Sunday, 20 January 2008

Tweak Vista: Explorer, Defender, Desktop and Start menu, Default profile

  1. Explorer settings

Start > control panel > classic view (left pane) > Folder options
In the View tab check "always show menus" (so you can access these options from Explorer), "show hidden files and folders", "launch folder windows in a separate process" and "use checkboxes to select items" and uncheck "hide extensions for known file types" and "hide protected operating system files". "hide protected operating system files" will be undone by Sysprep.
In the Search tab I choose to "always search file names and contents", "include subfolders when typing in the Search box", "Find partial matches", "Use natural language search" and "Include system directories"

  1. Default Profile

Each new user who logs into the PC has a profile created for them. The profile is built from a combination of the Default profile and what used to be called the All Users profile and in Vista has become a combination of the Public profile and certain data from C:\ProgramData. The user profile contains settings and configuration options specific to the user, such as installed applications, desktop icons and color options but also those things that a user has access to and those things that the user can and cannot change.
If you want all of the users who login to a PC to start out with the same profile
  • Rename the current C:\Users\Default folder to OriginalDefault (to have a backup of the original folder)
  • Under the C:\Users folder, create a new folder called Default. This will become the new Default profile folder. In the Sysprep.xml file, (see below) you will set the CopyProfile setting to True. This setting will copy the profile of the user logged in when Sysprep is run, to the C:\Users\Default folder. Now, all users who login will start out with the same profile, while the original Default profile will still be available if the need for it should arise.

  1. Windows Defender

I don't like this app. I find it overzealous in some respects and not enough in others and the configuration options have for some reason never worked as advertised on any of my systems. So:
  • Start > type services > <enter>. In the list find Windows Defender, right click, choose Properties, stop it and set it to Disabled, apply. Close the window.
  • Start>type msconfig> <enter>. Search for Windows Defender in the Startup tab and uncheck it. Close the window but don't reboot yet, we are not quite done…….

  1. Desktop settings

Choose a background and a color scheme: right click on the desktop, choose Personalize, and go through the options
In Windows Color and appearance, click on "open classic appearance properties….." click on Advanced, under Item scroll o "border padding" and reduce the size to 0, apply.
Back in the main window, in the left pane, click on "change desktop icons" to choose which of any Vista icons you want on the desktop.
Right click on the Orb, choose Properties and customize the Start menu, notification area, task bar….The setting I find most useful here is to view the Computer, documents, pictures, music and control panel folders as menus.
Next week: IE and services tweaks