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MCITP 70-623 Exam Cram: Windows Vista Post-Installation Tasks

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This chapter shows where and how to begin turning your Vista computer into something usable by configuring it to "feel good," the way you want it to.
This chapter is from the book

Terms you'll need to understand:

  • u2713.gif Windows Sidebar
  • u2713.gif Sidebar Gadgets
  • u2713.gif Windows Aero
  • u2713.gif Windows Vista–Capable PC
  • u2713.gif Windows Vista Premium Ready
  • u2713.gif Windows Vista Display Driver Model (WDDM)
  • u2713.gif DirectX 9
  • u2713.gif Pixel Shader 2.0
  • u2713.gif Administrator
  • u2713.gif Standard user
  • u2713.gif Privilege elevation
  • u2713.gif Password reset disk
  • u2713.gif Windows Easy Transfer tool
  • u2713.gif Disk Defragmenter
  • u2713.gif Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID)
  • u2713.gif ReadyBoost
  • u2713.gif Windows Media Center
  • u2713.gif Windows Media Player
  • u2713.gif Streaming content
  • u2713.gif Rip content
  • u2713.gif Digital Rights Management

Techniques you'll need to master:

  • u2713.gif Configuring the Windows Vista Sidebar with Gadgets
  • u2713.gif Configuring Windows Vista Aero
  • u2713.gif Configuring administrator and standard users
  • u2713.gif Creating and using a password reset disk
  • u2713.gif Using the Windows Easy Transfer tool
  • u2713.gif Configuring ReadyBoost
  • u2713.gif Performing disk defragmentation
  • u2713.gif Optimizing Media Center
  • u2713.gif Ripping content in Media Player

So now you've gotten Windows Vista installed. Where do you begin the next step in turning this computer into something usable? How do you configure it to "feel good," the way you want it to? That is exactly what you'll learn in this chapter on Windows Vista post-installation tasks.

After a successful installation, the Windows Vista Welcome Center appears. This introduces the user to the standard configuration areas of the computer, shown in Figure 2.1.

Figure 2.1

Figure 2.1 Windows Vista Welcome Center.

You can either minimize or close the Welcome Center, but if you want it to stop popping up with every login, you must clear the Run at Startup check box, in the lower-left corner of the Welcome Center window.

You need to know how to configure the desktop and use tools in the following areas:

  • Windows Sidebar
  • Windows Aero
  • Administrator accounts and standard user accounts
  • Windows Easy Transfer
  • Application installation and configuration
  • Performance improvement in Windows Vista
  • Media Center
  • Media Player

Windows Sidebar

Windows Sidebar, a new feature in Windows Vista, is a glasslike desktop enhancement that acts as an anchor for useful applications called Gadgets.

Enable Sidebar by selecting Start, All Programs, Accessories, Windows Sidebar, as shown in Figure 2.2.

Figure 2.2

Figure 2.2 Enabling Windows Sidebar.

By default, Vista loads the clock, the slideshow picture viewer, and the RSS feed headlines monitor, as shown in Figure 2.3.

Figure 2.3

Figure 2.3 Default Gadgets on Windows Sidebar.

You can configure a few properties of Windows Sidebar by right-clicking Sidebar and selecting Properties. This brings up the dialog box shown in Figure 2.4.

Figure 2.4

Figure 2.4 Configuring Windows Sidebar.

You'll also notice that Sidebar places an icon in the system tray in the lower-right corner of your desktop. You can access the Sidebar menu by right-clicking this icon in the system tray.

The default installation of Windows Vista includes about a dozen Gadgets:

  • Calendar
  • Clock
  • Contacts
  • CPU Meter
  • Currency converter
  • Really Simple Syndication (RSS) Feed Headlines
  • Notes
  • Picture Puzzle
  • Slideshow picture viewer
  • Stocks
  • Weather monitor

You can access these Gadgets by right-clicking Sidebar and selecting Add Gadgets. This brings up the Gadget Gallery, as shown in Figure 2.5.

Figure 2.5

Figure 2.5 The Gadget Gallery.

By selecting the Get More Gadgets Online hyperlink or the www.gallery.microsoft.com hyperlink in the lower-right corner of the Gadget Gallery, you can access and download a large number of Microsoft and third-party Gadgets. The files you download will have a .gadget extension and must be installed into the Gadget Gallery to be available for addition to Windows Sidebar.

After the gadget is installed on the computer and added to Windows Sidebar, when you place the mouse pointer over the Gadget on Sidebar, you'll notice a small rectangular menu appear, as shown beside the Clock Gadget in Figure 2.7.

Figure 2.7

Figure 2.7 The Gadget menu.

This menu provides access to controls to close the Gadget using the X at the top, or to access the properties of the Gadget using the wrench. Selecting the wrench on the Clock Gadget gives you a custom properties page, as shown in Figure 2.8.

Figure 2.8

Figure 2.8 The Clock Gadget properties.

Because Gadgets do many different things and are written by many different developers, these properties dialogs differ greatly.

Some Gadgets can be adjusted relative to their level of opacity. Because these are always on the desktop, Microsoft figured it was a good idea to give them different levels of opacity, in case you want to see what is behind the Gadget.

You can also detach Gadgets from Sidebar and place them anywhere on the desktop. Simply drag and drop them wherever you want them placed; you can also do this from the Gadget's right-click menu.

If you remove a Gadget from Sidebar, it is still available from the Gadget Gallery and can be added back to Sidebar.

Finally, using the plus sign (+) and the right arrow at the top of Sidebar, you can add multiple Sidebars with different combinations of Gadgets and then rotate Sidebar to present the desired Sidebar face.

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