Saturday, July 26, 2008

Vista Tips

Can I stop reporting problems to Microsoft?
Q: Each time that Vista finds a problem it wants me to report the problem to Microsoft. Can I stop this from automatically prompting me?

A: Yes you can. Here's how:
Go to Start>> Control System and Maintenance>> Problem Reports and Solutions.
Select Change Settings.
Place a checkmark in the checkbox titled: Ask me to check if a problem occurs checkbox.
Click OK.

How can I reverse "Full Screen Mode" in Virtual PC?
I've found that if you hold down the right ALT key and press ENTER, this will toggle the Full Screen Mode and Windowed Mode back and forth.

Can I use XP Themes with Vista
No, Vista uses a different file extension for themes than XP.

Can I sync my PDA with Windows Mail and Calendar?
Yes, go here for more information:

Windows Mobile Device Center

How can I change the Numlock key to default ON?
Q: I have the BIOS set to the On position, but when I reboot Vista, it will turn it back off. How can I make it default to the ON position?

A: Follow the instructions outlined below:
Go to Start
In the Search box, type in: regedit
Find the Registry Editor in the list and open it.
Navigate to the following registry key:

HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Keyboard

Left click once on the Keyboard entry to empty its contents in to the right pane.
In the right pane, locate the entry titled: InitialKeyboardIndicators
Right click the above titled entry and select MODIFY
The value should currently be 0 (off). Change the value to 2 (on).
Close the registry editor and reboot your system.

How can I get Vista to Automatically log me on?
Q: Is there a way to bypass the login screen so Vista just boots up and takes me right to my desktop?

A: Yes. Follow the instructions outlined below:
Go to Start
In the Search box, type in: netplwiz
Press Enter on your keyboard
Uncheck the entry titled: Users must enter a user name and password
Click Apply
Click OK twice to exit.
From now on, when you reboot, you will not see the login screen.

My Weather Gadget Keeps Moving
Q: Can you tell me why my weather gadget keeps moving to the left? It isn't a big problem but it is kind of annoying.

A: Yes, there is a bug in the weather gadget. When it is detached from the sidebar on to the desktop it will slowly, over the course of many reboots, make its way to the center of your desktop. I'm sure that the bug will be fixed in time. Keep checking here and I will post it when Microsoft releases the fix.

How can I change the order of the sidebar gadgets?
Q: I would like to reposition some of the gadgets in the sidebar. Can you tell me how to do it?

A: Sure, all you have to do is drag and drop them wherever you would like them. Even when you reboot your machine, Vista will remember that last placement of each Gadget.
Note: In some cases you will find that the Gadgets will not remember your settings and will replace the gadgets back their default order. This is a known bug and hopefully will be fixed when SP1 comes out.

Where is Vista's User Start Menu?
Q: In Windows XP I used to modify the start menu items in:

C:\Documents and Settings\Default User\Start Menu

I can't seem to find where the default user settings for the start menu is found in Vista. Can you help?

A: Sure. Here's how:
To access your user accounts start menu settings, go to Start.
In the Search field, type in:

shell:start menu

Press Enter
If you would like to access the 'All User' start menu, it is located here:
C:\Users\Default\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows \Start Menu

Logon to Desktop Without Password
Q: I am running Vista Basic and every time I startup my system I am asked for a password in order for my desktop to show. Is there a way that I can bypass the password and go directly to my desktop?

A: Yes, you can have Vista boot directly to your user account(s). Here's how:
Click Start
In the Search filed, type in:

control userpasswords2

Press Enter
Uncheck the entry titled: Users must enter a password
Click Apply
You will be prompted for the User that you would like to auto-logon. Once you've selected the User, you are given a password box. Simply leave the password field blank.

How can I get a program to automatically start?
Q: I have configured the program to automatically start when Windows starts, but Vista will not start it for some reason.

A: You will need to configure the program with Admin privileges, here's how:
Go to Start
Find the program you would like to auto-start
Right click the program
Select "Run as Administrator"
Now, configure the program to run automatically when Windows starts.

