Change the size of desktop icons in Windows Vista

May 9, 2009

I’ve been asked a few times now by friends how to change the size of desktop icons in Windows Vista. There are two ways. These methods work in Windows 7 (RC1) as well.

1. left-click an empty area of the desktop once, and while pressing down the left CTRL key on your keyboard, use the wheel on your mouse to change the size of the icons.

2. right-click an empty area of the desktop, and choose ‘view’, and choose from ‘classic’, ‘medium’, or ‘large’.


Share Drives and Folders in Windows Vista

September 1, 2008

There seems to be an inability to share an entire hard drive in Windows Vista over a network. Even if you set the permissions to share it across, other computers are given an error when they attempt to access the shared drive.

The solution is to only share folder within the hard drive, which Vista seems to have no issues with sharing individually. This seems to be a Vista-only problem, though it intermittently happened in XP, usually as the result of a software firewall blocking access.

Microsoft seems to have decided it’s too big of a security risk to let you share an entire hard drive.

To share a folder in Windows Vista…

1. Right-click the folder, choose “Share”

2. In the drop-down menu, choose the users you want to share the folder with.

3. Under the “Permission Level” heading, click to choose the level of access you want each user to have.

4. Click “ok”, then “continue” on the User Account Control prompt.

If you want the old-skool approach in Vista

1. Right-click the folder, select “properties”

2. on the “Sharing” tab, click “advanced permissions”, then “continue” on the User Account Control prompt.

3. Put a check in the box next to “Share this folder”, then click the “permissions” button

4. For each user, type in the account name and press enter, then choose their permissions

Import My Pictures Slideshow from XP to Vista

August 31, 2008

While playing around with Windows Vista’s screensavers, I discovered that my beloved “My Pictures Slideshow” did not exist. I used it all the time in Windows XP! So, being the geek that I am, I figured out how to import it into Vista. Here’s how I did it…

1. In Windows XP, in the Start Menu, click “Search”. (if you don’t have Search, right-click the Start button and choose “properties”, then “customize”. On the “Advanced” tab, put a checkbox next to “Search”, then click “ok” twice.)

2. Click “All Files and Folders”

3. Type “*.scr” (without the quotes), remember to include the asterick (“*”) and the period, and press enter on your keyboard.

4. There will be one called “ssmypics.scr”. Select the file, right-click and choose “copy”, then right-click and choose “paste” on the desktop.

4a. You can also download it directly from my website here

5. You can now burn the file to CD, copy and paste it onto a thumbdrive, or into a shared network folder.

6. Access the file in Windows Vista, then copy and paste it into the “C:\Windows\System32\” directory.

7. Right click the desktop, choose “personlize”, then “screen saver”, and the new screensaver should now appear along with the rest.

SFC (System File Checker) in Windows Vista

August 24, 2008

The System File Checker scans the integrity of all the protected system files. If it finds a incorrect or modified system file, it replaces it with the correct version.

the following is from:

“To check your Windows protected files, proceed as follows:

1. Click the Start button

2. From the Start Menu, Click All programs followed by Accessories

3. In the Accessories menu, Right Click on the Command Prompt option

4. From the drop down menu that appears, Click on the ‘Run as administrator’ option

5. If you have the User Account Control (UAC) enabled you will be asked for authorisation prior to the command prompt opening. You may simply need to press the Continue button if you are the administrator or insert the administrator password etc.

6. In the Command Prompt window, type: sfc /scannow and then press Enter

7. A message will appear stating that ‘the system scan will begin’

8. Be patient because the scan may take some time

9. If any files require replacing SFC will replace them. You may be asked to insert your Vista DVD for this process to continue

10. If everything is okay you should, after the scan, see the following message “Windows resource protection did not find any integrity violations”

11. After the scan has completed, Close the command prompt window”

AppData Folder in Windows Vista

August 24, 2008

The AppData folder in Windows Vista is equal to the Documents and Settings folder in Windows XP. The AppData folder is also hidden in Vista.

To unhide this folder (and others), open the Folder Options in the Vista Control Panel, and on the “View” tab, change the option to “show hidden files and folders”, and click ok.

According to

“The key phrase is, change in location.  Vista has a new Users Folder which replaces XP’s Documents and Settings.  Within the new folder structure, Vista has a folder called plain ‘Documents’, which replaces XP’s ‘My Documents’ folder.  The most important new subfolder is AppData.  Also to maintain backward compatibility, Vista has shortcut links to the old XP folders such as Local Settings and Application Data.”

Windows XP and Windows Vista 32-bit and 64-bit

August 18, 2008

I’ve been asked what is the difference between Windows XP and VIsta 32-bit and 64-bit. It’s a great question. So here’s what I was able to dig up…

According to Microsoft itself… (more information is available here)

“The main differences between the 32-bit versions of Windows Vista and the 64-bit versions of Windows Vista relate to memory accessibility, memory management, and enhanced security features. The security features that are available in the 64-bit versions of Windows Vista include the following:

•Kernel Patch Protection
•Support for hardware-backed Data Execution Protection (DEP)
•Mandatory driver signing
•Removal of support for 32-bit drivers
•Removal of the 16-bit subsystem

One of the greatest advantages of using a 64-bit version of Windows Vista is the ability to access physical memory (RAM) that is above the 4-gigabyte (GB) range. This physical memory is not addressable by 32-bit versions of Windows Vista.

Depending on the version of Windows Vista that is installed, a 64-bit version of Windows Vista supports from 1 GB of RAM to more than 128 GB of RAM. The ability to address more physical memory lets Windows Vista minimize the time that is required to swap processes in and out of physical memory. Therefore, Windows Vista can manage processes more efficiently. This memory management feature helps improve the overall performance of Windows Vista.”

According to Webopedia

-Users would note a performance increase because a 64-bit CPU can handle more memory and larger files

-most benefits of a 64-bit CPU will go unnoticed without the key components of a 64-bit operating system and 64-bit software and drivers which are able to take advantage of 64-bit processor features

-Benefits of 64-bit processors would be seen with more demanding applications such as video encoding, scientific research, searching massive databases; tasks where being able to load massive amounts of data into the system’s memory is required.

Screen Goes Black Suddenly

August 17, 2008

I suspect most people know how to fix this in Windows, but I think it’s worth a mention. If your computer screen goes black after 10, 20, or 30 minutes, even with the screensaver on, this is due to the Power Options settings turning the signal to the monitor off to conserve power.

This normally shouldn’t happen if the screensaver is enabled, but you or someone else may have changed the settings.

In Windows XP

1. right-click on the desktop, and choose “properties”

2. on the “screensaver” tab, click on the “power” button

3. Choose options from the drop down menus, and click “ok”, then “ok” again.

To change the Power Options, in Windows Vista…

1. In the Start Menu, then select “Control Panel”

2. Click on “Power Options”

3. on the left hand side, choose “Choose when to turn the display off”

4. In the window that opens, choose from the drop down menu the option you want, and click “save changes”