Windows Vista Control Panel Options – CompTIA A+ 220-802: 1.5

Windows Vista has its own unique Control Panel utilities that you won’t find in other operating systems. In this video, you’ll learn about Tablet PC Settings, Pen and Input Devices, Offline Files, and more.

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The Control Panel inside of Windows Vista has some options that are a little bit different than Windows XP or Windows 7. Let’s have a look at those.

When Windows Vista was released, tablet PCs were becoming more popular. So Windows Vista included some options if your computer happened to be one that was a tablet PC. And there’s specialized options in here just for tablet PC users.

For instance, you can tell the operating system whether you are left handed or right handed. It becomes very important when you start drawing on the screen with your stylus. Since you’re now writing with a stylus, Windows can learn how you write. So your handwriting recognition options can also be found in these tablet PC settings and you can enable or disable certain capabilities inside of that.

You can also configure the display orientation. Maybe use your tablet PC in a landscape mode. Maybe it’s in a portrait mode. And you would configure exactly how your system is set up to use that tablet functionality.

Now that you have these tablets, you have the stylus that you could use. It’s almost like using a pen right on your screen. And so there’s things that you can do that go beyond what a traditional keyboard and mouse might be able to do. And you can configure those options inside of the pen and input devices.

For instance, tapping once or double tapping with your stylus might have a certain reaction and you can configure that inside of this utility. You can also change the pointer options and how those pointers might be used when you’re using your pen. That gives you some visual feedback with the cursors on your screen.

There’s also a new interface option called Flicks. That’s when you’re taking your stylus and your pen and you’re moving it in a particular direction with a flick of the wrist. And you can define and configure and customize exactly what happens when you flick it up, or you flick your pen down, or to the left or to the right, so that you don’t have to move around for instance to click the Back button or the Forward button. You simply flick to the left or flick to the right and your Windows will respond accordingly.

If you work on a network, you might want to store your files on a central file server. But that of course becomes a problem when you leave the office and you would still like to be able to work on those files. In Windows Vista, in the Control Panel under the Offline Files option, you have the ability to turn on this capability so that the files will remain available on your computer in an offline mode. And when you reconnect to the network, it will synchronize and make sure the latest version is available on the network. This is enabled or disabled inside of this offline files utility.

You can also define how it is used. Maybe you’d like to allocate a certain amount of disk space just for these offline files. You would do that inside of this utility.

Of course if you’re taking these files off of your network at work and you’re walking around with your laptop, you might want to protect those files with encryption. So you can define some encryption options for the files that you’re going to be using offline on your computer.

You also have the ability to configure network options. Maybe you’re at a remote site and all of these files or across a very slow WAN connection. Maybe that WAN connection is fine at certain times of the day, but then it slows down as the network gets busier. So you can tell Windows that when this slows down, work offline. And as soon as the network has better performance, you can communicate at a higher speed to that server, then synchronize and make sure that everything is updated. You’ll find all of these options inside of your Windows Vista Control Panel under Offline Files.

As technologists, we become pretty accustomed to troubleshooting operating system problems. But if you’re someone who’s not accustomed to this, it can be a bit of an issue. That’s why Microsoft included in Windows Vista this option in the Control Panel for Problem Reports and Solutions. If your computer has a problem, it will communicate with Microsoft. And Microsoft may send the correction for that problem directly to the operating system.

Now, this doesn’t solve everything. You’ll still have a job. But one of the nice things is that a lot of non-technical users can get a lot of problems resolved by using this functionality.

Problems are automatically identified. You’ll see information about the issue. This is the breakdown inside of the Problem Reports and Solution that shows us for instance that a driver wasn’t found. You can even then find out what the solution might be for this particular problem if one happens to exist.

Windows checks on an automatic schedule to send the problems that its found and download any updates or resolutions for that particular problem on an automatic schedule. And you can configure when that’s going to occur. That way it all happens behind the scenes. Your users don’t have to think about it.

The problems are sent to Microsoft. The responses come back. And your users didn’t have to interact or began or end that particular process. It’s all handled automatically.

In Windows XP, we had printers and faxes. But you’ll notice in Windows Vista, we have printers. Of course, the fax capability is still there. You can install it as a separate module. And it would still be found inside of this. But it has a different name inside of Windows Vista.

This is still a central console that you can use to manage all of your printers and all of your faxes. But notice the interface is a little different. It’s now using this very familiar Windows environment that’s very common across many different utilities.

And of course, you have all of the capabilities you had before. You can manage all of your printers, you can start printer jobs or pause the printer jobs, you can delete jobs out of the printer queue, or change how the printer properties might be configured, all inside of this Printers option in the Windows Vista Control Panel.