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Vista Tips and Tweaks

Martin L

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I use Notepad a lot, I generally use a certain type of font or something as the default for Notepad. One thing I do like is being able to set the settings I want to have Notepad use, and having Notepad ready to go for me after I finish a customized un-attended install because I already know that NotePad doesn't normally save settings between use like I want it to. To do this I use the below reg key:


In this key you can find a bunch of things that you can modify for defaults for Notepad, these are (defaults shown):

"lfFaceName"="Lucida Console"
"szTrailer"="Page &p"

All of these can be modified to set the indicated attribute for NotePad. Sometimes you need to add an item that doesn't exist in the registry, lets say for example your working with a bunch of text files and you want Notepad to use the very last settings (font, etc...) you used when you open up the next file and you also want the next files to always open at the same position on your desktop, then do this by adding a DWORD called '"fSavePageSettings" and set its value to '1' to enable and enable the existing "fSaveWindowPositions" by making its value a '1' like the below:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


There ya go...now go forth and tweak :)

Edited by Spooky
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I like having most of my own stuff set up correctly when my un-attended installs complete, with Vista its no different. One thing I do like is to have the command prompt text as another color instead of the default white color. yes, I know you can further customize the command prompt and make the text color anything you like from within Vista, but if you want it to be set up during your un-attended install you'll need to resort to using the below reg entry:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor]

The above reg entry example uses the color green. You can make it any of several colors, where the value for the 'DefaultColor' is equal to one of the below:

Color codes to use(HEX)

0 = black

1 = blue

2 = green

3 = cyan

4 = red

5 = magenta

6 = yellow/brown

7 = white

8 = gray

9 = bright blue

A = bright green

B = bright cyan

C = bright red

D = bright magenta

E = bright yellow

F = bright white

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I normally don't recommend anyone bypass the logon procedure from a security standpoint, but there are times when an auto-logon makes people happy. Someone asked me for this so might as well share it, after all its not a secret and is becoming one of the most asked for items. Here is how to enable Auto-Logon for Vista:

1. Click the Start button, type 'netplwiz' and hit enter or click that name on the Start menu.

2. In the GUI window that comes up uncheck the "Users must enter a username and password to use this computer' box, then click 'Apply'

3. In the new dialog box that opens type the name of the account you want to auto-logon by default. If the account is not normally passworded then leave the password blank, if the account is passworded then enter the password where indicated. Click OK your way out of both dialogs.

The account must already exist before you do this. I do not recommend that you create accounts without passwords. I do not recommend that you auto-logon your 'Administrator' account, use another account name with some admin privilages if you need to. Use this at your own risk, I do not accept any responsibility for anything that happens as a result of you using this.

If someone hacks your computer as a result of you following these instructions, I don't want to hear a word about "Spooky said to do this so its his fault" :)

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Exporting your email from Outlook Express in WinXP and then importing it into Windows Mail in Vista can be confusing and full of frustration. Sure, there is an Export feature in Outlook Express and an Import feature in Windows Mail, but some may not get the expected results at times. This method assumes a clean install of Vista. Here is a fail proof method for saving all your email from Outlook Express in WinXP and getting it back into Windows Mail in Vista for any reasonable sceinario.

(this is not the only method to migrate your email from Outlook Express to Windows Mail, but this method is fail safe all the time)

1. First, In WinXP open up Windows Explorer and browse to:

C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{*your identity number here*}\Microsoft\Outlook Express

2. Right click on the 'Outlook Express' folder and choose copy (DO NOT CHOOSE CUT AS YOU MIGHT HAVE TO DO THIS AGAIN IF SOMETHING DOESN'T GO RIGHT).

3. Now paste that folder some where else. Now after the paste you have a few options for saving this folder. If you have another drive that is not going to be the install drive then paste it there. If your not that lucky to have an additional drive and everything will be lost when you reformat the drive you have to remove XP from and install Vista on then burn the folder to a CD for use later.

