System and Maintenance

System and Maintenance in Windows Vista, 7, 8 and Windows 10.

How to manage your disks using only Windows Vista's Disk Management tool

Some of our readers asked us how they can manage their disks in Windows Vista. To answer their questions we created this tutorial where you can learn the following: how to change a drive letter, how to shrink an existing partition, how to create a new partition, how to format or delete a partition and how to extend a partition.

Everything is done using only one tool called Disk Management. As you will see, things are pretty simple. Just follow our instructions and you will finish in no time.

Defragment your hard disk from the Command Prompt

In our previous article we mentioned that the Disk Defragmenter has been simplified a lot. In this new version, the user interface doesn't allow users to select only one of their partitions for defragmentation. You can defragment all your partitions at once or none. However, this doesn't mean that users they cannot customize the Disk Defragmenter at all.

You can always start the Command Prompt and use the appropriate command line parameters to obtain the results you want.

How to configure the virtual memory in Windows Vista

In simple words, Virtual Memory is system memory that is simulated by the operating system and it is placed on your hard drive. It combines your computer's RAM with temporary space on your disk. When your PC runs low on RAM, virtual memory moves data from RAM to a space called the paging file or swap file. Moving the data frees up your RAM and your applications can continue to run without crashes.

If you don't have too much RAM installed on your system it can be a good a idea to increase the size of your virtual memory. If you are like me, you might still want to configure the size of the swap/paging file or it's location, even if your PC has plenty of RAM available.

As you will see, configuring the virtual memory in Windows Vista is easy. Just follow these steps:

Check your System Stability Index

On the internet you can find lots of information about the Windows Experience Index. You can find a lot of guides presenting this feature, how it works and how to increase your system ratings. Unfortunately, another similar feature has passed almost unnoticed. It is called the System Stability Index and it allows users to evaluate the stability of their systems and to make informed decisions about how to troubleshoot. The System Stability Index is a number from 1 (least stable) to 10 (most stable) and is a weighted measurement derived from the number of specified failures seen over a rolling historical period.

In this article we will show you how to access the System Stability Index of your Windows Vista PC and how to access the information you need regarding the failures that might take place.

VistaBootPro - Manage multiple operating systems the easy way

Windows Vista brought a big number of changes, including a new startup process. The Windows Vista boot manager is pretty different compared to the one in Windows XP, therefore managing your boot configuration is more complicated. Fortunately for us, the "PROnetworks" team developed VistaBootPRO - a tool that allows users to manage their boot configuration without getting their hands dirty with the technical stuff. Unfortunately, VistaBootPro has a fee of $9.95 for personal use.

Increase the performance of your SATA disk drive

Nowadays, SATA hard disk drives are very common. They offer a series of advantages compared to older models, one of them being the improved performance. Windows Vista not only offers built-in support for SATA hard disks, but it also allows you to squeeze a little more performance from them.

So... how do you increase the performance of your SATA hard disk?

Manage your drive letters in a dual-boot configuration

As many other people, I installed Windows Vista on my system but I decided to keep Windows XP for gaming and other tasks which, at least for now, work better on XP. When you have multiple partitions and hard disks, one of the challenges of having a dual boot system is keeping the same drive letters in both operating systems.

When I installed Windows Vista for the first time I did not pay attention to this detail and had them assigned in a confusing way. In Windows XP, the "cinema" partition had the letter G: and in Windows Vista "H:", while the "lavoro" (work) partition had the letter "D:" in Windows XP and "E:" in Windows Vista.

That confused not only myself but also the other users that worked on the same computer. So... what can you do to avoid such a scenario?

Tweak VI Basic

Tweak VI Basic is one of the few tweaking solutions that were designed for Windows Vista. It was also the first to be available for free. As its name says, this solution allows you to tweak and optimize your Windows Vista operating system.

Tweak VI Basic includes a set of 11 plug-ins that deliver a core set of tweaks split into the following categories: System Information and Tweaks, Miscellaneous Tweaks, Visual Tweaks, Internet Tweaks and Utilities.

If you need additional tweaks you can upgrade to Tweak VI Premium or Tweak VI Ultimate. The first costs 29.99$ and offers 8 additional plug-ins while the second costs 39.99$ and includes another 15 plug-ins for even more advanced configuration options.

Check your system health with the Reliability and Performance Monitor

One of the good things about Windows Vista is the fact that, compared to Windows XP, it incorporates a set of really good troubleshooting tools. You no longer have to buy third party tools or go to a specialist to learn what is wrong with your system.
Now everybody can easily check the health status of their systems. All you have to do is to use the Reliability and Performance Monitor included in Windows Vista.

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