for Vista Installations
1. Boot from the DVD and do a clean install to a fresh partition. Your new
installation is assigned drive letter C: when you boot into Vista. If
this is dual boot system, then your other OS will also continue to use C:
Setup from Windows XP and do a clean installation to a fresh partition. Your
new copy of Windows Vista is assigned the next available drive letter and your
existing Windows installation keeps drive C:.
You have three choices when you run Vista
1. Boot from the DVD and do a clean install
to a fresh partition. Your new installation is assigned
drive letter C: when you boot into Vista. This option
would also include deleting any existing operating system
partition and creating a new partition. (Clean installs
are always the best option when installing a new Operating
2. Launch Setup from Windows XP and do a clean installation. Your new copy
of Windows Vista is assigned the next available drive letter and your existing
Windows installation keeps drive C:.
3. Launch Setup from Windows XP and choose the Upgrade option. This option
is not recommend unless you have a full image backup to restore as
needed, and it is always best to do a clean install of any new OS.
If you’re planning to evaluate Windows Vista
in a dual-boot setup, be sure to use a separate partition
or physical disk, and allow at least 20GB for testing
purposes. Allow much more if you intend to really
use Windows Vista.
Remove Windows Vista From a Dual Boot System
Example: You have Windows Server 2003 and Windows
Vista on the same HDD, but different partitions.
1. Boot into Windows Server 2003
2. Put your Vista DVD in the DVD drive. When the
Vista install screen appears, just close it.
3. Open a command prompt and run:
/nt52 c: (X: = the drive letter from the DVD)
You will get an error warning the update may be wrong
because the drive is
in use, but it will restore the bootmanager from Windows
4. Open Disk Manager in Windows Server 2003 and
delete the Vista partition.
5. Reboot the computer (you should now only see Windows
Server 2003 at boot up).
Step 3 restores the original boot.ini file for Windows
Server 2003. This is important because Vista
no longer uses boot.ini and replaces it with the new
Boot Configuration Data (BCD) store.
Note: The above will work with Windows XP too.
For more information about BCD - Click
For Bootsect command line options - Click
Pick your Vista version: A single
Windows Vista DVD contains the code for every version.
Normally, you unlock the version you plan to use by
entering a product ID that is specific to that version.
If you leave out the product ID, the Setup program
has no way to know which version you own, so you get
to choose your version. This is an ideal way to test
different versions for up to 30 days, after which you
have to either enter a product ID or do another clean
install (or see next).
How do I extend my Vista Activation Grace
From an elevated command prompt, type: slmgr.vbs
-rearm and press
will reset your Activation grace period to 30 days.
You will have to restart your PC after you
run this. You can extend your activation up
to 3 times (Note: slmgr does not
work with the Enterprise version of Vista).
You can also extend the number of times you can extend
the activation grace period from 3 to 8 times by changing
the following registry setting:
Note: Microsoft has now limited the
activation grace periods to 3 times in the
Home versions of Vista, and could change activation
grace periods at anytime through Windows Update.
New Power Button. Many Vista
users are annoyed by the behavior of the new power
button on the Start menu, which puts the computer into
sleep mode instead of shutting it down. To fix this
annoyance, open Control panel, Power Options, click
Change plan settings, click Change advanced power settings,
scroll down to Power buttons and lid, click the plus
sign next to Start Menu Power Button, click on Sleep,
and change to Shutdown (Wow - only 8 steps !)
Show Run on the Start Menu: Microsoft
took the Run command off of the Start Menu in Vista.
To get this back, do this:
1. Right click the Task Bar
2. Choose Properties
3. Click the Start Menu tab, click Customize next
to "Start Menu".
4. Scroll down a little way, and you will see "Run
5. Check the box next to it and click OK all the way
Setting up ReadyBoost. Want to improve
the performance of your system? You can use a USB Flash
drive, a Compact Flash card, or a Secure Digital card,
as long as there’s
at least 235 MB of free space, as additional memory
in your Vista PC. From the Computer window, right-click
the flash drive icon, choose Properties, click the
ReadyBoost tab, and enable the options.
Rules for ReadyBoost Drives
To be used as a ReadyBoost device, your Flash device
has to pass several tests, including available free
space, write performance, and random read performance.
Your PC and Flash device must also be USB 2.x compliant.
