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.

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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”


Disable Automatic Restart on BSOD (Blue Screen of Death)

August 17, 2008

In Windows XP and Windows Vista, you can stop Windows from automatically restarting when the dreaded Blue Screen of Death happens, giving you time to analyze or write down the error, so you can later find a possible solution.

1. Right-click on Computer, select Properties.

2. Click Advanced System Settings.

3. On the Advanced tab, under “Startup and Recovery”, click “settings”.

3. Under “System Failure”, uncheck the box next to “automatic restart”. (attach pic)


Run older software/programs in Windows Vista

July 22, 2008

First Method according to CNET

If your software application won’t install, open or work properly, right click on the application’s .exe file. Select Properties and then click the Compatibility tab. From there, pick the previous Windows operating system you were on (most likely Windows XP).

Second method from SoftwareTipsPalace.com:

Windows Vista was designed with backward compatibility for software in mind, that is: much software was designed to run with versions of windows before Windows Vista will run just fine on Vista. However some programs my not run well or will not run at all. If you find that on old program doesn’t run correctly you can access Vista’s program compatibility wizard so you can setup windows behave like on earlier versions of windows when you run that older program. Here is how to access program compatibility wizard:

  1. Click Start menu and then click Control Panel,
  2. In Control Panel window click “Programs” link,
  3. Under the “Programs and Features” header click on “Use an older program with this version of Windows” link
  4. The Programs Compatibility Wizard appears, read the Caution note that you should not use this wizard for older virus detection, backup or system programs, there are programs installed with Windows Vista as well as antivirus and backup software which are build specifically for Windows Vista and you should use those programs,
  5. Click the Next button, you can choose where the older programs is located and then click Next button,
  6. Click the programs you want to run with compatibility settings and thank click Next button,
  7. Now click the Operation System that the programs uses, you can choose from any version of Windows all the way back to Windows 95, in our case we clicked “Microsoft Windows XP (Service Pack 2)” button and then click Next button,
  8. Select the display settings check box next to the display setting if the current display settings is causing the problems, if there is no display problems just click the Next button,
  9. If the program requires administrator privilege select the checkbox “Run this program as an administrator” and then click Next button,
  10. You can test your compatibilities settings by clicking the Next button,
  11. When the user account control dialog windows appears click the continue button,
  12. The program start and it works just fine (in our case, we hope it’s the same with you),
  13. Since the compatibility settings work we will live “Yes” button selected and click the Next button,
  14. Click the start application button in tool bar, if you want to send program compatibility information to Microsoft for their records click the “Yes” button, we don’t want to send our information’s so we click “No” button and then click the Next button,
  15. The Wizard is completed so close the Wizard windows by clicking Finish button. Now everything is finish. You can do this every time for any programs just repeat these steps”

If after all that, your program is having trouble running in Windows Vista or refuses to work at all, you likely need to accept that and find a similiar program that will work in Windows Vista. Sorry for the bad news.


Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) Slipstream

June 22, 2008

If you want to create a backup copy of your Windows XP CD, and you want it to include Service Pack 3, so you can avoid downloading and installing nearly 200 updates, which takes forever, this is an excellent solution. The process is called Slipstreaming.

Lifehacker.com has an excellent article on how to do this. I have tested and verified that it works.

You will need 5 things.

I see no reason to rewrite Lifehacker’s entire article in my own words, as it’s very well written and easy to follow. Follow the instructions to the letter and you shouldn’t have any problems or hiccups. The software listed above is also very easy to use and does most of the work itself, you just have to point it to where files are located.