Operating System

Windows Vista: How to get the original Downloads folder icon back

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Windows Vista has a Downloads folder for every user, Internet Explorer is configured to download everything to it, and I configured Firefox and Free Download Manager to do the same. Two weeks ago I downloaded a song to the folder and I listened to it on WMP and as it usualy does WMP got the album cover from the net and displayed it for me and that’s where the problem started! Vista changed the Icon of the Downloads Folder to a Music Folder Icon and I wasn’t able to get the original one back so my folder looked like this:

 

Vista downloads folder Icon

As you can see having a normal folder in the middle of all the other ones is not very nice so I tried to get the old icon back by first going to the folder properties (right click > folder properties) selecting Customize and “Restore Default” but nothing changed. After that I tried changing the location of the song but the icon with the album cover remained, so I finally discovered how to fix it!You need a USB flash drive and another account on your PC (or another PC with Vista) to fix the icon and here’s what to do:

1- Go to the Downloads Folder in the other account (or machine).

2- Go to “Organize” > “Folder and Search Options” and select the 2 options in the pictures bellow.

Vista folder options

3- Some hidden files and folder should show up search for a file called “desktop” when you find it there are two things you can do, copy it to the USB flash drive or open it with notepad and copy the text and save it to a test file in your USB flash drive.

4- Undo the changes you did in “Folder and Search Options” and go to the Downloads folder in the account you want to fix and repeat step 2 on it.

5- Replace the “desktop” file with the one from the other account you stored on the USB flash drive or edit it with the text from the other account and save it.(An Image called “Folder” might also show up when you change the “Folder and Search Options” settings, you can delete this image)

6- Undo the changes you did to “Folder and Search Options” and logout from the account. When you log in to the account again the icon of your download folder should look normal again.

Vista downloads folder Icon

Note that you can follow the same steps mentioned above to restore any folder icon in Vista. Just repeat the steps in the folder you want to fix instead of the Downloads folder and it will work.

New Ubuntu released

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In case the news didn’t reach you yet, the new Ubuntu was released yesterday. This version is more secure, easier and better looking then past ones so if you haven’t tried Ubuntu yet download it for free from here and if you are already a user don’t forget to upgrade.

Cedar Linux, a Lebanese Linux Distro

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Cedar Linux

A group of developers started working on a Lebanese Linux distribution, the Distro is not available yet but work is in progress so you can help in many ways, you can donate money, write help files, design graphics or of course do some programing.

We have a lot of good developers in Lebanon so the first Lebanese OS should be great. The list of build in applications is impressive and includes everything you currently use in your windows or mac. They are even going to include wine so you can run most of the windows applications on Linux.

Check the project website for more info.

Windows XP and Icons

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At Home I have 2 Desktop PCs and a Laptop. One of those PCs has an external Hard Disk connected to it, and this Hard Disk is shared on the network. Yesterday the HDD was turned off but my brother needed some files on it.

I was playing CS on the PC that hosts the HDD but decided to switch the HDD on without leaving the game, everything worked, the game hanged a little for a couple of seconds but then got back to normal and my brother acceded the Hard Disk.

After finishing the game I went back to windows and was surprised by what I saw, apparently when Windows XP is busy doing something it doesn’t look for the Icons it needs, it just uses the “closest” Icon!

Windows XP Autorun

Windows XP Autorun

The CS Icon is the icon of the game I was playing, the other icons are just the most used programs in the start menu so XP took them and assigned them to new programs!

My Vista Sidebar Gadgets

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One of the nice features in Vista is the ability to put gadgets on the desktop, the system comes loaded with a couple of gadgets and you can download others later from Microsoft’s web site.

Here’s the list of gadgets I am using:

  • Presto’s Clock, A simple clock with the date.
  • 2 Slide Show *, One with pictures of Bachir Gemayel and the other with Lebanese Army pictures.
  • Feed Headlines *, From Slashdot and Naharnet.
  • WeatherBug, Current weather and weather forecast for any city you want.
  • Multi Meter, Shows the usage of your processors and the RAM.
  • Notes *, Digital Post-its.

*:Preloaded with Vista.

My vista sidebar gadgets

My copy of Ubuntu

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I recently ordered a free copy of Ubuntu and received it, it comes in paper envelope with some Ubuntu stickers.

I installed it on a virtual PC and I work on it sometimes. I also got myself a copy of Mac OS 10.4, it can be installed on a virtual PC (and on a PC) but it takes some time to tweak some stuff and I keep postponing it.

Ubuntu Package

 Ubuntu Free CD

Acers preloaded with Linux

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Acer LaptopYesterday I received two PC fliers at home, one of them was from the multimedia megastore and the other one from acer. I noticed that all acer PCs and Notebooks are preloaded with Linux (except the Ferrari-Acer ones that come preloaded with Vista Ultimate) but they didn’t mention which Linux Distro they are using so I decided to send them an e-mail asking.

I also had a few other questions:
Most people I know do not even know what an OS is, they think all PCs come with windows so I also asked in the mail if acer explains to people what they are really getting? Do they offer windows for those people? And if someone chooses to keep Linux, do they provide support for it?

