Upgrading from Windows 2000 to a new computer with Vista Home Basic. 
more information on my new system

Vista Basic Home

Location: http://www.mvps.org/dmcritchie/vista/vista.htm
Home page: http://www.mvps.org/dmcritchie/vista/vista.htm
Vista Help (F1):  Windows Vista: Help and How-to
[View without Frames]
In Nov 2009 the screen backlight failed on Dell Inspiron 1521 after 2 years 4 months; New system will be using Windows 7 Home Premium.  Have created a new page for the new laptop on my Windows 7 page.

Initial Setup for Administrator and your Standard User Account     (#admin)

The initial identity set up is for the Administrator.  Setup another account to use as a Standard User account for doing everything, and from which you can install software by supplying the administrative password.
Set up cmd.exe into start menu (admin only).  Standard user put into desktop, then can "Add to Quick Launch" (c:\windows\cmd.exe) and/or "Pin to Start Menu" via the context menu of desktop shortcut.  Also do same for notepad.exe
Hide mousepad, when mouse is connected:  Click on mousepad icon on taskbar, at upper left corner click on Device Select, at bottom turn on option "Disable Touchpad / Pointing Stick when external USB mouse is present".  This used to work nicely with a little touchpad on the status bar, but something happened, no longer automatically disconnects when the mouse is present.  So went into Control Panel, Hardware, Mouse and diable Synaptics pointing device.  Should have been able to disable but that was not a choice -- said hardware working okay.

Perhaps can find hardware again, find the device and the control will work; meanwhile, it is completely disconnected and MUST have a mouse.

My mouse is a "Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical" USB and PS/2 port which is recognized from Plug and Play but the device driver is not installed, so obtain the Intellipoint 6.2 drivers from Microsoft download site. 

Once installed set the Middle wheel to "Enter".  Mouse is scrolling a little under 1/2 page in IntelliMouse in Vista (had an older version of IntelliMouse before) and can't find a control for it -- on previous versions of IntelliMouse, and before I could scroll an entire page with an option on the wheel tab (there is no wheel tab to be seen now in Control Panel, Mouse).  A check for drivers indicates I am up to date and using (date: 2007-01-29). Vista SU1 changed value to "Flip 3D"  and had to change entry back to "Enter".

Using Control Panel set up the Display, for background color, background image, screen saver, on each account.

Get Rid of the following:

Additional Settings for Mouse and Keyboard in Control Panel (#mouse)

Control Panel, Mouse:
  Mouse Settings for Windows Mail using a 5-button mouse more info
    Wheel Button (Enter)
    BACK (keystroke Ctrl+Shift+,), FORWARD (keystroke Ctrl+Shift+.)
        – Ctrl+< and Ctrl+> otherwise problem during composing email
  Pointer Options:
    [x] Hide pointer while typing [Oo+]
    [x] Show location of pointer when I press the Ctrl key

Control Panel, Ease of Access Center: [Shortcut WinKey+U, then choose keyboard]
  Make the keyboard easier to use: [x] Turn on Toggle keys (sound for Caps/Num/Scroll lock)

Also see

Getting Boink deBoink noises as a device is connected or disconnected from the system.  Turns out it was the optical mouse, just a small fiber on the dark sensor, cleaned and appears to be working again. (2008-09-21)

Windows Control Panel CPL Files list and description (#winkey)

Shortcuts can be entered into Run box (WinKey + R) References:

File Systems     (#filesystems)

Comparison of file sizes, I knew that the thumb drive was a lot more efficient than the (FAT) hard drive, but here is a recent comparison of the size of my web files on a test copy over.  The results were not done at same time.
 location Type Files  Folders Size Size  on Disk on Disk
 Win2000  FAT  4,151     126   65.3 MB  68,519,950-bytes   178 MB  187,072,512 bytes 
 Thumb (FAT)    4,126    117   65.3 MB   68,442,380 bytes  117 MB  123,502,592 bytes 
 Vista  NTFS   4,150     120   65.3 MB  68,502,274 bytes   76.4 MB  80,130,048 bytes 
 Ext HD (FAT)    4,148    120   65.3 MB   68,498,866 bytes  178 MB  186,974,208 bytes 
With large .jpg and .crw/.raw files there is very little difference
between space usage between FAT and NTFS on disk.

Install Software     (#software)

Install Software     (#install)

