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CONTENTS BASICS .............................................................................................................................................................. 1 INTRODUCTION TO WINDOWS VISTA ............................................................................................................................................. 1 NEW INTERFACE IN WINDOWS VISTA............................................................................................................................................ 2 UPGRADE TO WINDOWS VISTA - OVERVIEW ............................................................................................................................... 10 MIGRATE TO VISTA USING WET .................................................................................................................................................. 11 MANAGE DRIVERS IN VISTA ......................................................................................................................................................... 15 SOLVE PROBLEMS WITH VISTA INSTALLATION ........................................................................................................................... 20 JOIN VISTA TO A DOMAIN ............................................................................................................................................................ 27 CONFIGURE AERO IN VISTA ......................................................................................................................................................... 31 CONFIGURE PARENTAL CONTROLS IN VISTA ............................................................................................................................... 38 SET UP ACCESSIBILITY OPTIONS IN VISTA ................................................................................................................................... 44 APPLICATIONS ................................................................................................................................................ 48 TASK MANAGER IN VISTA............................................................................................................................................................. 48 MICROSOFT MANAGEMENT CONSOLE IN VISTA .......................................................................................................................... 54 SECURITY CENTER IN VISTA ......................................................................................................................................................... 63 CONFIGURE UAC IN VISTA .......................................................................................................................................................... 67 WINDOWS DEFENDER IN VISTA ................................................................................................................................................... 71 FIREWALL IN VISTA ...................................................................................................................................................................... 80 MEDIA PLAYER AND MEDIA CENTER IN VISTA ............................................................................................................................ 97 NETWORKING .............................................................................................................................................. 104 NETWORK AND SHARING CENTER IN VISTA .............................................................................................................................. 104 CONFIGURE TCP/IP SETTINGS IN VISTA................................................................................................................................... 108 CONFIGURE DIAL-UP AND VPN CONNECTION IN VISTA ........................................................................................................... 120 CONNECT TO A WIRELESS NETWORK IN VISTA.......................................................................................................................... 128 CONFIGURE INTERNET CONNECTION SHARING (ICS) IN WINDOWS VISTA ............................................................................. 136 MANAGEMENT ............................................................................................................................................ 139 MANAGE HARD DISKS AND FILE SYSTEM IN VISTA ................................................................................................................... 139 CONFIGURE WINDOWS MAIL IN VISTA ...................................................................................................................................... 146 WORKING WITH WINDOWS MEETING SPACE IN VISTA ............................................................................................................ 152 MANAGE PERFORMANCE IN VISTA............................................................................................................................................. 157 WINDOWS UPDATE FEATURE IN VISTA ..................................................................................................................................... 162 HOW TO USE TROUBLESHOOTING TOOLS IN VISTA................................................................................................................... 164 WORKING WITH BACKUP TOOLS IN VISTA ................................................................................................................................ 168 WORKING WITH MOBILE DEVICES IN VISTA............................................................................................................................. 175 USER ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT IN VISTA .................................................................................................................................. 177 POWER OPTIONS IN VISTA ......................................................................................................................................................... 184 FILE SYSTEM ................................................................................................................................................. 187 ENCRYPTING FILE SYSTEM CONFIGURATION IN VISTA ............................................................................................................. 187 NTFS AND SHARE PERMISSIONS MANAGEMENT IN VISTA ....................................................................................................... 191

Utilize Windows Vista Basics

Basics
Introduction to Windows Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Basics

Windows Vista comes in several editions. Each edition is aimed at particular target audience and each edition has a particular price point.

Before you start
Objectives: learn about main features in certain Vista editions and minimal hardware requirements. Prerequisites: no prerequisites. Key terms: vista editions, starter, home basic, home premium, business, enterprise, ultimate, 32bit, 64bit, hardware requirements.

Vista Editions
Vista editions are:

     

Starter Home Basic Home Premium Business Enterprise Ultimate

Starter
Windows Vista Starter edition does not support domains, Aero graphical user interface, Media Center, hard drive encryption, inbound network connections, and it can not be run on a Tablet PC. This edition supports only a single, 32-bit processor, and allows only three applications to run simultaneously.

Home Basic
Windows Vista Home Basic edition comes in 32-bit and 64-bit version. Home Basic does not support domains, Aero graphical user interface, Media Center, hard drive encryption, and can not be run on a Tablet PC. Home Basic does support parental controls and allows more than three applications open at once.

Home Premium
Windows Vista Home Premium does not support domains. Home Premium supports Aero graphical user interface, Media Center, and it can be run on a Tablet PC. Home Premium does support parental controls and allows more than three applications open at once.

Business
Windows Vista Business supports domains, Aero graphical user interface and it can be run on a Tablet PC. It does not support Media Center and full hard drive encryption.

Enterprise

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Windows Vista Enterprise supports domains, Aero graphical user interface, it can use full hard drive encryption, and it can be run on a Tablet PC. It does not support Media Center functionality.

Ultimate
Windows Vista Ultimate supports all features of Windows Vista Enterprise and Premium.

32-bit versus 64-bit
Windows Vista comes in boh 32-bit and 64-bit editions (except Vista Starter edition). It is possible to run 32-bit edition of Windows Vista on a computer with a 64-bit processor, but it is not possible to run 64-bit editions on a 32-bit processor. The most important advantage of 64-bit edition of Windows is that it allows a computer to use more RAM than the 32-bit edition.

Hardware Requirements
To run Windows Vista our computer should meet (at a minimum) the following hardware specification:

     

1-GHz or faster processor 512 MB of RAM 40 GB of available hard disk space DVD-ROM drive DirectX-capable graphics card with a Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) driver, Hardware Pixel Shader 2.0 support, and a minimum of 128 MB of graphics memory Keyboard and Microsoft mouse or compatible pointing device If we have an Windows XP machine which we want to upgrade, we can use Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor. Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor is a downloadable tool that allows us to determine whether a Windows XP computer is capable of running Windows Vista. We can download it from Microsoft web pages.

Remember
Vista editions are: Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate. Windows Vista Business, Enterprise and Ultimate support domains. Windows Vista comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit editions (except Vista Starter edition). It is possible to run 32-bit edition of Windows Vista on a computer with a 64-bit processor, but it is not possible to run 64-bit editions on a 32-bit processor. To run Windows Vista our computer should meet (at a minimum) the following hardware specification: 1-GHz or faster processor, 512 MB of RAM, 40 GB of available hard disk space, DirectX-capable graphics card with a Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) driver, Hardware Pixel Shader 2.0 support, and a minimum of 128 MB of graphics memory.

New Interface in Windows Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Basics

There are a lot of differences between Vista and previous operating systems. Windows Vista has a greatly redesigned interface. The Windows Vista graphical user interface is three-dimensional and includes animations, transitions, and fades.

Before you start
Objectives: learn about new user interface, new elements and how to configure them. Prerequisites: no prerequisites. Key terms: graphics, customization, sidebar, taskbar, start menu, notification area, control panel, windows explorer, options

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Graphics
Rich graphics, animations, and transitional effects require a graphics card that supports a new graphic driver model called the Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM). These effects are part of the Windows Vista Aero desktop experience and include glass effects, advanced window management features, and a more stable experience through desktop composition. This rich graphical functionality is built on the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) graphics subsystem, formerly called Avalon.

Customization
To customize Vista desktop, right-click on the desktop and select Personalize from the menu. Here we can find many options for customizing appearance and sounds.

Image 131.1 - Vista Personalization Menu

The default Windows Vista (Aero) scheme is active by default if you have a supported video card. Aero allows you to see other items behind your window through a slightly blurred glass effect. If you don't want your desktop to use the default transparent glass, you can choose some other color scheme. There are even advanced color control settings that allow us to disable transparent glass, specify the intensity, and even custom-mix colors and specify color saturation so that we can really get the look we want.

Sidebar
The first thing to notice on the desktop is the Sidebar. Sidebar let's us add small applications called Gadgets to our desktop. If the Sidebar gets in our way, we can easily close it by right-clicking on it and choosing the Close Sidebar option.

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Image 131.2 - Sidebar

Taskbar
The Taskbar, the bar at the bottom of the screen can be locked, or we can turn on auto hide option.

Image 131.3 - Taskbar options

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Image 131.4 - Taskbar Properties

Similar buttons can be grouped together. We can show the Quick Launch and show live thumbnails of programs we currently use. We can use the ALT+TAB command to see live thumbnails, or Windows key + TAB to view opened programs in 3D. To cycle through the Windows 3D view, we can use the arrow/cursor keys or use the scroll wheel on our mouse.

Start Menu
The Start Menu has been redesigned. Our most recently used programs are on the left, and if we click All Programs, all applications installed on our computer will appear in the same area.

Image 131.5 - Start Menu

Image 131.6 - All Programs

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There is a Search tool built-in and this is also the Run dialog box. We don't even have to know the full name of the program we want to run. We can type one to three letters and the search engine will display content that begins with those letters or includes those letters within the body of the name.

Image 131.7 - Search and Run dialog box

We can also customize the Start Menu by right-clicking the on the Task-bar, going into Properties and specify how we want the Task-bar and Start Menu to look.

Image 131.8 - Start Menu Options

Of course, we can always revert the Start Menu back to the classic Start Menu if we don't like the new one.

Notification Area
Notification area is the area in the lower right-hand corner, next to the Clock. In Properties we can choose to hide inactive icons. In Properties we have options for the Toolbars as well. We can add a bunch of Toolbars to the Taskbar.

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Image 131.9 - Notification Area Options

Image 131.10 - Toolbars

Control Panel
Another thing that has been redesigned is the Control Panel. If we don't like the new interface of the Control Panel, we can go back to the Classic View by clicking on the Classic View on the left.

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Image 131.11 - Control Panel

When we click on things in the Control Panel, some of them will open in the same window and some of them will open in new window. For example, if we click on Back up And Restore Center, it will open up in the same window. Now, notice the Breadcrumb bar at the top of the window. If we want to go back to the Control Panel, we can simply do that by clicking the right option in the Breadcrumb bar. We can also click on the down-arrow to see all other places that we can go in the Control Panel. If we, for instance, click on the Security Center, it will open up in the separate window.

Image 131.12 - Breadcrumbs

Windows Explorer
Windows Explorer has also been redesigned. If we go to the Computer, on the left we can see our favorite links and folders, so we can easily browse our hard drives, network, etc. This is where the Breadcrumb bar is very handy. In Windows Vista we are able to sort and group files by various criteria, including date, author, type, and keywords. Keywords use meta-data that is included in files stored on our computer. We can add keywords to our data files, for example, our image files, that Windows Vista will index. Search is integrated into everything now. As we will see, searching files on our computer is now much more efficient. We can easily change the default location of where documents are saved from within Windows Vista. The new Locations tab on the properties page for Documents allows us to move the location. The default Pictures and Music folders can also be moved in the same manner.

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Another function that has been included in the Windows shell functionality is "Open Command Prompt Here." To invoke a command prompt while using Windows Explorer, press the shift key while you right-click the folder where you want the command prompt to appear and select Open Command Window Here from the menu.

Image 131.13 - Open CMD Here

By default Vista does not display classic navigation menus in Windows Explorer. We can turn the Classic menu on or off by choosing the Organize option, then Layout and then choosing Menu Bar option.

Image 131.14 - Menu Bar

Remember
Rich graphics, animations, and transitional effects require a graphics card that supports a new graphic driver model called the Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM). The default Windows Vista (Aero) scheme is active by default if you have a supported video card. Sidebar let's us add small applications called Gadgets to our desktop. We can use the ALT+TAB command to see live thumbnails, or Windows key + TAB to view opened programs in 3D. The Start Menu has been redesigned. There is a built-in Search tool and this is also the Run dialog box. Notification area is the area in the lower right-hand corner, next to the Clock. Another thing that has been redesigned is the Control Panel. Windows Explorer has also been redesigned. This is where the Breadcrumb bar

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is very handy. To invoke a command prompt while using Windows Explorer, press the shift key while you rightclick the folder where you want the command prompt to appear and select Open Command Window Here from the menu.

Upgrade to Windows Vista - Overview
Parent Category: Vista Category: Basics

When upgrading to Vista from previous versions of Windows, we have to keep some things in mind. Before doing an upgrade it is strongly recommended to do a full backup, just in case of any problems with the upgrade. It is also recommended to turn off antivirus software, because Vista can have problems with it.

Before you start
Objectives: learn which Windows versions can be upgraded to Vista Prerequisites: you should know about different ways to install Windows. Key terms: upgrade, in-place, vista, windows editions, version

In-place Upgrade
An in-place upgrade keeps all user applications, settings, files and other user settings. To do in-place upgrade we can use a Vista DVD or do an install across the network. It is important to know which previous versions of Windows can upgrade to Vista. Any version prior to Windows 2000 cannot be upgraded to Vista. Windows 2000 can only be migrated to Vista and cannot be upgraded. That means that we can only upgrade Windows XP which has to be Service Pack 2 at minimum.

Different XP Editions
Different editions of XP can only upgrade to certain Vista editions. XP Home can upgrade to all Vista editions. XP Professional only upgrades to Vista Business, Enterprise or Ultimate edition. XP Media Center only upgrades to Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate because only those two editions of Vista contain Windows Media Center. XP Tablet PC only upgrades to Business, Enterprise or Ultimate. Any 64-bit edition of Windows XP can not be upgraded at all.

Upgrade from Vista to Vista
There are two ways to upgrade from one edition of Vista to another. One is to simply insert the Vista DVD of the higher edition and upgrade. The second is to go the Control Panel where we can find Windows Anytime Upgrade applet trough which we can do an upgrade. When doing an upgrade for one edition of Vista to another, we also have to be careful about which editions can upgrade to which other edition . First of all we can not downgrade editions . For example, if we have the Windows Vista Ultimate we can not downgrade to Vista Enterprise without doing a clean installation. All editions can upgrade to higher versions in the hierarchy, and the hierarchy being Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate. The one exception to that is that Vista Home Premium can only be upgraded to Vista Ultimate. The reason for that is that it contains Windows Media Center and DVD authoring and burning capabilities.

Remember
Windows 2000 can only be migrated to Vista and cannot be upgraded. We can only upgrade Windows XP which has to be Service Pack 2 at minimum. XP Home can upgrade to all Vista editions. XP Professional only upgrades to Vista Business, Enterprise or Ultimate. XP Media Center only upgrades to Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate. Any 64-bit edition of Windows XP can not be upgraded at all. We can not downgrade versions. When

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talking about Vista to Vista upgrade, all editions can upgrade to higher edition in the hierarchy. The hierarchy is Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate. The one exception to that is that Vista Home Premium can only be upgraded to Vista Ultimate.

Migrate to Vista using WET
Parent Category: Vista Category: Basics

We can perform migration to Windows Vista from Windows 2000 operating system and later. We do a migration when we want to transfer settings from old to the new installation, whether they are on the same or different computer. We have two tools available for migration and those are Windows Easy Transfer (WET) and User State Migration Tool (USMT).

Before you start
Objectives: learn where to find WET, how to run it and which options to use in different situations. Prerequisites: you have to be familiar with migration terms and utilities. Key terms: wet, profile migration, transfer types, location types

Windows Easy Tranfer (WET) Example
In this tutorial we will use WET which we can find on Vista installation DVD. We will insert our DVD on a source computer and DVD menu should appear. If autorun is not enabled, browse the DVD and open setup.exe for main menu to run.

Image 161.1 - Vista DVD Menu

On the menu notice the option 'Transfer files and settings from another computer'. When we click that option we will actually run the WET tool.

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Image 161.2 - WET Menu

On the WET menu we can see a list of the things that we can transfer, like multiple user profiles, data files and folders, application settings, Internet Explorer settings and even e-mail messages. On the next screen we can choose how to transfer files to the new computer.

Image 161.3 - WET Transfer Options

We can use an Easy Transfer Cable to do it directly to the other computer (used only if we have two computers). We can also use a network connection to do a direct transfer if we have two computers on the same network. If we don't have two computers we can use a network connection to transfer files to a third-party server. We can also put our data on a removable media such as a CD, DVD or USB drive. In our case we will use the third option.

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Image 161.4 - Location

For this example we will choose an 'External hard disk or a network location' option. This way we can browse to the location where we want to save our data.

Image 161.5 - Location for MIG file

For this example we will simply save the data to our C: drive. Notice that the data will be saved with .MIG extension and that we can also password protect it. On the next screen we can choose what to transfer.

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Image 161.6 - What to transfer

Here we can go to advanced options and select which data from which users we want to transfer. For this example we will simply choose to transfer all data ('All users, files and settings' option).

Image 161.7 - Review

The system will ask us to confirm our selection. When we click the Transfer button, copying will begin.

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Image 161.8 - Transfer

The whole transfer can take some time to finish. When the transfer is complete we have to copy our .MIG file to the destination computer. Then we need to double-click it and follow the instructions. If we use direct transfer using cable or network, file copying is not necessary.

Remember
WET is designed for end users and it is easy to use. The transfer can be done using Easy Transfer Cable, network or by using removable media. We can transfer all users and their settings or only particular users and settings.

Manage Drivers in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Basics

After the successful installation of Vista, we need to make sure that all our devices have appropriate drivers installed. The driver is a software which enables interaction between the operating system and a specific piece of hardware. Drivers are specifically designed for different types of hardware and operating systems.

Before you start
Objectives: learn where to find Device Manager, how to work with devices and their drivers, what different labels mean, and where to find some specific options. Prerequisites: you should know what drivers are. Key terms: driver, device manager, hardware, device, rollback, installation

Device Installation
When installing devices we should follow the instructions that came with the device. Typically the device will have an installation disk that includes the driver and often other software for getting the most out of the device. For some devices Windows will already have drivers built in. For that devices we can simply attach the device, and Windows will automatically install appropriate devices. For some type of devices we will never have installation disks or files. For example, Windows will always detected and configure the appropriate drivers for USB flash drives. To manage devices and their drivers we will use the Device Manager.

Device Manager

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Utilize Windows Vista Basics
To open Device Manager go to Control Panel and select Device Manager from the list. Another way is to rightclick Computer, select Properties and then click on the Device Manager. If we get User Account Control (UAC) prompt, we simply select Continue.

