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Five More Handy Tips

1. If your computer has a motherboard with a built in Hi-Definition audio support, you can use a very cool feature in Vista and Windows 7 that lets you control the bass, create a virtual surround sound and even correct your non-acoustic rooms. To enable these options, you need to go to the Sound option in the Control Panel. Under the Playback tab, you should see an option that says Speakers. Click on it and another dialogue box will open. In the new dialogue box, go to the tab that says Enhancements and you will see the options listed there. Select the ones you require for your computer and you’ll be good to go. You can also access the Sound dialog box through the Run line. Just hold the Windows key and hit the R key (Win+R). When the Run line appears, type in mmsys.cpl and click OK or hit the Enter key.

2. For people who use Vista and Windows 7 on their laptops, Microsoft added a very useful little control panel called the Mobility Center. Now, this is not the regular control panel you have been used to for so many years. The goal of the Mobility Center is to easily let you configure small basic things with your PC. Simple tasks, such as checking the battery level, enabling or disabling wireless connections, attaching an external display or even muting the sound, for example. For heavy laptop users, it’s a good idea to add a shortcut to the startup group to always have the Mobility Center ready for use. Or, you can Just hold the Windows key and hit the X key (Win+X) to access it as well.

3. When you are working with files and folders in Windows Explorer, press the Shift key while you right click. This presents you with an advanced menu that allows you to access additional options, which also lets you perform certain tasks, such as copying the path to a file, adding to the quick launch bar or putting something new in the startup menu.

4. One smart thing that Vista and Windows 7 does is pack in a lot of diagnostic tools. Most people won’t need to use all of them, but one such tool that is extremely useful is the System Health Report. The System Health monitor provides you with an informative and organized report that can help you pinpoint potential problems. To use this, go to Start, Control Panel, System and Maintenance, Performance Information and Tools. You will see a task list on the left. Click on Advanced Tools. The last item on the list is Generate a system health report.

The report takes roughly 60 seconds to run, which makes it easy to run many of them whenever you need to.

5. Finally, I will leave you with some Vista Windows Explorer and dialogue box shortcuts. Remember, using the keyboard not only saves you valuable time while you work, but it’s also good to impress that boss of yours who may think you don’t know your way around a keyboard!

Vista Shortcuts While Working in Windows Explorer

F11 – Maximize or minimize the active window.

Num Lock + Asterisk (*) on numeric keypad – Displays all subfolders under the selected folder.

Num Lock + Plus Sign (+) on numeric keypad – Displays the contents of the selected folder.

Num Lock + Minus Sign (-) on numeric keypad – Collapses the selected folder.

Alt + D – Selects the Address bar.

Vista Shortcuts While Working in a Dialogue Box

Ctrl + Tab – Move forward through tabs.

Ctrl + Shift + Tab – Move back through tabs.

Tab – Move forward through options.

Shift + Tab – Move back through options.

Alt + Underlined Letter – Perform the command (or select the option) that goes with that letter.

Spacebar – Select or clear the checkbox if the active option is a checkbox.

Arrow Keys – Select a button if the active option is a group of option buttons.

There you have it. I hope you’re able to put all these Vista tips to good use.

~ Yogesh Bakshi