Blog Archives

Cook Timer Alerts You When Food is Done [Featured Windows Download]

Windows only: Simple count-down timer application Cook Timer alerts you after a user-specified length of time, perfect for preventing burnt food while you’re busy on the computer.

The tiny open-source application requires no installation and is only resident in memory while the timer is active. You can choose from one of the presets or set a custom time, and then minimize the application to the system tray until you hear the alarm, at which point the window should pop back up. The only drawback is that you can only set a single timer, so readers looking for multiple timers should check out previously mentioned Multi-Timer.

Cook Timer is a free download for Windows only. (Linux source code is available but it didn’t work for me). Mac users can look at the Meditation Timer or the Cuppa tea timer.

Control Your Computer with Shortcuts to Common Windows Tasks [Windows]

Many people don’t realize that rather than installing dozens of applications, you can control nearly any aspect of your computer with simple shortcuts that don’t take up any resources. You can even take this approach a step further and assign shortcut keys using the built-in Windows hotkey functionality, or access them from the keyboard using your favorite application launcher. Let’s take a look at a number of simple shortcuts to control some frequently used tasks.

Mute the System Volume

togglemute.pngIf you use your computer to listen to music, you’ve no doubt had to fumble for the volume controls or hit the off switch so the person calling won’t know that you are listening to Cornflake Girl loud enough to wake the dead. What I’ve always done is create a shortcut key that will instantly mute the speakers so I can answer the phone. Of course if you have a multimedia keyboard you probably already have a mute button, but that only works if you are running the keyboard software.

Create a Shortcut or Hotkey to Mute the System Volume in Windows>>

Clean Up Your Computer

runccleaner.pngThere’s loads of commands out there that will let you clear your history or recent documents from a shortcut, but the much simpler option is to setup CCleaner with a shortcut to quickly clear out everything. You can even assign a hotkey to clean your computer with a keystroke. The great thing about this technique is that it runs silently and quickly.

Create a Shortcut or Hotkey to Run CCLeaner Silently>>

Open Task Manager in All Users View

taskmanager.png If you are using Windows Vista, you’ve probably noticed that in order to see the full process list in Task Manager, you have to first open Task Manager, and then click on the All Users button… instead of dealing with that, why not just create a shortcut that opens it directly in All Users view?

Create a Shortcut or Hotkey to Open Task Manager's All Users View in Windows Vista>>

Turn Desktop Icons On or Off

hidedesktopicons.png As a big fan of a clutter-free desktop, I like to keep the icons hidden most of the time, but sometimes it’s just easier to access files through icons on the desktop. You can create a shortcut or hotkey that quickly turns the icons on or off, keeping your desktop nice and clean unless you actually want to see the icons. If you like to see your icons instead, you can always arrange them for productivity.

Create a Shortcut or Hotkey to Turn the Desktop Icons On or Off>>

Clear Your Clipboard

clearclipboard.png If you’ve ever copied a large amount of data to the clipboard, you might wonder how to clear that memory after you’ve already finished pasting. Sure, you could try and copy a smaller amount of data to the clipboard, but a simpler method is to just use this shortcut to clear the clipboard. This also comes in handy if you copied sensitive data to the clipboard and don’t want it sitting there if somebody else is about to use your computer.

Create a Shortcut or Hotkey to Clear the Clipboard in Windows Vista>>

Turn the Windows Firewall On or Off

firewallshortcuts.png When you are troubleshooting connection or network application issues, one of the first things to try is disabling the firewall. If you are using the built-in Windows firewall, there are way too many steps required to turn it off, but with a little command line magic, we can create shortcuts to turn the firewall on or off.

Create a Shortcut or Hotkey to Turn Windows Vista Firewall On or Off>>

Create a System Restore Point

systemrestoreshortcut.png One of the best features in Windows Vista is the revamped System Restore, which unlike the XP version actually snapshots all the important system files on a regular basis, making it simple to roll back to before a system change. Creating a restore point on demand, however, takes far too many steps, so this shortcut to create a system restore point can be a real timesaver. If you are still using Windows XP, you can always follow Gina’s guide to System Restore.

Make a Shortcut Icon to Create a System Restore Point>>

Eject Removable Devices

ejectdevices.pngIn the age of flash drives and digital cameras, we’re always plugging and unplugging drives to transfer files and photos, but the Safely Remove dialog is only accessible from a tiny tray icon. If you like to keep excess icons hidden or just don’t feel like finding the icon in the list, you can create a shortcut or hotkey to the Safely Remove Hardware dialog or even a shortcut to eject the CD/DVD drive. The best option, though, is to create a shortcut that immediately ejects a specific USB drive that you use all the time.