When you connect a supported Flash device to
your system, Vista will open a window asking you what
you want to do with the device. If
you choose the Speed Up My System option, Windows Vista
runs a quick performance test to see if the device
meets minimum standards required for ReadyBoost. You
can also test your Flash device on the ReadyBoost tab
of the device's properties (right click it, in Computer).
Minimum standard in order to use a Flash device in
2.5 MB/sec throughput for 4 KB random
1.75 MB/sec throughput for 512 KB random writes
The Enhanced standard that Microsoft recommends is:
5 MB/sec throughput for random 4 KB reads
3 MB/sec throughput for random 512 KB writes
These results must be consistent across the entire
device. In addition, the device must be at least 235
MB in size (although you can designate less than the
full space on the drive for the ReadyBoost cache).
If any of these tests fail, the drive is rejected,
and will not be used for ReadyBoost.
To see if the Flash device pass/failed the minimum
standard test, open Event Viewer (Start, Run, Eventvwr.msc)
and click the Applications and Services Logs category
on the left in the console tree. Under this heading,
click Microsoft, Windows, and ReadyBoost. Then click
Operational under ReadyBoost.
The log entries in the center pane will show
performance test results for both successful and unsuccessful
Note: The Event Viewer logs report results in KB/sec
instead of MB/sec. Although the spec says 1.75 MB/sec
write performance, the report in Event viewer would
display this as 1750 KB/sec.
What is Superfetch, ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive?
new memory manager for Windows, uses available memory
to proactively cache data that you're likely to need.
Eventually, it learns which applications and data
you (and any other users who log in to your machine)
habitually use and when you use them, and it does
so on a per-user basis.
more memory available to SuperFetch by creating new
memory pages on USB flash drives and other Flash
the Non-Volatile RAM (NVRAM) cache on a hybrid drive
(H-HDD) to store critical data during state transitions
such as when booting your PC or resuming from standby.
Before shutting down, Vista transfers the critical
data your PC will use for booting or resuming into
that NVRAM cache. As a result, the PC doesn't have
to wait for a hard disk to spin up before it can
start loading data.
Here for a white paper on these technologies.
When you enter a snippet of text in the Search
box at the bottom of the Start menu, the results
come from just about everywhere: programs, e-mail,
files, even your browser history. You can control
which categories appear in Start menu searches
using these settings in the Customize Start Menu
dialog box (available from a link on the Appearance
and Personalization group in Control Panel).
Check your index. Fast searches
depend on having a good index. To check the current
status of the search index, open Control Panel, Indexing
Options. The settings show you whether indexing is
currently under way and which locations are included.
Click the Modify button to add more locations to the
need to do this for certain if you move data files
from their default location or if you store some files
on an external drive.)
Indexing2. Click the Advanced
button in the Indexing applet to open this dialog box,
where you can rebuild the index (handy if you notice
that searches aren’t
working as they’re supposed to), move the index
to a faster drive, and (on the File Types tab) include
or exclude particular types of files from the index.
Indexing3. One last set of
search options can be found on the Search tab in the
Folder Options dialog box. These options
control how Windows Vista does searches. If you’re
willing to take the performance hit, you can expand
searches to look in locations and in file types that
aren’t normally indexed
Administrator Account in Vista
1. There are differences in Vista between accounts
with "computer administrator" privileges and the
Administrator account. Accounts
with "computer administrator" privileges are ones
added to the Administrators local group. The
Administrator account, also a member of the local
Administrators group, is a separate account that
has higher privileges than other users in the local
Administrators group. This
is very different from previous versions of Windows.
2. To login with the true Administrator account, the
account first has to be enabled. By default,
the Administrator account is disabled.
3. To access the Administrator account,
open Control Panel,
Administrative Tools, Computer Management, Local Users
and Groups, Users. Right click the Administrator
account and uncheck disabled. (Note: You
cannot access the Administrator account in Control Panel,
4. The Administrator account does not have User Account
Control (UAC) enabled.
5. You can enable the Administrator account with
one line from an elevated command line :
net user administrator somecomplexp@ssword
6. One More Step: Note: I have not noticed this
to be true, but I am passing it on in case:
I have also
read that there is one more important thing that needs
to be done in Vista to enable the Administrator account. Not
only do you have to enable the Administrator account,
you also have to
disable all other accounts with computer
administrator privileges - before the Administrator account
can be used as the "Superuser" Administrator. This
is unusual, but not surprising considering Microsoft's
phobia about security. After you enable the Administrator
account, just right click each account in the local Administrators
group and disable them. Then
reboot the PC and login as Administrator.
