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Vista Downgrade Followup
Last week, we reported that Microsoft is allowing PC makers to provide an XP downgrade to users who want them for new computers that have certain versions of Vista installed. Now we have a few more specifics. Here’s how it works: if you buy a computer from Dell, HP or Lenovo that comes with Vista Business or Ultimate edition, you can request that an XP recovery disk be included with the purchase. You may have to pay $15-20 for the recovery disk (although if you complain enough, you might even get it for free). More here.

First Looks at Vista SP1
Some brave souls have already installed Service Pack 1 and not all of them had the same bad experience as Chris Pirillo (shown in the link at the end of this week’s Followup segment). According to several reports, SP1 improves performance on Vista machines; that will be a welcome change. We recommend that the average user wait until the service pack is in final release, but if you’d like to get a look at some screenshots showing minor interface changes made by the beta, click here.

How to get around the new sig line restrictions in Outlook 2007
A recent article in the Network World Security Strategy newsletter discusses one of the changes in Outlook 2007 that has some users unhappy. In past versions, you could use the signature feature to create a lot more than just sigs. You could construct boilerplate messages, for instance, and then just select them from the signatures list to insert them into messages. You might want to insert several such boilerplates into a single message (as well as your real sig line).

This doesn’t work in Outlook 2007, because suddenly you’re only allowed one sig per message. If you insert a signature, then select and insert a different one, the second one replaces the first. I actually like this feature because it prevents having to then highlight and delete the first one – but I only use signatures as signatures, not as boilerplate. I think Microsoft should have made it user configurable so you could choose whether to replace or add.

Meanwhile, you can still use boilerplate (and in my opinion, more effectively) by using Outlook 2007’s “Quick Parts” feature. Here’s how:

  1. Open a new message window and click the Insert tab.
  2. Type the text you want to set as a boilerplate in the message body and highlight it.
  3. Click Quick Parts in the Text section of the ribbon, and then select Save Selection to Quick Parts Gallery. Give it a name to identify it.
  4. Now whenever you want to insert that same block of text in any message, just click Quick Parts and choose the name you gave it. It will be inserted into your new message.

Photo Email wizard closes when you try to send a picture
You can send photos directly from Windows Live Photo Gallery via email in XP or Vista, but if you attempt to do so and the windows closes instead of sending the pictures, it may be because you haven’t set a default email program. To find out how to do so, see KB article 939812.

Slow performance when viewing certain files in Windows Live Photo Gallery
If you try to view multipage .tiff files in the Windows Live Photo Gallery with XP or Vista, you may find that system performance slows down and memory usage goes way up. What’s up with that? It has to do with the precaching feature, and to fix the problem, you may need to disable precaching. You can find out how in KB article 939815.

Deb Shinder