Narrator keeps running at Startup
I have a laptop with Vista Ultimate installed. Every time I start my computer, Narrator runs automatically. I can't seem to find the setting that would stop this. Can you help me?

I'm pretty sure your problem is that Narrator is starting at you logon page. Here's how to stop that from happening:
Go to Start
Select Control Panel
Select Ease of Access
Select Ease of Access Center
From the left pane, uncheck by clicking the "Apply all settings to the logon desktop" checkbox.
Select Save

Will TweakUI for XP run on Vista?
Yes. You have to run it in compatibility mode. Here's how:
Download the proper TweakUI program for your particular Vista architecture (eg: 32bit, 64bit)
Once the program has installed, right click the program shortcut
Select Properties
Select Compatibility
Run as administrator and in XP Compatibility Mode

How can I change the screen font size?
Q: I'm using Vista Ultimate and the default screen font size is too small for me. I can't seem to find where this setting is at. Can you help?

A: Sure, here's how:
Go to Start
Select Control Panel
Select Personalization
From the left pane, select the desired font size
Click OK

How do you turn the Vista sidebar back on?
Q: I turned off my sidebar because a game I installed was flickering in that area. After turning it off, the problem went away. However, I can't find how to turn the sidebar back on. Can you help?

A: Sure, there are a few things that you can do:

Go to Start>> All Programs>> Accessories>> Sidebar

Once you've found the sidebar in your programs menu, you can drag it out on to your desktop as a shortcut.

Or, you can access Windows Sidebar properties from Control Panel (Start>> Control Panel) and have the sidebar startup when Windows starts. This will require a reboot.

Can I use an HTML background image in Vista?
No. Vista doesn't support this feature as Windows XP did. I suppose it is due to Vista being much more security minded and that feature was viewed as a potential security risk.

Resuming After Screensaver Mode displays Login Screen
Q: When my system goes in to screen saver mode after being idle for awhile. I move the mouse to reenter Windows, but when I do that I am taken to a login screen that displays the word "Locked". How can I bypass the login screen and make Vista reenter directly to my desktop?

A: To make Vista bypass the login screen:
Right click an empty area of your desktop
Select Personalize
Select Screensaver
Remove the checkmark from the checkbox titled: On resume, display logon screen
Click OK

Can I make Vista's Start Menu like XP's was?
Sure, here's how:
Right click an empty area of the Taskbar
Select Properties
Select Start Menu
Select Classic Start Menu

Where do I go to change Vista's appearance?
Q: I would like to change things like my font size, icon spacing and such. Where do I go to find these settings in Vista?
A: Here's how to find the settings you require:
Right click an empty area of your desktop
Select "Personalize"
Select "Window Color and Appearance"
Select "Open Classic Appearance Properties"

How can I change the "Organization" field?
Q: When I purchased my computer, it came already pre-configured. When I download something, it has the company that I purchased it from listed in the organization field. How can I change that setting to reflect my organization?

A: This will involve editing the windows registry. Please make a backup copy of the registry or create a restore point prior to making any changes to it.
Navigate to the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion

Single left click once on the "CurrentVersion" key. This will empty its contents in to the right pane.
In the right pane, locate the entry titled: RegisteredOrganization
Double click RegisteredOrganization and fill in the organization that you would like to use.
Exit the registry editor

How can I change the screen resolution in Vista?
Right click an empty area of your Desktop
Select Personalize
Select Display
Adjust the resolution to the proper setting for your monitors screen size.
15 inch monitors: 1024 X 768
17 - 19 inch monitors: 1280 X 1024
20 inch monitors: 1600 X 1200

How can I disable the notification window?
Q: I keep getting a popup notification window that tells me that I have some programs turned off each time I start my system. I have these programs turned off to increase my load time so I don't need Vista's constant reminder. How can I disable this?

