Disable IE 8 Thumbnail Previews on Windows 7 Taskbar

The Aero thumbnail previews are a great new feature, but if you are not a fan of the flashy eye-candy, you can get rid of them with a simple tweak. Here is how to do it.


Here we are…Internet Explorer 8 with a lot of How-To Geek Network goodness ready to go.

The Taskbar Thumbnail Previews look very nice, but perhaps they take up too much room for those of you who like to keep things simple.

The Taskbar Icon has the classic “fanned edge” look just like any other software with Taskbar Thumbnail Previews active.

Disabling the Thumbnail Previews

If you want to deactivate the Taskbar Thumbnail Previews for Internet Explorer, it is quite easy and will only take you a few moments to complete. Open IE and go to Tools \ Internet Options.

When the Internet Options Window opens you will already be on the General Tab. Under the Tabs Section, click on the Settings button.

The Tabbed Browsing Settings window opens. Uncheck Show previews for individual tabs in the taskbar and click OK. When you are returned to the Internet Options Window, click OK once again to totally exit out.

Note: A browser restart will be required for the changes to take effect.

After you have restarted Internet Explorer, you will see the simple default Taskbar Thumbnail Preview and standard icon look.


If you have been looking to disable the Taskbar Thumbnail Previews for Internet Explorer, then you are only a few clicks away from satisfaction. If you want to change it back, it is as simple as re-enabling the Show previews for individual tabs in the taskbar setting.


Make Your Mouse Pointers Left-hand Friendly

It’s a right-centric world, with everything from pencils to computer mice expecting you to be right-handed.  Here’s how you can train your mouse and cursors in Windows 7 and Vista to respect your left-handedness.

Using your Left Hand the Right Way

It’s easy to switch your mouse to left-handed mode.  Enter “mouse” in your Start menu search, and select the first entry.

Check the “Switch primary and secondary buttons” box to make your mouse more left-hand friendly.  Now your primary select button is your right button, and the secondary button (commonly referred to as right-click) is the left button.

But, it can still be awkward to select items on screen with your left hand using the default cursors.  MSDN has a free set of cursors designed for left-handed users, that can fix this problem for you.  These cursors are exactly like the default Aero cursors in Windows 7 and Vista, except they are reversed to make them better for left-handed use.

The cursors are available in 3 sizes: normal, large, and extra large.  The normal ones are the same size as the default ones in Windows 7; feel free to choose the other sizes if you prefer them.  Click each link to download all 6 cursors for your size (link below).

Click “I Agree” after selecting the cursors to accept the license agreement and download them.

Once you have all 6 cursors downloaded, select the Pointers tab in the Mouse Properties dialog.  Click the cursor to change, and then click Browse to select the new cursor.

Browse to the folder you downloaded your new cursors to, select the correct cursor, and click Open.

Do this for each of the 6 cursors to be changed.  Strangely, the Busy cursor (the spinning blue orb) is a static cursor, so you may not wish to change it.  All the other ones look and act like their standard counterparts.

Here’s the cursors to be changed, and their equivalents in the default cursors:

Normal Select:aero_arrow_left.cur
Help Select:aero_helpsel_left.cur
Working in Background:aero_working_left.ani
Link Select:aero_link_left.cur

After changing all the cursors, click Save As… to save this mouse scheme so you can easily select it in the future.  Finally click Ok to close the Mouse Properties dialog and accept the changes.

Now your pointers will be easier to use left-handed!


Whether you’re right-handed or left-handed, you can enjoy the Aero cursors in Windows 7 or Vista in the way that works best for you.  Unfortunately, many mice are still designed for right-handed people, but this trick will help you make the best out of your mouse.

We included all of the 6 cursors for you in a zip file you can download Here. This will make it easier for you to get them all together without having to download them individually.


Download Left-Handed Mouse Pointers from MSDN


How To Figure Out Your PC's Host Name From the Command Prompt

If you're doing any work with networking, you probably need to know the name of your computer. Rather than diving into Control Panel, there's a really simple way to do this from the command prompt.

Note: If you haven't already, be sure to read our complete guide to networking Windows 7 with XP and Vista.

To see the hostname… all you have to do is type hostname at the command prompt. Go figure, eh?

