Saturday, December 15, 2007

Vista Desktop Tricks

If you right click in the main expanse of the Vista desktop, then up comes the Personalize menu. 'Personalize appearance and sounds' replaces the five tabs under XP's properties with a list of seven categories that you can configure:

  1. Windows Color and Appearance
  2. Desktop Background
  3. Screen Saver
  4. Sounds
  5. Mouse Pointers
  6. Theme
  7. Display Settings

In many ways I should have started with this section, however the configuration is particularly easy and intuitive therefore you won't need much instruction to find the settings. The time to remember 'Personalize appearance and sounds' is when something strange happens, for example you lose the Aero Graphics, or you get a black background.

ClearType Font TechnologyConfigure ClearType Vista

You may have read about Vista's new ClearType font. As the name implies it makes text easier to read on screen. I like this setting for laptop and flat-panel monitors, however, for older monitors you may find that disabling ClearType produces crisper fonts.

To see the difference and control ClearType:

  1. Right click the Vista Desktop, Personalize.
  2. Select: Windows Color and Appearance
  3. Effects... and experiment with 'Standard'

Microsoft even have a ClearType tuner. This is a free download PowerToy!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Vista Web Browsing Speed Up

Using the following tweaks, you can make your web browser work faster than ever before. How is this possible? Both Internet Explorer and Firefox have to adhere to web standards that specify how many connections a browser can make to a web server. By default in both Internet Explorer and Firefox, that amount is two at a time. The following tweaks will show you how you can dramatically increase that number to speed up and increase the parallel downloading of files your web browser needs to display a web page.

Speeding up Internet Explorer Microsoft has made sure that Internet Explorer follows Internet standards by allowing you and your browser to download only two files at a time from any server. If you visit a web page with a lot of images and required files, such as CSS styles and JavaScript, you can easily end up with a scenario where your web browser has to make more than 40 requests to the web server to download all the files and then assemble the web page. Requesting only two of these 40 files at a time is going to be a lot slower than downloading, say, 10 of them at a time.

By tweaking hidden registry values, you can direct Internet Explorer to break Internet standards and download more than just two files at a time. Modifying this setting is simple to do, but be careful; the standards police will be after you. Follow these steps to speed up IE:

  1. Click the Start button, type regedit in the Search box, and then press Enter.
  2. After Registry Editor loads, navigate through HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings.
  3. Right-click in an open space and create a new DWORD key, as shown in Figure 1.
  4. Figure 1

    Creating a new Registry DWORD value

  1. Type MaxConnectionsPerServer as the name of the new DWORD key.
  2. Right-click this key and select Modify.
  3. Set the base to Decimal and enter a value greater than 2, as shown in Figure 2. I like to use 15 as my value here. Press OK when you are done.
  4. Figure 2

    Setting the value of MaxConnectionsPerServer

  1. Create a new DWORD key and type MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server as the name.
  2. Right-click this key and select Modify.
  3. Set the base to Decimal and enter the new value. Use the same value as used in step 6. Click OK when you are finished.
  4. Exit Registry Editor and reboot your computer.

After your computer has rebooted, your new Internet Explorer settings are active.

Friday, December 07, 2007

2008 Summer Olympic Games Say No to Windows Vista

Here's a twist of fate for you. While the news is getting bombarded with stories of poisoned this and poisoned that coming out of China, the Olympic organizing committee in that country has decided to cast aside what they consider to be unsafe too. According to Lenovo, the 2008 Olympic Games official computer supplier and sponsor, Windows Vista is "too risky" to implement at the games.

According to Lenovo chairman Yang Yuanqing, they're not going to load up their ThinkPads with Vista because the new and "like unstable" operating system "could have some problems." And we all know how important reliability is when it comes to a world event like the Olympics. Instead of Vista, Lenovo is going to provide Windows XP to the 12,000 critical systems at the Games.

That's not to say that there will be no Vista in Beijing. Microsoft's new crowning jewel will be allowed on shared terminals for athletes. On a side note, they're not going to support WiFi networks either (for security reasons).

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Enchance Vista Performance

Everyone wants to get the most performance out of the operating system installed on their computers. However, the default configuration of an operating system does not always optimize performance. This means you may have to make a few configuration changes to speed things up.

When you install Windows Vista, there are some small configuration changes that you can make to enchance performance.

1. Click Start, right click on the Computer option, and click Properties.
2. Click on the Advanced tab.
3. Under Performance, click Settings.
4. Uncheck the following options:
* Fade or slide menus into view
* Fade or slide tooltips into view
* Fade out menu items after clicking
* Show shadows under menus
* Slide open combo boxes
* Slide taskbar buttons
* Use a background image for each folder type