A: To disable the Notification Balloon tips, follow the instructions below:

Note: This method requires making a change to the Windows registry. I recommend manually creating a restore point prior to making any changes in case an editing error is made.
Go to Start
Select Run
With the run command window open, type in: regedit.exe
Press Enter on your keyboard or click OK
In the Windows registry, navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Curre ntVersion\Explorer\Advanced

Single left click the "Advanced" registry entry to empty its contents in to the right pane.
Right click an empty area of the right pane and select New>> DWORD Value.
In the DWORD textbox, type in: EnableBalloonTips
Once this new REG_DWORD is created, double click it.
In the "Value data" textbox, enter the number 0.
Click OK
Exit the Windows Registry
You may have to reboot your system for this to take effect.

Can I keep Vista from automatically defragging my system?
Q: I would like to control when Vista is defragged. Is there a way that I can disable this feature and perform a system defrag when I would like to?

A: Yes, here's how:
Go to Start
Select Control Panel
Select System and Maintenance
Select Performance information and Tools
Select Advanced Tools
Select Open Disk Defragmenter (continue through any UAC prompts)
Untick the radio button titled: Run On A Schedule (Recommended)
Select OK

How can I change the Registered Owner information in Vista?
Q: When I purchased my PC, it has the Registered owner information as the company that I purchased it from. Is there a way that I can change the Registered Owner information to reflect my companies name?

A: Sure, here's how:

Note: The information provided below contains Windows Registry changing information. Be sure that you create a restore point prior to making any changes. This will create a backup of your registry.
Go to Start
Select Run. Type in: regedit [Enter] or click OK
Navigate to the following registry key:

HKEY_Local_Machine\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\Cu rrent Version

Single left click the "Current Version" entry to empty its contents in to the right pane
In the right pane, locate the entry titled: Registered Owner
Right click the Registered Owner entry and select Modify
Edit the "Value data" textbox to enter your personal Registered Owner name
Click OK and close the Windows Registry
What is Aero Glass?
Windows Vista has a new high performance graphical experience built in to its Aero User Interface (UI) called Aero Glass. If you have a graphics card that meets with Aero's requirements, then you will be able to experience Aero Glass. The translucent elements of the dynamic windows allows users to continue their focus on the underlying content. Having this effect also allows users to keep track of the windows that are displayed.

Which Windows Vista editions include the Aero feature?
• Windows Vista Business
• Windows Vista Enterprise
• Windows Vista Home Premium
• Windows Vista Ultimate

Aero no longer works after running a registry cleaner
If the Aero feature stops functioning after running a registry cleaner utility, here are a couple of things you can try to restore Aero's functionality:

[1] If the registry cleaner you ran has an "Undo" feature, use that to set your system back the way it was. Then, run the utility again being selective on what it is trying to delete.

[2] Try restoring your system files back to original, here's how:
1. Go to Start
2. In the Search field, type in cmd.exe
3. Right click the Run Command and select "Run as Administrator"
4. At the command prompt, type in: sfc /scannow
5. Press Enter
[3] If neither of the above works, try running System Restore to restore your configuration to a time when Aero worked. Here's how:
1. Go to Start
2. In the Search field, type in: restore
3. Click System Restore at the top of the list
4. Select the option that will allow you to run System Restore to a previous date.

Can I personalize Aero Glass?
Yes, to personalize this experience:
1. Go to Start
2. Select Control Panel
3. Select Appearance and Personalization
4. Select Personalization
5. Select Visual Appearance
From here, you can select from a number of predefined color schemes. If you would like to enable the Transparent Glass feature, simply place a checkmark in the checkbox titled: Enable transparent glass. If you would like to play around with the colors of your display, you can open the color mixer.

How can I disable Aero?
1. Go to Start
2. Select Control Panel
3. Select Appearance and Personalization
4. Select Personalize

Alternately, you can right click an empty area of your desktop and select 'Personalize' from the resulting menu.

5. Click the link near the bottom of the page titled: "Open classic appearance properties for more color options"
6. Under the Color Scheme category, select "Windows Vista Basic" from the menu options.
7. Click Apply

My Aero features suddenly stopped working
Q: I purchased a new computer with Vista Home Premium installed. All my Aero features seemed to be working properly until yesterday the suddenly stopped working. How can I fix this?

