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One of the reasons we started the How-To Geek Blogs was to give bloggers the chance to focus on other topics that we don’t cover as regularly here. If you are interested in Windows Home Server, our very own Gmedia blog has been running a series covering the addition of a new server in his already impressive home media setup.

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One of the best features in Windows Vista is the updated System Restore feature, which saves people from certain destruction on a nearly daily basis, judging from the feedback on our forums. The only problem is that it takes far too many steps to manually create a new restore point. Can’t we just make a shortcut icon for it?

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This should fix the issue in both Windows XP and Windows Vista! Enjoy!

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One of the most frustrating changes in Windows Vista is the lack of the “Up” button when browsing the file system. Sure, there’s been a slightly buggy add-on that you can use, but how about a really solid Up button that just works and doesn’t bloat your system?

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Editor’s Note: Online-Tech-Tips is a great site covering a wide variety of topics, and is well worth subscribing to.

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Have you ever wondered why Windows Vista allows you to choose themes, but there’s no way to add custom themes without additional software? The reason is because Windows checks the themes with a cryptographic key, so you have to patch windows to allow custom-created themes to install.

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System Restore is one of the better features in Windows 7 and Vista… spend any amount of time on our forums and you’ll see how often it solves issues… but it’s like a black box, nobody knows how it really works, or when it’s doing things. So how do you change when it creates snapshots?

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Have you ever tried to select a bunch of files in Windows Explorer while holding down the Ctrl key, and then all of a sudden there are duplicate copies of all of those files sitting in the folder? Really irritating, so how do we fix it?

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So you notice you are missing icons in the System Tray, like the clock or volume icons, and then you realize that you simply can’t enable them because the checkboxes are grayed out. So what do you do?

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I have neglected several included features in Windows Vista.  And to be honest I have not used many of them assuming they won’t work very well.  Rather than be an ignorant assuming geek, I have decided to go over some of the included features in Vista.  Today I will start with Windows DVD Maker.

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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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By now most people have likely already upgraded to Windows Vista Service Pack 1, but one of the smaller feature upgrades might have passed most people by: You can now configure automatic defragmenting for All drives, as well as defragment all of your drives at the same time.

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Have you ever noticed that the Send To context menu can be ridiculously slow to open sometimes? You right-click a file and choose Send To, and then have to wait for about 30 seconds for explorer to respond again. Annoying! so how do we fix it?

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If you are having issues with Internet Explorer running extremely slow, crashing, locking up, or just generally behaving badly, there are a couple of troubleshooting steps that you can follow to likely fix the problem. And no, I’m not going to just tell you to install Firefox.

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A reader wrote in yesterday asking why she no longer had the “pretty” glass windows, and how to get them back. It occurred to me that there might be other people with the same issue, so I’m writing up the (fairly simple) instructions for others that might have the same question.

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One of the things that has really annoyed me about running Firefox on Vista is that Internet Explorer looks really slick with the Aero Glass extending down onto the entire navigation bar… and Firefox just looks pathetic sitting next to it. Thanks to the Glasser extension from my new favorite person 6XGate, IE no longer holds the edge in slick UI.

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Have you ever noticed that many files don’t seem to work in the Preview Pane in Windows Vista’s Explorer?  Until recently the only way to work around this was a painful registry hack… but now there’s a utility that will let you easily add file types to the preview list.

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If you’ve been a reader of this site for any amount of time, you are probably familiar with the Keyboard Ninja concept… we like to feature all sorts of ways to quickly access applications or functions with complicated shortcut keys. But what about regular people? Isn’t there a simpler solution?

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We’ve covered how to access the Windows Vista Calendar using the keyboard, but what if you wanted to assign a single keystroke to pop up the calendar? Yeah, sure, you can just click it with the mouse, but where’s the geek fun in that?

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My new friend Sue asked me the other day how to customize icons on Windows XP, so I thought I’d write up all the ways to change the icons, both by using the built-in methods and also with additional software.

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One of the few things about Vista that just drives me crazy is the problems with Windows Explorer. I prefer to use Details mode for certain folders, but it seems like Vista constantly “decides” that the folder should show a different set of columns than what I had previously chosen.

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If you are like me, you probably have dozens of windows open at any given point, so if you want to tile just a couple of windows you have to minimize everything and then show two of the windows, and then tile them… so how do we just quickly select two taskbar buttons together?

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Have you ever tried going through all of the menus required to delete the Recent Items in the XP Start Menu? It takes forever, especially when you want to hide whatever you shouldn’t have been doing. As usual, there’s a simpler way to do it.

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If you’ve used Windows for any length of time, you’ve likely tried to open a file with an unknown extension. Instead of getting a list of programs to open the file with, you get an annoying dialog asking you to use a web service to find a program. So how do we change this?

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A friend of mine sent me a link to this site from albinoblacksheep.com.  This is a flashed based spoof on Windows XP.  You can play around with it and get some pretty hilarious messages.  I thought the one on the image below about Quicktime was pretty funny.  Who knows … this one might be old news to some of you, but for those who have not seen this … it’s worth wasting time on for a good laugh.

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