Unless you just bought your computer yesterday, you probably have at least five different programs that can open JPEGs, four programs that can play MP3s, two that can display PDFs and six that can edit TXT files. Unfortunately, the default program which launches when you double click on a file isn’t necessarily the one you need.For example, if you want to crop a picture and remove red eye from it, you’ll need to open the JPEG in Photoshop, not Windows Gallery.
To change file associations in Windows, type the term “file type” into the Start menu search box and then select “Make a file type always open in a specific program.” Then select the file extension you wish to change (ex: .jpg) and click the Change program button. Finally, you’ll need to pick the program you want to open with and click Ok.
Time Saved: 10 seconds
Every time you roll your mouse pointer over to the scroll bar on the right side of a window and use it to move down the page, you’ve wasting time, a lot of it. If you have a mouse, the answer is obvious: use the scroll wheel to slide down your documents, emails and web pages. However, if you don’t have a mouse, use two finger scrolling on your touchpad; just place your index and middle finger next to each other and drag them down the pad. Pointing sticks like Lenovo’s TrackPoint provide dedicated scroll buttons as well.
In web browsers, hitting the spacebar key is even faste, as a single tap takes you down exactly one screen. In my tests, using the scroll bar to navigate down to the “display” section of a smartphone review took 4 seconds, using the mouse scroll wheel took 2 seconds, and hitting the space bar to jump down two screens took just 1 second.
Time Saved: 2 to 3 seconds
I’ve explained already explained how you can assign keyboard macros to commonly typed text or to opening programs, but it’s equally important to memorize Windows’ own built-in hot keys. Every time you use one of the following key combinations, you save precious seconds you’d otherwise spend rolling the pointer across the screen until you found these options on various menus and sub-menus.
When you conduct a web search on Google or Bing, you see just the first 10 results by default. If you don’t see the exact result you want on the first page you have to click again and again to see the second, third or fourth page of results. All that clicking and loading takes time, approximately 3.6 seconds per extra page of results you visit.
Fortunately, you can configure the two major search engines to show you more than 10 results on a page, allowing you to scroll through more results without clicking on a next button and waiting for another page to load.
To change the number of results in Google:
To change the number of results in Bing:
Time Saved: 3.6 seconds per search result page.
By default, Windows 7 takes all the open windows from a particular program and combines them into a single taskbar icon. While this may provide a neater looking taskbar, it saps precious seconds of your life away every time you have to hover over an icon to change windows.
For example, I had six Word documents open and wanted to select the one labeled “Smartphone Buyer’s Guide.” When I had to hover over the single Word icon to look for that document, it took me 2.5 seconds to locate the document and click it. When the document had its own button on the task bar, it took me just 1.5 seconds to select it.
To stop Windows 7 from combining all of a program’s windows into one taskbar icon:
Time Savings: 1 second
When you first plug in a new USB flash drive, hard drive, smartphone, MP3 player or other USB device with storage, by default you are hit with Windows 7’s Autorun menu, which gives you a slew of choices that range from “viewing” the content to editing it.
However, most of the time, what you want is to see a view of all the files and then decide whether to copy them, open them or add to them with other files you drag over. Selecting the Autoplay window and then choosing the “Open folder to view files” option took me a mind-bending 3.5 seconds, enough time to observe millions of particle collisions in CERN.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be prompted every time you pop in a new storage device. Here’s how to configure Autoplay so it automatically opens all your drives in folder view:
Time Saved: 3.5 seconds
Every notebook user has had this experience. Your notebook is sitting open on your lap, you need to reach into your bag that’s on the ground and you’re in a tight space so you close the lid to prevent the notebook from falling over as you bend. The notebook lid is only closed for a couple of seconds, but when you open it again, you have to wait a while for the system to wake. If your system has password protection, it may even prompt you to enter your password when you lift the lid.
Even if you’re traveling down the hallway at work for a full two minutes, it doesn’t pay to put your laptop to sleep. You want to keep your notebook safe by closing the lid before you carry it, but you don’t want to waste time logging back in. The easiest way to avoid this whole sleep/wake problem is to configure your notebook not to sleep on lid close.
To stop your PC laptop from sleeping on lid close:
After making this change you can still put your notebook to sleep. You’ll just need to press the power button or use the sleep option on the Start Menu.
Time Saved:10 to 15 seconds (a lot more if you wake the notebook before it has gone to sleep)