Martin L

Vista Tips and Tweaks

131 posts in this topic

Can't run a game in Vista because of the WPI? Well, now you can:

Go to Windows\Performance\Data (or something like this).

Open the .XML file and replace the non-5's with 5's.

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Bet some of you didn't know you can design your own fonts in Vista. There is a little app in Vista called eudcedit.exe that will help you build your own fonts/characters - this is the Private Character Editor. To start it up just go to 'Start' type 'eudcedit.exe' in the 'Start Search' box and hit enter.

This is also in WinXP. For more information visit: http://vlaurie.com/computers2/Articles/privchar.htm

Edited by Spooky
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Seems MS is still at it with Windows Media Player, they force auto updates of media player. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with updating. However, sometimes their updates will break the changes youv'e made that affect Media Player, and guess what...they don't give you any way to turn it off in the GUI either. Its a sneaky little thing too as it will update on you before you know it if your just connected to the internet and not even using media Player. So...you can do away with auto-updates for Windows Media Player in Vista by using either one of the below methods:

First method: a reg entry to turn it off by adding the below 'WindowsMediaPlayer' key and 'DisableAutoUpdate' DWORD.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\WindowsMediaPlayer]
"DisableAutoUpdate"=dword:00000001

Second Method: the method uses the built in policy editor.

1. Click on 'Start' and in the 'Start Search' box type (without the quotes) "gpedit.msc". When it shows up hit 'Enter'

2. Now the group policy editor should be on screen, under 'Computer Configuration' expand 'Administrative Templates' - then expand 'Windows Components - then scroll down to the 'Windows media Player' item and click on it to highlight it.

3. On the right side you should see a policy item named 'Prevent Automatic Updates' - right click on it and choose 'Properties'.

4. Click the 'Setting' tab, then click the 'Enabled' radio button - then click 'Apply'

5. There ya go, no more auto updates for Media Player.

Both of the above do the same thing, they both add the registry entry.

Edited by Spooky
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A little secret about Vista and perhaps one of the best help methods for learing your way around Vista and setting a lot of stuff in Vista Ultimate is already included in Vista. There are a whole slew of help .chm files included in Vista Ultimate (may be in other flavors as well) that you can get to directly without having to drill down through multiple menus in the GUI, some of the help topics in these help files are not even presented in the GUI's. Heres how you get to them:

1. Open up Windows Explorer and right click on the Windows folder and choose 'Search'

2. On the 'Search' GUI click on the 'Advanced Search' down arrow.

3. In the 'Name' field type (without the quotes) "*.chm" and hit enter (or click the 'Search' button)

4. The search will be a little slow because the windows folder in Vista is not normally indexed for search (go figure) but in a short while you will be presented with a bunch of .chm files covering a range of subjects having to do with various parts of Vista.

Copy them out to a seperate directory and start reading, you might get some of your "How do I..." type questions answered. :)

Edited by Spooky
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Ahh...the Vista Aero glass theme. It's billed as allowing transparency but it really doesn't. The tool bars and window frames are really translucent not transparent. Transparent means you can see through them, translucent means you can sort of see through them but the view is blured sort of like with frosted glass. To top it all off when a window is fully maximized to fill the screen the tool bar becomes black.

Then there is another term, opaque which means you can't see through it at all, its solid. Theres not much you can do about it in Vista its self but its come to my attention that some don't like the translucent look in the Aero theme and perfer a solid look, or in other words they like it to be opaque. Heres how you do that using a registry entry.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

; makes menu bars and window frames opaque instead of translucent
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM]
"ColorizationOpaqueBlend"=dword:00000001

The "ColorizationOpaqueBlend" already exists in the registry but its normal value when using the Aero theme is 0 (off). Changing it to a 1 (on) causes the normal translucent area to be filled with the tool bar/frame color thus making it opaque. The black color will still appear when fully maximized, but in windowed mode it will be opaque. I personally don't like the opaque but some do. A reboot is required after this change is made.

Edited by Spooky
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Mostly for an unattend install set up.