4. After this folder is saved to a safe place go ahead and install Vista.

5. After the Vista install is complete, set up Windows Mail with your accounts and stuff.

6. After Windows Mail is prepared, start it up and click on the 'File' menu item and choose 'Import'. Then choose 'Outlook Express 6' messages, point the import wizard to the place where you stored the Outlook Express folder from steps 1 - 3 above and select the 'Oulook Express' folder, choose next and your messages will be imported into Windows Mail intact.

7. Then simply sort out the folders in Windows Mail and your all done.

Edited by Spooky
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If there is a file or folder in Vista that you can not take ownership of within Vista then try the Takeown utility in a command prompt. Simply open a command prompt and type Takeown/? for details

Edited by Spooky
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For un-attended installs If you want to change the default true type fonts used in Vista to ones you like its easy to do via the registry.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\FontSubstitutes]
"MS Shell Dlg 2"="*FONT NAME HERE*"
"MS Shell Dlg"="*FONT NAME HERE*"
"MS Sans Serif 8,10,12,14,18,24"="*FONT NAME HERE*"
"MS Serif 8,10,12,14,18,24"="*FONT NAME HERE*"
"MS Sans Serif"="*FONT NAME HERE*"
"System"="*FONT NAME HERE*"
"Microsoft Sans Serif"="*FONT NAME HERE*"
"Tahoma"="*FONT NAME HERE*"
"Times New Roman"="*FONT NAME HERE*"
"Times"="*FONT NAME HERE*"
"Small Fonts"="*FONT NAME HERE*"
"Tms Rmn"="*FONT NAME HERE*"
"Arial"="*FONT NAME HERE*"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts]
"Arial (TrueType)"="*FONT FILE NAME HERE.ttf*"
"Arial Italic (TrueType)"="segoeuii.ttf"
"Arial Bold (TrueType)"="segoeuib.ttf"
"Arial Bold Italic (TrueType)"="segoeuiz.ttf"
"Times New Roman (TrueType)"="*FONT FILE NAME HERE.ttf*"
"Times New Roman Italic (TrueType)"="segoeuii.ttf"
"Times New Roman Bold (TrueType)"="segoeuib.ttf"
"Times New Roman Bold Italic (TrueType)"="segoeuiz.ttf"
"Tahoma (TrueType)"="*FONT FILE NAME HERE.ttf*"
"Tahoma Bold (TrueType)"="segoeuib.ttf"
"Microsoft Sans Serif (TrueType)"="*FONT FILE NAME HERE.ttf*"
"MS Sans Serif 8,10,12,14,18,24 (VGA res)"="*FONT FILE NAME HERE.ttf*"
"MS Serif 8,10,12,14,18,24 (VGA res)"="*FONT FILE NAME HERE.ttf*"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\MuiCache]
"@themeui.dll,-2037"="{*FONT NAME HERE*, 8 pt}"
"@themeui.dll,-2038"="{*FONT NAME HERE*, 8 pt}"
"@themeui.dll,-2039"="{*FONT NAME HERE*, 8 pt}"
"@themeui.dll,-2040"="{*FONT NAME HERE*, 8 pt}"
"@themeui.dll,-2041"="{*FONT NAME HERE*, 8 pt}"
"@themeui.dll,-2042"="{*FONT NAME HERE*, 8 pt}"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\FontMapper\FamilyDefaults]
"Swiss"="*FONT NAME HERE*"
"Roman"="*FONT NAME HERE*"


*FONT NAME HERE* = the name of the true type font

*FONT FILE NAME HERE.ttf* = the actual file name of the true type font.

8 pt = represents the default size you want the font to be.

Copy and paste the above code into a text file, modify it for the needed information, and save the file as change_fonts.reg (or any name you choose) then right click on the file and choose Merge.

As always, remember to back up the registry keys first before making any changes in case something goes wrong.

Edited by Spooky
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Regarding registration info for Vista; When you install Vista there really isn't a way to get your full name and organization into the OS. Some companies use this information to fill the fields on installing software that needs a name and organization to register with. You can set this information in the Registry if you need to at:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion]

The keys you want to modify are the RegisteredOwner and RegisteredOrganization keys.

