Monday, December 4, 2006

16 Hidden Windows Vista Goodies

1. The snipping tool - take freeform screenshots
The snipping tool is used to grab screenshots and save them to common image formats. Open the start menu and just start typing “snipping”. You should see the tool pop up in the search results by the time you get to “snip”. You can choose from four types of snipping areas: Free form snip, Rectangular snip, Window snip, and Full screen snip.

2. Enable/disable startup programs
There are multiple places where an application can register itself for execution on startup, and this makes it hard to retain control over which programs are granted such status. Solution : From the start menu search bar, type System Configuration, and click on the link that comes up. The Startup tab enumerates all the applications that are set to run as startup, regardless of whether they are set in the registry, the user profile, or simply the startup folder. Application are still listed after you disable them.

3. Open an elevated command prompt - FAST
To launch an elevated command prompt, simply press the Win key; type cmd; press Ctrl+Shift+Enter; and then hit Alt+C to confirm the elevation prompt. Type "color 4f" in the command prompt to differentiate this from other non-elevated windows.

4. Use Windows XP drivers
If you have trouble finding a Vista driver try to use Windows XP version. There is a good chance it will work. At least to make your device usable.

5. Recover overwritten documents
If you accidentally overwrite a document, you can use Vista's implementation of Volume Shadow Copy to roll back changes—just click on the file and select "Previous Versions" on the Windows Explorer toolbar.

6. Bring back Start > Run...
If you want to restore it permanently to your Start menu, here's what you do:

  • Right-click on the Start menu and choose Properties;
  • Select the Start Menu tab and click on the Customize... button;
  • Ensure the "Run command" option is checked.
Now the Start / Run command will be restored to its full glory.

7. Open command prompt here...
Right-click on any folder on your Windows Vista machine while holding down the shift key. You'll see an extra context-sensitive menu item there: Open Command Prompt here. Just click on this menu and a command window will open with the current working directory set to the folder's actual location.

8. DPI scaling via DWM (for laptops and Tablet PC)
A screen resolution of 1400x1050 on a 12" diagonal display is about 144dpi, 50% higher resolution than the 96dpi which Windows assumes by default! So, if you're tired of squinting, set your DPI properly instead of scaling down your resolution. You should find that applications work more reliably on Vista when the DPI is set greater than 96. Steps:
  • Right-click the Windows desktop.
  • Click Properties.
  • Click the Settings tab on the Display Properties dialog.
  • Click the Advanced button on the Settings tab.
  • Select a dpi setting in the Display frame.
  • Restart your system to allow the changes to take effect.
9. Enlarge the caret (text insertion point) for Tablet PC
Consider making the caret (text insertion point) easier to see in bright / daylight conditions, by increasing its thickness slightly. You can increase the caret width with this straightforward registry key:
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop] "CaretWidth"=dword:00000003

10. Take ownership of a file or directory (if you can't access or delete it)
You may find sometimes that you cannot access/move/delete some folders even if you are administrator because their ACLs were set for accounts with SIDs that applied to an old partition. To take them back use:
  • takeown /f [folder] /r /d y
  • icacls [folder] /grant administrators:F /t
11. Run QuickLaunch items faster
You can simply use Win+1, Win+2, Win+3 and so on to launch each application from the QuickLaunch menu.

12. Run a command prompt during setup
Simply press Shift+F10 during setup, and you'll be presented with a command prompt. This also works after Windows Vista has rebooted for the first time on an upgrade, although be very careful what you do here - there's almost no good reasons to be interacting with the system at this point in time. (works also in Win200 and WinXP)

13. Zoom in Explorer
If you're looking at a folder with lots of photos, maybe a small thumbnail view works well; for a folder with lots of documents, maybe a larger thumbnail view works better. Now you can use the Views button on the toolbar to modify this - click the button to toggle between views or use the down arrow to get access to the slider - but it's quicker to use a shortcut. Simply hold down the Ctrl key and use your mouse scrollwheel to resize the icons from small to extra large. This also works on the desktop itself. If the desktop has focus, simply do Ctrl+mousewheel and you can go from the regular 48x48 icons to full 256x256 photographic-quality renditions.

14. The oldest component in Windows
It seems that edlin is the oldest program included in Windows. It was the only text editor provided with MS-DOS before version 5.0 of that system. However, Edlin is still available in Microsoft Windows including Windows Vista. If you want to try it here's the edlin command help.

15. Slow down Vista animation using the shift key
This only works if you have the aero interface turned on. You can slow down windows animations by pressing the shift key. This is the the animation you see when minimizing, maximizing or closing windows. To do this:
  • Open registry editor
  • Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM
  • Create a new DWORD value AnimationsShiftKey and set it to 1
16. Use Notepad to create a log file
Notepad can be used to make log files. Open it and type .LOG on the first line, then save the file as whatever you want. Now every time you open the file the current date and time will be appended to it's contents.

1 comment:

Jo said...

I'd really like to use #10, but have no idea what you're talking about, or how I'm supposed to make those changes . . .