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First Vista Experience!aaahhhh


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Dear Forum,

I have a Toshiba satellite A135-S4427 that is brand new. First impression....too slow, desktop too busy, cant find anything, to difficult to navigate, to parental..too many are you sures.

1. Where can I learn the new OS, best and cheapest route?

2. When I was in IE7 today i would hit a link and the new window would pop up for a second with the desired page and then disappear...it is no where to be found. Anyone know where it went? So far i dont like IE7, so many sites and software versions dont run with it.

3. Anyone know how to clean this OS up? How do I get rid of all this excess crap on my desk top and down in the lower right margin? How do I make the OS look like XP so I can actually find stuff? How do I make it stop asking me if I am sure I want to do things?

Thank you very much.


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1> The constant questions requesting authorization for certain tasks are a feature known User Account Control. This feature is intended to act as a last line of defense against malware infections. Effectively, it does not allow any actions which can actually change the system configuration without your express approval. This includes registry modifications, launching of system configuration tools, and creating, renaming, and deleting files located in the Windows or Program files folders.

As you have discovered, it is quite annoying, especially when you are installing things or trying to install the computer.

You have three options to deal with UAC: you can put up with it,, you can turn it off permanently, or you can turn it off while you are installing & configuring the syystem and then turn it back on once you are done so it can act as a safeguard four your OS. Of the three, I recommend the last.

In order to change the setting, click on the Start Orb then in the Search box at the bottom type secpol.msc and press enter. When asked for confirmation, give it and the Security Policies Eeditor will load. In the right hand column, expand Local Policies and then click on security. In the right-hand column, scroll all the way to the bottom. The third item from the bottom should read something like "Always run Administrators in Admin Approval Mode. Right-click on this and select Properties. Select enable to turn UAC on and disable to turn it off. Close the Security Policy Editor and reboot the computer for the changes to take effect.

2> Icons on the desktop which you do not want can simply be deleted. Programs running at the bottom right corner of the screen (taskbar notification area), must be independently configured not to run if you do not want them. Right-click on the offending tray icon, look for something that says properties, and then find an option for Start with Windows or Start when I login (or something similiar) and uncheck it. After applying the changes, the program will not launch when you next start your computer.

3> You cannot make Vista look and operate like XP. It is not XP. Give the OS a chance and try to learn it's new ways of doing things... If you do, you will find, as I did, that Vista's methods are far more capable and easy than XP's were. For example, rather than having to hunt through the start menu for a program, you can simply start typing it's name while the Start panel is displayed... Vista will find the program for you.

4> In Internet Explorer, the reason the window closed is because IE has a built-in popup blocker. While you can turn it off if you wish (Simply click on Tools at the right to find the controls), a better choice is to add the site you want popups to work on to the Exceptions List for the popup blocker (accessed through the same Tools menu). Alternatively, you can temporarily override the popup blocker on any link you click if you press and hold the ctrl and shift keys while you click on the link.

5> As for where you can learn it, there are a variety of books aimed at beginners with the Vista OS. However, I say experience is the best teacher. In addition, if you chck some of the threads about tips, tweaks, and customizing both here and elsewhere, you can learn a great deal.

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Just wanted to jump in because of a slightly different UAC view.

A problem that can occur with doing your driver and software installations with UAC turned off is that these programs will all then have automatic Administrator permissions even when reactivating UAC later on.

This can be debilitating to the ability to take advantage of the purpose of UAC. If a nasty later somehow exploits a hole and attaches itself to one of these full permissioned programs, that exploit can have full run to do whatever it wants as UAC will consider any operation that program requests to be trusted completely.

However, if you can deal with leaving UAC on and answering a bunch of "Do you really want to allow this" questions when initially setting up your system and software, then permissions will be set up the new Vista way for programs that can work with them. For those programs that have a problem when not running with full administrator permissions, for install programs Windows will usually pop up after a setup saying that the program might not have installed properly. It will ask you if you want to run the setup again with settings that will make that setup program work in this version of Windows. In mostly all cases letting it do that will get the program installed correctly. Sometimes a problem is uncovered with certain programs that do not behave when setup using this compatibility mode, such as the HP Scanjet driver for Vista. So HP recommends that for that particular setup you say no to that and the driver will work as installed. In most cases it is best to say yes and let Vista run the installer again though.

