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Windows Vista hints and tips

Tips index

Improve Vista's Search

Vista's Search facility on the Start menu is much better than in Windows XP. It finds more stuff and it finds it faster. However, it is not perfect and sometimes you might find that it doesn't come up with the goods. Searching can be slow or the results are incomplete.

The problem is the way that Search works. It builds an index of the files on the hard disk drive and it finds files super fast by looking them up in the index. The problem is that if the file isn't in the index then either it won't be found or it'll take ages. Why wouldn't a file be in the index? Well, Search only indexes certain locations, such as your email, Documents, Pictures, Music and so on. If you keep all your files in the locations Windows suggests then everything is OK, but if you store them somewhere else then they won't be indexed.

The solution is to get Search to index those other locations where you store files. The first thing to do is to click Start, Computer and open an Explorer window. Browse the hard disk drive and find the folder containing the files that you want to index. Right click the folder and select Properties.

Click the Advanced button on the General tab and then tick the box labelled Index this folder for faster searching. Click OK and you'll be asked if you want to index all the subfolders (if any) that are contained in this folder. It's up to you, but it's usually a good idea to do this. Close the Explorer window.

Now click Start, Control Panel and in Classic View, double click Indexing Options. Click the Modify button and then expand the hard disk drive entry in the next dialog. Locate the folder you selected for indexing and tick it. Click OK and then Close. The selected folder(s) will now be included in the index and can be searched extremely quickly.


Use Internet Explorer without add-ons

Internet Explorer No Add-OnsIf you are not careful you will find that lots of add-ons and extras get installed into Internet Explorer and while some are useful, some are not.

Badly written add-ons can cause problems and you may have difficulties accessing some websites or certain content on websites. They might even cause Internet Explorer to freeze or perform poorly.

For this reason there is a sort of 'safe mode' that enables you to start the browser without any unecessary extras.

Click Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Internet Explorer (No Add-Ons). The web browser will start, but without any extras. It might not offer as many features, but if it solves a problem you were having you'll know that it involves an add-on and you can then set about tracking down the offending item.

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