I’m going to make a prediction here without a crystal ball, or a 900 psychic friend’s number. I predict that the majority of you are Windows users, correct?

Eat that Dionne Warwick!

Am I really a psychic? Heck no, but I’ll bet I’m more accurate than that Rapture guy! But I digress. Truth is, it doesn’t take the knowledge of splitting an atom to discern that Windows still holds the market on the PC OS.

Being a likely Windows user (Macs are out of luck on this one), there is a good chance you’ll want to know how to tweak Windows to suit your style, run faster, and/or make you more productive (i.e. do things faster and better). If this is you, then do I have a trick for you?

Buckle in and prepare to learn some sweet tweaks you can use to customize Windows.

Want to reboot your PC from a desktop icon?

If you hate the Windows XP, or Vista shutdown menu – and I’ll bet you do – this is something you are definitely interested in. Windows 7 users probably aren’t as inclined, but may want it as well.  In order to make this happen:

1. Right click on an open area of the desktop Select New/Shortcut. Enter in “shutdown -r -t 00″ (no quotes)

2. Select “Next” and enter Reboot or anything you like as a name.

3. Click Finish.

How about locking your PC from an icon on the desktop?

The lock feature is a feature that is used a lot; especially in an office setting. When you leave your office – to go mind your own business somewhere else, you don’t need the cubicle gossip snooping in your stuff, or worse the office jester sending out prank emails offering to by everyone in the office lunch from your logged in account (Yes, I hate that guy too).

Of course you can always use CRTL-ALT-DEL, a screensaver, or even WIN+L from your keyboard – but if none of those corn your fritter, then maybe an icon on your desktop will. Here’s how it’s done:

1. From the desktop “Right Click”, select “New” then select “Shortcut”

2.  Type “rundll32.exe user32.dll” (no quotes)

3. Select “Next” and enter “Lock PC” or anything you like as a name.

4. Right click new shortcut and select “Properties”

5. Select “Change Icon”

6. Explore shell32.dll in the System32 directory and find a lock icon you like

7. Click “Apply” and “Ok”

Now you can walk up; give Clyde “the Gossip” the finger and slap Lucien “The Jester” upside the head, as you’re on your way to mind your own business.

Note: Use that last tip at your own discretion…

Would you like an internet search in your Start Menu?

Easily, the Start Menu is one of the more useful features in the Windows platform. It’s a central hub for searching you PC’s contents, but what about when you want to search the Internet? Wouldn’t it be more productive to add an Internet search option directly to your Start Menu? This way, you can bypass the browser, and search the net right from the start menu. Here’s the skinny:

1. Click “Start” then “Run” (For Vista or Windows 7 user’s, click “Start” and proceed to step 2 typing in the search box)

2.  Type “gpedit.msc” (no quotes) and press Enter

3. Using the left panel explore to “User Configuration>Administrative Templates> Start Menu & Taskbar”

4. Double-click “Add Search Internet link to Start Menu,” and select “Enable” (May not be available in XP)

5. Click “Apply” and “Ok”

Now when you search for something in the Start Menu, a “Search the Internet” link will appear above the search box!

There you have it; regardless of whether you are a seasoned Windows Pro, the most “green” of beginners, or anything in between these tips and tricks will prove to be useful. Feel free to print this out, write it down or share these tips with a friend; I am only here to help.

Know some other tips or tricks suitable for the entire range of Windows users? Drop a line in the comments section and share – the more the merrier.

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