Add an elevated Command Prompt
Click Start and type command in the
Search box. This should produce a list consisting
of one entry: the shortcut to Command Prompt.
- Right-click the Command Prompt shortcut
and choose Pin
to Start Menu.
- Click Start again. Right-click the Command Prompt
shortcut you just added to the Start menu and
- Click the Advanced button and
click to select the Run as administrator checkbox.
- Click OK to save your changes.
1. Get rid of the Favorites Link section in
the navigation Pane – Move your mouse to the top
edge of the Folder section so that the mouse turns to
a two headed arrow. Left click and hold and drag the
Folders pane up so that it covers the Favorites pane.
2. Make the C: Drive the default focus when opening
Windows Explorer – Click on the Start Button,
All Programs, Accessories, right click Windows Explorer
and choose Properties.
In the Target field add /e,c: so that the command line looks like this:
Use whatever drive letter suits your needs, C:, D:, E: etc.
Get an expanded shortcut menu When
you work with files and folders in Windows Explorer,
get in the habit of holding down Shift as you right-click
an item. Using this shortcut, you can add any file
to the Start menu or the Quick Launch bar, open a Command
Prompt window rooted in the selected folder, or copy
the full path for a file or folder to the
NOTE: Some of these extra menu options
are only available for files. For
example, if you hold down the Shift key and right click
a folder, you won't see "Copy as Path", but
you will see this if you right click a file while holding
down the Shift key. Not sure why the limitation
How to get your Windows Explorer menus back
Vista, bring up Windows Explorer (Start, Run, type
explorer, press <enter>).
To get Vista's Windows Explorer to show you menus, press the Alt key. That brings
Windows Explorer's menus back, temporarily. (The same trick works in Internet
Unfortunately, pressing the Alt key doesn't bring the menus back permanently. In
fact, if you click just about anywhere inside the Explorer window, Vista takes
it upon itself to turn the menus off again. To make the menus appear all the
time, do this:
2. Press the Alt key. That
brings up the menus.
3. Click Tools, Folder Options.
Then click the View tab.
4. Near the top, check the box that says Always Show
5. While you're in this dialog box, you can configure
||Make Vista show you hidden files
and folders by clicking the box marked Show
hidden files and folders
||Make Vista show you filename extensions - uncheck
the box marked Hide extensions for known
|| Have Vista show you all of your files. To do
this, uncheck the box marked Hide protected
operating system files (recommended).
6. Click OK.
Make text easier to read. There's
a strong correlation between
high display resolutions and eyestrain. All that small
text can give anyone a headache. The solution
is not to dial back screen resolution but rather to
increase text size intelligently. Start in Control
Panel and type Adjust font size in the Search box at
the top right, which will take you directly to the
link for the DPI Scaling utility (You can also right
click the desktop, choose Personalize, and on the top
left of the resulting window, you will see the option
for DPI Scaling). The preset value of 120 DPI might
be too big , so click the Custom DPI button and use
the slider control to bump the size up to a more restrained
110 DPI. Feel free to experiment.
Snip a screen shot. Type snip
into the Start menu Search box to quickly
find the Snipping Tool shortcut. Right-click that shortcut
and pin it to the Start menu or add it to the
Quick Launch bar for easy access. When you run the
Snipping Tool, click the drop-down arrow next to the
New button to select what you want to copy: a portion
of the screen, a window, or the full screen. Click
the Options button to open a dialog box where you can
specify custom settings. I recommend getting rid of
the red ink border; you might want to ditch the prompt
to save files each time you exit the tool as well.
Get a quick system checkup Windows Vista has no
shortage of diagnostic tools. The System Health
Report is one of the most useful. It takes input from
the Performance and Reliability Monitor and turns it
into a well-organized, information-packed report that
does a good job of spotlighting potential problems.
To run this report, open Control Panel, click
System and Maintenance, and then click Performance
Information and Tools. In the Tasks list along the
left, click Advanced tools. The last item on the
resulting list is Generate a system health report.