The same thing works in Linux or OS X, though you can see that most of the time the hostname is part of the prompt anyway. Note: you can also change the hostname by simply typing “hostname <newhostname>”.

Of course, the easiest way to see your computer name in Windows is to just hit the Win+Break key combination, which will pop up the System pane from Control Panel.


If you want to change it instead, you can always change your computer name easily through Control Panel.


Wipe, Delete, and Securely Destroy Your Hard Drive's Data the Easy Way

Giving a computer to somebody else? Maybe you're putting it out on Craigslist to sell to a stranger—either way, you'll want to make sure that your drive is completely wiped, scrubbed, and clean of any personal data. Here's the easy way to do it.

If you only have access to an Ubuntu Live CD or thumb drive, you can actually use that instead if you prefer, and we've got you covered with a full guide to securely wiping your PC's hard drive. Otherwise, keep reading.

Wipe the Drive with DBAN

Darik's Boot and Nuke CD is the easiest way to permanently and totally destroy every bit of personal information on that drive—nobody is going to recover a thing once this is done.

The first thing you'll need to do is download a copy of the ISO image, and then burn it to a blank CD with something really useful like Imgburn. Just choose Burn image to Disc at the start screen, select the little file icon, grab the downloaded ISO, and then go. If you need a little more help, we've got you covered with a beginner's guide to burning an ISO image.

Once you're done, stick the disc into the drive, start the PC up, and then once you boot to the DBAN prompt you'll see a menu. You can pretty much ignore everything on here, and just type…


And there you are, your disk is now being securely wiped.

Once it's all done, you can remove the CD, and then either pack the PC up to sell, or re-install Windows on there if you feel like it.

More Advanced Method

If you're really paranoid, want to run a different type of wipe, or just like fiddling with the options, you can choose F3 or hit Enter at the prompt to head to the advanced selection screen. Here you can choose exactly which drive to wipe, or hit the M key to change the method.

You'll be able to choose between a bunch of different wipe options. The Quick Erase is all you really need though.


So there you are, easy PC wiping in one package. What about you? Do you make sure to wipe your old PCs before giving them away? Personally I've always just yanked out the hard drives before I got rid of an old PC, but that's just me.

Download DBAN from dban.org


How To Uninstall, Disable, and Remove Windows Defender. Also, How Turn it Off

If you're already running a full anti-malware suite, you might not even realize that Windows Defender is already installed with Windows, and is probably wasting precious resources. Here's how to get rid of it.

Now, just to be clear, we're not saying that we hate Windows Defender. Some spyware protection is better than none, and it's built in and free! But… if you are already running something that provides great anti-malware protection, there's no need to have more than one application running at a time.

Disable Windows Defender

Unfortunately, Windows Defender is completely built into Windows, and you're not going to actually uninstall it. What we can do, however, is disable it.

Open up Windows Defender, go to Tools on the top menu, and then click on Options.

Now click on Administrator on the left-hand pane, uncheck the box for “Use this program”, and click the Save button.

You will then be told that the program is turned off. Awesome!

If you really, really want to make sure that it never comes back, you can also open up the Services panel through Control Panel, or by typing services.msc into the Start Menu search or run boxes. Find Windows Defender in the list and double-click on it…

And then you can change Startup type to Disabled.

Now again, we're not necessarily advocating that you get rid of Windows Defender. Make sure you keep yourself protected from malware!


Open a File Browser From Your Current Command Prompt/Terminal Directory

Ever been doing some work at the command line when you realized… it would be a lot easier if I could just use the mouse for this task? One command later, you'll have a window open to the same place that you're at.

This same tip works in more than one operating system, so we'll detail how to do it in every way we know how.

Open a File Browser in Windows

We've actually covered this before when we told you how to open an Explorer window from the command prompt's current directory, but we'll briefly review: Just type the follow command into your command prompt:

explorer .

Note: You could actually just type “start .” instead.

And you'll then see a file browsing window set to the same directory you were previous at. And yes, this screenshot is from Vista, but it works the same in every version of Windows.

And the next thing you know, you'll have a file browser window open at the current location. You'll see some type of error message at the prompt, but you can pretty much ignore that.

You can also use “gnome-open .” if you want.

