Windows Vista..

By Team Digit | Published on 01 Oct 2007
Windows Vista..

#IBMCodePatterns, a developer’s best friend.

#IBMCodePatterns provide complete solutions to problems that developers face every day. They leverage multiple technologies, products, or services to solve issues across multiple industries.

Click here to know more

Now here come loads of tips and tricks to simplify things and spice up your Vista experience.

Disable UAC
User Access Control is that annoying thing that keeps on popping up tirelessly to ask you if it is OK to install a particular program when you try to install one. It is one of the biggest irritants in Vista, but we must warn you that disabling it will render your system less secure.

Open the Control Panel, type in user account in the search box, and press [Enter]. You'll see the link for Turn User Access Control (UAC) on or off. Click it. Uncheck the box, reboot your computer, and you will no longer be bothered by UAC. There is an even faster way to disable UAC from the command line: use

C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe /k %windir%System32reg.exe ADD HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows CurrentVersionPoliciesSystem /v EnableLUA /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

For the security-conscious, we'd suggest an alternative method. In this one, only the UAC of the Administrator account is disabled; other users will go through the same security mechanism as before. Open the Registry Editor and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWARE MicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesSystem

Create a 32-bit DWORD ConsentPromptBehaviorAdmin and set its value to 0. Restart. What actually happens here is, you elevate the privilege level for the administrator.

3D Benchmarking!
Vista has a cool inbuilt 3D benchmark. This is included in the System Assessment Tool, which benchmarks your system during installation. But you can run this benchmark from the command line by using winsat along with command line parameters. The complete list is as below. Think of this as an Easter Egg… try them and see what they do!

3D Benchmark in Vista

winsat aurora
winsat d3d -texshader -totalobj 15
winsat d3d -objs C(20) -texshader -totalobj 50
winsat d3d -totalobj 20 -objs C(20) -totaltex 10 -texpobj C(10) -alushader -v -time 10
winsat d3d -totalobj 20 -objs C(20) -totaltex 10 -texpobj C(1) -alushader -noalpha -v -time 10

Bet You Didn't Know 
You can quickly resize the icons in a folder. Just hold down [Ctrl] and scroll the mouse wheel in any folder to make the icons grow larger or get smaller.

Gadgets Without The Sidebar
The Sidebar is a bit of a distraction and occupies too much Desktop space. But you probably do like some of the gadgets that come with it. You can run these gadgets without the need of the Sidebar: just drag and drop one to the Desktop, right-click anywhere on the clear part of the Sidebar and choose Close Sidebar. The gadgets continue to run.

Auto-complete URLs In IE7
Enter a word, such as Microsoft, in the address bar and press [Ctrl] [Enter] to automatically prefix "http://www." and append ".com" to it and launch the URL. [Shift] [Enter] suffixes ".net", and [Ctrl] [Shift] [Enter] appends ".org". Add [Alt] to these shortcut combinations to open the link in a new tab.

Speed Up SATA Hard Drives
Windows Vista, by default, doesn't enable the advanced write caching feature of SATA hard drives. You can considerably speed up your SATA hard drive by enabling this. Open Device Manager by running devmgmt.msc. Open the Disk drives section of the tree, right-click on your hard drive listed there, and select the Policies tab. Check the box next to Enable advanced performance.

Trim Thick Borders
Probably to show off the transparency feature, all windows in Vista have thick borders, which can be an eyesore especially when you're not using Aero. To trim the borders to your taste, open the Classic Appearance Settings dialog by right-clicking on desktop and choosing Personalize. Click on Window Color and Appearance. (If you have Aero enabled, you'll have to click Open classic appearance properties for more color options.) Click the Advanced button, select Border Padding in the Item dropdown field, and change the size from the default 4 to 0 (experiment with different values).

Bet You Didn't Know 
Shrink Or Expand Disks
Windows Vista comes with Disk Management, which even lets you shrink or expand volumes without destroying data on them. No need to buy expensive third-party utilities! Open the Control Panel, type in partition and press [Enter]. You will immediately see the link Create and format hard disk partitions under Administrative Tools. Click on it to launch Disk Management. Right-click on a partition and you will see the Shrink as well as Extend options. You should defrag the partition before doing the shrinking or expanding to achieve the best results, since the operation is dependant on the amount of contiguous free space available.

