Windows 7, like all powerful operating systems, can seem a bit overwhelming and give you the feeling you’ve lost control.

Fortunately, there are some great utilities for taming Windows 7.

Some problems are obvious: you’ve got so many icons on your desktop you’ve given up trying to keep them organized. Other problems are more obscure for example, why Windows takes so long to boot. And it’s always good to know exactly what hardware and software are residing in your PC.

Here are four free programs that make Windows easier to control. I’m betting you’ll find them as useful as I do.
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To test what sleep modes are enabled on your system, do the following:

In Win7, click Start, All Programs, and Accessories. Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator. In the Command Prompt window, type powercfg -a and press the Return key.

There are six power modes, S0 (fully on) through S5 (fully off). Labels such as standby and sleep are used interchangeably by different vendors, so are not a precise guide to identifying the mode you’re using. To save power, you might use any of the following:

step 1: is closest to fully up and running — the PC simply powers down the hard drive and monitor. Hit a key, and the system is instantly ready for work. More »

Windows Vista RTM has had quite a rough ride throughout 2007, with Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Stave Ballmer acknowledging software and hardware incompatibility problems. And while Service Pack 1 is essentially designed to soften all the rough edges of the latest Windows client, Vista SP1 is not without problems of its own. In this regard, Microsoft informed of a glitch in the Configuration Data store on Vista SP1 and Vista RTM which when the user attempts to resume a copy of the operating system from hibernation is instead informed that the platform was shutdown.

“When you wake a computer that is running Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) from hibernation, you may receive the following error message: ‘System was shutdown unexpectedly’,” Microsoft explained. “This issue occurs when the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) store contains incorrect information for the Resume from Hibernate entry.” More »

Windows Vista computers that come equipped with more than 4 GB of system memory have limited shut-down options. Essentially, the Hibernate option is no longer available on Vista machines that feature in excess of 4 GB of RAM. This scenario affects both the 32-bit and the 64-bit editions of Vista, but at the same time also Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Microsoft has confirmed that the issue is related to the large quantity of random access memory.

“This issue occurs because hibernation is disabled on computers that have more than 4 GB of RAM. Hibernation requires sufficient disk space to contain the contents of the computer’s memory. Performance is poor on a computer that has more than 4 GB of memory and that has support for hibernation. More »

Most notebook batteries are lithium ion. Lithium ion batteries can slowly lose their capacity to hold a charge. But they hold their charge better over some time compared to other rechargeables like nickel cadmium and nickel metal hydride.

Shut Down (or Hibernate) instead of Stand By. There are things you can do to extend the charge of your batteries when you’re using your notebook on battery power. You should shut down completely instead of putting computer on Stand By mode to preserve your battery power. The hibernate feature saves you computer’s state in your hard drive but completely shuts down the computer. More »