker.
Chapter 17: Seven to Go: Windows 7 Mobility Features
727
Presentations A-Go-Go
Although not a particularly glamorous lifestyle, many mobile users cart their notebooks
around the globe, set them up in an unfamiliar location, and attempt to give a presentation using Microsoft PowerPoint or a similar presentation package. Notebooks are perfect companions for such users because of their portability; but until recent versions of
Windows, they weren’t particularly accommodating if the presentation was conducted
on battery power—thanks to various power management settings, the presentation could
disappear as the display was shut down or the machine went to sleep. Windows 7 includes
three major features related to giving presentations, one of which solves the problem just
mentioned.
Presentation Settings
An obscure but useful feature, Presentation Settings enables you to temporarily disable
your normal power management settings, ensuring that your system stays awake, with no
screen dimming, no hard drive disabling, no screen saver activation, and no system notifications to interrupt you. In other words, with just a few clicks of the mouse, you can set up
your mobile PC to behave exactly the way you want it to while giving a presentation.
To enable Presentation Settings, run Mobility Center as described in the previous section
and click the projector icon in the Presentation Settings tile. The Presentation Settings
dialog is shown in Figure 17-18.
Figure 17-18: Presentation Settings is a boon to anyone who
has had to struggle with Windows getting in the way of a presentation.
Select the “I am currently giving a presentation” option to enable Presentation Settings.
Optionally, you can turn off the screen saver (the default), turn off the system volume,
and temporarily change the desktop background. Presentation Settings also provides a
handy way to configure connected displays, including network projectors.
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Part V: Mobility
You can also enable Presentations with a single click by clicking the Turn On button
in the Presentation Settings tile in Windows Mobility Center. Regardless of how you
enable this feature, the Presentation Settings tile will change to read Presenting and
the projector icon will change to an On state.
Using a Network Projector
If you’re going to show a presentation via a modern network-based projector, Windows 7
includes a Connect to a Network Projector utility that automatically configures firewall
settings and searches for nearby projectors. To run this utility, find Connect to a Network
Project in Start menu ➪ All Programs ➪ Accessories. You can search for a projector
automatically or enter the projector’s IP address.
Presentation and External Display Options
New to Windows 7 is a secret feature called Presentation and External Display
Options that presents yet another new type of window from which you can
quickly determine which displays to use. This control panel is nice for anyone
with dual displays, but it really comes into its own when you need to give a
presentation.
What’s so secretive about Presentation and External Display Options? For starters, there’s no way to access this feature from the Windows 7 UI. Instead, you
have to use the keyboard shortcut WinKey+P to enable it. When you do, you’ll
see the window shown in Figure 17-19.
Figure 17-19: Presentation and External Display Options is a secret new
feature in Windows 7.
Presentation and External Display Options lets you configure the screen(s)
attached to your PC like so:
• Computer Only: In this case, only the first display attached to the PC is used
and any external display or projector is disabled.
• Duplicate: Here, the display in the PC is mirrored to the projector.
• Extend: With this setting, the projector is used like a second display and
•
the Windows desktop is extended between the primary display and the
­projector.
Projector Only: With this setting, the PC’s internal display is disabled and
the PC desktop is outputted to the projector.
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729
Other Mobile Features
In addition to the major new mobility-related features mentioned previously, Windows 7
ships with a host of other technologies that benefit mobile workers. This section highlights
some of these features and explains how you can take advantage of them.
Offline Files and Folders
In Windows XP, Microsoft introduced a feature called Offline Files and Folders that
enables mobile users to mark network-based files and folders so that they will be cached
(stored) locally, using space on the mobile computer’s hard drive. When the mobile PC
is connected to the network, the local and remote versions of the files and folders are
synchronized so that they are always current. When users work away from the network—
which can be a corporate network based on Active Directory or just a simple wireless
home network—they can access these remote resources even when in a disconnected
state, just as if they were connected.
Offline Files and Folders is a wonderful idea, and it’s been made even better in Windows 7.
It works almost exactly like it does in Windows Vista, as you’ll see here, using Delta Sync
technology, first developed by Microsoft’s Windows Server team, to speed synchronization.
Delta Sync works on the subfile level: if a user changes part of a document, for example,
only the changed parts of the document need to be synced to the server. Previously, the
entire document would need to be synchronized. This bit of software wizardry is far more
efficient than bulk file copies, although we can’t really understand how it works under
the hood.
To set up Offline Files and Folders for the first time, use the Network Explorer to navigate
to a location on your network that contains files or folders you’d like to cache locally. Then,
right-click the items you’d like to cache and choose Always available offline. When you
do so, the Always Available Offline dialog is displayed (shown in Figure 17-20) and you
can synchronize the content to your hard drive.
Figure 17-20: You can configure network-based data to
be available even when you’re not connected to the network.
When the synchronization is complete, you’ll see a small sync icon overlay appear on top
of the lower-left corner of the folder or file you just synced. This icon overlay indicates
that the item is available offline.
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To remove this association, right-click again and uncheck Always Available Offline.
In Windows XP, Offline Files and Folders were managed via the Folder Options window.