This was the order I installed things:
  1. Firefox, copying the entire profile from old computer (note was first installed as Admin, won't need that one).
  2. HTML-Kit, unsigned so have to supply Master password each time invoked. (2007-08-11)
  3. Install printer (Dell AIO 926 printer/scanner/photo)
  4. Install Intellipoint 6.1 Intellimouse (Vista)
  5. IrfanView with plug-ins, now handles .CRW (Canon RAW) [ref] (2007-08-05)
  6. Get rid of Google Desktop
  7. Belarc Adviser, system so have to supply Master Password each time it is run.
  8. Agent Ransack, works fine (2007-08-05).
  9. Color Detector (cosmin.com) [ref] (2007-08-05)
  10. Icon Viewer (cosmin.com) [never used before) (2007-08-05)
  11. Opera 9.22 was unusable on secondary account until opera.dll was changed to be read-only (very strange). (see item ##)(2007-08-16)
  12. AVG Free 7.5, works fine, use the Scheduler on left side to indicate when daily update and daily scan are to occur.  (2007-08-05)
  13. SnagIt8 (not free)(2007-08-05)
  14. TClockEx by Dale Nurden, even though all I want is the seconds on the taskbar clock. (2007-08-06), removed on month later doesn't look good on Vista.
  15. Google Earth, copy over my own points of interest from old system which are retained even though I had to uninstall on old system several months ago due to lack of space on old computer's hard drive.  The current Google Earth has some improved features. (2007-08-08)
  16. Copied emails to new system, copied email account groups to new system.
  17. Double checked that most emails are still turned off on new systems for now.
  18. Trying to get Mailing Lists into order from contacts (took a long time see mailing list notes). Mailing lists are in order, but the Mail Rules are not, the newsgroups are not started.
  19. 66GB free space left on C: drive -- actually used printer today (2007-08-15)
  20. 2007-08-15 Microsoft Office 2007 -- Excel, MS Word, Front Page, etc).  Does not include Front Page (check into website updates), should have rejected Outlook.
  21. Got rid of Norton A/V, do not appreciate preinstalled pay for subscription software being installed on this computer.  Uninstall Outlook, Norton A/V update, Norton Internet Security (30 days left), Live TV.  Now getting messages about Microsoft Live Cinema not working.  Email with Windows Mail still works.  Unable to uninstall Outlook, it permeated itself everywhere.
  22. After install Microsoft Office (says about 2GB), and after the above two steps still have about the same free space (66.1GB free).
  23. AVG Not Working after Windows updates after removal of Norton A/V (Norton A/V is suspect), see next item.
  24. Disconnected from internet. Uninstalled AVG Free 7.5, Reinstalled AVG 7.5, reconnected to internet and ran updates. (2007-08-16 02:09 scan started, see what the daily schedule is going to be as a result ➾ still 8AM and runs for 3 hours) [➾ &#10174;].
  25. Opera fails to work from a std account, even with opera.dll set to read-only, but works fine admin account.  Have changed std account to admin and have also turned off UAC. (failure)  Opera working now.  [ ref. Opera 9 FAQ - Opera FAQ's, Tips, Tricks &\1 Tweaks - by Tamil, # Getting Failed to find Opera.dll message.  Install Opera again and set Read-only attribute to Opera.dll].
  26. Updated links on some pages, and migrated back to old system for web updating.
  27. Added some signatures for Windows Mail, couldn't send examples over easily so start over.
  28. Will install two or three newsgroups to test, all can be installed but private newsgroups I guess the private ones can be included as well since they are probably synchronized, in which case nothing would be lost that would not have been lost anyway, and then mark all messages as read.  Initially set to synchronize all, so that all messages are read in, can change sync settings later to new messages only, if you don't want to lose any messages received.
  29. Load rest of newsgroups (check out newsgroup filters/rules).  Reinstalling newsgroups is going to be tedious.  (yes it was, now loaded 2007-08-20)
  30. Include Hotmail, gulp what the heck is this ... » Will the real Windows (Live) Mail please stand up? | All about Microsoft | ZDNet.com, “Microsoft also seemed to announce that Windows Mail is now dead. Windows Mail, the built-in Vista mail client, is going to be superseded by Windows Live Mail — which is not the same thing as Windows Live Hotmail.” Seems more like a change of name than anything material or perhaps to try to force people to use Messenger.  Looks like Hotmail has to stay on web access, even though Microsoft allows Verizon customers to pull in MSN Mail it is not allowing the same for Hotmail.
  31. Email rules -- far too much to redo manually, was hoping the filtering was better on in Windows Mail on Vista.  The filter is better, but I see I still need my own stuff.  (2007-11-24), still didn't bother making more rules so I guess the Verizon or Vista filters are doing a fairly good job.
  32. Not yet ready to install software that requires extra security and backup considerations. Actually email would also be in this category if not just me.&msp; (2007-11-24) seem to have resolved issues in this area.
  33. Back up user profile, then remove email that was started as Administrator, then from user account move message store out from profile for separate backup.  The fact that email is now separate .eml files will greatly simplify (speed-up) backups, but will have to be cleared and restarted once in a while to cover deletions.
  34. Turn on email and newsgroups when acceptable to do so.  acceptable for quite some time.
    The rest are NOT completed ^^^ ### ...
  35. To be done install Paper Port (.max files) [May have to install the reader].  What a pain that Visioneer use of Paper Port has been, as all my old stuff is there and not readable.  Nuance - PaperPort 11 - PaperPort Viewers (2008-03-18)  The viewer is not user friendly if you want to look at a folder of .MAX documents.  It probably makes no difference what you pick none of your options seem very archival.
  36. Since there is no FrontPage in Office 2007, will have to find some other method to update website that works with hosting server, possibly time to change from old servers to new servers. (even as of 2007-10-15 still only updating by copying back to backup drive then back to old computer to update website).  At least it insures I have backups in the meantime since there is my external drive to backup files in-between transfer of any files between new system and old system.
  37. Process last several of months of pictures, which means transfer from camera to external drive, and resized pictures back to laptops.
  38. Work on setting receiving images for projection for camera club, meetings with purchased software for camera club contests, and separately things not available in the software -- specifically for critiques (unscrambled sequence) and 3-shots sequence contest.  (on-going must be in place or near completion before Sept 2008).   Been using software since use in Oct, but the 3-shots remained an unsolved problem, which was partially solved by prescoring with low score (1), and photographer # as second pass, then actual scoring also on paper, then assigning final award.
  39. Read some newsgroup entries, Read some Vista books. (good intentions)
  40. Change backups and and perhaps something to remove items no longer in working files, too late for website and new system as such things have been copied back and forth as relates to website.  Probably just adding the vista user profiles to the backups and data from windows mail.
  41. Backup to DVD with DVD±RW drive in new computer.  (still to be tested) Just as troublesome as old systems and old CD recorder, will probably only be using DVD for photo images.

