CyberNotes: Use Any USB Drive or Memory Card with ReadyBoost on Vista

This article was written on April 26, 2007 by CyberNet.

Tutorial Thursday

Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows Vista, offers a really unique feature called ReadyBoost. The goal of it is to use a USB drive or memory card to increase the amount of memory that your system has to use. The results of adding a memory card or flash drive to Vista for memory usage can actually be quite astonishing.

One of the main problems is that you typically need a high-speed device because Microsoft wants to make sure that you get the most out of ReadyBoost. None of the memory cards or USB drives that I have laying around actually met the requirements for ReadyBoost, and every time I tried to use it I would receive this warning: “This device does not have the required performance characteristics for use in speeding up your system.”


Have no fear though, because you can use almost any USB drive or memory card with ReadyBoost! Although you may not receive optimal performance from it if the card doesn’t meet Vista’s standards.

Here’s how you can enable ReadyBoost on Vista for any memory card or USB drive:

  1. Insert your USB Drive and choose the ReadyBoost option when prompted. If you’re not prompted you can always go into Windows Explorer, right-click on the device, and choose Properties.
  2. Check the box that says Stop retesting this device when I plug it in. Press Ok.
  3. Now you’ll need to open up the Windows Registry, which can be done by opening up the Start Menu and typing regedit. If you get prompted by the User Account Control just select the option to Continue.
    Note: I realize that editing the registry might be something you’re weary about doing, but if you stick to the instructions you won’t have any problems.
  4. Browse the tree on the left side of the Registry Editor making your way through the “folders”: HKLM (Local Machine) -> SOFTWARE -> Microsoft -> Windows NT -> CurrentVersion -> EMDMgmt

    One of the keys listed should be your USB Drive. Find it and click on that item (the names might look a little weird but you can probably recognize your drive).

  5. Double-click on the Device Status entry on the right side and change the value to 2. Press OK.
  6. Change both the ReadSpeedKBs and WriteSpeedKBs to 1000 by double-clicking on each of their names. Press OK.
  7. Now open up Windows Explorer, right-click on your device, and choose the Properties option. You should now see the option to Use this device, and once you pick that you can choose how much memory can be used by ReadyBoost:

That’s all there is to it! The reason why this works is because we’re telling Vista a small little lie. We’re saying that the device is actually faster at reading and writing than it actually is, which means that in the long run we may not see all of the benefits that ReadyBoost actually offers. At least you are able to play around with it and be your own judge whether it improves the performance of your PC!

Source: Windows Vista Magazine

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Microsoft Creates Vista Software Compatibility List

This article was written on February 22, 2007 by CyberNet.

The thing that is probably holding most people back from upgrading to Windows Vista is that they’re unsure if many programs will work. In the past I have always just used the list that users put together over at IeXBeta. It is pretty comprehensive, and best of all is that people are pretty good about adding notes to applications that don’t completely work with Vista so that you know what to expect if you decide to install it anyways.

Microsoft must have seen some value in such a list because they have created their own, labeling software as either “Certified for Windows Vista” or “Works with Windows Vista.” Here is the difference between the two labels:

The “Certified for Windows Vista” logo is a compatibility designation for applications and devices that have passed a rigorous testing program on computers that are running Windows Vista. The technical requirements for this designation target four core areas: reliability, security, compatibility with Windows Vista and future operating systems, and installation and removal.

The “Works with Windows Vista” logo is a compatibility designation that is designed to encourage Windows Vista compatibility for the current generation of Windows-based applications. To receive this designation, software companies test their applications to make sure that the applications meet the program’s guidelines.

The list of “Certified for Windows Vista” applications is a lot smaller than the other one because the requirements are a lot more strict. For example, Microsoft Office 2007 is on the “Certified for” list while Office 2003 is just on the “Works with” list. Most of the programs on the “Certified for” list appear to be ones that have taken extra strides and provided updates to their applications to make them work great with Vista.

vista compatibility

One thing that was a little disappointing in the list was that Trend Micro has the only antivirus solution that is “Certified for Windows Vista.” Personally, I use Avast with Vista and it runs very smoothly. The requirements to be certified must be a bit strict or require a lot of work that most developers don’t want to go through.

