Sunbelt TechTips for the week of June 19

Vista Corner

This is a new section we'll be doing during the transition from XP to Vista. Each week we'll tell you about a cool new Vista feature.

This week, I want to talk about the Aero Glass interface. It requires a supporting video card (my Radeon 600 series card works) but it gives your applications a very sophisticated look. You can adjust the transparency effect from completely opaque to completely transparent.

The good thing is that, unlike some of the transparent window add-ons I tried for XP, and unlike the terminal window transparency feature in Mac OS X, only the window's "frames" are transparent, so you can still read any text inside the window with no problems.

To adjust the transparency effect, you right click the desktop and select Personalize, then click Visual Appearance. Here you can choose a preset color and transparency combination or adjust the transparency level using a slider bar.

What will you do without FrontPage?

As you may know, FrontPage is going away after FP 2003, and there there won't be a FrontPage 2007 in the new Office. Microsoft will still support FP 2003, at least for now. And you'll now have two different new Microsoft web design programs to choose from. SharePoint Designer 2007 is included with the Office 2007 public beta and as the name implies, it's specifically made for creating web sites that run on SharePoint services. You can read more about it here.

For non-SharePoint sites, Expression Web Designer is part of the Expression family that also includes Express Graphic Designer and Expression Interactive Designer. Microsoft has released a Community Technology Preview that you can download and try out for free here.

You may lose settings after installing, repairing or upgrading

When you install, repair or upgrade Windows XP, you might lose some or all of your program settings and templates, as well as data stored in the All Users folder. That means you may find that you're missing items from the Startup group, Start menu shortcuts, and files stored in the Shared Documents folder. This happens if you reinstall Windows in the same folder using the Upgrade option, use the "R" selection to repair Windows from the installation CD, or upgrade XP Home (OEM version) to XP Pro. To prevent this from happening to you, see KB article 312369.

How to set performance options in XP

You can use the System tool in Control Panel to change performance options and control how programs use memory, manually manage processor time allocation, and change visual effects to conserve resources so as to make XP perform faster. This can be especially helpful if you have a relatively slow processor and/or limited amount of RAM. Find out how by reading KB article 308417.

Search Companion starts when you double click a folder

If you have a problem where double clicking a folder or drive makes the Search Companion start and the the drive or folder doesn't open, it may be because you've configured settings for other actions that are associated with drives or folders. To fix the problem, you can edit the Registry. For instructions on how to do so, see KB article 321186.