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One of the unwelcome changes that Microsoft introduced in Service Pack 1 was the removal of some of the easy ways to get to the Search screen: the start menu button and folder context menu item. Thankfully we can easily add the “Search…” item back to the context menu with a simple registry tweak.

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Have you ever wondered how to open up Task Manager with the “All Users” view instead of just your own processes? One of our readers wrote in with this same question, so I’m writing it up for everybody.

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Now that we’ve put the computer together and setup the BIOS options, we need to get down to business: Installing the operating system. For the purposes of this article we’ll be focusing on Windows Vista, but we’ll try and briefly cover XP as well.

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This article is part of Mysticgeek’s IT blog, a How-To Geek blog focused on IT geekery.

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After writing the article last week about how to add Disk Cleanup to the context menu for a drive, I received several requests for how to add another menu item for Defrag instead. With a simple registry hack we can do just that.

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Have you ever done something on your computer without really thinking about it, but the person next to you has a surprised and confused look on their face? If so, then you might have performed a Stupid Geek Trick. Today we’ll show how to open an Explorer window from the current command prompt directory.

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Most of us like me love to keep the icons and some files in the desktop for quick access but ironically I love a clean desktop too. But there is a simple tweak without any additional tool to get the best of both worlds, you can hide the desktop icons & files and create a custom keyboard shortcut to access those icons and files.

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Anytime you make a change to your computer it is definitely recommended to do a system backup, create a restore point, or backup the registry.  The latter being most important when going into the registry to make edits for performing hacks and tweaks.  Simply put, the Registry stores all settings, options, and information for the Operating System, Software Applications, and Hardware.  The Registry is the heart and soul of a Windows OS.  Here is a quick and easy way to manually back up your registry without having to rely on 3rd party software.  This works with XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

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We’ve previously explained how you can open a command prompt by holding down the Shift key and right-clicking on a folder or the desktop… but how do you make that item show up without having to hold down the shift key?

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The registry hack for this article comes to us courtesy of jd2066, one of our helpful forum members.

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So many of us rely on calendar applications during our busy day.  Some rely on the Outlook Calendar, Gmail Calendar, and yes even some folks use the built in Window’s Calendar in Vista.  Today i am going to show you how to make a backup of the calendar.

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In case you haven’t already seen it, my first guest post over on Lifehacker went live today:

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If you are the type of person that likes to keep a lot of information stored in text-format files on your drive, you’ve probably encountered a scenario where you want to copy that information to the clipboard… so you open the file in notepad, select all, then copy to the clipboard. What if you could do it with a simple context menu item instead?

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The single biggest irritation in Windows 7 and Vista is the UAC (User Account Control) system, especially for people that do a lot of tweaking. When you are trying to make configuration changes, it seems like every couple of seconds you are hitting another UAC prompt. Sure, it’s more secure… but what options do we have to make it less annoying?

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One of the most talked about annoyances in Windows Vista are the UAC prompts that constantly pop up when you are trying to make system changes. It’s especially irritating when you often need to run a particular tool that requires administrator mode in order to run. Thankfully there’s a simple hack that you can do to create an administrator mode shortcut that doesn’t prompt for UAC.

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If you find the popup notification balloons in the Windows system tray to be too annoying, you might be interested to know that you can completely disable them. This would be an extreme option, of course… typically you can just turn them off in any offending applications, but if you want to disable them across the board, this is the solution.

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If you’ve ever needed to create a list of files in a directory, you’ve likely used a command from the prompt to pipe the directory listing into a file… but what if you could simply right-click on or in any folder and copy a list of the files to the clipboard?

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Have you ever noticed that with the Windows Vista Firewall enabled, you can’t use ping from another computer to see if your Vista computer is alive? Sure, you could take the drastic step of disabling the firewall for testing purposes, but the simple solution is to just allow ICMP requests through the firewall.

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Have you ever copied something to the clipboard that you don’t want to leave there in case somebody else is going to use your computer? Sure, you can copy something else to the clipboard real quick, but can’t you just make a shortcut or hotkey to clear it?

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One of the changes in Windows Vista was the easy way to remove the Recycle Bin from the desktop (simply right-click and delete)… unfortunately this sparked a new problem where unwitting users started deleting the Recycle Bin instead of Emptying it and were unable to figure out how to restore it.

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When you are troubleshooting network problems, one of the first things to do is disable the built-in Windows Firewall… but there are just way too many steps required to the firewall on and off. Can’t we make a simple shortcut icon instead?

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If you don’t already have a quick launch icon or a hotkey set to open a command prompt, there’s really quick trick that you can do on any Windows 7 or Vista computer to open up a command prompt without having to navigate the menu.

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If you are using Microsoft Outlook as your email client, you’ve likely already used the instant search box… but using it can be even more “instant” if you learn how to use a couple of shortcut keys, instead of having to resort to the mouse every time.

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If you’ve used Linux for any amount of time, you’re already familiar with the Ctrl+Alt+Backspace shortcut key combination that restarts X Windows immediately… but have you ever wondered if there is a way to disable that behavior?

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Have you ever noticed that new folders that you create inside of your Home directory in Vista just look out of place? All the built-in folders have those stylish greenish icons, and your folders are ugly and yellow.

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