The Microsofties are appealing to you to try Windows Vista. You'll really, really like it, they insist. They've gone out of their way to prove to you that it's a swell operating system, too, by creating a series of see-we-told-you-so videos.
The crew from Redmond dressed Windows Vista up in a flashy new box, called it Mojave, the next Microsoft OS, and foisted it upon--no, sorry, make that "introduced it to"--volunteers.
Before the volunteers were shown Mojave, they were asked about Vista. Some said that they hated Vista, even though they'd never tried it. After seeing and playing with some of Vista, oops, Mojave's features, most of the volunteers were impressed, with many of them oooh-ing and aaaah-ing.
When the secret was revealed, most of the volunteers couldn't wait to get their hands on a copy. One volunteer was nonplussed to hear that Mojave was actually Vista and asked, "Why is it faster?" In the experiment they used an HP Pavilion DV 2000 with 2GB of RAM--and I'm curious if that contributed to Vista's great performance.
If I had my way, I'd have Microsoft do another video, handing volunteers a copy of Mojave and asking them to install it on their existing PC or notebook. I wonder if their reactions would be quite so enthusiastic. BTW, here are Microsoft's results.
I still haven't switched to Vista. I know I'll do it eventually, but for the moment, my system's running just fine. Nonetheless, I want you to know about a few Vista resources, just in case you're using it--or, like me, thinking about the future.
Answers to Vista Users' Nagging Questions
20 Vista Downloads to Tweak & Improve Your System
Windows Vista: 15 Reasons to Switch
Farewell Vista, Hello XP
What Does It Take to Get a PC With XP?
Some of you may need the extra help that only a hefty resource book can provide. The book I recommend is Windows Vista Inside Out, Deluxe Edition (Microsoft Press; ISBN-10: 0735625247) by Ed Bott, Carl Siechert, and Craig Stinson. For under $40, you'll get every Vista question answered and learn things about the OS that may improve your experience. It's available on Amazon.com.
Quick aside: Microsoft has confirmed it's abandoning Windows. They won't say when, but they have talked about what it's going to look like. Read "Microsoft Prepares for End of Windows With Midori" and tell me if it makes sense to you.
Fix Outlook's Messy E-Mail Quotes
Okay, enough about Vista. Now let's pick on Outlook. Did you ever notice how well Outlook can mess up e-mail quotes? You know, the way it causes line breaks to make your e-mail look like hell?
For the cost of a download you can make your Outlook e-mails look sharp and, more important, easy to read. The trick is Outlook-QuoteFix, a free add-in that takes out the tedium of fixing Outlook's quoting style.
Outlook-QuoteFix works perfectly in XP and with Outlook 98 through 2003; there's a macro that makes it compatible with Outlook 2007. BTW, there's also a version for Outlook Express.
Easy Way to Reset Your Windows Password
Do you ever forget your login password? Probably not, because it's 1234. (LOL--just kidding. I know you use strong passwords.) Nearly two years ago, I told you how to find your passwords (go to "Find Old E-Mail Messages Quickly" and scroll to the "I forgot the password..." hassle). Unfortunately, that fix would have cost you $70, just enough to fill up your car's gas tank.
I have terrific news: PC Login Now gives you a fairly straightforward way to reset the Windows Administrator or user password in Windows Server 2008, 2003, Vista, and XP. Once you download the free ISO file, you burn it onto a CD and boot from it. The wizard talks you through the steps.
One more thing before you leave: If you need to find the Product Key for any office product, read how to do it in "Five Smart Fixes for Dumb PC Annoyances."
This Week's Roundup of Time Wasters
People Bucket, a physics-based game, is a total waste of time. The instructions are contradictory, because I have to cross the red line. But if you think about bouncing off walls, you may do okay.
Draw Things is a simple personality test. Draw a house, a tree, or a person, and it will give you an insight into your "real personality." It may even tell you if you should upgrade to Vista or switch to a Mac. [Thanks, John M.]
If you like strategy games, take a shot at Desktop Tower Defense. Invaders are going to smash your desktop unless you're smart enough to build a maze of artillery for them to follow--and get blasted to the bit bucket.
How old is your brain? It's a question you might not want answered. Unless you read Japanese, you'll need some help. [Thanks, Shari K.]
Here's the procedure:
- Click Start
- Wait for the 3, 2, 1 to disappear and then quickly memorize the position of the numbers on the screen.
- Click the circles in order from the smallest number to the largest number.
- The site tells you how old your brain is.
- You, or at least your character, Adam, can't remember a thing. Do a couple of things right, survive an interrogation, and who knows, you might finish CDX next week.
Some people collect coins. Others watch birds. These guys are into extreme catapulting.
Steve Bass writes PC World's monthly "Hassle-Free PC" column and is the author of "PC Annoyances, 2nd Edition: How to Fix the Most Annoying Things About Your Personal Computer," available from Amazon.com. He also writes PC World's daily Tips & Tweaks blog. Sign up to have Steve's newsletter e-mailed to you each week. Comments or questions? Send Steve e-mail.