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vista tips tricksWindows Vista has a large amount of options when it comes to customization, as do nearly all Windows operating systems. Fortunately, Vista makes it even easier then you may believe to tweak your operating system.

Today, we will be looking at some of the top Vista tricks to increase productivity and unlock Vista’s potential. Here they are (in no particular order):

Access Vista’s Super User Mode

Vista is riddled with an extremely large amount of “security” measures that may, or may not, be helpful. Running Vista as an Administrator may help, but did you know there is an even higher Administrator? Well, there is! All you need to do to unlock it is the following:

Step One: Go to “Start” and type cmd.

vista super administrator

Step Two: When the command prompt loads, type the following:

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Net user Administrator /active:yes
save battery life vista

Step Three: When you switch user, you should now be able to see an Administrator account.

(Note: If you would like to hide the Administrator account, you can, again, go to “Start” and type cmd, then type: Net user administrator /active:no)

Save Battery Life on Laptops

Vista is quite a resource hog. If you have a laptop, this could present a problem. To maximize battery life and still run Vista on a viable amount of memory, simply do the following:

Step One: Hit the Windows Key and X at the same time.

Step Two: When “Windows Mobility Center” loads, you should be able to adjust settings, such as Display Brightness, Power Consumption, etc.

Remove Personal Information from Files

Nearly every single file on your computer contains some type of personal information – either information about the user, information on setting e.g. time, date, etc. In any case, it may be good to remove some of this information before making it available to the public, such as uploading a video or image online.

remove personal information from computer

To do this, all you need to do is:

Step One: Select one or multiple file(s)

Step Two: Right-Click and select “Properties”

Step Three: Click “Details” and then click “Remove Properties and Personal Information.”

You can now have Vista create copies of the selected file(s) before changing/removing any of the information.

Tweaking Windows Power Button

Unlike Windows XP, the Vista power off button simply puts your computer to sleep when you were actually intending to turn it off. Fortunately, this can be easily changed with a simple tweak.

Step One: Click “Start,” then click “Control Panel.”

Step Two: Select “Hardware and Sound,” then click “Power Options.”

vista power button shutdown

Step Three: Click “Change Plan Settings” under your current power plan.

Step Four: Click “Change Advanced Settings,” and then navigate to:

Power Buttons and Lid / Start Menu Power Button

vista power button change

Step Five: Select “Shut Down”

Disable UAC Notification Messages

One of the most ridiculous features of Vista are the continuous “confirmation” messages. Messages that pop up nearly every time you attempt to run any unknown application. Almost all of which are completely unnecessary, and waste time. Here is how you can disable these annoying uac notifications, quickly and easily:

Step One: Go to “Start” and click “Control Panel.”

Step Two: Click “User Accounts and Family Safety,” then click “Turn User Account Control On and Off.”

disable uac warning

Step Three: Un-Select the box labeled User User Account Control (UAC) to help protect my computer.

Step Four: Click “OK,” and you’re done!

Alternatively, you can check out Norton’s UAC Tool Modify Vista's Horrible Prompts With Norton's UAC Tool Modify Vista's Horrible Prompts With Norton's UAC Tool Read More (previously covered by MakeUseOf author Karl Gechlik) that can hlp you deal with those warning in a more manageable way.

Hope this helps some of you get that much closer to a nearly perfectly tweaked computer.

Stay tuned for more WinHack!

  1. Danny
    November 16, 2008 at 11:14 am

    great hacks Will, but I have a question

    what can the administrator account you activate in Hack # 1 do that a regular administrator account can't do

    Thanks

    • Will Mueller
      November 16, 2008 at 1:14 pm

      Well, I believe the "Super" Administrator automatically bypasses a lot of the security features of Vista, with respect to verification and other minor features of Vista's user account/administrative controls.

  2. MT
    November 16, 2008 at 4:32 am

    Hack #1 got me "access is denied." Is there something else to be done there?

    • Ken Burkes
      November 16, 2008 at 10:16 pm

      Make sure you're running as an Administrator, and when opening up the CMD, be sure to right click and select "Run as Administrator"

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