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Windows Vista’s AutoPlay options are a great improvement over Windows XP in terms of flexibility, but unfortunately there are so many options that it can be confusing, especially since there’s no specific mention of USB Flash drives in the options.
A freeware tool I use many times in IT is System Info for Windows. This small lightweight utility comes packed with a lot of power. No need to install anything on the local hard drive … just run it from a jump drive or pop it on a disc. If you need detail about a computer you’re working on, SIW will give you everything including the kitchen sink!
A very useful feature in Windows is the ability to automatically hide system tray icons when they are not in use. The problem is that over time, Explorer caches a list of every single icon that it’s ever seen, and your list might grow to hundreds of items that Explorer knows about.
In my quest to get rid of every useless tray icon wasting memory, I was very annoyed when Vista’s automatic updates installed a new driver and the icon for the touchpad ended up in my system tray again. There’s almost no benefit to this icon, so it needs to go.
Most of you who are running Vista should know by now that Microsoft introduced major updates for Vista. For a full detailed summary of what is included read The Geek wrote a great article reviewing the updates. One of the updates includes better Vista Aero performance with NVIDIA graphics cards.
One of the more advanced options for resizing your Windows Vista partition is to use the GParted Live CD, a bootable linux CD that takes you straight into GParted, the great linux utility for managing partitions. The problem is that if you resize your boot/system partition, you will be completely unable to boot without repairing windows.
The Shrink Volume feature in Windows Vista has some serious limitations, which we’ll try and explain and then suggest a few workarounds that might help you out. Be careful when following these steps, because they could leave your system unable to boot… advanced geek level required.
A very cool utility to analyze and keep track of everything running on your computer during startup is Autoruns. This handy little utility displays everything running on your computer when you start up. Sure you can use the built in utility in Windows “msconfig” however your not getting the full picture with msconfig. Autoruns on the other hand will go through and list everything running and the order in which it start up! Here I will show you the difference between MSCONGIG and the Autoruns program on a computer running Windows Vista.
If you are experiencing weird issues after upgrading your hardware, or you’ve just upgraded to the latest hardware device and aren’t seeing the performance you’d like, you might want to remove the old drivers which are still installed for the old hardware, even though you can’t normally see them in device manager.
Have you ever wondered where the Display Settings icon or Network Connections folder went in the Control Panel’s Classic View? For that matter, why can’t you search for them using the start menu search? Because they are prohibited from loading in the registry – that’s why.
Everybody knows how to change their Vista logon/start menu picture, but if you select a new picture, Windows Vista removes the last picture from the list entirely, leaving just the new picture and the default pictures. Does anybody really use the robot or the fish picture?