Sure, Windows 7 looks a lot like Vista, but spend a while exploring Windows 7 and you find it's actually crammed with new features.

And while individually these features may seem small, the cumulative effect makes a real difference to your PC productivity.

Following last week's popular list of 10 Windows 7 tips, TechRadar brings you a second guide on how to get the most from your Windows 7 installation - here are 10 more Windows 7 tips, tweaks and secrets that you really need to know.

1. Create and mount VHD files
Microsoft's Virtual PC creates its virtual machine hard drives in VHD files, and Windows 7 can now mount these directly so you can access them in the host system. Click Start, type diskmgmt.msc and press [Enter], then click Action > Attach VHD and choose the file you'd like to mount. It will then appear as a virtual drive in Explorer and can be accessed, copied or written just like any other drive.

Click Action > Create VHD and you can now create a new virtual drive of your own (right-click it, select Initialise Disk, and after it's set up right-click the unallocated space and select New Simple Volume to set this up). Again, you'll be left with a virtual drive that behaves just like any other, where you can drag and drop files, install programs, test partitioning software or do whatever you like. But it's still just a VHD file on your real hard drive which you can easily back up or share with others. Right-click the disk and select Detach VHD to remove it.

The command line DISKPART utility has also been upgraded with tools to detach a VHD file, and an EXPAND command to increase a virtual disk's maximum size. Don't play around with this unless you know what you're doing, though - it's all too easy to trash your system.

2. Auto arrange your desktop
If your Windows 7 desktop has icons scattered everywhere then you could right-click it and select View > Auto arrange, just as in Vista. But a simpler solution is just to press and hold down [F5], and have Windows automatically arrange its icons for you.

3. Really remove the sidebar
At first glance you might think Windows 7 has got rid of the sidebar, but don't be fooled. Gadgets are still hosted by the Sidebar.exe process, it's just that this is now launched automatically when Windows boots. If you don't plan on ever using gadgets then you could delete the Sidebar Registry entry at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run, and recover around 2 MB RAM. That might be a little risky, though, as we're not quite sure what else the sidebar process does in Windows 7. The safest approach is to disable it temporarily by launching MSCONFIG.EXE, clicking the Startup tab and clearing the box next to the Startup entry. Now reboot and test Windows 7 for a day or two to confirm everything is still working, before finally deleting the sidebar Registry entry.

4. Desktop slideshow
Windows 7 comes with some very attractive new wallpapers, and it's not always easy to decide which one you like the best. So why not let choose a few, and let Windows display them all in a desktop slideshow? Right-click an empty part of the desktop, select Personalise > Desktop Background, then hold down Ctrl as you click on the images you like. Choose how often you'd like the images to be changed (anything from daily to once every 10 seconds), select Shuffle if you'd like the backgrounds to appear in a random order, then click Save Changes and enjoy the show.

5. Troubleshoot problems
If some part of Windows 7 is behaving strangely, and you don't know why, then click Control Panel > Find and fix problems (or "Troubleshooting") to access the new troubleshooting packs. These are simple wizards that will resolve common problems, check your settings, clean up your system, and more.