A: I have seen this happen before when an installed program blocks Aero or it pushes the graphics card to the maximum so Aero is forced to shut down. A couple of things you can try are:
• Use the Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Del) to End Task on some suspected processes
• Use System Restore to restore your computer back before the problem started.
Icon is missing from Desktop
Q: I don't know what has happened, but suddenly my Windows Media Player icon is missing from my desktop. Any idea how I can replace that back to my desktop?

A: Sure. Go to Start>> Programs. Right click on Media Player. Select "Send To", then "Desktop Shortcut".

I accidentally deleted my Recycle Bin. How can I restore it?
Q: I accidentally deleted my Recycle Bin. How can I restore it?

A: No problem, here's how:
1. Click the Windows button.
2. Type the following in to the Search text box: control desk.cpl,,@Web
3. Press Enter on your keyboard.
4. In the Desktop Icon Settings window, place a checkmark in the Recycle Bin checkbox.
5. Click OK.
Alternately, to access the Desktop Icon Settings, right click the Desktop and select Personalize from the resulting menu. From the left pane, select Change desktop icons.

Blocked Program Popup Notification On Restart
Q: When I disable a program using MSCONFIG and then I restart my computer it returns a popup notification that I have a blocked program. Is there any way to disable this notification?

A: The best way to accomplish this is to go back in to MSCONFIG and turn the program back on and then reboot. Go in to your Programs (Start>> Programs) and locate the actual program that you would like to disable. Try right clicking the program and select Properties. In there, you should find an option for disabling this program from automatically starting when Windows is started.

Remote Desktop to Vista Home Edition
Q: I have a machine with a new installation of Vista Home on it. I would like to be able to remote desktop with my other XP Pro and Vista business machines to this Vista Home machine. I can't seem to find out how this is done.

A: Vista Home does not support the Remote Desktop feature. You would need either the Business or Ultimate versions.

I can't find Windows Fax
Q: I just purchased a new computer that has Vista Premium on it. I can't seem to find Windows Fax. Can you please tell me where to find it?

A: I'm sorry, but Vista Home and Premium do not offer Windows Fax. You would have to either purchase a 3rd party software to accomplish this or upgrade to either Vista Ultimate or Business edition. It is unknown at this time if Microsoft plans to incorporate this in to any of their Service Packs at a later time.

DreamScene is not working in Vista Premium?
DreamScene is only available in the Vista Ultimate edition as an Ultimate Extra.

Taskbar area changed after defrag
Q: Yesterday I did a defrag of my machine and now my taskbar area has shrunk and only two of the icons are now showing. I can drag the dotted line out to view the others, but when I reboot it goes back to only showing the two icons. How can I get the taskbar back to the way it was before the defrag?

A: No problem. Here's how:
1. Right click an empty area to the left of your taskbar icons
2. Uncheck by clicking the option titled: Lock the Taskbar
3. Now, drag the dotted line out to the desired size to show all of your icons
4. Right click again in an empty area inside your taskbar
5. Click the "Lock the Taskbar" option once again

Virtual PC 2007 won't open on desktop
Q: I have been using Virtual PC 2007 for the last few days without any problems. However, this morning when I booted my machine, Virtual PC came up briefly for a moment and then minimized to my taskbar. I can open Virtual PC from the taskbar but I would like it to open automatically on the desktop as it once did. Is there any setting that can be changed in order to make it open on my desktop?

A: Virtual PC will remember the last position it was in when your system is shut down and will restart in that position. So, just open Virtual PC to your desktop, then restart your computer. It will now open to your desktop.

What is the difference between Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop?

Remote Desktop:

Remote Desktop allows remote access to a machine without a user being present at the other end. Remote Desktop uses an account the pre-exists with a user name and password and is set up in the list of Remote Desktop users. When attempting a remote connection in this method, you will need to know the IP address or if on a local area network, you will need to know the computers name and password.