Take Ownership The Easy Way
Taking ownership of system files and folders in Vista is a pain. You can use the command line or the GUI, but you will tire after a while because there are simply too many steps. Here's a way that will add this option to the context menu, so all you need to do to take ownership is to right-click and select the option. Open Notepad and type in the following.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
@="Take Ownership"

@="cmd.exe /c takeown /f "%1" && icacls "%1" /grant administrators:F"
"IsolatedCommand"="cmd.exe /c takeown /f "%1" && icacls "%1" /grant administrators:F"

@="Take Ownership"

@="cmd.exe /c takeown /f "%1" /r /d y && icacls "%1" /grant administrators:F /t"

"IsolatedCommand"="cmd.exe /c takeown /f "%1" /r /d y && icacls "%1" /grant administrators:F /t"

Save the file as takeown.reg. Double-click on the file and click Yes when prompted. There's no need to reboot.
Copying Over Mapped Drives
Vista has a known problem in which a mapped drive or network gets disconnected while copying large files. This is caused due to the new auto-tuning network, which changes the receive window on-the-fly. To turn this off, open an Administrative mode command prompt by running cmd.exe and pressing [Ctrl] [Shift] [Enter] or by right-clicking on the Command Prompt shortcut and selecting Run as Administrator. To turn Auto-Tuning off, type in netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled

Assign A Hotkey To The Snipping Tool
Vista comes with a nifty screenshot utility called the Snipping Tool, which can capture all or parts of the screen. Problem is, the tool has no provision for a hotkey to bring up the window.

In the Start Menu, click on All Programs and then the Accessories folder, and you'll see the Snipping Tool. Right-click on it and select Properties. You'll see an empty Shortcut key text box, in which you can place the mouse cursor and press a hotkey such as [Ctrl] [F12].

Quick Launch Hotkeys
You can use hotkeys to launch the first 10 items in Vista's Quick Launch menu. These hotkeys are pre-assigned by Vista. To launch the first item, press [Windows] [1], for the second, press [Windows] [2], and so on.

From Deep Sleep To Shut Down
The default action of the Power Button in Vista is to Sleep, which is not really what everyone prefers. Just open the command prompt and type in powercfg.cpl,1 and press [Enter].

Bet You Didn't Know 
Checkboxes To Select
You can use checkboxes to select multiple files. Click on the Organize menu and choose Folders and Search Options. Now on View tab, you will see Use check boxes to select items. Check the box against this and click OK. Using checkboxes to select files instead of doing the same by holding down [Shift] or [Ctrl] gives you better control and prevents accidental copying or moving of files. To select all files, simply check the box next to Name (above the list of names).

Bet You Didn't Know 
Copy File Paths
You can copy the path of a file to the clipboard. Just right-click on the file while holding down [Shift] and you will find a new option in the context menu, "Copy as Path". You can also copy the path of a folder in this manner.

Enable Additional Clocks
There's an enhancement to the system clock in Vista which lets you display two additional clocks when you hover your mouse over the system tray clock (to keep track of time in a different time zone). To add a clock, right-click on the clock in the system tray and select Adjust Date/Time. Click the Additional Clocks tab, check the Show this clock box, select the new time zone, and give it a convenient name.

Speed Up Vista With ReadyBoost
Windows Vista comes with a new feature, ReadyBoost which lets you plug in your flash drive or SD card to store commonly-used files for quicker access than from the hard drive. Just stick in the USB drive or SD card or any other Flash device.

Speed up Vista using ReadyBoost

In the AutoPlay dialog that pops up, click the Speed up my system link, which takes you to the ReadyBoost configuration panel. Select Use this device, and set the amount of space you want to use. Windows will create a paging file of that size on the disk.

Add The Encrypt/Decrypt Option To The Context Menu
Vista has the option to encrypt and decrypt files by accessing the properties dialog. But there is a better and faster way to do it-just add these options to the context menu. Open the Registry editor and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvanced

Encrypt  files

In the right pane, create a new 32-bit DWORD value called EncryptionContextMenu and give it a value of 1. Now whenever you right-click a file, you will see a new option, Encrypt, which will let you encrypt it (along with the parent folder, if necessary). Once it's encrypted, when you right-click on it, you will see the Decrypt option.