Each report gathers information for roughly 60 seconds,
so it's easy to run several reports. To establish a
baseline, run a report immediately after startup, with
no programs running except those that start up automatically. You
can run additional reports while you run particularly
stressful programs to see whether the load is overtaxing
Master the Quick Launch bar. The
Quick Launch bar has been around forever, but it's
a little more useful in Vista. For starters, it's much
easier to add programs to the Quick Launch bar,
thanks to the new Add to Quick Launch shortcut menu
option. First things
first, though: Make sure the Quick Launch bar isn't
hidden; if you can't see it, right-click any empty
space on the task bar, choose Toolbars, and click Quick
Launch. Don't feel like aiming at those tiny icons
with the mouse pointer? Use the shortcut keys instead.
Each of the first ten shortcuts on the Quick Launch
bar has its own custom keyboard shortcut. Press the
Windows key plus the number 1 to launch or switch to
the first item on the Quick Launch bar. Press
Windows key+2 for the second, and so on. For shortcut
number 10, use Windows key+0.
Make Security Center go away. The
Security Center icon in the notification area is a
nag. There's just no other word for it. And if you're
confident that your security settings are in order,
you really don't need the nagging. To make Security
into the background, open its icon in Control Panel
and click Change the way Security Center alerts me
in the Tasks pane on the left. In the resulting dialog
box, choose Don't notify me and don't display the icon.
Use the Mobility Center on a
about time notebook users got an easy-to-access control
panel for common configuration options. Vista's
Mobility Center gives you the ability to quickly enable
or disable an external monitor, enable or disable a
wireless adapter, check your battery level, and much
more. To configure your notebook so Mobility
Center is always available, add its shortcut to the
Startup group. To open or switch to
Mobility Center, use its keyboard shortcut: Windows
Back it all up: The Business, Enterprise,
and Ultimate editions of Windows Vista include the
Complete PC Backup feature. It allows you to save an
image backup of your system drive (and, optionally,
other drives as well), which you can restore in a matter
of minutes if you need to recover from a hardware failure
or a software mess. Control Panel, System and Maintenance,
Backup and Restore Center, Create a Windows Complete
NOTE: There is very little
compression for Complete PC Backup (why?), so you will
need free media space equal to the space your current
hard drive is using, which could become substantial after
Access to the HOSTS file:
You can give yourself enough control of HOSTS to modify it by first taking
ownership of it, then granting yourself full control to HOSTS. That's
most easily done from an elevated command prompt.
(Note: an "elevated command prompt" means
that you right-click the Command Prompt icon and choose "Run
as administrator," and then click "Confirm" when
you get the User Account Control prompt.)
From the elevated command prompt, type these two
takeown /f c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
icacls c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts /grant yourusername:f
Those are two new Vista command-line tools. The
first lets you take ownership of a file or folder,
as its name suggests. That line that you typed
is the simplest form of takeown: just add a "/f" and
the name of the file or folder to take ownership of. (Takeown
even lets you take ownership of things on remote systems,
which can be convenient.) The second command
lets you adjust NTFS permissions and file/folder integrity
levels -- it's intended to be the replacement for cacls,
which has been around since NT 3.1, and its syntax
closely mirrors cacls's. In that command, I'm
using the /grant option to allow me to give the account "yourusername" full
control; that's what the "F" stands for.
Letting Vista Respond to Pings
Like XP SP2, Vista includes Windows Firewall,
and Vista enables that firewall by default. The
firewall's defaults do not include responding to pings,
not the best idea. Worse
yet, XP SP2's GUI included a way to allow ping responses,
but for some reason Microsoft removed that part of
GUI from Vista's firewall. How, then, to let
a Vista box respond to pings without disabling the
Simple: use the command line. Open an
elevated command prompt and type
netsh firewall set icmpsetting 8 enable
Or, alternatively, you can use the Windows Firewall
group policy settings, which are basically identical
to Windows Firewall settings. Vista's firewall
additionally has another, more powerful group policy
interface as well, but the standard group policy one
will do for this simple exception.
Vista Setup for BitLocker
You need either Vista Ultimate or Enterprise
to use BitLocker.
Despite being called " BitLocker Drive Encryption," BitLocker
actually encrypts just the C: volume, and can't work unless your system's first
hard disk is chopped up into two partitions. One partition must be 1.5
GB in size, and it contains some basic boot code. You can use the rest
of the drive for C:. To make BitLocker work, then, your system's first
hard disk must be arranged so that
- One partition is 1.5 GB in size and is marked "active," and
- One other partition is at least 16 GB in size,
and Vista is installed to that partition.
