Most students spend innumerable hours on their computer, whether getting work done or simply going on Facebook to try to scope out cute classmates. To make that experience more productive and enjoyable, we’re starting a new feature called OS Tips all about tips and tricks to help make your computing lives easier. We’re going to cover all three major operating systems – Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux (most likely Ubuntu), so be on the lookout for new installments of this feature regardless of your OS.

Today, we’re kicking things off with a tip for Windows users.

While many Windows laptops feature functional keys to control hardware like sound and turning on/off your wireless card, today’s OS Tip highlights a hidden yet useful Windows preference pane. Would you like to be able to control all the functions of your Windows laptop at a glance? Wouldn’t it be handy to easily turn off your wireless to squeeze out that extra bit of battery to save your term paper? Thankfully, the engineers up in Redmond thought of just that when they designed Windows Mobility Center, which is available for all laptops running Vista and up.

There are several ways to access Windows Mobility Center. You can either:

  1. Press Windows Key X.
  2. Open Control Panel and double click on Windows Mobility Center.
  3. Open the Start Menu, type mblctr.exe and hit enter.

Regardless of your choice, once it’s open, you can control all manner of functions on your laptop. The screenshot above gives you all the basic details – you can control:

  • The sound slider
  • Your energy profile
  • Turn on/off your wireless card
  • Manage your displays
  • And much more depending on your manufacturer

Another handy feature – if you click on the large icon in the upper left of each box, you can directly access the control panel pane associated with that hardware function. Unfortunately, there’s one last caveat for Desktop users. Sorry, but you can’t access Windows Mobility Center (unless you edit your registry).

So the next time you want to control sound, brightness, or your wireless card, don’t navigate through a bunch of complicated menus. Just fire up Windows Mobility Center and change settings to your heart’s content!

Have you found Windows Mobility Center useful? Are there any additional tips you’ve found with it? Let us know in the comments!