Windows 7 – Work Faster

Windows 7 may have garnered praise and millions of upgrades from users worldwide, but there’s always room for tweaking. For power users, operating systems often impede efficiency rather than improve it, and all of us are looking for quicker ways to do the most common tasks. We’ll focus first on streamlining file and folder management with some old and new tricks.

Some classic tweaks never go out of style, but sometimes we either forget or lose them in the upgrade process. Here are some of my favorite time-savers that still work in Win7.

Open With Notepad

Power users often prefer to open simple text files with Windows’ Notepad program because it is quick and doesn’t clutter a file with word processor code. You can always open a file with Notepad by right-clicking and going through the Open With pop-up menu, which usually forces you to scroll to Notepad.exe in order to open the document with this simple text editor. But you can bolt the option onto the top level of your context menu by opening the Registry Editor (type regedit in the Start box) and navigating to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/*/SHELL. Right-click SHELL, point to New, and choose Key. Name the new sub-key “Open with Notepad.” Right-click this new sub- key, again add a new key, and name it “Command.” Highlight the “Command” sub-key and double-click the Default.
Value in the right pane. In the Value field, type notepad.exe %1 and click OK to make the change to your context menu immediately — no reboot required.

Add File Skills To Context Menus

One of the handiest context menu modifications ever is adding Copy To and Move To commands. In the Registry Editor, go to HKEY_CLASSES_ ROOT/ALLFILESYSTEMOBJECTS/SHELLEX/CONTEXTMENUHANDLERS. Right-click this sub-key to make a new key named “Copy To.” Highlight this new sub-key and double-click the Default Value in the right-hand pane. In the Value Name box, type {C2FBB630- 2971-11D1-A18C-00C04FD75D13}. (Note that this is case-sensitive.) Now your context menu will include a Copy To Folder option that will bring up a file tree window for you to copy a file into any folder.

For the Move To option, again right- click the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/ALLFILESYSTEMOBJECT/SHELLEX/CONTEXTMENUHANDLERS and create a new key named “Move To.” In that new key’s Value Data box, type {C2FBB631-2971-11D1-A18C-00C04 FD75D13} (again, case-sensitive). By the way, these Copy To and Move To context commands will also work if you highlight multiple files.

While we’re doing context menu tweaks, here’s one that will add a specific custom destination to the Send To command. First, you need to tell Win7 to show the hidden system files if you haven’t done so already.

On the drive where Windows is installed (assuming here it is C:), navigate to C:/Users/username/AppData/Roaming/Microsoft/Windows/SendTo. You will find in this folder the shortcuts to all of the destinations that pop up off of the Send To command on the context menu in Explorer. Right-click an open space in this window. Click New and Shortcut. The Create Shortcut dialog box will open, prompting you for a destination folder. You can either input the path or use the Browse button to find a deeply nested folder. Click Next, name the shortcut, and then click Finish to activate. The new target will appear in your Send To menu immediately.

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