Ten useful tricks for Windows Vista

vista-tips-tricks.gifAfter the Vista fever outbreak in January it seems that everything is back to normal again. There have been many articles written about Vista’s qualities and weaknesses, and many opinions expressed on what Microsoft has got right and where they have failed. In any case, during the last few months, we’ve had plenty of time to test Windows Vista and check all the new features for ourselves. So if you’re planning to switch to Vista soon, take a look at this list with the top ten Vista tricks we’ve prepared for you.

  1. When launching Vista for the first time, you’ll be surprised to see there’s no menu bar displayed on windows. To enable it, just press and then release the Alt key.
  2. There are some Vista features you may not like, for example, the constant disk indexing. You can turn this (and other functions) on or off in Control Panel. Click on Programs and then, under the Programs and Features title, find the option called Turn Windows features on or off.
  3. Talking about disabling features, you probably want to get rid of that User Account Control warning that appears every time you try to start a program. To do so, open the Control Panel, enter “User Account Control” in the search field on the top right corner and you’ll see the option to turn it off among the results.
  4. Vista can restore previous versions of your documents. To gain access to them, right on the document file and select Restore previous versions.
  5. When using Windows Explorer, you’ll see a navigation pane on the left: the top window is Favorite Links and the bottom one is Folders. You can customize the Favorite Links list with new shortcuts by dragging and dropping new elements onto it.
  6. You already knew how to use Quick Launch icons in Windows XP, right? Vista has improved this feature by enabling keyboard shortcuts to launch each one of the applications you save in the Quick Launch bar. The combinations are based on the Windows key plus a number, so that Windows key +1 launches the first application on the left, Windows key + 2 the second one, and so on.
  7. Do you like big icons? Vista can display them for you! Click anywhere on the Desktop and move your mouse wheel while keeping the Ctrl key pressed. You’ll be able to choose a range of tiny to really huge icons.
  8. The Sidebar is one of Vista’s main new features. You can add as many gadgets as you want (right click on the Sidebar and select Add Gadgets) but you can also disable it if you don’t like it. Right click on the Sidebar, select Properties and uncheck the box Start Sidebar when Windows starts.
  9. Vista includes a nice capturing tool that comes in very handy for small text or image snippets. To find it, click on the Start button and enter Snipping on the search field. Don’t forget to pin it to the Start menu (right click on the program’s shortcut in the Start menu and select Pin to Start menu) if you plan to use it frequently!
  10. Another great tool featured in Vista is the ability to generate a quick system performance report. Open the Control Panel, click on System and Maintenance and then on Performance Information and Tools. In the list on the left side of the Window, select Advanced Tools and then click on Generate a system health report (last item on the list). You’ll get a full report with data about software, hardware, CPU, memory and other important system elements.
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