For the programs themselves, a lot will run just fine without changing any settings. For those that don't, like not being able to save stuff to protected folders that they need to, then you would try running them as administrator using the right click run as administrator selection. If it then works you could chose to do that all the time or just right click and set the compatibility mode to run as administrator. Beyond that if it didn't run then you would try the Windows 98/Me setting, then Windows NT, turning off the Themes, etc, until the program works.

Once all your stuff is setup you will find the UAC popups happen very rarely. And you will have installed your software in a way that enables the purpose of UAC, that is to prevent unwanted changes being done to your system unless you know it is a program or process you're sure you trust, to accomplish the increased security it provides.

Once you find your way around the way your user folders are setup and some of the other new places such as where some of the stuff you're used to using in the Start Menu is, it's well, still just Windows! Easy to use and looks pretty with the new Aero stuff.

A hint, if you work a lot with unzipping stuff besides what the default Compressed Folders can work with (only Zip) and like to extract programs to Program Files that don't have installers, then running WinRAR in the right click Administrator Mode can accomplish that task with only the initial UAC question you get when running in Administrator Mode. Otherwise you'll be bothered if you try to create a new folder, move or copy files there, etc. UAC only lets you play with files in your user folders. Otherwise a trusted program (like WinRAR in Administrator Mode) or your reply to a UAC popup saying Allow, Continue, yes I'm sure I want to do that darn it, etc will be necessary.

See, with UAC activated you may be on an Administrator account but you're dumbed down to acting with Standard user permissions. This is a good thing! If you need to do something only an administrator can do you can still do it, but UAC will ask you first. That's cool too. Except during the initial setup of your operating system and software where it can become annoying, but that annoyance is temporary. Your system will be more secure if you leave UAC on during that setup process.

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I've read quotes from Microsoft officials stating that there are no plans for any service packs for Windows Vista. They stated that with their ability to push updates through Windows Update there won't be a necessity for putting together a service pack.

So anyone who applies the latest Windows Updates will get the latest improvements as they are released, for example the three compatibility patches that have already been released.

The operating system itself is not the major hurdle at this point. It's pretty much done, excepting the occasional compatibility patch and of course the normal amount of Microsoft security updates as they patch newly discovered holes.

The remaining problems relate to hardware that use 3rd party drivers such as videocards, soundcards and the like. This is coming along. ATI is a bit ahead of NVidia in the video driver field and Creative, regardless of the massive amount of complaints on their forums, appears to be way ahead of the rest of the soundcard makers in providing at least a working driver. They must restore missing functions where that is possible under the new Vista audio stack, but they have already done this in beta form for the X-Fi series that has been leaked by the U-PAX people. Audigy 2 ZS users continue to wait, as do X-Fi users who either do not want to install 3rd party unofficial packages or are not covered by the cards that U-Pax driver/software package covers.

I've been struggling, with some success, in getting older Windows games that used codecs and tools no longer completely compatible with the new operating system to work.

For example, the neat kids educational Carmen Sandiego series. By purchasing the Ligos IndeoVideoXP codec, installing Media Player Classic renamed to mplayer2.exe and placed in the Windows folder, and installing both QuickTime and the latest QuickTime, I have successfully got "Where In the World Is Carmen Sandiego" to install and play in 98/Me compatibility mode.

I played through 2 games with it with no problems. However I then needed to get my DVD copying stuff installed (CloneCd, AnyDVD) and I also went ahead and installed DVDx, Tmpgenc Plus, the Wrapper Codec package, DGIndex, DVD Decrypter, ChapterXtractor, Lame, AudioGrabber, tooLame, and only the DivX Codec part of the latest DivX package. I also installed FFDSHOW, although that is only for playing open source codec files as with Nero 7, PowerDVD 7, QuickTime, RealPlayer, and the IndeoCodecXP that just about covered stuff with the exception of those open source codecs.

Following all that I am not able to play through the Carmen Sandiego game without a freeze of the game occurring. Vista does not freeze but the game does at some point of playing it and I must ctrl-alt-delete, invoke the Task Manager and end task on the game.

Since all those items I mentioned with the exception of the DVD copying programs and FFDSHOW were already installed when successful with the game, I guessed that something in FFDSHOW might be to blame. So I've uninstalled it and ran all my media players and checked the Default Programs and file association control panels, and ran various files to be sure they still play and are correctly associated following the FFDSHOW removal.