Remote Desktop only works between the following Windows Versions:
• Windows XP Professional
• Vista Business
• Vista Ultimate
Remote Assistance:

Remote Assistance allows remote access to a machine but in this method both users must be present. If Remote Assistance is needed on one end (usually for troubleshooting purposes), the user sends an invitation to connect via instant message or e-mail to a trusted person who can help. For security purposes, all sessions are encrypted and password protected.

Remote Assistance works for all XP and Vista versions.

Background on Vista is black
Q: I used to be able to set background pictures as my background on my Vista Premium machine. However, when I attempt it now all I get is a black screen. My Gadgets still show up on the desktop but no image is shown. How can I get the background image to show again?

A: Apparently this happens when one of the following changes are made to your policy settings:
• Hide and disable all items on the desktop on a domain controller
• Disable all items in Windows Vista
A Hotfix is available for this issue. Click the link below for the contact information for the Hotfix:

The tabs have disappeared in my Task Manager
Q: When I press CTRL + ALT + DEL, it brings up my Task Manager. I used to have an assortment of tabs at the top of the window but they are gone. How can I get these tabs back?

A: Somehow, you have placed you task manager in 'tiny footprint mode'. To toggle back and forth between tiny footprint and regular mode, simply double click the border (next the to "End Tasks" button).

Why do my desktop icons disappear?
Q: At random times, when I click one of my desktop shortcuts, I am taken to the program and then my desktop icon goes missing leaving only the name of the shortcut on the desktop. A reboot will fix the problem, but how can I stop this from happening.

A: I have heard of others having the same issue. I'm not quite sure why this is happening, but in most cases just single left click an empty area of your desktop and then press the F5 key on your keyboard to refresh the desktop.

DreamScene makes my computer run very slowly
Q: Can you tell me why my DreamScene makes my computer run slowly?

A: There are a few reasons why DreamScene could cause computer performance issues:
1. You may not have a good enough video card installed in your system to achieve peak DreamScene performance.
2. The size of the video file may be too large.
3. You may not be using the correct file format for your video file. It is recommended that you use the MPG file extension for optimal performance. The WMV file extension is also supported in DreamScene. Even though an MPG file format tends to create a larger file size than WMV, it takes less resources to run an MPG file.

How can I create a Show Desktop shortcut on my Quick Launch Bar?
1. Go to Start
2. In the Search field, type in: Notepad
3. Press Enter on your keyboard
4. With Notepad open, copy and paste the following:


5. Select File>> Save As
6. Open the "Save as type" menu and select "All Files (*.*)"
7. In the "File name" textbox, type in: Show Desktop.scf
8. Select the Browse Folders button
9. Select Desktop
10. Select Save
11. With the Show Desktop icon now showing on your desktop, press the Shift key on your keyboard and right click your Show Desktop icon.
12. Select "Add to Quick Launch" from the resulting menu. Alternately, you can simply drag and drop the Show Desktop icon on to your Quick Launch bar.

How can I disable the Sidebar?
Q: I'm not happy with Vista's sidebar from taking up the space on my desktop. Is there a way that I can disable this feature?

A: Yes, you can. Here's how:
1. With Windows Vista Booted to your desktop, right click the Sidebar
2. Select Properties
3. Click inside the "Start sidebar when Windows starts" checkbox to uncheck this option
4. Click OK and reboot your system
What are the chances that my printer will function in Vista?
Q: I've got an older Canon printer. The Canon folks say that they will not create a special Vista driver for this printer. So, what are my chances that this printer will work in Vista?

A: The best thing to do is run the Upgrade Advisor to be sure that it will run in Vista. Click the link below:

For additional help finding and how to download drivers, check out this article "Finding Drivers For Windows Vista":

When will SP1 for Vista be released?
Rumor has it (don't hold me to it) that it will be released at the end of the year after Windows Server 2008 is released.

Is it possible to boot Vista from a USB drive?
Q: I would like to know if it is possible to load Vista on to a removable drive and boot from there?

