Confessions of a Windows Enthusiast

Where I rant about Microsoft products, computers and technology, and much more.

December 2006 - Posts

  • Tuning Windows Aero performance on low-end video cards

    If you are running Windows Vista on a computer that is Windows Vista Capable, but find that the performance of Windows Aero is sluggish there are a few things which you can do to increase performance without having to use the Windows Vista Basic theme.

    Change advanced performance options

    1. Click on Start, and then click on Computer.
    2. In the Computer window, click on "System properties".
    3. In the task pane (on the left hand side), click on "Advanced system settings", and if prompted by User Account Control for consent, click on "Continue".
    4. Under "Performance" click on the "Settings..." button.
    5. Uncheck the following items:
      • Animated windows when minimizing and maximizing
      • Enable transparent glass (optional, performance change will depend on the level of graphics card you have)
      • Fade or slide menus into view
      • Fade or slide ToolTips into view
      • Fade out menu items after clicking
      • Show shadows under menus
      • Slide open combo boxes
      • Slide taskbar buttons
    6. Click on the OK button to apply the new settings and dismiss the Performance Options dialog.

    You should notice a gain in performance in terms of user interface responsiveness, although you will not see many of the cool transition effects.

  • Enable a more Classic log on style in Windows Vista

    If you are used to the old style logon screen from Windows 2000 and Windows XP (where you typed in your user name and password), you may be a little shell-shocked to find that you cannot disable the Welcome Screen in Windows Vista, which also means you cannot revert to the older style of logon screen, and the only way to achieve this functionality was to be joined to a domain... until now.

    This guide applies to:

    • Windows Vista Business
    • Windows Vista Enterprise
    • Windows Vista Ultimate

    The tool we will be working with today is called the Windows Local Security Policy Editor, or "secpol".

    To launch the Local Security Policy Editor:

    1. Click on Start, and then click on Control Panel.
    2. Click on "System and Maintenance".
    3. Click on "Administrative Tools".
    4. Double click on "Local Security Policy", and if User Account Control prompts you for consent, click on "Continue".

    In the Local Security Policy editor you will see two panes, one on the left with tree-view navigation and one on the right which will have the actual definitions and items to edit.

    On the left hand side, expand (either by clicking on the arrow or double clicking) the "Local Policies" section, and then click on "Security Options".

    On the right hand side, scroll down until you see "Interactive logon: Do not display last user name". Double click on this entry and you will be presented with a dialog box that has two options - "Enabled" and "Disabled", with Disabled being selected as default. Change this setting to "Enabled", and then click on the OK button.

    Now locate the entry "Interactive logon: Do not require CTRL+ALT+DEL" and double click on it. Again, you will see two settings, "Enabled" and "Disabled", although neither will be selected by default. Select the "Disabled" option, and then click on the OK button.

    Close the Local Security Policy editor and log off. You will now see that you are required to press CTRL-ALT-DEL and after doing this you will be prompted with a more "classic" style log on screen where you can type your user name and password.

  • James Kim's body found in Oregon

    Taken from just a few moments ago -- 

    MERLIN, Oregon (CNN) -- The body of a San Francisco man who had walked into the Oregon wilderness to summon help for his stranded family was found Wednesday in a steep ravine where he had left clues for searchers.

    Officials confirmed that James Kim, 35, an editor at the Web site CNET, had been found dead.

    Brian Anderson, Undersheriff of Josephine County, broke down and could not finish speaking as he announced that Kim's body was found at 3:03 p.m. ET.

    Searchers were attempting to remove Kim's body, and his family members have requested that their privacy be respected, officials said.

    On behalf of myself and all of the staff I offer my sincerest condolences to the Kim family and may James rest in peace, he will be greatly missed amongst his friends, family, and the internet community alike. While I did not know him personally, I do remember seeing him on TechTV and reading his articles on CNET, a great person indeed.

    Sources: CNN | MSNBC | FOX News

    Donate to "The Kim Family Rescue Fund"