Microsoft Monday

It seems as though there’s never enough time in the days, weeks, and months to get everything done and fit everybody into the schedule.  Time is precious which is why it’s important to try and save yourself as much of it as possible.  One of the best things about Windows Vista is that there are a few built-in settings that can be tweaked and changed to increase your productivity.  All it will take is a few minutes and then you’ll be shaving minutes off the tasks your perform on your computer.

Add “User’s File” Folder to Desktop

When you install Vista, by default, one of the only things you’ll see on your desktop is the Recycle Bin. This is nice for those of you who like a clean desktop and prefer to have nearly nothing displayed.  If you’d like to make yourself a little more productive and save some time, there is one additional thing you’ll want to add to your desktop and that is your User’s File Folder. You can do this by right-clicking on your desktop > Personalize > Change desktop icons. Once you do this, you should see a screen like what’s shown below:

desktop icon settings

Check the box where it says “User’s Files, and then click OK. The user folder will now be added to your desktop. All it takes is a double-click and then you’ll have quick and easy access to documents, pictures, videos, music, and more.

Review Start Menu and Taskbar Properties

Click Start > Then Right-click >Select Properties. You should now be at a page that looks like this:

taskbar and start menu

Under the “Start Menu Tab” click Customize. It’ll pull up a rather long list of different options to customize how links, icons, and menus look and behave on the start menu. Here are a few recommended changes to increase productivity:

  • To search for for files or not? Scroll to the bottom of the list and find “Search Files.” If you access files frequently, you’ll want Vista to search the user’s file. One word of caution is that this can slow the search process down if it’s searching through all of your user files.  On the bright side, if you access them frequently, the few extra seconds it takes to perform will be worth it. Ultimately, it will save you more time in the end.
  • How many programs do you want displayed? That’s another option you’ll see on that same screen. If there’s only 5 programs you regularly use, you’ll want to decrease the number of programs to display down to five. This will make it quicker for you to spot the program you need.
  • Display the control panel as a menu – you’ll want to select this option if you regularly access your control panel.  By default it’s set to be displayed as a link.  When it’s displayed as a menu, it means less clicks that you have to make. Nice!

Customize Your Toolbars

toolbars changes

To customize your toolbars, you’ll need to right-click the taskbar and then select “Toolbars.” Here you can add different elements to your taskbar like an address bar which can come in handy. Adding an address bar means you can enter URLs right from your desktop.  

Pin Applications to the start menu

If there are applications that you use frequently, you’ll want to pin them to the Start Menu so that they will always appear at the very top of the menu which will save you from searching. To pin an application to the start menu, just click “All Programs” and find the one you’re wanting to pin. Once you find it, right-click on it and you’ll notice one of the options is “Pin to menu.” Click it and you’ll always have the application at the top of your list in the start menu.

With these changes, you should be able to save yourself quite a bit of time!