If you find yourself tripping over new Windows 7 features or missing favorite old ones, I’ve got some tips that will come to your rescue.

Lost in all the glowing Windows 7 reviews and marketing hype is the fact that not everything about Microsoft’s new OS is an unqualified success. You don’t have to use Win7 for very long before you notice one of your favorite features of earlier Windows versions is changed or missing.

But if you don’t like the default Win7 interface and the features that Microsoft prefers, no problem! A few simple tweaks can let you adjust Win7 to your own liking. Even better, some of the following tips also apply to Vista and XP.

The return of the Quick Launch toolbar

Annoyance: The latest Windows versions let you place the Quick Launch toolbar on the taskbar. From there, you can launch your favorite applications, documents, or folder windows with a single click. In Windows 7, unfortunately, Quick Launch is MIA.

In Win7, a new Taskbar combines elements of the classic Taskbar and Quick Launch toolbars into one. To be sure, many people like the new Taskbar. Al Arnston is one of several readers who suggests that Win7’s “Pin to Taskbar” feature trumps Quick Launch. But you may disagree. More »

Following the advent of Windows 7 and PowerShell 2.0, Microsoft has backported the command-line shell and scripting language on older releases of Windows, including Windows Vista SP2 and Windows XP SP3. However, admins looking to take advantage of the evolution in terms of automation for Windows tasks are not able to grab PowerShell 2.0 as a standalone download. Instead, they have access to Windows Management Framework. According to the Redmond company, the Windows Management Framework Core package brings to the table the following components: Windows PowerShell 2.0 and Windows Remote Management (WinRM) 2.0.

Xin Li, Windows PowerShell Team, revealed that some customers had been reporting installation issues related to Windows Management Framework and down-level operating systems. Li indicates that the vast majority of deployment features are reported to produce the following error message “The update does not apply to your system.”

“It is a blocking issue for some customers since they cannot get WMF successfully installed and the error message does not help much with a fix,” Li stated. However, not even Microsoft is offering a fix. Apparently, the installation failures and associated error message is caused by actions taken from the end users, rather than an actual bug in the package. More »

Linux rarely needs to be rebooted. But when it does, it’s often slow to boot. Fortunately, there are ways to speed things up. Some of these methods are not terribly difficult. (although some, unfortunately, are). Let’s take a look.

1. Disable unnecessary services

Depending upon the use of the machine, plenty of services won’t be needed. Using Linux just for a desktop? Then you won’t need sendmail, httpd, and many other services. If your server is only a Web server, you can shut off many services as well. To do this, you can go to the Administration menu and take a look at the Services entry. Just deselect all of the services you don’t want to start.

2. Disable unnecessary kernel modules

If your desktop is wired to the Ethernet, you don’t need to have a wireless kernel module loaded. This task is a bit more difficult and will require a kernel recompilation, which is not the easiest task to undertake. To do this, you will need the kernel sources. Then, follow the standard steps for compiling a kernel. The difference is that you’re going to go through your system and disable all of the modules you don’t need. More »

If you’re having trouble running older programs originally developed for previous versions of Windows, you’re not out of luck. Luckily for consumers, Microsoft built Compatibility Mode into XP. Compatibility Mode allows you to run a program using the shell of the original program it was developed for.

Here’s how to access a program’s Compatibility Mode in XP: More »