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Windows Vista hints and tips 8

Tips index

Disable User Account Control (UAC)

Contrary to popular belief, User Account Control (UAC) is actually quite a good thing because it increases the security of the computer and makes it harder for viruses, spyware and adware to get into the system, and we all want more of that. However, it can also be a source of irritation if you frequently change Windows settings because it pops up a warning message on the screen every time you try to do something. It can also cause problems when running software that was designed for Windows XP in Vista. If you have tried running a program in Vista and it won't work properly you should try it without UAC enabled and you may find it's OK.

To turn off UAC click Start, Control Panel and switch to Classic View. Double click User Accounts and then click Turn User Account Control on or off. Clear the tickbox and click OK. You will need to restart Windows in order for the change to take effect.

Show me the menu

If you open an Explorer window in XP you will see a menu at the top that enables you to access various functions, such as cut, copy, paste, list view, details view, and many more. Windows Explorer menusIf you open an Explorer window in Vista though, click Start, Computer, for example, you won't see a menu at the top of the window.

Most of the time you don't need a menu because you can access the functions in other ways. For example, you can right click files or folders and access cut, copy, and paste functions and so on.

However, you do need the menu if you want to change Explorer's settings because the menu option isn't available elsewhere (actually it's in the Control Panel, but it's a hassle going there).

To display the menu bar in an Explorer window, just tap the Alt key on the keyboard. The menu will appear so you can select a menu option and then it will disappear from view afterwards.

Show hidden files and folders

Show hidden windows filesYou can view the files and folders on the hard disk drive using Explorer. Just click Start, Computer and then double click the disk you want to view. Not all the files on a disk are visible though and some are hidden from view. These are usually ones that Windows thinks you don't need to access, but sometimes you do, especially when you want to configure certain options and perform certain other advanced tasks.

It is easy to show these hidden files though. Open an Explorer window and tap the Alt key to show the menu. Then select Folder Options on the Tools menu (it's the same Folder Options that you can access from the Control Panel), and click the View tab. Select Show hidden files and folders, and then clear the tick against Hide protected operating system files. Click OK and previously hidden files will be shown in the Explorer window.

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