Taking Advantage of the Windows Mobility Center (Windows 7 and 8)

Windows is one of the widely used operating system to individual consumers and it is also popular on mobile computers like laptops, netbooks and tablet PC’s. Back in the days of Windows XP, mobile device users needed to rely on factory set shortcut and function keys in accessing settings that would otherwise take time if accessed manually and these shortcut keys vary from one brand to another depending on the manufacturer’s choice. This creates a sort of confusion to users who tend to switch from one brand to another or even among friends owning different computer brands. Microsoft has seen this problem and starting with Windows Vista, a new feature was included which provides access to different system settings designed for mobile devices that we commonly bring to work or wherever we go.

This new feature is called Windows Mobility Center and is primarily geared towards providing an easy access to important settings and tweaks on your mobile computer so you won’t have to access them from the Control Panel one after the other which takes a lot of time. In this tutorial, you will learn different ways in accessing the Mobility Center and as well as find out the steps needed in tweaking the different tiles that composes it both on Windows 7 and Windows 8. Just read on to find out how these things are done.

NOTE:

Windows Mobility Center is found on Windows 7 versions installed on portable computers like Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, Enterprise and Home Premium but the Home Premium version doesn’t have the presentation tile. On Windows 8, the Mobility Center is available on all versions but of course, you need to use a laptop, netbook, tablet or an ultrabook so you can fully use it.

Getting to the Mobility Center on Windows 8

Unlike its predecessors, Windows 8 does not have the “Start Button” so accessing the Mobility Center is a different process but it is a lot easier compared to Windows 7. To do this, simply follow the steps shown below:

  • Windows 8 has a hidden system menu containing shortcuts to different ¬†sections of the operating system. To access this menu, simply press the “Windows + X” keys on your computer and you’ll see the system menu appear at the bottom-left corner of the screen.

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  • From this menu, you can click on either “Mobility Center” or “Control Panel”, if you choose to click on “Mobility Center”, you will be taken right away to the Windows Mobility Center Window which looks like the screenshot below.

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  • Another way is by clicking “Control Panel” from the same system menu I have shown earlier and once the main “Control Panel”¬†Window opens, click again on “Hardware and Sound” then “Windows Mobility Center” and you’ll arrive at the same Window shown on the screenshot above.
  • One more alternative is by searching for the word “mobile center” from the “Start Screen”. This can be done by going to the “Start Screen” first then press the “Windows Key”. The “Start Screen” will then appear and while you are on it, simply type the word “mobile center” and you’ll see the Search box appear. After typing it, filter the search results by “Settings” and you will now see the shortcut link to “Windows Mobility Center” at the left side of the screen.

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NOTE:

The “Wireless Network” tile is not present on Windows 8 because the system takes care of wireless networks in a different way than Windows 7. However, all the other tiles are the look and work the same as the ones found on Windows 7.

Accessing Mobility Center on Windows 7

On Windows 7, accessing the “Mobility Center” is done by simply going to the “Control Panel” -> Hardware and Sound -> “Windows Mobility Center” location and after doing so, you will see that the tiles would open but it looks slightly different than the one found on Windows 8 (because of the Metro theme) but the tiles looks the same. The screenshot below shows how the Windows Mobility Center looks like on Windows 7.

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  • On the screenshot above, you can see the “Windows Mobility Center” options on top while the ones at the bottom are the options and settings integrated by the manufacturer.
  • Another way of accessing the “Windows Mobility Center” is by using the “Search” feature of the “Start Menu”. To do this, simply open the “Start Menu” by pressing the “Windows Key” and once it appears, simply type “mobility” on the input box and look for the “Windows Mobility Center” shortcut link under the “Programs” category of the search results.

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  • An alternative way which is also the easiest way of accessing the “Windows Mobility Center” on Windows 7 is by simultaneously pressing the “Windows + X” keys on your machine’s keyboard.

How to Use the Windows Mobility Center Tiles

Looking at the Windows Mobility Center screen, you’ll notice that the first two tiles are labeled “Brightness” and “Volume” and both contains a slider knob which you can drag to the left or right to adjust the display brightness and volume.

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If you already experienced using “Power Plans”, you’ll notice that all of them automatically adjusts screen brightness however, adjusting it further from the Windows Mobility Center is a good idea if you want to further save on battery power. On the “Volume” tile, you can use the “Mute” checkbox if you want to mute all sounds in one click.

How to Change Your Power Plan

Moving on to the right of the “Volume” tile is the “Battery Status” tile which shows your computer’s battery level and a drop-down list at the bottom for selecting “Power Plans”. Adjusting power plans help conserve battery power especially when you are travelling or doing work in an area where charging isn’t possible. The “Power saver” plan cuts down on unnecessary aspects of the system to effectively save power while “High performance” puts enough power on all components so your machine can effectively function especially when you are doing games with your computer. The “Balanced” power plan on the other hand ensures good performance and power usage and is good for normal working conditions.

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Connecting or Disconnecting from a Wireless Network (Windows 7)

If you are using Windows 7 then you’ll see another tile which is labeled “Wireless Networks”. I usually use this tile on my Windows 7 computer whenever I need to focus doing some work instead of surfing the Internet. All I do is click on the “Turn wireless off” button and all connections to the Internet are automatically turned off.

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Connecting to a Projector/Secondary Screen

Next to the “Wireless Network” tile (Windows 7) or the “Battery Status” tile (Windows 8) is the “External Display” tile which will help you connect or disconnect from a projector or a secondary screen but before clicking or tapping the “Connect display” button, you first need to connect display device to your computer. Once it is in place, you can click on “Connect display”. On Windows 7, you will see a menu that looks like the screenshot below:

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While on Windows 8, a menu will appear at the right edge of the screen which looks like the screenshot below.

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Here’s what each option does:

  • Computer only/PC screen only- As the label suggests, this option will disconnect the projector/second screen and will stop displaying any image coming from your computer
  • Duplicate- In this option, the second screen/projector will show everything that is on your computer screen.
  • Extend- The second screen/projector will only show the desktop wallpaper and slides. This is the preferred option when doing presentations since it allows the operator to make changes on the computer without displaying it on the second screen/projector.
  • Projector only/Second screen only- Turns off the computer screen and shows everything on the second screen/projector. This is a good option to choose when you are trying to conserve battery power on your computer.

A Convenient Place to Access Different Settings

As you can see, Windows Mobility Center is an effective settings and preferences management section which allows you to adjust different aspects of the system without jumping from Window to another. The second to the last tile labeled “Sync Center” is a big topic to discuss so we’ll discuss it on a different tutorial while the last one labeled “Presentation Settings” is self explanatory which will surely be easy even to novice users. If you have questions regarding the topic discussed on this tutorial please feel free to post them as comments below.