In Windows Vista and Windows 7, you manage these relationships in the Sync Center,
which is shown in Figure 17-21. The Sync Center is used to manage relationships between
Windows and portable devices (such as PDAs and smartphones), as well as offline files and
folders. It does not, however, manage relationships with network-based media devices,
such as other PCs, Xbox 360s, and Media Center Extenders. No, we don’t know why.
Regardless of how many network-based files and folders you make available offline, you
will see only one item, Offline Files, in the main Sync Center display. If you double-click
this item, you can dive into the partnership detail and see separate items for each network share that contains shared files and folders. You can also click the Sync button to
manually synchronize with the server, or click Schedule to view and manage the sync
schedule. The schedule is managed via a simple wizard-based application that enables
you to schedule synchronization at specific times or in response to certain events, such
as when you log on or lock Windows, or when your computer is idle.
If you take your system on the road and modify network-based files and folders, they will be
synchronized with the server when you return. Should there be any conflicts—such as what
can occur when a file is edited both on the server and in your local cache—you are given the
opportunity to rectify the conflict in a variety of ways, most of which are nondestructive.
Figure 17-21: Sync Center is an almost one-stop shop for Windows 7’s relationships with
other devices and network-based files and folders.
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Windows SideShow
A new generation of Tablet PCs and notebook computers—and, Microsoft says, even other
devices such as TV sets and remote controls—includes a new kind of auxiliary display
that enables you to access certain information on the computer even when it’s asleep.
These auxiliary displays are initially most interesting on mobile computers, and they are
available in color and black-and-white versions.
Here’s how they work: auxiliary displays access a feature in Windows 7 called SideShow
to display small gadgets, similar to Windows Gadgets (see Chapter 4), that provide limited
access to various applications and services in Windows. You’ll see a Windows Media Player
gadget that enables you to play music in your Windows Media Player media library, and an
e‑mail gadget that helps you read e‑mail. All of these gadgets work when the laptop’s lid is
closed, they require very little power, and they come on instantly. Although Microsoft ships a
number of gadgets of its own, you can expect third parties to come up with their own gadgets
as well, especially those companies that make and sell SideShow-equipped devices.
The bad news about Windows SideShow is that you need very specific hardware to access
this feature. You can’t add on an auxiliary display, at least not elegantly, to a mobile PC.
Therefore, you need to get a brand-new mobile device with an integrated auxiliary display
in order to experience it for yourself. At the time of this writing, years after the feature
first shipped in Windows Vista, auxiliary displays are still very rare.
Improved Support for Tablet PC Hardware
If you’re using a Tablet PC computer (a notebook computer that typically comes in one of
two form factors: a convertible laptop or a true slate-type tablet) or a notebook computer
with Tablet PC–like hardware (such as a touch screen, digitizer screen with stylus, or a
compatible external writing pad), Windows 7 includes a wide range of functionality related
to handwriting recognition, pen-based input, and the like. We discuss these features in
the next chapter, which is devoted entirely to Tablet PCs and other computers that have
Tablet-like hardware, such as Ultra-Mobile PCs (UMPCs) and the like.
SyncToy is another other mobility-related Microsoft tool that you may be interested in. According to Microsoft, this fascinating little application helps you quickly
and easily copy, move, rename, and delete files between folders and computers.
And while that’s a very generic description, the beauty of this tool is that it enables
you to synchronize the contents of a folder on one computer with the contents
of a folder on another computer, so it’s a great synchronization tool for people
who usually use a desktop PC at home or the office but have to frequently travel
with a portable PC as well. You can find out more at www.microsoft.com/
downloads/. Just search for SyncToy.
Windows Vista included a peer-to-peer (P2P) collaborative application called
Windows Meeting Space that has since been discontinued in Windows 7.
Apparently, hardly anyone knew it existed, and those that did know about it had
no idea what it was for.
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Part V: Mobility
Using Windows 7 with a Netbook
When Microsoft shipped Windows Vista in late 2006, it ushered in an era of next-generation computing that brought with it heady new hardware requirements, rendering certain
older PCs immediately obsolete. Microsoft’s rationale for this decision was a good one: by
taking half-steps in the past, it had held back Windows from a technical perspective in
order to include the widest possible audience. With Vista, Microsoft was making a break
with the past, and users were expected to upgrade to newer, more powerful PCs in order
to take advantage of the new features.
One might debate this strategy indefinitely, but what no one saw coming, not even
Microsoft, was the rise of a new class of computers called netbooks. (A typical example
is shown in Figure 17-22.)
Figure 17-22: Netbooks, like this Lenovo IdeaPad, provide a
truly mobile experience in a tiny form factor.
These tiny computers look like miniature versions of regular laptops, with the same
clamshell form factor and small screens, keyboards, and trackpads. But there’s just one
problem with netbooks, from Microsoft’s perspective: they’re too underpowered to run
Windows Vista. And because Windows Vista is relatively expensive compared to the
price of a typical netbook—$300 to $400—PC makers originally opted to bypass Windows
entirely and install a nearly free version of Linux on the machines instead.
