Great Windows Vista tips

We're now just a week away from the launch of Windows Vista . By this time next Tuesday, we'll have been to see Bill Gates in London and popped to PC World to see whether anybody's actually buying it.

But first, we thought we'd continue our series with some crucial tips for the new OS. Well, perhaps they're not crucial, but interesting none the less.

1. Turning off your PC - properly

One of the biggest problems we've found so far with Vista is that, by default, pressing the Power button on your PC puts it to sleep. It's the same if you use the power button in your Start Menu.

It's actually a very good sleep state - your PC will restart almost instantly. However, it's not exactly environmentally friendly to have your PC constantly on standby. So here's how to restore it to a default state of turning the PC completely off:

Go to Control Panel > Power Options and click 'Change Plan Settings' under the power plan you have selected.

Then click 'Change Advanced Power Settings'. A list will pop up. Expand the 'Power buttons and Lid' tree. Select the 'Start Menu Power Button' option and click 'Shut Down' from the drop-down list that appears.

2. Snip it out

If you have to take a lot of screenshots (like us), this one will appeal greatly. After all, 'Print Screen' doesn't exactly fit with the utopia of the Vista age, does it?

The Snipping Tool application in Vista enables you to 'cut out' a selection from the screen. This can be either pre-defined (a rectangle or window) or random, so you can almost create a cuttings book of things you have snipped from your screen.

You can then save it as a PNG, GIF or JPG, or send it to someone in an email - rather useful.

3. Enlarge your icons

There aren't many drawbacks to increased screen resolution, but one of them is that your desktop icons are increasingly hard to find.

Vista enables you to remedy this though. When on the desktop, hold down Ctrl and roll your mouse scrollwheel.

Icons will stay in an enlarged state until you change them back. Vista has been engineered to make better use of the increased screen real estate that's now available to us with our nice big displays.


Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.