August 02, 2013, 10:52 AM — They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. But what about old tricks? As a longtime Windows user, I can tell you that occasionally I get so accustomed to doing things a certain way, I forget that there are faster, easier ways.
With that in mind, I've rounded up three right-click tricks you may have forgotten. Or never learned. Either way, you'll be glad you know them. (Note that these are all for Windows 7/8. They may be available in XP and/or Vista as well--I don't recall--but I no longer have those operating systems on which to double-check.)
1. Right-click the desktop for bigger icons
On today's higher-resolution displays, you may find your desktop icons a little small for your liking. If so, right-click any empty spot on the desktop, mouse over View, and then click either Medium icons or Large icons. Presto! Bigger icons.
On my 13.3-inch laptop, which has a rather high native resolution (1,920 x 1,080), the Medium setting is definitely preferable.
2. Right-click Taskbar icons for recent items and shortcuts
See those icons in your Taskbar? Mine include not only Chrome and Explorer, but also Outlook, Word, and Excel.
When you right-click any of them, Windows gives you a list of time-saving shortcuts: recent documents, most-visited sites, new appointment (in the case of Outlook), and so on. In other words, instead of running an app and then going about your business, this lets you choose your business and launch the app at the same time.
It's a small thing, but it's definitely one of my favorite little Windows tricks.
3. Right-click desktop icons to pin to Start Menu or Taskbar
Speaking of icons, when you right-click any icon that's on your desktop, you'll see two options in the list that appears: Pin to Start and Pin to Taskbar.
These are great for putting your favorite programs iin your preferred launching area. For example, some old-school users still like to start with the Start Menu. Personally, I'm a fan of keeping my most-used apps on the Taskbar. This right-click option makes either one a snap.
I realize these are some pretty novice-oriented tips, but as I noted above, not everyone learns this stuff at the start, and not everyone remembers it when they do.
If you have any right-click favorites of your own to share, please do so in the comments!
Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.