The Microsoft Windows landscape is scheduled to change again in mid to late 2015 when Windows 10 will be released. That may excite some early adopters who love to have the latest and greatest operating system on their computers. And many industry experts are thrilled that Windows 10, which is currently in its public beta testing period, was designed with business customers in mind—and is forecasted to be much more responsive to user needs.
Predicted perks include free upgrades for existing Windows customers, lifetime device support, and a tiered system of security updates and patches that will allow administrators to opt out of non-critical ones until compatibility with their enterprise environments can be ensured.
But let’s be honest: many of us in the business world are happy sticking with our tried and true versions of Windows 7—or, for those of us who relished the move to a redesigned, touchscreen-friendly user interface, Windows 8/8.1. So in the name of not rushing into a new product offering when an old one still works fine, we’ve compiled our favorite five tips and tricks that can supercharge your everyday use of existing Windows versions.
1) Snipping Tool. Many people know how to take a screen capture by pressing PrtScn. But that snaps a picture of your entire screen—and if you use dual monitors, the resulting image won’t yield any detail. If you want to take a screenshot of something specific, open Snipping Tool from your Accessories menu, choose from Free-form Snip, Rectangular Snip, or Window Snip options, and then save the image to your desired location. You can even add notes to a snip by writing or drawing around it before sharing it.
2) Toolbars, taskbars, and Start screen options. Windows 7 offers a bevy of options for retro and customized toolbar views, while redesigned taskbars allowed applications to be pinned to it. Even better, all customization options were available simply by right-clicking. And while Windows 8 famously changed the traditional user interface, the 8.1 upgrade brought back the old-school Start menu list view while also increasing personalization options.
3) Streamlined search. Windows 7 and 8 still separated Search queue results into Apps, Files, and Settings categories, but 8.1’s Smart Search powered by Bing blended all results—including those from OneDrive, the Internet, and video and music files—together into one cohesive whole.
4) OneDrive. This file-sharing application, which was introduced with Windows 7 and comes baked into 8.1, keeps files and photos in one cloud-based location and makes them accessible anytime, anywhere, from your phone, tablet, or computer. Although it’s not designed for business use, it got people accustomed to the idea of file sync and share, one of today’s fastest-growing segments of cloud computing.
5) Handy keyboard shortcuts. An endless variety of keystroke combinations can help you accomplish common tasks more quickly. Here are a few particularly useful ones: Win + E launches Internet Explorer; Win + I opens Settings; Win + L locks your PC; Win + Q opens the App Search pane; Win + + zooms in; Win + – zooms out; and Win + Tab switches between running apps.
The above list only scratches the surface of Windows tips and tricks that can maximize productivity and efficiency. If you want to know more or are curious about upgrading to the right OS for your needs, contact CMIT Solutions today. We’re here to help you make smart, affordable decisions so that technology can work for your business, not against it.