10 top tweaks for Windows Vista, part 2

Over at ZDNet, I’ve just published part 2 of my 10 top Vista tweaks series. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here

Here’s a quick list of what’s in the new installment:

6. Save your favorite searches

The Start menu search box works just fine for quick, ad hoc searches. To really tap into the power of Windows Search, though, spend a little time to create searches that bring together the types of files you use most often (Word documents modified this month or last month, e-mail messages from Fred or Rick, and so on). Then save those searches so you can reuse them later or copy them to another computer.

7. Fine-tune your search settings

Speaking of Windows Search, did you know that there are three separate areas where you can tweak settings that control search behavior? Use these tweaks to make Start menu searches more useful, simplify the complicated advanced search syntax, and add IFilters to search inside types of files that aren’t supported by a default Vista installation.

8. Make the most of System Restore and shadow copies

Did you know that System Restore in XP and Vista use completely different techniques to save snapshots of data? In this tweak, I explain why you might want to increase the amount of space set aside for volume shadow copies. I also introduce a free utility that lets users of Windows Vista home editions find and restore files from automatically created backups.

9. Bring network files closer

The fastest way to get to files in any network location is via a shortcut. And the best place to save those shortcuts to network locations is in the Computer window. You can add shortcuts to shared folders, FTP sites, or websites where you publish files. Here’s how.

10. Master power management

In XP, you have standby and hibernate. Vista adds a third power state, called hybrid sleep. Here’s what you need to know and how you can tune a desktop system to take advantage of this useful mode.

As always, I welcome feedback and questions. You’re more likely to get a response here than in the rambunctious TalkBack section over there. Word of warning: it might take an extra day (or five) for me to respond as I’m away on vacation the rest of this week.

7 thoughts on “10 top tweaks for Windows Vista, part 2

  1. Ed, Hello! 😀

    I’d like to ask, I saw your Article and I went thru to Check the Hybrid Sleep and in My laptop is no available.

    I have a Toshiba A135-SP4035 with Windows Vista Bussiness SP1 (not OEM) and all Updates installed.
    What could have happened for this not to show up?

  2. Ed,

    Your tip about power management reminded me of a mysterious Windows tip I picked up a while back. It’s mysterious because it seems to be virtually unknown on the Internet– after several Google searched, I only found one website that describes the technique:


    Basically, if you hold down the Ctrl key while clicking Shut Down > Turn Off in Task Manager, the computer will shut down extremely quickly– I tested it and my computer (XP SP2) was off in less than 5 seconds.

    Have you ever heard of this before? I’m skeptical that the computer could really perform a safe shutdown in that amount of time, so I wonder what the purpose of this “feature” is.

  3. Ed:

    I really need to start becoming a regular visitor again. I learned something really important about the power management options today from reading Part II of your tweaks article. Thanks for the information!


  4. Ed:

    Thanks for your Vista tips. It’s nice to know that you can be a debating geek (Americans don’t do BP format, right?) and love computers at the same time. Anyway, I just want to ask why MS didn’t enable the “use natural language search” option via search by default in OOBE?


  5. Tony, how did you know I was a debating geek? That goes back 30 years or more…

    I will have to ask the search team why they disabled that option. I have a theory, but it’s just a guess…

  6. I don’t know if it’s worth telling you but this is what I got after I submitted the above comment. Am I doing something wrong?

    Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cache limiter – headers already sent (output started at /home/edbott/public_html/weblog/wp-content/plugins/SK2/sk2_second_chance.php:2) in /home/edbott/public_html/weblog/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-automatic-upgrade/wordpress-automatic-upgrade.php on line 92

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