I’m big into customizing my desktop. I’ve been an Object Desktop user for years… and I’m in love with Windowblinds. I was stoked when I first heard about Vista’s Gadgets, but after running Vista I can tell you that they suck, take up space, and use up memory. It’s basically useless eye candy. Thankfully, disabling it is pretty simple. Just right click on the side bar or side bar icon, select properties and uncheck the â€œStart Sidebar when Windows startsâ€ checkbox. Done. You’ll have to reboot to notice the effect, to close it without rebooting simply right click on the icon and select exit.
Windows task manager has finally received a much needed make over. Something that’s always irked me was that I’d see these processes but not necessarily know where they are running from. In Vista you can customize the processes tab. The easiest way to open task manager is to right-click anywhere on your task bar (or the clock) and select Task Manager from the popup. When task manager pops up, select the Processes tab. You’ll see a list of running applications, the user they are running under etc. With Vista you can add some additional useful info. At the top of the window select View -> Select Colums. When presented with the list select Image Path Name and Command Line and you’ll now see where your processes are executing. The screenshot below shows an example of what it will look like after you’ve made the change (click the thumbnail for a full screen image).
Vista’s start menu search box is one of the nicer touches to the new OS. In fact I rarely use the programs menu’s anymore and instead just start typing the name of the program I want to run. I’ve always been big on keeping my start menu clean. I create logical categories like Media for DVD burning software and graphic programs, System for antivirus and compression utils, Games for… duh… games, etc. For most users, their start menu is a nightmare.Â You know who you are, you have folders that pop out under all programs that scroll out 2-3 levels deep.
With Vista you have Instant Search and you are never more than a few keystrokes away from whatever you’re looking for. This feature, which is available almost anywhere you are in Vista, enables you to search for a file name, a property, or even text contained within a file. It’s uber slick. Instant Search is also contextual, optimizing its results based on your current activityâ€”whether it’s searching Control Panel applets, looking for music files in Windows Media Player, or looking over all your files and applications on the Start menu.
So with all this power, what is there to do? Tweak it! The biggest detraction from the search is that by default it searches an index of all files on your computer. Seriously, how often are you going to do that? Probably never, the search box isn’t a good use of searching for a file on your PC.
To change the settings right click on the Orb (previously called the start button) and click properties. You’ll see a dialog like the one to the left (click to see full size image), scroll down to the search options. I’ve disabled search files. As I said above, I don’t think the start menu is the right interface for searching for files across the entire pc. If you don’t use Windows mail and contact you can disable Search Communications. If you favor FireFox over IE, you can disable Search favorites and history too. If you are an IE user, you might wanna leave this on. I personally find this a LOT easier to find a webpage that I wanted to go to, but couldn’t remember, than the IE history. I suggest leaving Search Programs on… as that’s the seriously cool feature of Instant Search.