Windows Management and Maintenance : The Windows 7 Control Panel (part 11) - Region and Language, System

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14. Region and Language

The Region and Language settings affect the way Windows displays times, dates, numbers, and currency. When you install Windows, chances are good that the Region settings are already set for your locale. This is certainly true if you purchase a computer with Windows 7 preinstalled on it from a vendor in your country or area. The Region and Language applet is found in the Clock, Language, and Region category and is also available in Large Icons or Small Icons view.

Running this applet from the Control Panel displays the dialog box you see in Figure 28. To change the settings, simply click the appropriate tab, and then click the drop-down list box for the setting in question. Examples of the current settings are shown in each section, so you don’t need to change them unless they look wrong. The predefined standards are organized by language and then by country. If you can’t find a standard to your liking, you can always create a customized format by clicking the Additional Settings button, which opens the Customize Format multi-tabbed dialog.

Figure 28. Making changes to the Region and Language settings affects the display of date, time, and currency in Windows applications that use the internal Windows settings for such functions.

15. System

The System Properties dialog box has long been perhaps the single most important part of the Control Panel for determining what’s going on inside your system. Windows 7 has drastically remodeled the look and features of this Properties dialog box in the System applet (see Figure 29 to better show you what’s “under the hood.” Access System from the System and Security category, from Large Icons or Small Icons view, or by right-clicking Computer and selecting Properties.

Figure 29. The System applet in Windows 7 makes it easier than ever to view important information about your system’s hardware, network settings, and performance.

The top of the main System window shows the Windows 7 edition in use. The System section shows the Windows Experience Index, processor and RAM information, and operating system type (32 bit or 64 bit).

Unlike in Windows XP and earlier versions, which made you dig through tabs to find the computer name, domain, and workgroup settings, they’re out front in this version. If you can’t connect to other computers, workgroup or domain name problems are often the culprit. Click the Change Settings button at the right to change this information.


Virtually all “Windows 7-capable” systems on the market can run the 64-bit (x64) version of Windows 7, which enables you to use more than 3GB of RAM and create larger files. Should you? Install the x64 version only if can obtain x64 drivers for your hardware and verify that your favorite programs can run under x64 versions. Although x64 support is much more widespread today than it was a couple of years ago, some hardware and programs still support only the 32-bit version. Digital photography fans in particular should note that 64-bit RAW codecs (necessary to preview RAW files in Windows) are not yet available for some digital cameras, or might be available only from third-party vendors.

Is your version of Windows activated? Look at the Windows Activation section of the dialog box to find out. If you need to change the product key, click the Change Product Key button.

Remote Settings

Click Remote Settings in System’s Tasks list to open the Remote tab of the System Properties dialog box (see Figure 30). Use this tab to configure both Remote Assistance (top) and Remote Desktop (bottom) connections to your computer.

Figure 30. Use the Remote tab to configure Remote Assistance and to permit, deny, or configure Remote Desktop connections.


Network Level Authentication (NLA) is the more secure type of Remote Desktop connection. Windows 7 includes NLA support. If you want to connect a Windows XP client to a Windows 7 client running Remote Desktop with NLA enabled, you must download and install the Terminal Services Client (Remote Desktop Connection v6) on the Windows XP system. The Windows XP system must be running Service Pack 2 or 3. You can also install this update on a Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1.

System Protection

Click System Protection in the System window’s Tasks list to open the System Protection tab (see Figure 31) of the System Properties dialog box. This tab is used to view and create restore points that can be used by System Restore and to launch System Restore. It also lets you select which drives to protect using System Restore.

Figure 31. Use the System Protection tab to manage System Restore.

Advanced System Settings

Click Advanced System Settings in the System window’s Tasks list to open the Advanced tab of the System Properties dialog box. It has four buttons. Three of these buttons, described next, are labeled Settings and are contained within the Performance, User Profiles, and Startup and Recovery sections.

  • The Settings button under the User Profiles heading opens the User Profiles dialog box. This interface is used to manage local and roaming profiles stored on the local computer.

  • The Settings button under the Startup and Recovery heading opens the Startup and Recovery dialog box. This interface is used to configure multibooting actions and how system failures are handled. If you have installed Windows 7 in a multiboot configuration with an earlier version of Windows, you can specify whether to run Windows 7 or the earlier version as the default. You can also specify how long to wait before starting the default OS (30 seconds is the preset value) and whether to specify a time for displaying recovery options. By default, Windows 7 writes an event to the system log in case of system failure and restarts the system automatically. Clear check boxes to disable either or both of these features. During a system failure, Windows 7 also automatically creates a kernel memory dump called MEMORY.DMP in the root folder of the system drive (normally C:). Other debugging operations include no memory dump, a small memory dump (64KB), or a complete memory dump. By default, a memory dump overwrites the previous one unless you disable this feature by clearing the Overwrite check box.

  • The Settings button under the Performance heading opens the Performance Options dialog box.

Adjust Advanced Performance Options

Click the Advanced tab in the Performance Options dialog to view or change processor scheduling or virtual memory settings. By default, processor scheduling is configured to provide best performance for programs. If you are configuring a system used primarily to perform services such as printer spooling, click Background Services.

To change the location and size of the paging file, click Change in the Virtual Memory section of the Advanced tab. This opens the Virtual Memory dialog. By default, Windows 7 automatically selects the location and size of the paging file. To select size or location manually, clear the Automatically Manage Paging File Size for All Drives checkbox. You can then select which drive (or drives) you want to use for paging. To disable the paging file on any drive, click No Paging File, and click Yes on the warning dialog that appears. To set up a system managed paging file on a different drive, click the drive and select System Managed Size. To set up up a custom paging file on any drive, click the drive, click Custom Size, and enter the values for minimum and maximum size. Click OK to continue. You will be prompted to restart your system if you change any of page file settings.


Generally, there’s little benefit to changing the location of the paging file unless you have two or more physical hard disks and the non-system physical hard disk is faster than the system hard disk, or if the system hard disk has limited space (less than 15% of its capacity available).

Data Execution Prevention (DEP)

The Data Execution Prevention tab of the Performance Options dialog box (see Figure 32) configures settings that prevent malicious applications from executing programs in protected areas of RAM. Protected areas of RAM, supposedly reserved for the OS and other programs that are running, can potentially be invaded by malware, which then tries to load and execute itself in the legitimate memory space.

Figure 32. Use the Data Execution Prevention tab to manage DEP.

Environment Variables

The Environment Variables button on the Advanced tab of the System Properties dialog box opens the Environment Variables dialog box. This interface is used to define user and system variables. These include TEMP and TMP, which point to storage locations where Windows can create temporary files. It also defines the PATH, which is the list of folders into which Windows looks to find programs and software components.

Windows Directory Is Overflowing

If the storage volume where your main Windows directory resides is becoming full, you can perform three operations to improve performance and keep the risk of insufficient drive space to a minimum. First, move the paging file to a different volume on a different hard drive . Second, define the TEMP and TMP variables to point to a \Temp folder you create on a different volume on a different hard drive. Third, through Internet Options, define a location for the temporary Internet files within the alternate \Temp folder. After rebooting, the new locations will be in use. However, you may need to delete the old files from the previous temporary file location (typically \Users \<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\). Don’t forget to change permissions on the new \Temp folder to permit access by the group Users.

Using a different hard disk for the paging file and temporary files, particularly if it’s connected to a different ATA/IDE host adapter than the system hard disk or uses the SATA interface, will provide better performance than using a different partition on the system hard disk.

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