Answers to Vista users' nagging questions

Can I add XP-like expanding folder shortcuts to Vista's Start menu?

Unfortunately you can't. In XP, all you have to do is drag a folder to a desired place in the Start menu, and you get a submenu of that folder's contents. Not so with Vista.

There are a number of workarounds for this problem, but the best one places your folder on the Start menu's right pane, along with Documents and Control Panel, so you can open it via a pop-up submenu.

1. Right-click the Start button and select Properties.

2. In the Start Button tab, click the Customise button next to the 'Start menu' option.

3. Scroll down the list of options in the resulting Customize Start Menu dialog box. Consider the various folder options; those with suboptions let you choose whether to display them as a link, a menu, or not at all. Find one you don't need, and for that folder, select Display as a menu .

4. Click OK to close both dialog boxes.

5. Click Start, right-click the folder you selected in step 3, and select Properties. (Unfortunately, this won't work with the Games folder.)

6. Click the Location tab and type in the path of the folder you want easy access to.

7. Click OK. I'll leave it to you to decide whether to move any files from your former Music, Photos, or Games folders to your new, basically fictitious one.

8. Click Start, and right-click the folder whose location you just changed. Select Rename and then rename the Start menu's pointer to the appropriate folder name.

Why doesn't Vista's System Restore actually restore the system?

Poor system restoration is one of Vista's most vexing problems. Some utilities, usually big security suites that must be on at all times to protect you, interfere with System Restore's ability to do its job.

The simple workaround is to run System Restore in Safe Mode. Reboot your PC and press F8 before Windows starts loading (you may need a few tries to get the timing right). Select Safe Mode. Once Windows is up, try System Restore.

Is a long-term solution available? Uninstalling your security software might help. There's no guarantee, however, and of course you'll need to replace that software with something else. Trying to uninstall it is probably not worth the trouble unless the program is giving you a lot of other problems.

One reader recommended disabling and re-enabling System Restore as a possible fix. But do that only after you have successfully restored your system or completely given up, as the action erases all of your existing restore points. Here's how.

1. Click Start, type sysdm.cpl, and press Enter.

2. In the resulting System Properties dialog box, click the System Protection tab.

3. You'll see the Available Disks list. Uncheck all that are checked.

4. When you attempt to uncheck C: , a warning will ask if you want to turn System Restore off. Click Turn System Restore Off.

5. Back in System Properties, click Apply. Wait while Windows processes that command.

6. Recheck the box next to C: , and then click Apply again.

7. Click Create to make a new restore point.

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Steve Bass

PC World (US online)
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