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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I own a desktop hard drive, Seagate FreeAgent 500 GB and I also recently purchased a 1 TB Western Digital Elements portable hard drive, both of which I use to store movies, music, tv shows, and other stuff that I download from the internet or collect from friends.

The problem arises when you want to listen to music or watch a movie directly from the hard drive. Most such external hard drives have a built-in power saving feature, which causes them to spin down after a while of inactivity. What happens when you are watching a movie or listening to music is that the player reads a somewhat large chunk of data from the hard drive, stores it in the buffer, plays from it, and when that chunk of data is played, it queries the disk again for the next chunk. In between this period, the disk is marked as unused, and it therefore spins down to save power. More »

Internet Explorer 9 brings a range of interesting changes to the table, but the overall evolution of the browser is geared toward blurring the line between web apps and desktop applications.

One aspect which is truly illustrative of the work the IE team poured into making websites look and feel as Windows applications is related to the integration between IE9 and the Windows 7 user interface.

In Windows 7 users have the option to pin sites to the Taskbar, and enjoy some of the same options that the Superbar offers Windows programs, such as the mini Start Menu, also dubbed JumpLists.

Essentially, with IE9 and Windows 7, sites can be ripped from the browser, and integrated into the Windows 7 desktop. More »

If you spend much time in Event Viewer or have a particularly troublesome program or device that sends you back to Event Viewer, creating ad-hoc filtering, grouping, and sorting criteria becomes tiresome. Custom views can be a huge help!

To create a custom view:
1. Open Event Viewer, click Action on the menu bar and select Create Custom View.

You’ll see a dialog box nearly identical to the Filter Current Log dialog box. One key difference here, however, is the Event Logs list is available, and you can specify any or all logs to include in your custom view.

2. Specify the filter criteria for your custom view, as you normally would. More »