Ask the PC Pitstop Pros 2009


Ready for a new and improved 2009? If so, let’s kick off the season with one that bothers everyone using Vista and IE7. It’s all about the icons and it droves us all crazy.

Q. Ron T asks: “I have Vista SP1 and IE7. The icons assigned by websites get switched to the generic box or to another icon. This is after I have the websites icon assigned to my shortcut. When I go to the website the old icon precedes the web address, but I can’t get it to my shortcut to that website. Thanks, if you can help.”

A.After talking to several friends, I know many have spent much time trying to get this corrected. For some reason, when dragging shortcuts from the browser to the desktop, Vista will convert them to the big ugly e, instead of leaving them as the easily identified site icons.

It took some snooping but try this: right click anywhere on your desktop. Select View/Classic Icons/ and VOILA, you have smaller but easily identified icons on your desktop. If you are using these in a folder you can open the folder and click View/Small Icons/ and they will display properly there also. For whatever reason, the small size is the only way to keep your Icons viewable and original.

While I’m on the vanishing icon wagon, I might as well share a little utility I’ve been using for years. It’s good with Vista or XP and keeps those “favicons” in your browser tool bar original. Go to AM DeadLink and download the free program. Install it and open the program. Go to the top and click Favicons/ Check Bookmarks and Download Favicons/Override Existing Favicons/ Start/. You’ll see the little apple icon show up for those that have been successfully updated. The ones that don’t update generally don’t have a favicon available.

Q.Several readers asked:” How do I defrag the page file in Windows?”

A. I was surprised how many people were interested in this. There are lots of “Tips” describing how to turn the page file off/Defrag/reboot/turn the pagefile on/ blah blah. There are several people describing why it’s necessary and why it’s not, but it’s just too darned easy to use this utility from Sysinternals. They are now a part of Microsoft so it must do the job well. A quick download and it can run before each boot or for only one boot. Worked in the blink of an eye for me. The page file cannot be defragged while you system is booted into Windows so this utility gets it done before going to Windows.

Q. David M. asks: “How do you prevent your mouse pointer from drifting in any direction when you’re not touching it?

A. That’s an easy one David. Move far away from that quake fault line you’re living on. Only joking, what you’re describing is consistent with not using a mouse pad. Lots of times when using cloth, placemats, or some other replacement for a mouse pad, the material will move and it looks as if the mouse is moving when in fact it’s the surface the mouse is sitting on. Happens to me all the time when I try using my desk calendar instead of my mouse pad. In my case the paper is rather bouncy and results in my mouse acting like it’s alive. Get a pad and get rid of the ghost.

There were also some drivers for Logitech mice that caused a few problems, but these were a couple of years back. If you are truly seeing erratic mouse behavior change your mouse driver.

Q. John S. asks: “I have just migrated to Vista from XP and would like info on the best way to access Cookies, Recycle Bin, Temp Files and Browser History. The search facility in Vista, heralded as something special, seems
to be short on info for helping me keep my new Vista laptop clean of the unnecessary data that builds up.

A. Open Internet Explorer/Tool/Options/Delete Browsing History. Then go to Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Disk Cleanup/Put a check in all areas you would like to clean/Click OK.

Q. Paul S. asks: My daughters Vista laptop takes about 6 minutes to load and 6 minutes to shut down. Are there a set of procedures I could perform that would shorten those times?

A.Great question Paul and one that most of us have worked on above all others. Seems like whether our systems are booting in the 40 to 60 seconds range, that is normal for most XP and Vista systems, or something longer, we all want to cut down boot times. When you’re looking at times that stretch over minutes there is definitely something holding things up. Normally it’s programs running in the background that are taking too long to open or close, but it could be a virus or some sort of malware using your computer as it’s own. Unless you’re familair with all the programs and processes taking place behind the scenes it may not be easy to figure which are needed and which should go.

This is where OverDrive comes in. OverDrive is the corner stone of PC Pitstop and it’s the best there is. Here’s what you do. Go to our HomePage and click the GIGANTIC OverDrive marker. Sign Up with your E mail and a password of your choice. Click the big green scan now button.scan_now.

When the scan is finished click on the Software heading and then the Processes tab. Everything is color coded so you know what should be running and what should be removed. In addition to the color coding there is a Detailed Description of each process and also Removal Instructions. There’s plenty of additional information on your system but slimming down the running processes should help both the StartUp and ShutDown times. If your still experiencing extend boot times you can post the results of your Overdrive scan in the User to User Help Forum, or you can check our newsletter for the latest TweakVista article.

See you in the next newsletter.


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