Quick Launch     (#quicklaunch)

If the Quick Launch bar is not displayed, right-click an empty area on the taskbar, click Toolbars, and then click Quick Launch.

Windows Vista has restrictions on what can be in the Windows Start, so things that you might have had there have to be placed on the desktop or into the Quick Launch.  Anything on the desktop, or from a search, or from the "Program Files" directory can be placed into the Quick Launch as a shortcut by holding the Ctrl key and dragging it's icon to the Quick Launch, or with right-click and "Add to Quick Launch". 

You may want to eliminate such shortcuts from the desktop afterwards once they are in the Quick Launch.  You will have to regenerate the QuickLaunch Bar for each Vista user -- Even if you are the only user you should have a Administrator account and a User Account that can get Administrative privileges as needed.  Many of the applications on my Quick Launch can be obtained from links on another page of mine. 

To add My Computer to the immediately visible portion of the Quick Launch -- right-click on Computer on the Control panel, (check) Computer on Desktop then drag icon from desktop to Quick Launch and change properties name from "My Computer" to ". My Computer", then back to Control panel, (uncheck) Computer on Desktop.  You can also drag the C: drive to the main part of the Quick Launch and rename to "My Computer - Drive C".

You might want to make your desktop shortcuts available as a Quick Launch shortcut where they may be easier to find because you sort the list in the folder.  You can create desktop shortcut and move it to the quick launch bar.

Evidentally pre Vista had a toggle button "Show Desktop" or hide with "Show Open Windows" within the Quick Launch.  Rather than using Classic mode, you can get this from the status bar context menu such as right-clicking on the Quick Launch dropdown button.

See my page on Quick Launch for additional usage information.

Utilities that come with Vista (#utilities)

EMAIL     (#email)

Make sure you do not remove old messages in both Windows Mail (Vista) and in Outlook Express.  Uses Tools, Accounts, Properties and for each Advanced
[x] Leave copy on the server.
[x] Keep for 1-- days on server
[x] ...
Hotmail can't set on server, hopefully will be okay as is, because doesn't get deleted until specifically moved to delete file or Junk Mail expires.

More later see Outlook Express.

GMail problems:  Can't see any email – at bottom click on Basic HTML link, if that is not seen look on left panel then click on "Show All" then on without chat and Basic HTML.  Have to do this everytime used.

Windows Mail – can't delete message, the fix will probably be to use WMUtil, but since the blank email that can't be deleted is in the Drafts folder will just pass on this for now in the hopes that an update will fix this problem later.  Note the [Change] button will have to be used to identify where my localstore is (I have it under "c:\data files\windows mail\..."). [BTW hotfix 941090 did nothing for me].

CONTROL PANEL and PREFERENCES     (#controlpanel)

Old layout for Control Panel, Display properties was  Background | Screen Saver | Appearance | Web | Effects | Settings 

Display Properties are now in Control Panel, Preferences which is laid out differently but still available with right-click from the desktop.  Connecting to a projector or other external display was in Settings is now on left size for a projector, and on right side (as Display) for an additional monitor and resolutions.  Vista will detect changes and these may appear automagically. [create a table of changes (or not)]

You get software for one external monitor/projector when using a laptop with Vista.  One major problem is that other than full screen there is no limit on a window expanding or being partially expanded into the other display, nor any shortcut to place the mouse curor into display 1 or display 2.

Control Panel | Preferences [formerly:  Control Panel | Network and Internet Settings | Internet Properties | programs] has set defaults for several programs including programs I care about:  Firefox (all of its default), IE (3 of 9 of its defaults), IrfanView (.jpg included in 54 of 72 defaults), Windows Mail (all of its defaults), Windows Mail (newsgroups has all of its defaults), Windows Media Play (not a plug-in has all of its defaults), the rest I don't pay much attention to.  [note what was Outlook Express is now Windows Email]

Lost Control Panel, Display (now preferences, see paragraph above).

A projector had been attached and when I returned home the normal additional monitor did not work, rebooting did not help, don't know what the problem actually was but did get things back to normal and will have to keep an eye on this after having hooked up to a projector. 

To make it easy to get to "Personalization" quickly include it in the WinStart menu, by copying from control panel.  You also can right-click on picture

START MENU and SYSTEM TASK BAR     (#winstart)

Start Menu, can't add directly to the Start Menu, but you can add to the desktop and can copy from desktop to Quick Launch and from Quick Launch you can right-click on item and PIN to the start menu (at start menu, you can unpin if not wanted and it will drop back down to the lower portion).

pinned items in the Start Menu appear in bold in the upper half of the start menu as being of more permanent interest than those below.  You can pin a previously looked up item (via all programs) that appears in the lower part by right-clicking on it and choose pin to start menu.

Taskbar and Start Menu Properties is brought up from within WinStart, right-click and choose Properties, then do settings for each tab ( Taskbar, Start Menu, Notification Area, and Toolbars).  The picture at the right is from Start Menu customize button. 

Start Menu (#startmenu)

Can't rearrange the Start Window items (WinKey), can't drag items to where wanted,
removing an item pops another item into its place from the "All Programs" list -- very strange.

