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Windows Vista Tweaking and Customization Guide

Windows Vista Tweaking and Customization Guide

Postby shreader » Tue Nov 28, 2006 1:53 pm

[html]<img src="http://parcom.pro-networks.org/PROneT-News/WindowsVista.jpg" align="left"> <img src="http://parcom.pro-networks.org/PROneT-News/WindowsVista.jpg" align="right">[/html]

[html]<center>Windows Vista </center>[/html]

[html]<center>Tweaking and Customization Guide

[html]<center>The Betas and the Windows Support Teams are proud to present the official PROnetworks Tweaking Guide to improve performance and your overall experience with Microsoft Windows Vista. The Guide also seeks to help improve your general User Experience with Windows Vista.</center>[/html]

[html]<center>The Official PROnetworks Vista Installation Guide Installation Guide is HERE.</center>[/html]

[html]<center>The PROnetworks Windows Vista Tweaking Guides are a Work In Progress, and will continue to evolve as additional tips are tested.</center>[/html]

[html]<center>This PROnetworks Tweaking Guide covers Windows Vista </center>[/html]

Please be aware that The PROnetworks Betas Team has determined that in some cases, attempting to tweak Windows Vista can be counterproductive, leading to losses rather than gains in performance.

Before attempting these tweaks please make sure that your computer is considered Vista ready. This can be determined within XP be using the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor Available HERE.

For the purposes of this guide, PROnetworks considers a Vista-ready computer is to include the following:
  • Modern CPU (AMD 3000+ or better, Intel Pentium @ 3 GHz or better, Opteron, or similar processor whether x86 or x64, single or dual-core).
  • DirectX 9 capable Graphics Card or better (256 MB of on-card memory would be desirable)
  • 1 GB of single or dual-channel DDR or DDR2, or better RAM
  • A good quality PSU, to ensure smooth power supply management for this demanding OS (if you have a DirectX 9 capable Graphics Card or better)
  • A recent flat screen monitor
The above recommendations are for the best possible Vista Experience.

This Tweaking Guide provides guidelines both for users of Vista-ready hardware and for those with older machines.

Our thanks go to all who have contributed to making us aware of elements of this build for us to test, verify, and make mention of in this guide, and to our team of testers who have ensured this build has been thoroughly put through the mill to ensure your enjoyment.



[html]<a href="#Activation">Activation</a><a href="#tweakPRO">[/html]
[html]PROnetworks Tweaking Programs</a>[/html]
[html]<a href="#uac">Tweaking UAC / UAP</a>[/html]
[html]<a href="#person">Personalization</a>[/html]
[html]<a href="#tweaks">The Tweaks</a>[/html]
[html]<a href="#bcd">BCDEDIT</a>[/html]
[html]<a href="#dwm">DWM 3D Effects</a>[/html]
[html]<a href="#explorer">Tweaking Explorer</a>[/html]
[html]<a href="#vst">Vista Service Tweaks</a>[/html]
[html]<a href="#graphics">Viewing the Graphical Elements of Windows Vista</a>[/html]


[html]<a id="Activation">Activation</a>[/html]

There are two methods to Activate Windows Vista:
  1. Activation by Internet (Requires working Internet Connection)
  2. Activation By Phone
Activating over the Internet (Recommended and Default)
  1. Hit the Windows Key + Break to open up the system dialog in the control panel.

  2. Click on the bar that says 30 days (in the below photo, 7 days) left to activate.

    [html]<a id="image">Image</a>[/htm]

  3. Click Continue in the Windows Security popup window.
    In the next window you have two options. Click Activate Windows online now.
  4. You will see a window that says Activating Windows... with a green bar expanding horizontally across the screen as the process evolves.
Phone Activation

Phone Activation requires that your internet connection is not working. Vista will first try to activate by Internet and assuming the connection failed you will get a window with these options:
  1. Chose #3, "Show me other ways to activate".
  2. Another window will appear, saying "How do you want to activate Windows?"
  3. The next window will prompt you to Activate Windows now, and will provide three steps to receive an Activation ID.
  4. The following window says "Find available phone numbers for activation", with a pop-up scroll menu to choose the country you live in.
  5. Choose your country, and then press the Next button.
  6. The next window says Activate Windows now and has three steps to receive a activation ID.
Changing Product Key

In Windows Vista, the product key may be changed if the product key entered at Installation does not activate.
  1. Click Change Product Key (See Picture <a href="#image">HERE</a>)
  2. You will be prompted to enter the product key
  3. Windows will activate if the product key has been entered.
This should activate your copy of Windows Vista!