Create a Shortcut or Hotkey to Immediately Eject a Specific USB Drive>>

Start or Disable the Screensaver

screensaver.png Have you ever noticed that many end users refer to the desktop wallpaper as the screensaver? Odd. For those of you that actually know what a screensaver is, you can create a shortcut icon to quickly start a particular screensaver, or even an icon to disable or enable the current screensaver. This comes in handy when you want to start a screensaver, but don’t feel like locking your computer with the usual Win+L keyboard shortcut.

Create Icons to Start the Screensaver on Windows Vista>>

Shutdown, Reboot, Sleep, Hibernate or Lock Your PC

If you dislike the shutdown menu on the Windows Vista start menu, you aren’t alone. Rather than using that tedious popup menu, you can simply place shortcuts for each function on your desktop or quick launch bar.

If you are using a dual boot scenario between Vista and XP, you can even create a shortcut that reboots the computer into the alternate version of Windows, instead of having to wait to choose the other OS from the boot menu.

Create Shutdown / Restart / Lock Icons in Windows Vista>>
Create Shortcuts to Quickly Reboot to the Alternate OS in a Vista/XP Dual Boot>>

Access Your Shortcuts Quickly with the Keyboard

Rather than using the mouse to launch these shortcuts or trying to assign hotkeys to all of them, you can put all of the shortcuts into a folder and then index them in Lifehacker favorite Launchy for quick access from the keyboard.

Instead of using Launchy, you could use previously mentioned Executor, Adam’s (and my) new favorite application launcher to index these shortcuts, or you could take it one step further and assign a custom command to run your shortcut. Simply open up the settings dialog, and drop the shortcut onto the drop box below, and it will fill in all the details. You’ll have to manually choose your keyword and the icon, however.

I decided to use ?cleanup as my custom command to run CCleaner silently to match the other system commands already offered in Executor.

You can add even more shortcuts to your collection of commands with the previously mentioned Nircmd and Wizmo command line utilities.

What shortcuts are most useful for you? Let us know in the comments.

The How-To Geek is a tech writer and geek enthusiast who loves to control every aspect of his computer from the keyboard. More of his tips and tweaks can be found daily at

Speed Up Your Vista Installation with vLite on a Flash Drive [Step By Step]

Sometimes the most effective way to clean up Windows is to just wipe your hard drive and start over with a fresh re-installation, and that process can be so long and tedious—unless you know the shortcuts. Power Windows re-installers already know about slipstreaming with nLite for XP and using vLite for Windows Vista to trim down your installation disk to just the bare essentials and speed up the process. If you want to speed up your reinstall even further, you can copy your Windows installation files over to a bootable USB stick that has much better transfer rates. Here’s how.

Create Your Custom vLite Install

You already know the details of how to use vLite, since that’s been covered already. What we’re going to do is follow the same steps, customizing anything that you want to change…

Then you’ll want to click the Apply button at the bottom when you are done.

VLite will prompt you to rebuild the installation files, which it copied to your hard drive. This process will take quite a long time, but at the end your source files should be updated.

You should now have a folder with installation files that look very similar to the actual installation CD. These are the files we will need to copy to your flash drive.

Of course you could simply use the regular Vista DVD, or even just mount your vLite ISO image instead, but this saves you from the extra step.

Prepare Your USB Drive

Open up an administrator mode command prompt by right-clicking on the shortcut and choosing Run as Administrator, then type in diskpart to load up the disk partitioning command line tool.

The most important step is to run the following command, which will give you the numbers of the disks, so you can use it in the next command (and not accidentally remove a partition on another drive).

list disk

Now that you know the correct number for the disk, you can use the select disk command, substituting the number 1 for whatever number your flash drive is set to:

select disk 1

Now you can run the rest of the commands, which will remove any partitions before creating a new FAT32 partition and setting it to active so it can boot.

create partition primary
select partition 1
format fs=fat32

That final assign command will let you access the drive from Explorer, so we can copy the files. You’ll want to copy all of the files from your installation DVD or from the vLite folder over to your flash drive.

At this point you should be able to stick the USB drive in your computer and boot from it. Note that you might have to enable USB flash booting support in the BIOS, and often it helps to use the shortcut key for your BIOS boot menu.

