The Glitch - A Friend in Computing

The Glitch was conceived during 2004, and started out simply as a site to assist people with computer problems. Today the site has grown considerably and has become a one-stop shop for many aspects of modern computing and communication


Windows Vista

Q. Where do I find the 'Run Command' menu item? New Item
A. Oddly this item is not available by default, but it is easy to enable:

1. Right-click on an empty area on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen and select 'Properties'.
2. Now select the 'Start Menu' Tab
3. Now click the 'Customize' button
4. Scroll down the options until you get to 'Run Command'
5. Click the box next to it and click 'OK' and then 'OK' again to finish!

The 'Run...' command will now appear in the right-hand side of the Start menu.

Q. I already have a standard version of Windows Vista, but I would like to move to a 64-Bit edition, what is the best way to get hold of a 64-Bit version of Windows Vista ?
A. If you have already purchased a 32-Bit retail version of Windows Vista, you should be able to apply for 'Alternative Media' to obtain a 64-bit version for free.

The link below will take you to a Microsoft site, to check if your current copy of Vista is eligible:
Windows Vista Alternate Media

Q. How much RAM can Windows Vista address ?
A. This question can be more easily answered by splitting up Vista versions in to 32-bit and 64-bit editions:

32-Bit Editions:
All versions of Vista (32-bit) address a maximum of 4GB of memory. This 4GB maximum is a limitation on many of Microsoft's 32-bit operating systems.
64-Bit Editions:
Vista Home Basic (64-bit) can address up to 8GB
Vista Home Premium (64-bit) can address up to 16GB
Vista Business and Ultimate (64-bit) can address up to 128GB

Q. I took a backup copy of my Windows Mail folders, but how do I restore this ?
A. If you have followed the instructions given in the answer to the question below then:

Open Windows Mail.
Click the 'File' menu option.
Now click the 'Import' option and then click 'Messages'
Now select 'Microsoft Windows Mail' from the email format option.
Now enter the location of your backup mail folder store.
Finally select 'All Folders' and then 'Finish'

Q. How do I go about backing up my 'Windows Mail' messages ?
A. You could simply use the 'export' option from the 'File' menu.

But for a more robust solution, you could copy the entire Windows Mail folder structure.

As long as you haven't changed the default location of the Windows Mail store, you can find it at:

C:\Users\Account-name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WindowsMail\Local Folders\

(Account-name is the name of the user account you are using)

Just copy the entire contains of this folder!

Q. Can I use the tool called 'vLite' to reduce the size of my Vista installation ?
A. Yes, vLite can be used to remove features from Vista, thus reducing it's overall size, but vLite is a pre-installation tool, and  you will need to re-install Vista if you intend to use it.

Saying this, Microsoft does not recommend removing any features from Vista, and I basically agree with this, but I know that by just removing unwanted printer drivers from Vista's installation, you can shave 500MB off the final installation size of Vista, this is a significant reduction for a group of files you probably will never directly use!

To obtain a copy of 'vLite' visit my 'Vista Utilities' page within Software.

Q. Do I need this 'SuperFetch' thing ?
A. The idea behind Vista's 'SuperFetch' is that it monitors which programs you use the most and preloads these into memory so they are ready when you need them.

The trouble with this is that it can cause Vista to slow down while it's trying to preload your most used applications. For some 'SuperFetch' works very well, for others it's a real pain.

A good example where 'SuperFetch' causes a Vista system to slow down is in a computer where the operating system has been installed on a Solid State Drive (SSD). These drives are able to read/write so quickly, there is no need for 'SuperFetch' in the first place.

My advice is simple, disable the 'SuperFetch' service, and see how you go, if after a couple of days you think your system is slower without 'SuperFetch' re-enable it again!

Click the 'START' button
Select 'Control Panel' from the menu
Now click the 'System and Security' (green) heading
(If you get a 'User Account Control' warning just click 'YES')
At the bottom click the 'Administrative Tools' (green) heading
Now double click the 'Services' link
You will be presented with a long list of different services, you need to locate the service called 'Superfetch'; double click it to open it's properties page.
In the middle of this new dialogue you will see 'Startup Type' with a drop down menu next to it, click this menu and select 'Disabled'.
Finally click 'Apply' and 'OK'.

To re-enable 'SuperFetch' just follow the above instructions, but select 'Automatic' instead of 'Disable' from the drop down menu.

Q. Other than uninstalling unused applications and clearing temporary files is there any other way to reduce the amount of hard drive space being used of my Vista operating system ?
A. A 'Vista' operating system installation does use up a larger amount of hard drive space than older Microsoft operating systems like XP.

Saying this, if you have installed a Vista 'Service Pack' recently there will, more than likely, be a large number of older files still resident within the Vista system, that are no longer being used.

Before I proceed, please be aware that the following instructions will make any service packs and associated applications permanent. This, in theory, should be fine as you should not normally need to remove a service pack once it has been installed successfully.

Click the START menu
Select 'All Programs'
Then 'Accessories'
Click on the 'Command Prompt' and type 'cmd' (without the quotes)
Now type the following command:
'Compcln.exe' (again without the quotes)
When prompted to make the service pack permanent type 'Y'

Once complete, you should find that your Vista installation has shrunk significantly!

