Windows 7 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Controlling system settings


Windows 7 Essential Training

with David Rivers

Video: Controlling system settings

In this lesson, we're going to use Control panel to focus on ways to view and improve the performance of our computer. With Control panel opened, we're going to go to the System and Security Category. So we'll click that link which takes us directly to that section, and here you're going to notice a number of subcategories to choose from. Some we've seen already, others we'll be covering later on as we move through the lessons in this title. For example, Power Options will be covered when we get into portable computing. We'll talk about security with Windows Updates, and backing up and restoring.
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  1. 16m 28s
    1. Welcome
      1m 54s
    2. Windows basics for first-time users
      13m 47s
    3. Using the exercise files
  2. 29m 18s
    1. Assessing your hardware and Windows 7 versions
      6m 57s
    2. Upgrading from other Windows versions
      2m 56s
    3. Transferring old files with Windows Easy Transfer
      7m 2s
    4. Dealing with device drivers
      6m 42s
    5. Running a Windows XP program in Windows 7
      5m 41s
  3. 33m 12s
    1. Getting familiar with the desktop
      8m 55s
    2. Handling tasks with the improved task bar
      8m 50s
    3. Accessing your favorites quickly with jump lists
      3m 59s
    4. Finding files and programs with Windows Search
      2m 18s
    5. Using the Action Center
      3m 48s
    6. Keeping information at your fingertips with desktop gadgets
      5m 22s
  4. 34m 24s
    1. Navigating folders and their contents
      6m 59s
    2. Staying organized with your own folders
      4m 44s
    3. Choosing how your folders and user interface behave
      7m 30s
    4. Sharing and protecting folders and files
      5m 27s
    5. Simplifying organization with libraries
      3m 48s
    6. Backing up by burning to CD or DVD
      5m 56s
  5. 24m 44s
    1. Windows Media Center
      7m 22s
    2. Playing media files with Windows Media Player
      3m 59s
    3. Organizing and sharing photos in Windows Explorer
      7m 22s
    4. Taking screenshots with the Snipping tool
      6m 1s
  6. 24m 35s
    1. Taking notes with sticky notes, Notepad, and WordPad
      11m 33s
    2. Creating graphics with Paint
      4m 58s
    3. Performing simple and advanced calculations with the calculator
      5m 20s
    4. Playing Windows games
      2m 44s
  7. 33m 5s
    1. Getting under your computer's hood with the Control Panel
      5m 28s
    2. Controlling system settings
      6m 38s
    3. Controlling sound device volume settings
      6m 38s
    4. Uninstalling programs that are no longer used
      2m 42s
    5. Setting default programs
      5m 10s
    6. Exploring accessibility options
      6m 29s
  8. 21m 1s
    1. Connecting hardware with Device Stage
      2m 56s
    2. Create a home network using HomeGroup
      4m 49s
    3. Controlling what is shared on a network
      3m 26s
    4. Troubleshooting a network and HomeGroup
      3m 58s
    5. Reconnecting quickly with jump lists
      2m 18s
    6. Boosting your computer's memory with ReadyBoost
      3m 34s
  9. 31m 53s
    1. Keeping your PC secure with Windows Update
      3m 44s
    2. Battling spyware with Windows Defender
      7m 41s
    3. Controlling access with user accounts
      4m 32s
    4. Streamlining passwords in Credential Manager
      4m 38s
    5. Using parental controls to block unwanted content
      4m 49s
    6. Securing drives with BitLocker Drive Encryption
      6m 29s
  10. 15m 11s
    1. Printing files directly from Windows
      2m 48s
    2. Troubleshooting printer problems
      5m 15s
    3. Printing power tips
      3m 56s
    4. Printing to and viewing the XPS file format
      3m 12s
  11. 25m 4s
    1. Finding issues in the Troubleshooting control panel
      3m 53s
    2. Sharing issues with the Problem Steps Recorder
      3m 56s
    3. Backing up folders and drives
      6m 36s
    4. Restoring files and drives
      4m 39s
    5. Handling an entire system crash
      6m 0s
  12. 28m 23s
    1. Exploring changes to the UI
      4m 46s
    2. Access sites quickly using Favorites and History
      5m 17s
    3. Connecting to RSS feeds and web slices
      6m 1s
    4. Displaying similar sites with Suggested Sites
      2m 16s
    5. Browsing without navigating using accelerators
      6m 36s
    6. Keeping your browsing private using InPrivate Browsing and filtering
      3m 27s
  13. 1h 14m
    1. Setting up your Windows Live profile
      4m 37s
    2. Downloading Windows Live Essentials
      2m 23s
    3. Tracking dates and events with the Windows Live calendar
      7m 22s
    4. Free email with Windows Live Mail
      6m 14s
    5. Texting live with Windows Live Messenger
      7m 13s
    6. Organizing and sharing photos in Photo Gallery
      9m 46s
    7. Synchronizing photos on two computers with Live Sync
      4m 0s
    8. Controlling content and communications with Family Safety
      6m 26s
    9. Keeping a blog with Windows Live Writer
      6m 50s
    10. Accessing free online storage with SkyDrive
      4m 44s
    11. Creating a movie with Windows Live Movie Maker
      14m 46s
  14. 18s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Windows 7 Essential Training
6h 31m Beginner Oct 22, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Windows 7 Essential Training, David Rivers helps users of any level feel comfortable with the improvements and enhancements found in Microsoft's operating system. From simple navigation through the updated graphic user interface, David shows how to install or upgrade and get the most out of Windows 7. He covers using the new Internet Explorer 8 and boosting a computer's memory with the ReadyBoost tool. He also highlights hardware configuration options and explores the advances made connecting a home or work system with Windows Live, the cloud-computing environment made available for Windows 7 users. Exercise files accompany this course.

