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.

Vista Start Menu Health Without Start++

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (3)

If you have set the default feed reader for Firefox, you no longer have an option to preview a feed before adding it to your feed reader of choice. This can be a little frustrating when trying to quickly look at a feed without actually adding it.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (11)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (10)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (81)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (2)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (57)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (88)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (23)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (128)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (17)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (277)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (52)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (46)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (7)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (49)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (55)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (24)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (85)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (77)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (5)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (32)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (50)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (65)

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.

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (2)

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

about 10 years ago - by  |  Comments (5)