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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.

Windows Vista has a new built-in searching engine that is completely integrated into the operating system, but not all directories are indexed by default. To add a new directory to be indexed, you just have to follow a couple of steps.

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Windows Vista has a new built-in searching engine that is completely integrated into the operating system, but not all files are indexed. To add a new file type to be indexed, you just have to follow a couple of steps.

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Windows Vista’s network connected icons that live in the system tray have a new feature: They let you know if you are connected to the internet, or just your local network. These new icons are especially useful when you are connected to a wireless network.

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I can never remember which key to hold down to copy or move a file when I drag a file from one location to another. Vista comes to the rescue with visual clues when you drag a file.

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Windows Vista has a new feature in Windows Explorer that is very useful.. checkboxes! Instead of holding down the Ctrl key and clicking a bunch of different files to select them, you can just click the checkboxes… no more accidentally copying the files or getting to the bottom and losing the selection. The only caveat is that it isn’t turned on by default.

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Windows 7 and Vista has a feature called System Restore that automatically backs up registry and system files whenever you install new software or drivers. This feature is useful when you install evil software that makes your computer run really slow. But don’t worry, System Restore won’t remove Windows Vista.

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Windows Vista includes a utility that will scan your system for corrupt, changed or missing system files. Running this from the command prompt is much easier than booting off the dvd into repair mode.

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Windows Vista includes a new feature called ReadyBoost that lets you plug in a flash memory stick or SD card to store commonly used files for quicker access than off the hard drive.

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I’ve never found the recycle bin on the desktop very useful, so I almost always disable it as one of the first things that I do. Windows 7 or Vista has an even simpler way to hide the icon than XP does, but why couldn’t they have disabled it by default?

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If you are in a folder and would like to quickly resize the icons, there’s a shortcut you can use with your mouse wheel to resize the icons. This is a great way to show off the beauty of the new vector icons in Vista to your friends.

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Let’s be honest: If you are reading this article, then you probably think the Windows Sidebar in Windows Vista is cheesy and useless. Thankfully it’s also easy to disable.

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If you want to share files between your Ubuntu and Windows computers, your best option is to use Samba file sharing.

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Samba Server allows you to share the home directories of users automatically. This can be useful so that you don’t have to manually create every share for every user.

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If you are using Samba Server on your network, you will want to create users that have access to use it. There’s a very simple command structure on how to do so.

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When you install a dual-boot of Ubuntu, one of the frustrating things that you’ll immediately notice is that Ubuntu is now set as the default operating system in the Grub loader. There’s an easy way to switch back to using Windows as the default.

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The freeware utility from Microsoft to mount ISO Images doesn’t work in Windows 7 or Vista. Thankfully there’s another utility that does.

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Back in the old days, there were a lot of places an application could hook itself to run at startup. You had to check the registry in more than one place, as well as your start menu. With Windows Vista, there’s a built-in panel that handles all that for you.

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Windows Vista has a new feature that lets you quickly search in a folder by just starting to type, which will focus the search box. This comes in handy when searching a large folder.

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If you are using the linked clone feature in VMware (and you should be), then you might be annoyed that you can’t move the base virtual machine around without breaking all of the linked clones.

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One of the new changes in Windows 7 and Vista is that each user has a “Home” directory that is actually accessible and meant to be used. In XP and 2k, you had a hidden home directory that you weren’t meant to muck around in.

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I don’t know about you, but I really preferred having the My Computer icon right on the desktop. Seems like modern versions of windows don’t have it by default anymore. There are two different ways you can add the icon back.

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Windows Vista includes a built-in calendar application that’s pretty slick, but as an addict to Google Calendar, I’d like to just view my Google calendar in a desktop client. This is where Vista’s “Subscribe” to calendar feature works out pretty well.

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Windows Vista includes Internet Explorer 7, and on a new install it defaults to Microsoft’s Live Search, which is just terrible. Here’s the easy steps to make Google the default search engine instead.

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Windows 7 and Vista include an enhancement to the system clock that lets you display 2 additional clocks when you hover your mouse over the system clock.

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There are a lot of reasons you might want to manually set your MAC address for your network card. I won’t ask you what your reason is.

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