Monday, March 31, 2008

Vista is Very Slow! Any Solutions?

I bet majority of people are facing the same issue – slowness when they migrate from Windows XP to Windows Vista. You may ask, what are the solutions?

The simplest solution is to turn OFF all the windows visual effect. However you will lose all the Vista nice looking interfaces (GUI). No one is aware of you’re actually using Vista. So, how do you keep the Vista interface without scarify performance?

Instead of choosing “Adjust for best performance”, you can select the “custom” in the performance options windows.

Let’s look at the cool 3D feature in Vista (i.e. Windows Button +Tab), when do you actually use it other than just to show off? It is a completely a useless feature. To disable that, you basically just uncheck the “Enable desktop composition”.

To keep the vista GUI without scarify any performance, I disable all the windows visual effect except for the following:
  1. Show preview and filters in folders
  2. Show thumbnails instead of icon
  3. Smooth edges of screen fonts
  4. Use visual styles on windows and buttons

Well, I like the preview and showing thumbnails. Without that, it doesn’t seem like I’m using Vista. Smooth edges of screen fonts makes the fonts easy to read I suppose. The last visual styles on window and buttons are the most important thing which enables the whole Vista GUI.

At last, why I want to use Vista GUI?

Is it because I want to show off? Is it cool? Nope, it is because it makes my fonts easy to be read in my laptop with 14 inch screen. I have tried many options including changing the font size, turning on Vista GUI is still the best solution. It really makes everything easy to read. I don't feel any performance drop as compared to disable all visual effects.

Hope this can help boost your windows performance but still enjoying the Vista experience at the same time.

P/S: You can also run defragment to improve your system performance.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Open a RAR File with Free Software Utility

I’m not really sure why the un-archive RAR utility is not come by default in windows since it can open various compress file format.

How to open a RAR file?

If you receive or download a *.rar file and unable to open it, you probably have heard of using the WinRAR to open it. However the problem is this WinRAR is evaluation copy! If you’re okay with evaluation copy - trial version, you can go ahead to download WinRAR software here.

To completely open the RAR with a free tool, you should try 7-Zip open source software.

Since 7-Zip this is the open source, don’t expect it is 100% free of bugs. I have been using it and I noticed there are few bugs here and there (e.g. browse button doesn't work). These bugs are usually minor and can be worked around pretty fast. Enjoy!

Download 7-Zip here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sound Recorder in Vista is Completely Useless

I’m sad to say that the sound recorder in MS Vista really sucks! A lot of useful features are gone after switching from XP to Vista. I really don’t understand why they want to do that. Did they do it in purpose? Some said it is for copy protection? Record it illegally? It doesn’t make sense because Windows Media Player has the recording capability.

From this:

To this:

Some of the cool features like increasing and decreasing the volume of recordings, adding echo, reversing, editing the file and etc have no longer there in MS Vista. The worst part is you CANNOT playback what you have recorded. You must save it and play it with Windows Media Player. What the heck?

With this new sound recorder, you can basically do 2 things only – record from microphone or line-in and save the file. That’s it. It is really inconvenient every time I’m trying to record a sound and playback.

Some workaround suggested steps are:

  1. Copy the c:\windows \System32\sndrec32.exe file from a Windows XP to Vista and run as Administrator.
  2. Right-Click the file and choose Run as Administrator.
Please don’t do that, it doesn’t work. I will suggest you to get any new recording software. I haven’t tried out any yet. If you have used any good one, please share.

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