Cue panic in Redmond. Microsoft reacted to the netbook phenomenon by extending the
life cycle of Windows XP, Vista’s predecessor. It also lowered the price of XP, dramatically,
for PC makers that opted to use that system. This pricing tactic worked: in early 2008,
over 80 percent of netbooks shipped with some version of Linux instead of Windows. But
a year later, Windows was included with 96 percent of all netbooks sold in the U.S. and
over 90 percent worldwide.
Success, right? Well, not yet. Microsoft still needed to address the fact that customers
were purchasing a relatively ancient version of its flagship OS and skipping Windows
Vista, so it architected Windows 7, Vista’s successor, so that it would run well on the lowend hardware used by netbooks and a growing generation of low-performance PCs. The
Chapter 17: Seven to Go: Windows 7 Mobility Features
733
result is stunning: Windows 7 runs just as well on netbooks as it does on other mobile
computers. But because these netbooks are relatively restrictive compared to full-size and
full-featured laptops, we want to address a few of the issues you might run into if you go
the netbook route with Windows 7.
♦♦ Platform limitations. Through much of 2009, most netbooks ran on the same basic
hardware platform, and featured a dual-core 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor, 1GB
of RAM, a low-end hard drive of some kind, and an 8- to 10-inch wide-screen
display. While these systems will be augmented over time with new models based
on faster Atom chips (including multi-core and 64-bit versions) or chips from rival
companies like NVIDIA, the overall netbook experience won’t change: these
devices offer cramped quarters and low-end performance compared to other PCs.
For that reason, most people currently use netbooks as secondary PCs, but as the
lines blur between netbooks and low-end laptops, that may no longer be the case
going forward.
Most of today’s netbooks feature a resolution of 1024 × 600, which is sort of an oddball resolution that can prove problematic with certain applications and windows.
Even the Windows Anytime Upgrade window, shown in Figure 17-23, doesn’t quite
fit, causing the buttons of the bottom of the window to be hidden.
Figure 17-23: Constrained netbook screens will make it hard to use certain
applications and windows.
♦♦ Windows 7 limitations. If you tried to save money by getting your netbook with
Windows 7 Starter, you may regret it: this low-end version of Windows doesn’t
support the Aero glass user interface and can only run three applications at a time.
See Chapter 1 for our buying advice. But you can also do things like reduce the
size of the taskbar and change the desktop and Explorer icons to smaller versions
in order to take advantage of the screen real estate you do have. See Chapter 6
for our personalization advice.
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Part V: Mobility
While Windows 7 does run just fine on netbooks, you won’t be able to play 3D
games, edit video, or perform other high-end tasks effectively (or at all) on these
systems. Be sure you know what you’re getting into.
♦♦ Go solid state. If you can, get a netbook with a solid-state disk (SSD) instead of
a traditional hard disk. These drives are more expensive but they perform much
better and are more battery friendly.
However you do it, we think you’ll be quite satisfied with the Windows 7 experience
on a netbook computer. And of course as these low-end devices get more powerful over
time, the experience is going to get even better. If you’re in the market for a netbook, skip
Windows XP and go straight to Windows 7. You won’t regret it.
Summary
There’s no doubt about it: Windows 7 is the most capable and feature-packed operating
system yet created for mobile computers. Thanks to features such as Windows Mobility
Center, Presentation Settings, network projector support, Presentation and External
Display Options, and integrated power management; Windows 7 will keep any mobile
computer humming along nicely with a wide range of new and improved functionality.
And if you’re lucky enough to be using a low-cost netbook or an innovative Tablet PC or
Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC), your mobility options are even more impressive. You’ll take a
look at Windows 7’s unique support for these tablet-based PC types in the next chapter.