One thing that Microsoft’s list doesn’t seem to cover that the IeXBeta does is a list of programs that are known not to work. Microsoft definitely has this information available because Vista will prompt you when you are installing a program that has known compatibility issues, but the information is not readily available to users.

I remember back when Windows XP was initially released, it seemed like it took forever for compatible software to become available. Vista is already off to a better start than XP was so I definitely give Microsoft credit for getting the word out about Vista early on to developers who then had time to prepare for the release. The next few months will probably be the birth of a lot of new software, and some of it will hopefully take advantage of Vista’s new graphical features.

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Save XP Petition Grows to Over 200,000 Signatures

This article was written on May 19, 2008 by CyberNet.

xp petition.pngWe’ve mentioned the “SAVE XP” Petition that InfoWorld has put together before and at last count in mid-April, over 164,000 people had signed it. The purpose of the petition is to ask Microsoft to extend the date that XP will be available. InfoWorld has just updated the petition count and at this point, over 200,000 people have signed it. The exact count as of May 15th is 200,805 signatures and that’s the number after they took out those who signed multiple times, as well as the fake sign-ups. Clearly people want XP to stay around a little longer but is it enough?

In the big scheme of things, 200,000 people really isn’t THAT many people when you take into consideration the millions of people still using XP. It is a large enough number though that it should eventually get Microsoft’s attention and may make them stop and reconsider how long they should keep XP around. At this point they aren’t willing to meet with InfoWorld to receive the petition, but they do know that it exists. In their most recent update, InfoWorld says, “through its PR firm, Microsoft has declined to meet with InfoWorld to receive the petition and discuss the concerns of its customers who have signed it.

One of the first thoughts that came to mind when we first heard about this whole petition several months ago was “are we going to be seeing a SAVE VISTA petition several years from now?” So many people are resistant to change because they get comfortable with what they are using and don’t want to have to get used to using something else. People were resisting XP back when it first came out. Technology changes and advances and upgrading to a new operating system allows us to take advantage of it.

So what will come of this? There are a couple of things that could happen. First of all, we’ve seen Microsoft extend the deadline for ULCPC’s (ultra low-cost personal computers) until June 30, 2010. Maybe they’ll decide to extend the date for anybody who wants to run XP and allow Vista and XP to co-exist? Or maybe they will just stick to their original plan?

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CyberNotes: Tweak Your Desktop to Increase Productivity

This article was written on December 17, 2007 by CyberNet.

Microsoft Monday

It seems as though there’s never enough time in the days, weeks, and months to get everything done and fit everybody into the schedule.  Time is precious which is why it’s important to try and save yourself as much of it as possible.  One of the best things about Windows Vista is that there are a few built-in settings that can be tweaked and changed to increase your productivity.  All it will take is a few minutes and then you’ll be shaving minutes off the tasks your perform on your computer.

Add “User’s File” Folder to Desktop

When you install Vista, by default, one of the only things you’ll see on your desktop is the Recycle Bin. This is nice for those of you who like a clean desktop and prefer to have nearly nothing displayed.  If you’d like to make yourself a little more productive and save some time, there is one additional thing you’ll want to add to your desktop and that is your User’s File Folder. You can do this by right-clicking on your desktop > Personalize > Change desktop icons. Once you do this, you should see a screen like what’s shown below:

desktop icon settings

Check the box where it says “User’s Files, and then click OK. The user folder will now be added to your desktop. All it takes is a double-click and then you’ll have quick and easy access to documents, pictures, videos, music, and more.