SYSTEM TASK BAR     (#taskbar)

Right click on Windows Status bar, choose properties, then Taskbar (tab) of Taskbar appearance:  (Windows Vista Help: Taskbar: recommended links)
[x] Lock the taskbar
[_] Auto-hide the taskbar
[x] Keep the taskbar on top,
[_] Group similar taskbar buttons   (uncheck because it really interferes with composing a reply)
[x] Show Quick Launch,
[x]Show window previews (thumbnails)

Missing Status Bar:  look on secondary monitor and grab an empty space on the taskbar and drag to the left side then on through to primary display on left and then down to the bottom of the primary screen for docking.

Could not get used to the mashup of similar tasks (group similar tasks) listed in alphabetical rather than in chronological order within a group, so have unchecked that item.  The example shows 3 Firefox windows, 2 windows folders, 2 Windows Mail (including email items). 

The context menu on the Window taskbar does offer possibilities of viewing that were not available in Win 2000, but it will destroy the size setting for each window in the group that you might have had.  [show windows in group: Cascade, Stacked, Side by Side, Minimize, Close Group]

Excel users that want to see multiple instances of Excel workbooks on the system taskbar should also refer to taskbar on my Excel freeze.htm page, particularly victims of Excel 2007.

Notification Area   (#notification)

Checkmark all items: Hide interactive icons, clock, volumn, Network, Power

Toolbars (#toolbars)

Don't show: Address, Windows Media Player, Links, Desktop
DO SHOW:  Quick Launch

Additional software     (#additional)

IrfanView (free) and SnagIT8(payfor) were already installed, this list for anything on/after 2007-08-28.  Most of the items here have been used for years on older systems, unless I needed another item to replace it for Vista.
  1. xplorer² lite: free windows explorer replacement (file manager), browsing and management engine.  Replacement for 2XExplorer by same company.  (2007-08-28)
  2. PureText (Steve Miller) install into Program Files, Shortcut key WinKey+V (2007-08-28)
  3. THE Rename, Hervé, A freeware program to easily rename your files and folders with many options - English description [ download] (2007-08-29) FAILED TO INSTALL
  4. Bulk Rename Utility - Downloads (2007-08-29) lots of ways to rename files [with irfanview to show by member name]
  5. cosmin.com - Color Detector, detect the color of any pixel on the screen. (2007-08-05)
  6. *Agent Ransack, David Vest, file searches, click on file to see the found wording in context.  Supports regular expression; otherwise, probably line by line testing.

Auto Start   (#autostart)


AUTOPLAY     (#autoplay)

Every time you attach a USB device, CompactFlash card, external hard drive, Vista starts into indexing it which is completely uncalled for and not wanted from the Control Panel, AutoPlay (or under Hardware and Sound), change each item to "No Action". Reference: Disable Autoplay of Audio CDs and USB Drives :: the How-To Geek

Wish I knew what the original settings were changed
DVD movie -- Play DVD Video using MediaDirect
Enhanced DVD movie -- still at "Take no action", but what is an Enhanced DVD movie anyway.
(unchecked at the top) Use AutoPlay for all media and devices

To watch a DVD movie, bring up "Media Direct" on the WinStart then move the window to secondary monitor, choose Movie from the round table selection and the DVD will play.  DVD manufactures do not make it easy to understand what to click on to see movie and builtin in remember where you were can help or hinder you.  Some of them play the entire video with a commentary sound track nice after you've seen movie\ not so nice if you get stuck in it.  No way of really knowing what you've seen and not seen.  (obviously I've never played a DVD before).

DVD player not working for some DVDs     (#dvd)

Had to use Dell supplied "Media Direct" which causes all kinds of problems of it's own making, frequently closes.  Could not play some DVDs from local library.  Solution was to dump (uninstall) Real Player, and replace it with K-Lite (Free-Codecs.com : Download K-Lite Codec Pack 3.8.0 FULL, K-Lite Codec Pack 3.8.0 STANDARD, K-Lite Codec Pack 3.8.0 BASIC : K-Lite Codec Pack is a collection of codecs and related tools).  Install with all defaults.  Afterwards able to play video.  Double-click to toggle in/out of full screen mode.

After installing K-Lite, you can use choice of  "Open With".  Also solves the problem of not having any Codec assigned and inability to assign US Region 1 so that it both works and you don't keep getting asked to assign one, which is frustrating since it says you can only change five times, and doesn't work anyway.

  1. Media Direct (Dell OEM) - works for Region 1 after installing K-Lite.
  2. Media Player Classic (K-Light)
  3. Windows Media Player (Microsoft) - works for Region 1 after installing K-Lite.
Evidently other systems have problems as well.  Watch Movie Trailers in your Unix Browser! for Mozilla Firefox users.

STARTUP     (#startup)

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup -- never know what is needed this is what I have [Start (WinKey), All Programs, Startup]

May be a source of information or confusion     (#huh)

more info/rant/confusion

Registry Tweaks     (#regedit)

Interesting Vista Tidbits     (#tidbits)

BROWSERS     (#browsers)

Firefox     (#firefox)

Install Firefox and copy profile over from old system, no problems, no problems with updates either.
The goal is to regain screen space to use your browser for it's intended purpose of looking at web pages not space hogging graphics on toolbars that you already have a good idea of what they contain.

