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Technical Tip of the Week: Windows 7 System Restore

Using System Restore in previous versions of Windows has been something of a gamble. There’s no way of telling which applications or drivers it might affect.

Windows 7 is different. Click the Start button, right-click Computer, and select Properties > System Protection > Configure, and set the Max Usage value to a size that suits your needs (larger to hold more restore points, smaller to save disk space). If you don’t need System Restore to save Windows settings, then choose the Only restore previous versions of files option. Windows 7 won’t back up your Registry, which means you’ll fit more restore points and file backups into the available disk space.

To restore, right-click Computer, select Properties > System Protection > System Restore > Next > and choose the restore point you’d like to use.

Click the new button to Scan for affected programs and Windows will tell you which (if any) programs and drivers will be deleted or recovered by selecting this restore point. Take a look!

Technical Tip of the Week: Snap into Place

Known as AeroSnap, simply drag your window to the left or right edge of the desktop to snap and resize the window to one half of the screen.

Drag the window to the top to maximize it.

A pretty neat idea made neater by the use of the keyboard shortcuts (Win + respective left/right arrow keys). No longer do you have to frustratingly position the mouse at the edge of the window to resize it.

Technical Tip of the Week: Create and Mount VHD Files

Microsoft’s Virtual PC creates its virtual machine hard drives in VHD files, and Windows 7 can now mount these directly so you can access them in the host system.

Click Start, type diskmgmt.msc, and press Enter; then click Action, Attach VHD, and choose the file you’d like to mount. It will then appear as a virtual drive in Explorer and can be accessed, copied, or written just like any other drive.

Click Action, Create VHD, and you can now create a new virtual drive of your own; right-click it, select Initialize Disk; and after it’s set up, right-click the unallocated space and select New Simple Volume. You will have a virtual drive that behaves just like any other, where you can drag and drop files, install programs, test partitioning software, or do whatever you like. But it’s actually just this VHD file on your real hard drive that you can easily back up or share with others.

Right-click the disk and select Detach VHD to remove it.