Thursday, May 15, 2008

Quick Fixes for Five Nasty Vista Problems

Quick Fixes for Five Nasty Vista Problems

Six weeks later, the flaws are floating to the top.

Windows Vista's now a month and a half old, and most of the early adopters have formulated opinions: Some love it, some hate it, some just sort of think it's okay. Most of us at ExtremeTech fall between the first and third camps—it's nifty, but nothing revolutionary. One thing's for sure, though: message boards and blogs all over the Web are alight with reports of incompatibilities, bugs and nags.

A great deal of the problems we've encountered aren't really fixable. It's more a matter of finding a workaround or waiting for a patch or a driver, either from Microsoft, a hardware company, a game developer, or some other third party. No surprise there—Vista is a new operating system and glitches in core code, feature code and driver code are to be expected.

After spending a few hours surfing around, we pinpointed five rather prominent problems that actually have solutions, or that aren't really problems at all. Want to get your AMD Cool & Quiet drivers to load? Care to prevent your iPod hard drive from going corrupt with a few clicks of the mouse? Having trouble installing Adobe Reader? Read onOne of the most common gripes we've seen in message boards all around the Internet involve users not being able to install AMD's Cool & Quiet drivers on Windows Vista, and therefore not getting the power saving effect. AMD's driver Web pages only contain C&Q drivers for Windows XP.

C&Q has been around for a few generations of AMD processors and, provided the chip is installed on a compatible motherboard, it regulates the CPU's multiplier and voltage to go into low power states when the full processor power isn't needed. Since most motherboards contain intelligent circuitry for their CPU fans, the fan will usually slow down when the CPU isn't running hot enough to require full cooling force.

Why isn't there an easy-to-find Vista driver for C&Q features? Simple—it's built in! Windows Vista contains full support for C&Q from the onset, and it even gives you a bit of control over how it runs the CPU.

Go to Control Panel, click System, and click Power Options. Pick a plan, any plan, and click Change Plan Settings—for instance, beneath High Performance, click the blue text. The first page you see shows you how the computer will behave when plugged in and when on battery power; click Change Advanced Power Settings. A dialog box will appear.

Scroll down in the list box until you see Processor Power Management, and click the little + next to it. Now, you can set the minimum and maximum power states for the CPU while on battery, and while plugged in. You set a range, in percentage of the CPU's maximum power, for the processor to adhere to. For instance, in Power Saver mode you might set the minimums to 1 percent and max to 50 percent to save battery life; in High Performance mode you might force the CPU to run at 100 percent across the board for pure gaming muscle. The operating system will throttle the CPU as needed, staying between the power points you specifyVPN DOA
If you're working as a telecommuter or from a remote location via a VPN, you should probably let your company's IT department decide whether or not you should upgrade to Windows Vista. It's likely a bad idea to do it yourself, especially on company equipment, without IT's blessing.

In any case, Windows Vista has a known problem with its VPN system that sometimes prevents users from connecting. After an upgrade, or even after a clean installation, you might set up the VPN exactly as you're supposed to, with all the correct information, and still not get through. It's not your fault.

You may have switched from a wired network to another wired or wireless connection before the VPN failure. If that's the case, Microsoft issued an update to solve the problem. You can get it through Windows Update as well as via that link.

Even if you didn't experience the VPN failure after switching network connections, try this update if you're having VPN problems

1 comment:

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