SLIDESHOW

7 Secret Features in Windows 7

From streaming Netflix movies in Windows Media Center to desktop-theme eye candy to a calculator that does a lot more than just arithmetic, here's a showcase of cool but unappreciated Windows 7 features.

Windows 7's Hidden Gems

By this point if you're using Windows 7 you've Aero Snapped, Peeked and Shaken, you've jumped to Jump Lists and taskbar thumbnails, and shared photos and music using HomeGroup. But there's a plethora of hidden gems in Windows 7 that don't get nearly enough attention.

Here's our collection of seven underrated Windows 7 features and instructions on how to use them.

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Sticky Notes

f yellow notes stuck to desks and computer monitors rule your life, it's time to go digital with Sticky Notes in Windows 7. The Sticky Notes app can be found by clicking the start button in Windows 7, typing in "sticky" and pressing enter. A new note appears on the desktop. Let the digital "to do" lists begin. With Sticky Notes in Windows 7, you can format a note's text, change colors, collapse, resize and flip through notes. Sticky Notes is available in Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate.

[ For complete coverage on Microsoft's new Windows 7 operating system -- including hands-on reviews, video tutorials and advice on enterprise rollouts-- see CIO.com's Windows 7 Bible. ]

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Access to Netflix in Windows Media Center

If you have a Netflix membership, you can watch movies in Windows Media Center. The Netflix option should be in your Windows 7 Media Center, but if it isn't, you can go to Tasks -> Settings -> General -> Automatic Download Options to manually install it. Next, select the Netflix tile in Windows Media Center and sign in. You can then scroll through streaming movies in your Instant queue and watch them in WMC. You also have access to your regular DVD queue, and can search for movies. You need Silverlight to use this feature.

[ For complete coverage on Microsoft's new Windows 7 operating system -- including hands-on reviews, video tutorials and advice on enterprise rollouts-- see CIO.com's Windows 7 Bible. ]

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Calculator

The normally bare-bones calculator in Windows has been given an overhaul. It's not just for arithmetic anymore. The Windows 7 calculator can be operated in four modes: Standard, Scientific, Programmer and Statistics. It can convert Celsius to Fahrenheit, ounces to grams, and joules to BTUs. It has templates for calculating mileage and auto lease and mortgage payments as well as a unit conversion utility for measurements such as area, length, time, velocity and weight.

[ For complete coverage on Microsoft's new Windows 7 operating system -- including hands-on reviews, video tutorials and advice on enterprise rollouts-- see CIO.com's Windows 7 Bible. ]

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Device Stage

Device Stage aims to simplify connecting a camera, printer or cellphone to your PC. Rather than appearing as a generic device icon in the system tray, a screen with color pictures of the device emerges displaying all its applications and services as well as links to Web pages and user manuals. You can then minimize the device to the Windows 7 taskbar and access information about it by right clicking and using Jump Lists. Device Stage works for Windows 7 compatible devices connected via USB, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

[ For complete coverage on Microsoft's new Windows 7 operating system -- including hands-on reviews, video tutorials and advice on enterprise rollouts-- see CIO.com's Windows 7 Bible. ]

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Problem Steps Recorder

This feature is for the IT pro or tech-savvy user who often helps friends or co-workers with computer problems. Problem Steps Recorder can record, step by step, what a user is trying to do. It then generates an HTML slideshow of a user's actions with descriptions of what took place. This file can then be sent directly to a person or a company's help desk for viewing. To try out Problem Steps Recorder, click on the Windows 7 Start button and type in "PSR" in the search field

[ For complete coverage on Microsoft's new Windows 7 operating system -- including hands-on reviews, video tutorials and advice on enterprise rollouts-- see CIO.com's Windows 7 Bible. ]

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Windows 7 Themes

Windows 7 Themes aim to create a more dynamic desktop. Themes are a medley of desktop background, screen saver, border colors and sounds. To access Themes, right-click anywhere on the desktop and select "Personalize." There you choose from pre-installed Aero Themes that include stunning photography of landscapes, architecture and nature. You can download more themes online, where there is a Windows 7 theme for most countries in the world. Microsoft also started featuring ad-sponsored themes from Pepsi, Ferrari and the James Cameron movie "Avatar," to name a few.

[ For complete coverage on Microsoft's new Windows 7 operating system -- including hands-on reviews, video tutorials and advice on enterprise rollouts-- see CIO.com's Windows 7 Bible. ]

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Windows 7 Touch

If you want to live a mouseless life, you'll need a Windows 7 touchscreen PC. But once that's done you can use your fingers to surf the Web and flick through photo albums. Windows 7 is the first version of the OS to use multitouch technology, allowing users to zoom in on a map by spreading two fingers apart and right-clicking by touching a file with one finger and tapping the screen with another. Windows Touch is available in Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate editions.

[ For complete coverage on Microsoft's new Windows 7 operating system -- including hands-on reviews, video tutorials and advice on enterprise rollouts-- see CIO.com's Windows 7 Bible. ]

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