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Mark Justice Hinton on Windows Vista
Mark Justice Hinton is the author of PC Magazine Windows Vista Solutions. He owns and operates PC Training & Consulting in Albuquerque, NM, and has been teaching computer classes for the University of New Mexico’s Continuing Education department since 1988. Here, Hinton stresses how important it is to approach the first 30 days of upgrading to Windows Vista with an open mind and a willingness to explore new things.
What are the typical questions people may have within the first 30 days of upgrading to Windows Vista?
“Do I have to learn new ways to do familiar things?” Vista is different enough from XP or other operating systems that people should take the time to look for what has changed or is new. Some of those changes will be obvious, but not all are.
“Will my old program or hardware work with Vista?” Common hardware and software that is less than a couple of years old will almost surely work with Vista. Older or more unusual items may not.
What are the most common obstacles that people encounter during the first 30 days of upgrading to Windows Vista, and how can they be solved?
It always takes time to install your programs and copy your data from an older machine or backup to a new machine. Don’t be in a hurry. Upgraded systems should not take as long to set up. If you find a program or some hardware doesn't work as expected with Vista, check the manufacturer’s web site.
What phases do users tend to go through during a Windows Vista upgrade?
A lot depends on experience and attitude, as with all change. If you have been through a significant upgrade before—your operating system, some program or your hardware—you know you’ll survive it. It you stay positive and look for what’s new and improved, you’ll enjoy the process more.
There is likely to be a period of discovery and uncertainty. So, make the best of it. If you dread it, it may not get better.
Are there particular Windows Vista features that users tend to like more than others?
Start-menu search allows you to type the name of the program or document you are looking for into the Start menu, which will display anything that matches. You may never again have to hunt through menus on the Start menu looking for something. Now, just type.
Similarly, in most windows, there is a search box in the upper-right corner. Type the name of the file you're looking for and matching results will appear in the window, fast and easy.
You can sort a list of files in many ways, as you did in XP. Grouping files by name, date, and so on is an improvement over XP. Clicking to the right of a column name—like name- or date-modified—offers sort, group and filter, allowing you to display just those files you want to see. These changes are very useful prior to file operations like copy, move, delete or rename.
I love Windows Photo Gallery for organizing photos and for basic photo editing. Photo Gallery is not included in Home Basic. There is a downloadable version for any Windows version at Live.com.
Snipping Tool lets you capture part or all of a screen, annotate it and save it or insert it into email or other documents.
Are there some elements of Windows Vista that are harder to get used to than others?
I don't think people grasp the value of filters and search immediately, especially in a classroom setting where they don’t have their own files to work with.
“Tags” are a new feature for categorizing or classifying certain files, especially photos, though tags also apply to other documents. You might tag all of your photos by subject- and place-taken—i.e., “Lucky Dog” or “Colorado.” You could then display all photos of your dog, regardless of when or where you took them and where they are on your system—file location won't matter. The problem with tags is that you have to add them yourself. This takes time and it may not be obvious which tags are useful. Photo Gallery, in particular, makes it very easy to tag photos.
What can people DO to get through the first 30 days of upgrading to Windows Vista?
Have fun. Approach it as a kind of game, preferably not when you desperately need to get something done this minute, which is the worse time to learn anything.
After the first month of using Windows Vista, what can people do to continue their progress?
If you have the time, try a different way to get something done. Discovery occurs away from the familiar path. Look around, look closely, move your mouse over different areas of the screen and click the right mouse button. Don’t be afraid to try something different. If you need tips or suggestions, the help system is better than ever.
What is the belief you personally go to during times of change?
Change is inevitable. Hold on to the important stuff but let go of things less important. Different is good.
The best thing about change is…
... it keeps things interesting. Growing and learning can’t happen without change.
What is the best change you have ever made?
Moving to New Mexico 23 years ago to be with the love of my life, Merri Rudd.
For more information on Mark Justice Hinton, visit www.mjhinton.com.