Got any other tips for a speedy Windows installation? Let us know in the comments.

How to Block Distracting Animated Favicons [Firefox Tip]

If you've spent any time stumbling around the net, you've run across a site using an irritating animated favicon—a moving icon that shows up in the address bar, the site's tab, and even the bookmarks toolbar in Firefox. (Here’s one at the DHL site.) While there’s no way by default to disable animated icons in Firefox other than completely disabling all favicons, there are a couple of possible ways to block a particularly distracting web page icon.

Blocking for a Single Site

If there’s a single site that is giving you trouble, you can use the Adblock Plus Firefox extension to block the offending favicon. Just open up Blockable items, find the favicon in the list and choose “Block this item” to get rid of it.

Replace Favicons with Favicon Picker

Instead of blocking the icon, you can choose to replace it with the Favicon Picker extension, although this method requires you to bookmark the site before you can replace the icon. Just open up the properties for the bookmark, and you can either pick an image file to use as the icon, or use the default icon with the Blank button.

Once you’ve changed the icon, you can delete the bookmark and the change should stick as long as you have the extension installed.

Blocking (Almost) All Animated Favicons

Since almost all of the animated favicons have the filename “favicon.gif”, we can use a Stylish user script or dig into Firefox’s userChrome.css tweak to hide any image with that file name from appearing as the bookmark or tab icon.

If you are using the Stylish Firefox extension, create a new blank style, and paste in the following code, which will replace animated icons on the bookmarks bar with the default icon and leave the favicon blank on the tab bar.

.bookmark-item[image*="favicon.gif"] .menu-iconic-icon,
.bookmark-item[image*="favicon.gif"] .toolbarbutton-icon
.bookmark-item[image*="favicon.gif"]:not([container]) .menu-iconic-icon,
.bookmark-item[image*="favicon.gif"]:not([container]) .toolbarbutton-icon {
  width: 0 !important; padding-left: 16px !important;
  background: transparent url(chrome://global/skin/icons/folder-item.png)  no-repeat !important;
#page-proxy-favicon[src$="favicon.gif"], tab[image$="favicon.gif"] .tab-icon{
  width: 0 !important; padding-left: 16px !important;

You should be able to immediately see the favicons disappear by clicking the Preview button. If you are satisfied, click Save and they should be gone.

(Here are some more functional Stylish user scripts that can improve your browsing experience.)

If you don’t want to install the Stylish extension, you can still use this tweak by creating a userChrome.css file in your Firefox profile directory, and paste in the same code from above (make sure Firefox is not running).

Note that this style doesn’t seem to disable the icons if you are using the Awesome bar to search for a bookmark, or in the bookmarks manager. Got any other tips for killing animated icons? Post ’em up in the comments.

Debunking Common Windows Performance Tweaking Myths [Mythbusting]

As a tech writer, one of my biggest pet peeves is the plethora of bad advice littered across almost every web site dedicated to system tweaking. Besides the tweaks that simply don't work, some of them will actually cause your computer to run even slower—or worse. Let's examine some of the most offensive myths out there regarding PC performance tweaking, and debunk them once and for all.

Disabling QoS to Free Up 20% of Bandwidth

This tip made the rounds with people believing that Microsoft always allocates 20% of your bandwidth for Windows Update. According to the instructions, you were supposed to disable QoS in order to free up bandwidth. Unfortunately this tip was not only wrong, but disabling QoS will cause problems with applications that rely on it, like some streaming media or VoIP applications.

Rather than taking my word for it, you can read the official Microsoft response: “There have been claims in various published technical articles and newsgroup postings that Windows XP always reserves 20 percent of the available bandwidth for QoS. These claims are incorrect… One hundred percent of the network bandwidth is available to be shared by all programs unless a program specifically requests priority bandwidth.”

Make Vista Use Multiple Cores to Speed Up Boot Time

boot_option.jpgThis bogus tip made the rounds recently and almost everybody got caught including Lifehacker and big brother site Gizmodo… although commenters called it out quickly on both sides, and the editors updated the posts. (That’s yet another reason to always participate in the comments here.)

According to this tip, you were supposed to use MS Config to modify the “Number of processors” drop-down on the Boot tab. The problem is that this setting is only used for troubleshooting and debugging, to be able to determine if there is a problem with a single processor, or for a programmer to test their code against a single core while running on a multi-core system. Windows will use all your processors by default without this setting.