I have created some userstyles to fix the wasted toolbar space problems that got really bad in Fx3, please see Some Userstyles for Tabs on my Tabs page, or pick them out from my styles at userstyles.org which can be used with the "Stylish" extension or placed in your userChrome.css file in your profile.  The style changes have been improved since the pictures below were done, but they illustrate problems with Fx3 graphics design.

The builtin search bar may appear below as small, but both the location bar and the search bar expand automatically.
[ff2 toolbars]  fx3 toolbars]  fx3minefield
[home] Fx2 close 3.0b3 3.0b4 3.0b5 3.0b5 close   Deviates from 16X16 bit icon appearances (double must be 24 bits high)

Have removed the wasted space above/below personal bookmarks, still have a ways to go.  See Firefox Tabs at the bottom of the userChrome.css changes.

Mock up of Firefox 3, fx3 future diaster possibilitya lot of wasted space looks more like IE7 than it looks like Firefox see comments.

Firefox 3 may lose the Firefox advantage since it is changing the bookmarks user interface by adding quick bookmarks which destroys functional use of bookmarks for those who depend on their bookmarks.  Expect problems with import/export of bookmarks with other browsers due to changes in bookmark folders.  Firefox will be using sqlite database for bookmarks, but has also changed the folder structures, and you may lose bookmarks it doesn't perceive as duplicate usages.  Fx3 is faster than Fx2, but Fx2 got messed up by - updates, forcing many users into Beta versions of Fx3.

Internet Explorer     (#ie)

This has got to be among the worst possible designs for a browser interface, not very customizable, wastes a lot of space.  Can't move menus to top and put search bar beside menus, can't move links to own toolbar, can't move address bar down, very restrictive on moving/removing/hiding items with customize.
[ie7 toolbars]

Opera     (#opera)

Getting the message "Failed to find opera.dll" other than as Administrator.  Solution is to change opera.dll to read-only (not intuitive, but was found on a search).

[Opera chrome]

File-type for Browsers -- URL:HyperText Transfer Protocol     (#filetype)

I use Firefox for my browser, so this is oriented to setting up default file-types for Firefox.  Am going to include information for both Vista and pre Vista Windows systems. 

Typical problem encountered is that even with Firefox set as the default browser you may not be picking up files in desktop shortcuts (.url) or in your email program that begin with html: or htmls: but do not end with .htm or .html, and fails particularly when Firefox is not up.
  For example in email you might have http://kb.mozillazine.org/Profile_folder_-_Firefox

File-type in pre Vista Windows systems (#filetype_prevista)

These are familiar instructions:
    Windows Explorer -> Tools -> Folder options -> File types
        -- sort on File Type and you should see -- extesion and Registered File Type
        SHTML, XHT, XHTML as Firefox Document
        HTM, HTML as HTML Document with Firefox icon
    Similar articles at mozillazine (more file associations articles)
        http://kb.mozillazine.org/File_types_and_download_actions     ||Firefox downloads||
        http://kb.mozillazine.org/Default_browser     ||File associations||

File-type in Vista Windows systems (#filetype_vista)

You can find it within the Start menu -> All programs -> Default programs
    Set this program as default
        Use the selected program to open all file type and protocols it can open by default.
    Choose default for this program
        Choose which file types and protocols the selected program opens by default.

You can find it within the Start menu -> All programs -> Associate a file type or protocol with a program
    Choose which file types and protocols the selected program opens by default.
        .htm, .shtml, .xht, xhtml and .html Firefox Document open with Firefox   [picture]
        FTP, GOPHER, HTTP, HTTPS Firefox URL open with Firefox   [picture]

Couldn't get there that way later but this worked:
Start menu -> Control Panel -> (switch to Classic view) -> Internet options -> Programs (tab), Set Programs (button) -> Associate a file type or protocol with a program -> then wait for the list you want to change to appear the FTP in near bottom under "Protocols"


COMPARE FILES     (#compare)

Was mistaken in thinking Vista had a builtin comparison.  Now that I have both Office 2007 and Vista, I reread the article and it is not builtin to Office nor Vista, but can be purchased and installed.  An example of the such comparison can be made by selecting any two dates on a comparison page such as this page at the WaybackMachine which uses DocuComp® software for the comparison.

But there are very good free alternatives.

DISPLAY parts of a screen/window     (#display)

Terminology for parts of screen layout (#screen)

Directories (#directories)

Large icons all with [pic] appear instead of detailed view.  The meaningless large icons can be fixed to show the actual image using Control Panel, Performance Information and Tools, Adjust Visual Effects, Visual Effects (tab), (o) adjust for best appearance (instead of for best performance).  Fixing to show detail columns of your choice is a bit more elusive, when a global setting is not really desired.

Column layout desired for normal files: 
Name, Size, Date modified, Date created
  (Date created date gets changed when files are copied to another drive/system)

Column layout desired for picture files:
Name, Size, Date taken, Width, Height, Date imported, F-stop, Exposure time, ISO speed, Focal length, Title, Type, Horizontal resolution, Vertical resolution.

Column layout that came with Vista: (unwanted but does vary between: Documents, Pictures, Music, Recently changed, Searches, Public)
Pictures:  Name, Date created, Tags, Size, Rating

Compromised Directory Listing   (#compromised)

It seems that the directory headings change continuously, since there is no method of choosing columns for all subdirectories, will have to try to put together one view for all directories.  "You can apply the view (such as Details or Icons) that you are using for this folder to all folders of this type".  The ending words are, of course, without meaning, the best you can do is follow the advise in Change Vista Default Folder View / Make Folders Same | Geeky Drunk.

