12 handy things/tips to know about Vista

By now I hope that most of you have atleast tried Vista. If not, join the bandwagon . INSTALL VISTA!!! 🙂

I love every bit of Vista and would like to share some handy tips and also bring into focus some apps that I use a lot.

1> Launch group favorites in IE: This feature is really nice. You can open all items in your Favorites group by clicking on the arrow


2> Shortcuts to quick launch items: We can use Windows key and number keys to launch the quick launch items. So win+1 would result in minimizing all apps


3> Snipping tool: This is a nice tool to get an image clip and to edit it.


4> Windows movie maker: I use this a lot to make movies of photos. You can add your own transitions and audio effects. This makes for some greate video albums to share with your family/community.

Check out one of my videos 🙂


5> Open app with administrator privileges: You can do this in two ways:
     a) right click on the app and click on 'Run as administrator'. You will asked every time you click on the app
     b) the other permanent way to do so is to open the properties -> advanced -> click on Run as administrator -> Ok


6> Modifying UAC: This is a useful feature and I see quite a few comments regarding disabling it. This is not recommended but could turn it completely off by going to Control Panel - User Accounts - Turn UAC on or off.
    Theres another option which is better than turning UAC completely off and at the same time disables the prompting. This was one of the tips from Tim Sneath 

  1. From the Start search bar, type "Local Security Policy"

  2. Accept the elevation prompt

  3. From the snap-in, select Security Settings -> Local Policy -> Security Options

  4. Scroll down to the bottom, where you'll find nine different group policy settings for granular configuration of UAC.

  5. Change the option 'User Account Control: Behavior of the elevation prompt for administrators in Admin Approval mode' from 'Prompt to Consent' to 'Elevate without Prompting'


7> Expanding memory through USB: You can now plug in your USB key and Vista will use it as virtual memory all thanks to the ReadyBoost app. The dialog box that pops up includes the option 'Speed up my system' which then performs the magic. The setup details can be seen here


8> Ctrl + Mousewheel to increase/decrease IE fontsize: This is a common shortcut that I use in addition to Ctrl D to add a link to my favorites.


9> Bcdedit tool: If you have a dual OS on your system you might be familiar with the boot.ini file in XP. However, in Vista we do not have such a file. We use bcdedit to edit the boot configurations. I like the command bcdedit /set {current} description “your menu description“ to customize the options displayed when booting up. Also another option that I use is the delaytime which I reduce from 20 secs to around 5 seconds.


10> Deleting folders with no access: Sometimes you cannot delete a folder even though you are the administrator. Tim Sneath posted a gem on this. The solution is simple. Create a batch command file (*****.cmd) as follows:
                takeown /f %1 /r /d y
                icacls %1 /grant administrators:F /t
Noe all you need to do is specify the folder as the argument (*****.cmd folderName) and then delete. Chaching... 🙂


11> Audio Control: Click on the audio icon in the tray and open the mixer. You will see sound adjustments for several devices. What this means is that when you are listening to music and you get an IM, you wont get that loud *ding* sound. You can customize the sound level on the IM in the audio control. Aint that sweet?


12> Performance tools: Vista provides a set of tools which are intuitive and easy to use. Control Panel\System and Maintenance\Performance Information and Tools\Advanced tools - thats the  location you get these tools. Click on the 'Generate a health report' - this analyzes your system and provides suggestions for maximizing performance. This is just one of several helpful tools.


If you have any more tips/tricks please go ahead and add them to the comments. I am sure the community would love to know this information.

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Comments (7)

  1. c quinn says:

    #7 is not quite correct.   Readyboost does not use a USB flash drive as extra memory.  

    It uses it for a copy of the Superfetch cache, which will help Vista gain faster access to files on the drive, but if you need better performance for most programs once they load into memory, you may still want to upgrade your RAM.

  2. yeah you are right… meant it to be as virtual memory :).. thanks for catching it.

  3. vansen says:

    Ever tried the speech recognition feature in Windows Vista ? Just fire up the control panel and click on the item called "Speech Recognition Options" – a cool feature…

  4. I really love the breadcrumb menu in windows explorer. Vista has a lot of really amazing customization features. Great tips on optimization

  5. rabidrobot says:

    Thanks for pointing out the Snipping Tool.  I typed snip in the search box to find it, tehn added it as a quick launch.

    Hint #8, Ctrl+MouseWheel also has some other cool abilities.  In an Explorer window it will cycle through views, including thumbnail and icon sizes.  On the desktop you can scale your desktop icons with Ctrl+MouseWheel as well!

    Thanks again for these hints!

  6. By now I hope that most of you have atleast tried Vista. If not, join the bandwagon . INSTALL VISTA!!! 🙂 I love every bit of Vista and would like to share some handy tips and also bring into focus some apps that I use a lot. 1> Launch group favorite

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