Hide The Floppy Drive
You no longer use a floppy drive these days, so there's no reason for it to be displayed in My Computer. Open the Registry Editor and go to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftware
If this key does not exist, create it. The modify or create a 32-bit DWORD named NoDrives. Assign it a value of 1.

Jagged Fonts?
If you just bought a Vista PC, chances are you'll find that the fonts are jagged and hard to read. Manufacturers generally disable font smoothing, because that feature imposes a penalty on PC performance. You can enable font smoothing by opening the Classic Appearance Settings, clicking the Effects button, and checking the box against Font Smoothing. Revert if you notice a considerable slowdown.

Share Folders As Easily As In XP
In Vista, when you right-click on a folder and click Share, a Wizard starts, which is meant to make things easier, but in reality is a bit confusing for many ex-XP users. You cannot choose the share name and will instead be assigned a weird name such as computerUsersUsernameData. To share in the XP way, click Properties instead of Share. Select the Sharing tab and click Advanced Sharing. Check the box against Share this folder and choose a share name. You can also set permissions here.
Bet You Didn't Know 
Quick Picks
Hover your mouse on the icon to display a pop-up with the current track information. Click the middle mouse button on this icon to play/pause the current track. Scrolling the mouse wheel will change volume. If you hold down [Shift] while scrolling, the mouse wheel seeks through the current track. Hold [Ctrl] while scrolling the mouse wheel to skip through tracks in the playlist. Drag and drop items into the tray icon to open a pop-up menu allowing you to choose from Append to Playlist, Append and Play, and Queue after Current Track. The tray icon also indicates the song position.

Symlinks in Vista
One of the interesting features of Linux-symbolic links-finally makes an appearance in Windows. You can create symlinks using the command-line utility mklink. The syntax is as below:
MKLINK [[/D] | [/H] | [/J]] Link Target

/D    Creates a directory symbolic link (soft link).  Default is a file symbolic link
/H    Creates a hard link (link to a file) instead of a symbolic link
/J    Creates a Directory Junction
Link    Specifies the new symbolic link name
Target    Specifies the path (relative or absolute) that the new link refers to
For example, if you want to make D:Data to be available from the folder D:Maindata, use C:mklink /D D:Maindata D:Data
If you now look in D:Maindata, you'll see whatever files were in the other directory.

Amarok is an extremely powerful yet simple audio player for KDE.  The beauty of this player is that it goes the extra mile by providing detailed information about the currently playing song, music by the same artist, and so on. It even has support for Apple's iPod, iRiver's ifp, and a multitude of generic USB devices.

An Alarm Clock
You can very easily set up Amarok to work as an alarm clock. The command used here is dcop, which instructs Amarok player to play. Here is the syntax:
Bet You Didn't Know 


The Amarok player analysers can be detached from the Player window. Just press [D] on your keyboard to open the active analyser in an independent, resizable window.

%`kde-config --prefix`/bin/dcop --user USERNAME amarok player play
This command will tell Amarok to start playing. Just make sure Amarok is running when you go to bed, and it will wake you up to the tune of whatever you last pressed Stop on.

Amarok Player

Also check out the Amarok script named weekalarm, downloadable from .tar.bz2. This is a versatile alarm script for Amarok, and it includes the ability to set different alarm times for each day, use wake-up playlists, control volume fading, and enable snoozing.

Listen In
In a properly set up ssh environment, you can get information about what is being played on Amarok on your computer from another computer on a network. The following command will return the Now Playing string.

ssh -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa YourIP dcop --user YourUserName amarok player nowPlaying

Also note that this expects your identification to be found in the ~/.ssh/id_rsa file.

Bet You Didn't Know 
Hold down [Ctrl] and click the right mouse button to enqueue files in the order in which you clicked them. Press [Enter] after a playlist search to play the first search item and clear the search results.

The Amarok settings file can be found at
~/.kde/share/apps/amarok ~/.kde/share/config/amarokrc
Disable A Browser Section
Right-click on any browser title and a list of visible browsers will show up. You can use this list to disable or re-enable any browsers available.