After which, I chose details that are a compromise between what is wanted in normal directory listings, and what is wanted for directories with digital camera images.

GOOGLE EARTH     (#googleearth)

Outlook Express to Windows Mail     (#oe)

Superceded by Windows Live Mail Desktop, but you will probably be doing these same steps for WLM.

See note about making sure email stays on servers when you have more than one computer in use.


Have 546 Main contacts, 166 shared contacts, 6 groups for club email mostly referencing the Shared contacts, but some reference main contacts.

Had a lot of problems with this until I found I could reference the shared contacts by typing "WAB /a" into start run which provides list of combined main and shared contacts, from there export as a CSV file.  File, export, other, csv, ...

Have to fix-up the CSV file, as learned from previous experience. 

  1. Move columns around in Excel to make editing easier First Name, Middle Name, Last Name, Display name, Email address, notes can remain at the end but use freeze panes so the headers and first for columns are always visible.
  2. Look for empty first names:  Include First/middle/last name as needed based on display name, if the display name has a comma, rearrange so it is set up properly.
  3. Remove any stray lines from notes that got into next row as seen by garbage on non-uniform data in column A and no other columns.
  4. Check results when finished by search for comma in the display name and fix as needed.
  5. Select the last column ("Notes") and change (Ctrl+H) all commas to semi-colons.  This is the reason the conversion might fail and the conversion just stops doesn't tell you anything.

Exporting addressbook as CSV (Summary)

  1. First last names exist for everyone that can get them exceptions being have only email, or a company name.
  2. no commas in Notes
Messages folders of all local files (49 folders) going well from vista4beginners web page, but that leaves Hotmail and MSN (actually MSN is done but could be wiped out again).

In OE, I could copy a line from the address book and paste into a message with a tidy summary of the entry, can't do that in Windows Mail. I've chosen to display the following columns:
  Last name, First name, Full name, E-mail Address, Home Phone, Department, Business Phone
    -- but the Department column is empty, though the information did make it from OE.

Sorting by Lastname, can be accomplished through the View menu, the default is by first name.

Locate Group the only way I know of is by using the search box.

Windows Mail Settings (#mailsettings)

Superceded by Windows Live Mail Desktop, but you will probably be doing these same steps for WLM.

Spelling problems: Tools, Options, spelling, uncheck and recheck always check spelling before sending, and similar for English in the drop-down, then Apply.  You will want to go to old OE, pick up the words in dictionary from Tools, Options, spelling, “Edit custom dictionary” and copy words listing as an email to send to new computer.  Since there does not seem to be a place to enter the words or a file, Recopy the list into a compose letter and check the spelling and hit ADD for each good word.  Had 1278 such words as measured in Excel, having to re-add them means that a few don't actually have to be added, and some may be found to be incorrect and not added.

Pictures absent in HTML email:  Tools, Options, Security (Tab),
[_] Block images and other external content in HTML e-mail.
I think other setting are default and are (x) internet zone, [x] Warn me..., [x] Do not allow attachments to be saved or opened that could potentially be a virus.

Sender would be wise to not send HTML (Rich text) by default.  HTML should never be sent to newsgroups as there are only a few that allow it and it takes a lot more space on servers, transmissions, and the receivers computer (a minimum of twice the space).
  Tools, Options, Send, choose Plain Text for both Email and News.
Can be overridden in an individual Email with Format, Rich Text (HTML)

Problems with sending attachments in mail.  Basically make sure that your default programs have been set (Control Panel, Default programs) -- Problems with sending mail from Excel, Ron de Bruin

Mailing-List, Contact Groups     (#mailing)

Superceded by Windows Live Mail Desktop, but you will probably be doing these same steps for WLM.

In Vista there is no Windows Address Book (WAB), it is now Vista Contacts list.  You can email from many places not just your email application, though everything probably goes through your email application as before.


In order to see "Create Contact Group" you may first have to
  Click Start, Run and type %userprofile%
Press {ENTER}, Right-click "Contacts", choose Properties, then Customize Select "Contacts" on drop-down then . Click Apply, OK.  Open the contacts folder.

Create a Mailing List Group     (#groups)

Click on the "Contacts" then on the "New Contact Group" buttons button (circled in red on picture above).

Add Contacts to an Existing Group     (#addtogroup)

From the contacts list (Start, Windows contacts) type "Groups" into the Search form in the upper right, Select the group, then press the Add button.  Select as many names from the contacts detail list as wanted then press "Add" button at bottom.

Since the contacts list from this approach only lists by first middle last name concatenated to ".contact", suggest you set up another monitor on old computer with the names sorted on the combined name which is first/middle/last name. Be sure to match the number of entries of old and new lists.  If name is missing in contacts and was not malformed with comma or semicolon embedded, it may be that you entered name directly into the mailing list and you should add name to contact list then includ in mailing list.

Never-the-less was just trying to add two such names and could only get one entered into contacts and when I tried to add it to list with 75 entries it went in as the ONLY entry.  The lists have 34, 74, 21, 9, and 76 entries, all now completed.

To help with this put OE6 WAB mailing list group on large display in back of working display on new system to compare.  The working mailing should be viewed six rows down then across to make it easy to follow the list, and to match results with new list when completed.  Names to select from should show as many names as possible until ready to compare.  Make sure you do exactly the same thing each time and hit the buttons at bottom to confirm changes.  When selecting names to add, never let up on control key once first name is selected until you are ready to hit the Add button.

