The shortcut icons in Windows Vista have Huge arrows on them. If you are worried about the look of your desktop, you may not want to see the ugly arrows.
A number of people have asked me how to enable the old Run dialog that existed on every other version of Windows until Vista, and is still gone in Windows 7. One of the nice features of the old Run dialog was that it saved the history of what you had typed in.
Warning: Do not delete system files. Bad things will probably ensue.
It drives me crazy when my monitors turn off while I’m watching a movie. If you want to quickly change the monitor timeout using the command line, it’s actually pretty simple.
If you are just running a home computer for gaming or something unimportant, you might not want to have to log in every single time you reboot your computer. There’s an easy tweak that will let you autologin.
Windows 7 or Vista automatically configures Disk Defrag to schedule defragment to run once a week, usually at 1am on Wednesday. I don’t know about you, but I’m usually awake at 1am on wednesday, and I’d rather schedule it for a different time.
If you are running a dual-boot setup with more than one Windows operating system, It’s pretty easy to configure the default boot operating system with the GUI interface. Note that if you are using Windows 7 or Vista as one of the operating systems, you will need to make this change from 7/Vista, not XP.
The Windows 7 / Vista System Restore feature will make sure that software installations, drivers, and other updates can be rolled back. The only price to this feature is some disk usage. If you want to disable System restore, which is a bad idea, it’s really pretty simple.
If you want to speed up browsing around in explorer, you might think about disabling thumbnail previews in folders.
Windows Vista uses large icons by default in the start menu, and it hides the setting for small icons pretty well. No matter, we’ve located it. (Thankfully Windows 7 is a bit easier)
Remote Desktop is disabled by default in Windows 7, 8, or Vista, but it’s easy enough to turn it back on. If you need to access your Windows PC from another box, it’s an essential thing to turn on.
In Windows 7 or Vista, the screen goes dark when the User Account Control window comes up, which is extremely annoying. They call it the “Secure Desktop”, but I think it’s obnoxious.
Windows Vista or Windows 7, will have problems running some older versions of applications, just because so much has changed under the hood from Windows XP days. Thankfully there is a compatibility mode that can be easily set per application.
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.
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?
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.
The freeware utility from Microsoft to mount ISO Images doesn’t work in Windows 7 or Vista. Thankfully there’s another utility that does.
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.
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.
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.
If you’ve used Windows Vista for more than 3.7 minutes, you know what UAC (User Account Control) is.. it’s the obnoxious, nagging popup window that will be your life for the next 3-5 years unless you switch back to XP in frustration, or to a better OS like… OS X, Suse, Ubuntu, or even XP.
If you are a developer using ASP.NET, one of the first things you’ll want to install on Windows 7 or Vista is IIS (internet information server). Keep in mind that your version of Windows may not come with IIS. I’m using Windows 7 Ultimate edition.
If you are using a desktop computer, chances are that you don’t want the computer to go to sleep automatically. This is even more the case if you are running Windows 7 or Vista in a virtual machine for testing purposes.