Tips & Tricks

Useful Tips & Tricks for Windows Vista, 7, 8 and Windows 10.

Customize your desktop icons

Recently we have received e-mails from our readers asking us to help them customize or restore their standard desktop icons. In order to answer their questions and also help other people having the same "problems", we decided to publish this article. We will show you how to customize the list of standard icons shown on the desktop, how to change their icons and how to restore the originals, in case you want the standard icons back.

How to improve Instant Search

We mentioned in our previous article that Instant Search uses an index to return the results of your searches as quickly as possible. The index is like a library that stores information about files, including the file name, the date it was modified and properties such as author, tags or rating. Instead of looking through your entire hard disk for a file name, Instant Search scans the index, which allows most results to appear in a small fraction of the time that a search without the index would have taken. By default, Instant Search indexes only a small number of folders such as the Start Menu, the names of the files opened, the Documents folder and the user's e-mail.

The index can be customized by the user at any time. You can remove locations or file types from the index in order to make Instant Search even faster or you can add even more locations or files types. In this article we will show you how you can configure the Windows Vista index to your liking.

Disable the Windows Vista Startup Sound

After years of using Windows XP, most people (including myself) got bored with the standard startup sound. This is the reason why, after a while, I chose to disable it. With the launch of Windows Vista, Microsoft wanted to bring a new startup sound. So they hired a team of 20 composers, sound designers, engineers, and developers to create the new Windows Vista startup sound. It took them 18 months and 500 entries from which the final sound was picked and embedded in Windows Vista.

Even though the new startup sound is pretty good, just like with any other new thing, it will become old after a while and people will get bored with it and will probably choose to disable it.

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?

How to switch back to the Classic Start Menu

One of the biggest changes in Windows Vista is the complete redesign of the Start Menu. While this change is a good thing for some people, others prefer to use the old style Start Menu. In this tutorial we will show you how to enable and configure the classic version of the Start Menu.

The procedure is very simple. Just follow these steps:

Change the amount of space used by System Restore

System Restore is a very useful feature of Windows Vista but it has one main drawback. After running for a few weeks, it can use a lot of your hard disk space. With the default settings turned on, System Restore might use up to 15 percent of the space on each disk. For example, if you have a 250GB hard disk drive, System Restore might end up using 37,5GB of it. That is a lot of space.

What can we do to limit the amount of space used by System Restore? In Windows XP making this kind of configuration was pretty easy. You had a slider in the System Properties window that you could move left or right to the desired percentage. Unfortunately this slider was removed from Windows Vista.

In order to configure the amount of space used by System Restore, you need to use a tool called Volume Shadow Copy Administrative Command-Line Tool (or vssadmin.exe).

Put the Shut Down button back on your Start Menu

In one of our previous tutorials we where showing how to configure Windows Vista to shutdown when you press the power button of your system case. Since then, many of our visitors also searched for a way to put the shut down button back on their start menu.

In this tutorial we will show you how to do that.

Remove the arrow and the "shortcut" text from your Windows Vista shortcuts

Since we launched we noticed that quite a high percentage of our visitors searched for a way to remove the arrow and the "shortcut" text from their Windows Vista shortcuts. So today we are publishing a guide on how to do just that.

Even though this is a topic for experienced users of Windows operating systems that know how to use the registry editor, we tried to make this process as simple as possible. It doesn't matter if you used the registry editor or not, just follow these steps:

Take advantage of the new Quick Launch Bar

One of the small but nice new things in Windows Vista is the Quick Launch Bar. It is not just a bar with nice little shortcuts on which you click, it is also a collection of quick keyboard shortcuts.

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