4 Windows 7 Problem Solving Tips and Tricks

Windows 7

Image Credit: Pritesh Gupta

Compared to previous versions, Windows 7 is a robust and feature-rich operating system with built-in tools and functions that help make using your computer a whole lot easier, even when it’s acting up.

Instead of getting exasperated and turning off your computer when it doesn’t work, Windows 7 gives you some useful features which allow you to solve problems long before they begin. If you do encounter problems, there are tools and utilities which can help you resolve these issues, often without calling tech support.

Calibrate Your Screen: You just posted a picture online, when your friend messages you saying she’d love to see it, but the picture is too dark. You open it on your screen and it looks fine. What gives?

It could be your screen settings. Every display is slightly different, and as such, not too displays look the same. Windows 7 tries to mitigate these differences by giving you tools to calibrate your screen.

To access these tools, click on Start, type in DCCW, and press Enter. Then, follow the wizard and directions for calibrating your screen. Your settings can sometimes make all the difference between what you see a picture on your screen, versus how the rest of the world sees that same picture.

Power Efficiency Report: Helpful for laptops, the Power Efficiency Report runs a utility to determine your power usage.

To analyze your laptop’s power consumption, click on Start, and type in CMD. When the CMD icon appears, right click on it, and select Run as Administrator. When prompted, say Yes to allow changes.

When the Command Window appears, make sure the root directory is your C: drive*. If it is not, type in cd c:\ and hit enter. The prompt should now say C:\. Then, type in ‘powercfg –energy’ (without quotes) and hit Enter.  After the analysis runs, a report will be generated. Follow the path to review the results, and recommended changes. *Note: The report may not display properly if it is generated in another location, such as C:\Windows\System-32 (the default directory).

To exit the Command Window, type in Exit and hit Enter.

Problem Steps Recorder: If you’ve ever had your computer act up for you, but work fine for tech support, then you need to use the Problem Steps Recorder. This is a small app, which when activated tracks your keystrokes and mouse actions, and records screen shots. It then packages the information up in an easy to email file, so that you can share exactly what’s happening with tech support.

To activate, click on Start, then type in PSR, and hit Enter. Click the down arrow next to the blue question mark to send the recordings to an email recipient.

Troubleshoot Problems: If you want to troubleshoot problems on your own, or if you would like to fix potential problems before they get out of hand, there are some built in utilities which will help. To access these utilities, click on Start, then go to Control Panel, and click on Troubleshooting. Then run through the wizards to troubleshoot all sorts of computer problems.

These are just four ways Windows 7 can help when there’s a problem. Do you have a favorite Windows 7 tip? Leave us a comment and share it with us.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you solve computer problems before they start. Email:

A Sneak Peak at Windows 8

Windows 8

Image Credit: Ceo1O17

On May 31, 2012, Microsoft announced the Release Preview of Windows 8. Although it is still a work in progress, this early release allows users to test out new features and see what the newest version of Windows has to offer.

So what exactly is Windows 8, how does it differ from Windows 7, and what does it mean to you?

Windows 8 looks drastically different than any version of Windows you’ve seen before. Geared for touch-screen devices such as tablets, the desktop is setup with large, colorful, touchable panels, which you can tap, swipe, and move.

However, for devices without touch-screen capabilities, Windows 8 still has the ability to return to the traditional look and feel of windows, complete with regular application icons and a task bar.

One cool new feature is the ability to swipe and “snap” a new app in place next to any app that is currently running, allowing you to view two apps at the same time. This is big news for any tablet users, as most tablets currently do not allow you to place applications side by side.

Additionally, Windows 8 has many features and apps geared at unifying your social networking experience, allowing you to simplify and manage multiple social sites in one location.

Windows 8 didn’t forget about businesses either. Aside from being enterprise ready from the start, Windows 8 includes some great business features, such as DirectAccess, which allows you to connect remotely to your work network, without having to launch a VPN.

The new Windows also gives businesses better file management features, such as being able to cache files, websites, and other content to the server so users can quickly access what they need. There are also updated file and application management features, allowing you to restrict files and apps based upon user or group.

Currently, the final release date for Windows 8 is slated for October, 2012, although that date is still tentative at best.

Want to see a sneak preview? Here’s what Windows 8 looks like.

What do you think? Will you be switching to the new Windows when it comes out? Leave

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us a comment and let us know your thoughts.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you enjoy your technology. Email:

Are Tablet Computers a Viable Option for Work?

Using a Tablet for Work

Image Credit: IntelFreePress

Tablet computers are a hot topic, and with good reason. Tablets, and touch screens, are revolutionizing how we interface with our computers and how we do business with clients.

But are tablet computers better suited for play, or are they a viable option for work too?

Android Tablets

When Android phones came on the scene, they made a big impression. So how do the Android tablets stack up?

As far as work productivity goes, the Android tablet is not a good fit, yet. It is basically like using a larger version of your Android phone. While the larger screen and keyboard is nice, you may find that you experience the same frustrations working on your Android tablet that you do when working on your Android phone.

Unfortunately, at this time the Android tablet is better suited for play. However, manufactures of Android products stay competitive, so don’t be surprised if they find a way to boost the work functionality of these types of tablets.


Apple users love their Apple products, and the iPad is no exception. Aside from being an entertainment device, the iPad has some great apps which help increase work productivity.

The Ipad is a viable work tablet option for some, depending on what you need to accomplish. Keep in mind, however, that most work networks are Windows based, so you may have issues switching between the two environments.

Windows Based Tablets

A Windows based tablet is probably your best bet when it comes to a tablet that allows you to both work and play, because of how easily it integrates with other Windows products.

However, the Windows based tablets are still catching up to all the fancy touch screen capabilities. While Microsoft focused on some of these features with Windows7, they have much better tablet support in Windows8.

Another drawback with the Windows tablets is price – they are comparable to the price of a laptop.

Click here to read a comparison between the iPad and Windows8 tablets.

Do you use a tablet for work? How well does this arrangement function for you? Leave us a comment letting us know.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who enjoys helping you understand the ever changing technology landscape. Email: