When you perform an operation over and over again, you may be inclined eventually to find a way to optimize that process to save time and speed up the work flow.
The following two tips have helped me personally speed up two operations in Windows 7 by cutting down on the steps required to execute them.
The first tip actually works in other versions of the Windows operating system as well, the second only in Windows 7 and newer versions of Windows.
I regularly have to kill the Windows Explorer process, for instance after installing a new Windows theme or software that interacts with the default shell in the Windows operating system.
The fastest option in past years was to press CTRL-SHIFT-ESC to open the Windows Task Manager, locate the explorer.exe process in the process listing, right-click on it and select end process. Then on to File > Run in the task manager to launch the explorer process again.
This takes some time and is not the best option. I have created a small batch file for killing and restarting explorer.exe with a click of the button.killex.zip
The batch file automatically kills the explorer.exe process in Windows, and restarts a new instance of the shell afterwards. Simply download and extract the batch file and double-click it to execute. Cautious users may want to look at the code first, which can be done by loading the batch file into a text editor. You should see the following commands:
taskkill /f /IM explorer.exe
start "" "explorer.exe"
Line two of the batch file kills the explorer.exe process, line three will restart it. On to the second tip.
The new Windows 7 taskbar has changed the way users interact with taskbar items. Windows 7 users who want to access an items properties, for instance to add a command line parameter to its startup, need to right-click on the item, and then again on the actual program link to open the properties menu. Two clicks with the mouse and some fiddling to hit the right entry? Not very comfortable.
The following tip only works for programs that are currently not active. This limits the use a bit. Instead of right-clicking twice and left-clicking once, users can now hold down the SHIFT key on the first right-click to open the context menu with a Properties link right away.
Remember, just hold down the SHIFT key before right-clicking on the taskbar item in the Windows 7 operating system.
Have optimizations of your own to share? Let us know about them in the comments.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.