I’m not sure if this is just me, but some days I find myself sat in front of my computer not having anything to do.

Now this can sometimes be dangerous as it means I start playing with settings and customising things.

This is when I came across a piece of software called Windows 7 Start Button Changer, which as the name probably gives away allows you to change the design of the Windows 7 Start Orb (Start Button).

Windows 7 Start Button Changer work with both 32bit and 64bit versions of Windows 7 and allows you to choose from a section of pre-made Start Orbs or you can create your own to use. The software is also free, which happens to be my favourite price.

I have put together some quick instructions for Windows 7 Start Button Changer but its really not that hard to use. But if you do have any questions please feel free to post them below.

Using the Windows 7 Start Button Changer:

Step 1: First things First Create a Restore Point. You can do this by searching for “System Restore” using the search box in the Start Menu. More »

There are several ways to launch apps quickly, using either mouse or keyboard.

Direct method: You can assign keystrokes to launch any shortcut. Right-click the shortcut and choose Properties. On the Shortcut tab, click in the Shortcut key box and then press the keys you want to use to launch the shortcut. Click OK.

A word of warning: Be careful not to reassign other useful keyboard shortcuts you may have already assigned. Also, you can assign keyboard shortcuts only to icon shortcuts — not the actual icon of a document or application.

Search method: In Vista and Win 7, press the Windows key to open the Start menu. Then type a few letters until the search tool finds the program you want to launch; press Enter. The catch — if you have several programs starting with the same characters, you end up taking more time typing than if you simply mouse-clicked the application’s icon.

Menu method: For me, the “classic” Start menu provides a better solution. If you organize shortcuts into a hierarchy of menus, each starting with a unique character, you can navigate the menus quickly and launch most programs with only 3 or 4 keystrokes. More »

You’ve read the reviews and digested the key feature enhancements and operational changes. Now it’s time to delve a bit deeper and uncover some of Windows XP’s secrets.

1. It boasts how long it can stay up. Whereas previous versions of Windows were coy about how long they went between boots, XP is positively proud of its stamina. Go to the Command Prompt in the Accessories menu from the All Programs start button option, and then type ’systeminfo’. The computer will produce a lot of useful info, including the uptime. If you want to keep these, type ’systeminfo > info.txt’. This creates a file called info.txt you can look at later with Notepad. (Professional Edition only).

2. You can delete files immediately, without having them move to the Recycle Bin first. Go to the Start menu, select Run… and type ‘gpedit.msc’; then select User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Windows Explorer and find the Do not move deleted files to the Recycle Bin setting. Set it. Poking around in gpedit will reveal a great many interface and system options, but take care  some may stop your computer behaving as you wish. (Professional Edition only). More »

Use the following steps to identify your chipset using the Microsoft Windows* Device Manager.

1. Open Device Manager.

for Windows Vista

Click Start » click Control Panel » click System and Maintenance » clickDevice Manager

for Windows XP

Click Start » click Control Panel » double-click the System icon » click the Hardware tab » click Device Manager

for Windows 2000

Click the Start button » click Settings » click Control Panel » double-click the System icon » click the Hardware tab » click Device Manager More »