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mookydooky 15th June, 2007 05:43 AM

A Few Vista Tips and Observations.
I've been playing around with Vista for a week now. Overall, I like it. To be honest, I like it a LOT more than WinXP. I think the main reason for this is that I use my laptop a lot more lately than a desktop and Aero is a lot more laptop friendly than WinXP ever was. Anyway, here are some observations.

Start Seatch: I think this might be the single best new feature of Vista after Aero. You type anything into the thing, and it looks for what you want. Lets say you want "Network and Sharing Center." Start typing it in, by the time you get to "and," it'll find it. Let's say you want to change your mouse settings, type in "mouse." Do you want to open a folder you know is deeply imbedded somewhere? Start typing the folder name, it'll find it and show you what's in it. One really useful thing is "ncpa.cpl" which takes you to network connections. For some reason, I can't find it unless I use this.

UAC: For power users, it's annoying and I have mine turned off at the registry level so it won't constantly remind me that it's off. It is however, great if you have kids. A few weeks ago, I ran spyware scan on my kid's computer.... Dang thing found 40 some odd spyware things. UAC should prevent a lot of that of installing themselves. Furthermore, there's a built in parental control so you no longer need 3rd party software like netnanny.

Scaling desktop icons: If you hold down the control button and scroll with the mouse wheel, your desktop icons will scale. DAYAM this is a useful feature. If you work on a hi rez laptop with a 15" monitor running at 1680x1050, this is a welcome feature. I know you could resize your icons in WinXP too, but it was never this easy. Previously, you had to match the thing just right so it took up just the right amount of space and crap. In Vista, it scales to just the right size. BTW, this works in any window. If you want to enlarge the font on your browser, it works the same way. In a folder, same way again.

Files renaming: In WinXP, I always had file extensions shown. This however, was an annoying PITA whenever you changed filenames. You had to retype in the extension every time too. I never understood why MS didn't make it so that only the name portion was highlighted. Anyway, I guess enough people complained about this. Now when you hit rename, it only highlights the name and not the extension. You can still change the extension if you want, but it's no longer highlighted by default.

Dreamscene (only available in Ultimate): I know a lot of people will just say this is just eye candy and nobody needs it. I like it though. In case you didn't know, Dreamscene basically replaces your wallpaper with a movie. The default ones are thing like raindrops on the ground, flowers waving in the breeze and other nature things like that. You don't have to limit yourself with those though. Just stick a .mpg or .wma video in there and it'll play those too. Oh yeah, even if you don't like Dreamscene, the wall paper scaling feature has been much improved from WinXP.

SuperFetch: After the search thing and Aero, this is probably my next favorite feature. Basically, Vista uses background processes to learn your behavior. It studies which programs and files you use the most and at what times, and it preloads them into memory. There are times when I click an icon, and the the dang thing appears instantly. About time somebody came up with this.

Oh yeah, lemme just say, never get Vista Basic. Vista Basic is only capable of running on a single processor. For about $30 more, the Home Premium version can run as many cores or processors as you can stick in the dang thing. Since almost all new CPUs are at least dual core, it would be most annoying to not be able to use a 2nd core with your OS when you upgrade your CPU.

I'll probably have some more stuff to add to this as time goes by. I plan to try out ReadyBoost as soon as I can get my flash drive back from my son. At the same time, I'll try out Bitlocker, which I think is very promising.

chrisbard 15th June, 2007 06:07 AM

Well I'll be damned if is not you man ! Welcome back ! :thumbsup:

Samuknow 15th June, 2007 12:21 PM

This is good stuff. Feel like spinning this up for a review?

It is great to have you back.

Got EpOx 15th June, 2007 02:57 PM

The search feature within the start menu is a definate welcome feature, if i had a more modern computer i would consider running Vista but atm XP is all i need. I must say with Vista it is very hard not to find Aero pretty.

mookydooky 16th June, 2007 07:03 AM

Here's another tip.

I don't like how the power button works. The default setting is to put it in sleep mode. I like the power button to turn the computer off and I like the computer to go into hibernation when I close the lid. Good thing Vista has options to change that.

Here's how:

1. Type in "Power Options" in to Start Search.
2. Under the plan you have selected, click the "Change Plan Settings" link.
3. Near the bottom left, click the "Change Advanced Power Settings" link.
4. Click open the "+Power buttons and lid" box.
5. From there, select the action you prefer for the various buttons and the lid.

BTW, In the Advanced Power Settings" dialog, you can mess around with a lot of other settings. Play around with 'em a bit to find the combination you like.

mookydooky 16th June, 2007 07:11 AM

Unlike previous versions of Windows, Vista has a built in utility to resize partitions. Here's how:

1. In Start Seach, type in "management." That will bring up the computer management console.
2. Click on "Disk Management" near the bottom.
3. On the right bottom of the window, find the partition you want to resize, if you have a lot of disks, you may need to scroll a bit to find it.
4. Right click on the partition. You will see options to extend or shrink the volume.
5. When the dialog pops up, type in the amount you want to extend or shrink the partition by.

mookydooky 16th June, 2007 07:15 AM


Originally Posted by Got EpOx
The search feature within the start menu is a definate welcome feature, if i had a more modern computer i would consider running Vista but atm XP is all i need. I must say with Vista it is very hard not to find Aero pretty.

