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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.

If you’ve just upgraded your Linux box, or you are wondering how many processors a remote server has, there’s a quick and dirty command you can use to display the number of processors.

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The find utility on linux allows you to pass in a bunch of interesting arguments, including one to execute another command on each file. We’ll use this in order to figure out what files are older than a certain number of days, and then use the rm command to delete them.

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If you get an error in Visual Studio .NET 2003 every time that you hit the F1 key for context-sensitive help that says “Please Wait While Windows Configures Visual Studio .NET Enterprise Edition 2003″, then you are in luck, because I have a solution.

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If you can’t stand the User Account Control prompts, but you’d still like to retain a little bit of security, you can disable it for Administrator accounts only. What we’ll be doing is actually changing Windows Vista to automatically elevate the privilege level for administrators without prompting.

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The default action for the Power button on the start menu in Windows 7 is shutdown, and in Vista is Sleep, which isn’t necessarily useful for everybody, so we’ll explain how to change it here.

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This tip really isn’t very useful, but it’s an interesting hack to show your friends. You can enable a “Slow Motion” animation that will only activate if you are holding down the Shift key while you minimize/restore/close/open a window.

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Some icons are just obvious enough that nobody should need text below them to tell them what the icon is for. A good example of this is the icon for Internet Explorer. We’re all really used to it by now, and the text just makes it ugly.

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The recycle bin is really obvious. We’ve been seeing the same thing since Windows 95, so having text on the icon to tell us what it is seems a little unnecessary. With a little registry patch, we can easily remove the text.

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ShareYourScore.com is a site where you can upload your Windows Vista Experience Index assessment and share it with the world. You can also take a look at other people’s top scores, and even see average scores for a particular component. This site could be useful for troubleshooting, since you can see what other people with the same components scored. I’m hoping they expand the site’s functionality in the future, but it’s a good start.

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The Public folder in Windows Vista is used for sharing folders and files with people on the same computer or the same network. The normal location for the public folder is C:\Users\Public, but this isn’t necessarily the best location for it, especially if you don’t have enough space on your C: drive. With some registry editing, we can move the location of the folder.

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If you like to build batch files to automate cleanup on your computer, you’ll probably want to include at least one of these commands in your batch script. You can automate any one of the functions on the Internet Explorer 7 Delete Browsing History dialog.

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The Windows Vista start menu search box is one of my favorite features in Vista, but searching can be pretty slow if you have a lot of personal files, because by default the start menu search also searches files, windows contacts, windows mail, history, and favorites.

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The Windows Vista BootScreen is pointless, but Microsoft decided to hide a more visually appealing boot screen that can easily be enabled with very little trouble. I’m not sure why they didn’t make the boot screen better.

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Expose is an application on Mac OSX that tiles all the open windows with the press of a key, letting you quickly choose between them. Now there is finally a Mac OSX Expose clone application for Windows Vista that runs great! Not only that, but it’s open source, so you can improve it if you wanted to.

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Windows Vista by default has huge borders, probably to show off the new transparancy. If you’d prefer a more slimmed-down, minimal approach, you can easily configure this setting to make it more reasonable.

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If you’ve just bought a computer with Windows Vista installed and your fonts look awful, especially when browsing the web, it could be because the default settings enabled by the manufacturer have font smoothing disabled.

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The Windows Explorer click sounds are enough to drive you crazy after a while. You’d think that the configuration option to turn them off would be a checkbox saying “Stop Annoying Me”, but that’s just not the case.

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If you’ve removed your recycle bin icon, or you previously added the some of the “special” icons like Computer, User or Control Panel to the desktop and they are now missing, you might want to know how to add them back.

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Note that this is Not very secure, and should only be used for a local development box where you don’t feel like setting up individual permissions, but still need to connect from other machines.

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Windows has an option that lets you start an application and set the CPU affinity, which assigns the application to run on a specific CPU in a dual-core system.

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One of the biggest annoyances for me in Windows 7 or Vista is that you can’t immediately open the Network Connections list to see the list of adapters like you could in XP.

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If you decide to turn off automatic updates, you’ll be annoyed to death with popup messages from the Security Center that tell you to “Check your computer security” or “Check your Firewall status” if you disabled the firewall. It’s a good thing you can turn those messages off.

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The shortcut icons in Windows Vista have Huge arrows on them. If you are worried about the look of your desktop, you may not want to see the ugly arrows.

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Windows Vista by default shows the most recently used programs on the start menu, and there’s a submenu for recently used files. Call me a privacy nut, but I’ve never been a fan of having either one show up.

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It’s about time that somebody released a gadget for the Windows Vista Sidebar that makes the sidebar less useless.

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