Topics include:
  • Running Windows XP programs within a Windows 7 installation Accessing favorites quickly through jump lists Establishing user settings through Windows Explorer Setting up a home network with Homegroup Displaying similar sites with suggestions in Internet Explorer 8 Syncing photos on two computers with Live Sync
Business Education + Elearning
David Rivers

Controlling system settings

In this lesson, we're going to use Control panel to focus on ways to view and improve the performance of our computer. With Control panel opened, we're going to go to the System and Security Category. So we'll click that link which takes us directly to that section, and here you're going to notice a number of subcategories to choose from. Some we've seen already, others we'll be covering later on as we move through the lessons in this title. For example, Power Options will be covered when we get into portable computing. We'll talk about security with Windows Updates, and backing up and restoring.

BitLocker Drive Encryption is covered later on as well. So there's a lot of things that have been covered and will be covered, but we're going to go to the System section now by clicking System. We're going to look at the various ways we can view how our computer is performing as well as make changes to improve that performance. So here from the System screen, you're going to see basic information, such as the edition of Windows you're using. In this case, I'm using Windows 7 Ultimate. Let's pretend for a moment, I've got another computer in my business or at home that's running the Professional Edition, keep that in mind, as we move down the screen.

Down towards the bottom, you're going to notice a section for System that's going to show you a Rating on the Windows Experience Index. That's going to show you about your Processor, the System type, your Memory, down below, the name of your computer and any workgroups you're attached to and then down at the bottom, under Windows activation, you're going to see your own product key but a link to Change the product key. So, remember that other computer running Windows Professional Edition. Well, if I wanted to switch computers, in other words, I wanted the Ultimate edition of Windows running on that other computer, and Professional on this computer, it doesn't mean reinstalling Windows on each computer.

All I have to do is change the product key. The product key determines what version or edition of Windows I'm using. So this is a great way to swap versions without having to do a full install. All right. Let's go up to the Windows Experience Index for a moment and this is going to give us some information about how our computer is performing. When we click this link, we're going to see scores related to the Processor, Calculations per second, and you can see that's quite a good score. Memory, Memory operations per second.

That's the lowest score on this list, and you can see that's the score that's going to be used as my base score, so that's what I saw on the previous screen, 5.5 which is actually a pretty good score. So the Windows Experience Index tells you about how your computer is performing. Now let's talk about ways to improve that performance. We don't see anything really right here that's going to allow us to increase performance but we can go over to the left-hand side in the Navigation Pane to find some other options, and we saw some of these in other screens like Power Settings and Indexing options, but Disk Cleanup is a nice little tool that could help us improve our performance.