Edited by Spooky
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Folder views all messed up in Vista and folder view is stuck in Music View, or some other type of content, at the root of the Vista install drive? And of course since its at the root of the Vista drive you can't customize and resetting the folder doesn't work? Can be frustrating, but its a common issue with some systems. Fortunately, it may be pretty easy to fix with just a little registry 'magic'.

This happens because Vista modifies the registry key "SniffedFolderType" value located in the registry at:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\XX\Shell

(where XX is some number). Vista sets this key because it "thinks" it knows what content type is in the folder. Just changing the key "SniffedFolderType" doesn't correct the problem.

To fix the problem; Close all occurances of Explorer (and the My Computer thing). Then open up Regedit and delete the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags

Close regedit and open up explorer again, and there you have it - your no longer stuck in Music View.

The down side to this fix is you'll lose all folder customizations you've made so far also, but at least you'll get your drive back and you can always do the customizations again. Remember, back up that key first before you delete it.

Edited by Spooky
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This seems to be an issue with some people. Event ID 4226 does not mean there is a problem, its a built in limit (not really a limit but some view it that way) in the OS. Here is some information about this.

Event ID 4226: "TCP/IP has reached the security limit imposed on the number of concurrent TCP connect attempts."

In order to understand what this means, you have to first understand some basic TCP/IP. Not to go over how TCP/IP works in depth, all of its states and packet-types, but we need to start with the the most basic parts first to understand.

When a client initiates a TCP/IP connection to a server the protocol has to negotiate the connection information before any data is transferred. TCP, Transmission Control Protocol, helps ensure information gets to its destination reliably over an IP network. It does this with the TCP Handshake.

The TCP Handshake Process:

Step 1: Client sends a SYN packet to the server. This packet is more or less the absolute beginning of the TCP/IP communications process. This puts the client's port in a SYN_SENT state. This makes it await for an ACK packet.

Step 2: Server, if it is LISTENING, will respond to the client with a SYN/ACK packet. This will put its port into the SYN_RECVD (RECEIVED) state and make it wait for an ACK packet.

Step 3: Client receives SYN/ACK packet and puts its port into an ESTABLISHED state and responds with an ACK packet.

From here on data can be transferred between both of these devices. With this process explained lets move on to why and how Event 4226 works and is triggered.

Starting with Windows XP SP2, Microsoft limited the maximum amount of SYN_SENT states that you can have on your system to 10. There are only 2 ways that a port will come out of the SYN_SENT state, either the connection receives a response or the connection times out. With this in mind let's look at how it affects various internet protocols such as HTTP.

The client (your computer) requests a web page via a URL. A DNS server responds with the IP address. The client sends a SYN packet to the HTTP server. The HTTP server sends an SYN/ACK and the client sends an ACK, then server begins sending data. Client displays it on screen and the connection closes.

In this scenario the HTTP server was there and sent a response. Because of the way HTTP works it only needs one active connection at a time. So...even if an HTTP server is not there at maximum there will only be 1 connection in the SYN_SENT state (unless the client is set to retry over and over again).

Most of the internet uses just one connection, with the exception of P2P applications where many connections may be used.

On Windows operating systems prior to Vista, when a user runs a P2P application the client receives a list of hosts that are sharing the item the client wants, there can be many of these hosts. The client attempts to connect to all of these hosts. Let's choose an arbitrary number, say for example there are 50 "servers" that the client wants to connect to. The client sends a SYN packet to 50 servers, and simply waits for some to time out. If 40 of these connections time out they just time out. It still has 10 that responded and opened a connection.

This method of not limiting was a great way to increase the spread of worms on the internet. Your computer would get a worm and start hitting entire ranges of IPs. Regardless of if even a fraction of these hosts responds the worm just spreads itself to as many hosts as possible from your system.

Limiting the amount of "half open" (syn sent or syn recvd) connections that are happening at the same time DRASTICALLY reduces the spread of the worm while having minimal effect on "legitimate" user (legitimate meaning computers without worms) connections. Because the worm-infected PC now has to wait for connections to either timeout or receive a response the worm's spread is drastically reduced. When it's trying to hit 20,000 hosts, it greatly increases the amount of time a worm has to wait as it might have to wait for 15,000 connections to time out before it can continue to spread.

