Windows Vista Tips
Vista Tips and Help

* NEW - Windows 7 Tips and Help

Calendar trick with Vista / Windows 7

This is good to know if your using Vista or Windows 7
Click on the calendar hidden under the clock in the lower right-hand corner of the taskbar.
(Don't click the time but click under it or to the right of it.)
It's a quick way to check dates.
Click the left and right arrows surrounding the month to check dates in the future or past as well.
The day and date at the top of the window masquerades as a hyperlink, but left and right clicks don't take you anywhere.
But if you are in a different day/month, it will link you back to today.
Even odder is the fact that the month-and-year link between those arrows masquerades as ordinary text:
Click the text between the < > once to zoom the calendar out to view all months, a second time to zoom out to view recent and upcoming years, and one last time to view entire decades.

Networking XP and Vista

Computers in a peer-to-peer network are linked together by a device called a Router that works a bit like a telephone exchange. PCs connect to the router through an Ethernet cable or by a two-way wireless or Wi-Fi link and these days many routers also have a built-in broadband modem so that all of the computers can connect to the Internet. It's a reasonably simple arrangement and files, folders, complete drives and peripherals like printers connected to PCs in the network can be shared by other computers.

These days that's really all you need to know.
There are two basic problems. Microsoft changed the Workgroup naming convention in Vista and introduced a new feature called Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD), which Vista uses to recognise other Vista PCs on a network. The trouble is, without LLTD XP computers are effectively invisible to Vista PCs but we'll finish off this week by addressing the Workgroup naming problem and save the LLTD glitch for part two.

As you may know in order to exchange or share files all of the computers in a network have to be part of the same Workgroup. Normally it's not something you need to worry about because Windows automatically assigns a default Workgroup name, which in XP is 'Mshome'. Most users don't bother to change it so that when a new XP PC is connected to the network it usually hooks up to the network without too much fuss. However, the default Workgroup name in Vista is 'Workgroup', so when you add a Vista PC to a XP network it won't be recognised.

The solution is simple; change the Vista PC's Workgroup name to Mshome. Better yet, dump the defaults and set up a new Workgroup name, the only proviso is that it must be the same for all PCs.

In XP open System Properties and the quick and simple way is to press Winkey + Break. (Alternatively right-click My Computer and select Properties or if you want to go the exotic route, go to Run on the Start menu and type 'sysdm.cpl'). When the dialogue box opens select the Computer Name tab and click the Change button. Enter your new name in the Workgroup box, click OK and follow the prompts to reboot the computer.

The procedure is essentially the same in Vista and to get to the Workgroup name box press Winkey + Break then Advanced System Settings > Computer Name. (You can also right-click Computer > Properties > Advanced System Settings > Computer Name, or type 'sysdm.cpl' in Search on the Start menu). Again once the new name has been entered the PC must be rebooted for the change to take effect.

You should now be able to see the shared files and folders on a Vista PC, on your XP computer, so give it a try. Make sure you have at least one file or folder marked for sharing on the Vista PC (see this week's Top Tip), then in XP open Windows Explorer or My Computer and in the left hand pane select My Network Places. Click the Search button, enter the Computer Name in the box and click Search and a few moments later it should appear in the right hand pane. Double click on it and if asked enter the Username and Password - the same one used to log on to that computer -- the shared files will be displayed. You can treat them in exactly the same way as files and folders on your hard drive. If for any reason you can't establish a connection nine times out of ten it's due to the firewall on one or both PCs so try disabling them, or check the configuration settings.

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Vista won't sleep.
One common reason this happens is the Media Center settings on Windows Vista. This can stop it from entering sleep mode.

During configuration of Media Center, you'll see an option to always have shared media available to extender devices. If you select this option, when you try to put the computer in sleep mode, the computer simply locks instead of going into sleep mode. This functionality ensures that any shared media is available, which would not be the case if the computer entered sleep mode. To reenable the ability to put the computer into sleep mode perform the following steps:

Start the Power Options Control Panel applet (Start, Control Panel, Power Settings).
Select the "Change plan settings" option for the current power plan.
On the settings dialog box, click the "Change advanced power settings."
Scroll down to the "Multimedia settings" option and expand the "When sharing media."
Change the setting to "Allow the computer to sleep.
Click OK, then close all open dialog boxes.

The "Allow the computer to enter Away Mode" is the setting Media Center enables. The away mode functionality makes the computer appear to be off to the user but actually keeps the system running.

Windows Mail Problems

* Repair XP Pro - (Great program for Vista also)
The most comprehensive system repair tool on the market. We use this program.

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