Review Start Menu and Taskbar Properties

Click Start > Then Right-click >Select Properties. You should now be at a page that looks like this:

taskbar and start menu

Under the “Start Menu Tab” click Customize. It’ll pull up a rather long list of different options to customize how links, icons, and menus look and behave on the start menu. Here are a few recommended changes to increase productivity:

  • To search for for files or not? Scroll to the bottom of the list and find “Search Files.” If you access files frequently, you’ll want Vista to search the user’s file. One word of caution is that this can slow the search process down if it’s searching through all of your user files.  On the bright side, if you access them frequently, the few extra seconds it takes to perform will be worth it. Ultimately, it will save you more time in the end.
  • How many programs do you want displayed? That’s another option you’ll see on that same screen. If there’s only 5 programs you regularly use, you’ll want to decrease the number of programs to display down to five. This will make it quicker for you to spot the program you need.
  • Display the control panel as a menu – you’ll want to select this option if you regularly access your control panel.  By default it’s set to be displayed as a link.  When it’s displayed as a menu, it means less clicks that you have to make. Nice!

Customize Your Toolbars

toolbars changes

To customize your toolbars, you’ll need to right-click the taskbar and then select “Toolbars.” Here you can add different elements to your taskbar like an address bar which can come in handy. Adding an address bar means you can enter URLs right from your desktop.  

Pin Applications to the start menu

If there are applications that you use frequently, you’ll want to pin them to the Start Menu so that they will always appear at the very top of the menu which will save you from searching. To pin an application to the start menu, just click “All Programs” and find the one you’re wanting to pin. Once you find it, right-click on it and you’ll notice one of the options is “Pin to menu.” Click it and you’ll always have the application at the top of your list in the start menu.

With these changes, you should be able to save yourself quite a bit of time!

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CyberNotes: Removing Some of Vista’s UAC Headaches

This article was written on May 17, 2007 by CyberNet.

Tutorial Thursday

There was a topic in our forum started a few months back regarding the User Account Control (UAC) in Windows Vista. The question asked whether there was a way to prevent the UAC prompt on applications you know are safe, and at the time the question was specifically directed towards Joost.

Unfortunately there is no way to tell the UAC to “remember my decision,” but there really should be. The UAC should be smart enough to watch for changes in the file, and if something does get modified it should notify the user.

One of my own peeves is in regards to modifying items in the Start Menu. The Start Menu Programs folder is where a lot of applications install their shortcuts. After I install something I like to cleanup the Start Menu so that there aren’t a ton of folders, and also delete shortcuts that I’ll never need. Vista already lets me modify my own Start Menu items, but modifying items that were installed for all users forces a UAC prompt each time.

The method that I’m about to demonstrate is a workaround I found, and works great for disabling the UAC on specific files or folders. It is important to know that the UAC will be completely disabled for the files or folders you choose to apply this to, so be careful how you use it. 

  1. Open Windows Explorer and find the file/folder that you would like to remove the UAC prompt from. In this example I am going to do it for the Programs folder for All Users so that it is easier to manage my items in the Start Menu. This folder is found at:
    C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
    Windows Vista UAC Prompt
  2. Right click on the file/folder and select the Properties option.
    Windows Vista UAC Prompt
  3. Go the the Security tab and and click the Edit button. You’ll receive a UAC prompt that you need to confirm before being able to continue.
    Windows Vista UAC Prompt
  4. Click the Add button, and then in the Enter the object names to select field, type your Vista username that is used when you login. My username is Ryan J. Wagner so that is what I entered in.
    Windows Vista UAC Prompt
  5. Press OK on the Select Users or Groups window, and then check the Full Control box on the Permissions for Programs window before pressing OK.
    Windows Vista UAC Prompt

That’s all there is to it! Now in that example I won’t receive a UAC prompt every time I move or delete an item in my Start Menu, which I do quite often. Being able to do this has saved me a lot of headaches, but I just wish I thought to try it sooner.

This can also be done for applications that you’re having problems with running in Vista. You can just go into the corresponding folder for your program (which is normally located in the Program Files) and add your username to the permissions. That way you’ll never need to run an application as an administrator because it already has full access to its own folder.

