NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, February 2008
Moving on to Vista – Part 2
by Neil Stahfest, Shareware Librarian, Tacoma Area PC User Group, WA
ncstahfest@msn.com (click to email author)

Obtained from APCUG with the author's permission for publication by APCUG member groups.

One of the most irritating things about Windows Vista is the repetitious messages that appear whenever you attempt to install a new program. First you see a box with that asks, “Are you sure you want to run this program?” Once you get past this point, you see another box which says, “Unidentified program wants access to your computer”, “Allow” or “Cancel”. In some cases, once the program is installed, every time you attempt to run it you see a warning, “A program needs your permission to continue”.

I suppose this is part of Microsoft's attempt to improve security and protect users from “malware”. For a long-time, “experienced”, Windows User, these warnings seem like overkill. One of the first things I did was to search the Internet for a way to turn them off. Microsoft will tell you not to do this (it weakens their security system) but, for the knowledgeable user, here is the solution. Click Start --> Control Panel. In the left panel, make sure that you are in the Classic View. Double-click User Accounts. Click “Turn User Account Control on or off”. Clear the check box and click OK. Reboot the computer.

I'm not sure if I like the new Vista Start menu. You open it by left-clicking on the Start button or pressing the Windows key. The colors are more brilliant in the new menu and the order of some things has been changed to place things that are used more frequently near the top. For those who prefer something closer to what you see with Windows XP, Microsoft has provided an alternative. Put your mouse pointer on the Task Bar at the bottom of the screen and left-click. In the window that appears click on “Properties”. Click on the Start Menu tab; then click on the button for a “Classic Start Menu” and click OK. Notice that at the bottom of this page is a hyper-link (blue text) “How do I change the way the Start Menu looks”. Click on it to see the many options.

For those who want to change the right half of the NEW Start menu, place your mouse pointer on the Task Bar at the bottom of the screen again and right-click. In the window that appears click on “Properties” and then Start Menu tab and click on the “Customize” button. The top half of the screen shows all of the items that are available and the manner that they are available (you'll probably have to scroll down to see everything). Point and click to turn items on and off. Experiment a little. Turn things on and off. You can reverse the selections that you made if you don't like them or click on the “Use Default Settings” button to restore everything to the original condition. Note that you can do the same thing if you select the “Classic Start Menu” instead of “Start Menu”.

There was one “last” convenience item that I wanted to add to my desktop. I like to go directly to “Computer” (it used to be called “My Computer” in Windows XP) for fast access to hard drives and file folders without going through the Start Menu. This is easy to set up in Vista - just right-click on an empty area of the desktop and click on “Personalize”. On the left side of the window, under “Tasks”, click on “Change Desktop Icons”. Under “Desktop Icons”, click on “Computer” so a check mark appears in the box next to it.

Before you leave this window, notice that you can also change the icons that are used for each of the selected items. You can also pick one of the default icons, click on the “Change Icon” button and select an alternate from a library of icons. If you change your mind about the icon you picked you can click the “Restore Default” button. When you are finished with changes click OK.

Next month we'll look at more things you can do with the desktop.

This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).

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