The General Manager of Techno-mania (Acer’s dealers in Lebanon) replied to my E-mail quickly answering every question in it, so here’s the list of questions I asked and the answers I got:

Q1: What is the Linux Distribution you are using? and why?
A1: ACER PC’s ship preloaded with Linpus Linux (the version may vary according to the ship date of the products)

Q2. Do you provide support for Linux?
A2: As an Authorized ACER Service Center we support all ACER products long with their original preloaded O/S (Linux / Windows)

Q3. Most of the people in Lebanon do not know what an OS is and think that when they get a PC they get it with windows and that’s the only option out there, so do you (and the resellers) explain to those people what are
they exactly getting?
A3. We state very clearly in our marketing campaigns and our price lists the O/S for each PC, and all our resellers are aware of that. In addition, we do our best to relay this message to the end-user. However, since we do not sell directly, most of the interaction is between the end-user and the reseller which bares the responsibility of clarifying any questions related to the O/S.

Q4: Do you install Windows if the customer asks for it?
A4: Only If they have a licensed Windows Operation System, we can install it at our service center.

In addition, it worth mentioning, that you will find ACER PC’s with preloaded Windows O/S specially with the new Aspire Gemstone notebooks introduced in the market at the beginning of August.

In the reply, Mr Joseph Haddad said that my questions were also forwarded to the sale team, so if I get another reply from them I’ll update you.

Personally I like the fact that you are getting Linux with the PCs, I compared the prices of acer laptops with similar laptop from other manufacturers and the acers are cheaper by about 150$, Windows Vista Home premium costs 132$ in Lebanon, so you can switch to Windows if you want without paying more then you would pay by getting a PC from another manufacturer.

Now the only question remaining is can people move to Linux this fast! I’ve been trying Linux Boot CDs for 2 years and I recently installed Ubuntu on a Virtual PC, I won’t move completely to Linux anytime soon because of some softwares I use that will only work on Windows (Microsoft Visual Studio), now imagine a guy that bought his PC for the Bluetooth and the Integrated webcam in it (some people actually do that!), how will this guy adapt to Linux? Will he even know what kind of step he is taking? Will he understand that he has to get windows to get his “normal” PC? I hope resellers explain to people what Linux is, and get people to move to Linux, not force Linux on them. A lot of resellers are honest people but I am sure some only want to sell not caring about the customer needs so to avoid all that, in my opinion Acer should sell the PCs with Linux and offer an optional ?downgrade? to windows for a little more money, this way the customer will get what he needs and people wanting a PC with windows will not choose another PC manufacturer because they don’t want to have to get a separate copy of windows and get it installed.

Windows Vista

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I recently bought a new Laptop with Windows Vista Home Premium pre-installed, before buying it I read a lot of reviews about Vista, its bad sides and its good sides.

Windows Vista Logo

 

A lot of people complained about Vista and hardware incompatibility, I didn’t have this problem since my Laptop is preloaded with vista so everything was compatible, another problem a lot of people complained about is vista’s memory usage, well that’s true vista uses a lot of memory so buying it with 512MB of RAM (Microsoft official minimum requirement) will certainly give you problems, I have 2GB of RAM so I have no problem in memory usage but I have a sidebar gadget that always shows me the amount of RAM used, when I power up the PC it’s usually around 32-37% (I have a lot of Toshiba stuff running in the background) I work on a lot of stuff together (Firefox, VB.NET express, Photoshop CS2 are running simultaneously many times) and I never fill the RAMs (53% now with the apps mentioned above and MS Office Word 2007) so I recommend 1,5GB of RAM and more if you want to get Vista running smoothly.

Some of the other problems with Vista are software incompatibilities, and well to be honest Microsoft can’t do anything about it, the software makers have to update the applications they make, another problem was moving files in Vista! It used to take 5 minutes to move a 5MB folder because all what windows was doing is calculating the remaining time instead of moving the file, Microsoft issued a fix for this bug a week ago and moving files is a lot easier now.

Vista User Interface

One great thing about Vista is its ease of use and nice graphical interface (Aero).
Searching in Vista is great! All the files are indexed so finding a file takes just seconds and the files start to appear as you type your search, Searching in vista is the easier way to get somewhere so you get a search box in every corner, You have aWindows Vista Search search box in every file explorer so finding a document in a folder with 1000 files takes a second, there is a search box in the start menu too, so instead of searching in the huge list of programs you just type the first characters and Vista shows you the program you are looking for. Searching is also made easier with tagging, so you can tag any file you have with many words and when you search the files those words make the document easier to find (very handy for pictures).

Windows Vista NetworkingAnother good feature in Vista is the networking, it connects and configures everything for you, that’s a very helpful feature for beginners, when I first got the laptop and connected it via LAN to the internet it detected the settings and I had internet immediately, the same connection needed configuration in XP, I bought a wireless router after that and connecting wirelessly to the router was also very easy. The only bad side about networking in Vista is advanced stuff are harder to reach. I have a shared Hard Drive on one PC and in XP all we had to do is find the computer the drive is connected to and access the drive, in Vista I had to manually type the HDD location on the network to access it.

Here’s a list of some other features worth mentioning in Vista:

  • Windows Photo Gallery, All your photos are shows and grouped in a nice easy interface you can navigate, you can also edit the pictures to fix Red Eyes and similar mistakes.

Windows Vista Speech Recognition

  • Windows Speech Recognition, similar to the one that was available in MS Office, but it now covers the whole OS, easy to use but not always accurate.
  • Windows DVD Maker, make your DVDs from windows.
  • Windows Movie Maker, an improved version similar to the previous ones
  • Windows Calendar, Organize your schedule from windows! It used to crash after the reboot when you add a new appointment, but it’s now fixed.
  • Windows Meeting Space, A new and improved Windows Net Meeting, I didn’t try it yet but they say it’s nice and easy to use.
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