Microsoft took five long years to release a new operating system after XP. Thankfully, in those 5 years, a lot of changes were made to XP, and Vista came with a new look, and many new features, including a newly designed GUI and animations, a new search option, an option to write to DVDs without the need for specialized software, and much more.
As things were changed around, many people found it difficult to locate things that they had been using for years. In the following points, we give you tips that will help you get accustomed to this new OS relatively quickly.
A Few Vista Tips and Tricks
- If you bought your Windows Vista as a retail version, you can activate it up to five times over the Internet. For any activations after that, you need to contact customer service.
- Click on the spherical orb to access the Start Menu. You can use the Search Box to search for documents and programs. Hot keys, however, no longer function with the Start Menu.
- You can enhance your computer's memory with an additional memory card. Insert it and when you get a prompt, click on 'ReadyBoost', click 'Enable', and then click 'OK'.
- If you want to increase text size to make viewing easier, go to Control Panel. You will see a Search Box at the top right. Enter 'Adjust Font Type' in that, and you will be directed to the DPI Scaling utility. Click on the 'Custom DPI' button and adjust the slider to a DPI value you are comfortable with.
- If you work across different time zones, you will find this feature helpful. Go to Control Panel and click on 'Date and Time'. Click on the 'Additional Clocks' tab there. Now, configure clocks from the time zones you want. You can configure clocks for two time zones. To see them, mouse-over on the Taskbar clock.
- Share files and collaborate on work with your colleagues with Windows Meeting Space. Find Meeting Space by clicking on 'All Programs' or by typing 'mee sp' in the Start Search Engine. Follow the prompts that appear, and sign in to 'People Near Me'.
Then click on 'Start a New Meeting', name the session, protect it with a password, or leave it open for everyone on your network, and invite participants via an invitation file or by email. Up to eight people can participate in a session.
Click on the right-pointing green arrow to start the meeting. You can also join an ongoing meeting by clicking on 'Join a Meeting Near Me', provided you have password access to the meeting you want to join.
- Windows Vista has a pretty good Speech Recognition application. To access it, click on 'Start', go to the Control Panel and click on the 'Speech Recognition' applet.
Click on 'Start Speech Recognition' and take the Speech Tutorial to know how to use the Speech Recognition tools, and how to get the system to understand your voice. Now you are all set to give your computer instructions vocally.
- There is also a handwriting recognition tool that has a higher level of accuracy than previous versions and which you can use if you have a Tablet PC or use a drawing tablet.
Windows Vista will index, sort, and search your handwritten text. You navigate with 'flicks'. Flick your pen up to scroll up, and flick it down to scroll down. To define your own flicks, go to Control Panel and click on 'Pen and Input Devices'.
- Vista has a Virtual Folder search feature. Create a Virtual Folder of any term you search most often and the Virtual Folder will automatically save all the information pertaining to this term that is added to the system. This is of immense help in organizing and accessing important data.
- Windows Vista's Backup and Restore Center is a good way of creating a backup of your data. You can automate the process with the Backup Wizard and even program it to carry out future backups. Keep in mind though that you can only back up your files and folders; for restoring system files, you have to reinstall.
- Vista allows you to take not just a screenshot but a snipshot of the screen as well. Access the Snipping Tool by using the Start Search box. With the Snipping Tool, you can select any part of the screen you want, capture it and either save it or forward it to someone as an email.
- Windows Vista comes with an Anytime Upgrade feature so you can, obviously, upgrade your software anytime you like. Click on 'Start' and go to Control Panel and click on the 'Anytime Upgrade' applet and then follow the instructions that appear on your screen.
Windows Vista is certainly a huge improvement over XP. With the amount of new features added, one can just wonder what is in store for us when Microsoft decides to go one ahead of Vista.