This requirement presents two problems. First,
no one seems to know about it, and so people just set
up their laptop's entire disk as C: and install Vista. Then,
once Vista's installed, they want to turn on BitLocker...
only to find that it refuses to install because of
the lack of the 1.5 GB partition. Second, even
if you do know beforehand about the 1.5 GB
partition requirement, there isn't any way in Vista's
Setup GUI that would let you create a 1.5 GB partition
and mark it active.
As is so often the case, however, there's an answer..
the command line.
Installing BitLocker on clean system:
1) Boot Vista install disk.
2) When you get to the screen that says Windows Vista
/ Install Now, click "Repair Your Computer."
3) In the subsequent dialog, choose "Command
4) From command prompt, do this:
select disk 0
create partition primary
create partition primary
format c: /y /q /fs:NTFS
format p: /y /q fs:NTFS
5) Once out of the command prompt, press ESC to return
to the "Install Now" screen.
6) Install Vista as usual. When Vista asks
which partition to install Windows to, direct it to
At that point you'll have a copy of Vista that works
fine either with or without BitLocker, and that lets
you add BitLocker whenever you'd like. Notice
also that command "shrink minimum=1500." This
is a neat diskpart command that actually lets you shrink an
existing partition. The documentation says it
only works on basic disks.
Turning off UAC (User Account Control)
1. Open GPEDIT.MSC and then disable
everything beginning with "User Account Control" under
Computer Configuration/Windows Settings/Security Settings/Local
Use Secpol.msc, which is the Local Polices section in
the above Gpedit settings.
2. You can also turn off UAC in Control
Panel, User Accounts. Click the link there that reads
Change security settings, then, Turn User Account Control
3. Or... Press the Windows + R keys > type msconfig > open
the Tools pane.
Scroll down to Disable UAC and click once on that line. Click
the Launch button.
Disabling just Administrative Prompts in UAC
UAC does become annoying after a while. You can minimize
the annoying prompts without totally shutting off
UAC. One thing that can be shut off, is the nagging
for Admin access when you are already a member of
the local Administrators group.
1. Click the Start button and type secpol.msc and press
<enter>. This will open the Local Security Policy console.
On the left, expand
Local Policies > Security Options.
3. On the right, scroll to the bottom of the list and
Account Control: Behavior of the elevation prompt for
administrators in Admin Approval Mode.
on this setting. Choose Elevate without Prompting
in the drop down list.
Partitions with Vista Disk Management
In Windows Vista it is now possible to resize partitions without any data loss
in the new Disk Management console.
Resizing Partitions with Windows Vista:
1. Click on the Start Button and right click on Computer and select Manage.
2. Expand the Storage section and select Disk Management.
3. Then just right click on any partition and select either Expand or Shrink
to change the size of the partition.
This will allow you to safely resize your partitions without any data loss.
the Desktop Window Manager Session Manager service
The Desktop Window Manager
is used to enable/control the new Windows Aero user
interface. If you need to restart
the DWM, it
can be done in services.msc or, at a command prompt
net stop uxsms
net start uxsms
your network icon
In your system tray you will find the Network and Sharing Center icon that allows
you to easily connect and disconnect network connections and view your connection
status. With the help of a simple tweak, you can animate the icon so that it
shows when your connections are actively transferring data.
It is very easy to turn on icon animation, just right click on the network icon
next to the clock and select Turn on activity animation.
alternative logon screen
Microsoft has removed the classic Windows NT style logon screen in Windows Vista.
You can no longer press CTRL+ALT+Delete to get to the classic logon box where
you can type in the username and password (unless your PC is joined to a Windows
the following to enable both the Username
and Password fields on the Vista Welcome/Logon screen:
1. Click on the Start Button, type in secpol.msc and press <enter>.
2. Click Local Policies, then click Security Options.
3. In the right hand pane, locate "Interactive logon: Do not display last user
right click on it and select Properties.
4. Select Enable and click OK.
5. Close the Local Security Policy editor.
Log off and you will see the new logon screen.
Tip: If you need to log into a domain sign in with "domain\username".