[html]<a id="tweakPRO">PROnetworks Software Programs</a>[/html]

In addition to offering this guide, PROnetworks has been busy at working creating programs to improve your Windows Vista experience. (Click the titles to go to the program website!)


Designed for both beginners and advanced users, VistaBootPRO can be used for to make "cosmetic" changes to the Windows Vista boot Menu such as changing the name of the Operating Systems shown in the boot menu and make advanced "functional" changes like adding an Operating System to the boot menu and repairing the Windows Vista boot configuration data. Advanced settings include backing up and exporting your boot loader configuration and modifying BCD store details.

For those who have used bcdedit.exe in the past, you will be impressed with the ease of use and functionality that VistaBootPRO provides.


[html]<a id="uac">Tweaking UAC / UAP</a>[/html]

User Account Control (UAC) (also referred to sometimes as User Account Protection or UAP) is a new security feature of Windows Vista, to prevent malware taking control of your system. This is achieved by the means of running your basic user account as if it were a standard account instead of having administrator privileges. When administrator privileges are necessary, a dialog box pops for your consent.

However, UAC also can be VERY annoying to some users, as it prevents full control of the computer from the default administrator account(s) created during setup, even for such basic tasks as managing data contained outside the user account files.

WARNING: Disabling UAC may put your computer at risk, and leave a back door open for malware (viruses, trojans, etc). Those wishing to leave the higher security in place may wish to just use the standard UAC settings.

After the installation, the UAC settings can be tweaked, so that (with a few exceptions) the user account(s) created during setup can give the exact level of Operating System and data control that is desirable.

UAC can be disabled either temporarily to allow software installation, or permanently to allow full user control of the system and data.

Disable UAC on a program to program basis

To allow a program complete administrator privileges, simply right click on the program, go down to Properties and under Compatibility click Allow Administrator privileges.

Disable the UAC services

Hit Windows Key + R and type msconfig in the run dialog box. UAC will prompt you for approval. Under tools in msconfig, find the tool that says Disable UAC and click OK. A reboot will be necessary to see the changes.

Last edited by shreader on Sun Aug 31, 2008 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Grav!ty » Tue Jan 30, 2007 2:00 am

Our Windows Vista Tweaking and Customization Guide for the final RTM (Release to Manufacture) version of Windows Vista is now published.

This is a dynamic document and will be updated as new tweaks are found. Feel free to post any tweaks you want considered for inclusion in the guide in the Windows Vista Chat & Support forum or in this thread.

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Postby Grav!ty » Tue Mar 27, 2007 3:47 am

Found any great Windows Vista tweaks you want us to check out and include in our Guide? Please feel free to post them in this thread :)

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Postby NT50 » Tue Sep 25, 2007 2:54 am

Is there a way to download more than one file at a time in Vista?
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Postby JabbaPapa » Wed Apr 09, 2008 10:16 am

After a certain amount of testing, I have confirmed the existence of a bug in Vista which directly and adversely affects gaming --- the notification area of the taskbar can steal focus, potentially causing lag, stuttering, or even crash of your game.

The bug exists in both the RTM and SP1 versions of Vista.

To avoid the effects of this bug as much as possible, you should turn off the Balloon tips ; and you should avoid installing any software which uses the notification area to show pop-ups, such as Quicktime, RealPlayer, Symantec/Norton software, many AV programs, etc -- or if you need such software installed, use msconfig to avoid running these programs at startup, which should negate their presence in notification area.

A method exists to disable the notification area entirely, but members should research methods to do so under their own responsibility IMO.


HERE is how to disable the balloon tips in Vista :

Open regedit -

* Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER / SOFTWARE / Microsoft / Windows / CurrentVersion / Explorer / Advanced
* Create a new Dword and name it EnableBalloonTips
* The value should be automatically set to 0, if it is not change it to 0
* Reboot Windows Vista

Warning : PROnetworks members are reminded that changing Registry keys is Advanced computing, and should not be undertaken lightly. Registry changes can potentially damage your Windows installation, and PROnetworks nor PROnetworks members cannot be held responsible for any negative consequences of manual Registry changes. Registry changes should only be undertaken by people aware of the risks, and under their own responsibility.
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