Vista basics

Vista is great

Windows sounds - Vista v XP (interesting YouTube video)

Windows Vista Accessibility Demonstrations

Windows Vista includes built-in accessibility settings and programs that make it easier for computer users to see, hear, and use.

movie logoAccessibility Today Video

View video demonstrations:

Microsoft Ease of Access Centre logo Ease of Access Center speech logo Control Without a Mouse or Keyboard
Microsoft see logo Make the Computer Easier to See output logo Use Text or Visual Alternatives for Sounds
narrator logo Use the Computer Without a Display focus logo Make it Easier to Focus on Tasks
keyboard logo Make the Keyboard Easier to Use speech logo Windows Speech Recognition
mouse logo Make the Mouse Easier to Use IE7 logo Make the Internet Easier to Use

Accessibility Tutorials - Windows Vista

Microsoft Ease of Access Centre logoEase of Access Center and Accessibility Tools

Using the Ease of Access Center

Make items on the screen appear larger

Type without using the keyboard
(On-Screen Keyboard)
Hear text read aloud with Narrator Turn on High Contrast and change the settings

Apply all accessibility settings to the logon desktop
Microsoft see logoMake the Computer Easier to See

keyboard logoMake the Keyboard Easier to Use

mouse logoMake the Mouse Easier to Use

speech logoUse the Computer Without a Mouse or Keyboard

narrator logoUse the Computer Without a Display

output logoUse Text or Visual Alternatives for Sounds

focus logoMake It Easier to Focus on Tasks

speech logoUse Speech Recognition Internet Explorer 7 iconMake the Internet Easier to Use

Windows Accessibility - Video Tutorials (YouTube)

Changing the Resolution

Adjusting the Font Size

Changing Windows colours

Making the Mouse Cursor larger

Speeding up a sluggish computer

Apparently if you are running Windows Vista and are finding it a bit slow - perhaps when using voice recognition, there is an easy way to speed it up. Normally this would require opening up the case and plugging in extra RAM chips. Vista has a feature called ‘ReadyBoost’ which uses some or all of the memory from an external storage device such as a USB memory stick/pen drive or memory card (collectively known as flash memory/drive) like the ones you find in digital cameras. Most new flash memory should be compatible with ReadyBoost.

Vista screenshotOnce you insert the flash memory into the USB port or card reader slot Vista will automatically detect it and install the appropriate drivers and then you will be given some options by AutoPlay as shown opposite, as to how you would like to use the memory. [If you are unable to see the image then please email me for a PDF version of this tip.]

Typically, you would just use it to store and/or access files, thus clicking on the option that is most appropriate to allow you to do this. However, there should be another option offered if your flash drive is compatible, that of ‘Speed up my system’. If for some reason the dialogue box does not display, then locate the memory stick/card using My Computer or Windows Explorer and then right click on the flash drive and then click on Properties and then the ReadBoost tab, and make the following selections:

Click Use this device.
Move the slider to choose how much of the available space on your memory stick/card you want to reserve for boosting your system speed. (Follow the recommendation given in the second paragraph under the slider.) Click Apply and then OK - job done.

It is recommend that you use at least a 2 gig or higher of flash memory and permanently leave it in your computer. With the price of memory being relatively cheap it’s worth doing this if you do not have a spare one lying around. At the very least you should notice that your computer starts up quicker from a cold start (after shutdown) and after being in hibernation mode [see September 08 for information on different power modes].

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