If you want to log into a local computer account, sign in with ".\local_username" or
Enable Crtl+Alt+Del on the Vista Logon Screen
Windows Vista does not require you to press Ctrl+Alt+Del
to login to Windows. Something that has been a part
of Windows for a long time (unless
your PC is joined to a Windows Domain). You can enable this
requirement to log into Windows Vista by doing the
1. Click on the Start button,
type in netplwiz and press <enter> (or type
it in the Run box) .
2. Click the Advanced tab in the User Accounts window that opens.
3. In the Secure logon section at the bottom of the window, check the box next
"Require users to press Ctrl+Alt+Delete".
4. Click OK.
1. Right click on your desktop and select Personalize.
2. Click on Windows Color and Appearance.
3. Click on Open Classic Appearance Properties
4. Click Effects.
5. Check or Uncheck "Use the Following method to smooth edges of screen fonts."
6. Select Clear Type from the drop down list (to use Clear Type).
7. Click OK and OK.
the Size of Icons in Windows Explorer or the Desktop
hold down the Ctrl key and move your mouse scroll
wheel, up or down, to resize the icons from small to
extra large (they can get giant size if you want). For
the Desktop, make sure the desktop has focus first (click
anywhere on the desktop).
Open a Command Prompt
I always wondered why there was no simple
Windows key combination to open a command prompt
window (in any version of Windows). How
hard would it be to program this into Windows? Anyway,
in Vista, it gets close to this.
- Press the Windows
key on your keyboard to open the Start Menu
- Type in cmd (it defaults to typing in the Search
- Press the Enter key.
- For an administrative command
prompt, press CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER
the Windows Key to run Quick Launch Programs
Simply use Win+1, Win+2, Win+3 and so
on to launch each application on the Quick launch
bar. Win+1 would be the left most app, Win+2 the one next
to that, and so on.
(Win+1 means - press the Windows key and while holding
it, press the number 1 key)
/ Enable Hibernation
Hibernation is automatically enabled in Windows Vista. There
are no options in Power options to disable it, but you
can disable/enable Hibernation from a command prompt. If
you don't use it, then hibernation will be taking up
valuable disk space. You can disable it and
reclaim the disk space allocated to the hiberfil.sys.
Open an elevated command prompt window (Run as Administrator)
powercfg -H off (To Disable Hibernation)
powercfg -H on (To Enable
You can also use the Disk Cleanup utility in Vista
to delete your hibernation file.
- Click Start, type "clean" in the search box at the
bottom, press <enter>.
- Choose "Files from All Users"
- Check the box next to "Hibernation File Cleaner"
- Click OK
How do I display my Windows XP Computers in
Vista's Network Map?
Before a computer running Windows XP can be detected and appear on the network
map, you need to install the LLTD protocol (Link Layer Topology Discovery protocol)
on the XP computer(s). For
more information about how to display computers running Windows XP on the
network map, go to the Network
and Sharing Center Operations Guide on the Microsoft web site.
I shared a folder on my Vista PC, but cannot
access it from my XP PC
As long as you assigned proper Share permissions,
this is most likely a Firewall issue in Vista. Windows
Vista, whether using the Windows Firewall or the
Live OneCare Firewall, needs to be told to
allow File and Print Sharing. You
will have to go into the properties of either the
Windows Firewall or the Live OneCare Firewall,
and tell it to allow File and Print Sharing for
your local subnet.
Change your User Picture in Vista
You HAVE to have a user picture in Windows Vista...
you want to change your user picture, click Start
to open the start menu and then click on your picture
at the top. This will open the User Accounts
control panel applet where you can click on "Change
Quick PC Health Check
You can create a shortcut on your Desktop, or where
ever you want, that will allow for a one click PC
- Right click your desktop, choose New
- In the Location field type, perfmon /report
- In the name for your Shortcut type, PC
- Click Finish.
You will now have a nice icon on your desktop that
will run the Windows Vista Reliability and Performance
monitor just by clicking on it.
Quick Vista Assessment
You know that annoying Windows Assessment operation
the runs after you install Vista and right before
you login for the first time? Well, the program that
runs that, Winsat.exe can be found in C:\Windows\System32\WinSat.exe.
You can create a shortcut on your desktop and run
this tool anytime.
- Right click your desktop, choose New > Shortcut.
- In the Location field type, winsat.exe formal
- Click Next.
