NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, June 2008
Moving on to Vista – Part 6
by Neil Stahfest, Librarian, Tacoma Area PC User Group, Washington
ncstahfest(at)msn.com (click to email author)

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

It’s easy to lose track of time when you're playing computer games or cruising the Internet. As our computers have improved we tend to use higher screen resolutions to see more detail and, unfortunately, that can cause eye strain. The solution is not to reduce screen resolution but to increase the size of the text.

Windows Vista offers an easy way to do this. Click on “Start”, then “Control Panel” and then type “adjust font size” in the search box in the upper right corner. A menu choice “Personalization” will appear and right under it you will see “Adjust font size (DPI)”. Click on it and a window called “DPI scaling” will appear. You'll see three choices: “Default scale (96 DPI), Larger scale (120 DPI), and a button that says “Customize”.

The first two choices are pretty clear. In the third choice, if you click “Customize DPI”, the “Custom DPI Setting” window will open. Just follow the instruction to increase or decrease the DPI setting to find the setting that works best for you.

One question new Vista users ask me is “What happened to the search command?”. People who have used Windows XP and previous versions of Windows are used to clicking on the “Start” button and then clicking on the “Search” label on the right side of the menu.

Search is still available but Microsoft apparently thought it was more intuitive for us to click on the “Windows” key plus the “F” key (think “Windows find” to remember this). Look at the upper right corner of the window that opens for the “Search Box” and enter the word or phrase that you are looking for. Notice in the line below you have a number of options to limit your search to “All”, “E-mail”, “Document”, “Picture”, “Music”, and “Other”. There is also an “Advanced” selection that allows you to select a range of file dates, locations, names and authors. To close the Search Window you have to click on the red “X” in the top right corner.

You might also notice that when you Click on “Computer” (used to be “My Computer”) there a search box appears in the top right corner of the window. This feature is universal and appears whenever you open any folder window. It also appears when you click on the “Start” button (the “search line” appears in the menu directly above the Start button).

While I'm on the subject of the “Windows” key, the combination of “Windows key plus the “L” key locks your keyboard. Everything you are working on becomes hidden by the login screen and you need to enter your password to continue to use your computer. This feature may be convenient even if you're not trying to hide your work from anyone. My son's cat seems to be fascinated by computer screens and anything blinking or moving on the screen. She frequently jumps up on the desk next to an unattended computer and walks across the keyboard to touch the screen with a paw or her nose. It’s cute but sometimes I return to find a program has been suspended or the computer placed in “sleep” mode. For me, “Windows Lock” is protection from pets.

Do you use the Vista Sidebar? Some people love it, some don't. There have been complaints of people using the Notes Gadget to store web addresses and they've lost them. Other people have set up their home city in the Weather Gadget only to discover that the program reverts back to Redmond Washington. Gadgets are individual programs that store their own preference files on your hard drive. Anytime you close a “gadget”, you lose all the data that you typed into it; addresses, locations, etc. So... either find a better place to store your information or don't click on a gadget's “X” button unless you really want to cease using the gadget.

Windows Vista has been out for a year now and there are rumors that Microsoft will release the long-awaited Service Pack 1 for downloading in March. If they do, I'm sure we'll see enough changes in Vista for another newsletter article.

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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