How To Configure Windows Vista for Newbies

How To Configure Windows Vista for Newbies
This will show how to configure Windows Vista for first time users with little experience.
After a couple weeks of pulling my hair out and threatening to go find that hammer, I found this site and the 200+ Tutorials. Below are the steps I took to get to a stable, working Vista Home Premium 32 bit.

There is no new information here. Everything came from the tutorials and threads I read here before starting. Thank you to everyone.

1. I made a backup of everything I wanted to save. Fortunately, most of my files were already on DVD’s from the old computer. I burned my Anti Virus, Anti Spyware and all the device driver updates I had downloaded during the ‘Insanity Times’. I also downloaded several of the Tutorials so that I could access to them without an Internet connection. I then unplugged my Internet connection. I used the recovery feature to reset the computer to its original factory installation.

2. After reboot, I did steps one and two from here: Performance & Maintenance - Speed Up the Performance of Vista

3. I next installed my Anti Virus & Anti Spyware. When setting up the AV, I set real time protection on and email scanning off. The Anti Spyware doesn’t load at start up as I let Windows Defender do the real time scanning. When installing programs I right click and choose ‘Run as Administrator’ rather than just clicking on the setup file. Some suggestions for anti virus and anti spyware are here: Free Software List for Vista

4. I then rebooted. While the computer was shutting down to reboot, I plugged the Internet connection back in.

5. I checked to see if the Windows Firewall was running (Start/Control Panel (classic view)/windows firewall) and it was. Also checked to see that my AV had loaded as expected. It did.

6. Time to get the Updates. Start Orb/Windows Update or Start/Control Panel(classic)/Windows Update. Clicked ‘change settings’ on the left and checked ‘Use Microsoft Update’ to get updates for other products.

7. Clicked check for updates and followed instructions, had a problem with one of the updates (can’t remember which one), but it installed on the second try. This will take some time.
Also be sure to update your protection software-AV etc.

8. Time to get my personal programs installed and get all my data arranged to my liking. Didn’t want to mess with UAC for this so disabled it,User Account Control (UAC) (you will have to reboot)and again unplugged my internet connection.

Installed all major programs, again using right click/’run as admin.’

9. Ran Disk Cleaner to get rid of the temp files and deleted items. Performance & Maintenance - Disk Cleanup

10. I keep all of my personal data on a separate partition from C: This allows me to format C: if necessary without losing my personal data. Also if I didn’t have everything on E: I would have to fix thousands of shortcuts. Used this Tutorial to accomplish: General Tips - Disk Management - Shrink Partition

11. I wanted most of the personal folders to be on my E: partition also. Do Not Drag and Drop to the new location. This was big mistake #1 when I first got Vista. Go to the list of personal folders (This will be less confusing if you have ‘Hide protected operating system files’ checked under folder options (start/control panel(classic)/folder options-view tab). If you are seeing folder shortcuts named My Documents or My Music, this setting is not checked. Don’t bother trying to open any of these folders as they are not real folders and you can’t access them and they have nothing in them. They are shortcuts or junction points that point older software installations to the new folders which don’t contain the ‘My’ in the name.
First I created a folder named ‘Garys Stuff’ on my E: drive. I moved my personal folders, one at a time, into this folder. To move your personal folders to their new location, right click on the folder and select properties. Go to the location tab and click move. Follow instructions. This method will maintain the links throughout Vista to these folders. Example: If you move the Contacts folder and break the links Window Mail will not be able to look up email addresses in the contacts folder.

12. I loaded all of my personal data onto my E: drive.

13. Ran Disk Cleaner again just because.

14. Turned UAC back on and rebooted. Plugged Internet connection back in during reboot.

15. Last I did a full backup using Windows back up and restore to an external hard drive. Backup & Restore - Backup Complete Computer

I guess that’s about it. From there I started looking through the list of tutorials to see what other tweaks I might like to try.

Vista has been running great for the last couple of months since doing this. SP1 made it even better. Have had a couple issues, but mostly from my own doing. UAC is a bit of a pain sometimes, but I leave it enabled.

Any comments or suggestions???

Last: I want to say a big THANK YOU to Shawn Brink and everyone else for bringing sanity back.

Last Last: If Shawn has helped bring sanity back into your life we are trying to raise money to buy him a decent computer. After all, we get the benefit of what he learns. Make it a bit easier for him by making a small donation. You can read more at this thread. Donations - Lets buy Brink a decent PC


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