- In the name for your Shortcut type, Windows Vista Assessment
- Click Finish.
You will now have a nice icon on your desktop that will run the Windows Vista
Assessment program. When it finishes, it will update your Windows Experience
Index. To see your Windows Experience Index, Click Start > right click Computer
> click Properties.
saves your performance rating results in an .xml
file in the C:\Windows\Performance\WinSAT\DataStore folder.
Each time you run WinSAT, it creates a new XML file and stores it in this folder
with the assessment run date at the beginning of the file name.
you right click the latest XML file and choose Open
With > Wordpad, you can cheat your
Windows Experience Index.
Towards the top of the XML file you will see the
numbers listed for your Windows Experience Index.
Just change them to what you want, and save the file
(don't go above 5.9). Voila! you suddenly have
a smokin' computer. Of course it would be silly to
do this, but it's interesting to know you could. There
is other interesting info in this XML file too. For
example, if you have less than
1.5GB of memory, your
Memory score will never be higher than 4.5. It tells
you right there.
To see the options for running Winsat.exe, open
a command prompt window and type:
winsat.exe -? <enter>
To disable automatic searching of Windows
Update for device drivers. Windows Update
is notorious for supplying hardware drivers that
are not really suited for your PC. If you would rather
not have Windows search Windows Update for device
drivers, when you add a new device to your computer,
then do the following.
1. Click Start, right-click Computer, and then click
2. In the Tasks list (on the left), click Advanced
3. On the System Properties dialog box, click the Hardware
tab, and then click Windows Update Driver Settings.
4. Select Never check for drivers when I connect a
5. Click OK twice, and then close the System dialog
Turn DEP on for all programs in Vista
1. Click Start, right click Computer and choose
2. In the Task pane, (on the top left) click Advanced
3. On the Advanced tab, under Performance, click
the Settings button
4. Click the Data Execution Prevention tab and choose,
"Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those
I select:" You will have to reboot.
Another option would be to run an elevated
command prompt and type:
/set NX optout - for AMD processors
/set XD optout - for Intel processors
The above steps will take effect on
the next reboot, and by default, it will force all
programs that don't explicitly tell Windows they DON'T
want to use DEP - to use it. Note: If you want
to undo the bcdedit command, run the command
again and substitute
optin for optout.
If you get a program complaining about DEP preventing
its running, just add it to the Optout list on the
Data Execution Prevention tab above.
View Vista Bootup Time and Shutdown
Open Event Viewer (Start, Run, eventvwr <enter>)
and in the left pane, click Applications and Services
logs > Microsoft > Windows > Diagnostics-Performance
Events 100-199 are Bootup entries. 200-299 are Shutdown
entries and 400-499 are System Performance entries.
Every time you start your
logs your boot time, starting as soon as the kernel
ending after every background service and process has
finished loading and the system has been idle for at
least 10 seconds. (does not include time in POST and
the time for the BIOS to hand off control to the OS
The total boot time is divided into two parts:
MainPathBootTime measures the time it takes for the system to load all
drivers and services that are critical to user interaction
and get to the Windows desktop where the user can begin
BootPostBootTime includes all the other drivers and
processes that aren’t critical to user interaction
and can be loaded with low-priority I/O that always
gives preference to user-initiated actions that execute
using Normal I/O priority.
If you look in Event Viewer, you’ll see a separate
value called BootTime, which measures the sum of these
two values. (Subtract 10 seconds from this value to
account for the idle time that indicates the boot process
is completely done.) In addition, the logs are filled
with clues that can help you figure out what went wrong
and why a specific startup (or shutdown) took longer
Get Security Center and Network
Mapping back for Domain joined Computers
When a Windows Vista Computer is joined to a domain,
Security Center and the full Network Map in the Network
and Sharing Center, are no longer able to be viewed.
They get disabled by default for domain connected PCs.
To get these back, do the following. You will need
administrative access to the Vista PC:
Open gpedit.msc. Start, Run
Get Security Center
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows
Components > Security Center > Turn on Security
Center (Domain PCs only)
Change this policy to Enabled.
You might also be prompted to enable UAC. You should
Get the Full Network Map Back:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Network > Link-Layer
Change the following 2 policies to Enabled:
Turn on Mapper I/O (LLTDIO) driver
Turn on Responder (RSPNDR) driver