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Even More Vista Tips

Even More Vista Tips

Although it’s been quite some time since Windows Vista was released, there are still some users who are making the transition slowly. And from what I have been reading on the Internet, not everybody is finding Vista very easy to work with. So, today I will share some more Windows Vista tips and tricks with you that should make the transition a little more smooth. Hopefully, you all will be “wowed” as Microsoft intended!

Windows Explorer

When most users open Windows Explorer for the first time, it confuses them quite a bit. The first reaction generally is: “Where is the menu bar? Where are the File, View and Help buttons”? And so on. I personally find it tough to find my way around in Windows Explorer without actually “holding” the bar. Well, lucky for me and everyone else, it is pretty simple to unhide the menu bar. In the Windows Explorer screen, locate the button that says Organize. Click the drop down arrow on this button and go to Layout. Select the Menu Bar option so that there’s a checkmark next to it. And ta da, the menu bar will appear again.

Running Old Programs

Many users are horrified when they discover that after upgrading to Vista, some of their favorite programs no longer work. Although most software makers are working fast to release Vista updates for their programs, it will still be quite some time before there are updates widely accessible for a huge range of software programs. So, what do you do in the meantime? Well, thankfully, Microsoft thought of that and gave users an option to run the applications in a compatibility mode.

To run a program in the compatibility mode, you need to locate the executable (.exe) file for the program you want to run. For example, if you want to run an old version of Adobe Photoshop, go to the Adobe sub-directory in your Program Files folder and locate Photoshop’s .exe file. Note: This trick will not work on the shortcut you may have created on your desktop for Photoshop. You have to manually locate the main .exe file in the directory where you installed the software. Once you have located the .exe file, right click on it and select Properties. Go to the Compatibility tab and select the option of “Run this program in compatibility mode for.” Below the checkbox, you will see a drop down list. Choose the operating system you were using the program with earlier and that’s it. Now, your old program is good to run with Windows Vista. Yes!

Granting User Rights

When you are sharing a computer with someone else, you don’t always want to give them all the rights or administrator rights, do you? Think of a younger sister, a nosy roommate or an overly curious son. Now, say the person in question, who has a simple non-administrator user account on your computer, wants full access because they want to back up their files and folder. What do you do? You act like a good host and give them all the access, right? No! I can already hear sirens going off. Well, there’s a little handy trick that lets other users back up their files from your computer, without you having to give them any further access.

To do this, right click on the My Computer icon on your desktop and choose Manage. Expand the Local Users and Groups option. Click on Groups and you will see all the groups displayed in the details pane. Now, go to Backup Operators and click on the Add button. Next, simply type in the username of the user you want to give this privilege to. Doing this will add the user to the said group. Do this for all the users you want to give this access to. When you’re done, click the Check Names button to double check everything and you should be good to go. Click OK to exit.

By using the Monitor User Rights feature, you can also enable auditing, which lets you keep track of user activities. For instance, in the above example, if you enable auditing after assigning them backup rights, you will be able to monitor when they perform their backups.

To do this, open the group policy console and go to Computer Configuration, Windows Settings, Security Settings, Local Policies, Audit Policy. Select the option to “Audit privilege use” and depending on what you want to monitor, place a checkmark next to Success or Failure. Or, you can select them both. This will allow you to monitor the privilege you granted to the other users.

These are just some of the Windows Vista tips that I hope will make your transition smooth as butter. As with any other new program, it’s very important to customize it to your way of working. That way, you will be able to maximize the potential while making it easier on yourself as well. Go give these a whirl!

~ Yogesh Bakshi

P.S. – If you want in on some more Vista tips, check out my Top Ten list here.