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Windows Vista hints and tips 7

Tips index

Optional components

Windows Vista  optional componentsWindows Vista lets you turn features on or off depending on whether you need them or not. Turning off features could speed up windows because less time is wasted doing things you don't need. It could also reduce the memory requirements, which could be important on a PC with little RAM.

To see which Vista features you can turn on or off, go to the Control Panel and open Programs and Features. Click the link on the left of the window labelled Turn Windows features on or off and a dialog opens to display a list of items (it takes a several seconds to appear, so be patient).

It has to be said that some of the items are very advanced, such as Windows DFS Replication Service, which probably means nothing to most people, so this tip is mostly for experts. However, a few components are fairly obvious and the bundled games can be removed, Tablet PC Optional Components are pointless if tyou don't have a tablet PC, and so on.


Multiple IE start pages

Internet Explorer 7 in Vista enables you to view several websites or pages at once and you can open them on separate tabs. Tabbed web browsing is one of the best features for years and you can take advantage of it by specifying multiple startup pages. Select Tools, Internet Options and on the General tab, enter your home page in the box at the top, for example, http://www.google.com. You can enter several home pages by entering them on separate lines, so you could have this:

http://www.google.com
http://www.yahoo.com
http://www.news.com

When Internet Explorer is started it will open each website on a new tab.


Map your network

Open Network and Sharing Center in the Control Panel and at the top is a simple diagram showing your computer, the network and the internet. Click the View full map link and a new diagram is drawn.

It may look like the original, but it's not. Let the mouse hover over your computer and an information box is displayed that shows the computer name, IP address and MAC address. If you use a router to connect to the internet, let the mouse hover over it to see its IP address and MAC address.

Why's this useful? Well, some applications require you to specify the IP address of your computer and you need to know where to look. The IP address of a router is used to access it. Start Internet Explorer and enter the router's IP address into the address box (it'll be something like 192.168.1.1) and the router's login screen is displayed in the browser. You'll need to enter a username and password (try admin/admin or admin/password), and then you'll be able to browse the router's menus and features. A useful security feature of routers is the ability to limit network access to devices with just the MAC addresses you specify. Now you know your PC's MAC address, you can use this feature and prevent anyone else from accessing your network.

Windows Vista network map

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