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Lowell Heddings

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

The “Go” button in Firefox is rarely used and takes up space on the screen, although not all that much. If you want, you can easily disable it to give your address bar more room.

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Flip3D is pretty much the most useless feature in Windows Vista (and 7). It’s slower than Alt+Tab and pretty much completely worthless in every way. You’d be much better off using one of the Expose clones out there (Switcher, MyExpose, SmartFlip, etc) or you can completely disable this feature with a simple registry patch.

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My favorite feature in the latest version of VMware Workstation is that you can run virtual machines entirely in the background. This is most useful for “appliance” machines that you won’t actually use from the prompt, but through a web browser or ssh client.

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If you’ve found that your Hibernate option is missing from Windows Vista, it might be from running the disk cleanup wizard and removing the hibernate files. This is due to a known bug in Vista that might not have been hotfixed already.

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If you’ve found that your Sleep mode menu is dimmed out in Windows Vista, it’s most likely because Media Center disabled the option when it feels that media is being shared. This is an easy setting to fix, but it’s a little tough to locate without some assistance.

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If you are a new Ubuntu user coming from a Mac background, you might be disoriented by the placement of the minimize/maximize/close box on Ubuntu, which mimics Windows by default.

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If you are the type of person that dislikes those little site specific icons, then this tip is for you. Favicons can be disabled completely in Firefox with a simple config change.

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The new Safari for Windows is a very slick browser that beats the pants off everything else in the speed department, but it crashes so much on Windows Vista that it’s virtually unusable.

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One of the immediate complaints people have had about the new Safari for Windows beta is how “fuzzy” the fonts seem to look in comparison to Internet Explorer or Firefox. There’s a quick solution to this issue, although only partially, since Safari doesn’t use ClearType on Windows for some odd reason.

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I’ve been having a very frustrating issue with Windows Vista on my HP notebook: I put the computer into sleep mode, close the lid, and then unplug the network cable… and the computer wakes back up, typically when it’s already safely in my laptop bag, so I don’t notice until I get to my destination and the battery is nearly dead.

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A very common task for a web developer is uploading a single file from a subdirectory on your development box to the same subdirectory on a remote server. Unfortunately, this always ends up being an annoying manual process involving switching directories on both servers, and wastes a large amount of time.

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Since moving to Windows Vista, a lot of the keyboard shortcuts that I was used to just don’t work quite the same anymore. As a keyboard junkie, I find it imperative to learn the shortcut keys, so it’s good that there is a quick way to enable underlining of all shortcut keys.

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This isn’t for everyone, but you can enable a mouse mode in Windows 7 or Vista where just hovering over a window with the mouse will switch to that window. In the old days, this used to be called the XWindows mode, and was enabled through TweakUI, but now it’s built right into Control Panel for everybody to use.

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As this site has gained popularity, the time required to keep the site running has also grown. For instance, even though Akismet blocks virtually all of the spam comments, I still have to manually filter through hundreds of spam comments per day to see if any valid comments were blocked.

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Firefox has a spooky feature called “Prefetching” that downloads pages that it thinks you are going to click on. (note: this is a good excuse for how those pages ended up in your history). It’s also a waste of CPU and bandwidth that slows Firefox down.

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The Instant Search box in Outlook 2007 is a huge improvement over previous versions of Outlook, but remembering all the search operators can be a little difficult, so here’s a quick one that I use all the time.

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Windows Vista includes an extremely useful utility called Mobility Center, designed for laptop users to give you lightning quick access to all functions that a mobile user would need.

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So you’re in the middle of doing something important on your computer when the “Restart your computer to finish installing important updates” dialog comes up, and asks you to restart your computer.

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When you administrate servers running Windows Server 2000 or 2003, one of the most frustrating experiences is when sessions get cut off but the server still thinks they are active. You’ll get this error message, which you are sure to encounter at some point:

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If you are running a web application using the original ASP technology on Windows Server 2003, you might get this error message once you upgrade to Service Pack 2: “New transaction cannot enlist in the specified transaction coordinator. [-2147168246]“.

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I’ve received a number of emails asking where we got the sweet black theme for Windows XP in most of the screenshots. It’s the Zune theme from Microsoft, which you can get directly from their download site:

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We’ve all seen misspelled article titles (especially on Digg.com) Doesn’t Firefox have built-in spell checking?

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As a command line junkie, I end up doing almost everything from a command prompt. The problem is that Windows Vista doesn’t have a built-in command to launch an application in administrator mode.

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If you use UltraEdit as your text editor and edit a lot of Linux/Unix files, you’ve no doubt encountered the “File is probably not DOS format” message every single time you open a file. So irritating…

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If you’ve got a directory with dozens of zipped or rar’d files, you can run a single command to unzip them all in one step, thanks to the power of the bash shell.

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