Pinning Items: A Way to Find Items Faster in Windows 7

Jump List

Image Source: Michael Dunn~!

Stop searching for the documents you frequently access. Pin your important items to the Task Bar or a Jump List and you’ll never have to search for them again.

Windows 7 included some really great user features which boost productivity, and if you’re not taking full advantage, you’re missing out.

Pinning and Jump Lists are two features that when combined help you navigate Windows faster and easier.

What is Pinning?

In Windows7, you can Pin an item to your start menu, or your task bar for ease of access. To Pin an item, locate the software or document you want to Pin, right click on it, and select either Pin to Start Menu or Pin to Taskbar.

Pin to Start Pinning a frequently used program to your Start Menu makes it always accessible when you click on Start.

Pin to Taskbar Pinning a frequently used program to your Taskbar attaches the item next to your start button, by all your quick launch buttons, so that you can access the item quickly no matter where you are in Windows. You can easily rearrange items on your Taskbar by clicking and dragging the icons.

What are Jump Lists?

A Jump List is a list of recently accessed items, and is program specific. You access Jump Lists slightly differently, depending on where you are in Windows.

From the Start Menu To access a Jump List from the Start Menu, click on the right arrow next to the program.

From the Taskbar To access a Jump List from the Taskbar, right click on the program. The list that appears is the Jump List.

Pinning to Jump Lists

You can also Pin items to the Jump List, so that you can access the item even faster. To do this, access the appropriate Jump List for what you want to Pin, locate the item to Pin, and then click on the small push pin icon to the right of the item. Tip: If you hover over the push pin icon, it says Pin to List.

Microsoft gave users some powerful productivity features when they added Pinning and Jump Lists to their bag of tricks. While you can’t Pin everything, you can Pin your most frequently used items, allowing for faster access to the items you use the most.

Do you have a favorite Windows 7 feature? Leave us a comment telling us about it.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who is interested in helping you use Windows more effectively.  Email: [email protected]. Website:

Windows7 Calculator: More than Meets the Eye

Windows7 Calculator

Did you know your Windows7 calculator could look like this?

At first glance, the Windows7 calculator seems the same as every version offered in Windows before. However, if you take a little time to explore, you’ll soon find there is much more to the calculator than ever before.

What do you do when you need a scientific, programming, or statistics calculator? When you need to, how do you calculate your mortgage, a vehicle lease, or the fuel economy of your vehicle? In the past you would probably turn to special online calculators, or complicated spreadsheets to figure things out.

But now you don’t need to do that. Instead, whip out your trusty Windows7 calculator, and calculate virtually any equation or situation. To change the way your calculator behaves, change the settings under the View menu.

Different Types of Calculators

Basic Calculator: When you first start the calculator, it opens as a basic calculator, allowing you perform all the normal functions you’re used to. You can always return to the basic calculator from any other setting by pressing ALT + 1.

Scientific Calculator: To access the scientific calculator go to View > Scientific. Or, you can press ALT + 2.

Programmer Calculator: To access the programmer calculator go to View > Programmer. Or, you can press ALT + 3.

Statistics Calculator: To access this calculator go to View > Statistics, or press ALT + 4.

Different Calculation Modes

Aside from 4 different types of calculators, you can also choose from different calculation “modes” to get the most out of your calculator. These are all located under the View Menu, toward the bottom of the list.

Unit Conversion: Whenever you are looking to convert something, this is the calculator you want. This mode allows you to calculate one type of unit of measurement into another type. For example, easily convert an angle into a degree, gradian, or radian. Or, calculate the area of something into square meters, or better yet, square millimeters. To quickly access this function, press CTRL + U.

Date Calculation: Want to quickly calculate the difference between two dates? This calculator mode makes it easy. Just put in the two dates, and it will show you

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the difference in years, and in days. To quickly access this function, press CTRL + E.

Worksheets: When you want to calculate your mortgage, vehicle lease, or fuel economy, you’ll want to use these easy worksheets. Unfortunately, there are no shortcut keys for Worksheets. You will find them located at the bottom of the View Menu.

Mixing Calculations

Additionally, you can mix-up the functionality of your calculator, so that it’s unique to your specific needs. To do this, activate a specific calculator type and a specific mode. For example, you can change your calculator to a scientific calculator, and activate the date calculation mode so that you can quickly do either type of calculation.

