Enable System Restore

Is there any better way to recover from a Vista PC or laptop disaster than System Restore? I think not. To be more specific, is there a better utility that can be used to recover from an operating system or applcation type of problem? Hardware problems aside, it is not uncommon for a faulty piece of … software (can you say, ‘freeware’?) or faulty Windows update to freeze up a workstation. Maybe Vista boots, but locks up after updating some printer software. Or maybe it locks up after Windows Update just finished installing the monster ‘DotNet’ Framework version 3.5 and all of a sudden the workstation will not boot!?
There are 3 steps to fix problems like the above:
1) Maintaining awareness of system changes (i.e. software updates or new installs)
2) Enabling System Restore Points
3) Restoring the system to a previous point in time

I will save # 2 and # 3 for a future time. But often overlooked is # 1. How many times do people quickly, and without a second thought, install freeware and ignore symptoms of possible problems? If you just installed a new freeware antispyware application, and your system is bogging down dramatically, then you may want to consider unistalling before further issues ensure. Awareness is key. If you notice some problems, i.e. blue screens, sluggishness etc after installing software, then consider it a helpful warning: uninstall it, and ask, did this solve the problem?

# 2 and # 3 will be covered in the future.

Auto-Tag in WinAmp

One more item about my previous blog entry on the WinAmp Auto-tag feature: this can be done in bulk. I realized after the post that I had many songs with no album information, for example. The workaround, per WinAmp’s site, is to to this in bulk. Use sort, by clicking ‘Album’ at top of menu. Sort once or twice to get the songs with blank Album information together. Then select all of these songs, and right click. Finally, select Send To: Auto-Tag, and Apply To. Do the same for any empty information.

Cool WinAmp Feature

This is not a Vista note per se, but I cannot believe I am just now discovering this: WinAmp has an Auto-tag feature! What is this? It means the days of empty music library data are over. When one opens WinAmp in order to play local MP3s for example, in the Local Media view can be seen basic song information: Artist, Album, Track #, Title, Length, etc (assuming music files have already been added to the library). However, as we all know, it is very common for song information to be scattered and these fields are frequently empty.

To solve this problem, using WinAmp, in the Local Media view, right click the song, or file, and select “View File Info”.

Note the empty boxes.
Now just click Auto-tag and you should see a brief note like this:

Anf finally, you can see this killer Journey song’s information has filled in ;>

WinAmp is a very nice application. It is amongst the best media players, IMHO. I recommend it heartily. Now you also can fill in those empty music file descriptions by use of the Auto-Tag feature.


Windows Vista Service Pack 2 and Windows Update Services

I pushed out Vista Service Pack 2 successfully on a test station. I am amazed at the fact that Windows Vista Service Pack 2 installed smoothly and well under 25 minutes. This is a service pack, after all, and I was expecting a long time. I used Windows Update Services (WSUS)and do this off hours for workstations, but nonetheless the relatively short install time is a great improvement over some behemoths of the past!