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Until instant-on technology makes a breakthrough in home computing, we’re left to our own devices to reduce system boot times. One surefire way to save a few seconds is by disabling the boot logo. Open the Start menu, select Run, and type msconfig. Under the Boot.ini tab, check the /NoGuiBoot box and apply the change.
Sizer (free, www.brianapps.net/sizer.html) displays the dimensions of any open window while resizing, making it an invaluable tool for web developers and anyone interested in grabbing screen captures. Manually resize a window to any resolution, or right-click and select a preset dimension, including any custom dimensions you create.
It’s a shame that SLI and CrossFire still don’t support gaming on multimonitor setups, and to add insult to injury, there’s always at least one open window that gets stuck out of view when in single-monitor mode. You might be tempted to reboot or even uninstall/reinstall the offending application, but you needn’t resort to such drastic measures. Instead, right-click the application in the taskbar, select Move, and then use your arrow keys to bring the window back into view.
Just like our clothes, our PCs are an extension of us, and we should dress them accordingly. Logon Studio (free, http://tinyurl.com/2kuys7) helps in this endeavor. The program lets you choose from a wardrobe of more than 500 logon backgrounds (http://tinyurl.com/mh7eq). Can’t find a style to suit your tastes? Make your own background from scratch or edit an existing background.
Because of the way Vista’s boot loader works, you’ll have much better luck with your dual-boot setup by first installing XP and then installing Vista. By going this route, Vista loads as the default option, but you can change this without any adverse effects. In Vista, right-click My Computer and select Properties, then Advanced system settings, then the Advanced tab. Click Settings under Startup and Recovery and select Earlier Version of Windows from the pull-down menu.
Many common Windows tasks come assigned with shortcuts; here are five guaranteed to increase productivity:
Quick, try to open the Task Manager without lifting your hand from the mouse. Unless you have unusually long fingers or a third hand growing from your torso, you can’t hit the CTRL-ALT-DEL combination without contorting into an unnatural position. Luckily, there’s an easy workaround. Navigate to C:\Windows\System32 and create a shortcut for taskmgr.exe. Right-click the new shortcut, select Properties, and assign a new hotkey combination in the Shortcut tab. Use this trick for any commonly used application.
On the left-hand side of the Save As dialog box sits a Save In sidebar; in it are common locations where you might want to save a file. To add your own folders to this list, type gpedit.msc in the Run box (or search box in Vista), then navigate to User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Windows Explorer, Common Open File Dialog; then, double-click Items Displayed in Places Bar. Here you can add up to five locations, including remote folders residing on your home network (e.g., \\MaxPC-Quad\Pictures).