How does this affect P2P?

Let's get back to the P2P for a minute. Lets say your client sends SYN to 50 other machines "at once (or in a short period of time)". machines 1, 23, 40, and 45 respond, while everything else doesn't. You now have a near immediate 4 connections.

With the TCP/IP half open limitation, it would send SYN to the first 10 hosts. Host 1 responds, so it sends now to host 11. The other 9 time out, it now sends to hosts 12-21. 11 times out, it now sends to 23, which responds ,and then begins on 24.

So what happens is a slight delay in the connection process as it goes through the lists of hosts. This has no effect on the transfer speed between Hosts 1, 23, 40, and 45. Once that connection is established that's pretty much it for the TCP/IP limiter. If all 50 responded, you could connect to all 50 hosts without any limitation at all.

So the real issue on P2P networks with regards to this "problem" are the people who don't understand how to configure their internet connections, or the people who configure them with the intent of not allowing incoming connections.

Q: Does this affect my regular internet habits (Chatting, web surfing, e-mail)?

A: Not at all.

Q: Will this slow down my P2P use?

A: Minimally. It will slow the rate in which you connect to other hosts, but it has no affect on any speed you receive from any host you connect to. This is simply a limit to how many hosts in the list of hosts that you make attempts to connect to.

Q: Does this mean I can only have 10 connections at a time?

A: No, you can have 10, 20, 30, 40 connections to any host you want provided they are configured to allow it. This simply limits the number of attempted connections. In the end, you will connect to as many hosts as are available for a connection, just connecting to them at a slower pace.

Edited by Spooky
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A lot of people seem to not like the default locations of folders in Vista, things like the personal folders, Documents, Favorites, Contacts, Music, Public Documents, Public Videos, etc.....Most don't like the default locations simply because they are used to using a different drive or location to store their stuff that suits there way of operation. Symlinks might be an answer for you.

Instead of going into the long explaination, the easy way to become aquanted with the Symlink feature in Vista is to open up a command prompt and type 'Mklink /?' ,you will be presented with the necessary information for creating your own symlinks in Vista. So lets create one then...

Say for example we want to call the 'Music' folder in Vista "My Personal Music Collection" but we want that folder to appear at another location other that the default Vista location and we have some problems moving the 'Music' folder and we really don't mind if the actual folder stays at its default location, we just want a folder called "My Personal Music Collection" because we don't like the default Vista 'Music' name. Ok here is how we would do that. Additionally, lets say that our user name is 'Mickeymouse' (just for the heck of it).

(Open up a command prompt and type Mklink/?. That will give you information and the syntax of the command to create a symlink.)

1. Open command prompt in the place where you want to create the symlink, were going to use the root of the C:\ drive in this example but it can be anywhere you want..

2. type mklink /? for information. So if we want to create a symlink directory at the root of C:\;

mklink /J <the name of our link directory> <the target of our link>

so lets create a link directory named "My Personal Music Collection" at the root of C:\ with a target of the default C:\Users\Mickeymouse

mklink /J "My Personal Music Collection" "C:\Users\Mickeymouse"

If you now look in the root of the C:\ drive you will see what looks like a folder but really isn't, its not a shortcut either but we won't go into that in this post. You will be able to copy, save, paste, and do all the normal things you would do with an actual folder with your "My Personal Music Collection" symlink, but remember, the actual activity is taking place in the original "C:\Users\Mickeymouse"

To enable Local to remote symlinks:

1. Both the client and server must be using Vista.

2. As admin, you need to enable 'Local to Remote' policy using gpedit.msc and go to:

Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/System/NTFS Filesystem/ then right click on the 'Selectively Allow the evaluation of symbolic link' - choose 'Properties', then 'Settings' tab.

Another use of symlinks, that might not be of much use to your right now but will in the future, if you transfer a lot of files using seperate clients (FTP, P2P, etc..); How about a symlink that you simply copy files into and they are transfered to a remote server for example. If the server uses symlinks (or junctions in older windows versions) then simply create a symlink with a folder on the server as a target, works great! and lets you use the remote server location like you would any folder on your hard drive just like you were on a LAN somewhere.

