With the launch of Windows Vista, Microsoft has introduced a new security feature called Windows Parental Controls. Windows Parental Controls allows a parent to configure, on a per user basis, various restrictions on what that user can do on the computer. These settings range from blocking websites to controlling what games they can play. Having access to these types of controls allows a parent to feel comfortable with their children using a computer and at the same time gives them the flexibility to customize these settings to their specific needs.
When purchasing a new computer one of the most frustrating experiences is moving existing data to the new computer from the older one. In the past when you wanted to transfer data you had to copy the data via a network, store it onto a DVD/CD/Floppy and then copy it back onto the new PC, or physically take the hard drive out of the old machine and install it into the new machine. The main problem using these methods was that you could only move files such as documents, pictures, movies, saved games, etc. E-mail could be moved but was a difficult a process. Moving settings and program configurations, on the other hand, was not possible, except for the experts, and you had to reconfigure each of the applications on the new computer. Windows Vista changes all this with a new bundled application called Windows Easy Transfer that can easily migrate data from Windows XP SP2, Windows 2000 SP4, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 operating systems. It is important to note that though you can transfer data from Windows 2000, you can not transfer settings.
Have you ever had an experience where you are using a lot of programs in Windows, or a really memory intensive one, and notice that your hard drive activity light is going nuts, there is lots of noise from the hard drive, and your computer is crawling? This is called disk thrashing and it is when you have run out of physical RAM and instead Windows is using a file on your hard drive to act as a virtual memory. Since writing and reading to a hard drive is much slower than reading from physical RAM, your computer's performance takes a huge hit.
The Snipping Tool is a program that is part of Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Window 8. Snipping Tool allows you to take selections of your windows or desktop and save them as snips, or screen shots, on your computer. In the past if you wanted a full featured screen shot program you needed to spend some money to purchase a commercial one. If you needed basic screen shot capability, past versions of Windows enabled you to take screen shots by pressing the the PrintScreen button to take a picture of your entire screen or Alt-Printscreen to take a screen shot of just the active window. This screen shot would be placed in your clipboard that you can then paste in another image program of your choice.
A Windows Vista feature is simply a set of programs or a particular capability of the operating system that can be enabled or disabled by an administrator. It is important to note that in Windows Vista, when you remove or disable a feature, you are not actually removing files from your hard drive, but rather just deactivating them. Therefore disabling a feature should not be used as a method of freeing up hard drive space. On the other hand, by disabling a feature you may gain an increase in performance due to memory and processor utilization no longer being allocated towards the particular feature.
In the past when you needed to resize a partition in Windows you had to use a 3rd party utility such as Partition Magic, Disk Director, or open source utilities such as Gparted and Ranish Partition Manager. These 3rd party programs, though, are no longer needed when using Windows as it has partition, or volume, resizing functionality built directly into the Windows Disk Management utility.
Some programs provide the ability to add arguments when executing it in order to change a particular behavior or modify how the program operates. As an example lets look at the command line argument for Firefox called safe-mode. If you start Firefox with the command line firefox.exe -safe-mode Firefox will start without any extensions or themes. As you can see adding a command line argument to the program's executable changed its default behavior.
One of the more frustrating experiences when using a computer is when you want to delete or rename a file or folder in Windows, but get an error stating that it is open, shared, in use, or locked by a program currently using it.
Windows Vista has made it a little harder to find the Folder Options settings than it had in previous versions. The easiest way is to use the Folder Options control panel to modify how folders, and the files in them, are displayed. You can still show the Folder Options menu item while browsing a folder, but you will need to hold the ALT key for a few seconds and then let go to see this menu.
A very common question we see here at Bleeping Computer involves people concerned that there are too many SVCHOST.EXE processes running on their computer. The confusion typically stems from a lack of knowledge about SVCHOST.EXE, its purpose, and Windows services in general. This tutorial will clear up this confusion and provide information as to what these processes are and how to find out more information about them. Before we continue learning about SVCHOST, lets get a small primer on Windows services