Contents
Preface........................................................................................................................................................ xv
Read This First..................................................................................................................................... 1
Believe the Hype......................................................................................................................................... 2
Windows 7 in 15 Minutes........................................................................................................................... 3
Better “Itties”.......................................................................................................................................... 3
Simpler Setup......................................................................................................................................... 5
New Aero Desktop Capabilities............................................................................................................ 6
Enhanced Taskbar.................................................................................................................................. 7
Jump Lists............................................................................................................................................... 8
Windows Touch...................................................................................................................................... 9
Libraries................................................................................................................................................ 10
HomeGroup Sharing............................................................................................................................ 11
Internet Explorer 8............................................................................................................................... 11
New and Improved Applets................................................................................................................. 12
But Wait, There’s More..............................................................................................................................13
Windows Live Essentials and Windows Live Services...................................................................... 13
Zune....................................................................................................................................................... 14
Windows Mobile................................................................................................................................... 15
Windows Home Server........................................................................................................................ 16
Our Promise to You....................................................................................................................................17
Part I: Surviving Setup.........................................................................................19
Chapter 1: Selecting the Right Windows 7 Edition............................................................... 21
The Way We Were: XP and Vista Product Editions .............................................................................. 22
Windows 7 Product Editions: Only a Little Bit Simpler......................................................................... 25
Understanding the Differences and Choosing the Right Version........................................................ 26
Step 1: Whittling Down the Product Editions List.............................................................................. 26
Step 2: Whittling a Little Further......................................................................................................... 28
Step 3: Understanding the Differences Between the Product Editions............................................ 28
Step 4: Making the Right Product Edition Choice............................................................................. 34
Purchasing Windows 7............................................................................................................................. 37
With a New PC..................................................................................................................................... 37
Retail Boxed Copies............................................................................................................................. 38
OEM Versions....................................................................................................................................... 41
Windows Anytime Upgrade................................................................................................................ 42
Summary.................................................................................................................................................... 44
xiv
Contents
Chapter 2: Installing or Upgrading to Windows 7................................................................. 45
Taking the Easy Way Out: Acquiring Windows 7 with a New PC...................................................... 46
Interactive Setup....................................................................................................................................... 46
Clean Install.......................................................................................................................................... 47
Upgrading............................................................................................................................................. 63
Upgrading from One Windows 7 Version to Another with Windows Anytime.................................. 76
Performing a Clean Install with an Upgrade Version of Windows 7................................................... 80
Delaying Product Activation.................................................................................................................... 82
Installing Windows 7 on a Mac............................................................................................................... 84
Dual Boot with Mac: Using Boot Camp.............................................................................................. 85
Windows on Mac: Virtualization Solutions......................................................................................... 87
Summary.................................................................................................................................................... 88
Chapter 3: Hardware and Software Compatibility................................................................ 89
Hidden Perils of the Windows 7 Upgrade.............................................................................................. 90
The Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor............................................................................................................91
Using the Upgrade Advisor................................................................................................................. 92
Picking through the Results................................................................................................................. 93
Drivers That Lack a Windows 7–Compatible Version....................................................................... 95
Understanding Windows 7 Compatibility Issues................................................................................... 95
Hardware Compatibility...................................................................................................................... 96
Software Compatibility........................................................................................................................ 97
x64: Is It Time?...................................................................................................................................... 97
Dealing with Software Incompatibility.................................................................................................. 98
Compatibility Mode............................................................................................................................. 98
Windows Virtual PC and XP Mode................................................................................................... 102
Summary...................................................................................................................................................115
Part II: The New and Improved Windows 7 User Experience................117
Chapter 4: What’s New in the Windows 7 User Experience............................................ 119
Understanding the Windows 7 User Experience................................................................................. 120
Windows Classic................................................................................................................................. 123
Windows 7 Basic................................................................................................................................. 124
Windows 7 Standard.......................................................................................................................... 125
Windows Aero.................................................................................................................................... 126
Personalizing the Windows Desktop.................................................................................................... 130
Using Aero Themes............................................................................................................................ 130
Creating a Desktop Slide Show......................................................................................................... 133
Exploring with the Windows 7 Explorer Shell..................................................................................... 135
Start Menu.......................................................................................................................................... 135
Desktop............................................................................................................................................... 148
Using Desktop Gadgets..................................................................................................................... 159
The New Windows 7 Taskbar........................................................................................................... 166
Notification Area and System Clock................................................................................................. 172
Windows Explorers............................................................................................................................. 176
Bundled Windows 7 Applications..................................................................................................... 184
Contents
xv
Windows Touch: Reach Out and Touch Some Screen..........................................................................188
More to Come …...................................................................................................................................... 193
Summary.................................................................................................................................................. 194
Chapter 5:Where’s My Stuff? Finding and Organizing Files.............................................195
Understanding Libraries........................................................................................................................ 196
Virtual Folders 101............................................................................................................................. 196
Libraries and Windows 7................................................................................................................... 198
Special Shell Folders…Now Just User Folders................................................................................ 203
Where Is It Now?................................................................................................................................ 205
Visualization and Organization: How to Make the Windows Shell Work for You........................... 207
Sorting and Grouping the Explorer View Styles.............................................................................. 210
Arranging: The Organizational Advantage of Libraries................................................................. 212
Custom Libraries and Saved Searches..................................................................................................214
Creating Custom Libraries................................................................................................................. 214
Using Saved Searches........................................................................................................................ 217
