Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Battle With Vista

Alright...well since you are all simply GLUED to this exciting, informative, and revolutionary blog, you've been waiting for over a week now to hear about creating a system restore point, right? ( case you haven't caught on yet, that was a joke.) Well I hate to disappoint you, but I'm not going to write about the promised System Restore Point yet. It'll come eventually, I promise. But for right now, I'm going to post a few thoughts pertaining to the hectic roller-coaster ride I've had in the technological realm the past two days.

I bought a beautiful new HP Pavilion laptop. As far as the hardware goes, I love it. 4 GB RAM, a nice big hard drive, a core 2 duo processor...much more than my current use requires. The only problem? Windows Vista Home Premium. And yes, that's a definite problem.

I knew I would run into driver issues trying to install XP Pro, but I didn't know I'd encounter them during the installation process. I tried numerous tricks to fool Vista into letting me wipe it out for XP, but to no avail. After a lot of research and a lot of experimenting, I seem to be stuck with Vista. Permanently. And that pretty much stinks.

I ended up reverting my laptop to its original factory state. That meant I also had to optimize it on my own...basically remove all the junk it comes with as a new install.

As I began to make the best of Vista and prepare my laptop for school, I ran into some other problems I didn't know Vista had. (Besides being a resource hog, bugging me with constant pop-up boxes, and sticking things in out-of-the-way and irrational locations.)

1. The built-in administrator account is disabled by default in Vista. And given my specific scenario, that turned out to be a real pain.

2. You can't even get to a lot of the computer management tools in Home Premium. You have to upgrade to Vista Business or better in order to perform basic management tasks.

I am now in search of a Vista Business CD so that I can upgrade. I have a legal key for it, I just need the corresponding media. Given the hours I've spent with Vista and its wonderful little quirks these past couple days, I will probably be posting more Vista-specific articles in the near future. Stay tuned to find out more about working with this problematic operating system.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Closing Your Laptop: What Happens

Ever wished you could keep your laptop from going into standby mode when you close the lid? Well, you can. Here's how to control what shutting your laptop does, in Windows Vista.

1. Click on the Start button, and click on "Control Panel" to open it.

2. Click on the "Mobile PC" hyperlink.

3. Click "Power Options."

4. Click the "Choose what closing the lid does" hyperlink in the left sidebar.

5. Choose what you want your laptop to do when you close the lid, depending on whether you are running on battery or are plugged in. The options are Do Nothing, Sleep (stand by), Hibernate, or Shut Down.

My personal preference is to "do nothing" when I'm plugged in. This way I can close my laptop and still listen to the music I have playing, remain signed in to any chat engines, and hear system notification sounds. Note that from this dialog box, you can also specify what action the laptop takes when you press the Power or Sleep buttons.

Here's a very low resolution video of this easy process.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Bypassing Vista's Confirmation Messages

One of the major complaints about the Windows Vista operating system is against the constant dialog boxes that pop up asking if you want to continue. Unless you're unsure with the cursor and have a propensity for clicking the wrong buttons, this "helpful" little feature is irksome and slows people down. The average user probably doesn't realize how easy it is to disable this feature, which is called "User Account Control." Here's how you can bypass all those irritating boxes that pop up just when you least want to see them.

1. Click the Start button, and click "Control Panel" to open it.

2. In the Control Panel Home (check left pane to make sure you are not in classic view), click on the "User Accounts and Family Safety" hyperlink.

3. Click on the "User Accounts" hyperlink.

4. Click on the "Turn User Account control on or off" hyperlink.


5. Uncheck the box to disable User Account Control.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tech Gap

A fellow computer geek, classmate, and friend of mine has an interesting and informative blog that he updates regularly. He is great at bringing insight to a wide variety of techy topics. Check it out here!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Changing Computer Name (Vista)

This is for the non-techy...ever wanted to give your computer a unique name? Many users never experience times when computer name means anything, but it does pop up occasionally, such as when the computer is part of a local workgroup. In situations like this, it is fun, and sometimes helpful, to have a memorable and unique computer name.

To change your computer's name in the Windows Vista operating system, follow these few simple steps.

1. Click the Start button, right click "Computer" in the right pane, and click "Properties."

2. Under Tasks in the left pane, click the "Advanced System Settings" hyperlink. The System Properties dialog box opens.

3. Click the "Computer Name" tab.

4. Click the "Change" button.

5. Enter the desired computer name in the box, and click "Okay". You will be prompted to restart your computer for changes to take effect.

Note: To accomplish the same task in Windows XP, click "Start," right click "My Computer," click "Properties," click the "Computer Name" tab.