You do want to be careful for with what you choose to do this with, because it is essentially disabling the UAC for that specific file or directory. That means a virus or spyware would be able to access those files as easy as if you disabled UAC system-wide, so think twice about what you apply this technique to.

This solution isn’t the type of fix that I would have liked to do, and as stated earlier I would like to see Microsoft address an easier way to prevent files, folders, and applications from constantly displaying a UAC prompt. I’ll cross my fingers and hope that Vista Service Pack 1 brings some welcomed updates to the User Account Control!

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CyberNotes: If We Could Port Over Our Favorite Applications…

This article was written on August 18, 2008 by CyberNet.

Microsoft/Mac Monday

Lately we’ve been finding ourselves discussing applications that we really like for one operating system, that would be great on another. We decided to put these discussions into an article about all of the applications we’d like to see for Windows, but are only available for Macs, and then visa versa, the applications we’d like to see available for Macs, but are only available for Windows. We’re also going to mention a few applications that would be perfect for merging together.

Applications we’d like to see for Windows, but are only available for Macs:


adium logo-1.pngMac OS X comes with iChat which we were happy using until multiple people mentioned that we just had to try Adium. It’s your all-in-one instant messaging application that connects to Jabber, Yahoo, MSN, AIM, and more. In some ways it reminds us of Digsby which is becoming a pretty popular all-in-one messenger for Windows. Digsby and Adium are two applications we’d love to see merge together and be offered for Windows and Mac OS X. If a merger isn’t possible, it would be a great offering for Windows users as well as Mac users.


parallels.pngWe’re not saying that specifically Parallels should be available for Windows, but the idea. If only Apple would loosen the reigns a little and allow their operating system to be used on PC’s. There are hacked versions of OS X that are designed to run in VMWare for Windows, but legally, it is not possible to do.


iPhoto.pngThose of you who read our iPhoto vs. Windows Photo Gallery article back in May are probably wondering why we’d like to see iPhoto for Windows. We complained about many aspects of the application like the fact that you have to import the images and iPhoto takes control over how things are organized. We ended up taking the advice of people who said to let iPhoto do the work for you, so we started using it and giving it control over how our library is organized (much like how iTunes is capable of organizing your music library). Once we got used to it, we really started to like how easy everything was and how adding new images to the library is so simple and effortless.


skitch-1.pngSkitch is the best screen capture service for the Mac that we are aware of. It’s not that it’s far superior to, say, SnagIt for Windows, because it’s not. But it does have some really great elements to it. For some reason, the process of taking screenshots is sped-up while using Skitch, but it lacks some of the editing features we enjoyed with SnagIt. This is one of those applications we’d love to see merge with SnagIt and be offered for Windows and Mac OS X.

Name Mangler

namemangler.pngRyan has mentioned Name Mangler before as a tiny app that does a great job of taking care of bulk file renaming on a Mac. The interface of Name Mangler is more intuitive and clean compared to some of its Windows alternatives. It doesn’t have all the features of those Windows alternatives, but it’s easier and more natural to use.

Photo Booth

photobooth logo.pngPhoto Booth is an app that comes with Mac OS X, and it is used for snapping photos with iSight or another webcam. It’s not something you use often, so where’s the benefit? For one, for those who like to change their images on Facebook and MySpace, this provides an easy way to snap your pictures. It’s also fun because it’s one of those apps that you show people when they come over to, just to impress them. The built-in effects that can be applied really add a lot to the photos you take.


automator.pngIt’s a built in program that comes with Mac OS X. We like to think of Automator as a Macro. For example, in Microsoft Office you can use Macros to automate repetitive tasks. Automator does the same type of thing, but implements a point-and-click interface for creating workflows that work across the entire operating system.

Applications we’d like to see for Macs, but are only available for Windows:

Office 2007

office logo.pngOne of the applications we miss the most since switching to Mac OS X is Office 2007. Office 2008 for the Mac simply does not compare. If only Microsoft was able to develop a version of Office 2007, with the ribbon, for Mac users. One of my personal biggest pet peeves is with the Toolbox because it’s inconvenient and never seems to be where I need it to be. If I move the window I’m currently working on, the toolbox doesn’t move with it. Are there any other Mac users who previously used Office 2007, that despise the Toolbox too?

Windows Live Writer

live writer.pngMicrosoft really did a great job when they developed Windows Live Writer. It has an intuitive interface that is easy to use, and there are very few bugs. On the Mac we have yet to find a blogging client that we are completely satisfied with. The one we have been using lately is called Ecto and while it has some nice features, it pales in comparison to what Windows Live Writer offers.

Paint.NET is a Windows only application for digital photo editing. It’s great because it’s feature-packed, yet free! For those who want to touch-up their images, Paint.NET is a simple solution. Photoshop is expensive and includes way more features than the average person needs which is why Paint.NET comes in handy. Any time I reformatted my hard drive, this was one of the first apps to get installed. I would love to see this for Macs.

Windows Media Center

mediacenter.pngApple has Front Row, but it’s really meant to be a hub for watching movies and TV shows from your computer while Windows Media Center has a strong focus on recording television. Despite the fact that we use MacBook Pros for working, we still have a Vista machine with Windows Media Center that records the television shows that we want to watch at a later date. Apple has yet to venture down the route of providing software for recording TV but it could be something their users would enjoy.


digsby logo.pngLike Adium above, Digsby is one of those applications that is really starting to take off and has some great features. We’d love to see Adium and Digsby merge together so that users get the best of both worlds whether they are using a Mac or a PC, but that probably won’t happen. Sure Digsby has its flaws, but the application continues to improve. Just last week on the Digsby blog they announced that they were preparing for a major new release that has some big performance and RAM optimizations.


snagit logo.pngSnagIt is truly an amazing application for capturing screenshots. While it’s not a free application (it costs $49.95), it is worth every penny that it costs, particularly because of its editing capabilities that have come in handy while capturing and preparing screenshots for CyberNet. SnagIt also makes it easy to combine images with their latest version which is nice as well. They’re sporting a new interface these days that reminds me of Microsoft Office 2007.

As we mentioned above, the features of SnagIt combined with the features of Skitch would give you one mean application for capturing images.

Applications We Would Like to See Merge

Here’s a quick run-through of the applications we would like to see merge to get the best of both worlds for both operating systems:

  • Adium (Mac) and Digsby (Windows)
  • Skitch (Mac) and SnagIt (Windows)

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ViStart gets an Awesome Upgrade

This article was written on June 09, 2007 by CyberNet.

ViStart Beta 5A few months ago I wrote about a cool application for Windows XP which will emulate the Start Menu in Windows Vista. Then came along another Start Menu emulator from the creator of the Vista Transformation Pack, and this one has received a great update as the final step before Vista Transformation Pack 7 is released.

ViStart Beta 5 is the standalone Start Menu that runs in Windows XP, and perfectly replaces your Start Menu. It does all of the following:

  • Puts your user image in the upper-right corner, and replaces that image with other graphics as you hover over the menu items on the right side.
  • The Programs menu is actually contained within the Start Menu, instead of popping out like it does in XP. This is a big thing that skins alone were never able to emulate.
  • Search! It doesn’t index your files, but the search bar does pull up matching program names as you type.
  • System Tray icon that you can right-click on to shut-down, restart, or log-off of your computer.

The screenshot above is what ViStart looks like in the Vista Transformation Pack, and as you can see there are a lot of similarities to the Vista counterpart. While this program can be run as a standalone program, the font used is what’s specified in your system settings. So from my experience it doesn’t look as spectacular if you don’t have the Vista Transformation Pack installed.

Things are definitely looking up for the Vista Transformation Pack, and when version 7 gets released we’ll be sure to let you know. In the mean time you can play around with ViStart a little more:

ViStart Homepage (English Download Mirror for Beta 5)

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Manage Multiple Connections: Remote Desktop, VNC, Citrix, and More

This article was written on October 20, 2008 by CyberNet.