Summary.................................................................................................................................................. 223
Chapter 6: Personalizing and Configuring Windows 7......................................................225
The Windows 7 User Interface............................................................................................................... 226
Customizing the Start Menu.............................................................................................................. 226
Configuring Folder Options............................................................................................................... 231
Replacing Windows 7’s Compressed Folders with Something More Useful................................. 232
Replacing the User Interface............................................................................................................. 233
Branding Windows 7 like a PC Maker.............................................................................................. 234
Making It Faster: Performance Tweaks................................................................................................ 238
Taking Out the Trash......................................................................................................................... 238
Making It Boot Faster......................................................................................................................... 239
Using Windows 7’s Performance Options......................................................................................... 241
Appearance and Performance Tweaking......................................................................................... 243
Monitoring Performance and Reliability........................................................................................... 244
Improving Windows 7’s Memory...................................................................................................... 246
Summary.................................................................................................................................................. 250
Part III: Security and Networking.................................................................. 251
Chapter 7: Windows 7 Security Features...............................................................................253
Security and Windows 7......................................................................................................................... 254
Securing Windows 7 in Just Two Steps................................................................................................ 255
Action Center.......................................................................................................................................... 256
Windows Defender.................................................................................................................................. 259
Windows Firewall .................................................................................................................................. 260
Windows Update..................................................................................................................................... 263
xvi
Contents
Internet Explorer 8 Security Features................................................................................................... 264
InPrivate Browsing............................................................................................................................. 264
SmartScreen Filter.............................................................................................................................. 265
Address Bar Domain Name Highlighting......................................................................................... 266
Other Internet Explorer Security Features....................................................................................... 267
Summary.................................................................................................................................................. 267
Chapter 8: Users, Accounts, and UAC..................................................................................... 269
Understanding User Accounts............................................................................................................... 270
Creating the Initial User Account...................................................................................................... 271
Understanding Account Types ......................................................................................................... 272
User Account Control..............................................................................................................................272
How UAC Works................................................................................................................................ 273
How UAC Has Changed in Windows 7............................................................................................ 276
Changing How UAC Works (The Hard Way).................................................................................. 280
Parental Controls.................................................................................................................................... 287
Configuring Parental Controls........................................................................................................... 287
Extending Parental Controls with Windows Live Family Safety.................................................... 294
Summary.................................................................................................................................................. 299
Chapter 9: Networking and HomeGroup Sharing...............................................................301
Windows XP with SP2: A First Look at Today’s Networking Infrastructure.................................... 302
What’s New in Windows 7 Networking................................................................................................ 304
Network Locations.................................................................................................................................. 305
Network and Sharing Center................................................................................................................. 308
Looking at the Network Map............................................................................................................ 309
Viewing Active Networks.................................................................................................................. 310
Changing Network Settings.............................................................................................................. 311
Setting Up a New Connection or Network....................................................................................... 312
Connecting to a Network................................................................................................................... 315
Managing Network Connections...................................................................................................... 317
Other Network-Related Tasks........................................................................................................... 319
Using Network Explorer......................................................................................................................... 320
Sharing Between PCs............................................................................................................................. 322
HomeGroup Sharing.......................................................................................................................... 322
Old-School Sharing............................................................................................................................ 329
Sharing Printers.................................................................................................................................. 333
Summary.................................................................................................................................................. 333
Chapter 10: Complete Your Home Network with Windows Home Server.................335
Introducing the Home Server................................................................................................................ 336
Windows Home Server Evolution.......................................................................................................... 337
Windows Home Server Installation and Configuration...................................................................... 338
Admin Console Drive-By....................................................................................................................... 340
Computers & Backup......................................................................................................................... 342
User Accounts..................................................................................................................................... 343
Contents
xvii
Shared Folders.................................................................................................................................... 344
Server Storage.................................................................................................................................... 344
Settings................................................................................................................................................ 346
Deep Dive: Windows Home Server Features....................................................................................... 348
PC Backup and Restore...................................................................................................................... 348
PC and Server Health Monitoring..................................................................................................... 350
Document and Media Sharing.......................................................................................................... 351
Remote Access.................................................................................................................................... 352
Summary.................................................................................................................................................. 355
Part IV: Digital Media and Entertainment.................................................. 357
Chapter 11: Digital Music and Audio........................................................................................359
Media Player Basics................................................................................................................................ 360
Setting Up Windows Media Player 12.............................................................................................. 361
Understanding the Windows Media Player User Interface............................................................. 365
Using the Windows Media Player Toolbar Options......................................................................... 370
Playing Music and Other Media....................................................................................................... 375
Finding and Managing Your Music.................................................................................................. 378
Playing with Photos, Videos, and Recorded TV Shows................................................................... 380
Ripping CDs to the PC............................................................................................................................ 387
Ripping Music..................................................................................................................................... 388
Burning Your Own Music CDs.............................................................................................................. 391
Accessing Media from the Windows Shell........................................................................................... 394
Synchronizing with Portable Devices................................................................................................... 395
Using Windows Media–Compatible Devices................................................................................... 395
Synchronizing with a Portable Device.............................................................................................. 398
Using Shuffle...................................................................................................................................... 399
Managing Portable Devices in Windows Media Player.................................................................. 400
Sharing Your Music Library................................................................................................................... 402
Share and Share Alike: Setting Up Your PC for Sharing................................................................ 403
Connecting to a Shared Music Library with Xbox 360.................................................................... 412
Accessing Online Music Stores..............................................................................................................413
Amazon MP3....................................................................................................................................... 413
Other Music and Audio Stores.......................................................................................................... 416
Summary...................................................................................................................................................417
Chapter 12: Organizing, Fixing, and Sharing Digital Photos............................................419
A Look Back: Photo Management in Windows XP and Vista............................................................ 420
Using the Pictures Library..................................................................................................................... 423
Where Is It Now?................................................................................................................................ 425
Managing Content in the Pictures Library....................................................................................... 427
Viewing Information about Pictures................................................................................................. 431
Viewing Photos................................................................................................................................... 432
Optimizing Folders for Pictures (But Not Libraries)......................................................................... 435
Playing Photo Slide Shows from the Shell............................................................................................ 437
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Contents
Managing Pictures with Windows Live Photo Gallery....................................................................... 438
First Things First................................................................................................................................. 438
Examining the Windows Live Photo Gallery User Interface........................................................... 439
Viewing Individual Photos................................................................................................................. 441
Changing How Your Digital Memories Are Displayed................................................................... 443
Adding Captions, Ratings, and People Tags to Your Pictures........................................................ 451
Importing Pictures into Photo Gallery............................................................................................... 462
Editing Pictures................................................................................................................................... 469
Sharing Photos with Others............................................................................................................... 477
Using Photo Gallery to Manage Digital Videos................................................................................... 487
Summary.................................................................................................................................................. 488
Chapter 13: Digital Videos and DVD Movies........................................................................ 489
Managing Digital Movies...................................................................................................................... 490
My Videos: Managing Digital Movies with the Windows 7 Shell.................................................. 490
Watching and Managing Movies with Windows Live Photo Gallery............................................ 495
Watching and Managing Movies with Windows Media Player..................................................... 498
Watching and Managing Movies with Windows Media Center.................................................... 500
Editing Digital Video with Windows Live Movie Maker.................................................................... 503
Starting Windows Live Movie Maker............................................................................................... 504
Understanding the Movie Maker User Interface............................................................................. 505
Working with Projects........................................................................................................................ 507
Importing Content.............................................................................................................................. 507
Editing Your Video............................................................................................................................. 512
Sharing Your Videos.......................................................................................................................... 521
Creating DVD Movies with Windows DVD Maker............................................................................. 526
Adding Photos and Videos to Your DVD Project............................................................................. 528
Naming Your DVD Movie................................................................................................................. 533
Understanding DVD Movie Options................................................................................................. 533
Working with DVD Menus................................................................................................................ 535
Changing Other DVD Options.......................................................................................................... 537
Writing the Movie to Disc.................................................................................................................. 541
The Final Frontier: Duplicating and Copying DVDs............................................................................541
Duplicating DVD Movies................................................................................................................... 543
Ripping DVDs to the PC.................................................................................................................... 545
Summary...................................................................................................................................................551
Chapter 14: Microsoft Zune: A Digital Media Alternative................................................553
Why Zune?............................................................................................................................................... 554
Zune 1.0............................................................................................................................................... 555
Zune 2.................................................................................................................................................. 556
Zune 3.................................................................................................................................................. 558
The Zune PC Software........................................................................................................................... 559
Finding and Installing Zune.............................................................................................................. 559
Configuring the Zune Software......................................................................................................... 562
Using Zune.......................................................................................................................................... 565
Sharing Zune...................................................................................................................................... 584
Contents
xix
World Wide Zune: A Look at the Zune Online Services..................................................................... 586
Zune Marketplace.............................................................................................................................. 587
Zune Social......................................................................................................................................... 592
Zune to Go: Using Zune Devices........................................................................................................... 595
Choosing a Zune................................................................................................................................ 597
Linking Your Zune: Installing and Configuring the Player............................................................. 598
To Sync or Not to Sync, That Is the Question.................................................................................. 601
Updating Zune.................................................................................................................................... 606
Summary.................................................................................................................................................. 607
Chapter 15: Digital Media in the Living Room.................................................................... 609
A Short History of Media Center............................................................................................................610
Media Center in Windows 7...................................................................................................................613
Configuring Media Center.....................................................................................................................614
Running the Media Center Setup Wizard........................................................................................ 617
Configuring Media Center Features after Setup............................................................................. 624
A Continually Evolving User Interface................................................................................................. 629
Exploring the Media Center Experiences............................................................................................ 634
TV........................................................................................................................................................ 634
Movies................................................................................................................................................. 639
Pictures + Videos................................................................................................................................ 642
Music................................................................................................................................................... 645
Extras................................................................................................................................................... 650
Sports................................................................................................................................................... 650
Accessing Windows Media Center Away from the PC....................................................................... 652
Using an Xbox 360 or Media Center Extender................................................................................ 653
Synchronizing with Portable Devices............................................................................................... 657
Burning a DVD Movie or Music CD................................................................................................. 661
Summary.................................................................................................................................................. 664
Chapter 16: Having Fun: Games and Windows 7................................................................ 665
Games That Come with Windows 7...................................................................................................... 666
Using the Games Explorer......................................................................................................................674
Customizing Games Explorer............................................................................................................ 679
Rating Your System’s Performance................................................................................................... 683
Managing Your Game Controllers and Other Game-Related Hardware...................................... 685
Installing and Playing Third-Party Games.......................................................................................... 688
Games for Windows - LIVE.................................................................................................................... 691
Xbox Live on Windows?..................................................................................................................... 691
The Games for Windows - LIVE Experience.................................................................................... 693
Summary...................................................................................................................................................701
Part V: Mobility................................................................................................... 703
Chapter 17: Seven to Go: Windows 7 Mobility Features...................................................705
Windows 7 on the Road.......................................................................................................................... 706
Working with the Windows 7 User Interface....................................................................................... 707
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Contents
Power Management.................................................................................................................................711
Battery Meter...................................................................................................................................... 711
Power Plans......................................................................................................................................... 713
Power Options Control Panel............................................................................................................ 716
Windows Mobility Center...................................................................................................................... 725
Presentations A-Go-Go...........................................................................................................................727
Presentation Settings.......................................................................................................................... 727
Using a Network Projector................................................................................................................. 728
Other Mobile Features........................................................................................................................... 729
Offline Files and Folders.................................................................................................................... 729
Windows SideShow............................................................................................................................ 731
Improved Support for Tablet PC Hardware..................................................................................... 731
Using Windows 7 with a Netbook..........................................................................................................732
Summary.................................................................................................................................................. 734
Chapter 18: Using Tablet PCs and Ultra-Mobile PCs..........................................................735
A Short History of the Tablet PC........................................................................................................... 736
Using a Tablet PC.....................................................................................................................................741
Configuring Tablet PC Features....................................................................................................... 741
Using the Tablet PC Input Panel....................................................................................................... 748
Flicks and Gestures............................................................................................................................ 753
Password Hiding on Logon with Pen................................................................................................ 756
Shell Changes for Tablet PC Users................................................................................................... 756
Working with Ultra-Mobile PCs.............................................................................................................757
Origami 1.0......................................................................................................................................... 758
A New Origami................................................................................................................................... 758
A Tour of the UMPC Software........................................................................................................... 760
Summary.................................................................................................................................................. 763
Chapter 19: Windows in Your Pocket—Using a Windows Mobile Smartphone..........765
History of Windows Mobile.................................................................................................................... 766
Windows Mobile Today.......................................................................................................................... 769
Windows Mobile 6.1........................................................................................................................... 770
Windows Mobile 6.5........................................................................................................................... 771
Windows Mobile and Windows 7...........................................................................................................772
Managing the Device Partnership.................................................................................................... 775
Changing Device Settings................................................................................................................. 778
Windows Mobile in the Cloud: Microsoft’s Mobile Web Services .....................................................781
My Phone............................................................................................................................................ 781
Windows Live for Windows Mobile.................................................................................................. 784
Summary.................................................................................................................................................. 786
Part VI: Windows 7 Online.............................................................................. 787
Chapter 20: Browsing the Web.................................................................................................789
What Happened...................................................................................................................................... 790
Initial Internet Explorer Configuration..................................................................................................791
Contents
xxi
Core Internet Explorer Usage................................................................................................................ 794
Starting Internet Explorer.................................................................................................................. 794
New Link, New Window…or New Tab............................................................................................ 795
Managing Downloads from the Internet.......................................................................................... 795
Edit on the Internet Explorer Toolbar............................................................................................... 795
The Complete AutoComplete............................................................................................................ 796
Quickly Searching the Web............................................................................................................... 797
Toggling Internet Explorer between Full-Screen Mode and Restore............................................ 797
Favorites and Offline Web Pages...................................................................................................... 798
Saving Graphics from the Web to Your PC...................................................................................... 799
Saving Complete Web Pages............................................................................................................ 799
Turning Your Favorites into a Web Page......................................................................................... 800
Internet Explorer 8 Is Not Your Father’s Web Browser........................................................................ 801
The Command Bar............................................................................................................................. 803
Where Is It Now?................................................................................................................................ 806
Internet Explorer 8 Features and Functionality................................................................................... 807
Playing Favorites................................................................................................................................ 807
Navigating the Web with Tabs.......................................................................................................... 810
Integrated, Visual Web Search.......................................................................................................... 814
Working with the Internet Explorer Display.................................................................................... 818
Printing................................................................................................................................................ 819
Covering Your Tracks........................................................................................................................ 822
Understanding and Using RSS.............................................................................................................. 825
Viewing an RSS Feed......................................................................................................................... 826
Subscribing to an RSS Feed............................................................................................................... 827
Managing RSS Feeds......................................................................................................................... 828
Using Web Slices..................................................................................................................................... 830
Using Accelerators.................................................................................................................................. 831
Internet Explorer Keyboard Shortcuts.................................................................................................. 834
Summary.................................................................................................................................................. 836
Chapter 21: Managing E‑mail and Contacts...........................................................................837
Introducing Windows Live Mail............................................................................................................ 838
Installing Windows Live Mail............................................................................................................ 839
Configuring Windows Mail: A Few Quick Tips for Getting Started.............................................. 841
Changing Windows Mail Options Right Away................................................................................ 843
Windows Live Mail Basics................................................................................................................. 843
Working Online or Offline................................................................................................................. 848
Handling Multiple E‑mail Accounts................................................................................................. 848
Choosing Which Account to Send Your Messages Through.......................................................... 849
New Mail Notifications...................................................................................................................... 850
Leaving Mail on the Server............................................................................................................... 850
Converting Mail.................................................................................................................................. 850