If your running the Vista Aero theme and you don't like the default blue color you can change it to any color you want via the registry. All you need is your trusty Windows Calculator set to secietific mode for the hex values were going to use and maybe the Paint program in windows also for getting the numbers for the colors you want to use in the custom colors section. OK, i'm going to do this by example for the hex un-initiated in the class :)

The registry area were dealing with is in the registry at:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM]
"Composition"=dword:00000001
"ColorizationColor"=dword:45409efe
"ColorizationOpaqueBlend"=dword:00000000
"CompositionPolicy"=dword:00000000

The defaults at that location are shown above. The particular key we are going to change is this one:

(BTW - don't alter this key by changing the decimal value of the key, you will meet with lots of frustration, use the hex values)

"ColorizationColor"=dword:45409efe

See the value 45409efe ?, that is an ARGB value. An ARGB value is nothing but the regular Red - Green - Blue value with an Alpha component thrown in. Lets break it down a little;

A = Alpha - this is the Alpha component (basically the color intensity for our purposes)

R = Red - this is the color Red component

G = Green - this is the color Green component

B = Blue - this is the color Blue component

Now, how do these coorespond to the hex value of 45409efe? OK, a very quick hex numbering system class: Our decimal numbering system is in whats called Base 10, the Hex numbering system is in whats called Base 16. Since in computer-eze most of the time when we talk about ranges for color or other things we deal with ranges of adjustments that normally deal with 0 to 255, every decimal/integer number from 0 to 255 can be expressed as an 2 character hex number also from 0 to F. For example, the decimal number 255 becomes FF in Hex. OK, hex class over :)

Keeping the hex numbering system in mind lets explore our above registry default value a little and break it down.

45 = our Alpha value in hex

40 = our Red value in hex

9e = our Green value in hex

fe = our Blue value in hex

So lets say we want to make our window tool bars and frames just all Red but we want to keep the Alpha value the same. Well... we know from our windows paint program in the custom colors section if we use 255 for the Red, 0 for the Green and 0 for the Blue we will have just Red and thats it, so lets plug this red value into our hex value for the registry - but first we need to convert our decimal integer number of 255 to hex so we just plug that into the windows calculator and find out that 255 decimal (all red = 255 0 0 from our paint program - don't forget that you need all three RGB values for this even the 0's) = FF hex. OK, now lets modify our value in the registry keeping the present Alpha value.

Our new value for all Red title bars and frames for our windows in Vista Aero is: 45FF0000

We change the value and now we need to restart the computer for our new value to take effect. Once restarted you will find you window title bars and frames with your new color (Red in our example).

Actually since we kept the above existing Alpha value it will look a little Pink with the Aero theme translucent glass look, so lets say we don't like the Pink, the girls in the group might - some of the guys might too, and want more Red, so we need to adjust our Alpha value. Its easy to do, we plug the hex value of 45 into our windows calculator, click on the decimal button and we find out that 45 hex = 69 decimal...well since we want our Red to be a little more robust what do you think we need to do? :) Thats right, increase the Alpha value. Lets say we want the Alpha value to be 80 instead of 69, so we convert 80 to hex using the calculator again, 80 decimal = 50 hex. So our new value for the registry key for the color Red we want now becomes 50FF0000. We change the value and restart the computer, and we are done.

The ranges on the Alpha and colors are 0 - 255, or in hex they are 0 to FF.

Have fun, and as always - remember to back up any registry keys your going to change before you change them in case something goes wrong. :)

Edited by Spooky
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The humble search engine in Windows has grown up, its no longer the simple search thing that was in previous windows. It may seem as if the new search in Vista is very complicated but actually its not once you realize its now more robust and useful then it was in previous versions of windows. Some of the old familiar search syntax you used in search in WindowsXP may no longer work in Vista but that shouldn't upset you, remember - even an old dog can learn new tricks. To help you out with the new search you might want to visit the Windows Desktop Search: Advanced Query Reference where a wealth of information in sort of a 'Cheat Sheet' format exists.

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Some people complain that the start menu is too slow. There is a way to speed it up a little that may help. Right click on the 'Start' button (the windows 'Orb') and choose 'Properties', then click on the 'Start Menu' tab. Next click the 'Customize' button. Scroll down about half way to the item that says 'Highlight newly installed programs' and uncheck the box then 'OK' and 'Apply' out.

Edited by Spooky
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This is one of those kinda useless shortcuts, until you really want something like this. If you want to create a shortcut for Flip3D on your desktop or one for your Quick Launch bar its easy to do. Just right click on the desktop, select 'New' then 'Shortcut' then in the 'Type the location of the item' field enter "RunDll32 DwmApi #105" (without the quotes) then click 'Next' and enter a name for the shortcut, then apply your changes and your all done. There ya have it a shortcut to start up Flip3D. If you want it on your Quick Launch bar just drag it to the bar.

