Windows Vista Tips & Tricks, Part 1: Page 2

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» View Multiple Web Pages at Once

Like to keep a lot of Web pages open at the same time? One of Internet Explorer 7's best new features is tabbed browsing, a feature taken from the Opera and Mozilla Firefox Web browsers that lets you easily switch between open Web pages within a single window. You can get this feature with XP's version of IE7, but exclusive to the Vista version of IE 7 is a Quick Tabs feature that allows you to view thumbnail versions of all your pages at once.

To use Quick Tabs, click the button ? the one with four boxes on it ? just to the right of Add to Favorites. (Next to that is a Tab List button that will show all your open tabs in list form.) Clicking any thumbnail in Quick Tabs view will call up the tab for that particular page.


» Your Start Menu on Steroids

Many Windows power users will be familiar with the Power Toys toolset available for Windows XP. While a similar collection of add-on tools for Vista isn't available just yet, one tool that would certainly qualify is the Start++ power tool. Start++ incorporates the 'Deskbar Shortcuts' functionality of XP's Windows Desktop Search tool, allowing you to create word- and character-combination aliases that you can use in the Start Search field of the Start++ menu.

For example, you could create an alias so that when you type y Dog Food in the Start Search field, your Web browser launches the Yahoo! search engine with search results displayed for the keyphrase 'dog food.' In the same way, Start++ makes it easy to launch programs, run scripts with parameters, etc.


» Quckly Snip a Screen Shot

Taking a screen shot in XP is an inexact science (PrintScreen, anyone?) unless you use a third-party utility, but the Snipping Tool built in to Vista (all versions except Home Basic) makes it a snip ? er, snap. You can use the tool to capture your entire desktop, a single window, or anything in between, and it's easy to see the part you want to capture because the tool dims any areas you haven't selected with the mouse.

The only trick to using the tool is first finding it, since it's not exactly front and center in Vista. To access the Snipping Tool, click the Windows icon (the orb), then type "snip," and select the 'Snipping Tool' that appears. You can then run the program and/or add a shortcut to the tool in the quick launch bar for quick access in the future. We'd like the tool more if there was a one-click button to send the captures to a graphics tool like Photoshop, but overall, the Snipping Tool is a welcome addition in Vista.


File & Application Management


» Restore a Previous Version of a File

Ever wish you could retrieve a previous version of a file without having to manually restore it from a backup? Vista offers a simple way to do it. Just right-click on a file in a folder or on the desktop and choose Restore previous versions. Highlight a file version and click Restore, and it will become the current version of the file. (Use this feature carefully, because all subsequent versions of the file will be lost.)


» Get More Process Information from Task Manager

It's not uncommon to use the Windows Task Manager to identify or end an errant application, but the Process tab in XP's Task Manager only displays cryptic filenames for running programs, which often means a trip to Google to figure out what program a file is associated with. Vista's Task Manager is much better, because its Process tab automatically displays a plain-English description for almost every entry, making it much easier to see what's what.

Vista's Task Manager will also let you right-click an entry and jump directly to the file's location on your hard drive, and if you want even more data on your programs, you can click View|Select Columns and choose from more than two dozen to add to the displayed information.


» Pump Up (or Down) the Volume

Ever jack up the volume in Windows XP to hear something only to have something else (like the system sound effects) blast out your eardrums? You can avoid this problem in Vista by configuring the sound level on a per-application basis.

Just right-click the speaker icon in the system tray, and select Open Volume Mixer, and you'll see a independent volume control for each sound-enabled application you have running. When you open additional applications, they'll be added to the controls as well.

This article was first published on WinPlanet.com.


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