Windows Vista Annoyances
Tips, Secrets, and Hacks for the Cranky Consumer
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: December 2007
Pages: 672

Windows Vista may be the next big thing, but it still contains enough quirks and unaccountable behaviors to vex anyone. This unique guide not only discusses the most irritating features of the latest Microsoft operating system and how to get around them, but also explains how to improve Windows and do more with the software than Microsoft intended. You'll find information on setup, installation, upgrade from other Windows versions, the revamped interface, new security features, user accounts, troubleshooting, and the markedly improved Internet Explorer 7. Other chapters cover a wide range of key topics:

  • Media Center - tips on photos, videos, music, TV tuners, HD, and the media center engine
  • The Registry - explains the background and tools for working with Windows' database of settings
  • Tinkering Techniques - offers hacking-style customization and problem-solving topics
  • Networking and Wireless - includes LAN setup, WiFi sniffers and access points, connection sharing, firewalls, routers, and FTP
  • Scripting and Automation - introduces simple programming using the Windows Scripting Host for automating repetitive tasks

No other book takes our patented cranky, solutions-oriented approach. Our collection of tips, tools and techniques will improve your experience with Windows Vista, so you can control the OS -- rather than the other way around.
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oreillyWindows Vista Annoyances

(based on 3 reviews)

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If windows 7 is not your cup of tea yet

By musketeer4millions

from Rangiora, New Zealand

About Me Consultant, Educator


  • Accurate
  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written


  • None

Best Uses

  • Any vista user

Comments about oreilly Windows Vista Annoyances:

Reading this book after having worked with vista for three years, it seems to be something you still need, This book is nice written an has the average user in mind.

I have been annoyed with a lot of things in all the years that I worked with Vista and XP.
Thanks to this book I have been able to disolve most of my problems. Thanks
Well written, buy it and use it.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


Tame the Vista Beasty

By Iris Yoffa

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Windows Vista Annoyances:

I asked to review this O'Reilly book on Microsoft Vista with the idea of taming the Vista-beasty. When answering a call from a client who hasn't spent the extra bucks for a state-of-the-art PC to run Vista, the most often heard request is "My new computer is as slow as a snail. How can I speed up this thing?" Windows Vista Annoyances to the rescue! While it is true that you can often Google great fixes or answers, this book has answers to questions I didn't know enough to ask and I like having all my tools in one package for easy portability. In other words, I like having a book to take with me to a client's location for easy reference as questions arise. As an added value, this book is available in digital format online through Safari ( The last page of the book gives details on how to take advantage of the free 45 day access.

The author states that his intent in writing this book is to help the reader solve problems and resolve issues. The Preface is titled "Why am I annoyed?" and continues with how this book of solutions, hacks and tips can help the Vista user become self-empowered by understanding the technology. The book is divided into nine chapters and two appendices.

Get Started with Windows Vista

Shell Tweaks

The Registry

Working with Media



Networking and Internet

Users and Security

Scripting and Automation

BIOS Settings

TCP/IP Ports

I installed Vista Home Premium on a PC that couldn't be called "state of the art" even when I purchased it a few years ago, so I felt I could easily understand the frustration of my callers who had an out-of-the box PC slug. I had added a GIG of RAM to my DELL E510, bringing the total up to 2 GIG. My big handicap according to my Vista rating analysis was the video card, an NVIDIA 7300 LE. So, my first stop was Chapter 5: Performance.

The first part of this chapter provided information on disabling entertaining, but unnecessary, animation and display effects, and speeding up the menu actions. There were very good explanations, tips, and assessments of resource usage for each of the options listed in the Visual Effects tab's of the Performance Options dialog. Disabling a slew of options definitely improved my computer's response time, but seemed to prevent the display of the cards in the Solitaire game packaged with the OS. This game makes great use of animated windows for laying out the cards and dealing the deck. Since playing a game or seven is critical to my well-being, I re-enabled the "Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing" option. This seemed to restore proper functioning of the game without affecting the computer's performance. Disabling most of the GUI candy did add a lot of zip to the machine. This chapter also has a substantial section on the "Aero" Glass interface. I had disabled most of the resource intensive features associated with "Aero", but for those with less than ready-for-Vista PCs who feel Glass would enrich their computing experience, the author has a number of helpful suggestions and tips for improving the performance of your hardware and software. There is also a section on bringing a Glass-like interface (not quite Glass), to Vista Home Basic.

The 'Windows Experience Index' provides a system of rating your computer's processor, memory, graphics, gaming graphics and primary hard disk. There are explanations of the five categories, how the rating is arrived at, and suggestions for maximizing it. The Base Score is determined by the lowest subscore. My PC's performance rating was a whopping 3.2 due to my NVIDIA 7300 LE video card's Gaming graphics capabilities and absence of Pixel Shader 3.0. As recommended, I updated the graphics card driver and clicked the link to 'Update my score' in the Performance Information and Tools dialog. Alas, I'm stuck at a score of 3.2. The chapter continues with a section on improving battery life when running Vista on a laptop, managing IRQ priority, and overclocking your processor, There is an in-depth section on Hard drive maintenance that begins with defragging your hard drive and continues with managing the Prefetch feature, optimizing virtual memory and cache settings, transferring Windows to another hard drive, and ends with copious amounts of great tips and instructions on the broad topic of disk management.

Next stop was chapter 8, page 480, to learn how to work with that UAC (User Account Control) thingy. The constant UAC dialogs and its impact on Legacy software are the second biggest sources of aggravation for my callers. The author explains that this is Microsoft's attempt to control the unrequested attacks on Windows-based PCs. The advantages of this new feature are listed. UAC can prevent malware from doing stuff to your PC without your approval. It can make it more difficult for individuals to unwittingly damage files and registry settings. And if a password is required at each UAC prompt, the casual user, who doesn't know the password, is further protected from himself. Next, the bad news is itemized. Programs that weren't written with UAC in mind may not install or run properly. Prompts can be frequent and very annoying and intrusive. It can be easily defeated by a knowing hacker. The average user will just click continue without even reading the message, defeating the whole security aspect.

The section continues with ways to fix a program that either won't install or function properly due to the UAC prompt. If you really want to turn it completely off, you'll find out how next. I read that if I had purchased the Ultimate or Business editions of Vista, I would have access to the Security Policy Editor. I tried to run secpol.msc file on my Home Premium, but received a message that it couldn't snap in. With this tool you can adjust the Local Policies Security Options to allow applications that aren't UAC aware to run without completely disabling the protection to your PC. I wish I had read this portion of the book before buying the limited Home Premium version of Vista to install on my machine!

In Summary:

This is a must-have book for anyone who has just purchased a new Vista machine and would like to understand what they bought. When the OS doesn't behave as expected, you can often find a happy resolution on these pages and gain a sense of self-satisfaction from fixing a problem yourself. They say that knowledge is power and this is the book to give you the information you need to feel in control of your Vista experience.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


Letting the rabit out of the box.

By racoont00

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Windows Vista Annoyances:

I have prevouisly purchased the "Windows XP Annoyances" and utilized it.

The "Windows Vista Annoyances" is excellent, a must have for Vista user. I have also utilized the information in the book on Windows Server 2008 Workstation. Yes, I did say workstation and same tips work. It is great to take out the bloat that Vista utilizes, but of course, if you want all the bells and whistle have fun.

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