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13 Cool Win 7 Tricks

Posted by on September 21, 2011

windows-7-logoWin 7 isn’t out until October unless you have an on-the-ball tech director like my school. This means, I have to train my students in the changes pretty quick. Because I teach K-5 technology, I try to keep information to what will make sense to that age group and present it as they might run across it in daily use.

Putting aside the geeky-stuff that IT sort are excited about, I’ve distilled my tips into 13 tricks that will excite K-8 students:

Watch ‘getting started’ videos

Just like with XP, there’s a ‘Getting Started’ section, but this is a series of videos on a bunch of topics. Depending upon the age, have them watch some, all or those of their choice.


  • The Quick Start is gone, but most students didn’t use it much, so that’s not a big deal. What is a big deal is the ease with which students can now pin a program to the task bar or the start menu (with a right click). This is great for when desktop icons disappear (students think it’s funny to hide or disappear them from their fellow users). Now, they’ll be able to quickly replace them. Since many adults don’t know how to add a task to the start button, this will be a chance to wow their parents, too
  • Tasks open are now small squares, grouped according to programs. Multiples tasks under the same program show as shadows behind the original. The older the student, the more programs they operate at once. This will be a change they’ll learn to love.

Aside from these changes in appearance, there are new shortkeys that your kids or students will quickly fall in love with. I don’t know if it’s because knowledge is power or they inherently hate wasting time, but they’re always proud of every keyboard shortcut they can teach a friend. Here are a few that will be hits with them:

In Windows, in any program

To maximize a window, double click title bar

For a quick Exit, use Alt+F4 (this isn’t new, but still works and still thrills students)


Windows key +tab

If you’re in a program and want to zoom in/out, use WK and + or –

To show the desktop, use WK+M

To merely peek at your desktop, use WK+spacebar

To walk through the taskbar, use WK+Tab (arrived with Vista, but if you skipped Vista like I did, it’s new to you). Alt+tab still works, but not as much fun

To open multiples of the same program, click mouse scroll on the taskbar program you want to duplicate

To minimize all but one open window, shake the window you want maximized (called the aero-shake)

To open the task Manager, use Ctrl+Shift+Escape

To arrange desktop icons, push F5 from the desktop


* vulcan nerve pinch–Keyboard commands that tax the hand’s ability to reach all of the appropriate keys.­­­­­­­­­­­­­

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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and author of two technology training books for middle school. She wrote Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything and Technology in Education. Currently, she’s working on a techno-thriller that should be ready this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office, WordDreams, or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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