Sunday, March 30, 2008

How to enable or disable Windows Vista Features

To Optimize vista up to your level of comfort and have a control for what to install and what not to have on the system (uninstall). Here is the guide to help you out to do so.

To access the Vista Features screen you should follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Start button to open your Start Menu. The Start button looks like this: Vista Start Button

  2. When the Start Menu opens click on the Control Panel menu option.

  3. When the Control Panel window opens click on the Uninstall a program option option under the Programs category. This option is shown by the arrow in the image below. If you are using the Classic View of the Control Panel, then you would double-click on the Programs and Features icon instead.

    Vista Control Panel

  4. You will now be presented with the Programs and Features screen, or Uninstall or change a program screen, as shown in the image below.

    Vista Programs and Features Screen

    To access the Windows features screen you need to single-click on the option labeled Turn Windows features on or off as designated by the arrow in the image above.

  5. Windows Vista will now ask for your permission to access the Windows Vista Features. You should click on the Continue button to give this permission.

  6. The Windows Vista Feature List window will now open displaying all the Features available for your version of Vista. An entry can be a single feature or a feature with sub features. When enabling features that have sub features it is possible to only enable those sub features that are required by you. This enables you to finely tune how you want Vista to operate.

    Windows Vista Feature List

    Next to each feature is a box that can have three states. If the checkbox is checked that means that the feature, and all of its subfeatures if it has any, are enabled. If the box is filled with a solid blue color, then that means that some subfeatures of this feature are enabled but not all of them. If the checkbox is empty, then that feature and none of its subfeatures are enabled.

    To enable a feature, simply put a checkmark next to the feature name. To disable a feature simply remove the check from the feature or one of its subfeatures. When you are happy with how you disabled and enabled the features, you should click on the OK button to save these changes.

Now that you know how to access the Windows Vista Feature List and to activate and disable features you can control what programs and capabilities are available to you when using Vista. For a description of each feature, if they are enabled by default, and whether or not you need it, please read Windows Vista Feature List.

Info extracted from its source at bleepingcomputer

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Speed up Vista with ReadyBoost

A very simple feature added to all Windows Vista products is "ReadyBoost". ReadyBoost is an exterior add-on system memory (RAM) feature that uses your USB drive to store commonly used files so that Vista doesn't have to go looking for these files on your hard drive. The flash drive that is used must meet with some general performance specifications in order to be used with ReadyBoost. ReadyBoost's minimum performance and space requirements are as follows:

· The device must be at least 64 MB

· The device must be USB 2.0

· It has to be able to read at 3.5 MB/s

· It has to be able to write at 2.5 MB/s

Once you install your USB flash drive, Windows Vista will perform a performance check automatically to ensure that it is fast enough to work with the ReadyBoost feature. If it fails this test, you will receive a prompt notifying you of this. If it passes, you will be asked if you would like to use this device with ReadyBoost. You are able to specify how much of the flash drives storage you would like to use with ReadyBoost. The rest of the memory would of course be available for file transfers and such.

Currently, USB flash drive manufactures are not producing any kind of "ReadyBoost" capable notifications on their products, so it is impossible to tell if the one that you've purchased will in fact work with ReadyBoost. Just make sure that you save your receipt so that you can return it.

Also, if you are running a machine that has decent memory installed already. You may not notice much of a benefit of using ReadyBoost. But, as your system gets older and you have installed many more applications on your hard drive, this feature may save you from having to go under the hood and install more internal random access memory (RAM).

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vista's security features

Below, is some of the outlined Vista's security features:

User Account Protection:

Vista's user account gives added protection and allows for users to be allowed to run applications under a standard account. But, in the event the standard account user is unknowingly trying to run a malicious code, Vista will intervene and not allow the user to continue. Or, if a standard user account is trying to install a hotel printer driver, Vista will just simply ask you to confirm your intensions and provide credentials.

Protection from malware:

Malware can cause company IT departments and their users to waste significant amounts of times in dealing with the effects that it creates. Windows Vista includes powerful features that can stop malware before it can cause any problems. Not only will this be a huge time saver for any IT department, but it will also allow the operating system to run much smoother.

Multi-tiered data protection:

By using advanced data protection technologies, Windows Vista reduces the risk of your data on a stolen/missing laptop from being compromised. Windows Vista supports full-volume encryption to prevent other operating systems from accessing its data.

Another optional disk access prevention feature is the TPM v1.2 chip (Trusted Platform Model) that can be installed on your computer to store encryption keys. By using the TPM, the entire system partition is encrypted (both the hibernation file and the user data).

Custom authentication mechanisms:

The use of a user name and password for many companies is no longer a fail safe method of security. Windows Vista has improved upon Smart Card support making it easier for developers to add custom authentication methods such as biometrics and tokens.

Network access protection:

An internal network can be compromised by its mobile computers not having the necessary updates and security settings available due to the use of unsecured networks at hotels, cafes, airports...etc. Windows Vista will only allow a computer to connect to an internal network if certain security criteria are met. If the system has been compromised, it will not be allowed in.


System administrators have full control via Group Policy over what applications are allowed or blocked from communicating with the network. The control of network access is a key component of network security.

Windows Service Hardening:

If an unlikely virus attack were to exploit a vulnerable service, Windows Service Hardening would limit the damage by preventing file system or registry changes from occurring.

Internet Explorer 7 enhancements:

IE7 uses many new features to protect against malicious Web sites, malware, phishing and spoofing attacks. The new Protected Mode would also allow a user to define their own security settings.

Other new features of Internet Explorer 7 include:

- Highlights the address bar when users visit a Secure Sockets Layer-protected site and lets them check the sites security certificate validity.
- If visiting an unsafe site, a phishing filter would warn the user of this risk.
- Clear all cached data with a single mouse click.

Browse more securely and confidently with Internet Explorer 7!