Clearing Out Windows Prefetch for Faster Startup

The Prefetch feature in Windows XP caches parts of applications that you frequently use and tries to optimize the loading process to speed up application start time, so when a number of sites started suggesting that you clean it out regularly to speed up boot time it seemed like good advice… but sadly that’s not the case, as pointed out by many Lifehacker commenters.

The Prefetch feature is actually used as a sort of index, to tell Windows which parts of an application should be loaded into memory in which order to speed up application load time, but Windows doesn’t use the information unless it’s actually starting an application. There’s also a limit of 128 files that can be stored in the prefetch folder at any point, and Windows cleans out the folder automatically, removing information for applications that haven’t been run as frequently. Not only that, but a well-written defrag utility will use the prefetch information to optimize the position of the files on the disk, speeding up access even further.

Windows expert Ed Bott explains it:

The .pf files don’t get used at all until you run a program. What actually happens when you click an icon is that Windows uses the information in the Prefetch folder to decide which program segments to load and in what order to load those pages.

Cleaning the Registry Improves Performance

The Windows registry is a massive database of almost every setting imaginable for every application on your system. It only makes sense that cleaning it out would improve performance, right? Sadly it’s just a marketing gimmick designed to sell registry cleaner products, as the reality is quite different… registry cleaners only remove a very small number of unused keys, which won’t help performance when you consider the hundreds of thousands of keys in the registry.

This isn’t to say they are completely useless, of course. I’d still recommend cleaning the registry when you are trying to troubleshoot a problem caused by uninstalling buggy software that leaves entries behind, but even then you should be very careful to use a reputable application like previously mentioned CCleaner and review the entries before deleting anything.

Ed Bott weighs in with a stronger opinion:

I’d go a step further: Don’t run registry cleaner programs, period. I won’t go so far as to call them snake oil, but what possible performance benefits can you get from “cleaning up” unneeded registry entries and eliminating a few stray DLL files?

Clear Memory by Processing Idle Tasks

By this point you should be starting to get the picture… if something sounds too good to be true, it likely is. This well-traveled tip usually claims that you can create an “undocumented” shortcut to Rundll32.exe advapi32.dll,ProcessIdleTasks that will clear out memory by processing all of the idle tasks wasting memory in the background.

What’s the problem? Those idle tasks aren’t actually waiting in the background… what you are effectively doing is telling the computer that you’ve walked away so it can now do other processing while you are idle. Except you aren’t. The real purpose of this functionality is to finish all processing before running benchmarks to ensure consistent times, and according to the Microsoft documentation there’s a whole different story:

When called from the command line, the ProcessIdleTasks work is done in the background asynchronously. It can take 10 to 15 minutes for idle tasks to complete. Task Manager will report processes running, and the disk will likely be active during this time.

Read more at The Life of a Techno-Guru blog in a post called Response to Digg Article Claiming to Free up Memory.

Clean, Defrag and Boost Your RAM With SnakeOil Memory Optimizer

Just take a quick look at any download site, and you’ll find hundreds of products that claim to “optimize RAM to make your computer run faster”. Give me a break! Almost all of these products do the same things: they call a Windows API function that forces applications to write out their memory to the pagefile, or they allocate and then deallocate a ton of memory quickly so that Windows will be forced to page everything else.

Both of the techniques make it appear that you’ve suddenly freed up memory, when in reality all you’ve done is trade in your blazing fast RAM for a much slower hard drive. Once you have to switch back to an application that has been moved to the pagefile, it’ll be so slow you’ll be likely to go all Office Space on your machine.

Windows expert Mark Russinovich agrees:

At best, RAM optimizers have no effect, and at worst, they seriously degrade performance.

Disabling Shadow Copy/System Restore Improves Performance

I’ve barely come across a Windows Vista tips site that doesn’t tell you to disable System Restore to speed up performance, because it takes up to 15% of your hard drive by default, which sounds like good advice. Except it’s not.

The reality is that System Restore only actually kicks in when you are installing updates or applications, or at pre-scheduled times in the day, and the automatic checkpoints will only happen when your computer is not being used. These checkpoints allow you to easily roll back your system to a pre-crash state, and I can tell you from experience that System Restore is a critical feature when your Vista machine has problems, allowing you to easily get back to a working state.

