Hidden Productivity Boosters for Windows & Mac
Almost everyone who regularly uses computers knows the basic shortcuts.
There are a bunch of secret tips on both the popular operating systems that can save time and effort
Move The Taskbar
The taskbar can be moved around to better suit your style. For instance, if you browse web pages, move it to the right to increase vertical space. If you’re used to a Mac, moving it to the top will make things more familiar. In older versions, you can drag the Taskbar to its new location (right click the Taskbar and see if ‘Lock the Taskbar’ is unchecked). You can also right click the Taskbar, click Properties & change location using the drop down menu.
Quick Launch Pinned Apps
In Windows 7 & 8, you can pin programs to the taskbar, but you can also quickly them using the Windows key plus a number (Example: Win + 1 will open the first app, Win + 3 will open the third app). This also works if you have open Windows — switch between them using a number. For instance, if you have a browser window, Word & PDF – you can switch between them using Win + 1, 2 or 3.
Pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc brings up the task manager. Press the Win (Windows Key) + Pause/Break (the most useless key on desktop keyboards) to bring up System Properties. Shift + right click on a file will show hidden options to interact with the file. Want to open the notification tray? Press Win + B then Enter – now you can use the left/right cursor keys to select something and Enter to open it.
Problem Steps Recorder
This handy tool is included in Windows 7 onwards. It can record actions you do on screen and save it as a file. You can then email this file to a tech expert for diagnosis. Press the Windows key and type PSR. Click the record button to start recording and the stop button once you are done. Save the resulting MHT file and email it. The MHT file opens in Internet Explorer, even on computers with Windows XP.
ReadyBoost on Steroids
You may have heard of this – a feature first introduced in Windows Vista. It lets you use a USB flash drive as RAM, giving a speed boost to your PC. It really works! With Windows 7 onwards though, you can combine multiple flash drives for an even bigger speed boost. All you need are the extra USB ports and a few fast 4GB drives lying around – it’s way cheaper than buying and installing extra RAM. MAC OSX
Precise Volume Control
Usually, if you press the volume
up/down buttons, the volume increases/decreases by one point –
and you’ll see the little volume bar light up accordingly. However, if you want to adjust volume in smaller increments (not that it makes much of a difference, but anyway), press Shift + Option and then volume up/down. If you get irritated with the popping sound while adjusting volume, use Shift + volume keys for silent adjustments.
When you type some text into the Finder, by default it searches for everything that matches. However, if you want to find a certain type of file, you can restrict the search without additional settings. For example, if you type ‘kind: PDF’ into the Finder bar and select PDF — it will only search for PDF files for that particular search. Similarly, you can restrict the search to other file types like JPEG or MOV or DOC.
Cleaner System Preferences
System Preferences is the first place you head to when you want to change things — however, the multiple icons may get confusing for some, especially if you’re only changing one or two things. It’s possible to hide the preferences you never want to adjust. With the System Preferences window open, click View on the top menu and then Customize. Now remove the check marks on each icon that you want to hide.
Ever felt irritated when guests ask to use your computer? They only need to check email or browse, but they’ll also have access to all your data and personal emails. With OSX Leopard or later, Guest Account is built in. Go into System Preferences and Accounts to enable it. The Guest Account area is limited and any data saved is automatically erased when the machine is restarted. Guest Account can also have Parental Controls.
Resize the Dock
The dock is customisable to your tastes. You can switch off the zoom feature or change the size of icons. For a quicker adjustment, look at the dividers in between icons on the dock — if you click and drag the dividers, you can resize the dock without having to go to System Preferences. This is particularly useful if you’re using someone else’s Mac and want to quickly revert back to the original setting.
Hitesh Raj Bhagat ET131023