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Tips and Tricks

Windows 10


(Word etc)

Office XP

Windows Resources

Windows 7 and Windows Vista

Subject Detail
Start Button Small Icons This has moved from previous version of windows. The default is still for Large Icons. To change to small Icons: Right Click | Customise and scroll down the options and remove tick from "Use Large Icons".
Network Settings Network settings have a few new dialogue boxes and options, but are very smooth to get working. Go to Control Panel, click Network and Internet, Network and Sharing Centre, Manage Network Connections, Local Area Connection, Properties and you can make changes there.
Look and Feel I have found the look and feel great, and speed seems to be good also. Note this testing was on SP1. The new environment is a complete change, and is pleasant to use. I especially like the gadgets on the Right, and find the clock and calendar nice to have on. Click the + to turn more Gadgets on.
Turn off Indexing Go to Control Panel | System and Maintenance click on Indexing Options | Pause. Also, you can Modify to change folders individually
Defragment Hard Drive Now available under Control Panel | System and Maintenance, Click Disk Defragmenter. I noticed a schedule which had it on by default. I prefer this off. Also, from this screen, you can run it manually.
Running programs kesp prompting for permission When I run a program, I don't need another prompt. To turn this prompt off, Control Panel | User Accounts and Click "Turn User Account Control on or off". Remove tick from UAC. Click OK in Vista, or it is a slider in Windows 7. Same outcome, a more pleasing approach to your computing. This requires a restart, but it is worth it.
Associate a program with File Type. (filename extension) In earlier versions, you could associate a program by filename extension, in the Folders Options dialogue box. This has moved in Windows Vista. Go to Control Panel | Programs | Default Programs and click on "Make a file type always open in a specific program". Click on the required filename extension and click Change program. Choose a program from those listed, or click Browse and select a program on your computer. When finished, click OK and Close.
Running Scheduled Tasks (Task Scheduler) The Task Scheduler is still in Control Panel, but is a bit different to use. Go to Control Panel | System and Maintenance | Administrative Tools and click on Schedule Tasks. Click on "Create Basic Tasks", type in a name and description, then Next and follow the wizard, filling in basic information such as the recurring period, date and time to start, and the program to run. When finished click Finish. Note: if you don't want to risk the task failing if you PC password changes, then ensure AT Service Account is selected in the "AT Service Account Configuration".
Opening xls from Windows Explorer, (eg double click on xls file to open) keeps opening in same instance of Excel. For Windows XP, go to Windows XP for the solution to this. For Vista the problem is a bit more complicated, as the Folder Options | File Types does not have an advanced feature. I am not sure what makes the difference, but I have managed to do this very simply, in Vista. For Vista, I followed the same procedure as shown above, "Associate a program.." and used Browse, browsed to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\ scrolled down to EXCEL.EXE and selected it, Open, OK etc. This added an extra Excel Icon under the Excel Open button in Windows Explorer windows when an excel recognised file was selected, eg .xls. From in there, I could see one of the Excel Icons was slightly different looking than the normal one. I clicked on Choose Default Program, Unticked "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file", go OK, then come back to this window then selected the new Excel icon, and Replaced the Tick, OK and presto. Now it opens a new session of Excel on .xls files. Repeat the procedure for other types such as .csv.
Annoying clicking every 30 seconds This is caused by Windows Explorer regardless if you are using IE. Go to Control Panel | Hardware and Sound | Sound and click on Sounds TAB. Scroll down to Windows Explorer, expand and select Start Navigation. Then change the Pick list below from its current wav file to (none), and click Apply and/or OK. Bliss at last...!! (I have not heard this clicking continuously in Windows 7, but it does do it when you are accessing network drives, so this change stops that)
Direct3D not available. Reports D3DRM.DLL is missing. For some reason, Microsoft did not include this DLL with Vista, and some graphics programs need it. I found with Microsoft Photodraw 2, that some mix files would not open, as they reported needing 3D and my computer didn't have the required drivers. This worked in Windows XP. In the error message details, it will tell you it needs this DLL. I found that you can copy it from another Windows XP computer. If you don't have one, you can download it from here. Once downloaded, simply copy it into C:\Windows\System32\
Unable to PING a Vista PC or Laptop. Windows Vista has a much more enhanced firewall than previous Windows Versions. For some reason, sometimes PING is blocked by the firewall, and it is not visible through the normal GUI interface. You can make a rule to allow it from the advanced firewall. Go to Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Windows Firewall with Advanced Security. Check Inbound rules. If no ICMP then make a new rule. Custom | All Programs | Protocol Type - ICMPV4, Next (about 4 times), call it ICMP and click Finish.
Unable to perform Administrator Tasks. Windows Vista and Windows 7 sometimes frustrates people when you are the only person using the computer, but you can't do some things due to Rights. Putting your account in the Administrators Group will help with this. Use the following. From Start button, click run and type in MMC. (Note, the first part is only necessary if you don't already see Local users and Groups in the left hand pane. File | Add/Remove Snap-In | Local users and Groups | Local Computer | OK | Finish (That loads the correct snap-in. You can save that, but don't need to.) Then the last part assigns the group. Expand Local Users and Groups | Groups | Administrators | More Actions | Add to Group then choose your login name, and follow the prompts.
Switch Windows or Flip 3D. Windows Vista introduced a nice 3D method of scrolling through all open windows in 3D. This was selected from the Switch Windows icon on the Quick Launch task bar. Windows 7 also has this feature, but it is harder to find. Press the Windows Key and TAB, and while holding them scroll your mouse.
Installing Windows 7 Setup was unable to create a new system partition or locate an existing system partition This can happen when doing a fresh installation of Windows 7 and you have another IDE drive or USB stick in the computer. Remove those devices (except for DVD Drive) and reboot and start the installation again.
System Restore in Windows 7 has changed. Be very careful when using. Previous versions of Windows allowed the easy use of System Restore to get your system back to a restore point, without affecting any files and documents. Windows 7 has changed, as now it recovers previous versions of your files as well. This means that some of your recent work, may be lost. There is a new Configure option in the RightClick | Computer | Properties | System Protection, which allows you to configure the System Restore, but it does not let you turn off the previous versions, unless you turn it all off. So, take care if you do a System Restore, as previous files will revert to how they were at the restore date and time.
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