Search Intelligently Using Google-like Syntax
You can get precise search results by using Google-like search syntax. For example, if you key in artist:shakira in the search box, you'll get everything that has shakira as the artist. You can also enclose the expression in double quotes so that you can use spaces. You can also chain expressions (as in artist:shakira album: "Oral Fixation") to find an album containing "Oral Fixation" by the artist Shakira.

Each tag has its own operator, so you can even search for
comments:"Immersive score"
Boolean operators can be used to refine your searches. The '-' operator negates the expression.

Output To The Desired Sound Device
If you're using ALSA drivers, you can output the audio to a specific sound device with xine. Set up a ~/.asoundrc (user-only) or /etc/asound.conf (system-wide) file that aliases your hardware devices, then insert that alias in the "device used for stereo output:" box in the xine-engine configuration tab. Alternatively, you can directly enter the alsa device (hw:0,0 or hw:1,0 and so on). If you choose this latter method, be aware that ALSA's corresponding plugfoo (e.g. plughw:0,0 or plughw:1,0 and so on) routing through alsa-lib is much preferred.
Here is an example of ~/.asoundrc for a machine that has an onboard Intel AC97 codec and a usb-audio device:

pcm.intel8x0 {
type plug
slave.pcm "hw:0"
ctl.intel8x0 {
type hw
card 0
pcm.usb-audio {
type plug
slave.pcm "hw:1"
ctl.usb-audio {
type hw
card 1

Now enter usb-audio in the xine-engine setup screen, and the output should go to the usb-audio device (with alsa-lib properly handling sample rate conversion, channels, and so on). 


In this issue, we've already told you about the best cameras your money can buy; now we give you some suggestions on how to use it right. Here are some tips that can come handy when you're out shooting.

Get Yourself A Tripod
Cumbersome as it may seem to set up, a tripod is great for getting rid of the unavoidable hand shake that is the root cause of blur in your photos. It's also not always possible to place your camera in a suitable position in the environment you may be in. Tripods allow you place your camera in pretty much any position, and they aren't overly expensive either. You can find light, portable tripods for around Rs 1,500. It's possible to get compact tripods that can be folded into a package around a foot in length that can easily fit into a backpack.

Avoid The Flash
One of the worst possible things one can do with a camera is to use the flash. Flashes on a camera wipe out most detail and wash out most colour in the photograph. Digital cameras don't have as strong flashes as it is, and most of them don't have provision for more powerful ones-so most of the time your camera flash isn't going to brighten the scene anyway.

To clarify: the flash is effective only at short ranges, and in that range, it tends to destroy detail and colour; at longer ranges, it's pretty useless.

Now if you use the flash, you'll tend to get an imbalanced shot-as in, a shot where only the focused-on object is clear. It's a better idea to use a longer exposure by decreasing the shutter speed. It's preferable to use a tripod to prevent shake in this case, as you can get realistic colours and lighting without the uneven lighting conditions given by the flash.

If a flash must be used, then make sure you are standing away from the subject to prevent it getting washed out by the flash.

Using Flash To Remove Shadows
Flashes may be bad in general in indoor photographs or very dark places, but they are a boon in outdoor photography where you have an object or a person facing the camera with the sun or a light source in the background. The flash allows you to get some light to the face of the object and helps avoid complete blackout. Places where this is useful is when you have someone wearing a cap or standing under a roof in the open, or if it's late afternoon or morning with the sun in the background.

Use A Lens Hood
In some of the more advanced digital cameras, the camera manufacturer may provide a lens hood that attaches to the front of the lens. While this will make the camera more bulky, it helps in getteing good photos without lens flare-where one area of the photo reflects too much light-in well-lit-up areas. If your camera cannot have a lens hood, then the other possible way to get rid of lens flare could be to use a UV filter. The UV also helps in keeping your lens safe from dust.
The hood becomes an obstacle in many cases where you use a flash. The flash can get obstructed by the hood and you might end up with underexposed photos-or you may find a prominent shadow of the hood in the photo.

If the hood must be used, a way around this obstacle is to use some amount of zoom in the photo.

Panoramic Photography
Panoramic shots no longer require you to use a tripod and take multiple shots with the utmost care. Photo editing software now can align and then stitch up multiple images together to create a panoramic photo. To create one, zoom out as much as you can so you get the best wide-angle view possible. Stand in one place and take multiple shots one after the other while keeping in mind some line of reference in that view. Capture the next shot with that line of reference in the view.

Making Panorama images

Copy the photos to your computer. Start Photoshop CS3. Go to File > Automate > Photomerge. Select the photos you took for the panorama and choose the Auto layout. Click OK and give Photoshop some time to stitch the images together. The end image might be very large, so you might want to resize it down.

Using The Self-timer To Avoid Camera Shake
Tripods aren't at times sufficient to stop shake. Some of the movement that occurs is when the shoot button is pressed. Even the slightest movement to the camera can ruin a photo. So even if you do use a tripod, it's best to use a timer of maybe 2 or 10 seconds to be on the safe side.

Using Slow Sync Flash
Slow Sync is a function found on some cameras, which allows the camera to use a longer shutter speed and a flash. Normally, the shutter speed of the camera is set to be really fast to match the flash, which only lasts for a fraction of a second. In such cases, the foreground object ends up very bright and the surroundings completely dark. Slow Sync flash is usually good for better exposure (but can cause motion blur due to the long shutter speeds). The result is a well-illuminated photo, with the surroundings turning out fairly bright.

Good Portrait Photographs
Taking portrait photographs is an art in itself. First, you need to have a good subject. Cloudy skies have a soft light but and are bright enough at the same time to get good photos with soft shadows. The portrait mode that is built into your camera might not always be the best way to get great portrait photographs. Try and zoom into the subject and, if possible, select a larger aperture. While focusing, try to leave a lot of the background along with the subject. The subject should preferably be on one side of the image.

Using Shutter And Aperture Priority Modes
Some of the cameras we use have certain semi-automatic modes called shutter priority and aperture priority, which allow you to set a fixed aperture size or shutter speed and the camera to handle the rest of the settings such as ISO.

Use the aperture size to your advantage wherever possible. For example, if you are in a well-lit-up area and a fast-action photograph is to be taken, select a fast shutter speed such as 1/1000th or 1/2000th of a second. Similarly, if you have a low-light situation, select a large aperture size such as F2.8 or F4.

HDR Photography
HDR (High Definition Range) Photography has just only started picking up. Surprising, because pretty much anybody can create HDR photos without too much of a problem. In short, you require photos to be taken at multiple exposures. To do this, look at the EV (Exposure Value) rating on the camera. You need three photos at least-one taken at 0 EV, one with a positive EV, and one with the same negative value. You can always use many more images if needed. If your camera doesn't allow you to change EV ratings, then manually set aperture and shutter speeds to simulate different exposure values.

MergetoHDR copy

There are some things that need to be taken care of. All the photos need to be taken without the camera moving, or any movement in the surroundings, so the use of a tripod is highly recommended here. Some cameras have the option to be able to take photos in quick succession at different exposure values which works like the Burst mode. Use this feature if your camera supports it.

When you have the photos ready, use Photoshop CS2 or Photoshop CS3. Go to File > Automate > Merge to HDR. Add the photos you've taken and click OK. Photoshop will create a HDR photo for you which can be further tweaked.

Another commercial software for creating HDR images is Photomatix ( A free open source software called Qtpfsgui is also available. It can be downloaded from An additional set of files may be required for Qtpfsgui to run; the files are available on the download page.

Taking Macro Shots
After you get yourself a digicam, you're bound to try close-up shots sooner or later… this is where you need to enable the macro mode.

Try to get as close as you can to the subject and use a little zoom whenever possible. Also keep the aperture size as low as possible. Using manual focus can give much more accurate results.

Exposure Metering Tricks
A digital camera detects how much light there is to calculate the best settings to get the right photo with the right amount of exposure. Cameras normally have two or three different modes of detecting the amount of light. Some cameras might detect light from the entire view; some just from a spot in the centre.

If you want to lock the exposure to another object, half-press the button to focus to that object, then move the camera to the object you want to shoot without letting go of the click-and then capture the photo.

Using Burst Mode
With scenarios like planes or fast cars, it's very difficult-almost possible-to time your shot perfectly. In such cases, use the burst mode or the continuous mode available on your camera. This will take a continuous set of images as long as you keep the button depressed.

You can choose the perfect photo from the series of images and delete the rest. Burst mode should come in especially handy while taking group photographs.

The Histogram
This is probably one of the most ignored features in a camera. It is usually accessible by pressing a button-look up your manual-and it typically appears at one corner of the LCD screen. It appears too complicated to make any sense, but the histogram is basically just an overview of the image you're looking at. It gives a general idea of the intensity of the different colour tones in the current view.

Generally, a well-balanced image with not too many bright or too many dark spots will display on the histogram without any major spikes or drops but as a fairly even graph.
A flat graph with a sudden spike may mean a photo with lots of dark regions and a small area of very high brightness levels.

Camera Care
Cameras, no matter what size and shape, are all still pretty delicate devices that need to be handled with care. Here are some useful handling tips.

Avoid taking your camera exposed in dusty and sandy locations such as beaches. A sand particle can easily lodge itself into one of the many crevices. If this happens, try using a toothbrush gently to dislodge the particles. Do not use the brush on the lens.

The lenses on most cameras are tiny, and fingerprints or specks of dust get magnified, which means you get a generally smudgy image. Use an air blower or a soft cloth to clean your lens-only if it appears dirty.

Going Online-And Photo Management
Once you own a digital camera, it won't take too long before you have loads of photos piling up on your hard drive. It's a good idea to install photo management software such as Picasa (http://picasa. Once installed, Picasa will scan your drive for photos. Picasa allows you to set comments for your albums. It sorts photos by folders and by month and day. Picasa even allows you to tweak some basic parameters like colour, brightness, and contrast.

Using Picasa2 to manage photos

Google has a photo hosting site called PicasaWeb (http://picasaweb. which works well with the Picasa software. Uploading photos to your PicasaWeb account takes just a few clicks.

Another software that has been making the waves of late is Adobe's Lightroom. It, unlike Google's Picasa, isn't free, but is still a very good photo management and manipulation tool.

Online Photography Communities
One of the most interesting things you could do once you have a digital camera is to join online photography communities. Flickr ( is probably the most well-known and widely-used. Flickr, now owned by Yahoo!, not only allows you to upload photos, but even join groups of other photographers with similar interests. People can easily search for photos and post comments on them.

Use such communities and other photo hosting sites to host photos and then link them to your blog or your personal site. Mail your Flickr album links to your friends and relatives-distributing photos has never been this easy. You can do the same with your videos by registering for a YouTube account, for example.

Some General Tips
Here are some general camera tips:
  • Avoid taking photos of people from a completely different height. Come down to the level of the subject.
  • Whenever using tripods isn't possible, try and use support from a chair or a table while clicking photos. Blurring of images due to longer exposures can be avoided.
  • Experiment by taking some vertical photos-some photos are best represented in a vertical layout. Photos taken diagonally can give a unique look.
  • Most cameras come with different colour modes such as Black and White and Sepia tone. Try these to give a classic look to your photos. Another thing to try is different white balance settings in different environments.
  • Depth of field is a very important part of good photos. Try and use larger aperture sizes to get more depth of field in photos. (We can't go into detail here in terms of depth of field.)
  • Avoid taking photos facing a light. Preferably, try and take shots with the light falling on the subject.
  • In places where there is abundance of light, use the least possible ISO, the largest F-Number (smallest aperture), and the fastest shutter speed to get the clearest of photos. In case of very low light, select the largest ISO sensitivity and the smallest F-Number, but keep the shutter speed moderately high to avoid motion blurring.
At the end of the day, no rule-book can make you good at photography; creativity, patience, experimentation, and originality will.

Team Digit

All of us are better than one of us.

Digit caters to the largest community of tech buyers, users and enthusiasts in India. The all new Digit in continues the legacy of as one of the largest portals in India committed to technology users and buyers. Digit is also one of the most trusted names when it comes to technology reviews and buying advice and is home to the Digit Test Lab, India's most proficient center for testing and reviewing technology products.

We are about leadership-the 9.9 kind! Building a leading media company out of India.And,grooming new leaders for this promising industry. Protection Status