Image 172.1 - Device Manager

In Device Manager we can see all devices attached to our system. Notice that devices are organized by type. We can right-click any device and see the information about the device by going to its properties. Devices that have a regular icon identify devices that are correctly installed. A yellow exclamation mark identifies a device that Vista could not recognize (no driver was found for the device). The Windows has detected the name of the device but doesn't know how to configure it. To correct this problem we can click on the device and search for a suitable driver. To do that, right-click on the device with no drivers and select Update Driver Software. In many cases we will need to download the driver from the manufacturer's Web site or install the driver from the device's installation disc. The drivers on the installation disc are often outdated. To get the latest driver for a device, check the manufacturer's Web site.

Image 172.2 - Right-Click

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Image 172.3 - Search For Drivers

A down arrow identifies a disabled device. Do disable particular device, right-click it and then select Disable. We typically do that for devices that we don't want to use, but we can't physically remove them from the system. When the device is disabled, the computer can't use it. To use a disabled device, enable it in Device Manager. In contrast to Vista, Windows XP will have a red x for disabled devices, instead of down arrow.

Image 172.4 - Disabled Device

For most devices, we will typically physically install the device, then start Windows. The device will be detected and the drivers installed automatically or the Found New Hardware wizard will appear. The wizard will tell us that it needs to find the driver for the device. We have three options when this happens.

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Image - 172.5 - Found New Hardware Wizard

If we choose the first option our computer will search the Windows Update website for a driver that is compatible with the device. The behavior for looking for drivers at Windows Update is controlled by a setting on the advanced system properties. Let's go to Control Panel > System and Maintenance > System > Advanced System Settings > Hardware tab > Windows Update driver settings.

Image 172.6 - Update Driver Settings

In our case Windows will ask us each time we connect new device before checking for drivers. If Windows Update server doesn't have the appropriate driver, Windows will ask us to insert the disk that came with this hardware. As soon as we insert the disk, Windows will automatically search the disk for the appropriate drivers. If we don't have a disk we can try other options. For example, we can download the drivers to our computer, so we will need to tell

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the installation process to browse our computer for the driver software that we've already downloaded. Windows will always check if the driver is digitally signed. If the driver is not signed, by default Vista will prompt us if we want to continue with the installation.

Uninstallation
If we physically remove the device from the system, Windows will automatically remove it from the list in Device Manager. If we attach that device again, Windows will automatically configure it since it already has drivers for it. If we uninstall a device in Device Manager, we can also choose to delete the driver software for that device. In that case when we insert the device again, we would have to reinstall the drivers. Also, if that physical device is still present in the system, rebooting the system or scanning for hardware changes in Device Manager will usually re-detect the device. To prevent a device from being used, disable it instead of uninstalling it.

Troubleshooting
If we are having problems with a device, we can try and update the driver through Device Manager or download the latest driver. If changing a driver causes system instability, we can use the Rollback feature to revert to a previous version. To use the Rollback feature, right-click on a particular device, select Properties, select the Drivers tab and click on the Roll Back Driver button.

Image 172.7 - Driver Options

If we can't log on after changing the driver, we can press F8 during the reboot process and choose the Last Known Good Configuration option. We can also select Safe Mode. In Safe Mode, we can use driver rollback or disable the device. All kernel mode drivers in 64-bit Vista editions must be digitally signed. If we find that we cannot install a driver, it could be because it is not digitally signed.

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Hardware Resources
To see the hardware resources used by devices, in Device Manager we can go to the device properties, and then on the Resources tab.

Image 172.8 - Resource Settings

Here we can see device resources like memory range, I/O range and IRQs. Here we can also see whether there are any conflicts with other devices on our system. By default, resources for plug and play devices are configured automatically. Today we will rarely need to change the hardware resources used by a device.

Remember
When installing new devices, the first thing we should do is follow the instructions that came with the device. In many cases this means running a setup program that came with the device. We can find Device Manager in Control Panel. A yellow mark identifies a device that Vista could not recognize (no driver was found for the device). A down arrow identifies a disabled device. For most devices, we will typically physically install the device, then start Windows. The device will be detected and the drivers installed automatically or the Found New Hardware wizard will appear. If changing a driver causes system instability, we can use the Rollback feature to revert to a previous version.

Solve Problems With Vista Installation
Parent Category: Vista Category: Basics

When troubleshooting Windows installation, we have to identify what is causing the problem and then test a potential solution. For example, if Vista wont install on our computer, we should check that our machine has minimum hardware requirements to run Vista.

Before you start
Objectives: learn what should you check before you try and install Vista on your computer. Also, learn what common problems occur after the installation and how to deal with them.

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Prerequisites: no prerequisites. Key terms: compatibility, device manager, hardware requirements, display problem, driver compatibility, application compatibility

Before Installation
Check Hardware Requirements
There are several ways to check that our computer meets the minimum hardware requirements for Vista. For example, we can use System Information, System Properties or we can use Vista Upgrade Advisor. Vista Upgrade Advisor also checks our software to see if it will be compatible with Vista.

Image 179.1 - Upgrade Advisor

To start Microsoft System Information in XP, use either of the following methods:

 

Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click System Information. Click Start, click Run, type msinfo32.exe in the Open box, and then click OK. To open the System Properties dialog box, use either of the following methods:

 

Right click the My Computer icon on your desktop and click Properties. Go into the Control Panel and double click the System applet.

Check Devices and System Events
Before we install Vista, we should check Device Manager to verify that we don't have any current problems with our hardware. To open Device Manager in Windows XP, go to Control Panel, System, Hardware tab and then click Device Manager button.

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Image 179.2 - Device Manager in XP

We should also check Event Viewer to to verify that we're not having any serious error messages or warnings. To open Event Viewer in Windows XP, go to Control Panel, Administrative Tools and then Event Viewer.

Image 179.3 - Event Viewer in XP

If we find serious error messages we should go to the Internet and investigate how to fix those problems. Great place to check is Microsoft support website support.microsoft.com. Of course, we can also use a search engine like Google. We should also check that hardware devices are attached properly. It's always possible that, for example, memory chips, CPUs or hard drive cables become loose. If we can't boot from Vista installation DVD, we should check our BIOS settings and make sure that the proper boot order is configured. It is also possible that the DVD reader is malfunctioning itself.

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After Installation
Display
Common problems after installation are Display problems. To try and correct visual problems in Vista we can go to Control Panel and then Appearance and Personalization (or Personalization if we are in Classic view).

Image 179.4 - Personalization in Vista

Here we can change settings for color, transparency, desktop background, resolution and other display settings. Display problems are often the result of a video card that does not meet minimum Windows Vista requirements.

Devices
In Vista we should also check Device Manager. To open Device Manager in Vista go to Control Panel, Hardware and Sound and select Device Manager (if using Classic view in Control Panel, select System and then Device Manager).

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Image 179.5 - Device Manager in Vista

In Device Manager we can see devices that don't have drivers installed. To update drivers on a device that we are having trouble with, we can right-click it and select Update Driver Software. Here we can also disable devices that we don't want to use.

Application Compatibility
Another common problem is application compatibility. We can download and use the Application Compatibility Tool Kit (ACT) from Microsoft to determine which applications are compatible with Windows Vista. For any program with which we are having problems, we can right-click, select Properties and go to the Compatibility tab and choose a compatibility mode.

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Image 179.6 - Compatibility Tab

This way we can simulate an environment of some other operating system. For example, if we need to use some legacy application that works on Windows XP and does not work on newer operating system, we can use Windows XP compatibility mode for that application.

Repairing the Installation
If we have problems with booting our Vista machine, we can try and use Startup Repair Tool. This tool is automatically available if the Windows Recovery Environment is preinstalled. But, we can always manually boot from Vista installation DVD and run this tool. Let's do that now. When we boot from Vista DVD, the Installation menu appears.

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Image 179.7 - Installation Menu

In the lower left-hand corner we can select 'Repair your computer' option. This will initiate the Startup Repair Tool. It is going to ask us which operating system to repair, so we choose Vista and click Next. After that, the System Recovery Options window will appear.

Image 179.8 - System Recovery Options

Here we have several options that we can use to repair our installation. We can try to repair startup, attempt to use restore points, attempt to use complete PC restore if we have done complete PC backup before, do memory

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diagnostics on RAM or run CMD prompt. For example, if we run Startup Repair it will perform a number of tests to make sure that our PC is bootable.

Remember
Before installing Vista be sure to check if your computer meets hardware requirements for Vista. To do that you can use System Information, System Properties or Vista Upgrade Advisor. We should also check Device Manager and Event Viewer to verify that we don't have any current problems with our computer. Common problems after installation are Display problems, problems with devices with no drivers installed and application compatibility. If we have problems with booting our Vista machine, we can use Startup Repair Tool to repair our installation. Paths that are mentioned in this article XP

   

Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Information - open System Information Control Panel > System - open System Properties Control Panel > System > Hardware tab > Device Manager - open Device manager Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Event Viewer - open Event Viewer Vista

  

Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization - personalize appearance and sounds Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Device Manager - open Device Manager (if using Classic view, in Control Panel select System and then Device Manager) Startup Repair Tool - available on Vista installation DVD ('Repair your computer' option in main menu)

Join Vista to a Domain
Parent Category: Vista Category: Basics

If we are in a domain environment we will have to know how to join our Windows Vista machine to a doman.

Before you start
Objectives: learn where you can find options to join a Vista computer to a domain. Prerequisites: knowledge about Active Directory environment is recommended. Key terms: domain, settings, vista, group policy, system, joining, workgroup, server

Check Current State
To verify if our computer is on a workgroup or a on a domain, go to the Control Panel and then System (in Classic View). In our case we see that our computer name is WIN-Q2O8O8MDPEP and that our computer is in a Workgroup.

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Image 184.1 - Vista System Properties

While our computer is in a Workgroup, we only have a single, local Group Policy. To open local Group Policy editor, enter gpedit.msc in the Search bar and hit Enter. Select Continue if the User Account Control prompt appears.

Image 184.2 - Local Group Policy Editor

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In local Group Policy editor we can set various settings for our computer and while we are in a workgroup, there are no domain policies that can override our settings.

Join to a Domain
To join Vista to a domain, open the Control Panel, then System. In the 'Computer name, domain and workgroup settings' section click on 'Change settings'. We need to have administrative privileges to join computer to a domain. The System Properties window will open.

Image 184.3 - System Properties

Now, on the Computer Name tab click the Change button. This will open the Computer Name/Domain Changes window. First we will change the name of the computer to ivancic-v. Note that we will not join a domain just yet. Let's click OK now.

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Image 184.4 - Computer Name Changed

Changes will take effect after we restart our computer so we will do that now. Changing a computer name is not a requirement, but it is recommended that all computers in a domain have names that mean something to us. Let's go to System properties again. We will try and join our computer to a utilizewindows.localdomain. To do that we will select the Domain option and enter the utilizewindows.local domain name.

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Image 184.5 - Joining Failed

In our case something is wrong and the joining failed. We didn't even get a prompt for our credentials. A common problem when joining to a domain is problem with DNS settings. In our case a DNS name does not exist. This could mean that our server is not configured correctly or it could mean that we have wrong DNS settings on our local computer. We should check our local TCP/IP properties and ensure that we use a DNS server that is aware of the existence of the Active Directory domain. When joining computer to a domain we have to have domain level administrative privileges. Also, after the joining is successful, any local Group Policy settings that come in conflict with domain settings, will be overridden by the domain Group Policy settings.

Remember
To join a Vista computer to a domain, go to the Control Panel and then System (in Classic View). Then on the Computer Name tab click the Change button. This will open the Computer Name/Domain Changes window. We have to have domain level administrative privileges to join a computer to the domain.

Configure Aero in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Basics

We have four user interfaces available in Vista. The first is the Classic interface which is similar to Windows 2000 and previous operating systems. This interface will give us good performance in Vista. It is also good for backward compatibility.

Before you start
Objectives: learn what is Aero interface, what is required to run it and where you can find Aero configuration options. Prerequisites: no prerequisites.

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Key terms: aero, color, display, graphics, settings, video, features, performance

Vista Basic Interface
Windows Vista Basic interface is similar to XP. It is designed for maximum compatibility and is available in all editions of Windows Vista.

Vista Standard Interface
The Windows Vista Standard interface is like the Aero interface without the glass effects. Also, we can't use Flip 3D or live thumbnails. It provides smoother window handling than the Vista basic interface. Vista standard does require a video card capable of WDDM (Windows Display Driver Model) and the DirectX 9. The Windows Vista standard interface is not available in the Vista Starter edition and it's the default interface for Vista Home Basic.

Vista Aero
The Windows Aero interface has the transparent glass design, smooth animations, graphics stability, Flip 3D and live thumbnails. It is not available in Home Basic or Starter editions. Video card must support WDDM, have at least 128MB video RAM, support DirectX 9.0, Pixel Shader 2.0 and the color has to be set to 32 bit.

Start Menu
In addition to Aero, the new thing in Vista is the Start Menu. The Start Menu no longer has expanding menus and it has integrated Search. The Search box is now also the Run dialog box.

Sidebar
The Sidebar provides a way to display information to which we desire quick and easy access. It is made up of small programs called Gadgets. Gadgets can display virtually anything, including weather forecasts, notes, etc.

Indexing
Vista indexes certain locations on our computer. By default, Vista builds an index of all files on the computer, including e-mail, data files, programs, media files, events, tasks and contacts. Those settings can be customized by going to Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Indexing Options. Here we can select default indexing locations, select which file extensions we would like to index or we can rebuild indexing. The Search is typically fast because it is not searching the complete hard drive but instead is looking through an index which contains all of the data you can search as criteria, including file name, author, creation date and tags.

Aero Features
In our example, we have one window opened. If we move our mouse above the taskbar, over the respective program, we will see a thumbnail of running program. This is called Live Thumbnails and they help us to figure out which program we want to switch to.

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Image 191.1 - Live Thumbnails

We can still use ALT+TAB where we will see live thumbnails as well. Vista displays those windows in real time.

Image 191.2 - ALT +TAB

We also have Flip 3D feature. Flip 3D comes up when we press Windows key and the Tab key. We can keep pressing Tab key to flip trough all windows.

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Image 191.3 - Flip 3D

Customization
We can customize video settings by going to the Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Personalization. We can also open this window by right-clicking anywhere on Desktop, and then selecting 'Personalization'. Here we can alter various settings regarding our appearance, and also sounds. Let's first check Display Settings.

Image 191.4 - Display Settings

This window will show us monitors that are currently plugged in into our computer. In our case we have two monitors that have been detected. To show image on both monitors we have to select the monitor which is not active, and then check the 'Extend the desktop onto this monitor' option. We can also drag monitors from left to right and from right to left. We would do this if the actual layout of our monitors is different from the one shown on this window. If we are unsure which monitor we are looking at, we can click the 'Identify Monitors' button, and a big number will be shown on the monitor to tell us which monitor it is. The 'This is my main monitor' option identifies the monitor where the Start Menu and the Taskbar information show. When we select particular monitor, we will see the settings that apply to that monitor, like the resolution and the color depth. By changing the resolution we actually change the amount of information that is shown on the screen. A higher resolution makes images on the screen smaller, but it allows us to see more information on the screen. A lower resolution makes items larger. When configuring resolution for LCD monitor, we will typically set the resolution to the native resolution that's supported by the monitor to get the best results. CRT monitors usually support multiple resolutions, so we can choose the one that fits best for us. Remember that Aero is not supported if color is below 32 bit.

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Another thing that we can manage in 'Personalize' window is the Theme. A theme is a predefined look for Windows. For Aero to function properly the theme must be Windows Vista. If we switch to some other theme, the Aero will not be available. Notice that we can browse for custom themes that have been saved as theme files.

Image 191.5 - Theme Settings

To customize our theme we can go to Windows Color and Appearance.

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Image 191.6 - Color and Appearance

Here we have the 'Enable transparency' check box and we can also control the intensity of that transparency. We can also change the color of the windows by picking one of the available colors or create our own color using the color mixer. We can also change the intensity of the selected color. Another option that we can change is Desktop Background.

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Image 191.7 - Desktop Background

Here we can choose the graphic that shows on the background on our desktop.

Windows Experience Index
Aero functionality requires significant processor, memory, graphic card, and disk drive resources. Windows Experience Index is a tool that measures how well a computer's hardware and software can respond to Vista's functions. The measurement is expressed in a base score. The higher the base score, the better our computer responds to Aero's functionality. Each hardware component receives an individual sub score. Your computer's base score is determined by the lowest sub score. The test is performed on processor (calculations per second), memory (RAM - memory operations per second), graphics (desktop performance for Aero), gaming graphics (3D business and gaming graphics performance), primary hard disk (disk data transfer rate). Typically, a computer with a base score of 3.0 or higher can display all Aero functionality. Each sub score ranges from 1.0 to 5.9, with a full point indicating a significant difference. As hardware technologies improve in quality and capacity, the sub score range will increase. To view the base score go to the to the Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Performance Information and Tools. A base score of 1.0 is assigned to any computer that can upgrade to Windows Vista. This allows basic performance with operating system and applications. PCs with scores of 2.0 to 2.9 will run Vista but not be Aero capable. A score of 3.0 is the minimum specification needed to run Windows Vista Premium features, including Aero features. Also we can run Media Center with standard definition TV and basic graphical games. A score of 4.0 represents very good performing PCs which is capable of running high-definition video, high resolution monitors or dual monitors. A base score of 5.0 or higher is given to systems with top-end hardware which is capable of running fast moving games with rich graphics, 3D modeling, high-end multimedia and high performance applications.

Problems

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Sometimes it can happen that some visual features are being turned off automatically. The possible reason can bee that a program that we are running is not compatible with Windows Aero color scheme. Also, it is possible that our computer does not have enough memory to run all of the programs we have open as well as run the Windows Aero color scheme. To improve display quality we could reduce the number of opened programs or windows, avoid running too many graphic-intensive programs at the same time, reduce the monitor resolution, change the color scheme to Windows Aero Basic, turn off automatic resizing in programs that aren't designed for high-DPI display or upgrade to a more powerful video card.

Remember
Four user interfaces available in Vista are Classic, Basic, Standard and Aero. Aero is not available in Home Basic or Starter Vista edition. Aero features include The transparent glass design, smooth animations, graphics stability, Flip 3D, live thumbnails, etc. Typically, a computer with a base score of 3.0 or higher can display all Aero functionality. Paths that are mentioned in this article

 

Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Indexing Options - path to the indexing settings Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Personalization - various settings when it comes to appearance

Configure Parental Controls in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Basics

We can use Parental Controls in Vista to protect children, other computer users, and our computer against offensive and unsafe Internet content and games, as well as set time limits and to log user activity.

Before you start
Objectives: learn where can you configure Parental Controls, and which restrictions can be set. Prerequisites: no prerequisites. Key terms: block, parental, controls, rating, games, web, level, account, allowed, programs, restriction, activity

Availability
Parental controls are designed for controlling home users with standard accounts. Parental Control is available in Windows Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, or Ultimate. Parental controls are not included in the Business or Enterprise editions of Windows Vista. Also, when you connect a computer using Windows Vista Ultimate to a domain, the Parental Controls are by default no longer accessible. We also have to have at least two user accounts - an administrator account for the parent and a standard user account for the child. Parental Controls are configured by someone using an administrator account, and apply only to standard user accounts. Administrator needs to be protected with password. There are four main things that we can restrict for our computer users.

Logon Hours
The first thing that we can control is the logon hours. We can restrict what times of day the user is allowed to access our computer. If a user tries to log in to Windows Vista outside the allowed window of time, the login will fail. If user login stretches outside the time allotment, the user is automatically logged off.

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Web Access
We can also control Web access, which means that we can configure 'block' and 'allow' lists for certain websites. We can also set web restriction level to high, medium or none. Web restriction level of 'high' is designed only for children. It is going to block all websites except those designed for children. Web restriction level of medium will block unrated contents and malicious websites. In web restriction area we can also block file downloads. Malicious software (also known as malware), adware, and viruses are often downloaded by unknowing children or inexperienced computer users. When limiting browser settings, the browser itself does not matter (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, and so on).

Games
One way to restrict games is rating based system using the ratings designed by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). There are different ratings and the first one is Early Childhood rating EC. This rating means that the game is designed for those ages three and older. Second rating is Everyone or E which is designed for those ages six and older. Everyone 10+ or E10+ is designed for those 10 and older. Teen or T is designed for 13 and older, Mature (M) for 17 and older, and Adults Only or AO is not intended for anyone under the age of 18. We also have the option to block games with no rating. Rating settings are cumulative, which means that, for example, AO rating will include all other ratings, or M will include EC, E, E10+, T but not AO. Another way to block games is content-based. We can block games with inappropriate sexual content, violence gambling etc. We can also block specific games installed on the system.

Programs
We can also restrict specific programs from being used. We simply specify the path to the program that we want to restrict. If the user attempts to access restricted sites, he will be prompted for the admin credentials. This allows us to allow the user to do specific tasks. As administrators and parents we can do activity reporting and find out what websites our users are going to, look at their e-mails, Instant Messenger, and we can look at what media were they looking at. There are some legal issues here. If we are dealing with a child, then we have to make sure that we are their legal guardian. These parental controls could be used in a small business environment, but the computer can not be a member of a domain. In this case we also have to ensure that we are not violating user rights.

Configuration
To configure Parental Controls we can go to Control Panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > Parental Controls.

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Image 201.1 - Parental Controls

Remember, parental controls only work with standard user accounts. If the second account also has administrative privilege we can not assign parental controls to that account. Also, our administrative account has to be password protected. Now, we need to choose a user on which to set up parental controls. In our case we will select Kim.

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Image 201.2 - Selected User

The first thing to do is to turn on Parental Controls. We can also choose to turn Activity Reporting to collect information about computer usage. Next, we can filter out what websites they are allowed to go to, specify what time of day they are allowed to log on, we can restrict games and specific programs. First, let's block some websites by clicking on the Windows Vista Web Filter.

Image 201.3 - Web Filter

Here we can allow all websites or block some websites. We can setup specific lists by clicking on the 'Edit the Allow and block list'. Here we can also select to only allows websites which are on the 'allow' list. We can also block web content automatically were the browser will attempt to figure out the rating level and then block sites based on the rating level. The default restriction level for automatic blocking is Medium. This will block unratable content, mature content, pornography, drugs, hate speech and weapons. The High restriction level will block all web content except websites approved for children. We can also select the None level, which will remove any restrictions. If we select Custom we can choose categories that we want to block. Here we can also block file downloads. Next, we can configure Time Restrictions. This way we can configure exact time when the Kim is allowed to use our computer. We can simply click and drag the hours we want to block or allow. Blue color means blocked.

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Image 201.4 - Time Restrictions

Let's configure Game Controls. We can block all games or block or allow games by rating and content types. We can allow games with no rating or block them, and specify what level of rating the child is allowed to play. We can also block games based on content. We can also block specific games.

Image 201.5 - Game Ratings

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Next, we can block specific programs. In this window we simply check which programs we want to block.

Image 201.6 - Allowed Programs

Next, we can check Activity Monitor for Kim. We can use activity reports to display information about what was done online and offline, including visited Web sites, instant Messenger recipients, downloads and accessed programs.

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Image 201.7 - Activity Report

Remember
Parental controls are designed for controlling home users with standard accounts. Four main things that we can restrict are logon hours, web access, games and programs. Parental Controls can only be applied to standard user accounts. Parental Controls are not accessible in domain environment. Paths that are mentioned in this article

Control Panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > Parental Controls

Set Up Accessibility Options in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Basics

Windows Vista has a number of Ease of Access settings available to help users who are visually impaired, hearing impaired, physically impaired or cognitively impaired.

Before you start
Objectives: learn where and which options can you configure to make your computer easier to use. Prerequisites: no prerequisites. Key terms: easier, mouse, keys, keyboard, access, accessibility, settings, ease, pointer, recommendation, control

Ease of Access Center
Place to configure accessibility settings is the Ease of Access center in Control Panel.

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Image 208.1 - Ease of Access Center

The top part of the screen lists quick access to common tools. For example, we have the Magnifierwhich can help somebody who is visually impaired. This tool creates an enlarged view of the area around the mouse pointer.

Image 208.2 - Magnifier

We can also use Narrator tool which reads English text on the screen including menu and button text. We can also start On-Screen Keyboard. Users who have trouble using the keyboard can use the mouse pointer to press keys.

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Image 208.3 - On-screen Keyboard

We can also set up high contrast which reduces eyestrain and makes things easier to read. If we are not sure where to start we can click on 'Get recommendations to make your computer easier to use'.

Image 208.4 - Recommendations

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In this wizard we simply answer all questions and we will get recommendations to make our computer easier to use. In addition to these tools we can choose various settings that make the computer easier to see, easier to use without a mouse or keyboard, or to make the mouse or keyboard easier to use. For example, we can increase the font size to improve readability, or change the mouse settings such as the cursor behavior or the mouse button response. Special keyboard settings for accessibility include the Sticky Keys (use Shift, Ctrl, or Alt in combination with other keys by pressing one key at a time), Filter Keys (ignore repeated keystrokes), Toggle Keys (associate sounds with Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Scroll Lock keys) and Mouse Keys (control the mouse pointer with the number keypad).

Remember
Features which we can use to make our computer more accessible are Magnifier, Narrator, On-Screen Keyboard and High Contrast.

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Applications
Task Manager in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Applications

Task Manager is very helpful when we have problems with processes which are frozen, or if we need to check current resources utilization.

Before you start
Objectives: learn how to use Task Manager in Vista. Prerequisites: you should know about Task Manager in general. Key terms: task, manager, application, process, service, user, network, performance, information

Open Task Manager
In our case we will open Task Manager by right-clicking on Taskbar and selecting Task Manager option. There are 6 different tabs which we can use to check different things about our computer.

Applications Tab
In this tab we can see all opened applications which are shown on the Taskbar, with the exception of the Task Manager itself. In our case we only have Windows Media Player opened, so we only see one entry in the list. Notice the status of the application - it is 'Running'.

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Image 195.1 - Applications Tab

Each time we open an application we will get a new entry in the list of running applications. If our application is not responding, we can select it and then click the End Task button. We can also start new applications by clicking the New Task and entering the name of the program we want to run.

Image 195.2 - New Task

In our case we have entered 'wmplayer' which will open Windows Media Player.

Processes Tab
You will notice that there will always be many processes that are running even though we don't have any application running and showing on the Taskbar.

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Image 195.3 - Processes Tab

For example, taskmgr.exe is the process associated with Task Manager itself, and wmplayer is the process of the application which we have previously open. In this tab we can see information about the running process such as the CPU percentage and the memory that it's using. From here we can also end the process, for example if a process isn't responding. We can do that by selecting the desired process and then pressing the End Process button.

Services Tab
The Services tab shows services on our computer.

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Image 195.4 - Services Tab

For example, the DHCP is a service that registers and updates IP addresses and DNS records for our computer. If this service is stopped, this computer will not receive dynamic IP addresses and DNS updates. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

Performance Tab
The Performance tab gives us a snapshot of information about our computer.

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Image 195.5 - Performance Tab

We can see a meter that shows us the percent of use of our CPU along with a graph. If we had multiple CPUs installed we would have multiple graphs. If we notice that the CPU usage is constantly high, we should reduce the amount of workload on our it. Here we also have information about how much system memory is currently being used, along with a graph that shows memory usage.

Networking Tab
The Networking tab shows us information about our network connection. In our case we are currently sending and receiving small amount of data over our network link.

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Image 195.6 - Networking Tab

Users Tab
The Users tab shows us the users who are currently connected to our computer. To disconnect or log off a user, simply right-click it and then select the appropriate option.

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Image 195.7 - Users Tab

Remember
Using Task Manager we can close unresponsive applications, end processes, run and stop services, check computer performance, check network utilization, and see logged on users.

Microsoft Management Console in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Applications

The Microsoft Management Console (MMC) is a tool developed by Microsoft which provides a consistent interface for management tools.

Before you start
Objectives: learn where to find and how to use MMC in Vista Prerequisites: you have to know what is MMC in general. Key terms: computer management, snap-in, console, mmc, service, monitor

Run MMC
We can open MMC by going to the Start Menu and typing in 'mmc' in the search menu.

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Image 198.1 - Empty MMC

This way we will open a blank MMC. To work with our computer we need to add snap-ins. To do that we can go to the File menu and then select Add/Remove Snap-ins.

Image 198.2 - Snap-ins

Snap-ins are programs that we can add to the Management Console to manage a part of our computer. For example, we can add Computer Management. To do that select Computer Management and click Add. After that we need to specify whether we want to see events on this computer or remote computer.

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Image 198.3 - Local or Remote Computer

In our case we will select Local computer and click Finish. Let's also add Disk Management andLocal Users and Groups.

Image 198.4 - Selected Snap-ins

When we are finished adding snap-ins we can click the OK button. The selected snap-ins will appears inside the Management Console.

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Image 198.5 - Console1

There are three different parts of the Management Console. The left side shows us a tree view of the different snap-ins and option within each snap-in. By expanding any snap-in we can see options that we can configure in that snap-in. In our example we clicked on the Disk Managementsnap-in.

Image 198.6 - Disk Management Snap-in

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Notice how the middle pane changed based on what we selected on the left hand side. Let's take a look at another example, Local Users and Groups. When we select an object in the middle the Actions pane on the right changes to show the types of tasks that we can perform for that specific object.

Image 198.7 - Local Users and Groups

We could save this console as a preset console by going to the File menu and then selecting Save As. That way when we open it again we would have these same snap-ins already added.

Computer Management Console
In many cases we will probably use predefined consoles that ship with Windows. One common one is Computer Management. To open Computer Management, right-click Computer, and choose Manage. This opens the Computer Management pre built MMC Console.

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Image 198.8 - Computer Management Console

This console has several snap-ins that have already been added to it. For example, Event Viewer shows us events that have taken place on our computer. We can Use Event Viewer to view logs about programs, system events, and security. Each entry can be listed as a warning, error, or information event. There are three groups of logs in the Event Viewer. The Application log contains events such as application installations, un-installations, and application errors. The System logcontains a list of events such as system modifications, malfunctions, and errors. The Security logcontains a list of events such as security modifications and user login events. If we browse to theWindows Log and then go to Application, we can see a list of events that have occurred on the system related to the applications. Also, if we select an event we can see more information about what it was.

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Image 198.9 - Events

If we have a problem with our PC, it is a good idea to check system related events in Event Viewer and look for errors. Another snap-in that is included in Computer Management is Device Manager. In Device Manager we can see a list of devices within our computer, organized by type.

Image 198.10 - Device Manager

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By right clicking on a device and going to it's properties, we can see additional information about that device and we can manage the details of how it operates. We can use the Device Manager to add, remove, or update device drivers for hardware, to enable or disable devices and to view properties of devices. Another predefined snap-in is Reliability and Performance Monitor.

Image 198.11 - Reliability and Performance Monitor

Here we can see the statistics about how our computer is working. We can see the CPU utilization percentage, disk use, network usage and memory information. A counter identifies a specific statistic, such as % Processor Time or % Disk Free Space. We can add or remove counters to customize the statistics you can see. Real-time data are displayed in a graph. To save statistics we have to use use a data collector set, since Performance Monitor does not save any data by itself. Under Reliability Monitor we can see a historical data about our computer. Reliability Monitor shows an historical chart that identifies when software installs/uninstalls and failures have occurred. By clicking on a day, you can view the changes to the system that have affected its stability. Here we can also see our system stability index that ranges from 1 to 10 (10 being the most stable). The stability rating is affected by application, hardware, Windows, and other failures.

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Image 198.12 - Reliability Monitor

Another snap-in that's within Computer Management is a Services snap-in.

Image 198.13 - Services

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A service is a program that runs in the background that provides some kind of functionality for the system. For example, a DHCP service enables us to register and update IP addresses. By looking at the services we can see the status of these various services. In our case the DHCP service is started and the Startup type is Automatic.

Image 198.14 - DHCP Service

In this window we can also stop a service that is already running. In most cases we need to be careful that we do not stop services that are required for the system.

Remember
We can open empty MMC and add snap-ins to it, or we can use predefined Management Consoles which already have default snap-ins added to it. Predefined consoles provides most of the functions that we will need to work with when we are troubleshooting and managing our computer.

Security Center in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Applications

The Windows Security Center is a central place to check various security applications that are being monitored on our computer.

Before you start
Objectives: learn where to find Security Center and which settings can be monitored trough it. Prerequisites: no prerequisites. Key terms: security, firewall, center, updates, settings, automatic, malware, software

Firewall
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To open Security Center we can go to Control Panel > Security > Security Center. Security Center monitors four different kinds of settings. The first thing that we can see is Firewall.

Image 230.1 - Firewall

Firewall is a system or software designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network or computer. In our case we are using built-in Windows Firewall and it is actively protecting our computer by default. We can turn it off or on. Of course, we can also use any other Firewall as well. If we use a third-party Firewall we should use the Security Center to identify which Firewall is running. Also, when we are on a domain, it is possible that we find Firewall turned off. This is typical because Firewall settings are set trough domain.

Automatic Updates
Automatic Updates are also monitored to make sure that we always get the latest updates from Windows Update.

Image 230.2 - Automatic Update

Automatic Update checks for, downloads, and installs critical updates for our computer. The default setting is to check download, and install updates automatically every day at 3:00 a.m. We can customize the frequency and the schedule of automatic updates. The second option is to download updates but not install them. We must manually install any necessary updates in this case. The third option is to check for updates, but not download them or install them. The fourth option is to turn off updates.

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Malware Protection
By default Windows Defender is actively protecting our computer against Spyware and other malware.

Image 230.3 - Malware Protection

In our case we can see that we do not have any antivirus software installed on our computer. This can a big security issue so we will fix it. We are going to install Microsoft Security Essentials which is free antivirus software. After the installation, in Security Center we can see that the virus scanning is on.

Image 230.4 - Antivirus Installed

Malware is any program that is harmful to our computer and it includes viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and spyware. While some of those programs only collect Internet browsing information, others locate and expose important personal information, as well as cause harm to computer components such as a hard drive. Security Center monitors programs used to eliminate these dangers, including antivirus and malware agents. Windows Defender helps protect against slow performance and security threats caused by spyware and other unwanted software and is monitored by Security Center.

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Other Security Settings
Here we have Internet security settings for Internet Explorer and User Account Control.

Image 230.5 - Other Security Settings

In our case we don't have any warnings. All security settings are set to to their recommended levels. We can toggle UAC on and off. By turning UAC off, Vista will not prompt for administrative credentials before performing an action which may affect performance (such as security settings or new software installations).

Left Menu
From the menu on the left we can go directly to the Windows Update, Windows Firewall, Windows Defender and Internet Options. Also, we can change the way Security Center alerts us in case of problems.

Image 230.6 - Alerts

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Typically it will notify us and display the icon in the notification area. If a computer is member of a domain, many of the security settings are likely managed by a network administrator. If this is the case, status indicators might not be displayed.

Remember
Things that are monitored trough Security Center are Firewall, Automatic Updates, Malware Protection, Internet Security settings and User Account Control. Paths that are mentioned in this article

Control Panel > Security > Security Center - path to the Security Center

Configure UAC in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Applications

The purpose of User Account Control (UAC) is to reduce the exposure and attack surface of the operating system by requiring all users to run in a standard user mode instead of using administrator credentials. This way user is logged on with least privilege. If the user needs to do something with administrative privilege they are prompted for a password. Privileges are escalated for that one instance.

Before you start
Objectives: learn how to configure User Account Control (UAC) feature in Vista Prerequisites: you have to know what is UAC in Windows. Key terms: user, uac, administrator, account, credentials, prompt, uac, token, privileges

Access Token
When a user logs on to the system, an access token is generated for the user. The access token controls the type of actions that the user can perform on the system. The access token identifies the user account as either a standard user or an administrator. Certain actions can only be performed by a user with an administrator access token. Let's say that we log on to Windows Vista as a standard user and we try to install some application or edit some important system settings. Let's go to Start, right-click Computer and then select Manage. We will get UAC prompt asking us to provide Admin password. The standard user token is used to attempt to perform all tasks for both standard users and administrators. If standard user rights are not sufficient to perform the task, the system requests privilege elevation. The standard user is prompted to provide administrator user credentials (username and password). This process is referred to as Prompt for credentials.

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Image 231.1 - Admin Credentials

If we install some application with admin credentials, it does not mean that we can run it without admin credentials. Notice the window shield icon on the System Restore shortcut telling us that we are going to be prompted.

Image 231.2 - System Restore Icon

Any time we see that shield we will be prompted. Also, we are prompted for admin password every single time we use a particular piece of software. Instead of double-clicking the software we can also right-click it and select Run as Administrator. It is the same thing.

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Image 231.3 - Run as Administrator

If we log on to Vista as an administrator, UAC acts a little bit differently. The difference when we are administrator is that we are prompted for consent and not for credentials. This is called Admin Approval Mode. The administrator user is asked whether the administrative token should be used to perform the task. Because the administrator has already logged on with the username and password, this is a simple Continue or Cancel question. This process is referred to as Prompt for consent.

Image 231.4 - Admin Approval Mode

In our case we tried to run System Configuration. All we have to do is click Continue. As administrators we still see the shield icon and we are prompted for credentials. This feature of UAC helps protect the system when an administrator user account is used by running all processes using the least administrative privileges necessary.

Secure Desktop
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Prompting for credentials or consent activates the Secure Desktop. With the Secure Desktop, the Desktop and all active applications are darkened, and the prompt appears over the shaded desktop. We must respond to the prompt before we can continue with the requested operation or return to the desktop.

Turn UAC Off
UAC can be turned off, but it is not recommended. To turn it off we can go to Control Panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > User Accounts.

Image 231.5 - Admin User Account

Here we have an option to turn User Account Control on or off. If we turn it off here it will be turned off for all users on the machine.

UAC Behaviour
We can change how UAC acts in our Local Group Policy. To open group policy editor enter 'gpedit.msc' in Run menu and hit Enter. Let's go to Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > Security Options. Here we can find UAC options.

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Image 231.6 - Security Options

We scrolled down to the bottom and we can see 9 different UAC settings. As administrators we can control the behavior of the elevation prompts for standard users and administrators. We can select, for example, to elevate without prompting or to only elevate files that are signed and validated.

Remember
UAC is a feature in Vista that helps minimize the dangers of unwanted actions or unintended software installations. We will see Prompt for credentials when a standard user tries to install some application or tries to edit some important system setting. If we log on as an administrator we will be prompted for consent and not for credentials. Prompting for credentials or consent activates the Secure Desktop which forces us to respond to the prompt. UAC can be turned off, and we can edit UAC behaviour trough Group Policy.

Windows Defender in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Applications

In Windows we should always have some type of software that will protect us from the spyware and other security threats. Windows Defender will help us do just that, and it is offered by Microsoft for free.

Before you start
Objectives: learn where to find and how to configure Windows Defender in Vista Prerequisites: no prerequisites. Key terms: software, defender, scan, program, information, real time, system, spyware, alert, action, security

What is Windows Defender
Windows Defender replaces the Microsoft anti-spyware beta software and is installed in Windows Vista and Windows 7 by default. It is also available as a free download for XP installations verified with WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage). Windows Defender helps protect against slow performance and security threats caused by spyware and other unwanted software. It has a database of spyware definitions which is similar to antivirus definitions for antivirus programs. Those definitions help Windows defender to detect spyware on our machine.

Updating
By default, at 2 a.m. Windows Defender will go to the update server and make sure that it has the latest definitions. We can also manually check for definitions.

Real-time Monitoring
Windows defender also includes real-time monitoring agents to help protect our PC. Real-time protection alerts us when spyware or potentially unwanted software attempts to install itself or run on our computer. It also alerts us when programs attempt to change important Windows settings. Real-time protection uses security agents that monitor specific system components and software.

Real-time Agents
There is an agent for IE configuration that keeps track of changes made to our browser security settings. Also there are agents for IE downloads and add-ons such as ActiveX. There is real-time agent for auto startup programs designed to eliminate the danger of spyware running without our knowledge. Defender checks the list of applications configured to run when we start our computer. There are real-time agents for system configuration

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(monitors security-related settings in Windows so that spyware cannot collect personal information), services and drivers (they perform essential software and hardware functions and Defender monitors and protects so that spyware cannot gain access to them), Windows add-ons (monitors software utilities for Windows so that spyware cannot collect and transmit our online activities), application execution (monitors applications as they start, checking for suspicious activity that may run in the background) and application registration (monitors registered applications, making sure malicious software does not start without our knowledge). By default Windows Defender does a quick scan at 2 a.m. each day. We can modify the automatic scan frequency, schedule, and type or manually initiate a scan. The results of the scan are shown in the message center (the Home screen for Defender). We can configure Defender to notify us in the System Tray when a real-time threat is detected.

Automatic Scanning
Automatic scanning checks files on our computer. Defender can run Quick scan, Full scan and a Custom Scan. A Quick scan checks hard drive locations which are most likely to be infected by spyware. A Full scan checks all files on the hard disk, the registry, currently running applications, and all other critical areas of the operating system. A Custom scan checks only the drives and folders that we specify.

Alert Levels
Alert actions define what to do when a security threat is detected. Each alert is classified with an alert level that describes the seriousness of the potential threat. Alert levels are Severe, High, Medium, Low and Not yet classified. Severe level warns us about exceptionally malicious programs, similar to viruses or worms, which negatively affect our privacy, the security of our computer and damage our computer. We should remove this software immediately. High level warns us about programs that might collect our personal information, damage our computer by changing settings, typically without our knowledge or consent. We should remove this software immediately. Medium level warns us about programs that might affect our privacy by collecting personal information or make changes to computer that could negatively impact our computing experience. We should review and consider removing this software. Low level warns us about potentially unwanted software that might collect personal information about us or our computer or change how our computer works, but is operating in agreement with licensing terms displayed when we installed the software. We should review the alert details or check to see if we recognize and trust the publisher of the software. 'Not yet classified' warns us about programs that are typically benign unless they are installed on our computer without our knowledge. If we do not recognize the software or the publisher we should review the alert details to decide how to take action.

Prompts and Actions
When a real-time agent detects a threat we may get prompted to manually inspect the notification and decide on the best course of action to take. We can respond to those prompts in four ways. We can ignore the warning message, remove the software, quarantine the software and choose to always allow. 'Ignore' takes no action. The program is left on the system, and it will be detected the next time the system is scanned or the software is run. 'Remove' deletes the program from your computer. Quarantine prevents the program from running by creating a backup of the program and removing it from the system. Quarantined items will not be reported in future scans. Use the Quarantined items list to view items in quarantine. From the list we can restore a program (which allows us to run it again) or remove it from the system.

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'Always allow' lets the program run anytime without further prompts. Future scans will not warn us of software added to the Allowed items list. Removing the item from the list does not delete it, but will cause Defender to detect it again. When we are reviewing an item after a warning or a scan, we must review the item details before we can select to quarantine or always allow the program.

Defender in Vista
We can open Defender in Vista by going to Control Panel > Security > Windows Defender.

Image 234.1 - Defender

From this window we can manually scan our computer. We can select to do a Quick scan, Full scan or Custom scan. From custom scan we can select which files and folders to scan.

Image 234.2. - Scan Options

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Image 234.3 - Custom Scan

Options
To check automatic scan settings we can go to Tools and then Options.

Image 234.4 - Options

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As we can see, our computer will be scanned around 2 a.m. every day. We can change those settings as we like. It is recommended to check for updated definitions before scanning. Also, we can select to apply default actions to items detected during scan. Default actions are set below.

Image 234.5 - Default Actions

Here we can choose the default action that we want Defender to apply when items with certain levels are detected. If we scroll down again, we can see real-time monitoring agents that are running.

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Image 234.6 - Real-time Monitoring

We can turn them off or on. Scrolling down we can find other options relevant to scanning.

SpyNet
Let's go to the Tools and then Microsoft SpyNet. The SpyNet community is an online Microsoft community that allows us to see if other people have downloaded and installed certain software. This may help us when trying to decide whether to trust downloaded software or not. SpyNet also allows our computer to send Defender information to Microsoft for use in analyzing software.

Image 234.7 - SpyNet Options

Joining SpyNet with a basic membership sends information about detected software and the actions we took to Microsoft. Most (but not all) personal information is excluded. We will not be notified of software that has not yet been analyzed. Joining SpyNet with an advanced membership sends more information to Microsoft, which might include additional personal information (although this information will not be shared). We will be notified of software that has not yet been analyzed.

Quarantine
If we go to Tools and then Quarantined items, we can see which programs are prevented from running until we choose to restore them or remove them.

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Image 234.8 - Quarantined Items

If we go back to Tools, and then to Allowed items, we can see which programs are always allowed to run.

Image 234.9 - Allowed Items

Software Explorer

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From Tools we can open Software Explorer. Software Explorer displays information about software on our system, including programs that start with the computer boot process, programs running on screen or in the background, programs connected to the Internet (useful for spyware and malware, such as a Trojan horse, because they may create an unwanted Internet connection, passing personal data or downloaded unwanted software), and Winsock service providers (programs that provide low-level networking features on the computer).

Image 234.10 - Software Explorer

By default, list of programs is sorted by Publisher. We can also sort those programs by startup type by rightclicking on any program and selecting 'Startup Type'. When we select particular program, on the right side we can see additional information about that program.

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Image 234.11 - Selected Software

When we select particular software, we can remove it or disable it by clicking on the appropriate buttons below. If we select the Currently Running Programs category, we can select particular software and end it by clicking the End Process button.

Alerts
When Windows Defender finds suspicious item it will warn us. Depending on the alert levels we can get different warnings and choose different actions.

Image 234.12 - Severe Alert

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Image 234.13 - Medium Alert

For best protection, we should always keep the definition files up to date. Defender can check for new updates every time a system scan takes place. Windows Defender also uses Windows Updates to automatically download definition files. Non-administrators can use Defender and take actions on software (such as Ignore, Remove, or Quarantine). To run a program in the Quarantined items list, we must restore it on our system. When we run it, Defender will identify it again as a potential security threat. When detected, then we can choose Always Allow to add the program to the list of allowed items so that we can run it again in the future without a prompting. We can review past actions taken by Windows Defender through the History screen, or check for Defender events in Event Viewer. In a corporate environment Group Policy can be used to manage Windows Defender settings on domain members.

Remember
With defender, we can select to do a Quick scan, Full scan or Custom scan. It is recommended to check for updated definitions before scanning. We can select default actions for items detected during scan. The SpyNet community may help us when trying to decide whether to trust downloaded software or not. Quarantined items are prevented from running until we choose to restore them or remove them. Software Explorer displays information about software on our system. When Windows Defender finds suspicious item it will warn us. Depending on the alert levels we can get different warnings and choose different actions. Paths that are mentioned in this article

Control Panel > Security > Windows Defender - path to the Defender in Vista

Firewall in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Applications

Windows firewall allows us to control the flow of traffic to our network interfaces. Firewall has inbound rules for traffic that will be allowed through the firewall from the outside world, and outbound rules which are concerning traffic going from inside to outside. Also, we can have connection specific rules, which are specific to the network interface.

Before you start
Objectives: learn where to find and how to configure Windows Firewall in Vista. Prerequisites: no prerequisites. Key terms: firewall, rule, network, settings, profile, traffic, exception, allowed, user, port, advanced

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Default Configuration
The default behavior of Windows Firewall in Vista is like XP Firewall. That means that all outbound connections are allowed and the replay traffic is allowed back in. However, all externally initiated traffic coming to the Firewall is blocked. The difference between the XP version of the Firewall and Windows Firewall in Vista is that in XP there were no outbound rules. There was no way to control outbound traffic. Now, in Windows Firewall we can control outbound traffic. Outbound blocking is off by default, so we need to use the firewall MMC snap-in to configure that. We can make exceptions to allow certain traffic through the Firewall. For example if we are hosting a Web server or FTP server behind the Firewall, we can allow those exceptions trough the firewall. To work with Windows firewall with advanced security, we need to use the Windows Firewall MMC snap-in. Here we can get into great detail when customizing the firewall.

Network Location
Great new feature is the ability of blocking the traffic based on the network location type. There are three options for network location type: a domain profile, public profile or a private profile. If we are at work and logged on to an Active Directory domain, we are in the domain profile. In situation like this, it is likely that our Firewall will be turned off to make it easier for administrators at corporate environment to manage our computer. Public profile means that we are connected to a public network and we want to protect ourselves, for example, on the Internet. Private profile is used when we're not connected to the Internet, perhaps at home or some other small network. Based on the profile we're in we will have different Windows Firewall settings. We can also configure settings specifically for each profile.

MMC Snap-in
At the Firewall MMC Snap-in we can create very detailed inbound and outbound rules. We can filter our view by profile when we want to work with specific profile, we can enable or disable existing rules, we can require the use of IPsec for certain rules and we can restrict what users and computers are allowed to use. We can also import or export our policy settings from or to other computers. In MMC we also have real-time monitoring capabilities. We can also configure ICMP exceptions. ICMP is a protocol used for common network diagnostic tools such as ping andtracert. By default, incoming ICMP requests are blocked. We can enable Edge Traversal. Edge Traversal allows the application or service to be accessible from outside of a Network Address Translation (NAT) device. We can configure connection-specific rules such as different port exceptions for different interfaces. For example, we can allow Remote Desktop on the wired interface while keeping it blocked on the wireless interface.

Rules
Rules are still based on protocols port numbers and programs. We can specify rules that only apply to certain range of IP addresses. We can also customize them to only apply to certain profiles.

Common Firewall Exceptions
File and Printer Sharing is used to share files stored locally on the computer as well as printers with other users on the network. This exception is useful when we need to share media or other files stored on or printers directly connected to our computer. By default it is disabled, but if we turn on File sharing in Network and Sharing Center, Windows automatically enables this exception in the Firewall. The Network Discovery exception enables our computer to see and be seen by other computers on the network. This is useful when accessing information on the network on other computers. The enabled status depends on

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the current network profile. This feature is controlled through the Network and Sharing Center and if modified, it will change the status of this exception in the Firewall. The Performance Logs and Alerts exception allows non-local computers to view and manage Performance Logs and Alert services, viewable in Windows Firewall with Advanced Security. This is useful for network administrators to remotely troubleshoot performance issues. The Remote Administration exception allows remote administration tools to work through Windows Firewall, including tools that use Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), remote procedure calls, and DCOM. The Windows Remote Management exception allows remote management of the computer by a web-based protocol called WS-Management. The Remote Assistance exception allows users to view and sometimes control remote desktops. By default this exception is disabled, but is automatically enabled when Remote Assistance is enabled or when a user sends a Remote Assistance request for the first time. The Remote Desktop exception allows a remote user to log on and access the desktop of a computer, allowing access to all programs and files on the computer. This is disabled by default and must be manually enabled. The Windows Media Player exception allows users to receive streaming media over an IP network. The Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service exception allows users to share media on their computer with other network users.

Example Configuration
There are two main areas where we can configure the Windows firewall. The first is the standard view for Windows Firewall. For that we can go to Control Panel > Security > Firewall. Here we can see if our Firewall is turned on or off and change those settings.

Image 235.1 - Windows Firewall

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We can see that inbound connections that do not have an exception are blocked, which means that any externally initiated traffic coming in is blocked unless we have an exception. Also, by default notification will be displayed when a program is blocked. It would be a good idea to turn that off in corporate environments, so we don't bother end users with that information. We can also see that our network location is Private network. Firewall will change its settings based on that location type. Let's click on 'Change settings'. On the General tab we can see some common options like to turn Firewall on or off.

Image 235.2 - Firewall Settings

We can turn on our Firewall with or without exceptions. We would select 'Block all incoming traffic connections' option when we connect to less secure networks. When we select that, all exceptions will be ignored and we will not be notified when Windows Firewall blocks programs. Typical we will leave it to 'On'. We can see which programs or services are allowed trough a Firewall on the Exceptions tab.

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Image 235.3 - Exceptions Tab

On the Exceptions tab we can see a list of programs and ports that are allowed or not allowed trough the firewall (checked programs or ports are allowed). The Exceptions list is initially created based on the services originally installed on our computer. Each time a program attempts Internet access it is added to the list but not allowed unless we grant permission. We can select any entry in the list and click on the Properties button to get more information on what it does, but not in great detail. For example, let's do that for File and Printer Sharing.

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Image 235.4 - File and Printer Sharing Properties

On the Exceptions tab we can also add our own programs or ports which we want to allow trough the Firewall. To add a program click on the 'Add program...' button.

Image 235.5 - Add Program

If the program is not on the list we can browse for it. Also, Notice the 'Change scope...' button.

Image 235.6 - Scope

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In the Change Scope windows we can specify exactly which computers or computers form certain networks are allowed to use particular software. If we select, for instance, the 'My network (subnet) only' option, only computers from our local subnet will be allowed to use our software. On the Exceptions tab we can also add specific port numbers by clicking on the 'Add port...' button.

Image 235.7 - Add a Port

We simply enter the application name, enter the port number which the application is using and select the transport layer protocol (TCP or UDP). Here we can also change scope for that particular port. On the Advanced tab we can see network connections on which we have enabled our Firewall.

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Image 235.8 - Advanced Tab

Advanced Configuration
All settings mentioned until now are enough for end users. Advanced users should configure Windows Firewall with Advanced Security. We can find those advanced features in the MMC console. Enter mmc in search menu and hit enter. Empty MMC will open up. From the File menu select 'Add or Remove Snap-ins', select 'Windows Firewall with Advanced Security' and hit OK. We will manage our local computer. The following windows will appear.

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Image 235.9 - Firewall With Advanced Security

As we said before, Firewall settings change based on the network location type. Overview window shows us how our firewall will behave in various profiles. Of course, all these settings can be managed trough Group Policies. If we scroll down, we can see that we can set up IPsec connections here.

Image 235.10 - IPSec

Here it is referred to as communication authentication or Connection Security Rules, but actually we are configuring IPsec here. IPsec is used to secure IP traffic from one computer to the other. Notice that on the right-hand side of the Console windows we have Actions. We can import and export all our firewall settings. Also, here we can find the Properties button. We can also go to properties if we right-click on the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.

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Image 235.11 - Firewall Properties

In the Properties window we can customize settings based on profiles. Notice the Domain, Private and Public Profile tabs. In each profile we can specify the Firewall state (on or off). For example, common settings for Domain Profile could be that the firewall is turned off. This is the case because administrators manage our Firewall from central location. However, in Private and Public profiles we want to have our Firewall turned on. For each profile we can set some customized settings, so let's click on the Customize button.

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Image 235.13 - Custom Settings

In the Custom Settings windows we can set how notifications are displayed, or how to respond to multicast or broadcast network traffic. Also, we can select how to merge local rules and rules set trough Group Policy. Let's go back and check out Logging.

Image 235.14 - Logging

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Logging is great for troubleshooting. The default log file is called ' pfirewall.log' and we can find it in%windir%\sysstem32\LogFiles\Firewall\pfirewall.log. We can change the default size limit of the file, and what to do with dropped packets and successful connections. In the fourth tab we can see IPsec Settings.

Image 235.15 - IPSec Settings Tab

Let's go back to Domain Profile and turn off our firewall for that profile. When we go back to the Overview window we can see that the Firewall is turned off for Domain Profile.

Image 235.16 - Firewall Turned Off on Domain Profile

We assume that we have some kind of enterprise firewall protecting our whole network in this case. On the left-hand size we select to customize our Inbound and Outbound rules. Let's select Inbound rules.

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Image 235.17 - Inbound Rules

By default, all externally initiated traffic is blocked unless we have made an inbound rule exception. In contrast, outbound rules are wide opened by default which means that any traffic is allowed out. Now, notice that each rule in Inbound Rules are several times in the list. That's because settings are set for different profiles. Let's try and customize some rule. Let's select Netlogon service, right-click and select Properties.

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Image 235.18 - NetLogon Service

We can see if it is enabled or not and short description. On the General tab in the Action section we see IPsec related configuration. Also, important tab is Users and Computers.

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Image 235.19 - Users and Computers

This is where we can configure which computers and users are allowed to use this rule. On the Protocols and Ports tab we can see which protocols and which port this rule applies to. On the Scope tab we can set which IP addresses are allowed to use that particular service. On the Advanced tab we can select to which profiles and which interfaces does this rule apply to. Since there are some settings that we can't modify because this is a predefined rule, we might want to create our own rule. To do that simply right-click on Inbound Rules and select New Rule, or select New Rule option from the Actions pane. New Inbound Rule Wizard will open.

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Image 235.20 - Rule Wizard

In the first step we have to select what type of rule we want to create. Our rule can control a program, port, some predefined connections or we can create custom rule. In our case we will select Port and click Next.

Image 235.21 - Protocols and Ports

On the next screen we have to select our protocol, TCP or UDP. We also have to specify port numbers (if our rule doesn't apply to all ports). We will just enter some example port, choose TCP and click Next. On the next screen we set what to do if the traffic meets specified conditions. In our case we will block the connection and click Next.

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Image 235.22 - Action

On the next screen we select which profiles does this rule apply to. We will select all profiles and click Next.

Image 235.23 - Profiles

On the next screen we can name our rule and give it short description. In our case we named it Example Block Rule. After that we can click Finish. Notice that in the rule list, our rule has little red icon, which means that it will block the traffic that meets this rule.

Image 235.24 - Example Block Rule

Disabled rules are grayed out. Let's disable our rule now by right-clicking it and selecting Disable Rule.

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Image 235.25 - Example Block Rule Disabled

Outbound rules function exactly the same way, we just have to set them up.

Remember
Advanced users should configure Windows Firewall with Advanced Security. We can find those advanced features in the MMC console. Firewall settings change based on the network location type. For each network profile we can set customized settings. We can import and export all our Firewall settings. The default log file is called 'pfirewall.log'. By default, all externally initiated traffic is blocked unless we have made an inbound rule exception. In contrast, outbound rules are wide opened by default which means that any traffic is allowed out. Since there are some settings that we can't modify because this is a predefined rule, we might want to create our own rule. Rules with red icon are blocking rules. Green icons represent rules which allow traffic. Disabled rules are grayed out. Paths that are mentioned in this article

 

Control Panel > Security > Firewall - end user application which can be used to configure Firewall %windir%\sysstem32\LogFiles\Firewall\pfirewall.log - default location of the log file called pfirewall.log

Media Player and Media Center in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Applications

Knowing how to work with or configure media players in Windows is not of crucial importance for computer administrators, but nevertheless, we should know how do default players look and how to work with them.

Before you start
Objectives: familiarize yourself with the look and feel of Media Player and Media Center in Vista. Prerequisites: no prerequisites. Key terms: media, tv, center, player, windows, content, setup, extender, play, wmc, options

Windows Media Player
Windows media player allow us to download and play digital music, play audio CDs, rip music from CDs, burn audio CDs, listen to Internet radio, watch digital video, sync with portable devices, organize media content and play lists. We should be careful with security settings because Windows media player can download and run scripts and read media streams from websites. Windows media player can also play enhanced contents. We can also control security based on Internet Explorer zone settings. To run WMP we can go to Start > All Programs > Windows Media Player.

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Windows Media Player

Notice that when we open WMP, we see our library with all our music by default. The media library organizes digital media on our computer. WMP can go to the Internet and get album covers, song names and other information about our music. We can enable media sharing in the Media Player properties. We can do the same thing through the Network and Sharing Center. Once the sharing is enabled, we can share media with users on the same computer or with users on the same network. Media Player can monitor specific folders on our computer, so when we add media content to any of the monitored folders, the content is added to the library automatically. By default, Media Player will monitor all of our personal folders. We can select other types of media in our library by clicking on the down arrow on the Library tab.

Library Tab

Notice that we can see video files, pictures, recorded TV, and play lists. Using WMP we can also rip audio CDs which we have purchased.

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Rip Tab

We can also change some advanced rip options.

Rip Options

With WMP we can also burn audio CDs and DVDs. CD burning is available in all versions of Vista, and DVD burning is only available in Home Premium and Ultimate editions. We can also sync our media with removable devices. There are also a bunch of other options to play with in WMP. One of the important ones are privacy and

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security options. We can use the settings on the Privacy tab to control how Media Player uses the Internet, which includes cookie settings, problem reporting, sending the player ID, etc. On the Security tab we can allow scripts embedded in media, enable rich media streams and change Internet zone settings.

Security Options

Interesting options are also on the DVD tab. From here we can set playback restrictions and set default languages to use when playing DVDs.

DVD Options

Protected Content

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Protected content or protected media uses licences or usage rights, also known as Digital Rights Management (DRM) to prevent playback and distribution of media. Without proper media rights protected media can not be played on our computer. When we purchase protected media, media rights are downloaded automatically with the content but are stored on our computer separately from the audio and video files. To view the rights on some media we can open its properties and view the Media Usage Rights tab. If there is nothing in the box, the media is not protected or we don't have usage rights on our computer.The downside of usage rights is that there is no way to back them up. Because of that there is always a chance that we lose usage right. Common way to retrieve them is to go back to the store where we purchased media in the first place.

Windows Media Center
Windows Media Center includes extra features. It is only available in Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate editions. It provides additional support for the online media portal where we can take a look at free, premium and subscription-based online content. We can also download movies on demand. Windows Media Center also has a live TV support. We can watch live TV if we have a tuner card installed. We can also record and playback TV. We get one TV stream per one TV tuner card. For example, if we have one TV tuner card, we can record a TV show while watching another previously recorded video. To record one TV program while watching another live TV program, we must have two TV tuner cards (one for each live TV channel feed). In Windows Media Center we also have better support for DVD (we can burn DVDs). DVDs are manufactured to play only in certain countries or regions. We can change the region of our DVD drive properties, but we can do that only a certain number of times before the setting becomes permanent. If we would like to play and burn DVDs, but we don't have Windows Media Center, we can purchase a separate MPEG-2 decoder.

Extenders
The extender accesses digital media on our PC through a network connection and plays that content on the TV. If we have a PC running Windows Media Center, we can get media content from that PC to other devices such as TVs, by using extenders feature. In that case, extender is a TV configured to accept media from Windows Media Center. To send media to other devices we have to go to the extender (the TV), and run a setup program which will connect back to the PC running Windows Media Center. Then we will have to enter eight digit code which will be provided by the extender and enter that digit code in the Windows Media Center, where we will continue the installation of the extender. Because of the availability of wireless networks, we can port our media files using wireless connection to the extender and have our media content available on any supporting device. We can also use wired network if necessary. Each TV requires its own extender. We can connect up five extenders to our PC. Also, we have to ensure that Media Center Extenders is allowed to go trough our firewall. When using wireless connections, we must use an infrastructure wireless setup. Ad hoc wireless networks are not supported. Media Center includes a Network Performance Monitor that tests the network to see if it can support media playback. To open WMC we can go to all programs and then Windows Media Center. The first time we run it, we will see a welcome screen in which we can choose to run setup now or to run it later. In our case we will selest "Custom setup" option.

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WMC Setup

When we click next, we will be warned that we will need to complete required setup and optional setup in order to fully utilize Windows Media Center.

Steps

On the next screen we will be asked to view privacy statement. When we click next again we will be asked to help improve WMC by sending anonymous reports about WMCs performance. In our case we will choose not to join this program. When we click next after that, we will have an option to connect to the Internet to download content like cover art for albums and DVDs, music and movie information, TV Program Guide listings and other Internet services. In our case we will choose "Yes" for that feature.

Connect to the Internet

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That are all the required components to set up our Windows Media Center. When we click Next, we will get to the optional setup. Optional setup includes setting up our speakers, music, pictures, and video libraries. In our case we will not configure this, we will select the "I am finished" option. After that we will get to the WMC interface.

Optional Setup

WMC interface is designed for remote control, but we can easily move trough menu by using the arrow keys on our keyboard. You will notice that you can go up and down, but you can also go right and left on particular section. When we enter some menu item, we can hit the backspace key if we want to go back. To fully utilize WMC we have to have TV tuner card. This will enable us to watch and record TV signal on our computer by using WMC. To add an extender device we can go to the Tasks > add extender. There are a bunch of other options to play with in WMC. We will not cover them here since it is not not of crucial importance for computer administrators to know how to configure WMC.

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Networking
Network and Sharing Center in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Networking

In Windows Vista we can access and configure all networking settings using Network and Sharing Center. We can use it to check the status of network connections, connect to a network, view a graphical representation of network connections, and diagnose and repair network connectivity issues.

Before you start
Objectives: learn what can you do with Network and Sharing Center in Vista. Prerequisites: no prerequisites Key terms: sharing, location, device, discovery, center, file, folder, share, media

Network and Sharing Center
This is a centralized location to control all aspects of networking. We can use it to check the status of network connections, connect to a network, view a graphical representation of network connections, and diagnose and repair network connectivity issues. There are four main areas. One is Common Network Tasks, the second is the Network Map, the third is Network Connection Customization, and the fourth is the Sharing and Discovery Control. Sharing and Discovery area allows us to enable or disable many features of networking. For example, Network Discovery.

Network Discovery
Network Discovery allows our computer to discover others and others to discover our computer. When Network Discovery is on, our computer can see other network computers and devices, and it is also visible to other computers and devices. We can also specify if we're going to allow Printer Sharing, File Sharing, or Media Sharing. When Printer Sharing is on, people with network access can use printers attached to our computer. When File Sharing is on, files stored on our computer are accessible to people on the network. We should use this method of sharing if we prefer to share files directly from any folder on our computer without copying or moving them to the Public folder, and if we require more control over who we share files with on the network. The thing is that there are two ways of sharing files on our network. One way is using standard File Sharing, where we can set shared folders and appropriate permissions. A new feature in Vista, designed to make it easier for end users to share their information is called Public Folder Sharing.

Public Folder
Public Folder Sharing is a way to share files with other people on the network. These files are stored in one central location on our hard drive, in C:\Users\Public. We should use this method of file sharing if we prefer the simplicity of sharing files from a single location on our computer (in the Public folder) and if we want everything we share to be kept in a separate location from the rest of our files. Everyone can access our public folder so we don't have to worry about sharing permissions for individuals. There are some restrictions that we can set. We can set that users can only open files, or we can set that users can open, change, and create files. We can also turn off sharing.

Media Sharing

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When Media Sharing is on, computers and network devices can access music, pictures, and videos on our computer that have been added to the Media Player's library. Typically those files are located in C:\Users\user_name\music, \pictures, and \videos folders. Also, when Media Sharing is on, our computer will be able to find those types of files on other computers within the network.

Network Location Types
When we first connect our machine to the network, Vista will do its best to figure out our network location type. There are three network location types. Also, we choose a network location by ourselves. The network location identifies the type of network we are connecting to, controls Firewall settings, security settings and enabled certain services. Network location types are: private, public and domain.

Domain Network Location
Domain is the most simple, because if our computer is a member of Active Directory domain, we are in the Domain network location type. Security settings are controlled through Group Policy.

Private Network Location
If our connection type is set to Private, our computer will be able to discover other devices on the network and other devices will be able to discover our computer. Network Discovery is enabled by default. Even in a private network situation we should have up-to-date Firewall and antivirus software enabled on our computer.

Public Network Location
If our network location type is set to Public, our computer will not be able to discover other devices nor will other devices be able to discover us. We're basically invisible to other computers on the network. A Public network is an untrusted network (such as when we are in an airport or library). Default settings keep our computer from being visible (Network Discovery is turned off) or sharing files. When connecting to a public network we should have upto-date Firewall and antivirus software installed and running on our computer to avoid viruses, malicious hackers, and unwanted software. Also, when we connect to an unsecured wireless network, all that we do on the Internet can be monitored by someone with the correct equipment, including websites that we visit, online documents we work on, user names and passwords we use. Windows firewall configures itself differently depending on our location type. There si also new protocol that comes with Vista that helps us discover other computers on the network. It is called Link Layer Discovery Topology or LLDT. This is a new way to browse for computers on the network. It is not like the old broadcast based method for creating the browse list. For LLTD to function correctly network discovery must be enabled. LLDT will send WMI queries to discover other devices and also discover their capabilities. LLTD Responder responds to requests from other Vista machines. By using all this information from the queries, LLTD can create a network map. This is a full summary of information that LLTD has discovered in a graphical format. LLTD keeps everything up-to-date through a version control system.

Example Configuration
To open Network and Sharing Center, go to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center.

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Image 236.1 - Network and Sharing Center

In our example we can see that we are connected to the private network. On the network map we can see our computer (ivancic-v), the network that we are in (Home Network), and we can see that we are connected to the Internet. Below the map we can wee we have local and Internet access and that we are using Local Area Connection. To change the name or network location we can click on the Customize link.

Image 236.2 - Customize Network Settings

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If we go back to our Network and Sharing Center, we can see that in the Sharing and Discoverysection we have various options to share our resources and to secure our computer. For example, in our case we have Network discovery turned on. This enables our computer to be visible on the network and let's us find other devices as well. This will be set based on network location that we are in. File sharing is off, so we are not able to share our files in our case. Public folder sharing is turned off. Public folder sharing is a new way to share files for end users, in which we share only one folder (/users/public). To contrast Public folder sharing with File sharing, with File sharing we can have multiple shares. Printer sharing is turned off since we don't have any printers installed. We are password protecting our sharing and media sharing is turned off. Let's see computers and devices on our network. To do that click on the 'View computers and devices' from the menu on the left or simply click on the network icon in the network map (Home Network in our case).

Image 236.3 - Visible Devices on the Network

In our case we can see some network devices, but also notice the warning that File sharing is turned off. Now, let's try to turn off Network discovery.

Image 236.4 - Network Discovery Turned Off

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When we do that and try to see devices on our network, we won't be able to.

Image 236.5 - No Devices Since Discovery is Turned Off

The list of devices is now gone. We can click on the notification to change Network discovery back to 'on'. There are other things that we can do in Network and Sharing Center. We can connect to another network, set up new connection or network, manage existing network connections and troubleshoot network problems.

Remember
We can configure various network settings using Network and Sharing Center. To change the name of network, or to change network location, we can click on the Customize link. In the Sharing and Discovery section we have various options to share our resources and to secure our computer on the network. To see computers and devices on our network we can click on the 'View computers and devices'. Paths that are mentioned in this article

 

Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center - path to the Network and Sharing Center C:\Users\user_name[\music] [\pictures] [\videos] - typical locations which are added to the Media Player's library.

Configure TCP/IP Settings in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Networking

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To configure Windows Vista for networking we need to know the basics about TCP/IP and DNS. In this article we will use the Network and Sharing Center to configure basic TCP/IP parameters.

Before you start
Objectives: learn where and how can we configure TCP/IP settings in Vista Prerequisites: you should know which parameters are required for TCP/IP connection. Also, you have to know about IP addresses and MAC addresses. Key terms: configuration, server, settings, address, alternate, ip, vista, tcp, option, properties, dhcp, status

Network and Sharing Center
First, we will go go to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center.

Image 237.1 - Network and Sharing Center

Notice that the connection that we are using is Local Area Connection. To view details about this connection click the 'View status' link.

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Image 237.2 - Connection Status

We can see that we do have connectivity. Our speed is 1 Gbps. To see even more details we can click on the Details button.

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Image 237.3 - Connection Details

Interesting things here are the MAC address, DHCP status, IPv4 address, Link-local IPv6 address, etc. We can close this window now. To change settings on this connection we have to click the Properties button.

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Image 237.4 - Connection Properties

In our case we want to check IPv4 settings so we will select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) option from the list and click the Properties button. The following window will appear.

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Image 237.5 - IPv4 Settings

In our case we currently have the default settings. Our computer will try to obtain an IP address automatically. When this option is set, notice that we have an Alternate Configuration tab visible. Only if DHCP fails, our computer will use the settings from the Alternate Configuration.

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Image 237.6 - Alternate Configuration

In Alternate Configuration tab we have two options that we can use. We can use APIPA or Automatic Private IP address or we can set our own IP settings. This second option (User configured) is also often called Alternate Configuration. If we don't want to use DHCP we can use static configuration. To do that, in General tab we simply check the 'Use the following IP address' option.

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Image 237.7 - Static Configuration

Notice that the Alternate Configuration tab is not visible in this case. Let's cancel all changes that we made for now. Another way to get to our network connections is to go back to the Network and Sharing Center and then from the left menu select the 'Manage network connections' option.

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Image 237.8 - Manage Network Configurations

Here we can right-click it and go to the properties of the connection, disable it, diagnose any problems, check the status, etc. Let's open the properties of our connection and open IPv4 configuration.

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Image 237.9 - IPv4

Notice that the current configuration is set to obtain the DNS server address automatically. If we go to the details of our connection we can find the address of our DNS server.

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Image 237.10 - DNS Server

In our case the DNS server is also the Default Gateway as well as our DHCP server. Remember that the DNS server IP address can be on different subnet than our computer is. Notice also that we can have proffered and also alternate DNS server configured.

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Image 237.11 - Preferred and Alternate DNS

Now, let's try and use the static configuration. We will use the 192.168.1.0 network. Our subnet mask will be 255.255.255.0. The IP address will be 192.168.1.100. Default gateway as well as our DNS server will be 192.168.1.1. Alternate DNS server will be 172.16.1.1.

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Image 237.12 - Example Configuration

After we hit OK, our computer will be able to communicate with all devices on the 192.168.1.0 network.

Remember
We can configure TCP/IP settings for particular connection trough Network and Sharing Center. We have to have administrative rights to make changes. If we have DHCP server on the network, we will use the 'Obtain an IP address automatically' option. If there are some problems with DHCP, our computer will use APIPA or Alternate Configuration (if it's configured). Another option is to use Static Configuration, where we have to manually enter IP address, Subnet Mask, Default Gateway and DNS Server. In that case we will use the 'Use the following IP address' option. Paths that are mentioned in this article

Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center - path to the Network and Sharing Center

Configure Dial-up and VPN Connection in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Networking

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Although Dial-up is obsolete technology today, we may still use it in some special situations. VPN connections are great when we have to connect to remote networks securely, such as our workplace. Dial-up can be used for the same reason.

Before you start
Objectives: learn how to create a Dial-up and a VPN connection in Vista. Prerequisites: in order to use a Dial-up we have to have a modem installed on our computer. In order to use VPN, we must have a VPN server which we will connect to. Key terms: connection, vpn, dial-up, connect, network, option, password, server, properties, internet, manage, security

Dial-up
To configure dial-up and VPN connections in Vista we can go to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center and then select 'Set up a connection or network' from the menu on the left. The wizard will appear.

Image 238.1 - Connection Wizard

On the picture we can see that we can set up a connection to the Internet, wireless router, dial-up connection, and at the bottom we have a VPN connection. If we had a wireless network adapter, we would see more options. Let's now create a dial-up connection. We already have our dial-up modem installed so we will select 'Set up a dial-up connection' option and click Next.

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Image 238.2 - Dial-up Parameters

On this screen we type in the phone number that our ISP gave us, our user name and password. We also have options to remember our password so we don't have to type it in every time we connect to our ISP. We can also change the connection name. We will allow other people to use this connection. In our case, the example configuration looks like this:

Image 238.3 - Example Configuration

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If all settings are entered correctly, we should be able to connect to our ISP once we click on the Create button. When we create our connection we can manage it by going to the Network and Sharing Center and selecting 'Manage network connections' from the menu on the left.

Image 238.4 - Connections

Here we can right-click any connection and go to its Properties. On the General tab we can manage dialing rules, on the Options tab we can set redial attempts, progress display, etc. On the Security tab we can set how to verify our identity. If we go to the advanced settings in the Security tab, we can see that we can use various protocols like PAP, CHAP or MS-CHAP-v2. We can also use EAP or Extensible Authentication Protocol if we have smart cards or certificates.

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Image 238.5 - Security Protocols

Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Now, let's create a VPN connection. Again we will select the 'Set up a connection or network' option in the Network and Sharing Center. This time, in the wizard we will choose the 'Connect to a workplace' option and click Next.

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Image 238.6 - Choose or Create New Connection

First we have to choose if we want to use a connection that we already have or we want to create a new connection that we will use to connect to the Internet. As we can see on the picture above, we can use our existing dial-up connection which will connect first, and then our VPN will go over that dial-up connection. In our case we will create a new connection, so we will just click Next.

Image 238.7 - How to Connect

On the next screen we have to choose how we want to connect to our workplace. In our case we will use VPN, which means that we will use our Internet connection. We will not Dial directly. So, we will select the first option. On the next screen we have to enter the IP address or host name of the VPN server.

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Image 238.8 - VPN Settings

In our case the IP address is 100.100.100.100. We will leave the default Destination name. We will allow other people to use this connection. We will also select the option not to connect right away. When we click Next we will have to enter our credentials.

Image 238.9 - Credentials

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In our case we will enter admin as our username. We will choose the option to remember our password. Our domain name is 'intranet'. When we click the Create button, our VPN connection is ready. Again, we can go and manage our existing connections. Let's go to the Properties of our VPN connection.

Image 238.10 - VPN Properties

These properties are similar as Dial-up properties. One difference is that on the Networking tab we can specify what kind of tunneling protocol we would like to use.

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Image 238.11 - Networking Tab

The 'Automatic' option will simply select whatever is available on the VPN server.

Remember
For Dial-up connection we must have a Dial-up modem installed. We have to have valid credentials which will be used to connect to remote server. For VPN connection we must have a VPN server already configured. Typically, we will also have to have some kind of credentials. There are several types of VPN, and we can choose the appropriate one in the properties of the VPN connection (Networking tab). Paths that are mentioned in this article

Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Set up a connection or network path to the connection wizard

Connect to a Wireless Network in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Networking

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Wireless network management has been simplified in Vista. Connecting to wireless networks is now more user friendly.

Before you start
Objectives: learn how to connect to wireless networks, how to manage existing and how to create new wireless networks. Prerequisites: you have to have a wireless NIC installed. Key terms: network, wireless, connect, security, option, type, list, ad, click, hoc, select, wpa, icon

Notification Area
When trying to connect to wireless networks the first place we can try is the notification area, which is located in the lower right-hand corner. We will click on the icon with two monitors. This icon tells us that we are connected to the network, but in our case this is a wired network.

Notification Area

List of Networks
To see which wireless networks are available we can click on the 'Connect to a network' option. We can also do a right-clik on the icon and select the 'Connect to a network' option. We can also go to the Start Menu and select 'Connect To' option. When we do that, we will see a list of available networks, including wireless networks.

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List of Networks

Notice that we have a drop down arrow which we can use to filter different types of networks in the list. Here we can select between Dial-up, VPN and wireless connections. Also notice that we have a refresh button which we can use to refresh our list ov available wireless networks. Vista will rank available wireless networks based on their signal strength. On the left side we can see the SSID of the network. In the second column we can see if the network is security enabled. Security enabled wireless network can use WEP, WPA or WPA2 configuration. In the last column we see the signal strength. When we put our mouse over some network, we will see a little window in which we can see the SSID, radio type, signal strength and also the security type of the wireless network.

Pop-up Window

In our case we can see that the security type is WPA2, which is good. In contrast to that, we could have WEP, which is easily cracked using some Linux tools. Also notice that the radio type is 802.11g. The wireless connection that we see (H1 Telekom) is infrastructure network, and we can see that by the icon of the network. We can also have an ad-hoc (peer to peer) network. The ad-hoc icon is shown on the picture (SSID: ad-hoc-new).

Ad Hoc Icon

If the network is not using any security method, we will see that in the second column. The icon will also have a small yellow shield on it.

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Unsecured Network

When we try to connect some unsecured network, we will get a warning because our information will be visible to others on the network.

Warning About Unsecured Network

Connecting to Wireless Network
When connecting to a security enabled network we will be prompted for a WEP or a WPA passphrase. In our example we will try to connect to H1 Telekom network.

Security Key

When we set up a wireless network we have an option to save all the necessary settings for clients to a USB flash drive. If we had this kind of USB flash drive we would insert it at this point and it would automatically set up the connection for us. This is great if we don't want to share the passphrase with end-users. So, we simply enter the network key, click on the Connect button, and we will be connected to the wireless network (if the key is correct of course).

Management of Wireless Networks
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Now, let's see how can we manage our network connections. To do that we will go to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center, and then select 'Manage network connections' option from the menu on the left.

Network Connections

Notice that in our case we have three network connections. Two of them are wired, and one is wireless connection. One connection doesn't have a cable plugged in, other connection is currently connected, and a wireless connection is disconnected. Interesting option that we have here is Bridge Connections. If we right click wireless connection we can select the 'Bridge Connections' option.

Bridge Connections Option

This allows us to combine different types of networks (like wireless and wired networks) into one logical network. When we do that, clients on the wireless network will be able to access our wired network and clients on the wired network will be able to access clients on the wireless network. Important thing to know is how to see the properties of the wireless connection. To do that, right-click it and select the Properties option. There we can edit TCP/IP settings for our connection. Now, let's go back to Network and Sharing Center and let's select the Manage Wireless Networks from the left. Here we can set a lot of options for our wireless networks. Notice that we already see one wireless network in the list. That's because we have connected to that network previously.

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Wireless Options

Let's click on the Profile types option that is available here.

Profile Types

By default, all users in Vista can connect to any wireless network that has been set up. We can change this so that users can only use and modify connections that they made themselves. When we do that, there might be some loss of connectivity when we change form one user that has access to some connection, to another user which doesn't have access to that particular connection.

Creating New Connections
Let's close that and click on another interesting button which is the 'Add' button.

Add New Network

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Here we have three options. The first option allows us to see a list of networks that are currently available and let's us connect to one. This will open the same window which we already saw when we tried to connect to a wireless network. The second option (Manually create a network profile), is used when we don't see the wireless network in the list of available networks (it is hidden, it is not broadcasted), but we know the SSID and security key of the wireless network. This way we can manually configure and connect to hidden wireless network.

Manually Connect

So, we need to know all of the parameters of the wireless network. When it comes to security types, 'No authentication (Open)' means that there is no security set on the network. WEP type is better then nothing, but it is easily cracked. With WPA-Personal and WPA2-Personal we will use a passphrase to secure our network. With those two types we can also select the encryption type which can be TKIP or AES. 802.1x security type uses certificates to secure the network connection. In our case we have entered SampleSSID as our network name, the security type is WPA2-Personal, encryption type is AES, and we have entered our passphrase. This connection will be saved for all users on our computer and everyone will be able to use it. If you don't want that, you should go back to the 'Profile types' windows and change the settings. One other important thing is to choose the 'Connect even if the network is not broadcasting' option. When we choose that we will be able to connect to the wireless network which doesn't broadcast its SSID. That's it. If all settings are correct, that connection will be listed as the connection that we can connect to.

Create an Ad Hoc Network
The third option to add a network is to create an ad hoc network. This is used to create a temporary wireless network which we can use to connect computers without using any Access Point (peer to peer network). When we click Next, we will have to choose the network name, security type and security key if necessary.

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Ad Hoc Parameters

In our case the network is called 'peer-wireless', security type is WPA2-Personal, and we have entered our passphrase. We will also choose to save our network. When we click Next, other people will be able to connect to us, to this wireless network, if they know the security key. Notice that we can also turn on Internet connection sharing if we want others to access Internet trough our computer using this ad hoc network.

Ad Hoc is Ready

If we go to Start > Connect To, we will see our newly created ad hoc network. Notice the 'Waiting for users to connect' status.

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List of Networks

Remember
Vista will rank available wireless networks based on their signal strength. We should only connect to secured networks. When connecting to a security enabled network we will be prompted for a WEP or a WPA passphrase. When we set up a wireless network we have an option to save all the necessary settings for clients to a USB flash drive. Bridge Connections option allows us to combine different types of networks (like wireless and wired networks) into one logical network. By default, all users in Vista can connect to any wireless network that has been set up on our computer. We can connect to a network which is not broadcasting if we know all all of its parameters. Ad hoc network is peer to peer network.

Configure Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) in Windows Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Networking

In this tutorial we will use a ICS feature in Windows to configure our Vista machine as the default gateway on our private network.

Before you start
Objectives: Learn how to configure ICS in Windows Vista, and when should we use this feature. Prerequisites: you should understand what is ICS in general. Key terms: ics, network, connection, internet, private, address, configure, enable, ip, nat, select

How to Enable ICS
When we enable ICS in Windows, we actually configure our machine as a simple NAT router. To configure ICS in Vista, let's go to the Control Panel > Network Connections. Notice that we have two connections in our case. One connection is connected to the Internet, and the other is connected to our private network.

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Network Connections

Remember that we have to enable ICS on the connection which is connected to the Internet. That's because we want to share that Internet connection with other computers on the network. In our case we will right-click the "Internet Connection", select Properties, and then open the Sharing tab. Here we have to select the "Allow other network users to connect trough this computer's Internet connection" option.

ICS Checked

To configure NAT features we can click on the Settings button here. In this window we can select the services which will be available to Internet users. We will not enable any services now.

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Advanced Settings

When we click on the OK button, several things will happen. First, our LAN (private) network adapter will be configured to use IP address 192.168.0.1. We can check this on our private connection. Let's open the properties of our Local Area Connection, select "Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)", and click the Properties button.

IPv4 Selected

Notice that our adapter is configured to use the IP address 192.168.0.1 and the subnet mask 255.255.255.0. This happened when we enabled ICS on our Internet connection.

Private Adapter Settings

Our ICS computer is now configured as a limited NAT router. It uses NAT on the Internet connection to translate addresses from the private network to the public address. Our ICS server is also configured as a limited DHCP server which provides IP address information for hosts on the private network. ICS computer is also configured as a DNS proxy. Note that other computers on the private network must be DHCP enabled. This way they will get proper IP address information from our ICS server.

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Management
Manage Hard Disks and File System in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Management

Hard disk management is closely related to file system management, so we need to be familiar with Disk Management console which we can use to work with our disks.

Before you start
Objectives: learn how to manage disks in Vista. Prerequisites: you have to know what is File system. Key terms: volume, create, spanned, file, drive, space, simple, stripped, unallocated, letter

Device Manager
First let's check our disks in Device Manager. Right-click on computer, select the 'Manage' option, and then go to Device Manager. Let's open Disk drives. Notice that in our case we have one disk installed.

Image 330.1 - Disk Drives in Device Manager

Let's open the properties of that hard disk and then go to the Volumes tab. Here we will click the Populate button which will query the hard drive and find the various volumes that have been configured on the disk.

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Image 330.2 - Volume Tab

In our case we can see that there's one volume with a drive letter of C. While we can see the physical disks that are in our system using Device Manager, to manage file system we will typically go to Disk Management. Let's say that we have bought two new disks and that we have attached the to our computer. We will use Disk Management console to set them up.

Disk Management
Disk Management is also part of the Computer Management console which we have already opened. Simply select it from the menu on the left. To open Disk Management we can always go to Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Disk Management. On the top of the Disk Management window we can see all of the volumes that exist on our computer. Notice that we have only one volume. The bottom portion in the middle shows us each individual disk along with the volumes on each disk. Notice that we have two new disks with unallocated space.

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Image 330.3 - Disk Management

In our case Disk 0 is the first disk and it has one volume (C). To be more precise, we have one partition on our disk, and one volume which is using that single partition. Notice that we also have two other disks which are not initialized and the space is unallocated, so before we move on we have to solve that issue. To initialize a disk simply right-click it (in Disk Management) and select the Initialize Disk option. The following window will appear.

Image 330.4 - Initialize Disk

We will use the MBR partition style and click OK. After we have done that we can work with our disks. Let's play with them a bit. Let's create a spanned volume from two disks.

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Spanned Volume
Spanned volume is made up of disk space on more than one disk. We can create a spanned volume if we need a volume that is too big for a single disk. We can also expand a spanned volume by adding free space from another disk. To do that right click on Disk and select the 'New Spanned Volume' option. The wizard will appear. We want our new volume to be 512 MB in size so in in our configuration notice that we have taken 256 MB from every disk.

Image 330.5 - Spanned Volume Configuration

After we click 'Next' we will select to assign a drive letter E to our new volume and to format it using NTFS file system. We will also named it 'Spanned'. Before we continue we will get a warning that our disks have to be converted to dynamic disks.

Image 330.6 - Dynamic Disk Warning

That's fine with us so we can just click OK. If we look in Disk Management console now, we can see our new volume E. Notice that when we click on it on one disk, it will also be selected on all other disks.

Image 330.7 - Spanned Volume in Disk Management

So, the spanned volume contains space from two separate partitions on two separate disks, Disk 1 and Disk 2. Let's create a Stripped Volume now.

Stripped Volume
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Stripped volume stores data in stripes on two or more disks. That gives us faster access to our data than a simple or spanned volume. To create stripped volume, right-click on disk (in Disk Management console) and select the 'New Stripped Volume' option. The wizard will appear. In our case we will select both disks and take 256 MB on each disk. Our configuration looks like this.

Image 330.8 - Stripped Volume Configuration

We will assign drive letter F to it, format it with NTFS, and label it with 'Stripped'. Our disks in Disk Management Console now look like this.

Image 330.9 - Spanned and Stripped Volumes Created

Simple Volume
Let's also create a simple volume on Disk 1. A simple volume can only be on a single disk. To do that we will right-click on Disk 1 and select the 'New Simple Volume' option. The wizard will appear. In our case we will select the rest of the space on Disk 1 which is 478 MB.

Image 330.10 - Simple Volume Configuration

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We will assign drive letter G to it, format it with NTFS and label it with 'Simple'. Our volumes now look like this.

Image 330.11 - Simple Volume Added

If we don't assign a drive letter to our volume and if we don't format it, we won't be able to use it in Windows. It will exists as a volume in Disk Management, but as a volume without a drive letter label.

Unallocated Space
Notice that on Disk 2 there's additional space on the disk that is labeled as unallocated. Unallocated simply means that it is a portion of a disk that has not been assigned to a partition or a volume. We can use the unallocated space on the disk to create additional partitions or volumes.

Windows Explorer
We can look at the data that exists on a volume by going to 'Computer' or 'My Computer' in Windows Explorer. Here we can see the volumes that exist on our computer. Those are C:, E:, F: and G:.

Image 330.12 - Hard Disk Drives in Computer

Notice that they correspond to the volumes that we have defined in Disk Management. Also notice that the unallocated portion on Disk 2 can not be used in Explorer. To see the files that are saved on a volume we can just double click on the volume. Let's open our Spanned volume. We currently don't have any files on it. To create a file we can simply right-click and chose New. Then we choose a type of document that we want to create. In our case we will create two text documents, Text 1 and Text 2. Of course we can open a program and edit these documents.

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Image 330.13 - Text Documents

We can also use folders to organize our documents. Folders are simply markers that allow us to organize how the files are viewed on the disk. They don't actually change the position of the file on the disk. They simply change how we see the files when we browse the file system. For example, let's create new folder called 'Intro' and move our file Text 2 to it.

Image 330.14 - Intro Folder

So, we didn't actually moved the file to a different location on the disk. We have simply associated the Text 2 file with the Intro directory. That way as we browse the volume we can use the folders to organize our files.

Formatting
Formatting prepares the volume with the structure that is necessary to save files on the volume. Without formatting the operating system does not know how to identify files within the portion of the disk. Let's see how to format hard drive from Explorer. We wil work on our simple volume which has drive letter G. We have already formatted it, but for the purpose of demonstration we will do it again trough Explorer. We will right click it and select the 'Format' option.