Instead of disabling System Restore to free up space, Ed Bott suggests that you simply use Disk Cleanup to remove all but the most recent restore point. (Under the More Options tab, you’ll find a Clean up button).

Enable SuperFetch in Windows XP

Somebody decided to start spreading the myth that you could enable SuperFetch in Windows XP by adding the same EnableSuperfetch key into the registry that Windows Vista has, and it spread like wildfire. Naturally, this tip was completely bogus.

The good news is that this tip is one of the few that will not harm your system in any way, as long as you don’t break something while editing the registry. If you insist on using it, I won’t complain.

If you want some proof, you can use the strings.exe utility to see that “superfetch” doesn’t exist anywhere in the XP kernel, or you can believe Ed Bott and Mark Russinovich, who have already debunked this myth.

Disabling Services to Speed Up the Computer

Perhaps the most common myth is the advice to disable all services that you aren’t using. I realize this will generate some controversy, so let me clarify: Disabling non-essential services that are NOT part of Windows will sometimes yield a performance gain if you have identified those services as causing a problem. You can identify or disable those services by opening msconfig.exe and checking the box for “Hide all Microsoft services” on the Services tab:

The problem with disabling services is that your devices will often not work once you do: for instance, I disabled the “Unknown” dlbt_device service in the list above, and could no longer print to my Dell printer… disabling the VMware services made VMware unable to run, and so forth.

You should be even more careful to not disable built-in Microsoft services in Windows, except for a select few under certain circumstances:

  • SuperFetch—This caching service preloads applications into memory, and actually does work. The problem is that it can cause your hard drive to do a lot of grinding while it's working, which is especially irritating on a laptop.
  • Windows Search—If you don't use the Vista search or you use an alternate desktop search engine, you really don't need this service and can increase performance quite a bit by disabling it.
  • Windows Defender – If you are already using another anti-malware product, you really don’t need this running as well.

Ed Bott’s summary speaks for itself:

If someone tries to talk you into disabling a bunch of other services, ask them what you stand to gain. I’ll bet they can’t tell you.

Editor: Readers should note that a recent Windows Vista tweaking guide, offered for download by Microsoft, does suggest disabling unneeded services.

When it comes to performance tweaking, a very large amount of testing is required each and every time you make a change. The better option is to simply install more RAM and clean up your PC if you are having performance problems, and perhaps demand a little more proof before applying secret hacks.

The How-To Geek is a tech writer and geek enthusiast who loves to tinker with hidden settings that actually work. More of his tips and tweaks can be found daily at

Closing Microsoft Office’s Annoying Clipboard Bar [Office Tip]

As anyone who works in an industry that uses Microsoft Office exclusively can tell you, there are certain Office annoyances that grate on your nerves over time. For me, one of the biggest Office annoyances is the Clipboard bar that decides to dock itself to the side of whichever Office application I had the misfortune of using Ctrl+C in.

You can remove it by clicking the Options button at the bottom and unchecking the options to “Show Office Clipboard”, and closing the panel. But each time I sit down on a new install I’m annoyed all over again.

Instead of creating text snippets that can be inserted anywhere like Texter, or working across all applications like previously mentioned Ditto, the Clipboard bar is an Office-only feature, leaving the question that must be asked: Does anybody use this feature? Better still, do you have a preferred clipboard trick that saves you time? Let us know in the comments.

How to Make Windows Vista Less Annoying [Windows Vista]

Editor: Say hello to fellow tech writer and Lifehacker reader The How-To Geek, who was kind enough to pull together some of best Windows Vista power tweaks here on Lifehacker today.
Whether it's the nagging prompts or the irritating notifications, Windows Vista's default settings can grate on your nerves… which doesn't help you be the productive person you want to be. A few simple tweaks can cut down on the irritation—and drastically alter your views on Vista. Let's take a look at some of the best ways to tame the Vista beast and make it a less naggy operating system to work on.

First, considering Windows Vista’s tendency to use up resources and slow down, make sure you clean up your computer’s clutter, and that you have a decent amount of memory (1GB is the bare minimum for Vista). If you need to upgrade, you can check out Adam’s guide to installing memory, after determining the type of memory your computer needs. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to run Vista on a machine that isn’t up to snuff. Once you’re working with the right amount of memory, it’s time to get tweaking.