I found half a dozen names that were only in the mailing list and had to be added first to contacts -- be very careful when deleting contacts or duplicate names as it may cause a mailing list to have unique entries for some contacts.

Include BCC: header in all composed mail     (#bcc)

Compose a message and use View (menu), All Headers to work for all new messages.

Who sent email message     (#who)

If the person is in your contacts list and their email address appears in the visible headers of the Windows Mail email without their name, you can click on the email address to see contacts entry for that email address.

Newsgroups     (#newsgroups)

Superceded by Windows Live Mail Desktop, but you will probably be doing these same steps for WLM.

Thank goodness for having old Outlook Express available for real HELP.

Populate Windows Mail, Newsgroup accounts and select newsgroups with help of similtaneous display of OE newsgroups on the big screen.

Mouse settings for Windows Mail, BACK (Ctrl+<), FORWARD (Ctrl+>)
(in WLM, see below use Ctrl+Shift+comma, and Ctrl+Shift+period which is Ctrl+< and Ctrl+> Use of Ctrl+left and Ctrl+right arrows as documented in HELP do not work)

Windows Live Mail     (#wlm)

If you are just starting Vista now you would be installing Windows Live Mail, which would have same settings previously mentioned in Mail Settings for Windows Mail.  Even though you would be going directly to WLM, you will need to do most of the steps already covered above starting at Outlook Express to Windows Mail.

Windows Live Mail (WLM) replaces both "Windows Mail" and "Outlook Express" and like WM retains most of features of "Outlook Express". (OE was never available on Vista)

Having to convert to WLM after having installed Windows Mail there were some problems encountered.

Had to redo groups just like I had to redo groups when I had converted to Windows Mail on Vista from Outlook Express on Windows 2000 earlier.

Had to fix a problem with mailto: links in browsers.  The main Windows Mail window was coming up instead of the Email window of WLM.

The following is what you must do first, and that I had done, but turns out you also have to change defaults for each browser.  Any of these should change default mail program.  Takes awhile for windows to display fully (don't assume there is nothing to display).
  In WLM:  Tools, Options, Connection (tab), Internet Properties, Programs (tab), Internet Programs, Set Programs (button), make sure WLM is default mail program.
  Start, Default Programs:  Windows Live Mail should have all of its defaults.
  In IE7:  Tools, Internet Options, Programs, mailto -- make sure WLM is default

  1. IE7 (same as system preferences), works now but had done a reboot and removed Outlook during change of preferences.
  2. Firefox version 2:  accepted defaults
  3. Firefox version 3:  Tools, Options, Applications, mailto
  4. Opera:  Tools, Preferences, Advanced, Programs, mailto, edit
Mouse and Keyboard shortcuts for BACK and FORWARD in WLM
  Ctrl+Shift+,   (Ctrl+<) for BACK, and
  Ctrl+Shift+.   (Ctrl+>) for FORWARD
As an actual keyboard shortcut the Shift is optional.

Contacts Listing   (#wlm_contacts)

Columns in Contacts Listing (Ctrl+Shift+C for contacts list).
The columns can not by rearranged by moving, but they can ordered by right clicking on each column and choose what field the column is to show, and you can sort of columns.  For now this arrangement seems to work fairly well
   Home phone, First name, Last name, Personal e-mail, Work e-mail (seems preferred is not a choice), Name.  In the View menu choose show names as First Last, which also affects name order in outgoing mail preference and in choosing name in Create Mail (and comma isn't even shown if lastname first).

bug: using the Add Contact on an incoming mail or news post, will assume that the name is Last, First because of your contact sort and it will fill in the new contact backwards. (don't know if this affects OE, and WM as well)

Problems with Windows Live Mail   (#wlm_problems)

More Help with WLM   (#wlm_help)

File Transfers & Backups     (#ftp)

Some things found related to Office 2007 installation   (#ofc2007)

Installing Excel 2007

A quick note on how Excel fits in with conversion to the new computer, I've had Excel 2007 for almost two months (2007-10-09) and it is not an easy transition by any stretch of the imagination.

Excel 2007 conversion information moved     (#excel2007)

  To continue with more specific information see my Excel 2007 page.

Browsers     (#browsers)

Printer, Scanner, Fax   (#printer)

Dell Photo AIO Printer 926 	on USB001
Dell Print-2-Fax Printer 	on Dell PC Fax
doPDF Desktop 5 Printer Driver 	on DOP5:
Microsoft XPS Document Writer 	on XPSPort:
SnagIt 8 Printer 	on C:\ProgramData\TechSmith\SnagIt 8\PrinterPortFile

Printer     (#printer)

Dell Photo AIO Printer 926
Looks like the cost of operation is going to be sky high, before printing system estimated 82 pages of ink left, so I guess about 30 cents per page and far short of even 2 reams of paper.

