Tag Archives: tweaks

How to Tweak Mac OS X

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There are arguments claiming that Mac OS X is not configurable, and that Windows is a Power-Users’ dream come true. That could have been the case way back before OS X. However, Macs have been “tweakable” for years.

My favorite website for finding Mac OS X tweaks is Mac OS X Hints. Every day they post things that all Power Users love. I admit, some of it goes over my head. However, much of it is a lot of help to me. This site is one you would send to Windows users when they claim that OS X is not configurable. I want to share a few of my favorite Mac tweaks with you now.

MainMenu is full of powerful maintenance tools to keep your Mac running like new, within a slick, simple interface. Rebuilding your Spotlight library for faster searching, repairing permissions, cleaning caches to improve application performance, and even more advanced settings – such as enabling and disabling the Dashboard – are no more than two clicks away.

TinkerTool is an application that gives you access to additional preference settings Apple has built into Mac OS X. This allows to activate hidden features in the operating system and in some of the applications delivered with the system. The tool makes sure that preference changes can only affect the current user. You don’t need administrative privileges to use the tool. With this design, it is no problem to use TinkerTool in professional networks where users have restricted permissions. The program will never change any component of the operating system, so the integrity of your system is not put at risk, and there will be no negative effect on system updates.

MacPilot is your digital savior. Easily enable and disable hidden features in Mac OS X, optimize and repair your system, and perform numerous routine maintenance operations with the click of a button! Optimize your network for broadband connectivity, completely customize Apple File Sharing, perform essential maintenance without having to remember mind boggling acronyms, and much more.

What are your favorite tweaks and customizations for your Mac? Leave a follow-up comment on this video, or email them to me at [email protected]

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Upgrade XP by Installing Windows Vista

First off, good luck. 🙂

If you’re wanting to put Vista on a machine that’s already running XP, don’t wipe out XP altogether. Instead, run through the Vista installation and place it on a different drive and/or partition (which can be dynamically created during the install process). You may not like Vista, or you’re likely to find that your software just doesn’t work like it does in XP. At least you can go back to using XP if Vista doesn’t work for you.

Start emailing your favorite software authors now – if they’re still actively developing your favorite applications. With any luck, they will release a new version if Vista incompatibilities exist. However, I’d ask ’em today rather than waiting to find out later that the software doesn’t work correctly. Consider this a friendly reminder.

If you want to view PDFs, you’re going to need help installing Adobe Acrobat Reader 8 on Vista (as Adobe’s current installer chokes on its own spittle).

If you have a Smartphone or Pocket PC device, you’re going to need to download Windows Mobile Device Center instead of using ActiveSync. I’d imagine that by the time Vista officially hits the streets, this will be passed through Windows Update automatically.

And there are a thousand other things that I haven’t figured out yet.

Top 10 Tweaks, Tips, and Tricks for Windows Vista

  1. If you’re annoyed by Internet Explorer’s incessant barking that you’ve lowered your security settings (like, if you’re a non-paranoid expert), launch “gpedit.msc” from either the Run command or Start Search field, navigate through Local Computer Policy / Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates / Windows Components / Internet Explorer. In the rightmost pane, double-click “Turn off the Security Settings Check feature” and set it to Enabled.
  2. If Internet Explorer’s Information Bar also annoys you, you can turn it off (again) in the Group Policy Object Editor (gpedit.msc) through Local Computer Policy / Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates / Windows Components / Internet Explorer / Security Features. In the rightmost pane, double-click “Internet Explorer Processes” and set it to Disabled. Hallelujah!
  3. I’ve just mentioned two tweaks that are buried inside the Group Policy Editor. Jim Allchin pointed out that there’s a Group Policy Settings Reference spreadsheet available. Makes for great weekend reading.
  4. Read the Background on Backgrounds if you’re a performance junkie. Don’t set your wallpaper through Internet Explorer ever again! Now that Windows supports JPG wallpapers, there’s absolutely no need (or excuse) for using BMPs anymore.
  5. If you insist on keeping UAC (User Account Control) turned on for yourself, you might care to make the elevation prompts a bit less visually jarring. Brandon told me about this one, even though I have UAC turned off. Launch the Local Security Policy manager (secpol.msc), and navigate through Security Settings / Local Policies / Security Options. In the rightmost pane, scroll to the bottom and double-click “User Account Control: Switch to the secure desktop when prompting for elevation.” Disable it, and you can keep UAC turned on without getting turned off by the embarrassingly craptacular Aero Basic theme.
  6. Vista can send you emails! The Computer Management tool can still be accessed by right-clicking “Computer” and selecting “Manage” from the menu. However, now you can attach a task to any event. Try navigating through System Tools / Event Viewer / Windows Logs / Application. Now, go ahead and select an event – then look to the rightmost pane and click “Attach Task to This Event.” Name it whatever, describe it however, click through the next step, then in the Action step, you’ll see the “Send an e-mail” option.
  7. The Windows Task Manager gives you a lot more troubleshooting information in Vista. Flip to the Processes tab, and in the View menu, click “Select Columns” and add Description, Command Line, and Image Path Name. Moreover, when you right-click a process, you can select either “Go to Service(s)” or “Open File Location.” These are all long overdue options.
  8. This one’s interesting. Open up the Date and Time Control Panel applet. Flip to the “Additional Clocks” tab. There, you can configure two more clocks from different time zones. They’ll appear in the tooltip when you hover over the Taskbar clock. No additional software (or silly sidebar widgets) necessary.
  9. Applicable in other versions of Windows, I’m going to throw it in here for good measure. Create a shortcut to RegSvr32.exe in your SendTo folder. To get there quickly, enter “shell:sendto” in the Run command dialog or Start Search field. Now, when you wanna register a DLL or OCX file with the system, you can select it/them and “Send To” the RegSvr32 shortcut.
  10. I figured I’d round out my first set of Windows Vista tips and tricks with a tiny bit of eye candy. It doesn’t beat Picasa, but the Windows Photo Gallery is better than nothing. Once it’s indexed all your photos, click the icon next to the Search field and turn on the “Table of Contents.” That’s kinda nifty.

If this list doesn’t make Lifehacker, nothing will.