When we click this link, we need to choose the drive. We'll just use C drive. You can use whatever drive you like, if you're following along. When you click OK, it just takes a moment to calculate how much space is being used up on your disk by files that could be cleaned up. So on this little window, just kind of retro, you see a number of checkboxes, Downloaded Program Files. You can see no bytes there, but it is checked off. Temporary Internet Files, nothing there either, so I haven't actually used the internet recently, and I still got 0 bytes showing up.

At the top, the maximum I could clean up is 18.8 megabytes of disk space and down below, currently with what's selected, I'm about to clean up nothing. So if I start selecting some of these other things like Games Statistics Files for example, Office Setup Files, really doesn't have anything to add, but you can see there's a whole bunch in here, Error Reporting for example, and Temporary files. So as I start selecting checkboxes, you can see the total amount of disk space, I'm about to gain is increasing.

So I'm going to just deselect some of these that are set to zero already, Offline Webpages, I don't want to clean that up. I do want the Game Statistics. There we go. So I'm about to clean up 4 megabytes, which is a measly amount considering the size of my hard drive. So when I click OK, it'll ask me if I'm sure, when I choose Delete Files, it cleans up my drive, and then when I go back to Disk Cleanup and click OK, it doesn't take very long for it to analyze my disk space and now you can see a lot of 0's showing up since I just cleaned them up.

We'll click Cancel to close this up. That's one way of improving performance. Let's take a look at some of the Advanced tools now. One of the biggest things in the past, one of the tasks that I really dreaded performing was defragmenting my hard drive. So if you think about all the files, the programs and settings, everything that gets stored on your hard drive, when the space begins to fill up, some of those files might get broken up into pieces. So they are stored in separate locations on your hard drive. Well, you can improve performance by taking all those files and putting them back together.

In other words, it's like a big puzzle, rearranging all those files, so they can be unseparated. In other words, brought back together. So down below, you'll notice something called the Disk Defragmenter. When we Open Disk Defragmenter, you're going to see your various hard drives, but here's the important thing. We're not actually going to perform a defragmentation right now, because it's scheduled by default. This is a nice little feature that came around in Windows Vista, where you could configure the schedule.

In other words, let Windows handle the defragmentation on a regular basis in the background, and in this case, you can see 1:00 AM every Wednesday. When I'm fast asleep, my computer's performance is being improved through defragmentation. Now you can configure that schedule by clicking the Configure Schedule button. It may take a moment for you to bring up the actual window where you can choose the date and the time. Do you want it to be weekly? I think weekly is good enough, I'm going to change the Day though to Sunday night at 1:00 AM and I'm going to click OK.

We'll leave the disks as it is. This way, the first thing Monday morning, I'll be running at peak performance. I'm going to click Close to close that up and let's go back to the Control panel Home. So, under System and Security, just a couple of ways to help improve your computer's performance here in the Control panel.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Windows 7 Essential Training .

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Q: Is there a way to share files and printers between computers on network running Windows XP and Windows 7 without using the HomeGroup share method of Windows 7, since XP does not have this feature?
A: While Windows XP does not support the new HomeGroup found in Windows 7, there is another way to share files and printers between the two operating systems.  There are a number of steps to follow, but they are all listed here:
Q: Is it possible for a computer running Windows XP to join a Windows 7 HomeGroup?
A: Unfortunately, only Windows 7 supports HomeGroup.  If the Windows XP computer must connect with the Windows 7 computer, there are have two options:

1.  Upgrade the XP machine to Windows 7 and joining will be no problem.
2.  Change the Windows 7 HomeGroup to a regular Workgroup and the XP machine will be able to connect to it.  

Here are the steps to changing a HomeGroup to a Workgroup:
  1. On the Windows 7 computer, click the Start button at the bottom left of the screen.
  2. Go to the Control Panel and choose Network and Sharing Center.
  3. Click the link for "View your active networks.” 
  4. In the next window choose "Work network." That will switch the group from a HomeGroup to a Workgroup so the two computers can talk to each other. However, the same workgroup name and share folders in Explorer must be assigned to both computers before they can be networked.
For ease of use, if there is already an existing HomeGroup on the Windows 7 computer, upgrading the XP machine to Windows 7 would be the recommended course of action. There is a course in the Online Training Library, Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7, that explains the steps for transitioning to Windows 7.
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