Any of the calculators and modes can be mixed together, so play around with your Windows7 calculator settings. Before long you’ll have it custom tweaked for your needs, and you’ll never again seek out an online calculator or turn to a complicated spreadsheet for your calculation needs.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who is interested in helping you enjoy your computer experience. Email: [email protected]. Website:

Speed Up Your Computer

Computer Frustration - stock.xchng/channa

Image Credit: stock.xchng / channa

You have a million things to do, so when you find five minutes of free time in your day you decide to hop on the computer to complete one quick task. But what is supposed to be quick ends up taking 30 minutes or more, and results in finger tapping, a few curse words, and some desperate bargaining with your computer (as if it could hear you).

Sound familiar? A slow computer is a common source of frustration for many computer users, but there are easy ways to fix this problem using the built in Windows utilities.

Check Your Score

First, it is important to determine if your computer is slow because of the hardware. If the components in the computer can’t handle the software, then you’ll need to upgrade to speed things up.

Luckily, Windows 7 has a feature that rates your computer, telling you how it stacks up by giving you a score. Scores are on a scale from 1.0 to 7.9. The lower the number, the slower your computer is. Note, your base score is equal to your lowest sub-score, and is not an average of all the scores listed.

To check your score, go to: Start > Control Panel > Performance Information and Tools. If hardware has changed within your computer, click on “re-run the assessment” to get your most up-to-date score. If your score is in the ones and twos, you may want to consider upgrading your hardware.

Clean Up Startup

When you install a program, sometimes it installs in Startup too. The theory is that the software pre-loads when the computer starts, allowing you faster access when you need to use the program. The problem is you probably don’t access all of these programs immediately, and the time it saves you is minimal compared to the delay you experience waiting for your computer to boot.

Instead, clean up Startup from any programs that don’t need to run when the computer boots. To do this, click on Start, type in “System Configuration”, and click on the program when it appears. Once open, click on the Startup tab. Uncheck programs that are not vital.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some items should stay checked in startup, like anything that says Microsoft or anything having to do with your virus scan. A better bet is to uncheck things that are actual programs, like Dell Webcam Manager or Google Music Manager, for example.

Delete Unused Programs

Cleaning up your disk space can help with performance speed. One way to do this is to delete any unused programs, including trial programs. To delete unused programs, click on Start, go to Control Panel, and click on Programs and Features. A list of programs will appear. Click on the one you want to uninstall, and then click the Uninstall button. Be VERY CAREFUL in here, and make sure you only uninstall the programs you don’t use.

Clean Your Hard Drive

Check Disk

When programs crash and things go awry, your computer may create errors. Over time, these errors can cause your computer to slow down. Keep things running smoothly by identifying the errors and fixing them using Check Disk.

To run, go to Start and click on Computer. Right click on the hard drive you would like to check, and go to Properties. Click on the Tools tab, and under Error-Checking, click on “Check Now.” If you want errors fixed automatically, select “automatically fix file system errors.” (Otherwise it will only report the problems, not fix them.) Select “scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors” if you are concerned about physical errors on the hard drive (this option takes much longer to run).

Disk Defragment

Once everything else is done, optimize how your computer accesses your data by running the Disk Defragmenter. As you use your computer, it stores files in the largest area available, which means your files don’t always get stored together. Then, the computer has to spend time searching, and putting everything together so you can use it. Speed up this process by defragmenting your hard drive, re-indexing everything so that the computer can access the files more quickly. The Disk Defragmentation is located underneath Check Disk (Start > Computer > Properties of the Hard Drive > Tools.)

Disc Cleanup

When you use your computer, it writes temporary files to the hard drive to help programs quickly access the current information. Over time, these temporary files can overrun your computer and slow things down. But cleanup is a breeze, with Disk Cleanup.

To access, click on Start, type in Disk Cleanup, and click on the program. It will take a few minutes to analyze your

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system, and then it will tell you how much space you can clear, and from what areas. Click the boxes to select the items you want to clear, and then click the “clean up system files” button.

These are just a few of the many features Microsoft included in Windows 7 to help you maintain your computer and keep it running right. Regular maintenance helps keep your computer running right, and keeps your frustration level to a minimum.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who loves arming people with knowledge that can help them make informed decisions about their technology. Email: [email protected]. Website: