“Mike Halsey has created a really in depth look at Windows Vista that everyone should at least have a look

at.” – New Media Editor (Windows Vista: The Official Magazine)

Windows Vista
Power users guide
Second Edition

Tweaks and tips to get the very best from Microsoft’s operating system

By Mike Halsey

“It is not only comprehensive, but professionally presented” – WindowsConnected.com

First Print - 18th February 2007 Last Updated – 7th April 2007

Windows Vista – Power users guide Written by Mike Halsey, www.inspirare.net/pcsupport, Copyright © 2007

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INDEX
Installing..........................................................................................................................................7 Introduction.......................................................................................................................7 Vista Upgrade Edition ........................................................................................................7 Installing Software and User Account Control (UAC) ...........................................................8 Welcome Centre ................................................................................................................9 Searching....................................................................................................................................... 10 Windows Search .............................................................................................................. 10 Tags ................................................................................................................................. 11 Indexing ........................................................................................................................... 12 Advanced Searching ......................................................................................................... 12 Saved Searches ................................................................................................................ 13 Exploring ....................................................................................................................................... 14 Explorer ........................................................................................................................... 14 Drive Letters and Windows Vista ...................................................................................... 15 Choosing how to View Files .............................................................................................. 15 Previewing Files ......................................................................................................... 16 Sorting, Grouping and Stacking Files ................................................................................. 16 Collapsing Groups ...................................................................................................... 17 Working with Folders ....................................................................................................... 17 Hiding Picture and Photo Names ............................................................................... 17 Moving your Files for Data Security .................................................................................. 18 Flip 3D ............................................................................................................................. 19 Remembering Window Sizes ............................................................................................ 19 Connecting .................................................................................................................................... 20 Networking ...................................................................................................................... 20 Network and Sharing Centre...................................................................................... 20 Connect to a Wi-Fi Network....................................................................................... 21 Diagnose and Repair .................................................................................................. 21 Connect Through a Router ............................................................................................... 21 Passwords and Wi-Fi .................................................................................................. 21 Sharing Files and Folders .................................................................................................. 21 Securing ........................................................................................................................................ 22 Be Careful What you Click... A Warning! ........................................................................... 22 User Account Control ....................................................................................................... 23

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The UAC Shield ................................................................................................................ 24 UAC and Multiple Users ................................................................................................... 24 Windows CardSpace ........................................................................................................ 24 Bitlocker Security ............................................................................................................. 24 Anti-Virus / Firewall Software .......................................................................................... 25 Playing .......................................................................................................................................... 26 Where are the Games in Vista Business? .......................................................................... 26 DX10 ................................................................................................................................ 26 Why won’t my game run? ................................................................................................ 27 Games Explorer................................................................................................................ 27 Support for Games ..................................................................................................... 28 XBox 360.......................................................................................................................... 28 Windows Experience Index .............................................................................................. 28 Windows Sidebar ............................................................................................................. 28 Photo Editing ................................................................................................................... 29 PowerToy Photo Info ................................................................................................. 29 Tablet PC Tools ................................................................................................................ 29 Communicating ............................................................................................................................. 30 Sharing Your Calendar with Friends and Family ................................................................ 30 Windows Live Messenger ................................................................................................. 31 XPS Documents ................................................................................................................ 31 Windows Mail .................................................................................................................. 31 Ease of Access Centre ....................................................................................................... 32 Speech Recognition .......................................................................................................... 32 That Syncing Feeling......................................................................................................... 32 Windows Sideshow .......................................................................................................... 32 Guaranteeing ................................................................................................................................. 33 Backup, Restore and Disaster Recovery ............................................................................ 33 Complete PC Backup ........................................................................................................ 34 Startup Repair ............................................................................................................ 35 System Restore .......................................................................................................... 35 Complete PC Restore ................................................................................................. 35 Powertoy SyncToy............................................................................................................ 35 Parental Controls ............................................................................................................. 35 Maintaining ................................................................................................................................... 36

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Cleaning Windows ........................................................................................................... 36 Maintenance.................................................................................................................... 36 Shadow Copies / Previous Versions ........................................................................... 37 Disk Cleanup .............................................................................................................. 37 Disk Defragmenter ..................................................................................................... 38 Windows Defender .................................................................................................... 38 Windows Update and Microsoft Update ................................................................... 39 Organising your maintenance software..................................................................... 39 Reliability Monitor ........................................................................................................... 39 PC Health Reports ...................................................................................................... 39 Problem Reports and Solutions ........................................................................................ 40 Windows Vista Service Pack 1 .......................................................................................... 40 Diagnosing ..................................................................................................................................... 41 Why won’t my Program Work? ........................................................................................ 41 Instabilities / Crashes ....................................................................................................... 42 Vista Won’t Boot.............................................................................................................. 42 Startup Repair ............................................................................................................ 42 System Restore .......................................................................................................... 42 Complete PC Restore ................................................................................................. 42 MSConfig ......................................................................................................................... 43 General ...................................................................................................................... 43 Boot............................................................................................................................ 43 Services and Startup .................................................................................................. 43 Tools ........................................................................................................................... 43 System File Checker ......................................................................................................... 44 I Can’t Access My Files / IE Favourites .............................................................................. 44 Windows Calendar has Stopped Working ......................................................................... 45 Internet Explorer is Malfunctioning? ................................................................................ 45 Gaming Problems in Vista ................................................................................................ 45 Tweaking ....................................................................................................................................... 46 System and Settings Tweaks............................................................................................. 46 Virtual Memory .......................................................................................................... 46 Dual-Booting Systems ................................................................................................ 47 System Protection and System Restore ..................................................................... 47 Remote Assist and Remote Desktop .......................................................................... 47

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Computer Name ........................................................................................................ 47 ReadyBoost...................................................................................................................... 48 Tweaking with Windows Defender ................................................................................... 48 MSConfig .................................................................................................................... 48 AutoPlay Options ............................................................................................................. 48 Power Management ........................................................................................................ 49 Changing the Start Menu Power Button .................................................................... 49 Green Computing ....................................................................................................... 49 Vista PowerToys .............................................................................................................. 50 Third Party Tweaks .......................................................................................................... 50 Remove Shortcut Arrows ........................................................................................... 50 IE7 Add-ons...................................................................................................................... 50 ieSpell......................................................................................................................... 51 IE7Pro ......................................................................................................................... 51 Add Your Own Wallpapers ............................................................................................... 51 Previewing PDF Files in Explorer ....................................................................................... 51 Creating Icons without Text.............................................................................................. 51 Upgrading...................................................................................................................................... 52 Windows Anytime Upgrade ............................................................................................. 52 Windows 7, The Move to x64 ........................................................................................... 53 Glossary ........................................................................................................................................ 54 The Author .................................................................................................................................... 59 Office 2007 .................................................................................................................................... 60 Introduction..................................................................................................................... 60 The Ribbon ...................................................................................................................... 60 Why the Ribbon? ....................................................................................................... 60 Minimising the Ribbon ............................................................................................... 61 Customise the Ribbon ................................................................................................ 61 Find Office 2000 / XP / 2003 Commands ................................................................... 61 The Start Orb ................................................................................................................... 61 Quick Access Toolbar ....................................................................................................... 61 Live Preview .................................................................................................................... 61 Options in Office .............................................................................................................. 61 Save As... .................................................................................................................... 62 Save as PDF? .............................................................................................................. 62

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English Spelling .......................................................................................................... 62 Document Version History.............................................................................................................. 63

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INTRODUCTION
This guide to Microsoft’s new operating system is intended to take you through the more advanced system settings, utilities and tweaks that will maximize your experience with Windows Vista. There is a great deal you can do with the operating system to make life significantly simpler and more tools will be released all the time. With that in mind, this document may be revised occasionally, documenting new features that Microsoft may add in Service Packs, and new tools you can download. Any additions to this document will be annotated in the index. This guide is free for personal use, but if you find it useful and would like to make a small contribution of £1 or $1 or so you can contact Mike through his site at www.inspirare.net. Thank you. :o)

PART 1
INSTALLING

VISTA UPGRADE EDITION
For those people with upgrade editions of Windows Vista, Microsoft have changed the way the installation process works compared to the full and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) editions of the operating system. I have always recommended performing a clean install of any version of Windows, i.e. installing it on a freshly formatted drive and reinstalling all your software from scratch afterwards. The benefit of this, though it can be long and fiddly,

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is that you will get a trouble and bug free installation that will be more stable. This is because there is no chance that problems will be carried over from a previous installation. With versions of Windows up to and including XP the upgrade CD would ask you during a clean install to put your CD for your previous version of Windows in the drive so it can verify you own a previous version and qualify for the discounted price the upgrade edition sells for. Windows Vista will not ask this and will only work if you are over-writing a previous version of Windows! This would ordinarily make performing a completely clean installation of Windows Vista on an already formatted hard drive impossible with the upgrade editions. There is however a workaround due to a flaw in the setup routine. When installing Windows Vista from an upgrade disk at the page where it asks for your product key simply click Next. This will invoke a mode that will allow you to evaluate any version of Vista for 30 days. It will ask you which version of Vista you wish to evaluate, choose the one you have the correct licence number for. Then you must untick the box to automatically activate Windows upon completion of the install. It will ask you once again if you are sure you don’t wish to continue without entering a product key, again click yes. Upon completion of the install go to activate Windows manually, either through the Start Menu option or via

CLEAN INSTALL VISTA UPGRADE
To perform a clean install of Windows Vista on a formatted drive using the upgrade edition of the operating system... When prompted on install for your product key don’t type anything but Press Next → Choose the correct version of Windows that you have a product key for → Untick the box to automatically activate Windows → Click Next and verify you wish to continue without entering a product key → When Vista has installed activate it and enter your valid product key then.

the icon that will appear next to the clock on the taskbar. At this point you will be required to enter a valid product key. Type in your key and press OK. Your copy of Windows Vista should now activate. I say should because some times this doesn’t work. Should you find yourself in this unfortunate situation it too is easy to fix. Simply install your Vista install DVD while logged into Windows Vista and reinstall choosing to upgrade your current operating system. You can enter your licence number during this second install and Vista will install and activate normally. This is unfortunately a bit long and unnecessary but for Windows Vista at least we are stuck with it.

INSTALLING SOFTWARE AND USER ACCOUNT CONTROL (UAC)
User Account Control (UAC) is the new security system in Windows Vista to stop viruses, malware and young children from destroying your Windows installation and deleting your files. During the set-up of Windows Vista however, UAC can pop-up a bewildering number of times. This can prove extremely annoying as it will prompt you for permission every time you try and install a new piece of software or make a system change to Windows... at the very least! UAC can be switched off for this period however I strongly recommend that you switch it straight back on afterwards!

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To temporarily switch it off. Go to the Control Panel → User Accounts → and click on Turn User Account Control on or off. Remember to switch it on again afterwards however.

Windows live Messenger. It’s worth noting that for the first time Messenger is not included with Windows by default.

WELCOME CENTRE
The first time you start Windows Vista (and every time afterwards until you untick the Run at Startup box in the bottom left of the window) you will see the new Welcome Centre. This window contains features to help get you started with Windows Vista including installing drivers for any hardware missed during the installation of Vista itself, transferring files and settings from another PC and downloading and installing additional software from Microsoft such as

The Welcome Centre may also include links to help and support from the manufacturer who built your PC. It’s worth spending a little time in the Welcome Centre setting up your internet connection, adding user accounts and reading the help articles.

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WINDOWS SEARCH
This powerful new tool gives you near instant searching for files and documents, allowing you to add tags (words that describe the document) to make searching even faster and better than before. Search can be found everywhere. Hitting the Windows key on your keyboard to launch the Start Menu takes the focus directly to a search box there, allowing you to search for, and launch programs or files without touching the mouse. Almost every program within Windows Vista contains a search box in the top right corner. These, like the Start Menu focus your search on the type of file(s) you’re working with at the time. For instance, searching within the Start Menu will prioritise programs. Opening your Pictures folder and searching there, or searching within the Windows Photo Gallery application will prioritise pictures and photos. Searching within your Documents folder will prioritise files not contained in your Pictures or Music folders, and so on. SEARCH TIP
Doing a search while looking at pictures, will prioritise pictures. Doing a search while looking at music will prioritise music and so on.

PART 2
SEARCHING

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TAGS
As I’ve mentioned before, all of your files can have tags. These are words that describe your documents and their relevance to you. For instance, the tags for your last holiday to Germany may include family, Germany and holiday. In addition, certain photos within these may contain additional tags such as Marie or Dusseldorf. You can add tags to photographs as you import them using the Photo import wizard. This utility will appear when you attach your digital camera or memory card to your computer, so

ADDING TAGS
You can add tags to almost any type of document in Explorer by selecting the file(s) and typing the tags into the Add a tag input box at the bottom of the Window. Separate tags by using a semi-colon followed by a space “; ”.

can be found on your keyboard just under the letter P.

In Windows Photo Gallery (pictured right) you can add tags to photos and videos. By highlighting a picture, or series of pictures, right clicking an “Add tags…” a pane will appear on

long as you don’t have any third-party importing software that came with your camera that will replace it. In addition, you can add tags in any explorer window or in Windows Photo Gallery. In Explorer, as you can see, the bottom of the window contains information about the file(s) you have selected. If any tags are already associated with these files they will be displayed in the Tags section. If there are none, the text Add a tag will appear instead. Clicking on these words will allow you to add tags for the document(s) you have selected. An input box will appear that you can type directly into. If you want to add multiple tags to a file or files you should separate them with a semi-colon character, eg. ; that

the right of your screen allowing you to add and edit the tags. To add tags in this pane, they need to be done one at a time, not separated by a semi-colon as in explorer. Type your tag into the input box and press enter for it to be accepted. You can then type another tag. You will see the selected photo already has the

TAGS IN WINDOWS PHOTO GALLERY
In Windows Photo Gallery, tags added to photos and videos must be done one at a time. You can also easily remove tags from files and change their star ratings.

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tags Landscape and Sample associated with it. To remove a tag, right click on it and select Remove Tag.

MODIFY YOUR INDEX
To stop files and folders from being indexed, Open go to Control Panel → Indexing Options → Modify → Show all Locations and untick the folders you do not want indexed.

INDEXING
Windows Vista constantly manages and updates an index of all your files and folders silently. This index stores information such as file names and tags to make your files easier and faster to find when you type a search clue into Windows Search. However this index will, by default, also include many files you may not want to appear in searches. You may have personal files and folders, or duplicate copies in backups that you do not want included. To exclude any files and folders from being indexed, select Indexing Options from the Control Panel. This will pop up a window showing you what is indexed. Pressing the Modify button followed by the Show all Locations button in the window that then appears will allow you to exclude files and folders. Here you can untick folder locations for private files and other locations that contain files you will not want to search for.

Modifying your index in this manner will also speed up searching slightly and use less space in your hard drive.

ADVANCED SEARCHING
The advanced searching tools, access from Search in the Start Menu, allow you to perform advanced searching for files and folders. It also allows you to search for files conditional on when they were created, last accessed, who

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they were written or created by among many other things.

A WHERE ARE THE MENUS?
To get the drop-down menus in explorer press the ALT key on your keyboard.

SAVED SEARCHES
Sometimes called Virtual Folders, Saved Searches work directly with the Indexing service to enable you to create simple or complex searches that you can then access as ordinary folders on your hard drive. When performing a search from the Search option in the Start Menu, you will see a Save Search button which

“How would I use a saved search?” I hear you asking. Everybody has files and folders scattered in various locations on their hard drives, usually sorted by type, subject or content. saved search could be used to keep a central location of all photographs featuring Amy, all excel files created by Patrick Hiller in accounts, or all documents created by you between the hours of nine am and five pm (i.e. at the office).

you can use to save your search as a virtual folder. This folder can be treated just like any other folder on your hard drive, in that you can drag, cut and paste or copy it to a new location. Every time you open a Saved Search or Virtual Folder it will automatically update itself with the latest data from the index. This means the search will always be correct and up to date.

COPYING A FILE ADDRESS LOCATION
Should you need the old address bar back at any time, e.g. to copy a folder address, click the folder or computer icon at the very the left of the breadcrumb bar.

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FAVOURITE LINKS?
It is well worth spending some time customising your Favourite Links pane, as it is a tremendous time-saver long term. This is a simple case of dragging items into it and dropping them there.

EXPLORER
Now that Microsoft has dropped the rather twee My moniker from document folders, Explorer is taking a far more mature and grown up approach to managing your files. The new breadcrumb bar replaces the ageing address bar and gives you quick and easy access to any part of the folder structure you are looking at through the use of arrows between each section (see illustration above) An important addition to explorer is the new Favourite Links pane to the left. This enables quick and easy one click access to files and folders. Absolutely anything can be stored there, folders, files, internet bookmarks, DVD drives, external hard drives, saved searches… anything. You will also note the complete absence of traditional drop down menus within Windows Vista. They’re still there but not quite a necessary

PART 3
EXPLORING

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any more. You will find many of the tools and options available in them are now also available via the context sensitive buttons that appear in the turquoise icon bar across the top of the screen. Should you need these menus back at any time, simply press the ALT key on your keyboard for them to appear.

TURN OFF DRIVE LETTERS
To turn off the display of drivers letters (eg. C:) in Windows Vista, first make sure your drives all have names, right click on a drive that does not and select Rename. Then go to the Control Panel → Folder Options → View → Untick “Show Drive Letters” in the options that appear.

scroll down the list until you see Show Drive Letters which you can untick. You will find other options in this view that you may want to tweak. These include Show encrypted or compressed NTFS drives in colour which you will almost certainly not need ticked. This menu also includes the options to show hidden and system files, should you need access to these files at any time. Don’t worry too much about installing new software after you do this. Any software installers will default to installing on your main Windows drive. It can be helpful to remember the drive letters however if you can.

DRIVE LETTERS AND WINDOWS VISTA
Everyone is familiar with the way that Windows labels the drives in, and attached to your machine. We all know that our Windows drive is most commonly labelled as C: and other attached drives show up as D:, E: and so on. I’ve found myself asking the question more and more however, do we really need these drive letters any more? In Windows Vista the solution is partially given. Drive letters are still there, and are still used when performing functions such as installing software. However we now have the option to switch off the display of drive letters in explorer windows. First of all make sure your drives have appropriate names eg. “Windows Vista” or “Backups”. This is extremely important to make sure you don’t get confused afterwards. You can do this by right clicking on a drive and selecting Rename. To disable the display of the drive letters, open the Control Panel and select Folder Options. In the window that appears, select the View tab and

CHOOSING HOW TO VIEW FILES
Windows Vista offers more ways of viewing, sorting and grouping files and documents than any previous version of Windows.

SORT, GROUP, STACK BY...
You can Sort, Group and Stack files by a sometimes bewildering number of types. Right click in Explorer → Select Sort, Group or Stack By → and select More... in the menu that appears to bring up a list of available filters.

The Layout menu under the Organise button in Explorer Windows allows you to turn on and off navigation, preview, search and details panes within Explorer. In addition, the Views button at the top of Explorer windows provides a drop down menu (see illustration) offering not only many different ways to display the files in a folder, but also scaling for the icons.

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JUMBLED FILES?
If you have folders containing large amounts of mixed files, try right clicking and selecting a Stack As option to help sort them automatica lly by converting them to a series of Saved Searches.

SORTING, GROUPING AND STACKING FILES
In addition to these options, right clicking in a folder brings up sorting and grouping options. Sorting will allow you to sort your files by a variety of types (name, type, size etc.) In addition you can click on the More... option to sort by a huge variety of options. This comes in particularly useful when using the Group By option. Grouping is different to sorting in that, while sorting will arrange the contents of a folder into a list, Grouping will separate them by type, with a divider

PREVIEWING FILES
Found via the Organize button at the top of Explorer windows select Layout and Preview Pane to switch on this useful facility. Clicking on a file will show you a live preview of its contents. This works with many file types including Microsoft Office files, a plug-in is available for Adobe PDF files (see Part 11 – Tweaking) but there is currently no support for XPS files. This window can be expanded as necessary by dragging the vertical bar separating it from the rest of the window. between them. For example, it will separate Word, Excel and PowerPoint files into discrete categories so you don’t get them mixed up. Stacking files is different to sorting and grouping in that it hides the contents

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of a folder and creates a series of Saved Searches there instead. The process is almost instantaneous. This is useful if you have a large number of different types of file in a folder (for instance if you’ve traditionally dumped all your files together in My Documents under Windows XP without sorting them into subfolders). This is an extremely quick and easy way to sort through huge numbers of jumbled files.

CHANGE YOUR FOLDER VIEWS
Once you have a folder displaying the way you want it, you can get every other folder to display the same way. Go to the Control Panel → Folder Options → View → and press the Apply to Folders button

At the bottom of this pane however is an up arrow with Folders written next to it. Clicking on this will bring up the traditional folder view within the Favourite Links pane. You can then widen the pane should you wish to. This will make the folder view easier to read and is done by simply Dragging the vertical bar to the right of the Favourite Links pane.

COLLAPSING GROUPS
When you are displaying a folder grouped by a certain criteria, you can collapse groups that you don’t need to see at the time. This is especially useful if you have a lot of files in that folder. To do this, press the Up Arrow at the end of the blue line directly above the group. You can show the group again by pressing the arrow again.

HIDING PICTURE AND PHOTO NAMES
Do you really need to see the file names of the photographs you take? After all, if the file names were useful (Dusseldorf August 2007 – 01) and so on then the odds are the folder they’re located in would also be sensibly named. With most digital cameras labelling files in unhelpful manners such as DSC001 and so on, Windows Vista offers a solution. Simply rightclicking in a picture folder you can hide

WORKING WITH FOLDERS
While the new Favourite Links pane and Breadcrumb Bar in Explorer provide excellent new ways of working with your files, especially if you have lots of mixed files sitting together in your Documents folder, lots of people already have their files neatly organised into folders already. I would suggest that for the folders you use most often you drag and drop these into the Favourite Links pane.

WHERE IS THE FOLDER TREE?
To display the folders on your drives, click the Folders button at the bottom of the Favourite Links pane in any Explorer window.

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the file names for thumbnail pictures from the view menu.

MOVING YOUR FILES FOR DATA SECURITY
Why should you move your data and files away from your main Windows installation to a separate drive or partition? The easy and simple answer to this is that, while Windows Vista is the most stable version of Windows yet, if you do have a catastrophe and have to reformat your main drive to reinstall Windows from scratch, you’ll lose all of your data and files in the process! With Windows Vista keeping your Windows installation and files separate is easy however. In previous versions of Windows finding your files and data was difficult and moving them was a pig. Vista makes it all easy by keeping everything together in a Users folder at the root of the drive on which Windows Vista is installed, usually the C: drive. This can be accessed easily by clicking on your name at the top right of the Start Menu. You can then highlight the folders you want to move (I’d recommend everything), right clicking and selecting Cut. Then you can navigate to where you want to store them on another drive or partition, right click again and selecting Paste. This will move everything over and update the registry at the same time with the new locations.

MOVING YOUR USERS FOLDER
To move your documents and files away from the drive on which you have installed Windows Vista, Click on your name in the top right of the Start Menu → Select the folders to move (usually everything) → Right click and select Cut → Navigate to the drive or partition and folder where you want to move them → Right click and select Paste.

If you do not have a separate hard drive or partition to move your files to, downloading or buying some partitioning software can make the job simple. Beware! Always make sure your data and files are properly backed up before partitioning your drive, and make sure the location you move your files to is always available to Windows (ie. Not located on a removable drive). Note: You may find that some folders, usually Desktop, won’t want to be moved. This is not something you should worry about too much. Also check the partitioning software is compatible with Windows Vista.

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FLIP 3D
You’ll no doubt be familiar with the ALT-TAB keyboard combination to switch between applications in Windows. Now there’s an alternative accessed either through holding down the Windows Key and Tab or by pressing the icon (right) on next to the Start Button in the quick launch area of the Taskbar. Flip 3D provides a much more engaging way to switch between open applications, animating them in 3D on your desktop.

RENAMING A GROUP OF FILES?
If you’re renaming a group of files, instead of pressing Enter after each one and selecting Rename on the next, just press Tab to move instantly to renaming the next file.

you close them and resets the windows. You can get around this by holding down the CTRL key while closing a window. The next time, and every time afterwards that you open the window you’ll have it the size and in the location that you want it.

REMEMBERING WINDOW SIZES
It’s annoying that Explorer in Windows Vista forgets the size of your windows whenever

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NETWORKING
The new Network Centre, located from the Network link on the Start Menu has been completely revamped since Windows XP and makes connecting to a home network, wireless network or the internet far easier.

NETWORK AND SHARING CENTRE
The new Network and Sharing Centre is your single location from which you can connect to a network, diagnose network connection problems, maintain those connections and even see other computers on your network as a pictographic map. From here you can also control the Windows Firewall, though I’d suggest you also have a third-party firewall and don’t rely solely on this. As always there are recommendations and downloads on my website at www.inspirare.net/pcsupport.

PART 4
CONNECTING

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CONNECT TO A WI-FI NETWORK
The Connect to a Network link in the green pane on the left of the window will bring up a list of local wireless networks (make sure you have a Wi-Fi enabled PC). This centre will automatically manage your passwords and preferences for networks and connect you automatically to your favourite when you start your PC.

NO INTERNET?
One common problem for people who connect to the internet through a router is that the connection between the router and the internet can get snarled up at times. Simply switching off your router and turn it on again a few seconds later will solve many of these problems, though it will take a minute for your connection to go live again afterwards.

but also more importantly that they offer an additional layer of security for your home that will help protect you from hacking and virus attacks.

PASSWORDS AND WI-FI
If you have a wireless router, make sure you check in the manual how to set up a password on it. This will stop other people logging into your internet access and using it themselves. It also prevents access to your home network and any shared files you may have.

DIAGNOSE AND REPAIR
If you are having trouble with your network clicking the Diagnose and Repair link in the green pane on the right of the windows will start an automated diagnosis tool that will help try and fix your connection for you.

SHARING FILES AND FOLDERS
As with Windows XP you can share files and folders across a network, just right click on the file or folder you wish to share and select Share... from the options that appear. You will then be guided through who can have access to the document on your home network before they can access it. The process is wizard driven and extremely easy to set up and use.

CONNECT THROUGH A ROUTER
If you can, connect your PCs to the internet through a router. A router is a piece of hardware that will most commonly connect directly to your ADSL or Cable broadband line and share that connection with the computers in your home either through wired connections of Wi-Fi. Routers offer many advantages, firstly that they handle all the internet connection sharing in your home so all your PCs can get online straight away,

WI-FI PASSWORDS
Always make sure your home Wi-0Fi network has a password set on it. Read the instructions in your router’s manual on how to do this.

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BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU CLICK... A WARNING!
Probably the most important part of this guide, this comes as a warning to us all! User Account Control (UAC) and the new protected mode in Internet Explorer and good things but they’re far from perfect. For instance, when you want to run a program with Administrator privileges (e.g. a game that won’t run properly otherwise) a helpful UAC control will pop up (see figure left) asking if you want to allow this action. Unfortunately there’s no tick box for remembering this setting in the future. Conversely, while Internet Explorer runs a special ‘sandboxed’ mode that denies it access to the Operating System and any programs you have installed, it does include a ‘remember this setting’ option when it really shouldn’t, as you can see from the example (below). You should NEVER tick the “Do not show me the warning for this program again” box!

PART 5
SECURING

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Let me explain why. In this case I was visiting a website where I wanted to email the owners. I clicked on a link on the site to fire up Outlook to tell them how cool I thought their website was, and this UAC box appeared. I can press allow and Outlook will open, meaning I can merrily send the email, or deny to stop Internet Explorer from opening my email program. If I had ticked the “Do not show me the warning for this program again” box, the next time I wanted to send an email by clicking on a mail link on a website, Outlook would fire up immediately, making things much simpler. Unfortunately, it would also make things much simpler for websites running malicious code! Any website could then get a direct connection to your email application to send spam or viruses and you’d never even know about it, because you’ve allowed Internet Explorer to quietly access your email program whenever it chooses without alerting you. This will pop up when Internet Explorer wants access to several programs, not just your email application, and the same advice applies across the board.

WARNING!
Do not EVER tick the “Do not show me the warning for this program again” box in Internet Explorer alerts!

USER ACCOUNT CONTROL
In all previous versions of Windows all users were as standard, Administrators. This meant that you had complete control over all aspects of the operating system and could do whatever you wanted at any time. This was a boon for virus writers and was the sole reason why Windows security always popped up with yet another big problem on the evening news. With Vista, Microsoft has introduced a system called User Account Control or UAC. This system protects the operating system from unauthorized changes and virus attack. It does this by popping up a series of warning windows (see the images below) telling you that something wants to make a change to Windows and asking your permission. Unfortunately, UAC doesn’t always give you information in simple English, however it is almost always going to

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be the case that a UAC warning will pop up in relation to an action you have just done, such as run a piece of software. If you are browsing the internet or working on a file in Word and UAC pops up, it’s very likely because something in the background, possibly a virus or other nasty is trying to mess with your PC. When UAC runs your screen will dim until you have dealt with the request and that particular piece of software will not be able to progress further. You will notice when you first install Windows Vista that UAC will pop up a lot and be awfully annoying. This behaviour will decrease significantly over time. It is always very important to have UAC switched on however because of the added protection it gives your PC.

IF IN DOUBT
If you are ever in doubt about a UAC warning you can always press the More Details button or click Deny.

will only happen if the main user on the machine, the one who installed and configured Windows Vista in the first place, has put a password on their user account. This is a good way of ensuring that nobody other than you can ever make any unauthorized changes to

THE UAC SHIELD
You will notice in some menus and occasionally attached to an icon in the start menu is the Windows protection shield. This appears on everything that will require UAC authorization, and is a warning that this software can, potentially, make harmful changes to your PC.

Windows and, while it should not hamper anyone’s enjoyment of using Windows Vista, may from time to time prevent them from doing something legitimate that they would like to do.

WINDOWS CARDSPACE
Windows CardSpace can be found in the Control Panel. It is a new technology so doesn’t integrate with many website yet. However it is a secure place for you to store passwords and credit card details for shopping online. We can expect to see many internet sites supporting CardSpace in the coming years.

UAC AND MULTIPLE USERS
If you have multiple user accounts set up on your PC then UAC, in addition to asking permission for a program to run or an action to be taken, will ask for the administrators password. This

BITLOCKER SECURITY
Microsoft has made a big fuss about Bitlocker in the workplace. It’s a new security that works to secure the data on your hard drive in the event your computer is lost or stolen.

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Designed primarily for business laptops, it works with a chip on the motherboard called a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) that is able to store passwords and encryption keys. The home user is probably never going to need BitLocker and it’s very fiddly to set up. If you are running Vista Ultimate there is an Ultimate extra called the Bitlocker Drive Preparation tool which can help with this, but unless your motherboard has a TPM chip on board it’s not worth it. You can secure Bitlocker with a USB key storing the encryption codes, however the risk is far too high that the USB key will become corrupt and you won’t be able to boot your PC or access your files again.

ANTI-VIRUS / FIREWALL SOFTWARE
You should always make sure you have adequate anti-virus software installed and kept up-to-date. Windows Vista does include a twoway firewall but it’s no match for almost all third-party applications. Vista also doesn’t include any antivirus software at all. You can read security articles and get recommendations on the best software, much of it free, on my website where you can also find recommendations on how to keep yourself safe on-line and how to make sure you’re using a secure internet browser. www.inspirare.net/pcsupport.

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WHERE ARE THE GAMES IN VISTA BUSINESS?
With the Business and Enterprise editions of Windows Vista, Microsoft has bowed to pressure from employers and disabled the games by default. Minesweeper has apparently been responsible for millions of hours of lost productivity... like we care! Should you have a copy of Windows Vista Business, for instance supplied with a new Laptop, turning the games back on is a simple task. Open the Control Panel → Programs and Features → in the left side pane click Turn Windows Features on or off → and in the Window that pops up tick the games that you want. Note that Inkball is designed for tablet PCs or those with touch screens and purple palace is only for the very young.

PART 6
PLAYING

You can also use this to switch on or off many features for your version of Windows, for instance, why have Tablet PC functionality switched on if you don’t have a touch screen? The good news is to turn features on or off you will not need a copy of your Windows Vista install DVD, as you had to with previous versions of Windows.

DX10
Every gamer wants to get the best game play possible. If you’re investing in a new graphics card or a new PC for Windows Vista, make sure you buy one with a DirectX 10 (DX10) graphics card. This is Microsoft’s latest 3D rendering technology (at the time of Vista’s launch) and is not available for Windows XP.

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Another purchase worthy of attention is a PhysX (physics) engine. Many of the mainstream graphics card manufacturers are now including PhysX engines as standard but they are also available as separate plug-in cards. These cards create more realistic smoke, fire, water and clothing than has been previously seen in PC games.

WHY WON’T MY GAME RUN?
As detailed in Part 10 - Diagnosing, in “Why won’t my program work?” previous versions of Windows allowed sloppy coding that Windows Vista won’t allow. So there’s a certain amount of tweaking to be done to get some software to work properly. In addition with games there’s Data Execution Prevention, which has been around since Windows XP Service Pack 2. Located in Control Panel → System → Advanced System Settings → clicking the Settings button in the Performance section then selecting the Data Execution Prevention tab. D.E.P. was introduced to stop viruses. However some games perform quite virus-like activities due to being badly written. If this happens to you select “Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select”, press the Add button, navigate to where your game is installed i.e. C:\Program Files\EAGames\Battlefield 2 to select the main Applications then click OK to add them to the exceptions list.

GAMES EXPLORER
The new Games Explorer, accessed from a link on the Start Menu is a new centre from which to manage and run games in Windows. Apart from the obvious tidying up of games into a single location (new games if written properly will automatically plug themselves into Games Explorer), it offers additional benefits.  It will automatically download games ratings from the internet. These can be used with the new Parental Controls to ensure that games are only played by those users for who they are suitable. It displays recommended and required Ratings to give you a better idea of how well the game will run on your PC (More on

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ratings and the Windows Experience Index below). It will notify you when updates and patches are available for your games.

SIDEBAR GADGETS
You can drag and drop sidebar gadgets onto the desktop so you can hide the sidebar to save desktop space. You can also change their opacity, making them even less obtrusive.

WINDOWS EXPERIENCE INDEX
A new feature accessed in the Control Panel by opening System. The Windows Experience Index gives your PC a performance score between 1 and, curiously, 5.9. This is most useful with gaming as games carrying the Games for Windows logo will include a Windows Experience Index score on the box. Using this rating you will be able, at a glance, to get an idea of how well your PC will run the game. You can see from the image left that this computer has a rating of 3.4, quite reasonable to run Vista.

To work properly with games explorer in Vista look for games that carry the Games for Windows logo across the top of the box.

SUPPORT FOR GAMES
Having trouble with a game in Windows Vista? Now you can right click on the game in Games Explorer to get a direct link to the game’s Home or Support pages.

WINDOWS SIDEBAR
You can’t miss the sidebar. It’s the big thing that monopolises the right side of your screen. It’s a new feature to Windows that allows you to dock gadgets that can do everything from tell the time to provide advanced realtime stock market information. The sidebar can be switched off but most people I have spoken to find they like one or two sidebar gadgets. My favourites are the clock, calendar, weather and post-it-notes. The good news is that, if you want to switch off the sidebar to save space on your screen all gadgets can be dragged and dropped onto the desktop. In fact with some, such as the standard Weather and calendar

XBOX 360
Windows Vista connectivity tools owners. offers new for Xbox 360

These include the full media-centre experience including sharing music and video and also showing live TV through your Xbox 360 console. Other features include the ability for Xbox 360 and PC gamers to play games online together. Windows Vista now also supports Xbox 360 game controllers on its own games. Please check your Xbox 360 manual for the easy ways to set these features up.

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widgets, they gain additional functionality when you do so! You can then hide the sidebar by selecting the option when you right click on it. Right clicking on these gadgets will enable you to change their opacity, making them even less obtrusive.

PHOTO EDITING
Gone are the days when you need a third-party program to edit your photos. Windows Photo Gallery offers a handy Fix button offering a handy set of tools including cropping, an auto-adjust feature and a highly intuitive red-eye removal tool.

POWERTOY PHOTO INFO
A useful Powertoy for both Windows Vista and Windows XP is Microsoft Photo Info. A downloadable extra that will allow you full control over the data your photographs contain, including tags for searching. You can download it from. www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/usin g/digitalphotography/prophoto/photo info.mspx

TABLET PC TOOLS
No longer just for a specialist version of Windows, Tablet PC functionality has now been built into Vista Business and Ultimate by default. Not much use unless you have a touch screen they provide additional stylus input options and extremely accurate handwriting recognition.

Windows Vista – Power users guide Written by Mike Halsey, www.inspirare.net/pcsupport, Copyright © 2007

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SHARING YOUR CALENDAR WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Windows Calendar is a wonderful new addition to Windows that works in a similar way to Microsoft’s office email and calendaring application, Outlook, in that it allows you to colour-code appointments, sort and search them intuitively and, most importantly, share them with family and friends. Let’s say, for sake of argument that you run a social group locally, a walking group for instance. You can have a calendar of events and meetings that is shared online. You can either choose who can subscribe to this calendar or make it publicly available. Any subscribers can then see the full programme of events, dynamically and regularly updated in their own copy of either Windows Calendar or any other webdav or iCal compatible program, such as Outlook, iCal for the Apple Mac or the opensource Mozilla Sunbird.

PART 7
COMMUNICATING

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It also means you can personally subscribe to publicly available calendars including ones detailing UK and other public holidays. Sharing a calendar privately with friends and family is just as simple as you can choose who can subscribe to it by sending explicit invitations. Your calendar is then kept secure online from everyone else. You can use this facility, as I do, to let people know when you’re working, away or have a few days off. This can be particularly useful if a few of you are trying to arrange a few days away for instance. Updating your calendar couldn’t be simpler, it’s done for you automatically and regularly to a schedule you set when you first set it up.

SHARE YOUR CALENDAR
To share your calendar online you will need to contact your ISP and find out if they have an iCal or Webdav compatible server you can upload your calendar to. There are also free hosting services you can search for on-line

XPS DOCUMENTS
Adobe’s PDF documents are one of the most common means of distributing documents over the internet. They allow for cross platform support (provided you have the appropriate reader software installed) and can be read on any computer, regardless of the Operating System its running. Microsoft’s answer to this is the XPS (Cross Platform Support) document format that promises to allow richer media experiences within documents (whatever that means) than PDF provides. XPS reading and writing support is built into Windows Vista but if you are passing documents to people running other operating systems it’s currently a bit more complicated. www.microsoft.com/xps is the website where you can download viewer and authoring applications for other operating systems. Unfortunately this currently consists of three separate downloads. Hopefully Microsoft will rectify this soon.

WINDOWS LIVE MESSENGER
For once this is not included with a new version of Windows as standard. Instead there is a link in the Welcome Centre of Windows Vista and in the Start Menu to download and install it. An excellent instant messaging application as always it’s let down by the inclusion of advertising. There is a useful utility available that you can get by visiting http://apatch.ikhost.com and searching for “A-Patch for Windows Live Messenger”. This utility will allow you to remove the advertising and other unwanted features. AND KEEP YOUR PRIVACY
You can mark appointment s as private so they are not shared at all or are just shown as busy periods

WINDOWS MAIL
The disappointment that is Windows Mail (really just a rebadged version of Outlook Express) does now include spam and phishing filtering as standard. Available from Tools and then Junk Mail Options. Phishing filtering will help stop emails purporting to be from banks wanting your passwords.

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EASE OF ACCESS CENTRE
In Windows the accessibility features have been greatly improved with the new Ease of Access Centre, located in the Control Panel. Wizard-based it will read everything to you to guide you through setting it up. All the usual features are there, the Magnifier, setting up a high contrast display and the Narrator which will read screen contents and web pages to you.

If you have read this story don’t worry about it.

THAT SYNCING FEELING
The new Sync Centre in Windows Vista will enable you to automatically synchronise Windows files with a variety of other devices including MP3 players and smart phones. Do check if your device is compatible with Sync Centre (Formerly called ActiveSync) first.

WINDOWS SIDESHOW
One of the most exciting new technologies in Windows Vista, SideShow was originally billed as a means to display information on external screens on laptops. It’s much more powerful than that however. Running gadgets much like the Sidebar it can display any type of information you want such as emails or even act as a media player. We will see more and more sideshow devices coming out in the next couple of years including Media Centre remote controls that will display programme guides and digital picture frames what will be able to do much more than just display photos.

SPEECH RECOGNITION
In addition to the Ease of Access Centre, the Speech Recognition Options, located in the Control Panel will allow you not only to control your PC by speech, but also dictate directly into documents such as Word (perhaps something I should have set up before writing this!) There was some scare-mongering when Vista was first launched that malicious websites could play MP3 files that would instruct your computer to delete all its files. While this is possible in theory, it would never happen in practice! Your microphone would need to be switched on, correctly configured and close enough to your speakers, which would need to be at the correct volume before this could happen. In addition your speech recognition system would have had to be trained to recognise the accent of the person in the MP3 file giving the instructions.

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BACKUP, RESTORE AND DISASTER RECOVERY
The backup and Restore centre, located in the Start Menu is a huge advance over previous backup software supplied with Windows. Still wizard-based, it allows you to back up to your hard drive, CDs and DVDs, external hard drives and other computers on your home network. It will also allow you to schedule automatic backups. I would recommend setting up scheduled backups to another partition or drive on your computer.

PART 8
GUARANTEEING

WINDOWS VISTA BUSINESS AND VISTA ULTIMATE ONLY
A more interesting feature is the Back up computer option which will create a full image of your Operating System, complete with any installed software for quick and easy restoration later.

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This feature is best for systems with a good amount of free disk space on either a separate partition, or a completely separate hard disk, ideally you will need about 10Gb or more of free space. Once set up this is the ultimate disaster recovery tool for your PC. If you find at any time that Windows won’t start at all, booting from the Windows Vista DVD will give you a handy Repair your computer option. Choose to restore from an image-based backup and tell it where on your computer this file is located. The automated routine will restore all your software and your operating system to the point at which the image snapshot was taken in short-order. This feature is a hideous oversight from Vista Home Premium; however there are several third-party solutions that will do the same job, like Symantec Ghost. There are reports that the backup software in Windows Vista doesn’t let you change your choices of what files you back up after the first time a backup is complete. Should you encounter a difficulty such as this you can either delete your existing backup set and start again, or choose a new backup location for your files. DON’T LOSE YOUR BACKUP
If you are using the Back up computer option, make sure your files are stored on a separate partition or drive (see the section Moving your files for data security to find out how to do this) or they will be over-written with older versions should you have to restore from this backup.

COMPLETE PC BACKUP
I’ve now used this facility to back up and restore my complete PC. IT was the only way to be able to properly write this feature. Creating a backup is simple and quick, but you’ll need a drive with about the same amount of free space as your Windows Vista installation (plus other partitions and drives you may wish to back up). It won’t back up to any drive or partition on which you have enabled compression. This is when you format a drive and tick the “enable compression” box so you can squeeze a bit more data on the drive. When restoring, boot from your Windows Vista DVD and after selecting your country press “Repair your computer” (see illustration above).

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A menu will appear with several options.

locations i.e. across a home network. You can download it here. www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/usin g/digitalphotography/prophoto/synct oy.mspx

STARTUP REPAIR
This can be used if your copy of Windows Vista cannot start. This will not fix all problems but will be a quick fix for most.

PARENTAL CONTROLS
Should you need them, Windows Vista contains an advanced suite of parental controls, accessed from the Control Panel. These allow you to set the times of day and days of the week a PC can be used, what games can be played, for this the system plugs directly into the games age ratings in Games Explorer (see Part 6 – Playing) and what content can be viewed online. It also includes full auditing controls so you can check on what young children have been looking at online. The whole thing can also be controlled across a home network.

SYSTEM RESTORE
System Restore will restore your computer to an earlier point if you have any restore points saved in Windows. This is useful to fix problems caused by faulty hardware driver installations.

COMPLETE PC RESTORE
Windows Complete PC Restore is the option to restore from the image backup that Complete PC Backup creates. Windows will search your computer for backups and is very good at finding them, even on USB attached hard drives. The restore will take no longer than the original backup took (My 16Gb installation took about twelve minutes). After this your PC will reboot and you should have a fully working system again.

POWERTOY SYNCTOY
A useful downloadable extra for both Windows Vista and Windows XP is SyncToy. This useful addition will synchronise two folders so their file contents are the same. This is a handy little backup tool if you need complete access to the files in both

Windows Vista – Power users guide Written by Mike Halsey, www.inspirare.net/pcsupport, Copyright © 2007

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CLEANING WINDOWS
It’s always been the case with every version of Windows that it gets clogged up and slows down over time, becoming more unreliable. My previous advice has been to reinstall Windows from fresh approximately once a year or so. With Vista, time will tell if this is still the case. To help are a handy set of tools and utilities. Some of these are updates and some are completely

PART 9
MAINTAINING
new. Here’s how they can help keep your PC running smoothly and where you can find them.

MAINTENANCE
A new option has been added to the start menu that contains some handy new tools.

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SHADOW COPIES / PREVIOUS VERSIONS
An excellent feature ported to Windows Vista from Windows Server. If you store your Documents on a separate partition you will need to turn this feature on, but is well worth switching on should you have a large hard disk with some free space. Let’s say that you have a Word file, for sake of argument, that you make changes to and save. You realise just afterwards that you had deleted some vital text within the document but now you’ve saved it, it’s gone forever. Not any more! With Shadow Copies you can right click on any file, select it’s properties and restore a previously saved version of that file. To switch on this feature use the following route… 1. 2. 3. Open the Control Panel from the Start Menu Select System Click the System Protection link in the green panel on the left of the window that appears Make sure in the Available Disks box that every disk or partition on which you store your documents is selected Press OK when finished

ADD / REMOVE PROGRAMS?
When uninstalling software in Windows Vista the Add / Remove Programs option in the Control Panel has been renamed Programs and Features.

DISK CLEANUP
This facility has been around for many versions of Windows but now is friendlier. Found in the Start Menu under Accessories then System Tools this facility will remove temporary files and other unwanted files that will clog up your hard drive and slow down Windows. Unlike some other tools there is no facility to run this software automatically in the background. However also in this menu is the Task Scheduler in which you can set Disk Cleanup or any other program to run automatically at an interval that you choose.

4.

5.

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which can be found in the main section of the Start Menu. This tool, which I would always suggest is used in conjunction with other anti-spyware products such as AdAware and Spybot (please visit my website at www.inspirare.net/pcsupport for download links) will help remove unwanted files that are downloaded in the background when you are browsing on the internet. Mostly these files are innocuous, but they can report to companies around the world your browsing habits and other personal information about you.

DISK DEFRAGMENTER
The Disk Defragmenter on the other hand has been updated to include automatic defragmentation of your hard drive. Fragmentation of files occurs over time. It is when parts of files become scattered over your hard drive as Windows struggles to find the best space to store them in. Defragmenting your drive(s) brings all the parts of these files together again, speeding up the operating of your computer and greatly reducing the risk that the files will become corrupt. You will see when you run this software the tick box for Run on a Schedule. I strongly suggest that you tick this and select a schedule of approximately once a month. The defragmenter will then run automatically in the background to help keep your computer healthy and working.

WINDOWS DEFENDER
With Windows Vista, Microsoft have included a new spyware removal tool

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WINDOWS UPDATE AND MICROSOFT UPDATE
Also found in the main part of the Start Menu is Windows Update. This is set by default to download the most important updates for your computer and I do strongly suggest that you never switch it off. However there are other updates that can be just as important that can only be downloaded by running Windows Update manually. These can include driver updates for your hardware that can help improve system stability and reliability. Pressing the Change Settings link in the left hand green pane in Windows Update allows you to switch on Microsoft Update. This recommended feature will allow Windows Update to download patches and updates for other Microsoft software you have installed including all versions of Microsoft Office.

TURN ON MICROSOFT UPDATE
Select Change Settings within Windows Update to switch on Microsoft Update and get updates and security fixes for other Microsoft software including all versions of Office.

I would strongly suggest, to make things easier for you that you move the items I have detailed here, plus others including your anti-spyware, anti-virus and firewall software into this folder. This can be done simply by dragging and dropping items within the Start Menu. Should you wish to drop something into a folder that is closed in the menu, simply hover the cursor over that folder for a second for the folder to open. You will then be able to drop the item into that folder.

RELIABILITY MONITOR
One of the best new features in Windows Vista is hidden away in Control Panel → Performance Information and Tools and click Advanced Tools in the left hand green pane, you can open the Reliability Monitor. It’s a new feature to Windows that gives your computer a reliability score out of 10. This figure goes down whenever your computer experiences a problem, such as a piece of software not working or a driver crash. Then it slowly creeps up again. The best part of this however is that you can take a look at precisely what caused your computer problems for any particular event, all neatly sorted by date with handy icons representing problems.

ORGANISING YOUR MAINTENANCE SOFTWARE
For some reason that I cannot comprehend, while Microsoft have included the new Maintenance section within the Start menu, they have neglected to include in it many of the tools that really should be found there.

PC HEALTH REPORTS
In addition to the Reliability Monitor, if you open the Performance Information and Tools panel in the Control Panel, and click Advanced

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Tools in the green pane on the left hand side you can create a Reliability Report for your PC. This is an indepth analysis of any problems with your computer.

PROBLEM REPORTS AND SOLUTIONS
Windows XP was able to phone home whenever a problem occurred that caused Windows to become unstable or crash. Windows Vista goes one step further with the Problem Reports and Solutions Tool in the Control Panel. This will pop up occasionally so you can see if there’s any feedback from Microsoft on the problem that you’ve experienced. For instance, if a new device driver or software update is available. This is well worth checking now and again.

WINDOWS VISTA SERVICE PACK 1
Due at the end of 2007, this service pack (otherwise known as Vista SP1) is a must have download for every Windows Vista user! It will include an entirely new kernel (the root code of the operating system) that will bring it into line with its more secure big sister Windows Server, when the next version of that is released at the same time. Make sure you download and install this update as soon as it becomes available.

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WHY WON’T MY PROGRAM WORK?
Almost all the software you run will not have been designed for Windows Vista. They will have been written for Windows versions that allowed sloppy coding and gave software all sorts of rights and privileges it really shouldn’t have been given. This encouraged software authors to take short-cuts and means we are now in a position where many pieces of software either don’t run properly or, in some extreme cases, refuse to run at all. This is entirely because they have not been granted in Windows Vista the permissions they have had in the past. This is not a bad thing! The new security systems in Windows Vista are what is causing the problem, stopping software from doing things it really shouldn’t be doing anyway, as they can harm your system. Games are a prime example of this. There is a work-around however. Right click on its icon in the Start Menu, select it’s Properties, then on the Compatibility tab tick the box labelled Run this program in compatibility mode for... and select Windows XP Service pack 2 or the appropriate other version of Windows. If this fails to work, and if you completely trust the program, you can tick the “Run this program as an administrator” box to allow the program to run with raised privileges.

NO INTERNET?
One common problem for people who connect to the internet through a router is that the connection between the router and the internet can get snarled up at times. Simply switching off your router and turn it on again a few seconds later will solve many of these problems, though it will take a minute for your connection to go live again afterwards.

PART 10
DIAGNOSING

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If this doesn’t work its possible the program is just not compatible with Vista.

VISTA WON’T START?
Try booting from your Vista install DVD. After selecting your country press the Repair my computer option and select from one of the options listed in Vista Won’t Boot (right).

INSTABILITIES / CRASHES
With Windows Vista Microsoft included new ways for hardware manufacturers to write drivers, the software that tells Windows how it can interact with the hardware. Some of these have caused problems. Do you remember seeing the driver install warning box (below) in Windows XP and Windows Vista?

If you have any hardware that required the install of unsigned drivers that could be causing a problem, check Windows Update and the hardware manufacturers website occasionally for newer, more stable, versions.

VISTA WON’T BOOT
If your copy of Windows Vista won’t boot, try booting from your Vista installation DVD. After selecting your country press Repair my computer at the bottom left of the installer window. You can then select from a series of options.

STARTUP REPAIR
This can be used if your copy of Windows Vista cannot start. This will not fix all problems but will be a quick fix for most.

SYSTEM RESTORE
System Restore will restore your computer to an earlier point if you have any restore points saved in Windows. This is useful to fix problems caused by faulty hardware driver installations.

This is a warning that you are trying to install what’s called an unsigned driver. i.e. one that the manufacturer has not paid Microsoft to test for full compatibility with Windows. These untested drivers can cause system crashes and other instabilities. The new 64 bit version of Windows Vista won’t allow these unsigned drivers at all for security and stability reasons, but they are unfortunately still allowed in XP.

COMPLETE PC RESTORE
Windows Complete PC Restore is the option to restore from the image backup that Complete PC Backup creates.

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MSCONFIG
If you are having more serious troubles with Windows Vista, type MSConfig into the search box on the Start Menu to run this advanced system service.

SERVICES AND STARTUP
These tabs allow you to disable startup programs and windows services. Beware! That unless you know what you are doing disabling Windows services you can paralyse your operating system.

TOOLS
Of more use is the tools tab that offers access to a variety of features including getting help online, system restore and the event viewer, a handy utility that keeps a log of crashes and problems with Windows. Here are a series of tools that must be used very carefully but can be very useful.

GENERAL
On the general tab you can select a limited startup of Windows. If you are having trouble with a drive or piece of software that starts with Windows and that you cannot remove, or maybe you suspect that a Windows component may be malfunctioning you can start Windows into a limited configuration here.

BOOT
The boot tab presents more advanced limited startup options for your PC.

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SYSTEM FILE CHECKER
Setting up the System File Checker verifies the integrity of the Operating System files. If it finds any file that’s corrupt or that has been tempered with it’ll replace it from your Vista install DVD. At the Search Box in the Start menu type CMD to search for the command prompt. When it appears in the search results, right click on it and select Run as Administrator. In the window that appears type... SFC /SCANNOW to check the Operating system and replace any corrupt or damaged files. SFC /VERIFYONLY to just check the Operating System and report on its integrity without repairing anything.

INTERNET EXPLORER CAN’T SAVE FAVOURITES
If you have moved your Users folder to another drive you may have to reset the permissions for IE favourites. Click your name on the Start Menu then right click on favourites, select Properties and Security. Hre you can set Full control permissions for yourself and others.

are called Administrators and Users and will be followed by the name of your computer (STUDY in the illustration below). If you are having trouble, try editing the permissions to allow Full control to a user group. You are unlikely to need this for a partition or drive on which you have relocated your user files, but it is common to have to set permissions for Internet Explorer Favourites. This is because IE in Vista runs in a special sandboxed mode which denies it access to the rest of the operating system, your programs or files without express permission.

I CAN’T ACCESS MY FILES / IE FAVOURITES
What can sometimes happen when you move your users folders away from the drive on which your main Windows Vista installation is located (see Moving your files for data security on page 18) is that you can’t write, or sometimes even read, the contents. Part of the beefed up security in Windows Vista is file and folder permissions. You can access these by Right clicking on the drive or folder, selecting Properties and then selecting the Security tab. Here you will find a list of permissions for user groups. The two local ones

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WINDOWS CALENDAR HAS STOPPED WORKING
If you have subscribed to an internet, friend’s or colleagues calendar in the new Windows Calendar application you could find that every time Vista starts you get a dialogue box on your screen telling you that Windows Calendar has stopped working. This, hopefully soon to be fixed bug, is caused by Windows Calendar trying to update the calendars you have subscribed to and failing to do so. To fix this open the Task Scheduler from the Start Menu by clicking All Programs → Accessories → System Tools where it is located. In the window that appears, open in the left hand pane Task Scheduler Library → Microsoft → Windows → Windows Calendar and delete the calendar updating task that appears in the centre pane. Your subscription calendar(s) will still update whenever you run Windows Calendar but that’s really all you need it to do anyway. This is not guaranteed to fix the problem and hopefully by the time you read this Microsoft will have distributed a fix for the problem. I have discovered however through trial and error that this does work in most cases.

INTERNET EXPLORER PROBLEMS
You can run Internet Explorer with all its plugins disabled if one is misbehaving. Go to the Start menu → All Programs → Accessories → System Tools which frankly is a stupid place to hide it, you will find Internet Explorer (No Add-ons)

ons → Enable or Disable Add-ons where you can disable the offending plug-ins. Alternatively in the Start menu → All Programs → Accessories → System Tools which frankly is a stupid place to hide it, you will find Internet Explorer (No Add-ons) which will run the browser with all the plug-ins disabled. You can then remove the offending plug-in(s) as described previously.

GAMING PROBLEMS IN VISTA
Many gamers have reported problems running their favourite games in Windows Vista. It’s true that compared to XP, Vista is a memory hog. However there are currently issues with processor performance hitting 100% when it really shouldn’t be too. Many gamers are holding off for Service Pack 1, at which time they say they’ll make the switch. I’ve been resistant to this because of the security and usability improvements that Vista brings to the desktop. However I now have to admit that this prudent course may be the most suitable for PC gamers. Memory management software can help with some issues, but clearly there are performance problems here that Microsoft need to sort out with future hotfixes.

INTERNET EXPLORER IS MALFUNCTIONING?
With so many plug-ins now available for Internet Explorer you may find that occasionally one of them crashes and takes your internet browser with it. To fix this you have two choices. If you can get Internet Explorer working click the Tools button, select Manage Add-

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SYSTEM AND SETTINGS TWEAKS
As with all previous versions of Windows there are system tweaks that are usually advisable to get the most out of your installation. Go to the Control Panel → System → and click on Advanced System Settings in the green left-hand pane. In the window that pops up (see illustration) there are several options you can tweak to get a bit more out of Windows Vista. Under Performance → Settings you can change some of the appearance options for Windows Vista.

VIRTUAL MEMORY
Then under the Advanced tab of that Window you should click on the Change button in the Virtual Memory section. Here you should untick the box labelled “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives” and instead choose a custom size where the initial and maximum sizes are identical.

PART 11
TWEAKING

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Virtual Memory is a facility whereby Windows uses some of your hard drive space as extra memory when it needs to. If this file can grow and shrink in size then lots of file defragmentation can occur over time. With the virtual memory file kept at a fixed size, unable to grow or shrink, this can’t happen.

REMOTE ASSIST AND REMOTE DESKTOP
Under the Remote tab you can switch on or off Remote Assist and Remote

DUAL-BOOTING SYSTEMS
If your computers dual boots into, for example, both Windows XP and Windows Vista, the Settings button in the Startup and Recovery section is where you can control options such as the amount of time the boot menu appears for when Windows starts.

SYSTEM PROTECTION AND SYSTEM RESTORE
The System Protection tab is where System Restore is controlled from. With previous versions of Windows I have always recommended that System Restore is switched off completely as it was a good place for viruses to hide. This was a pity as it was an otherwise very useful feature, enabling you to revert to previous system settings if anything went wrong with Windows or installed software. With UAC in place however, viruses hiding in System Restore should be a thing of the past. Here you can tweak the settings for this useful feature or turn it off should you wish. This is also the place from which you can create system restore points and recover by reverting to them.

Desktop. Remote assist is a useful feature you should leave switched on. This allows IT professionals controlled access to your computer to fix problems with Windows or your installed software. If you are unlikely to want to take remote control of your PC from another computer on your home network however you can safely switch off Remote Desktop should you want to. There is, however, no risk to leaving it switched on.

COMPUTER NAME
Finally, under the Computer Name tab you can change the name of your computer to make it more obvious

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what it is on your home network. For instance you might want to change it to Study or Living Room.

READYBOOST
This is a useful new feature that lets you easily add extra memory to Windows Vista simply by plugging in a USB pen drive. Not all pen drives are compatible with ReadyBoost and if you’re buying one it’s worth checking its ReadyBoost compatible first.

doing so. This is normally a task for advanced tweaking software but surprisingly for anti-spyware software, Microsoft’s own offering Windows Defender, offers tweaking and start-up modification tools. Found in the Start-menu, Run Windows Defender then click on Tools and then Software Explorer. This will allow you t see what’s currently running (useful if you suspect a virus infection) and what’s set to run when you Start Windows. It gives you handy options to disable these programs.

MSCONFIG
If modifying the start-up programs in Windows Defender doesn’t work, or ifyou run an anti-virus package like Microsoft OneCare that unhelpfully switches Defender off, there’s the more powerful MSConfig. This is quite common for many types of software from printer / scanner utilities to media playback packages. Typing MSConfig (Microsoft Configuration) into the Start Menu search box will let you launch this handy little utility, the Startup tab in which will allow you to disable these programs.

TWEAKING WITH WINDOWS DEFENDER
Let’s say you have a program, a scanner utility or media player that automatically starts up whenever you start Windows. This will slow down the overall start-up time and you neither want or need it starting anyway. How do you stop it from

The utility will prom pt you when you reboot to let you know it’s been run, you can tell it this point not to prompt you again.

AUTOPLAY OPTIONS
If you get annoyed about files and windows popping up and starting whenever you put a CD or memory

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card into your computer or some software you have installed is starting instead of the software you want to start then there’s a solution. The options to change these settings have been made much easier in Windows Vista. Simply select the AutoPlay option from the Control Panel and a handy selection of drop down lists will appear for different media types. Here you can select the program you want to run, or nothing if you so wish, when certain types of media are inserted into your PC.

TUNE YOUR START-UP
Windows start-up a bit slow? In Windows Defender go to Tools → Software Explorer to see a list of programs set to run when you start Windows. Here you can disable things you don’t need like printer utilities or media players.

Control Panel → Power Options → Choose when the computer sleeps → Change Advanced Power Settings and scroll down the list in the windows that appears until you find Power Buttons and lid in which you can change the default action of the Start Menu Power Button.

GREEN COMPUTING
If you are interested in more ways to have an environmentally friendly computing experience and would like to read more about the topic, I can highly recommend PC Pro magazine’s “Complete Guide to Green Computing” which you can read online. www.pcpro.co.uk/features/101749/co mplete-guide-to-greencomputing.html The article covers a wide variety of topics from buying a green PC to managing consumables and advanced power management. It also gives handy tips about disposing of your old hardware in a responsible way, all the time dispelling many myths about the perils of green computing. I can also recommend the intelliplug from www.oneclickpower.co.uk. A special plug adapter that will save on your electricity bill by switching off peripherals such as your monitor, printer and speakers when you switch off your PC.

POWER MANAGEMENT
We all want to do our bit to help save the planet. Tweaking the power management settings in Windows Vista can help a bit. In the Control Panel you’ll find Power Options. Here you can tweak the general settings within Vista, such as when to switch off the monitor. In addition to this if you click Choose when the computer sleeps → Change Advanced Power Settings a window will appear with a whole array of advanced power management options you can tweak. CHANGE YOUR POWER BUTTON
You can change the Start Menu power button from ‘Sleep’ which is a lowpower state to ‘Shut Down’ to save power. Go to Control Panel → Power Options → Choose when the computer sleeps → Change Advanced Power Settings

CHANGING THE START MENU POWER BUTTON
By default the power button on the Vista Start Menu is ‘sleep’ which will put your PC into a low power state but not actually switch it off. You can change this power button to ‘Shut Down’ easily by going to the

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VISTA POWERTOYS
Microsoft have confirmed they are releasing PowerToys for Windows Vista. The PowerToys for Windows XP were an extremely useful collection of utilities and tweaks that greatly improved the XP experience. When these toys are released this document will be updated to include a link. It’s well worth keeping one eye out for the PowerToys in the mean time however.

DISABLE THE STARTUP SOUND
To disable the Windows start-up sound in the Control Panel select Sound then in the window that appears select the Sounds tab and untick Play Windows start-up sound.

DVD back in your PC. With vLite however you can create a custom install DVD for Windows Vista that doesn’t include (or install) features you may not want, e.g. Tablet PC functionality.

REMOVE SHORTCUT ARROWS
A little tweak this one but always popular. When creating a shortcut to a program or file you end up with a great big arrow on it that many people

THIRD PARTY TWEAKS
There is a good selection of tweaking and other useful utilities out for Windows Vista and more will be released all the time. Some of the best I have encountered are... www.TweakVista.com – A useful collection of tweaks, tips and utilities for Windows Vista www.VistaBootPro.org – A tool for modifying, backing up and, in the event of a disaster, restoring the new boot menu system in Windows Vista www.vLite.net – By default, Windows Vista installs every component of Vista Ultimate on your hard drive, this is so that if you decide to choose Windows Anytime Upgrade (available in the Start Menu) should you be running a different version of Windows, you can upgrade to ultimate without having to put your

find distracting. This handy little utility will enable you to remove this. You can download it here. www.frameworkx.com/frameworkx/c ontentblogdetail.aspx?blog=57&id=53 1

IE7 ADD-ONS
There are a whole host of add-ons for Internet Explorer 7 (and above) available from www.ieaddons.com some of which you have to pay for but

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many of which are free. The best of these include...

PREVIEWING PDF FILES IN EXPLORER
The new preview pane in Explorer windows is a welcome addition to Windows (See Part 3 – Exploring) but unfortunately doesn’t support many file types. You can download a thirdparty plug-in to support Adobe’s popular Portable Document Format (PDF) files from ryangregg.com/PermaLink,guid,a29ee 2d7-6863-4b70-9fcbb7db392f9a74.aspx.

IESPELL
A free spell-checker that uses the spell-checking engine in Microsoft Office. You can download it from www.iespell.com.

IE7PRO
Another free add on that gives Internet Explorer users many features commonly found in other browsers such as Mozilla Firefox. These include Advert blocking and session restore should the browser crash.

CREATING ICONS WITHOUT TEXT
I found this useful link at vistarewired.com/2007/03/03/howto-create-icons-without-text.

ADD YOUR OWN WALLPAPERS
Selecting Personalization from the control panel allows you to select your desktop wallpaper. But you can plug your own photos and wallpapers into this should you wish. This is as easy as copying the pictures to the Windows / Web / Wallpaper folder on the drive on which Vista is installed. If you also add a tag to your photos first (you cannot add tags to photos when they are in this folder) such as your name, will group the pictures in the select wallpapers dialog window appropriately. Of course you can still use a picture anywhere on your PC as a wallpaper so this is a bit of a gimmick. However if you’re a keen photographer, like I am, it’s a good way to share your work with friends and family.

This simple guide will tell you how to have desktop icons without text. Let’s face it it’s obvious to us all what the recycle bin and Internet Explorer icons are, and we don’t need the names underneath.

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WINDOWS ANYTIME UPGRADE
Located in the Start Menu, Windows Anytime Upgrade will allow you to upgrade your version of Windows Vista in-situ to another version. Why would you want to do this? Let’s say for instance you have Vista Home Basic and want to upgrade to the aero glass interface of Vista Home Premium, or maybe you have Vista Business and want Media Centre. Prices will vary for upgrading and you might find it’s cheaper to buy a new OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) copy of the version of Windows Vista you require. Note however that with an OEM copy you forfeit all phone and email technical support from Microsoft, though this won’t be of concern to most people. Once you have completed the purchase process you will be emailed a new product code and be able to

PART 12
UPGRADING

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download a small program that will perform the upgrade for you. Please note! There is still some confusion over anytime upgrade with reports that it will invalidate your current product key to prevent you getting a cheap second copy.

WINDOWS 7, THE MOVE TO X64
Due for the Christmas holidays 2009, Windows 7 (alternatively known as Vienna) is the codename for the next version of Microsoft’s operating system. It promises to be evolutionary, rather than the revolutionary change that Vista is. However it will include some very interesting and useful features that were dropped during Windows Vista’s development programme. Most importantly it will include a new shell for Explorer and the Start Menu that is being written by the team that developed the highly acclaimed ribbon interface for Microsoft Office 2007. So why am I mentioning it here? Microsoft has declared a desire to move Windows exclusively to 64 bit architecture. What does this mean? 64 bit processors (chips capable of processing 64 bits of binary data at a time compared to the 32 bit chips we’re used to) have been around for a while but offer significant performance and security benefits.

Both Windows XP and Windows Vista are available in 64 bit (also called x64) variants and Windows 7 or whatever it ends up being called will very likely ONLY be available for 64 bit processors. The upshot of this is that if you are buying a new computer any time from now on, check that it has a 64 bit processor before you part with your cash, or you could find out that it won’t run the next version of Windows at all!

THANK YOU
Please feel free to print this document for your reference and forward it to friends and family. This guide is provided freely, however if you find it useful and would like to make a small contribution you can contact Mike through his site at www.inspirar e.net

This document is covered under a Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial No Derives 2.0 License. This means there are “Some Rights Reserved”. This document may be freely distributed and copied, but not modified and not used for commercial purposes.

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32 BIT
An older type of computer processor capable of processing up to 32 bits of binary data (0 or 1) at a time. They can handle up to 4Gb of installed memory.

64 BIT
Much newer processor designs capable of handling 64 binary bits at a time and memory in excess of 4Gb. They offer significant stability and security benefits over 32 bit processors.

ADMINISTRATOR
The user mode in which software has full access to change / delete anything on your computer. Windows Vista by default runs in a Standard User mode to improve security.

APPENDIX A
GLOSSARY

ADSL
The most common type of broadband internet access. Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line is the access provided by British Telecom and all other noncable or satellite internet access providers.

AGP
An interface for graphics cards on a PC, has since been replaced by PCIExpress (PCI-E).

BOOTING
Starting up your computer to use Windows.

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DEFRAGMENT
Files on your hard drive can become fragmented over time. This means that Windows looks for the next best place to save your file. However as you delete files this space might not be big enough for it. So it splits the file over the available free space. Over time this can slow your PC down and cause your files to become corrupt. Defragmenting your drive brings all the pieces of your files back together again.

DUAL BOOTING
Running more than one operating on your PC. For instance having both Windows XP and Windows Vista installed and choosing when you switch the computer on, which one to boot into.

DX10
DirectX 10 is the new 3D graphics engine for Windows Vista, it enables new effects in PC games.

GB
Gigabyte, A unit of measure. 1Gb = 1000Mb. 1Gb is typically enough space on a hard disk to store 200 MP3s or enough memory to allow Windows Vista to run properly.

Fragmented Files F i F l i 2 l e e 1 Defragmented Files F i l e 1 F i l e 2

DEP
Data Execution Prevention, a feature introduced in Windows XP Service Pack 2 to stop viruses. It can also prevent some games from running.

HARD DRIVE / HARD DISK
A physical disk that sits inside your PC on which you store files and data. If you do not have much memory, Windows creates a virtual memory file, called a swap file, that acts as memory but sits on the hard drive. Reading and writing to a hard disk is slower than reading and writing to memory. Hard disks are measured in Gb units.

DRIVE LETTERS
Typically C: or A:, these are traditional ways to refer to the hard drives and removable storage in your PC.

DRIVER
Software that tells Windows how to communicate with installed hardware.

ICAL
See WebDav, also the calendar program for Apple computers.

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MB
Megabyte, A unit of measure. 1Mb is approximately the amount of storage you can fit on a floppy disk. To compare, a CD will store approximately 650Mb and a DVD will store 4.5Gb.

PCI-E
PCI Express, the new format for graphics cards on a PC, replacing the older AGP standard.

PDF
Adobe’s Portable Document Format is an excellent way to transfer documents between people, being operating system independent.

MEMORY
Temporary storage for files and programmes while your computer is running. The more memory your computer has, typically between 512Mb and 2Gb, the faster it can run because the less reading of the hard disk is required. Reading and writing to memory is faster than to a hard disk. Memory is measured in either Mb or Gb units.

PHISHING
Emails that purport to be from Banks or websites such as Amazon or eBay that try and trick you into logging in to what you think is a genuine site to get your passwords and other details.

READYBOOST
A way of increasing the amount of memory in Windows Vista by plugging in a compatible USB pen drive.

OPERATING SYSTEM
Aka: Windows Vista. The software that acts as an interface for your computer and that allows you to run software.

REMOTE ASSIST
A feature in Windows that allows remote control of your PC over the internet when you give permission, so that someone not in front of your PC can solve problems on it.

NETWORKING
Connecting your computer to a network of others, either in your home or onwards to the internet.

PARTITION
Your hard drive can be split into separate partitions. Each of these becomes its own hard drive in the available space. For instance a 400Gb hard drive can be split into a 100Gb partition followed by two 250Gb partitions. This is useful for keeping your data and files away from your Windows installation.

REMOTE DESKTOP
Remote control of other PCs in your home or office.

SAVED SEARCHES / VIRTUAL FOLDERS
A search that you can save as a folder and that can be treated in the same way, but that holds no actual files and

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dynamically updates whenever it’s opened.

TASKBAR
The bar that typically runs along the bottom of your screen containing the Windows Orb Button, icons and the clock.

SHADOW COPIES / PREVIOUS VERSIONS
Automatic backup of previous versions of files performed by Windows Vista. These previous copies of files can be restored by right clicking on the file and selecting its properties.

UAC
User Account Control (UAC) is the security system in Windows Vista to guard against virus and other attack.

SPAM
Unwanted, unsolicited email. Named after a pre-cooked tinned meat commonly eaten in the UK during the Second World War, and usually despised by all who ate it.

UI
User Interface, a term to describe the look and feel of an application or Operating System.

USERS FOLDER
The location where your Documents and other personal files are stored. This can be moved away from the drive or partition on which you have installed Windows Vista.

SPYWARE
Unwanted files that collect on your PC as you browse the internet. Many are innocuous but some can have malicious purposes. They are removed by software such as Windows Defender.

VIRTUAL MEMORY
Additional memory kept as a hidden file on your hard drive for when you run out of physical memory. This is much slower than physical memory.

SYSTEM RESTORE
A feature that takes a snapshot of your PC’s operating system at certain periods so you can restore the system to that point in the event of a problem.

WEBDAV
A way to store calendars online so that they can be shared with other people.

TAGS
Key words to describe the contents of your files or photographs.

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WI-FI
Wireless internet access, also called 802.11. There are four speeds a, b, g and n with a being the slowest, n being the fastest and g currently being the most common.

WINDOWS KEY / ORB
The key between CTRL and ALT at the bottom left of your keyboard, also known as the Windows Orb (formerly the Start Button) on the taskbar.

WINDOWS UPDATE / MICROSOFT UPDATE
A utility built into all versions of Windows to help keep the operating system up to date and free from security holes.

XPS
Microsoft’s answer to Adobe’s PDF format, the Cross Platform Support document format offers the same advantages that PDFs offer but is relatively new.

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ABOUT MIKE HALSEY
Mike Halsey grew up in Camberley, Surrey (UK). He is currently based in Sheffield. Mike has been working in IT Support for years. He began supporting individuals in their homes and microbusinesses and moved on to blue-chip clients including major UK banks NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland and the supermarket chain Tesco. He has been a beta-tester for Microsoft for a few years now. Before that Mike spent several years’ self-employed providing websites, adverts and other promotional

APPENDIX B
THE AUTHOR

materials for micro-business and SMEs in the UK and as far afield as Amsterdam and China. He is now working as a teacher for a national training charity teaching English, Mathematics and, unsurprisingly, IT. He is a keen photographer with a particular interest in modern architecture. His photographic site can be found at www.inprofile.co.uk.

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INTRODUCTION
Microsoft Office 2007 is nothing short of a revolution in the way we use office software. However the new Ribbon interface and some of the options we’re used to being able to find easily can appear hidden away at first.

THE RIBBON
Gone are the menus in almost every office application to be replaced by the Ribbon. An intuitive, context sensitive bar across the top of your screen that contains all the commands you will need for any particular task. The Ribbon may seem confusing at first but it’s worth spending some time working with as it’s a far better way of working with office applications.

APPENDIX C
OFFICE 2007

WHY THE RIBBON?
The ribbon came about because feedback given to Microsoft on new features customers wanted in Office were usually things that the software was already capable of doing. Previous versions of Office automatically ‘hid’ features that weren’t used for a while. The

software also allowed people to completely ‘lose’ toolbars and even the main menu.

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MINIMISING THE RIBBON
If you need more space on your screen, you can Right Click anywhere in a blank area of the Ribbon and select Minimise the Ribbon. You can restore it the same way. When minimised, the Ribbon will only appear when you click on a tab and / or hover over it.

USE THE ORB
The Office Orb, located in the top right of each Windows in most applications is the replacement for the old File menu.

here that you can open and save files and change options.

QUICK ACCESS TOOLBAR
You can add commands you use commonly to the quick access toolbar by clicking the down arrow to the right of the icons there.

CUSTOMISE THE RIBBON
The Ribbon itself is not customisable, in that it was designed to not need it. However there is software available that will let you customise it and add new tabs of your own including Ribbon Customizer from pschmid.net/office2007/customize.

If you want to add a lot of commands to the quick access toolbar you can move it easily below the Ribbon.

LIVE PREVIEW
One of the coolest new features in Office 2007 is Live Preview. When selecting something in the Ribbon that will change the formatting of your document, hovering over the item will change your document so you can see how the change will look should you implement it. The change won’t take place however until you actually click the Ribbon item.

FIND OFFICE 2000 / XP / 2003 COMMANDS
If you get stuck in the first few days of using the Ribbon, Microsoft have a handy interactive guide on-line where you can select the command you want in the previous Office menu system and it will show you where the command is on the new Ribbon. You can find the Find Familiar Commands in the New Ribbon at office.microsoft.com/engb/getstarted/FX101938921033.aspx.

OPTIONS IN OFFICE
You’ll see that Office 2007 as standard is a blue colour. Many people don’t like this very much. Pressing the Start Orb and selecting [Word / Excel...] Options will allow you to change the Colour Scheme to silver or black as suits your tastes.

THE START ORB
The new Start Orb in the top right of most applications is the replacement for the File menu. It is

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SAVE AS...
The Save section in Options allows you to change the standard Save options for Office. With Office 2007, Microsoft have introduced new file formats that are more robust and resilient than previous versions. The new *.docx and *xlsx formats cannot be read in previous versions of Office without a compatibility pack, which can be downloaded from office.microsoft.com/enus/products/HA101686761033.aspx.

SAVE AS PDF?
In the Save As... options from the Start Orb is a facility to go online to find more file formats you can save your documents as. These include Adobe PDF format. This is an extremely useful and free plug-in from Microsoft.

ENGLISH SPELLING
By default the language settings in Office 2007 and the spell-checker are US English. You can change this in Language Settings located in the Options from the Start Orb.

OPTIONS
Use the options in the Start Orb to change the default spell-checker language and colour of Office applications.

Windows Vista – Power users guide Written by Mike Halsey, www.inspirare.net/pcsupport, Copyright © 2007

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18 TH FEBRUARY 2007
First draft of the document

25 TH FEBRUARY 2007
Second Edition - Complete update with many new sections and complete change of format.

13 TH MARCH 2007
Part 3 – Exploring - Added Previewing files, Renaming Files (Quick Hint) Part 6 – Playing – Added Support for Games Part 8 – Guaranteeing - Added Complete PC Backup Part 10 – Diagnosing - Added MSConfig, System File Checker, I can’t access my files / IE Favourites, Windows Calendar has stopped working, Internet Explorer is Malfunctioning Part 11 – Tweaking - Added IE7 tweaks, Add your own Wallpaper Appendix B – Added About the Author Appendix D - Added Document version history

APPENDIX D
DOCUMENT VERSION HISTORY

24 TH MARCH 2007
Part 1 – Installing – Updated Vista Upgrade Edition Part 3 - Exploring – Updated Previewing files Part 10 – Diagnosing – Updated Windows Calendar has stopped working

Windows Vista – Power users guide Written by Mike Halsey, www.inspirare.net/pcsupport, Copyright © 2007

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Part 11 – Tweaking – Added Previewing PDF Files in Explorer, How to create icons without text

7 T H APRIL 2007
Part 3 – Exploring – Remembering Window Sizes Added

Part 10 – Diagnosing - Added Gaming problems in Vista

Windows Vista – Power users guide Written by Mike Halsey, www.inspirare.net/pcsupport, Copyright © 2007

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