Be a Power User

How to Be a Power User

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

"This 'users are idiots, and are confused by functionality' mentality of Gnome is a disease. If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it. I don't use Gnome, because in striving to be simple, it has long since reached the point where it simply doesn't do what I need it to do." - Linus Torvalds, 2005Power users accomplish many times what normal users accomplish more efficiently in less time. You don't have to have the latest most expensive equipment to work efficiently. Power user does not refer to users who consume lots of power or resources. It is only in the last decade that computer software with printed manuals have all but disappeared, and software has been designed to be as simple as possible. Knowledge of networking or programming is not necessary to be a power user!


  1. Seriously consider using the command-line. You can still tweet, instant message, play mp3 (with mplayer), browse the web (with Lynx or Links2), p2p (amulecmd), torrent (rtorrent), image edit (ImageMagick), read feeds (raggle), chat (irssi), ofm (midnight commander), manage downloads (axel, wget) and everything else. Linux and BSD make it easy to use the command-line, whereas OS X and especially Windows don't. actionWindowsWindows Powershell,Mac OS X, Linux, BSD etc.list directorydirlsclear consoleclsclearcopy file(s)copycpmove file(s)movemvdelete file(s)delrmcreate directorymdmkdirremove directoryrdrm -rfchange current directorycdcdcurrent directorycd, chdirpwdsearchfindgrepconcatenatecatcatpermissionschmodchmoddisplay/output textechoechoadd usernet useradduser If you must use a GUI read on to the next step. But the efficiency advantages of the CLI are as follows.
    • If you need to move all folders ending with "photos" this is easy in the command line but difficult and slow in a GUI.
    • Command-line completion is also known as tab-completion and can speed things up.
    • Pipe command-line output into other commands if needed.
    • Shell aliases can be set in Linux.

  2. Consider a tiling window manager (TWM). Most systems use floating window managers where windows aren't automatically aligned and can overlap one another. If you spend a lot of time moving, resizing, maximizing, minimizing, restoring and generally switching windows then a tiling window manager might be for you. A TWM presents multiple windows on one screen aligned in a tile formation. The following is the manifesto of Ion[1], a dynamic tiling window manager with tabs for each frame."So-called “modern desktop environments” converge on total unusability, and present-day mainstream graphical user interfaces in general are far less usable than they are praised to be. Usability simply does not equal low learning curve, and hiding system details from the user, as the Official Truth seems to be these days."KeyTilingfunctionAlt+knext tileAlt+jprevious tileAlt+spaceswitch layout
  3. Ditch the mouse. Use the keyboard. Set up key bindings for everything, basic windows operation and browsing . Learn the key bindings. Familiarise yourself with them.KeyOperating systemfunctionWin+eOpens My Computer in Windows ExplorerWin+fFindWin+mMinimize all windowsWin+dToggle minimizeall windowsWin+rOpen run dialogCtrl+ASelect allCtrl+BBoldCtrl+OOpenCtrl+CCopyCtrl+XCutCtrl+VPasteCtrl+ZUndoCtrl+PgUpNext tabCtrl+PgDnPrevious tabAlt-tabSwitch open windowsAlt+F4Quit appAlt+F5Restore windowAlt+F7Move windowAlt+F8Resize windowAlt+F9Minimize windowAlt+F10Maximize current window.
    • Use application keyboard shortcuts (Vimperator[2] and other Firefox add-ons are useful for this).KeyBrowser FunctionAlt+left arrowBackAlt+right arrowForwardAlt+homeHomeCtrl+LLocation/address barCtrl+kSearch barCtrl+TNew tabCtrl+WClose tabCtrl+PgUpPrevious tabCtrl+PgDnNext tabCtrl+RRefreshCtrl+uView source

  4. Write scripts. You won't become a programmer but scripts help automating common repetitive tasks. In Windows they're sometimes called batch files.
    • If you need to copy photos until you reach a certain number of megabytes, a script is needed.
    • Use browser scripts. Greasemonkey, iMacros and Chickenfoot. Opera supports user javascript.

  5. Use an Orthodox File Manager (OFM). Also known as Commander-like, Midnight Commander is one for command-line users. Learn the keyboard shortcuts[3].KeyOFM FunctionF1helpF2user menu/scriptingF3viewF4editF5copyF6moveF7new directoryF8deleteF9top menuF10quit
  6. If you don't want to ditch the mouse, use mouse gestures. Strokeit (Windows), Opera (Cross platform), gMote (Windows), Easystroke (Linux), Mouse Gestures Redox (Firefox) are all applications.
  7. Turn off any eye-candy that might slow you down.
  8. Choose appropriate software. Don't just use the bundled software just because its bundled, unless its a conscious decision.
    • Choose a web browser, don't just use the bundled one because its bundled.
    • Organize your audio and images with appropriate software designed for this purpose.
    • Don't use a word-processor where a decent plain text editor will do. Use Regular Expressions.
    • For chat use IRC.

  9. Use a job scheduler for regular tasks. In Windows use Task Manager, in Mac OS X use launchd, in Linux/BSD use cron/anacron.
  10. Power users in word processing use styles (or even Latex).


  • Have user accounts. Especially if there are multiple users, but even if you're the only user of a particular computer its better to run as limited user instead of root/Administrator most of the time.
  • Use feeds (RSS/Atom) to receive web updates. Its quicker than visiting multiple websites.


  • Many myths exist about performance[4] including;
    • defragging,
    • turning off services,
    • registry cleaning,
    • memory optimization software tools.

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