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Image 330.15 - Formatting Options

By default NTFS is the file system type that Windows prefers, although we can also chose FAT or FAT32. We will leave our label 'Simple' and check the Quick Format option. When we click on Start we will get a warning which tells us that formatting erases all the data that's on the disk. In our case this is fine because there's nothing on the disk to begin with. If we have something important on our disk, we have to be sure to back it up.

Remember
We can use Device Manager to view the physical disks that are installed on our computer. By viewing the properties of the disk we can also look at the volumes that have been defined on that disk. With Disk Management we can view the disks, the partitions as well as the volumes for each of the disks. We can also see unallocated space on a disk. We use Disk Management to create partitions, volumes, to perform formatting and assign drive letters. We use Explorer to browse the file system and view the contents of the disk. Folders are ways of organizing files. Files contain the data that programs create.

Configure Windows Mail in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Management

Windows Mail is a free application available in Windows Vista which we can use to send and receive e-mail messages.

Before you start
Objectives: familiarize yourself with the Windows Mail application in Windows Vista. Prerequisites: no prerequisites. Key terms: mail, e-mail, windows, messages, junk, settings, server, account, options, application

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Windows Mail Application
Windows Mail is actually an updated version of the Outlook Express. So, it is a simple e-mail and newsgroup client. When we download e-mail messages from the server, we can choose to delete the message from the server or to leave it once it is downloaded to the Windows Mail client. Windows mail provides new tools which will help us to manage junk mail more efficiently. Junk mail filtering now has four levels. The first level is "no filter", second is "low", third is "high" and the fourth is "safe list only". In the last level, only messages from our contacts will get to our Inbox folder. All others will be sent to junk e-mail folder. We also have an option to block HTML content in e-mails. Phishing filter which is integrated in Internet Explorer also protects our e-mails (Windows Mail uses the same engine filter). There are also rules that we can set up in Windows Mail. For example, we can route certain type of messages to certain folders. Also, we can use multiple profiles in Windows Mail. That means that if we have multiple users on our computer (different accounts), one user can't see messages from another user. All messages are exportable, so if we need to move to another environment, that can be easily done. There are some default settings in Windows Mail that we should be aware of. For example, it will block images and other file attachments with extensions like .exe, .pif and .scr files. We should always use caution when opening e-mail attachments. HTML format for e-mails is susceptible to malicious intent. Phishing links are often used in spam e-mails that we view in HTML format. We should always be careful when clicking on links in messages. Windows Contacts are integrated in Windows Mail. To set up e-mail account we need to have a valid e-mail address. We have to know e-mail server names so that we can send and receive e-mail. We have to know which type of server will we use (POP3, SMTP, IMAP). We also have to know our credentials (user name and password) to sign in to our account.

Configuration
To open Windows Mail we can go to Start Menu, and then select E-mail. When we first open it, it will prompt us to open e-mail account. For the purpose of this demo we will use a Utilize Windows e-mail account. The name will be "Marko Ivancic".

Name (Marko Ivancic)

On the next screen we will enter our e-mail address, which is forum (at) utilizewindows.com.

E-mail Address

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On the next screen we have to enter information about incoming and outgoing mail servers. In our case we will select the POP3 protocol. In our case, the incoming and outgoing mail server is mail.utilizewindows.com, but this doesn't have to be the case with your settings. Incoming and outgoing servers can be different and are often named something like 'pop.domainname.com' or 'imap.domainname.com' or 'smtp.domainname.com'.

Server Names

On the next screen we have to enter our username and password.

Credentials

If everything went fine, the Windows Mail application will now open. On the left hand side we can see Local Folders which contains our Inbox, Outbox, etc. We can also see the Microsoft Communities which stands for newsgroups. On the right hand side we can see a list of e-mails. In our case, we have only one e-mail in our Inbox. If we select that mail, we will see its content in the preview pane which is located below the list of e-mails.

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Application

If we want to add additional e-mail accounts, we can go to Tools > Accounts. Here we will see existing accounts, which we can edit. We can also add new accounts by clicking the Add button.

List of Accounts

Some servers will require that we use some advanced settings for our account, like special port numbers, secure connection (SSL) settings, and other settings. For example, if you use a GMail account, you will have to check the 'My server requires authentication' option for the Outgoing mail server. This is enabled in the Servers tab. In our case we don't have to use that option.

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Account Properties

Also, sometimes servers will use different ports for their services. For example, GMail requires the use of SSL. The outgoing mail (SMTP) port is 465, while the incoming (POP3) port is 995. All that options can be configured in the Advanced tab. In our case our account can use the default settings, and we don't have to change anything.

Advanced Settings

We can also configure options for Junk filter. To do that we can go to Tools > Junk E-mail Options. As we said, there are several levels of junk e-mail protection levels, and we can choose the right one for us here. We should be careful with those levels, because sometimes we will have legitimate mail sent to the junk folder: We should be careful when deleting e-mails from our junk folder and check for regular e-mails.

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Junk Mail Options

On the Safe Senders tab we can add addresses or domain names to the safe senders list. That way their e-mail will never go to the junk folder. The same is with the Blocked Senders list (their mail will always go to the junk folder). We can also block Top-Level Domain names on the International tab. As we know, some countries are famous for sending a lot of spam. But we should also be careful with those options, because we will block all emails from some country, including legitimate ones. There is also a Phising tab where we can choose to enable protection from messages with potential phishing links. By default it is turned on. For more Windows Mail options we can go to Tools > Options. Here we can choose what to do when we send or receive messages, how often to check for messages, etc. On other tabs we can choose how to format our messages and how to display the ones that we receive. We can also configure our signatures. We should be familiar with settings in the Security tab.

General Options

We can also set rules for our messages if we go to Tools > Message Rules > Mail.

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Rules

Troubleshooting
If we can send e-mail but cannot receive it, we should check our e-mail account settings, especially the Incoming server part. We should also verify that firewall settings allow incoming e-mail. If we can receive e-mail but not send it, we should check our configuration with the outgoing mail server settings. If Windows Mail doesn't open when we click on some e-mail link, Windows Mail is probably not set as the default e-mail application on our computer.

Working With Windows Meeting Space in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Management

Windows Meeting Space is a collaboration tool which can be used to view and edit documents by multiple people at the same time. Meeting Space is not available in Vista Starter edition. Vista Home edition can only join a meeting (cannot host a meeting). Meeting Space uses the People Near Me feature of Vista. People Near Me lets us find meetings and send invitations to other people to join meetings.

Before you start
Objectives: familiarize yourself with the Windows Meeting Space application in Windows Vista Prerequisites: no prerequisites. Key terms: meeting, space, people, windows, options, file, handouts, invitation, join, share, application

Open Windows Meeting Space
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To open Windows Meeting Space we can go to Start > All programs > Windows Meeting Space. When we first open Windows Meeting space we will get a warning that we need to allow this application to go trough our Windows Firewall in order to share information with other users. We will select the "Yes" option so that we can continue setting up Windows Meeting space.

Firewall Warning

The new window will pop up. Here we will set up the People Near Me feature. We will enter our display name and choose to allow invitations from anyone. We could also allow invitations only from trusted contacts or from no one. Trusted contacts are those who have digital certificates to verify their authenticity.

People Near Me Options

The next thing we will see is the Windows Meeting Space window. On the left-hand side we can start a new meeting, join an existing meeting, or open an invitation file to join the meeting.

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Meeting Space

Let's start a new meeting. We have to enter a meeting name and a password which has to have at least 8 characters.

New Meeting

Before we continue let's look more options by clicking on the Options link. Here we will be able to edit visibility options. With visibility options we can allow people which are signed in People Near Me feature to see our meeting, or we can disable that. If we disable this, only people with invitation will be able to join our meeting. Here we can also configure a private ad hoc peer-to-peer wireless network and set up meetings that way.

Visibility Options

We will continue creating our meeting by clicking on the green arrow button. This will create our meeting. As we can see on the picture, we have a very simple interface.

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Interface

On the left-hand side we can choose to share some program or our whole desktop with others. When we click that we will get a warning about a security risk. The risk is that others will see all items on our desktop, but we can actually avoid that by choosing the program from the list. Notice that in our case we have a Windows Calendar application running in the background. In our case we will choose only that application and share it with others.

List Of Programs

We can see how our shared session looks like on other computers by clicking the appropriate option on the Meeting Space window. We can also stop sharing at any time. On the upper right-hand corner we can see the list of participants attending the meeting and invite people to our meeting. To invite others to this meeting, they have to be signed in to the People Near Me.

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Invite Window

We don't see anybody on the list, so we will click on the "Invite others" button and create an invitation file. We can send an invitation in e-mail or simply create an invitation file and save it on our computer.

Invitation Options

In our case we will select the second option and save or file to our Documents folder with the name "CicnaviMeeting". This file can then be sent by e-mail, instant messaging, or shared on the network. So, other people have to get this invitation file somehow. The password for the meeting can also be phoned in person, in addition to mentioned methods. In meeting we also have a handouts feature. We can add handouts to our meeting which will then be copied to each participant's computer. In our case we have added one handout which is a picture of a creek.

Handouts

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All handouts can be edited during the meeting. All handouts can be saved by going to the upper left-hand corner menu.

Save Handouts

Here we can also leave the meeting, we can invite others, share our desktop or application, and add handouts. In the upper right-hand corner we can give control of the program we are sharing or our desktop to someone else. We can take it back with the Windows+Escape buttons.

Give Control

On the Options button we can show windows meeting space window, and also connect to a network projector.

Options We cannot be joined to two meetings simultaneously. We have to leave one meeting and then join another separately. We always have to be sure that we trust the people in a meeting since we will typically share our resources. Also, we should only share the specific resources we need to share.

Troubleshooting
In order to set up a meeting we have to make sure that we have network connectivity. Firewall settings also have to be set up. Meeting Space will try to automatically open the correct firewall ports when we first start the application. We must sign in to People Near Me before we can use all the Meeting Space features. The maximum number of participants in a meeting is 10 (one presenting while 9 watch). If Meeting Space won't run, we have to make sure that the proper services are running. Those services are Peer name resolution protocol, Peer networking grouping, Peer networking identity manager and DFS replication. Sometimes others won't be able to see or join a meeting. To resolve this, the person who set up the meeting should have Network discovery enabled in the Network and Sharing Center. Also, other people might not have the correct firewall ports open. During the meeting certain file types cannot be shared. Those files are Encrypting File System (EFS) files.

Manage Performance in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Management

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Windows Vista has many tools which can be used to manage performance issues. In this article we will consider most important ones.

Before you start
Objectives: familiarize yourself with important performance and reliability tools in Windows Vista. Prerequisites: you should know what do we mean by performance and reliability. Key terms: data, system, performance, reliability, logs, select, time, case, cpu, menu, monitor

Reliability and Performance MMC
To open the Reliability and Performance Monitor tool we can right-click Computer, select the Manage option, and then select the Reliability and Performance option from the menu.

MMC Snap In

On the main screen we can see the resource overview which includes the CPU, Disk, Network and Memory. Notice that in our case we have a lot of CPU and Memory usage. To get more details about specific area we can expand specific option. Let's see which process actually consumes our CPU. For that we will expand the CPU section and then click on the CPU column to see the highest value first.

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svchost.exe

In our case we can see that the svchost.exe is currently consuming a lot of processing power. This is OK in our case. Let's now select the Performance Monitor option from the menu on the left. Here we will click on the "plus" icon to add a counter. Notice that here we can add counters from other machines. In our case we added few processor counters, including C1 Time, Idle Time, User Time and Interrupts/sec.

Counters

This will give us real time view of the performance but notice that the data is deleted during time. We only see small portion of data.

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Graph

Now let's select the Reliability Monitor from the menu on the left. Reliability monitor keeps track of our system stability over time. Notice that we have a score indicating how stable our installation is.

Reliability Monitor

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In our case our index is 10, which indicates a very stable system. On the graph we will see small red X if we had some kind of failure. Below the graph we have grouped reports which can be used to get more details on specific failures. Now let's choose Data Collector Sets. There are system defined data collector sets or you can define your own was just look at the built in system data collector sets. We can define our own (user) data sets, or we can work with predefined system data sets. In our case we will go to System, and then right-click the System Diagnostics set, and select the Start option.

DCSs

After some time we will stop the process of collecting data in the same way. All data will be saved in the C:\perflogs\ folder. But, now we can also take a look at reports of our data set. From the menu on the left we will select Reports, then System, then System Diagnostics. Notice that now we have a ready report available.

Reports

From the report we can see all kinds of information, and among other things we can see that our CPU has high load so we should investigate this. We can get a lot of details from those reports.

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Event Viewer
Event Viewer is another snap-in so we can simply select it from the menu on the left, if we have opened Computer Management console. In Windows Vista, Event Viewer has a redesigned interface. It is designed to look like Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM). In the menu we still have standard Windows Logs portion.

Event Viewer

Windows Logs section includes Application, Security and System logs. We also have some new sections which include Custom Views and Application and Services Logs. We also have Microsoft logs which gives us many ways in which we can keep track of what's going on the computer. On the right side we have some additional actions that we can take. Among others we can filter our logs which is often useful. If we go to Properties, we can subscribe to other computers to receive logs from them also. So in one location we can gather data from multiple machines.

Windows Update Feature in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Management

Updates are used to fix bugs in the code, to fix security issues or to add new features to our installation.

Before you start
Objectives: Learn how and where to configure Windows Updates feature in Vista. Prerequisites: you have to know what are updates. Key terms: updates, windows, installed, download, programs, vista, check, configure, control

Windows Update Location
We can configure Windows Update feature in Start > All Programs > Windows Update, or we can find it in Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Windows Update.

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Windows Updates

Notice that in our case there are 15 important updates that we should install. We are using Vista Ultimate so we also have some additional (Extras) available for download. On the menu on the left we can choose to manually check for updates. We can also choose to change the update settings.

Update Settings

Notice that in our case the system will check for updates, but we will choose when to download them and install them. Starting from Vista we can also choose to download and install recommended updates automatically. On the previous window we can also choose to view update history.

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Update History

On this list we can right-click any update and view the details about it. On this windows there is a link to "Installed Updates". From Installed Updates we can remove particular update if we need to.

Installed Updates

Installed Updates can be found in Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features > Installed Updates.

How to Use Troubleshooting Tools in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Management

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Windows Vista has several diagnostic tools which can be used to troubleshoot various problems.

Before you start
Objectives: Learn where to find and how to use common troubleshooting tools in Vista. Prerequisites: no prerequisites. Key terms: tab, tool, problems, solutions, manager, task, check, diagnostics, memory, option

Task Manager
Task manager is the classic tool used to troubleshoot our computer. To open Task Manager, right-click on the Taskbar and select Task Manager option. In Vista, Task Manager is a bit different then previous versions. We have several new tabs, and some new features. For example, in Processes tab we can now see processes that belong to all users. In this tab we can also end particular process, set its priority, etc. A new tab is the Services tab. This tab lists all services on our system and their status (running or stopped). From this tab we can also go to Services MMC snap-in directly by clicking the "Services" button. The Performance tab is the same as in previous version of Windows. In this tab we can see current CPU and memory usage. The new thing here is the Resource Monitor button. This button will open up Resource Monitor tool. Resource Monitor will basically give us more detailed information about the performance of our computer. We have a separate article in which we discuss performance issues in Vista. In Task Manager we can also track network usage on the Networking tab, and see all active users on the Users tab.

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Processes Tab in Task Manager

Network Diagnostics Tool
To open this tool we will go to Network and Sharing Center, and click on the "Diagnose and repair" option from the left menu.

Network Diagnostics

Problem Reports and Solutions Tool
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This tool can be found in Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Problem Reports and Solutions.

Problem Reporting

As you can see, in our case we don't have any problems right now. If we had some problems, we could click on the "Check for new solutions" option to check for solutions on the Internet. After we have done that, some new solutions appeared. That's because we had some problems in the past, and now there are solutions available to those problems.

New Solutions

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We can also check the history of problems if we click on the "View problem history". If we click on the "Change settings" option, we will be able to choose how to check for solutions to computer problems (automatically or not). We can also clear problem history by clicking on the "Clear solution and problem history" option.

Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool
To run this tool we can simply enter "Memory Diagnostics Tool" in search menu. We can use this tool to check for hardware errors in our RAM.

Memory Diagnostics

We can choose to reboot our computer immediately and then scan our memory, or we can choose to check for problems the next time we start our computer

Working With Backup Tools in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Management

The older NT Backup program that was available in Windows XP is replaced by the Backup and Restore Center in Windows Vista. It comes with some great new features.

Before you start
Objectives: Learn how to work with different backup tools that are available in Windows Vista. Prerequisites: no prerequisites. Key terms: restore, backup, files, file, disk, center, complete, option, PC, create, Windows Vista, point

New Features

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The new Complete PC Backup feature makes it very easy to backup and restore the entire PC. However, it is only available in Vista Business, Enterprise and Ultimate editions. The Backup and Restore Center also has System Restore option. System Restore feature saves registry and operating system files at regular intervals. System Restore point is often created before application or unsigned driver installations, update installations, etc. Of course, we can also manually create a System Restore point. Remember that restore points do not protect user data files and that it works only on NTFS partitions. System Restore feature can take up to 15% of the available disk space, so we have to make sure that we have enough space on the disk. Newer snapshots will delete earlier records when disk space is low. The Backup and Restore Center also manages Shadow Copies (previous versions) of files. This way we can restore earlier version of the file. It is turned on by default. Backups are saved on the same disk, so note that this feature doesn't protect from disk failure. We can restore the previous version of the file to a new location or overwrite the existing file on the same location. This feature only works on NTFS partitions.

Backup Status and Configuration
To open backup tools in Vista, we can go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Backup Status and Configuration. This is where we can back up files, restore files or configure complete PC backup feature.

Backup Status

On the first screen we see that the automatic file backup is not set up in our case. We will click on the "Set up automatic file backup" option. On the next screen we can select where do we want to save our backup. The options are hard disk, CD, DVD, or a network location. In our case we will enter the UNC path to the network location and click Next.

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Backup Location

If we had multiple disks on our computer we would be able to select which disks do we want to back up. In our case we only have one disk, so we move on to the next screen where we have to select the file types that we want to back up.

What to Back Up

Note that we can't actually choose specific files and folders, but using the Recovery Wizard we can select specific files to restore. System files, executables, temporary files, files encrypted using Encrypting File System (EFS), program files, recycle bin, files stored on FAT file systems and user profile settings will not be backed up. We cannot back up files to the system or the boot partition. For the purpose of this demo, we will only select Documents.

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How Often

On the next screen we can select how often do we want to create a backup. We will do it weekly. The first backup will be performed right away.

Complete PC Backup
This feature creates a image-based backup including programs, system settings and files. In short, everything we need to restore our system is backed up, so we can use it in case of hard dick crash or similar. We can create the Complete PC backup manually by clicking on the "Create a backup now" option.

Complete Backup

Complete PC Backup can only be stored on hard disk or on DVDs. In our case we have plugged in a hard disk so we will select the hard disk option, and click Next.

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Location

On the next screen we have to confirm our backup settings. Here we can also see how much space the backup could take. To restore from the Complete PC Backup, we can boot our computer from the Vista DVD and choose a Complete PC Restore option, or we can go to the Backup and Restore Center in Vista and select the "Restore computer" option.

Backup and Restore Center
The Backup and Restore Center can be found in Control Panel. Backup and Restore Center is a bit different from Backup Status and Configuration.

The Center

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If we click on the "Back up files" button, we will get the same wizard as in Backup Status and Configuration. The same is with the "Back up computer" button.

System Restore
The different part is the left menu with tasks. Here we can choose to repair Windows using System Restore or to create a restore point. If we click on the "Create a restore point" option, a System Protection tab will open.

System Protection

Here we can create restore points manually or change restore settings. Restore points can be used to undo unwanted system changes. By default restore points are only made on the system drive. If we need to restore our system files to an earlier point in time we can click on the System Restore button. A new window will pop up in which we will be able to choose the recommended restore, or some other restore point.

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Restore System

If we select "other restore point" option, we will get a list of available restore points.

Restore Points

This is great because if we installed some application which caused some problems, from here we can restore our system to the date prior the installation of problematic application. Thanks to the System Restore technologies, we can also restore previous versions of files. If we go to the properties of some file, we will see a Previous Versions tab.

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Previous Versions

If the System Restore created a snapshot of the file, we will see a previous version of the file here.

Working With Mobile Devices in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Management

Windows Vista comes with bunch of options to effectively work with mobile devices.

Before you start
Objectives: Learn what are specific settings that we can configure when working with mobile devices in Vista and where to configure them. Prerequisites: no prerequisites. Key terms: display, center, mobile, devices, mobility, sync, Vista, configure, options

Mobile Devices
Mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, PDAs, smart phones, cell phones, all have some special configuration options which ordinary desktop computers don't require. Most mobile devices can be synchronized with a desktop PC. Vista has the sync center which we can use to synchronize data between the Vista machine and other PCs, servers, and mobile devices.

Sync Center
The Sync Center enables us to configure synchronization partnerships. Partnerships are a set of rules which control the synchronization. In general, we simply connect our device, configure the partnership and then choose what we want to sync. Mobile Device Center is another name for Active Sync feature. Sync Center is available in Control Panel.

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Sync Center

In our case we currently don't have any partnerships configured, but this is where we would go to set sync partnerships with other computers and mobile devices. Partnerships can be either one-way or two-way.

Windows Mobility Center
Vista also includes Windows Mobility Center which has all of our mobile settings in one place. There are eight areas in Mobility center that we can configure: display brightness, power plans, volume, wireless networking, external display, display orientation, synchronization status, and presentation settings. To open Mobility Center we can go to Control Panel > Mobile PC > Windows Mobility Center. Note that you won't have this option if you have installed Vista on ordinary desktop computer.

Mobility Center

Mobile Display
There are two basic options when configuring mobile display settings. This depends on whether we are working with the external display or some kind of projector. With an external display we can go to the Windows Mobility Center to connect to the display device. We can also go to Appearance and Personalization option in the Control Panel to configure display settings. External display can be:

  

mirrored - Desktop is duplicated on all display devices. extended - every display shows different parts of Desktop. By default, the source display has the Start Menu. only external display used - original display is turned off. Vista also has an option to connect to a network projector across the network.

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Presentation Options
In Mobility Center we can also work with presentation options. With this options we can make sure that the computer always stays turned on. We can also disable system notifications, screen saver, set the volume, choose the background, and work with connected displays.

User Account Management in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Management

User accounts in Windows are used for controlling the security on the computer and for saving user settings.

Before you start
Objectives: Learn how to manage users accounts and group membership in Windows Vista. Prerequisites: you should know what is user account in general. Key terms: account, users, group, select, option, administrators, members, disabled, password

User Account Applet
One way of managing users is to go to Control Panel and then choose "User Accounts and Family Safety" option. From here we can choose the "Add or remove user accounts" option. The following window will appear.

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Manage Users

Notice that the Guest account is here but it is disabled. Also, notice that we don't have a default Administrator account visible. We will see the reason for that shortly. To create a new account we can simply click on the "Create a new account" option. In our case, the name of our new user will be Ana, and she will have administrative rights on the system.

New User

To change an account we can simply select it from the list of accounts. The following window will appear.

Change User Settings

Here we can change the account name, change the picture, etc. Here we can also set the password for the account.

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Set Password

So, all this is just one way of managing user accounts on the Vista system. Another way is to use the Computer Management console.

Computer Management Console
To open Computer Management console we can go to the Start, right-click on Computer, and select the Manage option. On the window that appears we select the Local Users and Groups option.

Local Users and Groups Snap-in

When we select Users, we will see all available users on the system.

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Users

Notice that we can see the Administrator account here, but it has a little down-arrow on it. This means that the account is disabled. If we right-click the account, we can go to its properties.

Administrator Properties

On the properties window we can see that the Administrator account is disabled. If the account is disabled, it can't be used to log on to the system. To enable the account, we can simply uncheck the "Account is disabled" option. To set the password for the account we can right-click the account and select the "Set Password" option. We can also reset the password this way if the user forgot the password. To manage groups we can select the Groups option from the menu on the left.

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Groups

Here we have a list of the default groups on the system. Every group has its description so we can see what type of access the members of the group have. To see the members of the group we can right-click it and go to its properties. Let's check the properties of the Administrators group.

Administrators Group

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In our case we have three members of the Administrators group. Notice that the default Administrator account is the member of the Administrators group. Let's check the members of the Users group.

Users Group

Notice that here we have users that are also members of the Administrators group. So, users can belong to multiple groups. In fact, all users that we create will be members of the Users group. To add the user to the group we can click on the Add button from the properties window. The Select Users window will appear. Here we have to enter the name of the user and click the Check Names button. We will try to add Kim user to the Administrators group.

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Find Users

In our case we entered "Kim" and clicked on the Check Names button. If we are not sure of the user name, we can click on the Advanced button and search for users on the system. We can also manage group membership for particular users. Let's go back to users, go to the properties of the Kim user account, and then go to the Member Of tab.

Member Of Tab

Here we can see that the Kim user is now member of the Administrators and Users groups. To add this user to another group we can click on the Add button. The Select Groups window will appear, so now we have to enter the name of the group and click on the Check Names.

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Select Groups

In our case we entered the "Backup Operators" group and clicked on the Check Names button. Again, if we don't know the exact group names, we can always click the Advanced button, and search the system for available options.

Power Options in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: Management

With Power Options in Vista we can configure how our computer uses power.

Before you start
Objectives: Learn where and how can you configure Power Options in Vista in order to conserve your battery. Prerequisites: you should read about Power Management in Windows in general. Key terms: power, options, plan, configure, vista, balanced, computer, advanced

Power Options
To configure Power Options in Vista we will go to the Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options.

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Power Plans

Here we can select a power plan. As you can see there are three predefined plans: Balanced, Power saver, and High performance. We can customize each plan as we like. Let's look at the balanced plan.

Balanced Power Plan

In our case we see options in case our computer runs on battery and in case our computer is plugged in. If you don't have a battery, you'll only see option for the plugged in state. If we click on the "Change advanced power settings" option we will see many other options that we can configure.

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Advanced Options

Here we can change the plan which we want to customize and then change particular setting. We can configure how logn the computer will wait after a period of inaction before turning off the hard disk, we can modify the how our wireless adapter, USB devices, PCI devices, display devices, CPU, and other use power. On the left hand side of the Power Options window we have a "Choose what the power button does" option.

If you are not on a laptop, you will probably only see the power button option. We can also create a custom power plan, but I don't think that you will be using that option very often :).

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File System
Encrypting File System Configuration in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: File System

In this tutorial we will see how to work with file encryption in Windows Vista.

Before you start
Objectives: Learn how to use Encryption File System (EFS) in Windows Vista, and how to manage private keys used for EFS. Prerequisites: you have to know what is EFS in general. Key terms: file, access, user, button, efs, encrypted, folder, case, keys, window, list, account

Encrypting Files
In this example we will first take a look at how to encrypt some file. We have some example text file in our example folder. To encrypt our "Example File", we will right-click it, and on the General tab we will click on the "Advanced" button. The "Advanced Attributes" windows will appear, and here we will check the "Encrypt contents to secure data" option.

EFS Checked

When we click OK button, and then OK again, we will get an Encryption Warning window. We will have to choose if we want to encrypt the file and its parent folder, or if we want to encrypt the file only. If we choose the first option, everything inside the folder will be encrypted. In our case we will encrypt the file only.

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EFS Warning

Notice that the file which is encrypted is colored green. This tells us visually that the file is encrypted. We can still open that file because we have encrypted it (we have the private key).

Green File

If we right-click that file again, go to its properties, and click the Advanced button again, we can now click the "Details" button. When we do that, a "User Access" window will open. This window lists all users which have access to that particular file. By default this list will contain only the user which encrypted the file.

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User Access Window

Note that in this window we can click on the "Add" button to name additional users which will have access to our encrypted file. We can only add individual users, meaning we can't add groups of users. The lower part of this window lists all DRAs which have access to the file. Vista installation which is not a member of the domain does not have a DRA by default. Now let's try to access that encrypted file by using another account on our system. In our case we will use the "hrlec" account, which is a standard user account (doesn't have administrative rights). Our file is located in "C:\Example Folder\Example File.txt". Let's try and open that file with "hrlec" account.

Access Denied

We are able to access the folder in which the file is located, but we are not able to open the file. We get a "Access is denied" message. EFS doesn't care about the NTFS permissions which are set on the folder and file, it only cares about its own permissions. Now, let's create new file in this folder by using the "hrlec" account and encrypt it. We will encrypt the file only. Now we have two files which are both green, so we don't actually know which user has access to which file.

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Two Files

Let's go to the properties of the "hrlec file", and add another user which will have access to that file. To do that we will click the Details button in "Advanced Attributes" window, and then click on the "Add" button. In our case we only have two accounts which can be added to the list. In order for users to appear in this list, users have to already use EFS in some form. If they are not using EFS, they will not be in this list. To use EFS, user can simply encrypt some file, and that will include him in the EFS. This will create their certificates.

User Certificates

In our case we will select the "ivancic" certificate and add it to the list. Remember that if we loose our EFS keys, we wont be able to access our files which are encrypted. To back-up keys we can click on the "Back up keys" button in the "User Access" window. We have to select the user from the list and then click the button. The wizard will appear. In our case we are able to create a PFX file which contains the private key.

hrlecKey File

We should keep that file in a safe place. Only original user should have access to that file. When we click Next, we have to enter the password to maintain security. After the password, we simply specify the name of the file which will be exported. In our case this will be "hrlecKey", and we will save it in "C:\Example Folder\".

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If we try to open that certificate, a Certificate Import Wizard will appear. This way we can recover our encrypted files in case if we have lost original keys. We can also manage our keys in Control Panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > User Accounts.

Manage Keys in Control Panel

To open the key management wizard we have to click the "Manage your file encryption certificates" option. We can use this wizard to select or create certificates, back up certificates and keys, etc.

NTFS and Share Permissions Management in Vista
Parent Category: Vista Category: File System

As computer administrators we have to know how to manage NTFS and Share permissions on our computer. This will help us to ensure privacy of our data.

Before you start
Objectives: Learn where and how to manage NTFS and Share permissions in Windows Vista. Prerequisites: you have to know what are NTFS and Share permissions. Key terms: access, advanced, data, effective, permissions, folder, owner, NTFS, user, share, role

NTFS Permissions Management
To manage NTFS permissions we can simply use Windows Explorer. In our example, we have created a "Demo" folder on our Desktop. We will use it to check and manage NTFS and Share permissions. To check the permissions we have to go to the properties of the folder or file. Once in Properties window, we will open the Security tab and this is where we work with NTFS permissions.

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Security Tab

By default, all permissions are inherited from parent object (parent folder). This is why we will always see some default permissions on our folders and files, even if they are newly created. As we see in our case, certain users and groups are already in the list. Also, notice that we can't change inherited permissions by default (they are grayed out). The inheritance can be turned off, and in that case we will be able to change all permissions. To change current permissions we can click the Edit button. A new window will pop up, and here we we will be able to add new users or groups of users to the list, or change permissions for current users or groups.

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Edit Permissions

To add new users or groups, we can click the Add button. New windows will pop up, and here we have to select the object which will be added to the list. In our case we will add the "Users" user group.

Add Users

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Now that the Users group is in the list, we can change its permissions on the current folder (and subfolders if inheritence is left turned on). In our case we will only allow the Read permission for the Users group.

Users Group Permissions

To turn inheritance on or off, we have to click the Advanced button which is located on the Security tab. New window will pop up.

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Advanced Permissions

Notice that in this list we can see from which objects are our permissions inherited from. In our case our "Demo" folder which is located on the Desktop inherits permissions from the C:\Users\Admin\ object. To change inheritance settings we can click the Edit button. New window will pop up. To turn off inheritance we have to uncheck the "Include inheritable permissions from the object's parent" option. When we do that we will get the following warning.

Inheritance Warning

We have to select if we want to leave all existing entries (the Copy option), or remove them. If we leave existing entries we will be able to change them. If we remove them, we will be able to set brand new permissions. In our case will select the Remove option. When we do that, we will see that the only permissions that are left are those that we manually set previously (we have added the Users group to the list).

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Inheritance Removed

Even if we remove all users from this list, the owner of the object will always be able to access it and set permissions on it. The owner of the object is the user who created it, but we can also change the owner. To do that we can go to the Owner tab in the advanced Security settings.

Owner Tab

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To change the owner of the object we can click the Edit button. In our case the Admin is the owner of the "Demo" folder, and because of that it can still manage that folder (even though we have previously deleted that user from the list). The ownership of the file or folder is a very powerful feature, especially if we have administrative rights on the computer. For example, if we have administrative rights we can take ownership of the file from some user and by editing the NTFS permissions forbid him to ever access that file again. When thinking about permissions always bare in mind that they are accumulative. That means that if we belong to multiple user groups, permissions will add up. To see the effective permissions on some object we can always go to the Effective Permissions tab in the advanced options. In this window we first have to select the user or group of users for which we want to see the effective permissions. In our case we have selected the Users group, so we can see effective permissions below.

Effective Permissions

Effective Permissions tab is great when we need to determine permissions for users which belong to multiple groups. Another interesting feature is the Auditing tab. Here we can set events which will be tracked on the current folder. Events will then be visible in the Event Viewer console.

Sharing Permissions
We share folders on our computer to allow users to access our data over the network. To get to the Share options and permissions, we can right-click certain folder and select the "Share" option, or we can go to the Properties of the folder and select the Sharing tab. First let's check the Sharing tab.

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Sharing Tab

Notice that our "Demo" folder is not shared currently. Let's click the Advanced Sharing button. New window will pop up.

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Share Name

In this window we can select to share this folder and enter the share name. Notice that the share name doesn't have to be the same as the folder name. To set Share permissions we can click the Permissions button. New window will pop up.

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Share Permissions

The default permission for Shares is the Everyone group with Read permission. This means that everyone will be able to read the content from our shared folder, so we should be careful when dealing with the Everyone group. We may or we may not want that group in the list. As with NTFS permissions, here we can add additional users or groups of users to this list. When thinking about effective permissions on shared folders, we have to keep in mind that both NTFS and Share permissions are applied to shared folders. So, the cumulative NTFS permissions and cumulative Share permissions are combined, and then the more restrictive permission is applied. For example, if we have Full Control NTFS permission, but we have Read Share permission, the effective permission will be Read (when we access the folder over the network). Also, if we have the Full Control Share permission, and we have the Read NTFS permission, the effective permission will be Read. So, as you can see when combining NTFS and Share permission, the effective permission will be the more restrictive one. Remember that the NTFS and Share permissions are only combined when we access folder over the network. If we access folder locally, only NTFS permissions are applied. To check for some general sharing settings we can go to the Network and Sharing Center in the Control Panel.

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Sharing Center

Notice that the File Sharing setting is currently turned on. This happens automatically when we share some folder on our computer. Even if we turn off this option in the Network and Sharing Center, shared folders that we previously configured manually will still be available over the network. So, we should be careful when looking this option in the Network and Sharing Center. In fact, if we want to turn sharing off, we should do that manually on every single shared folder. Now, let's also check the new sharing procedure intended for end users. Let's right click our Demo folder and select the Share option. Our folder is already shared, so we will get the following window.

Sharing for End Users 1

Here we will choose to change sharing permissions. On the next screen we can set additional options.

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Sharing for End Users 2

Note that we don't see the standard sharing options and permissions. Here we can also add or remove users and groups, and we can give them specific permission levels or roles. The roles are Reader, Contributor and Coowner. Reader role has read access, Contributor role has read and change permissions, and Co-owner has full control. This new interface is intended to make sharing easier for end users. In Network and Sharing Center we also have an option for Public folder sharing. The public folder is a single folder on the computer which can be used by all users to share their files. Local users will always have access to the public folder, but for network users we have to enable this option.

Public Folder Network Sharing

We have an option to allow users to only read files, or to allow them to also change and create files. Public folder is located in C:\Users\Public. Public folder is also here to make it easier for end users to share their files with all users. Computer administrators should be familiar with the Administrative Tools MMC console where all the shared folders can be listed. To open Computer Management we can go to Control Panel, or we can run it from the Search menu by entering the compmgmt.msc. Once in Computer Management we can go to the Shared Folders to see the list of all shared folders on our computer.

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Folder Sharing Console

Notice that we can see our "Demo Share" folder, and we can also see some other shares which end in "$". Those shares are automatically created and users with administrative rights can always use those shares to access data on computer over the network.

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