FAX     (#fax)

Printers include:  Print-2-Fax Printer on Dell PC Fax
Dell Fax Solutions Software Version
Index of file:///c|/Program Files/Dell PC Fax

Other Hardware     (#otherhardware)

Builtin Webcam (#webcam)


Startup Configuration

Start, Run, msconfig, startup (tab)

startup (tab):  Turned off Real Player and Adobe Acrobat [reference: #4

Services (tab):  Turned off AVG Email scanner,

Start, Run, Services msc

Crippleware, DRM, Spyware, Broken by Design       ☷☷☷☷       (#crippleware)

You buy a machine with an operating system and it is loaded with so much crap that doesn't do anything but spy on your usage, drives the disk light constantly. DRM, crippleware, mfpmp.exe (takes over 10% of CPU), AntiVirus programs run 4-5 hours (now 11-14 hours) and you can't run much else when they run.  Not to mention hugh jump in assimulated resources -- 2GB (4 times the old)RAM, 160 GB drive (4 times the old 40 GB drive which had been upgraded from original 6GB), and already the space is already half gone (includes 15GB of photos from backup drive).  You run updates automatically that don't complete and then you can't play DVD from library next day.  This is awful -- of course I didn't have a DVD drive in my old machine, and I managed to play 3 1/2 DVDs so far, course I can't read any of them now.  See Microsoft Watch - Vista - Broken Windows (Aug 9, 2007).

Ghostwriters, scheduled tasks       ☷☷☷☷       (#ghosts)

AVG Free (avgcc.exe)
Dell SysTray Icon (DLG.exe, DSAgnt.exe, WLTRAY.EXE ??)
  where is the information on this
Defender (defender, MSASCui.exe), Windows Defender, runs daily 2AM, updates before scan.
Disk Defragmenter (dfrgui.exe, does not appear to impact system)
Disk Defragmenter (http://forums.techguy.org/windows-nt-2000-xp/230010-dfrgntfs-exe-when-idle.html), 
  -- do not terminate when it is running a defragment of drive
Firefox Update / Addons Update
Java Update (9th of each month at 5PM) see Control Panel, Java, update), and
  look for duplicates in Control Panel\Programs and Features
  Note: jusched.exe runs a lot more often than once a month high cpu or I/O, 
  and it doesn't finish, if run from control panel needs administrator help.
Windows Update controlled in WinKey, All Programs, Windows Update (3AM every Wed)
Task Scheduler, click Start|Settings|Control Panel and double-click the Scheduled Task icon.
Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Scheduled Tasks.

Stop Indexing Disk Activity     (#indexing)

Type "Services" into the Windows Start Run (or Start Search) box, reply with Continue button in the UAC authorization, then click on Microsoft Search, Stop, then change Automatic to Disabled in properties.  To start feature again reverse above and jump in big croc lake.  Regain some silence.  Had to redo same again within 10 minutes. (2008-09-21)

Firefox Ghostly Activities   (#firefoxactivity)

Monitors         (#monitors)   [added 2009-04-10]

This is not really related to Vista, but with your new machine you are more likely to have an auxiliary monitor, especially if you purchased a laptop. 

Setting up Second Monitor/Projector to Mirror or Extend Display (WinKey+X) (winkeyx)

WinKey+X (Windows Mobility Center) then click "Connect Display" button next to "External Display".

New Display Detected
Choose the appearance of your display (WinKey+X)
  (_) Duplicate my desktop to all displays (mirrored)
  (_) Show different parts of my desktop on each display (extended)
  (_) Show my desktop on the external display only
            [Apply] [ Ok ] [Cancel]

To control resolution/placement, go to link for "Display Settings" in the above or in the Control Panel or use Winkey+R then type desk.cpl).

More control of two monitors (in extended display)

An application I found to handle two monitors is MaxTo (for Windows XP and Vista) to divide your monitors into Regions.  You can move a window from one region to another and when you move it with the applications controls the window will maximize within the region you assigned.  You use Main (primary) and alternate set of regions (unrelated to one monitor or the other) to give you very good control of where you want to place a window.  To get started download and install the application, put it into your QuickLaunch for easy access, and follow the directions in the "Using"and "FAQ" on the site and in it's help (right-click on the MaxTo Systray icon).  When finished with assigning regions press the "done" button on the primary monitor and you are ready to start using.

You move the active Window into your assigned regions with Ctrl+WinKey+Arrow-key, which automatically maximizes it to the assigned region.  You can maximize to full-screen and back with Ctrl+WinKey+Enter, which works out nice for me since my middle button is always "Enter". 

Having primary and alternate sets of regions makes usage very practical.

Try to avoid moving non-resizeable windows and dialogs into regions as MaxTo it will resize them and you will have to be creative to figure out if exiting or perhaps a "Stop" button will really get them back to proper size.  I guess assigning a region of the exact size would work in pinch.

On my wish list would be to be able to get the cursor to one monitor or the other without having to find the cursor (Ctrl key, or waving mouse back and forth).

Additional links:

  1. Lifehacker - Make the Most of Your Dual Monitors - Autohotkey
  2. Triple Monitor Setup | PCMech

Miscellaneous         (#misc)

Windows keyboard shortcuts (#shortcuts)

Most things can actually be done without a mouse, and there are some Keyboard shortcuts for Windows that you will probably need at some time in the future.
WinKey+L, logoff/locks the keyboard for away-from-desk security or to vacuum the keyboard.  The only active key is Enter.  Mouse click or Enter can be used to initiate entry of user password.

DNS change DNS Servers   (#dns)

Do you get sick of being redirected to an advertising page instead of getting a 404 (Page Not Found), or a message alert.

Problems       ☷☷☷☷       (#problems)

Bookmarklets;  There are a lot of links on this page.  The following BookMarklets (Favelets) will distinguish between internal or external links.  First click on "highlight links",  and then on "int/ext links".  Your browser's Reset button (F5) will reload the original unmodified web page. 
This page was introduced on August 10, 2007. 
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