OK, thats it. Now granted, this doesn't move the actual folder so if your still focused on moving the actual folder its self then you'll need to do something else. But for those that just want the simplicity offered by symlinks, simple name changes and stuff like that without messing with the actual folder then symlinks might help you out.

Edited by Spooky
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Another thing you can do is this. If you open a folder you see the list of links on the left side. Don't like what is there? What to change them or add something else? Easy, go to the C:\user\your_username\links folder. Put in any shortcut there you want or change any existing ones. These links are what show up on the left side.

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Change the size of the desktop icons

Hold the Ctrl down and use your mouse scroll wheel to adjust the size.

Good tip - this also works in Explorer folders too but is there any

registry tweak to set the icons on the Desktop to Windows

old standard 32 x 32 instead of 6400 x 6400? :lol:

Or maybe disable the ability to even change the size and revert

back to "old" sizes with a tweak?

Dunno why M$ has done this, they are miles too big. When you change

them (Ctrl + mouse wheel) it messes up the layout.

Sorry I haven't posted a tweak myself, heres one to stop the "Welcome Center"

popping up every time you reboot...

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

;Stops the "Welcome Center" loading (for current user) when Windows starts


Looking more into the registry I noticed this only appears for 5 reboots anyway


Edited by LeveL
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You can also turn off the welcome center in the GUI after on the second reboot after the install is complete, and from then on after, by just unchecking the box in the lower left corner about not showing it when Vista starts. The reg tweak, however, does come in handy for an un-attended install set-up. :)

Edited by Spooky
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Some people don't like the default size and BPP for the icons used in Vista. This is easy to change via a registry entry:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics]
"Shell Icon BPP"="50"
"Shell Icon Size"="32"

These are REG_SZ values, the defaults are shown - change to the values you want.

The Shell Icon Size already exists at that location and the default is 32 - the value is in pixels.

The Shell Icon BPP does not already exist and needs to be added. The valid values range 50% to 100% - the default is 50.

There are also a few more items at that location which can be adjusted concerning icons. As you change the size of the icons of course the spacing between the icons changes also, if you need to adjust the spacing, alter the 'IconSpacing' and 'IconVerticalspacing' REG_SZ values to your liking.

Edited by Spooky
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This is more of a survival and money saving tip then a tweak or normal tip, and might answer a few questions for people. It involves making an image of your Vista install. There are many image software products on the market and you can use one of those to do this, there are probably a bunch of ways to image your OS install. I personally use Acronis 10 which works well with Vista. However, if you want to not spend any money you can get excellent basic imaging capabilitites with a windows PE 2.0 boot CD, and its free! Heres what you do:

(you need a second hard drive to save the resulting image to)

1. Download the Windows Automated Install Kit (WAIK) from microsoft. Burn the downloaded image file to a DVD. The downloaded image files will have an .img extension so if you don't have anything that can burn a .img file then rename the extension to .iso and burn it with something that will handle .iso files. There are lots of free burning utilities on the net you can do this with.

2. Next visit this post where I have already posted some simple ready made batch files and instructions for creating your own WinPE 2.0 bootable CD. Following the post information and using the batch files, after you have installed the WAIK, it takes about 5 minutes to produce your WinPE CD. The post is located at:


3. After creating your WinPE 2.0 CD, put it in your CD drive and boot from it.

4. After booting on your WinPE 2.0 CD and when at the command prompt type ImageX/? for all the commands you will need to create your own backup image of the Vista install you spent hours on getting set up properly. For example, If I wanted to capture an image of my Vista install on the C:\ drive the basic command in the WinPE 2.0 command prompt would look like this:

imagex /capture c: d:\imaging\vistainst.wim "Drive C"

This command tells imagex to create an image of my C:\ drive, write and save that image on my D:\ drive in the imaging folder and name this image vistainst.wim and further give a little text description ("Drive C") of what the image is for, most of the times I do a time and date for the image here.

If you need to restore the image in the WinPE 2.0 command prompt type "imagex /Apply /?" for more information.

Many people don't realize this option exists, so if this posted tip helps even one person its worth it. :)

Edited by Spooky
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