Windows Vista : 12 tips to increase your productivity

Windows Vista might be flop to an extent but some of the features present in you might not find any other OS. You can create symlinks, Use checkboxes to select folders, You can merge two folders into one ( Virtually ) , copy path of any file on just a right-click and lot more. Take this points as Vista Tips or Tweaks as it suits but they sure can increase your performance.I got this laptop from my friend which has Vista installed and tested around some and explored. Here is a list of features some you don’t know some you might have known how to use them. Good Luck.

#1 Share Folders like you did in XP

You can share any folder by just right-click and then click on Share feature. This starts a wizard. However this wizard does not allow you to give your desired share name. So if you have a folder called as iPhone it might be shared as \computerusersusernamephonedata. So if you want to share like you used to do in XP. Don’t use the share wizard. Instead

  • Right click on the folder and click Properties
  • Then click Sharing > Advanced Sharing
  • Share this folder and gives your desired name
  • You can set the permission also

#2 How to add multiple clocks or time zones in Vista

If you want to keep track of time of different places or multiple time zones, Vista Clock has this kind of feature.

  • Just double-click on the clock and the time window will open.
  • Click on the Additional Clocks tab and you can select another time zone with your desired name.
  • Now when you hover your mouse over clock all of them will be displayed together.

#3 Enable Checkboxes to Select Folders and Files

Till now we had been using CTRL or SHIFT keys to select multiple files. But the major problem is if you do a small mistake all of them gets un selected. Now even Nokia phones have feature like Mark / Unmark which allows you to select and scroll through. Vista gives you this feature and its the best for selecting large number of files.

  • Click on Organize Menu on Left hand bar and then choose Folders and Search Options.
  • You will see a lot of options, just scroll down and look for “Use Checkboxes to Select an Item“
  • Select and close. Now you will see checkbox on left top of every file.

#4 Add Encrypt / Decrypt to Right Click Menu

Vista comes with inbuilt feature of encrypting and decrypting files. If you can add it on right-click menu ( I.e it appears whenever you select a folder and right-click on it ) will be much handy. Here is the way

  • Open Run Dialog box , type regedit and hit enter
  • Now navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvanced
  • In right pane, right-click and create a new 32 Bit DWORD with Value “EncryptionContextMenu” ( without quotes)
  • Now when you right-click on a folder you will see “Encrypt” option
  • When you do the same on encrypted folder you will “Decrypt” option instead.

PS: Sorry I forgot to take a snapshot here and My friend left.

#5 Re size your partition : Shrink or Expand Drives

Vista comes with an inbuilt Disk Management feature which allows you to resize your hard disk partitions ( increase or decrease) and that without loss of data. So now instead of using third-party tool like Partition Manager use this.

  • Go to control panel and look for administrative features.
  • You should be able to find Disk Management or Type partition in control panel and enter
  • Disk Management will show a list of all drives. Select a drive which you want to expand or shrink
  • Go to Action > All Tasks and You will see options shrink and expand.
  • This feature is safe but still use it with caution.

#6 How to speed up SATA hard drives in Vista

Windows Vista by default does not enable advanced write caching feature of SATA hard drives. Here are the steps you can do by enabling it.

  • Open Run Dialog Box [Win + R] and type devmgmt.msc ( Device Management)
  • Now open the disk drives section of the tree
  • Right Click on your SATA hard drive and go to Properties
  • Now go to policies tab, and Check the box next to enable advanced performance.

#7 Copy File Paths directly

Its annoying every time you want to use the path of a file or folder, you have to manually type it and append with path.

  • Just right click on the file while pressing SHIFT key
  • You will see a new option “Copy as path” .
  • Click and path will be copied in memory. Use CTRL + V to paste.

#8 How to trim thick borders in Vista

All windows Vista themes have made the window borders thick and if you are not using aero ( which gives transparency effects and other ) it can be very irritating. You can trim down the borders with these simple steps

  • Open the Classic Appearance settings dialog by right clicking on desktop and choose Personalize
  • Now Click on “Windows Color and Appearance“
  • If Aero is enabled you will need to click on “Open Classic appearances“
  • Click the advance button and select Border Padding in drop down
  • Set the size to 1 or 0 ( Check the image )

#9 Use Hot Keys for Quick launch

The quick launch icons which are right next to your START , Can be invoked using WIN + 1 , WIN + 2 and so on. These keys are assigned in order they are present in quick launch

# 10 How to change the Deep Sleep to Shutdown

Power Down key is by default set to put your computer in sleep mode which is not desired. If you want to change it.

  • Open the run dialog box by hitting WIN + R
  • Now type powercfg.cpl , 1 ( Keep space between , and 1)
  • Now if you press power key it will shutdown instead of going to standby.
  • To revert it , type powercfg.cpl , 0

#11 Take Snapshot with Snipping Tool.

Vista comes with an inbuilt program called as Snipping tool which is used to take picture of active window , or are which you select.

  • Click on All programs > Accessories
  • Then look for snipping tool.

Rest is simple. Just take snaps of whatever you want. However with this tool you wont be able to take pictures along with menu. Like right click menu. It disappears as soon as you click it. I find print screen still useful.

#12 Resize icons in a folder

You can quickly resize the icons in folder by Holding CTRL key and scroll the mouse wheel back and forth.