Next time you’re in an airport, take a closer look at the people sitting around you. See that woman hunched over her laptop, working furiously? That would be me. As a travel writer, I’ve taken cross-continent conference calls, submitted stories from South America and juggled deadlines across ten time zones.
Luckily, Windows 7 gives me the tools I need for proper time management. Whether it’s wrangling Wi‑Fi at 40,000 feet (love that trend!) or emailing from a café on Easter Island, I have everything I need to make working on the go as painless as possible.
1. Work from anywhere with Microsoft SkyDrive
There’s nothing more annoying than realizing that the file you need is stuck on your computer back home. With
SkyDrive you'll have the files you need, wherever you need them. Upload not only your documents and spreadsheets, but your photos, too. Once everything you want is on SkyDrive, you can get to your files from the web, anywhere in the world.
2. Work smart with Office Web Apps
Once your documents and files are on SkyDrive, you can use Office Web Apps to make changes and share your work, all in your browser (no need to download anything—the apps come with SkyDrive). If you’ve used Microsoft Office 2010, then you already know the features, setup, and toolbars that you’ll be using. When you’re working overseas, isn’t it nice to see a familiar face?
I also like the fact that Office Web Apps save your files automatically. So if you lose your Internet connection, you won’t lose your work—or your cool.
3. Connect with coworkers and family
Another lifesaver when I’m traveling: Being able to connect with peers. SkyDrive gives me the ability to share my files and Word documents, so I can receive feedback from an editor, even if we’re separated by two continents.
And while SkyDrive helps with my work, Messenger helps with my homesickness. A quick Messenger chat with a family member when I'm 3,000 miles away goes a long way. My laptop has a camera in it, so I’m able to video chat with my husband every night. And sharing pictures with my friends on Facebook lets them know exactly what corner of the world I’m in.
4. Windows 7 performance improvements
Does it seem that your computer always runs out of battery power just when you need it? Keeping my electronics charged when I’m on the road has always been a problem. That’s why the performance improvements that come with Windows 7 make such a difference. My laptop resumes from Sleep mode quicker than before, so it’s ready to use as soon as the announcement comes over the airplane’s loudspeaker. And when you use a USB device, your computer recognizes it faster than before. That’s great when I’m editing photos.
5. Work offline when you need to
I spend about 70% of my waking hours online. But Wi‑Fi in hotel rooms, conference spaces, and coffee shops can be temperamental. I often save webpages locally on my computer, so my reference doesn’t go away even if my wireless bars do. If you’re using Internet Explorer, all you have to do is go to the Page tab and choose Save As to put it on your desktop.
If you use Microsoft Outlook, you can work offline using Cached Exchange Mode because it stores a frequently updated copy of your mailbox on your computer. That means your data is still available to you instantly, no matter where you are.*
*Cached Exchange Mode requires you to work with a Microsoft Exchange Server email account.
6. Stay secure
On the road, my laptop is a lifeline—which is why I do whatever it takes to keep it secure. Always make sure that you have a strong password, with a mix of numbers and upper- and lower-case letters. And be sure to encrypt your data so that if your computer does disappear, your information remains secure. Learn more security tips.
About the author
Chris Gray Faust is an award-winning travel writer who lives in Seattle with her husband and two cats. When she’s not exploring new places, she reads, cooks, and watches way too much TV.