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An easier way to manage Vista’s boot configuration
If you want to make changes to your Vista computer’s boot configuration information without the somewhat technically complicated process of editing the Boot Configuration Data (BCDEdit) file, here’s a program that can help make it easier. It’s especially useful if you need to install a previous operating system, such as Windows XP, on a computer that is already running Vista. Last week, we answered a user’s question about how to fix the boot configuration in such a situation using the standard Microsoft procedure, but this third party product is another alternative that many will find friendlier – and it’s free. Thanks to several readers for this tip.

Readers sound off on desktop search
Last week, I asked which desktop search engine you like best. We got plenty of responses – but no clear consensus. Microsoft’s and Google’s engines got a roughly equal number of votes, with Microsoft gathering a handful more. Several voting for Microsoft express sentiments like those of Jakk: “I’ve never been an MS fan and I really wanted the Google search to be as good or better, that’s why I’ve kept downloading it after a new update to it, but in my experience the MS Search has worked better.”

A surprising number of you like Copernic, which came in a strong third. A few readers also pointed us toward X1 (, which we’ll be trying out in the coming week (note, however, that it’s not free). Then there were a lot of messages like Jason M.’s: “The best search method that I prefer to use is called “organization!” If your files and folders are organized and you place new items where they ‘should’ go everytime, then there is no need to run a desktop search program, which saves the most computer resources.”

Vista Ultimate users are feeling extra deprived
One of the benefits of buying the Ultimate edition of Vista is – or was supposed to be – a steady stream of “extras” – software add-ons just for users of the most feature-laden (and most expensive) edition. So far, though, we haven’t seen very many. The Texas Hold ’em poker game is admittedly cool, as computer card games go, and there have been some enhancements for EFS and BitLocker that are useful, but only used by a small percentage of users.

The potentially coolest extra, the DreamScene add-on that lets you use a video as your computer wallpaper, is still in beta and in my own testing didn’t work all that well, even on my very high powered Dell XPS computer. On my lower powered laptop, well, “fugget about it.” I guess I’m not the only one who’s been wondering when all the neat new extras are going to be here. See this article in last week’s Windows Secrets newsletter.

Worst Windows Features
Many computer users enjoy a love/hate relationship with Windows. Even those who complain about it all the time don’t, for the most part, switch to Linux or Mac. And even those who generally love the OS have to admit that there have been some “features” introduced in various versions of Windows that we found less than user friendly. PC World unveils their own “20 Worst Windows Features” in this slideshow.

See if your favorites (or less than favorites) are included.

Deb Shinder

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