A: No. This is not a supported function. If you were able to do that, you might be able to boot to a different system. Microsoft only allows Vista to be installed on one machine per license.

What is Microsoft Update Catalog?
The Microsoft Update Catalog was developed for corporate networks where finding software updates, updated drivers and hotfixes can be found in one convenient location. For non-corporate scenarios it is recommended that users update their computers via Automatic Update or by using the Microsoft Update website.

The Update Catalog can be located here:

Microsoft Update Catalog beta

Can I run Office 2003 on Vista?
Yes, Office 2003 will work fine with Vista. In fact, here is a list of Office products that are supported under Vista:
• Office 2000
• Office XP
• Office 2003
• Office 2007
Microsoft no longer offer fixes for Office 2000 and Office XP issues that occur under Windows Vista. Office 2007 is the most current Office product and was designed to run under the Vista platform.

Can I change the language in Vista Premium?
Q: I currently am running Vista Home Premium in the Spanish version. I would like to change the language to English. Can this be done?

A: No. Sorry. Care must be taken when purchasing Vista in any certain language when purchasing any Vista version other than Ultimate or Enterprise. In these two versions you are allowed to download the language packs for free. In your case, you will need to either live with the Spanish language version of Premium or you will be faced with purchasing the full version of Premium in the English language and then performing a Clean Installation.

How can I contact Microsoft if I have some feedback regarding the Vista operating system?
Here is a link just for this purpose:

Windows Vista Feedback

Sharing One Monitor with Two PC's
Q: I just recently purchased a computer with Vista Ultimate installed on it. I use older programs on a Windows 2000 system that I cannot get to work on the Vista machine so I thought it would be best to see if I can share the monitor, keyboard and mouse between the Windows 2000 and Vista machines. Can you tell me how to go about doing this?

A: Sure, all you need is a KVM (keyboard, video and mouse) switch. You can pick one up at your local Circuit City or Best Buy. Be sure that you get a switch with the proper inputs for your keyboard and mouse connection (USB or PS2). Also, make sure that you get a switch with enough bandwidth for your monitor. A cheap switch probably won't be able to handle the kind of data stream that a high resolution monitor would require.

Tablet PC drop down menus open to the left
Q: I have Vista Ultimate installed on my tablet PC. I am used to my drop down menus opening on the right side and I think once I applied the last update to my PC they started opening to the left. This makes it more difficult to navigate as I have to move my cursor much farther. Is there a way that I can get my drop down menus to open normally on the right?

A: Yes, here's how:
1. Open your Control Panel
2. Select Tablet PC Settings
3. Under the "Handedness" category, select the appropriate entry by clicking inside the radio button.
4. Once you've made your selection, click OK.

Does using Sleep Mode drain my Laptops battery?
When in Sleep Mode, Vista only uses approximately one to two percent of the laptops battery power per hour. If the laptop sleeps for an extended period (which is determined by your sleep and hibernate settings), Vista saves any open documents to include any program information that was in use to your hard disk and will shut the system down.
By default, once the lid is closed on a laptop, the computer goes in to Sleep Mode. This setting can be changed from sleep mode to hibernate mode, completely shut down or do nothing at all.
Won't accept validation code after second install
Q: I upgraded my PC to Vista Premium, but the installation didn't load very well so I decided to do a "Clean Installation" of Vista. Now, when I get to the point to where is asks for the validation code, it says that it is in use. I realize that it is in use by me, but how am I supposed to get it validated?

A: You are correct when you stated that the validation code is in use by you. You will need to call the phone number that is listed in the installation wizard. The process will only take a few minutes and then you will be back in business! If the installation wizard is unable to get it activated, just stay on the line and a human will come on the line to assist you.

Do I really need to backup all of my files before upgrading my PC?
Yes, please do not ignore the warnings given by any installation instructions. It is insurance in the event something should go wrong with your installation. So, if your data is important to you, be sure to back it up.

