I've been on a desert island of unix-a-likes. Help me work out my new windows laptop!
February 25, 2010 5:41 AM   Subscribe

I've just got a new netbook running Windows 7. I've not maintained a windows machine since 2001 (my home machines have been mac then Ubuntu, at work I use Debian). I figure I should give Windows another chance. Specific questions I have follow, but I'm really after any good tips and tricks for becoming a power user of Windows 7. What should I know? What are your top tips?

Specific queries:

Which antivirus should I get? (McAffee is installed, but seems to be a bit of a hog).
Any useful keyboard shortcuts you can recommend?
How do I uninstall stuff?
What's the best online source of information on Windows 7?
posted by handee to Technology (15 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Antivirus - Microsoft Security Essentials is free and not a resource hog.

Lifehacker has been my source for Win7 shortcuts and tricks, here's a few articles that will help:
Jump Lists
Control Panel
Shortcuts new to Win7

Also shortcuts from previous versions of Windows work well - you can find a giant list those pretty easily.
posted by Wulfhere at 5:52 AM on February 25, 2010

Best answer: 1 - I use AVG, works well
3 - Revo Uninstaller is my fav
4 - In addition to lifehacker, try superuser.com
posted by SNACKeR at 6:14 AM on February 25, 2010

Best answer: Heh, my boyfriend is a 10+ year Linux user (OpenBSD, anyone?) and Windows 7 is his full-time OS now. So transitioning might be easier than you'd expect!

For anti-virus, I've been happy with Kaspersky. AVG Free is also good; I still use it on my remaining XP installation.

To uninstall programs, go to Control Panel > Programs and Features. Revo Uninstaller is handy for clean-up, or if you have software that doesn't want to behave; I haven't had to use it yet in Windows 7, but in XP I found it very useful when my iTunes upgrades went wrong (as they often did).

Windows has some handy shortcuts if you have a keyboard with a Windows logo key; Windows key + E brings up Explorer, Windows key + D shows the desktop, Windows key + L locks the desktop.
posted by transporter accident amy at 6:16 AM on February 25, 2010

Best answer: Winkey+1,2,3... opens the corresponding program from the quick launch bar (where they're numbered in order of icons from left to right).

You can move the shell folders (My Documents &c.), the easiest way is the right-click-and-drag method.
posted by anaelith at 6:19 AM on February 25, 2010

AV-Comparatives will give you the rankings of anti-virus products each month.

I switched from AVG to Microsoft Security Essentials a couple of months ago and am very happy.

Not only did it score higher than AVG in the previously mentioned tests but it doesn't get into the situation that AVG did where it would thrash the hard-drive because Windows was doing a backup at the same time.
posted by mr_silver at 7:14 AM on February 25, 2010

Best answer: Shift+right click on a folder to get "Open command window here" shown on the context menu. You'll also get "Open in new process" and "Copy as path".
posted by tomcooke at 7:24 AM on February 25, 2010

Best answer: AV software is mostly snake oil. The best thing you can do is turn on automatic updates (if it isn't already) and make sure its set to automatically install them.

In Windows 7 you can press WindowKey+ArrowKey to move the active window around, which is very useful to me.
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:22 AM on February 25, 2010

Microsoft security essentials would be the best since it updates when windows updates. You shouldnt need to do much more then that.

To uninstall stuff go to start menu then control panel then programs and features.

Its not that much different from xp.
posted by majortom1981 at 10:47 AM on February 25, 2010

Also recommending Microsoft security essentials and Lifehacker.
posted by simplesharps at 6:10 PM on February 25, 2010

Quick access to the uninstall control panel applet - click on start and type in appwiz.cpl and press enter.
posted by Admira at 10:31 PM on February 25, 2010

Response by poster: Just in case any of you are monitoring this via recent activity - can you recommend an audio player? Simple is good. My collection is fairly heterogeneous though, as it contains ogg, mp3 and aac files.
posted by handee at 6:30 AM on March 1, 2010

Songbird is a little heavy, but full featured.

For something a little lighter, I think a lot of people still use Winamp. You shouldn't have file type problems as long as you pick something updated within, say, the last year.

Other choices: Windows Media Player (ugh) and iTunes (ugh).
posted by anaelith at 9:48 AM on March 1, 2010

Best answer: handee: I know this is super late, but I remember using foobar2000 once upon a time and it seems like it would be up your alley.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:02 AM on October 27, 2010

Winamp is free and will play the formats you want. It used to be very simple and they've added a lot to it but you can avoid all the library stuff if you want and still use it as a simple player. It doesn't support FLAC out the box, but there is a plugin you can install which will.

I'm not sure why the recommendation not to run a virus checker was marked as one of the best responses, as I'd have to say it's one of the most idiotic. A good AV will give you a fighting chance to spot a trojan before you double-click on it and grant it rights to your computer using UAC. Microsoft Security Essentials is free, unobtrusive and doesn't hog the PC resources.

Please don't be that selfish person that spoils the Internet for the rest of us by avoiding AV and then accidentally turning your computer into a spam spewing botnet.
posted by mr_silver at 4:25 AM on October 28, 2010

Response by poster: @mr_silver That's the problem with people who make two points in a post... I best answered that for the windows-arrow thing, not the ignore AV thing.
posted by handee at 2:37 PM on October 29, 2010

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