How many times have you been in a hurry and wished you could exit out of all your applications at once? Well now you can with Close All Windows, a small tool that runs as an .exe file so you don't have to install it. Here's how:
- Download the zip file from this site Close All Windows (scroll to the bottom for the download).
- Extract the files to a folder on your computer.
- Open the extracted folder, right click CloseAll.exe and select Send To, then Desktop (create shortcut).
- On the desktop, right click the new shortcut and rename it "Close All" or whatever name you choose.
- Drag the shortcut to your Quick Launch bar if you prefer.
- To close all open programs, click the shortcut.
The site referenced above shows screenshots of these steps and also includes instructions for excluding specific programs so they won't be closed by Close All.
For those of you who decided to continue on with Windows XP rather than install Vista when it came out, chances are good that you are now seriously considering updating your Operating System with Windows 7 when it is officially released to the public on October 22nd. If you are planning on upgrading to Windows 7, there are some very important items you should be aware of. Not only should you begin planning for your operating system migration, but you should also begin learning as much about Windows 7 as you can. Here are 10 things you can do now to prepare yourself for the switch:
1. Check your system hardware - Windows 7 is designed to be lean in terms of hardware, allowing sub-powered netbooks to also run the OS. If you are running Windows XP on a computer manufactured within the last 3 years, chances are good that Windows 7 will run fine on your system. However, you can make sure that your hardware is compatible by running Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor.
2. Understand the custom install - If you're running Windows XP on your computer and you want to use Windows 7 on that same computer, you will purchase a Windows 7 Upgrade license. However, you won't be able to perform an in-place upgrade. In other words, you won't be able to upgrade to Windows 7 on top of XP and keep all your applications and settings "in place." Instead, you will have to perform a Custom Install, which Microsoft describes as follows:
"A custom (clean) installation gives you the option to either completely replace your current operating system or install Windows on a specific drive or partition that you select. You can also perform a custom installation if your computer does not have an operating system, or if you want to set up a multiboot system on your computer."
When you completely replace Windows XP, the installation procedure will not totally obliterate it. In fact, the installation procedure will create a folder on the hard disk called Windows.old and will place the Windows, Documents And Settings, and Program Files folders from your Windows XP installation in it. Your data files will be safe and accessible, but your applications will not.
Regardless of whether you choose to completely replace Windows XP or set up a multiboot system, you are going to have to back up and transfer all of your data, reinstall all of your applications, and reconfigure all of your settings.
3. Explore the multi-boot configuration - When exploring the Custom Install options, you should consider setting up a multiboot configuration. That will place both Windows XP and Windows 7 on your machine, which will be a big advantage as you begin migrating your settings, documents, and applications. More specifically, you can boot into Windows XP to verify settings in XP and then boot into Windows 7 to re-create the same configuration. Once you have everything in Windows 7 exactly the way you had it in Windows XP, you can remove the multiboot configuration, set Windows 7 as the primary OS and remove Windows XP.
4. Plan your backup and restore strategy - Before you move from one operating system to another, you'll want to back up all your data - at least once and maybe twice, on a flash drive or other media, just in case. While it may sound like overkill, having an extra backup will give you peace of mind.
5. Plan your data transfer strategy - To move data from one operating system to another, you will want to use a transfer program that will scan your XP system, pull out all your data and settings, and then transfer them to Windows 7. Fortunately, the Windows 7 Easy Transfer utility can provide this service for you. However, before you perform this transfer operation, it will be in your best interest to have a separate back up copy of your data just in case.
The new operating system will come with two copies of the Windows 7 Easy Transfer. One copy will be on the DVD and the other will be installed with the operating system. Before you install Windows 7, you will run Windows 7 Easy Transfer from the DVD and back up all your files and settings. Then, once you have Windows 7 installed, you'll use it to move all your files and settings to the new operating system. You can learn more about the Windows 7 Easy Transfer by reading the article Step-by-Step: Windows 7 Upgrade and Migration on the Microsoft TechNet site.
6. Inventory your applications and gather your CD's - Since you won't be able to perform an in-place upgrade when you move from Windows XP to Windows 7, you'll have to reinstall all your applications that passed the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor compatibility tests (see #1). It will be helpful to have an inventory of all the installed applications so that you can track down all your CDs or compile a list of Web sites for those applications you downloaded.
7. Become familiar with the User Interface (UI) - The UI in Windows 7 is quite different from the UI in Windows XP, and it offers a lot of new features. As a result, you may be a bit lost on how to complete your basic tasks.
To ease the level of uneasiness with the new interface, you'll want to become as familiar as possible with the new features. One starting point is Microsoft's Windows 7 page. While a lot of the content there is essentially marketing related, it will give you a good idea of what to look for when you actually move into the Windows 7 operating system.
To help you get right to the good stuff, check out:
8. Check for XP Mode Support - If you discover that some of the applications you are currently running in Windows XP are not compatible with Windows 7 (see #1) or you just want to keep Windows XP accessible, don't forget about Windows XP Mode. This virtual environment includes a free, fully licensed, ready-to-run copy of Windows XP with SP3 that runs under Windows Virtual PC in Windows 7.
As you consider the Windows XP Mode, keep these things in mind:
- Windows XP Mode is available only in Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions.
- Your computer must support processor-based virtualization.
9. Ask Questions - You are not the only one making the move from Windows XP to Windows 7, so ask questions and share information you pick up along the way. Contact your River Run Computers representative for their input and assistance on your specific situation.
10. Subscribe to or research Windows 7 newsletters and websites - There are many different sites and newsletters containing information on Windows 7 both from Microsoft and non-Microsoft sites. A simple web search of "Windows 7 News" will provide multiple information websites and user forums. I've done the first step for you. After a quick search I ran across this article from TechRepublic titled "10 Cool Tools In Windows 7".
When it comes to making any kind of significant IT related move, whether its an Operating System upgrade or simply a hardware upgrade, please consult with your River Run Computers representative first. Feel free to contact Eric Torres for more information at 414-228-7474.