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April 27, 2008

Windows Vista Tips For New Users

I had the fabulous opportunity to spend time with a Microsoft techie who took time away from Web 2.0 Expo to sit down and discuss my Windows Vista questions. I was another one of those Windows XP fans that reluctantly upgraded to Vista after I purchased a new (reconditioned) HP laptop.  It is also important to note, that as a past computer programmer, I have the bad habit of not reading instructions. So I just opened my new computer and started using Vista. There are many features that I enjoyed, but I also had some glitches. I knew that if I just read the instructions, I could figure it out... Luckily I had to opportunity to talk to a live person instead (kudos to Microsoft, great customer service!!!).

After he took a look at my Windows Vista laptop, he quickly realized two issues were causing my problems:
1. UPDATES, UPDATES AND MORE UPDATES: I made the incorrect assumption that just because I had a new computer that I did not have to apply the system updates to Vista. One of the first things we did was apply all the most current updates... And - MAGIC - many of my major issues disappeared...
LESSON LEARNED - Apply operating system updates to all new computers, no matter how new the computer is.

In my Vista setup I choose Start>control panel>security>check for system updates. I also learned that it is important to keep up with Windows Vista service pack updates, which address key feedback from customers.

2. SET INTERNET OPTIONS FOR YOUR BROWSER: I was having some glitches using Firefox that were quickly fixed by one small click in the Internet Options (Firefox Browser -Tools>Options> Content). The "click" I did was on the box that said "load images automatically". For some reason it was not checked on my system and that was the reason I could not see some images using Firefox.

Now I have made the transition to Vista and can't see going back. I even have the hang of using the Windows Vista network and sharing center to manage my wireless connections. On that note, for those that have network encryption keys implemented on their wireless system like myself, I would recommend writing them down in a safe place that you can access to reconfigure your connection if needed (and NOT a sticky note on your computer). I have found that when I visit friends houses that also have similar wireless hardware to mine, that sometimes by setting up their connection I write over my home connection. But wireless connections on Windows Vista are easy to setup again, as long as the encryption method and keys are easily accessible (and NOT on your email where you need the wireless connection to retrieve it).  My next step is to spend time learning to configure wireless connections to meet the many places I seem to go with my laptop (yikes, I may have to read the instructions... NO....).

I am also looking forward to experimenting with the User Accounts and Family safety section to see how the Microsoft Windows Vista parental controls work  (Start>Control Panel>User accounts and Family Safety).

I will be talking with the Microsoft Techie in the near future to learn more of his tips & techniques to share with my readers...

Any other Vista tips to share?


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One of my favorite Vista features is the search right in the start menu. I NEVER have to scroll through programs to find the right one anymore, I just click on "Start" then start typing excel and then poof there is excel just waiting to be ran! I LOVE VISTA!

great tips! i have vist on my hp touchsmart, but i don't use anything but the browser. i keep meaning to learn it "someday"

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