Before I installed Vista on my laptop, I tested it on my son's computer. It's a Celeron 2.4Ghz. It runs fine. I think memory is more important to run Vista comfortably than CPU power. Also, you'll need a modern 3D video card, but it doesn't have to be very good. My laptop has a ATI X1300, equivalent to desktop X300, in it and it runs Aero just fine.

mookydooky 16th June, 2007 07:23 AM

Another new feature I found useful was the ability to select size for emailing pictures. In WinXP, if you right click on a picture file, one of the options was Send To>Mail Recipent. With Vista, it works the same way, but when you select it, it offers options to resize your photo. The size options are as follows:

Original Size

With newer digital cameras typically capable of 7 to 10 megapixels, this is a useful feature if you just want to send some quickie pix to someone.

Samuknow 16th June, 2007 11:09 AM

Wow, your just a plethora of information.

All good stuff. I wonder if this can get a sticky.

mookydooky 16th June, 2007 04:12 PM

Vista has an option to increase performance on SATA drives. Oddly though, by default, this option is turned off. To turn it on, do the following:

1. Type in "device manager" into Start Search.
2. Open the "Disk drives" tree.
3. Double click on your SATA drive(s).
4. Under the "Policies" tab, check the box that says, "Enable advanced performance."

Vista also allows you to enable write caching for external HDs. Since USB external drives are so popular lately, it's a good option/feature to have. To enable it do the following:

1. Type in "device manager" into Start Search.
2. Open the "Disk drives" tree.
3. Double click on your external drive.
4. Tick the radio box that says, "Optimize for performance"

There is one caveat to this though. You have to stop the device by clicking the "Safely Remove Hardware" icon in the notification area. If you frequently move your external disk around, then perhaps this isn't the best tweak. If however, you've got one plugged into your desktop and unplug it once in a blue moon, then turn it on.

mookydooky 16th June, 2007 04:13 PM


Originally Posted by Samuknow
Wow, your just a plethora of information.

All good stuff. I wonder if this can get a sticky.

Nah, not yet... Wait til there's at least a couple dozen.

mookydooky 16th June, 2007 04:18 PM

Sorting stuff and showing info in Explorer is much more powerful now. Right click on a column header in Explorer and select "more." There's like a 100 or so metadata options in there. Pick and choose the ones you like and check their boxes. Once you have the column showing in Explorer, you can also drag and drop the column headers to place them in the order you like.

mookydooky 16th June, 2007 04:40 PM

Wanna try out Vista for 30 days? Download these two packages:

The first is Virtual PC 2007, basically a virtualization program. It lets you create a virtual PC. The second is a virtual hard disk for virtual PCs with Vista preloaded. According to the compatibility list, I don't see WinXP Home. It appears the Virtual PC program is only compatible with the Professional versions of WinXP.

Daniel ~ 16th June, 2007 04:46 PM

Stickied. ":O}

mookydooky 16th June, 2007 04:50 PM

The new Windows Firewall is a big improvement over the Firewall provided by WinXP. You might need to change some settings to get it work with some programs though. To open the advanced settings window, type in "wf.msc" into Start Seach. Once the advanced settings opens, you can change a lot of stuff, including rules for inbound and outbound traffic.

mookydooky 16th June, 2007 05:22 PM

Vista Ultimate has 15 available language packs in addition to English. To get them, go to Windows Update in the Start>All Programs. The language packs allow you to change the language of the interface. I think each language pack is about 600MB, the download and install takes almost an hour. Be careful with these though.... I downloaded the Japanese language pack just for kicks and changed the interface language.... Took me forever to find the right menu to change it back to English cuz I couldn't read Japanese. Those icons are not as easily recognizable as you might think if you can't read what's written under 'em.

BTW, this is NOT just a simple IME what lets you type in another language. This changes EVERYTHING.

Available languages:

Chinese (Hong Kong SAR) - basically traditional written Chinese
Chinese (Simplified)

chrisbard 16th June, 2007 05:28 PM

Did U know that User Account Control > one of the most annoying things under Vista can be stopped via Control Panel>User Accounts>Turn User Account Control On or Off ?

mookydooky 16th June, 2007 05:32 PM

Increase max downloads in IE7.
IE7 only allows you to download 2 files at the same time from the same server. It's pretty easy to get around this limit. Open the registry editor by typing "regedit" into Start Seach. When the registry editor opens up, navigate to:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER>Software>Microsoft>Windows>Curre ntVersion>Internet Settings

Right click on "MaxConnectionsPerServer" and click on "Modify." Set the value to something bigger than 2 to something like 10.

Then right click on "MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server" and do the same thing.

mookydooky 16th June, 2007 05:34 PM


Originally Posted by chrisbard
Did U know that User Account Control > one of the most annoying things under Vista can be stopped via Control Panel>User Accounts>Turn User Account Control On or Off ?

You can also download the following:

This little program will give you a couple of options for UAC behavior.

mookydooky 16th June, 2007 05:40 PM

Change start up programs with msconfig.
If you want to stop some programs from starting up, you can do it in the system configuration dialog. Type "msconfig" into Start Search.

From there, under the "Startup" tab, you can check or uncheck the programs you don't want running at startup. I like to run my comp lean, so I tend to have only minimal startup options.

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