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I have been using Windows 7 on a daily basis now for several months, and overall I am very pleased with it. Compared with Vista, it is much, much more stable and the Aero user interface is just plain gorgeous.

Speaking of the UI, Microsoft built in some really cool keyboard tricks that can make your life a lot easier and amaze your friends. Check these out (all of these involve pressing the ‘Windows’ key on the keyboard, followed by a second key–similar to the Shift or Control keys):

Win+Left Arrow: make the current window use only the left half of the screen.

Win+Right Arrow: make the current window use only the right half of the screen. (combine the Win+Left Arrow and Win+Right Arrow to quickly put two windows side-by-side)

Win+Up Arrow: Maximize the current window

Win+Down Arrow: “Restore down” the current window (make it smaller)

Win+Shift+Right/Left Arrow: if you have multiple monitors, this moves the current window to the right / left monitor, depending on which arrow key you press. Very cool.

Win+P (this is my favorite): bring up a list of available projector and display options. For example, you can quickly choose to send the video output to a projector, or extend the desktop onto a second monitor, etc. This is a much simpler way to accomplish this task than earlier methods, which generally were manufacturer-specific (e.g. Fn+F8 on certain Dell laptops)

Win+Home: Minimize all extra windows other than the currently selected one. You can also do this by “shaking” the window (clicking on the top of the window and quickly shaking it back and forth).

Win+{1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0): automatically launches (or brings to the front if running) the first ten icons in the “quick launch” section of the task bar; for example, Win+1 automatically launches the first icon, Win+2 the second, Win+0 the tenth, etc. Note that it’s possible to drag-and-drop the order of the icons in order to put the desired icons in the right places.

And, last, but certainly not least, there is now a button on the extreme right side of the taskbar that, when clicked, immediately minimizes all windows and gives you an unfettered view of the desktop.

Stay tuned for more Win 7 tips and techniques!

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