(Click to Enlarge)

arrow Windows Windows only arrow
Everyday when I’m at work I’m dealing with dozens of different servers that I have to connect to using the Windows Remote Desktop. If you have just one computer that you need to manage the standard Remote Desktop Connection application serves the purpose, but it can become tedious when dealing with numerous machines.

To solve this problem I began looking around for a app that has a nice tabbed interface for handling multiple connections. What I wasn’t expecting was to find something as good as the free Terminals program. This can not only manage Remote Desktop Connections, but also VNC, VMRC, RAS, Telnet, SSH, ICA Citrix, HTTP, and Amazon S3. Plus you can accomplish basic tasks like pinging, trace routes, whois lookups, and more all from within this single program.

I’ve quickly become impressed with everything Terminals can do. Anytime you make a connection to a machine it will be added to the Favorites menu for easy access in the future. You can then go through and rename the entries for easier recognition (especially handy if you’re connecting via IP addresses), or even apply tags.

And we can’t forget about security. Naturally you won’t want a program like this to save all of your passwords because a lot could be lost should it ever fall into the wrong hands. At the same time it can be tough to remember all of those different passwords for the various machines. Terminals, much like any browser, will let you establish a master password that is used to protect all of your saved passwords. That means you’ll have just one password to remember from now on!

This probably isn’t a program that will be handy for everyone, but it can definitely save some time and frustration for those of you who work with dozens of different connections day in and day out. It’s completely free, and doesn’t require any installation for you to start using it. Just download the ZIP file, extract the contents, and run the executable.

Get Terminals for Windows

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CCleaner Updated – Works with Vista

This article was written on March 19, 2007 by CyberNet.


One piece of softare that I had never tried to install on Windows Vista before was CCleaner (Download Mirror). There was no mention of whether it was compatible with Vista, and I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to take the risk of trying it out. After all, this program does cleanup both your registry and touches a little on system files…both of which could really mess things up if not done properly.

I just went back to to the CCleaner homepage and noticed that their latest update about 10 days ago added Vista compatibility. That was exactly what I wanted to see because I felt like my computer needed a good cleaning.

After downloading and installing it, I went ahead and ran it. Before it could even start,

‘’?” it requested administrative rights in the forum of a User Account Control (UAC) prompt which is perfectly understandable. This program does mess with things that it should not normally have access to so I figured it would need those permissions to do its job.

Then I had it clean almost everything up, including my registry, and in the end it recovered almost 475MB of precious hard drive space for me. That is awesome considering my Recycle Bin was emptied immediately before running the program so none of that was erased.

If you’re running Vista, I am here to say that CCleaner works great on it! I hadn’t checked my startup programs in quite some time, and using CCleaner’s built-in manager for the startup programs I was able to eliminate some of the things I didn’t really need. The result of using CCleaner is not only more hard drive space, but now my computer even starts up quicker!

CCleaner Homepage (Download Mirror)

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Microsoft Launches Ad #2

This article was written on September 12, 2008 by CyberNet.

Last week when Microsoft aired their first Windows ad, a lot of you had lots to say about it. Some of you thought that the commercial simply wasn’t funny while others of you thought that despite the fact there was no direct message, at least they were getting the logo out. We were left pretty confused as to the direction this ad campaign would take, but now that Microsoft has released a second ad, we are starting to get an idea of where it’s headed. Take a look below at the latest ad (it’s over four minutes):

The way we interpret it is that eventually they will bring everything together and the first commercial with the shoes was to represent that you need to find the shoe that fits right, or in the case of Vista, the right version for you whether it be Home Premium or Ultimate. This second commercial could be used to show that Vista is for “real” people since Gates and Seinfeld were living in the “real” world with “real” people.

We’re not sure what they have in store for future ads, but rumor has it that eventually the commercials will become more focused on Vista. So far the commercials have been a little confusing but it is definitely getting people talking, and I think there’s a much bigger picture here that we aren’t able to see yet. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to finding out what else they have in store.


Thanks for the tip Oliver!

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