The Control Panel in Windows is one of the most useful tools on your desktop. To make it even easier to get there, you can add it to your right-click menu from anywhere with a simple tweak to your registry.
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If your Windows chops extend in any capacity beyond novice, you've no doubt encountered the ever-cryptic Windows Registry, DLL files, User Account Control and other tools with seemingly dark and mysterious powers. Here, we'll explain some of Windows' most confusing features, so you know exactly what's happening when you go to edit them.
Nir Sofer, the intrepid developer behind NirSoft, is always pumping out free and useful tools for Windows. You may not need them all the time, but when it comes to password recovery, network monitoring, or getting intimate with the command line, his site should be one of your first ports of call. Sofer's latest project is OpenSaveFilesView, a utility that reveals most files that have been recently opened or saved on your system.
The default registry editor that comes with Windows does its job with very few bells and whistles, something that can be desirable in a tool that tinkers with the guts of your operating system. Still, there are some features that would make using it much easier, but it's unlikely Microsoft will get around to adding them. Enter Resplendence with its Registrar Registry Manager, which adds bookmarks, regular expression searches and defragmentation tools to your registry-editing arsenal.
Among its many awesome features, Microsoft Outlook allows you to easily map a contact's address using Bing Maps, making it simple to find their location. If you would rather use Google Maps instead, a simple registry edit will fix that.
Sometimes you just need to do a clean install. Unfortunately, the Windows 8 Upgrade can throw you an error when you try to activate the operating system afterwards. Lifehacker reader uncommoner shows us a workaround for this issue.
Microsoft's free antivirus comes built into Windows 8 as Windows Defender, but it doesn't have an option to scan individual files by right-clicking on them. Our friends at the How-To Geek show us how to add it (or any other program) to your context menu.
If your Windows chops extend in any capacity beyond novice, you've no doubt encountered the ever-cryptic Windows Registry, DLL files, User Account Control and other tools with seemingly dark and mysterious powers -- but you may not know exactly what they do. In fact, some of our favourite Windows-related tricks and hacks require the use of these tools. Here, we'll explain some of Windows' most confusing features, so you know exactly what's happening when you go to edit them.