In case you have difficulties:
The full path of the cleanup command is as follows:

If this still does not work, you may not have the latest service pack installed. Thus you will need to use an older command. Use the same procedure as above, but make sure you type the command:
'Vsp1cln.exe' instead

Q. How can I partition my Hard Drive in Vista ?
A. If this was Windows XP you would have to use a third party piece of software to partition your hard drive, but the good news is that Vista has partitioning tools built-in.

Click the 'START' button
Select 'Control Panel' from the menu
Now click the 'System and Security' (green) heading
(If you get a 'User Account Control' warning just click 'YES')
At the bottom click the 'Administrative Tools' (green) heading
Now double click the 'Computer Management' link
And then click 'Disk Management' from the storage section

To create a new partition, you first need to 'Shrink' the current partition to make space for the new additional partition.

In the lower portion of the 'Disk Management' screen you will see a graphical representation of your hard drive and partitions. Right-click the partition you want to make smaller (Most often C:) and select 'Shrink' from the menu. Now enter the size you would like the new partition to be (in MBs), thus shrinking the current partition by the amount you enter.

You will now have two partitions, a smaller version of your original partition and a new 'Unallocated' partition.

To make the new partition useable, right-click the new 'Unallocated' partition and click 'New Simple Volume', the 'New Simple Volume' wizard will start.

Click 'Next' and then 'Next' again; briefly check the default assigned drive letter, (Windows just defines the next free drive letter, so this should be fine), and click 'Next'. Finally (and as long as you are not doing anything unusual) click 'Next' and 'Finish' to format the new partition.

If you make a mistake with the partition sizes, just right-click the new partition and use the 'Delete Volume' option (be careful that you delete the correct (new) partition), you can then use the 'Extend Volume' option to bring your old (original) partition back to it's previous size and start again!

Q. How do get Vista to recognise all of my processor cores on boot-up ?
A. It is a little known fact that Vista only uses one core of a multi-core processor during boot-up. To enable Vista to see/use more than one core during boot-up you need to edit your system configuration settings.

In the start/search bar via Vista's start menu, type msconfig.
Select the Boot tab and select the advanced button.
Now click the 'Number of processors' box and select the number of processor cores your CPU has.
Now Click OK and then Apply to make the changes.
Finally close msconfig.

Next time you start your system, Vista will utilise all your processor cores during the boot-up process.

Q. Why can't I see Vista Service Pack 1 when I perform a Windows update ?
A. As Microsoft actively blocks the listing of Vista's Service Pack 1 from any computer that is deemed to have incompatible software installed, this is the most likely reason you are not seeing it listed in Windows Update.

The main issues seem to be with systems that have Beta versions of SP1 already installed and those who have applications installed that are known to cause problems during the installation of SP1.

For more information on Vista SP1 problems visit the following link:

Q. Why can't I see my DVD drive in Vista any more ?
A. This is a known problem, and one that is often caused when you install certain versions of CD/DVD writing software on to Vista. What you will probably find is your DVD drive is listed with a yellow (!) mark in the Device Manager, notifying you that "Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware".

1. First try to delete the DVD drive from the Device Manager and then restart Vista.

2. If this does not help you will need to check the registry for issues:
Click START, click RUN, and type "regedit" (without the quotes).

In the left-hand pane, navigate to the following location:

In the right-hand pane, check that the main CLASS is correct (it should read DVD/CD-ROM Drives), then, if present, delete any entries that are called "UpperFilters" or "lowerFilters", ignore all .bak entries.

Close the registry editor and restart Vista.

Q. Why can't I playback DVDs on my version of Vista ?
A. This is a known problem and very frustrating, it seems that Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, decided that only certain versions of Vista would be able to playback DVDs. But all is not lost, if you own Vista Business or Vista Home Basic, all you need to do is to install an additional MPEG/2 codec to allow DVD playback.

Visit my Vista Utilities section within software and download and install the 'Vista Codec Package' this should solve your DVD playback issue.

Q. I have just upgraded my processor but my 'Windows Vista Performance Rating' is still only 3.0, why is it so low ?
A. Windows Vista's performance rating evaluates five main areas of your system. A score is allocated to your Processor, Memory, Graphics, Gaming Graphics and Primary Hard Drive. These scores will range between 1.0 and 5.9, but your base score is always the lowest scoring component. So if your new processor now scores 5.0, but your graphics card still only scores 3.0, your base score will still only be 3.0.

Vista's performance rating should only ever be used as a rough guide, my general advice, where possible, is to try and ensure that all five of the defined areas have a rating of around 3.0 or above, this way  your system should tick along OK.

Q. When I try to install an HP 1018 or HP 1020 Laser printer in Vista, they don't seem to be recognise correctly, am I doing anything wrong ?
A. This is because the driver disk provided in the box with your new HP 1018 or HP 1020 Laser printer is not Vista compatible.