I will proceed to test out the game again. Turning off McAfee and the AnyDVD, CloneCd stuff had no effect either way, and it had played fine with the virus scanner on before so I can only guess that perhaps one of the FFDSHOW codecs had caused the glitch. But of course I really do not know. The game's animations and QuickTime videos play fine but at any random point the game will freeze, as hadn't happened before installing FFDSHOW and the DVD copying stuff. I just hope it's not one of those DVD programs. Can't see how it's the video driver or heat as the system doesn't freeze, only the game, and it had played fine before without any change to the ATI driver. The game automatically switches to 640x480 at 60MHz without my doing that in compatibility options. Then it plays through most of an adventure fine before suddenly freezing up. Weird.

Project64 1.7 beta plays resource intensive emulated N64 games with no freezing. That uses a lot more resources than the simple QuickTime video based Carmen Sandiego game. I hope the problem is as simple to fix as removing a possible codec interference by FFDSHOW. I have no idea.

I might redo things at some point soon using an NVidia G-Force 6600GT simply to get acceptable 3D performance in Linux, but I am waiting to experiment with things as they are first and also in the hope that either another ATI release will speed up the OpenGL 3D in Linux or NVidia will improve their Vista driver to at least the point that ATI has theirs. Also I consider my ATI x850 Pro to be a bit better hardware than the Gigabyte NVidia 6600GT as the ATI card has the 256MB memory and the NVidia just has 128MB. So I'd rather just keep using the ATI card. Not sure what I'll be doing.

But Vista is quite a bit more finished than XP was at the same point in its release. Back then video and audio drivers were crashing XP and 3D gameplay of nearly any kind was impossible. With Vista, my printer and scanner, gamepads, modem, ethernet, audio and video all pretty much work fine and the operating system has been stable.

Of course XP, heck even 98, are both fully bug fixed and anything that can be made compatible has been accomplished whereas Vista is an ongoing experiment while it is so new and hardware and software compatibility is a try this and try that process. But that's kind of fun! Especially when most stuff is succeeding.

I don't understand the strong emotion of hate going on. Where it relates to it being harder to illegally use the operating system, well, those folks aren't going to be happy. As soon as they crack things one way it appears that Microsoft is making it harder for them as they must keep examining Windows Updates to see if they broke their latest crack. And, heh, sometimes Microsoft bundles the fix with a security update. So, no, those folks will never be pleased as unless they get legal they will be exposed to security holes that folks who bought the thing will have patched.

And DRM does nothing unless you play files it works with, and as long as you really properly acquire the DRM'd files that won't interfere with anything. Those that want to circumvent that kind of thing will find it harder on Vista, if not impossible. So what for most folks who aren't interested in cheating? The DRM checks won't effect them at all.

I was surprised that Microsoft Return Of Arcade worked fine. Dosbox works fine. Flash and Shockwave based programs that use older versions of those such as older encyclopedias work fine. You just install them, then uninstall the older Flash and Shockwave stuff they installed and reinstall the latest versions. New stuff is obviously designed with Vista in mind.

Folks, this thing isn't that bad at all! And it will only get better as time progresses. No, for now it's not a need. But at some point it likely will be, at least for those who want the latest Windows software to run. Linux is a great alternative, but I'd rather have it as an additional operating system than the only one. I just have too much Windows software that I enjoy using. For those who haven't spent megabucks on games and software over the years it is a different story. A good distro of Linux with the available native Linux games and productivity software is perfectly viable now. No Windows needed! And 99% free, yes as in free beer! And as time marches on lots of Windows software will be more and more compatible with Wine, Crossover Linux, Cedega, etc. So there's a really nice alternative rather than keeping an outdated Windows running. With Linux you'll always be able to use the latest and greatest stuff as with Linux you can do nearly anything. You can design your own version if you like, etc.

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Oh! It was the common, "must run in administrator mode," thing. I noticed (this is the Carmen Sandiego game problem) that the sound cut out and freeze happened after one of the tour guides ran and apparently this must be written to the game's program folder.

Eureka, said I, and added run as administrator check to the compatibility mode setting for the shortcut.

No more crash! Although, the sound did cut out a couple of times and I had to minimize the game with the Windows key and raise and lower the volume control. Then I just clicked the program in the taskbar to restore it and the sound had returned.

So this likely had no relation to my installing FFDSHOW, but rather that I had probably run it the first couple of times by right clicking the shortcut and choosing run as administrator. Just adding that to the properties and I can now autorun the cd instead and it works fine.

The thing just hadn't been able to write to the save folder. Live and learn.

I'll wait on reinstalling FFDSHOW until I find a file that can't play. That's what made me install it in the first place.

Edited by Eck
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