No More Identities.............................................................................................................................. 850
New Mail Storage............................................................................................................................... 851
Security Features................................................................................................................................ 852
Accessing RSS Feeds.......................................................................................................................... 853
Using Photo Mail................................................................................................................................ 856
Managing Contacts................................................................................................................................ 861
Summary.................................................................................................................................................. 864
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Contents
Chapter 22: Managing Your Schedule.................................................................................... 865
Understanding Calendaring.................................................................................................................. 866
Exploring Windows Live Calendar....................................................................................................... 868
Managing Your Schedule with Windows Live Mail............................................................................873
Understanding the Calendar Interface in Windows Live Mail....................................................... 874
Understanding Calendar Lingo......................................................................................................... 875
Working with Calendars.................................................................................................................... 876
Understanding Calendar Views and Navigation............................................................................. 878
Hiding and Viewing Calendars......................................................................................................... 880
Configuring Calendar........................................................................................................................ 880
Working with Events.............................................................................................................................. 882
Examining Event Properties.............................................................................................................. 883
Tsk, Tsk: No Tasks................................................................................................................................... 886
Creating To-do’s................................................................................................................................. 886
Configuring To-do’s........................................................................................................................... 888
Sharing Calendars.................................................................................................................................. 890
Importing Calendars.......................................................................................................................... 890
Subscribing to Calendars................................................................................................................... 891
Sharing Your Own Calendars with Others....................................................................................... 892
Printing Calendars.................................................................................................................................. 895
Printing from Windows Live Calendar............................................................................................. 895
Printing from Calendar...................................................................................................................... 896
Summary.................................................................................................................................................. 897
Chapter 23: Your Life in Sync—Windows 7 and Live Services........................................ 899
Windows Live and Windows 7: What’s Included................................................................................. 901
Going Online and Learning about Windows Live.............................................................................. 902
Windows Live Services That Make Windows 7 Better....................................................................... 903
Tying It All Together: Windows Live ID........................................................................................... 904
Windows Live Home.......................................................................................................................... 905
Windows Live Profile.......................................................................................................................... 906
Windows Live Hotmail....................................................................................................................... 907
Windows Live People......................................................................................................................... 912
Windows Live Calendar..................................................................................................................... 913
Windows Live Photos......................................................................................................................... 914
Windows Live Spaces......................................................................................................................... 916
Windows Live Events......................................................................................................................... 917
Windows Live SkyDrive..................................................................................................................... 918
Windows Live FrameIt....................................................................................................................... 919
Windows Live Groups........................................................................................................................ 920
Windows Live Essentials.................................................................................................................... 921
Beyond Windows Live: The Mesh......................................................................................................... 928
Live Mesh Document Sync................................................................................................................ 931
Live Mesh Remote Desktop............................................................................................................... 932
Summary.................................................................................................................................................. 933
Contents
xxiii
Part VII: Windows 7 Power User................................................................... 935
Chapter 24: Keeping Your Data Safe: File and PC Backup...............................................937
Different Backups, Different Goals....................................................................................................... 938
Data Backup........................................................................................................................................ 938
System Image...................................................................................................................................... 939
File Recovery...................................................................................................................................... 939
Available Backup Capabilities in Various Windows 7 Versions........................................................ 940
One Tool to Rule Them All: Using Backup and Restore..................................................................... 940
Backing Up Documents, Pictures, and Other Data.......................................................................... 941
Managing Backups............................................................................................................................. 946
Restoring Files.................................................................................................................................... 948
Backing Up the Entire PC: System Image........................................................................................ 951
Restoring the Entire PC...................................................................................................................... 955
Recovering Old Versions of Data Files.................................................................................................. 957
Summary.................................................................................................................................................. 959
Chapter 25: Troubleshooting and Recovering from Disaster...........................................961
Using Windows Troubleshooting........................................................................................................... 962
Accessing Windows Troubleshooting............................................................................................... 963
Configuring Windows Troubleshooting............................................................................................ 964
Examining the Troubleshooters........................................................................................................ 965
Real-World Troubleshooting: What Happens When Something Goes Wrong.............................. 969
Getting Help with the Problem Steps Recorder....................................................................................971
Using the Windows Recovery Environment..........................................................................................974
Looking at the Repair Tools............................................................................................................... 975
Using Startup Repair to Fix a Non-Booting PC................................................................................ 977
Using System Restore to Repair Windows............................................................................................ 977
Summary.................................................................................................................................................. 981
Chapter 26: IT Pro: Windows 7 at Work.................................................................................983
Windows 7 for the Enterprise................................................................................................................ 984
Search Federation and Enterprise Search Scopes........................................................................... 986
VPN Reconnect and DirectAccess ................................................................................................... 986
BranchCache....................................................................................................................................... 987
Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack.............................................................................................. 988
AppLocker........................................................................................................................................... 989
Business Features (Almost) Anyone Can Use...................................................................................... 990
BitLocker............................................................................................................................................. 990
BitLocker To Go.................................................................................................................................. 992
Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode.................................................................................. 999
Virtual Hard Drive (VHD) Mounting.............................................................................................. 1001
Windows PowerShell 2.0.................................................................................................................. 1003
Summary........................................................................................................................................... 1009
Index.................................................................................................................................................1011
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