But the good news is that HP have now released a Vista compatible version, and you can download them from the following links:

Vista Drivers for the HP 1018 Laser Printer

Vista Drivers for the HP 1020 Laser Printer

Q. When I bring Vista out of Sleep or Hibernation mode, my sound card stops working, why is this ?
A. This is a known Vista issue, often effecting high definition sound cards. The solution is simple as there is an official Microsoft patch you can download, just follow the link below:

Q. I have bought a Vista Upgrade package, but it seems I have to perform the upgrade from within Windows XP, is this correct ?
A. This is correct, the Vista upgrade versions normally have to be performed from within Windows XP but the annoying part is that when you perform this upgrade your existing Windows XP code is forfeited.

But all is not lost, I have it on good authority that the following procedure not only allows you to perform a clean install of Vista (via an upgrade disc) but it has the added bonus of allowing you to keep your old Windows XP code intact.

1. First boot from your Windows Vista Upgrade DVD and begin the install as normal.
2. When asked for your Product Key, just click 'Next' and install as a trial version only.
3. When asked, select the version of Windows Vista you are trying to install.
4. Allow the install to finished.
5. When you are at the Vista desktop, run the Vista installer again (yes...again) !
6. When asked for your Product Key, enter your full Vista code.
7. When asked, select 'Custom (adv)' install to allow a new, clean install of Vista.
8. Allow the install to finished and activate Vista in the normal way !

It is a little long winded but worth the extra effort!
NOTE: When finished, you can delete the directory named 'windows.old' from your hard drive.

Q. I have just bought a new PC with Vista pre-installed, but when I installed 'Zone Alarm' my activation status changed to 'Not Activated' what's happened ?
A. This is a known issue with 'Vista' and 'Zone Alarm'. To explain: A new PC with XP pre-installed has to be 'Activated', but a new PC with Vista pre-installed does not require 'Activation'. But when you install 'Zone Alarm', Vista's activation status, changes to 'Not Activated' and unless you notice this, after a few day, your Vista system will not let you login until you have 'Activated' Vista. This is a annoying issue, but one that Microsoft have sorted:
(The above patch should only be used with a pre-installed version of Vista)

Q. What is this Readyboost thing all about ?
A. Readyboost is a new feature in Vista, it utilises Flash memory, as a cache, to try to speed up the load times of applications. To take advantage of this feature, you will need a 'readyboost' certified USB memory stick (other USB memory sticks may also work, but performance improvements may vary).

Readyboost works best on systems with smaller amounts of main memory, for instance someone who is running a Vista system with 512MB or 1GB of memory will probably benefit from having Readyboost, but systems that have 2GB of memory or more will probably notice no difference. To get the most out of this feature ensure your Readyboost USB memory size is twice that of your main memory.

Setting up is very easy, just insert your USB memory stick and Vista's auto play dialogue will be displayed. From the list select 'Speed up my system' and Vista will then test the device for compatibility. If successful you will be shown the sticks's device properties with a new 'Readyboost' tab, just click the 'Use this device' option, and select the size.

Q. What version of Windows Vista should I get, I am a little confused ?  
A. There are three main consumer versions of Vista, they are called:
Vista Home Basic, Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate.

You can think of 'Vista Home Basic' as a direct replacement for 'Windows XP Home'.

'Vista Home Premium' adds to the basic version with 'Media Centre' capability for those who want to make their PC into a home-entertainment hub for playing music and watching movies and TV. 'Vista Home Premium' also adds XBox 360 compatibility, it is basically for the slightly more demanding computer user, but no more difficult to use than the 'Vista Home Basic' Version.

'Vista Ultimate' is for the computer enthusiast, it has all the features of Vista Premium and much more. Vista Ultimate users will be privy to 'Vista Ultimate Extras', these cutting-edge programs and innovative services are provided free. Other unique features include support for Tablet PCs and advanced mobile devices. You will also get a 64-bit version of Vista Ultimate as standard in the full retail version.

Q. Vista keeps asking me to confirm changes that I make to my system, all these extra clicks are really getting irritating, is there anyway I can turn them off ?  
A. These 'extra' clicks are mostly to do with Windows Vista's built-in 'User Account Control' or UAC. This new protection in Vista is there to try and stop unauthorised changes to your system, by manually asking you to confirm certain changes you make.

This can be irritating, but it does provide you with important protection against malware or other insidious pieces of software that try to alter your system. Because of this my recommendation must be to leave it enabled.

Saying this, as long as you are fully aware of the advantages/disadvantages of UAC then visit my Vista Utilities section within software and download and install the utility call 'TweakUAC' , as this is the simplest way to turn UAC on and off.

The manual way to turn UAC on and off is to use the option in the 'User Account' section within Control Panel.

Q. Why do I keep getting the 'Windows Mail' error message: "This language is no longer available for Spell Checking. Please select another in the Spelling Options Dialogue." ?  
A. This issue can be solved by:
1. Opening Windows Mail, and from the main menu select 'Tools'.
2. Then select the 'Options' menu item.
3. A new dialogue will be displayed, select the 'Spelling' Tab.
4. From the drop down list of languages select 'English' and  'Apply'.
5. Finally click 'OK' to finish.

NOTE: If 'English' is already selected in the drop down box, then select a different language first (Click 'Apply') then select 'English' again (Click 'Apply') to re-confirm the entry.


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