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How to make custom toolbars out of folders
One way to make a custom toolbar in XP or Vista is to use the New Toolbar selection when you right click the taskbar. Then you can browse to a folder and turn it into a toolbar. However, if you have multiple monitors, you may in some cases have trouble docking these new toolbars on your secondary monitors. Here’s another way that will overcome that problem.

  1. Right click the desktop, select New and then Folder.
  2. Name the new folder whatever you want your new toolbar to be.
  3. Now drag shortcuts for the applications or files you want to access with the toolbar into the new folder.
  4. Drag the folder onto the monitor where you want to dock the new toolbar, if it isn’t there already.
  5. Now just drag the folder to any side of the screen (except the one that drags it off screen to another monitor). This will create a toolbar there with the contents of the folder.
  6. Right click an empty spot on the new toolbar to change the size of the icons, configure whether or not to include text with the icons, etc.

You can put any kind of file or program on these toolbars. For example, I created a toolbar that holds shortcuts to each computer on my network. You can see screenshots of these custom toolbars on my blog site.

Where are Vista system restore files?
Just a short question. Hope you can answer it for me. Where can I find the system restore files in Vista? Thank you. — Ken K

ANSWER: The file filter driver system for system restore used in XP and other previous versions of Windows is replaced with a new approach in Vista. Now, when you create a restore point, a shadow copy of a file or folder is created. A shadow copy is essentially a previous version of the file or folder at a specific point. Windows Vista can create restore points automatically, or do so when you ask. When the system needs to be restored, files and settings are copied from the shadow copy to the live volume used by Windows Vista. To find shadow copies for a particular file, navigate to that file in Windows Explorer, right click it and select Properties. Then click the Previous Versions tab. Here you’ll see the shadow copies that have been saved on the hard disk and the date when each was created. To find the actual location of the copy, right click it, select Properties, and look at the Location field on the General tab. See the screenshots of this here.

How to log onto XP if you forgot your password redux: In our last TechTips, we wrote about how to logon to XP if you forgot your password. Reader Angus Scott-Fleming writes “Have you seen or used this? I have, it works as advertised, allowing you to boot from a CD and reset any local Windows NT/2000/XP user’s password: Link here.

WGA validation no longer required to download IE 7
Microsoft has changed their policy on downloading Internet Explorer 7. Now all XP users can upgrade to the newest version of the browser – without going through the “Windows Genuine Advantage” validation process to verify that you aren’t running a pirated copy of the operating system. Is this a trend? Will the company back off the annoying (even to those with a genuine OS) WGA validation requirement for other downloads? We don’t know, but it seems like a step in the right direction. Read about it here.

Vista: What’s that power button on the Start menu for?
Vista gives you plenty of options when it comes to shutting down your computer. At the lower right of the Start menu, you’ll see three buttons: a Power button, a lock button and a right arrow button. Clicking the right arrow gives you all the usual choices: switch user, log off, lock, restart, sleep, hibernate and shut down. Clicking the lock button gives you a fast way to lock the computer. Clicking the Power button will save your work and programs as they are and put the computer into sleep mode or, if it’s a portable computer and the battery is low, this will save your work to the hard disk and turn it off. See a screenshot of these buttons here.

IE home page resets to “about:blank” and Defender quits
If you suddenly find that your home page has been reset to “about: blank” and Windows Defender unexpectedly quits, take action quickly. This can mean that your computer has been infected with the Win32/Banker Trojan, and it’s an ugly one because it collects personal information when you visit online banking sites. To find out more, see KB article 894269.

Troubleshoot problems with reading CDs and DVDs
If your Windows XP computer is unable to read a CD or DVD, it can be due to any of several causes. KB article 321641 provides troubleshooting guidelines to help you determine what the problem is and how to resolve it.

Automatic updates cause Svchost.exe issues
When you use Microsoft Update to scan for or apply updates that use Windows Installer 3.1, you may find that CPU usage goes up to 100% and the computer stops responding and/or you get an access violation error related to the svchost.exe process. If this is happening to you, check out KB article 932494.

Deb Shinder