Upgrade from XP Pro to Vista premium won't activate?
Q: I just purchased Vista Premium and went through the steps to upgrade my PC. When I get to the activation screen it tells me that the "key" is already in use or that it is invalid. Can you please tell me how I can activate this installation?

A: Unfortunately, upgrading to Vista Premium from XP Professional is not supported. A proper upgrade path from XP Pro is to either Vista Business or Ultimate editions. However, you can use the version that you've purchased by installing it using the "Custom Installation" method. Here's how:
1. Boot Windows Vista from the Installation DVD.
2. When prompted to enter the Key Code, do not enter the code and click Next to continue with the setup. This will setup Vista as a 30 day trial.
3. When the setup is complete, run the Installation Disk again. This time enter the key code to activate your installation.
Note: It may be necessary to call the phone number listed to activate your installation since it was already attempted. The process only takes a few moments.
If you need help with the Custom Installation Procedure, click the link below:
Perform a Clean Installation of Windows Vista

Will installing additional RAM cause activation issues?
I have read at many places that people are installing more RAM without having any activation issues. Not having done it myself, I can only inform of what I've read. Good luck!

How can I activate Vista Home Basic without accessing the Internet?
Q: I just purchased Vista Home Basic to play games with on my custom built system. I don't have an Internet connection. So, how am I supposed to activate the installation?

A: You can call the phone number that is on the installation DVD. The activation wizard will guide you through the activation process. If you are still unable to activate, just stay on the phone and you will be connected with a human that will ask you a few questions and then issue a code for you to enter. The whole process only takes a few moments.

I can't get a program to install on Vista
Q: I have a program that I have been using for a couple of years that is very important to my company. I would like to know what I can do to make this program function correctly on Vista?

A: While most programs will run fine on Vista, some of the older programs may not. You have a few options for making the older programs function in Vista:
1. Find a "Compatibility" tab in the program to change the programs compatibility settings. Usually you can right click the programs icon, select properties and then select Compatibility. Then, try installing the program with the new compatibility settings.
2. If you cannot find the "compatibility" settings in the program, visit the program makers web site to see if they offer an updated version of the program.
3. If a program update is not offered, you can try running Vista's Compatibility Wizard. Here's how:
a. Go to Start>> Control Panel>> Programs
b. Select "Use an older program with this version of Windows"
c. From here, just follow the on-screen instructions
4. If none of the above tips did not help, then you may need to either:
• Try dual booting your XP and Vista operating systems
• Try running XP in a VPN (virtual private network) by installing Virtual PC 2007 (free program)
• Keep an extra PC running XP with the needed program installed

How can I recover my Vista product key?
Q: I purchased a new computer that had Vista Premium originally installed. I need to reinstall the operating system but since I don't have the product key, how am I supposed to install it? I know that there is a separate recovery partition on this computer, but I will still need the key code to start the installation. Any ideas?

A: Yes, the product key should be an the computer somewhere affixed to the side or bottom. Look for a bright orange sticker. If you are unable to find it, you may still be able to locate it by using a free tool called the Belarc Advisor. It is a free tool that scans your system for various hardware and software configurations. If you still cannot locate the key code, you will need to contact the maker of your computer for help. Many computer manufactures do not keep product key records on file, but it is still worth a try.

What is the difference between the Product ID and the Key code?
The Key Code is what you must enter during the installation process. The Product ID is generated during the installation process to identify the version of Vista you are installing. The product ID is for Microsoft's Tech Support.

If at any time you should need the Product ID or you can't find your Key Code, you can install a free program that will list these two items along with many other configurations of your system. The program is called: Belarc Advisor

Where can I check to see my activation status?
1. Right click an empty area of your desktop
2. Select Properties from the resulting menu
3. The activation status will be located at the bottom of your screen

Can I use my current Vista installation on a new computer?
Yes, currently Microsoft has relaxed their stance on the Vista license and are allowing users to uninstall a Vista installation on an older system and install it on a new one. As long as the Vista installation is uninstalled on one computer, you can transfer it to a new system anytime you like.

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