Edited by Spooky
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You can create your own tool bars in Vista, sort of. Create a new folder on your desktop, open it up and fill it with shortcuts to the things you want all together in one place. Then drag that desktop folder to the edge of the screen, let go of the mouse button, and Voila! you have your own personalized toolbar (sort of) with your stuff on it.

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Heres a kind of cool one for you uncluttered full screen people out there. Turns out its not really a bug per-say in the sense that it doesn't really do anything bad (i guess it does fall into the bug category though, I bugged it), but its not a feature or intended either. OK, I admit it, it is really kind of useless, but interesting in a weird 'if your really bored' way.

Hold down control and click the maximize button on a Windows Explorer or Internet Explorer window, the window goes into (almost) full screen 'Kiosk' type mode. Now, move your mouse to the top of the screen then move the mouse downwards and watch what happens.

(P.S. Some say the menu bar doesn't come back for them, works OK for me. If it does happen that way for you just hit the F-11 key).

Edited by Spooky
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Automatic language translation in Vista IE7? Well almost. I never knew this with the tabbed browsing in IE 7 in Vista, never had an occaision to see this happen until today. If you run across a web link that

is in another language, say Chineese for example, if you search for that link in Google and then click on Googles 'Translate this page' link, after your tanslated page comes up if you right click on any link on your initial translated page that is also in that language and choose to open in a new tab, the new tab link comes up translated too.

maybe not too exciting, but using a tabbed browser for this really makes it a lot eaisier to follow something on a page in a foreign language.

Edited by Spooky
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Mostly for an unattend install set up.

If your running the Vista Aero theme and you don't like the default blue color you can change it to any color you want via the registry. All you need is your trusty Windows Calculator set to secietific mode for the hex values were going to use and maybe the Paint program in windows also for getting the numbers for the colors you want to use in the custom colors section. OK, i'm going to do this by example for the hex un-initiated in the class :)

The registry area were dealing with is in the registry at:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM]
"Composition"=dword:00000001
"ColorizationColor"=dword:45409efe
"ColorizationOpaqueBlend"=dword:00000000
"CompositionPolicy"=dword:00000000

The defaults at that location are shown above. The particular key we are going to change is this one:

(BTW - don't alter this key by changing the decimal value of the key, you will meet with lots of frustration, use the hex values)

"ColorizationColor"=dword:45409efe

The non-Aero Basic theme's window interface (post RC1) has intrusive bright blue coloring. Trying to tone that down, yet there's no "ColorizationColor" registry key entry with the others in above location. Can that entry simply be added? Any other registry spot for the Basic theme colorizing controls, or is it locked in into the msstyles dll?

Thanks!

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the 'ColorizationColor' color is at that location, its there on the RTM but i'm not sure of the previous release builds. Try adding the enrty for non-RTM and see what happens, i haven't tried that on the non-RTM. As far as it being locked into msstyles.dll, i think its hard coded in dwm.exe its self. not sure tho, haven't checked.

Mostly for an unattend install set up.

If your running the Vista Aero theme and you don't like the default blue color you can change it to any color you want via the registry. All you need is your trusty Windows Calculator set to secietific mode for the hex values were going to use and maybe the Paint program in windows also for getting the numbers for the colors you want to use in the custom colors section. OK, i'm going to do this by example for the hex un-initiated in the class :)

The registry area were dealing with is in the registry at:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM]
"Composition"=dword:00000001
"ColorizationColor"=dword:45409efe
"ColorizationOpaqueBlend"=dword:00000000
"CompositionPolicy"=dword:00000000

The defaults at that location are shown above. The particular key we are going to change is this one:

(BTW - don't alter this key by changing the decimal value of the key, you will meet with lots of frustration, use the hex values)

"ColorizationColor"=dword:45409efe

The non-Aero Basic theme's window interface (post RC1) has intrusive bright blue coloring. Trying to tone that down, yet there's no "ColorizationColor" registry key entry with the others in above location. Can that entry simply be added? Any other registry spot for the Basic theme colorizing controls, or is it locked in into the msstyles dll?

Thanks!

Edited by Spooky
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