Open Finder in Mac OS X

All the Mac computers in this office are running Linux, so we haven't had a chance to verify, but you should be able to use the following command on OS X to open Finder in the current terminal location:

open .

Open Dolphin on Linux KDE4

dolphin .

Got any extra tips to help out your fellow readers? How do you do the same thing in KDE3? What about OS X? Leave your savvy advice in the comments, and maybe we'll update the article. Or not. Either way, it'll help somebody!


Display a Text Message During Bootup of Windows 7

Sometimes you might want to leave a text message for a user before they log into a Windows 7 computer. Today we show you a neat trick that allows you to leave a message they can read before logging in.

Add a Text Message

To add a message, click on Start and enter regedit into the Search box and hit Enter.

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Policies\System and double-click on legalnoticecaption.

In the Value data field enter in the header you want…for instance your company name or the name of your computer…whatever you want it to be, then click OK.

Then double-click on legalnoticetext

And in the Value data field enter in the message you want to display and click OK. Close out of Registry Editor and reboot the computer.


After the machine reboots you’ll see the text message you just created at the Welcome screen.


You can include whatever text message you want to be included for the user to read before they log in.

This is a neat trick if you have a company or school and want to show a particular message to the user before they log into the machine.


Create a Slide Show in Windows 7 Media Center

Are you looking for a nice way to create and display a slide show from your photo collection? Today we’ll show you how to create a slide show, how to add music to it, and watch it from the comfort of your couch in Windows 7 Media Center.

Create Slide Show

Launch Windows 7 Media Center and click on the Picture Library tile found under Pictures and Videos.


In the Pictures Library, scroll across to slide shows and click on Create Slide show.


Enter a name for the slide show and click Next.


If you are using a Windows Media Center remote, click on the OK button to bring up the onscreen keyboard. Use the directional buttons to navigate across the keyboard and press OK to select each letter. Click Done when finished.

Select Picture Library and click Next.

Select the pictures to include in your slide show. If using a remote, navigate through the images and press OK to select. If you are using a mouse, simply click on the selections. When you are finished, click Next. 


Now, we can review and edit the slide show. Click the up or down pointing arrows to move pictures up and down in the order.  (more intuitive titles would be helpful in this case as opposed to the randomly generated titles in the example below)

If you are finished, click Create. You can also choose to go back and add music to your slide show. (or even more pictures) We’ll take a look at adding some music in our example. Click on the Add More button.


Add Music to Your Slide Show

Here we’ll select Music Library to add a song. Click Next.


You’ll now be able to browse your Music Library to select songs for your slide show.

Select your songs and click Next.


When you are finished adding Music and Pictures click Create.


Once your slide show is saved, you can play it any time by going to clicking on slide shows in the Picture Library, then selecting the slide show title.

Select play slide show when you’re ready to enjoy your new production.


If you ever want to edit or delete the slide show, select it in the Picture Library, and scroll to Actions. You’ll see those option under additional commands. You have the option to Edit Slide Show, Burn a CD/DVD, or Delete.

Editing Slide Show Settings

Within Media Center, go to Tasks

Click on Pictures


Then choose Slide Shows.

From the Slide Show settings you have the option to Show pictures in random order, Show picture information, Show song information, and Use Pan and zoom effect. You can also adjust the length of time to display each picture, and change the background color.

Be sure to click Save to apply and changes before exiting.

If you choose to show picture information, the picture title, date, and star rating will be displayed in the top right.


If your slide show is accompanied by music and you choose to show song information, you will get a translucent overlay for a few seconds at the beginning of each song to indicate the song, album, and artist.

One of the really cool things about creating a slide show in Windows 7 Media Center is you can complete the entire process using just a Media Center remote.

Can’t get enough slide shows? Check out how to turn your desktop into a picture slide show in Windows 7.


Your IP

Blogger Widgets

Copy code, paste your site:

<p><span style="text-align:center; display: block;"><a href="http://win7-vista.blogspot.com/2011/02/get-ip-address-widget-for-your-blogger.html"><img src="http://www.wieistmeineip.de/ip-address/?size=468x60" border="0" width="468" height="60" alt="IP" /></a><br /><small><a href="http://win7-vista.blogspot.com/2011/02/get-ip-address-widget-for-your-blogger.html">Blogger Widgets</a></small></span></p>