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 »

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 »

Some of Win7’s best timesavers are staring you right in the face on your keyboard, particularly via the previously underutilized Windows key. You probably already know that pressing the Windows key (Win) opens the Start menu. But now, holding the Win key in combination with other keys does a lot more.

Win7’s Windows-key combinations speed up opening system tools, navigating between files and apps, and performing other common tasks. (Note that many of these shortcuts work in XP and Vista as well.)

* Win+Pause: Displays the System Control Panel applet.

* Win+D: Shows the desktop.

* Win+Spacebar: Shows the desktop without minimizing open windows (Aero Peek).

* Win+E: Opens Windows Explorer with Computer selected.

* Win+F: Opens a Search window for finding files or folders.

* Win+Ctrl+F: Opens a Search window for finding computers on a network. More »

Save energy
Leaving your PC on wastes both energy and cash: running it overnight could cost you more than £100 a year. It’s time to stop sinning and make some savings.

Step 1: Click Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Power Options. If your system uses the High Performance power plan then you can save a little energy by selecting Balanced.

Step 2: Selecting Very low power delivers a real energy cut, but mainly by limiting the work your CPU can do, so it’s best used on laptops or PCs that aren’t running anything too intensive.

Step 3: Click Change plan settings for your plan. Windows Vista normally turns the display off after 20 minutes of inactivity; cut this to 10, perhaps set the PC to sleep after 20 minutes or so. More »

My friend and I were discussing Vista SP1’s performance since we both run Vista for our rigs. We’re on both ends of the spectrum though, with me running on Home Basic, and he, running on Ultimate. Not the same specs though since his rigs a juiced up gaming box and mine’s a workhorse lappie. One thing we’ve noticed is the memory consumption of physical memory. It’s taking up 1+ GB on a fresh boot. So we’re still running tests on whether this is just normal behavior or a classic Microsoft up.

Anyway, this post is about cleaning up after Vista SP1 has finished installing in your PC. The thing with service pack installations ever since XP SP1 and SP2 is that they don’t really mop up after changing all of your files. In XP, you can see do the clean up via Disk Cleanup and Add/Remove Programs but with XP, there’s no obvious process. More »