Make UAC Less Annoying

01runregedit.png We’ve all seen the Mac versus PC ads making fun of Vista’s User Account Control, and likely you already know how to disable it. However, we couldn’t put together a list of Vista annoyances without including some methods to make UAC just a little less annoying. Rather than disabling it entirely, you can disable just for administrators, disable the secure desktop, or even create shortcuts to disable UAC for a specific application.

Four Ways to Make UAC Less Annoying on Windows Vista>>

Keep Windows Update from Rebooting Automatically

02restart.png How many times have you been right in the middle of something when Windows prompted you to reboot for updates? Or worse… you were right in the middle of something, stepped away for a bit, and come back to find your computer has restarted itself because Windows Update decided to. Sure, you can disable automatic reboot temporarily, but if you leave your computer on with applications open, it’s much better to prevent Windows Update from rebooting your computer with a simple registry hack.

Prevent Windows Update from Forcibly Rebooting Your Computer>>

Stop Losing the Sleep Button to Windows Update

03sleeprestart.png It’s the end of a long day, and you want to just put your computer in sleep mode instead of shutting everything down, so you click on the start orb and click Sleep like you always do… except Windows has changed the Sleep button to “Turn off and Install Updates”. Now you have to wait for the long painful process of installing updates while you sit there and get angry that you just lost your place.

Stop Windows Update from Hijacking the Sleep Button>>

Disable the Irritating Click Sounds

04clicksounds.png Have you ever noticed that every time you open a folder in Vista, or click on a link in Internet Explorer, an irritating click sound plays in your speakers? You might have thought your mouse was getting more vocal, but it’s actually just an annoying sound effect that’s enabled by default. A few quick steps later, you can have that annoyance disabled… just look under Sound in Control Panel, and turn off the sound for “Start Navigation.”

Turn Off Windows Explorer Click Sounds in Windows Vista>>

Use Compatibility Mode to Make Applications Work

05compatibilitymode.pngWith all of the changes in Windows Vista, it’s no surprise some applications just flat-out don’t work. The best bet is always to check with the manufacturer to see if they have a Vista-compatible version, but if that’s not an option you can always use Compatibility mode. I’ve found that this especially helps when running video games or other software that wouldn’t be updated over time.

Using Windows Vista Compatibility Mode>>

Fix File Copying Problems

05copyfast.png One of the biggest complaints people have had with Vista is the speed of copying files compared to XP, especially over mapped drives. If you don’t want to replace Windows file copying with previously mentioned Teracopy, there’s a system tweak that you can do to change your network file copying to acceptable levels. Note: You should make sure that you’ve updated to Service Pack 1, as there are significant file copying fixes.

Fix Problems With Copying Large Files in Windows Vista>>

Stop Hard Drive Grinding

06index.png Have you ever noticed that your hard drive never seems to stop grinding when using Windows Vista? You can make Vista behave by disabling SuperFetch, and trim down the number of items being indexed by the built-in search, or even disable it altogether if you don’t use it.

How to Disable SuperFetch on Windows Vista>>

Speed Up or Disable Windows Search Indexing in Vista>>

Stop the Annoying Pop-up Notification Balloons

07popups.png If you’ve turned off automatic updates, the firewall or just aren’t running with the “recommended” settings, Vista will annoy you with messages about checking your computer security. You could take the drastic step of disabling all notification balloons entirely, or if you want to only get rid of this annoyance, you can simply tell the Security Center to stop bugging you.

Disable All Notification Balloons in Windows Vista>>

Restore Missing Icons

08icons.png Every version of Windows seems to have different icons on the desktop or Quick Launch by default, but unfortunately Windows Vista makes it far too easy to delete the built-in icons, and unsuspecting users aren’t sure how to get them back. You can easily restore the Flip3D or Show Desktop icons, or you can hit the link to restore Recycle Bin and other built-in desktop icons.

Restore Missing Desktop Icons in Windows Vista>>

Install XP on Your Vista Computer

08bootmgr.png If all else fails and you simply can’t get used to Vista’s quirks, you can always install Windows XP on your pre-installed Vista PC, either as a dual-boot, or completely replacing Vista. This is especially useful for gamers or anybody running old software that won’t run with compatibility mode mentioned above.

Install Windows XP on Your Pre-Installed Windows Vista Computer>>

For more Vista tweaks, check out Lifehacker’s previously posted Vista upgrade power tips.

What annoys you most in Windows Vista? Tell us in the comments.

The How-To Geek>> is a tech writer and geek enthusiast who loves Vista only after it’s been told to behave. More of his tips and tweaks can be found daily at


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