Vista Control Panel Functions and Windows Customization

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Tip 9 – Personalizing your Control Panel

The biggest problem you will face with the Control Panel is the way most useful settings are placed around several different applets, out of which some might be completely useless to you. But don’t worry you can personalize your own Control Panel that contains only the features you use most often, within a couple of minutes. You can personalize your Control Panel by using a tool called the Microsoft Management console. To access this tool, go to Start and type mmc.exe in the Search box and press Enter to launch it. Now click on File > Add/Remove Snap-in and browse the contents of the Available snap-ins box to discover the settings you want to include in your personalized Control Panel. Select your favorite applets by clicking on Add> and press OK to finish. I would recommend choosing Computer Management, Device Manager, Disk Management, Event Viewer Reliability and Performance Monitor, Services and Windows Firewall.

Tip 10 – Setting up the Windows clock

Do you have problem looking at the time in two different time zones? If yes, I have a very easy solution by altering some settings in the control panel of Windows Vista. I am going to show you in two steps how to make the standard system clock that appears on the Taskbar to show you time in two different time zones. Open the Control Panel and click on Clock, Language and Region. Then click on Add clocks for different time zones. Tick on the box Show this clock and choose a time zone from the drop-down list, then give the clock a suitable name, for example clock-1. Do the same for second Clock-2 below this and choose a different time zone. Now when you place your mouse on the clock in the taskbar notification area you will be able to see time in two different time zones. Isn’t it easy?

Tip 11 – Protecting your Settings

If you share your PC with some less experienced users then it is always wise to make sure they can’t access your Control Panel settings. Provide another account to friends/family by going to Control Panel > User Accounts > Manage another Account > Create an Account. Choose the Standard User account and they’ll be unable to do much harm to your settings. To complete the job, log in to their account, run REGEDIT and browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft \ Windows\ CurrentVersion\Explorer. Right-click in the right-hand panel and click on New → DWORD(32-bit) value, and name it NoControlPanel, then double-click this and set its value to 1. Close the Registry Editor and now if any other user tampers with your settings they will get a warning message and your settings will remain safe.

This post is part of the series: Taming the Control Panel in Windows Vista

Tips, tricks, and tactics to master the few useful but lesser-known features of Control Panel in Windows Vista

  1. How to Master Windows Vista’s Control Panel – Part 1
  2. How to Master Windows Vista’s Control Panel – Part 2
  3. How to Master Windows Vista’s Control Panel – Part 3
  4. How to Master Windows Vista’s Control Panel – Part 4