January 2008
Vol. 24, No. 1

A Technology Newsletter for Extension Specialists

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Vista—What You’ll See on the Desktop
by Steve Giesel

As Joe Lear mentions later in his article titled, “Hey! Where’s the ‘My Documents’ Folder?” many of the icons on your desktop have changed. I’ll tell you a little bit about that now, and about the quick launch shortcuts we’ve included on the Taskbar.

Desktop "Styles"
There are 2 links on the desktop that allow you to fast switch between “Vista-style,”

and “Classic-style.”

To make effective use of this feature, please refer to Zimm Reeves article, "Getting that Classic Look with Vista," in the December, 2007 issue of Inner Circuits.

The Taskbar
By now you should be familiar with the Taskbar function that allows you to add single-click shortcuts for your favorite programs. Your new Vista computer has a number of defaults included for you.

The first four are fairly standard, but be sure to check out Flip 3D. It’s a new visually interactive way to switch between open windows on your desktop. For a description of Flip 3D, see Zimm's article referenced above. You can still use the familiar keyboard shortcut of Alt + Tab to switch between windows.

  1. Windows Explorer
  2. Show Desktop
  3. Switch Between Windows (Flip 3D)
  4. Launch IE7

There are also links to two important system utilities here. Both of which you should use on a weekly basis for a well maintained and speedy computer.

  1. Disk Cleanup:  Removes old unused files, temp files, etc. and compresses needed files not recently used in order to conserve space.
  2. Disk Defragmenter:  Gets all your bits and bytes lined up on your hard drive so your system doesn’t have to work as hard to find, and work with your data.

You will also find shortcuts for the two new graphics editing programs we’re including, plus a cool system tool that helps you take screen snippets.

  1. GIMP 2:  An open source image editor giving you full control over your photos and graphic images.
  2. Paint.Net:  Another open source image editor. This one is probably a little easier to use, but it’s limited in its functionality compared to GIMP. More about both of these in another article in this issue.
  3. Snipping Tool:  This is a handy built-in tool that comes with Vista. It allows you to quickly create screen snips and Save, Email, or annotate them as you need.

I used the Snipping Tool to make the screen captures in this article, and you can see I turned off the border function after 3 snips. You can save these snips and then insert them into your document, or you can copy and place them directly out of the “Snipping” screen.

Click, Drag, Release! That’s all there is to it.

Finally, there are shortcuts to all the major Microsoft Office applications.

  • Access
  • Excel
  • FrontPage
  • Outlook
  • PowerPoint
  • Publisher
  • Word

If some these icons don’t seem to be on the Taskbar, just click the double arrow to bring up a list, or grab the separator bar and drag it to the right. Your Toolbar icons will be revealed.



Last Revised: 08/04/08



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