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Is Vista a battery hog on laptops?
Last week, Tom Krazit reported on ZDNet that Vista users are unhappy with the battery life they’re getting on their Vista laptops.

I haven’t had this problem; even with Aero enabled, my little Sony TX gives me over 5 hours of use on a standard battery, about the same as my TX with XP installed. I do dim the screen somewhat and turn wireless off when I don’t need to be connected to the Internet. If you’re using Vista on a portable, and especially if you upgraded from XP, tell us your experiences. Is the battery draining noticeably faster? How much difference does turning off Aero make? Let us know in the comments section.

New iGoogle Personalization Causes Problems
In the transition to its new iGoogle personalized homepage feature, it seems some users have been left behind – unable to access their data stored in the Google system. The company says the problems have been fixed, but we’re hearing from some folks who are still having difficulties. Read more here.

eWeek warns that Exchange security patch could interfere with mail service
This month’s patch Tuesday is expected to include the issuance of a critical security patch for Exchange server, and some IT people are warning that patching email servers may cause some users to lose access to their email accounts temporarily as companies bring the mail servers down to apply the patches. Luckily, it’s been reported that the Exchange patch doesn’t require a reboot. Read more here.

What’s coming up in IE 8?
Although Microsoft representatives still aren’t listing specific features, Chris Wilson (IE platform architect) did drop some hints at a recent conference in Las Vegas. Mary Jo Foley reports on what he has to say, and speculates that we can expect IE 8 to be released sometime in 2008. Read more here.

Run XP on Vista
One solution for folks who want to upgrade to Vista but still have some applications that won’t run on the new OS is to dual boot XP and Vista on the same machine – but it can get tedious, shutting down one operating system and booting into the other. A more efficient way to handle the problem is to install XP in a virtual machine and run it, and the applications you want to run on it, in a window on your Vista desktop. You need VM software to do it, but Virtual PC 2007 is a free download.

Using the Search box to navigate in Vista
Most new Vista users don’t take full advantage of the power of the Search box in the Start menu. It’s good for much more than searching by keyword or file/folder name. It also serves as a Run box; you can type a UNC path such as \servernamesharename to get to a network share; you can type the name of an executable file to run a program; you can type the name of a settings dialog box (such as Folder Options) to open the dialog box, and so forth. Once you get used to using the Search box, you may never navigate through the file system the “old fashioned” way again.

You can also speed up the search function from the Start menu by configuring what items are included in the search. For more info, click here.

How to use keyword bookmarks in Firefox
There are a lot of Firefox users out there, but some of them aren’t using all the browser’s features to full advantage. If you’re a keyboard oriented person, you can make it easy to quickly go to your favorite web sites without using the mouse, by setting up keyword bookmarks. Here’s how:

  1. In Firefox, navigate to the web page you want to bookmark.
  2. Create a bookmark in the usual way (CTRL+D, or click Bookmarks Bookmark This Page.
  3. Now click the Bookmarks menu, right click the bookmark you just added, and select Properties.
  4. In the bookmark properties dialog box, type a keyword (can be just one or two letters) in the Keyword field. For example, for the Dallasnews.com web site, I type DN.

Now you can go to the Dallasnews.com page without taking your hands off the keyboard, by typing CTRL+L to take you to the address bar and typing DN, then enter.

This month’s security patches
May 8th is Patch Tuesday, and a number of important security fixes will be released. In addition to the Exchange Server patch we discussed above, there will be two critical patches for Windows, three for Office and one that affects Microsoft CAPICOM and BizTalk. Some of the patches will require a restart of the computer after installation. The monthly update to the Malicious Software Removal Tool will also be released. You can read more on Christopher Budd’s post on the Microsoft Security Response Center site here.

Adobe Acrobat on Vista
Adobe, on their web site lists the following known limitations and solutions regarding Acrobat 7 on Vista:

  • During uninstall the Acrobat 7 installer alerts that Acrotray.exe and Explorer.exe files are in use and must be closed before continuing installation. Solution: Click ignore during uninstall to proceed with removing Acrobat 7. You may need to restart your system after you finish uninstalling Acrobat 7.
  • Issue: Command under Help – Detect and Repair is unavailable as protected Administrator or User. Solution: Use Detect and Repair feature in Control Panel – Add/Remove programs.
  • Issue: Right click context menu is not available for PDF conversion. Solution: Convert file inside Acrobat 7 or original application.
  • Issue: Web capture button in IE7 is not available in a new tab view. Solution: Capture site from first tab or use Acrobat 7 to capture site.

Adobe states that they do not support Acrobat 7 on Vista. However, based on Adobe’s user forums at http://www.adobeforums.com/cgi-bin/[email protected]@.3bc33fd5/0, many folks are running v7 on Vista with varying degrees of success.

There are also alternatives to Acrobat for creating PDF files in Vista. CutePDF Writer runs on Vista and is a free download. And it works great.

If you have Microsoft Office 2007, you can save files created in Office programs as PDFs by installing the free add-on here.

Why can’t I make a shortcut in the startup folder?
QUESTION: I tried to put a shortcut in the Startup folder on my new Vista computer so my program will start when I boot the computer but I got a message that says “Windows cannot create a shortcut here. Do you want the shortcut to be placed on the desktop instead?” Of course I don’t want it on the desktop; then it won’t run at boot. What’s the problem here? – Jackie P.

ANSWER: My guess is that you’re trying to place the shortcut in the Startup folder under “All Users” instead of your personal profile. By default, only program installers running under the TrustedInstaller account can put shortcuts here. Right click the Start button and select Open (not Open All Users) to get to the Startup folder under your own profile.

You can’t disable autorun on a mapped network drive in XP
If you try to disable the Autorun feature on a mapped network drive in Windows XP (or Server 2003) and find that you can’t, you’re not alone. This is confirmed as a known problem in all editions of Server 2003 and in Windows XP Professional, both 32 bit and 64 bit editions. Luckily, there is a workaround. You can read about it in KB article 933008.

You see only four available wireless networks in XP or Vista
If only four available wireless networks are displayed in the list of wireless connections on your XP or Vista, even though you know there are more within range, it may be because you’re using a USB-based wireless network adapter. In this case, the dialog box shows a maximum of four wireless connections, but Microsoft has a hotfix for the problem. To find out how to get it, see KB article 927546.

Until next week,

Deb Shinder, MVP