Make Vista Great Part 2: Fix Windows Explorer
Stop the Green Ribbon of Death
Any Vista user is likely to recognize with fear the green progress bar that sometimes appears across the top of Windows Explorer: If its there for more than a few seconds, that could mean Explorer has crashed. Regardless, youre stuck waiting as long as a minute for a simple Explorer window to become usable! To reset Explorer without restarting Windows, press Ctrl-Shift-Esc, choose the Processes tab, and click the Image Name column header to sort the list. Select each instance of Explorer.exe in the list and click End Process to close it. Dont panic if you lose your desktop along the way; from Task Managers File menu, select New Task, type explorer, and click OK to restore your desktop.
Unfortunately, there are many reasons Explorer may hang or crash. One fixable culprit is Vistas thumbnail display. If you open a folder with a corrupt or empty video file, a garbled photo, or any media file that uses a defective driver (called a codec), Explorer crashes while generating the thumbnail. To fix the problem, rename the extensions of troublesome files (for example, myvideo.wmv to myvideo.wmv.broken).
You can also stop the crashing by disabling thumbnails altogether. Open Folder Options in Control Panel, choose the View tab, select Always show icons, never thumbnails, and click OK.
Broken media files often cause Windows Explorer to crash while it tries to make thumbnail previews for them.
UAC protects your PC from spyware by asking your permission before allowing access to protected folders and applications. If only it didnt nag so often, people might not disable it entirely, thus negating its protective influence.
To skip the User Account Control (UAC) prompt for simple actions such as renaming desktop icons, you need to unprotect the associated folders on your hard drive. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the All Users Desktop folder (C:UsersPublicDesktop). Right-click the folder, select Properties, choose the Security tab, and click Edit. Select your account name in the list and then click the check box next to Full control, in the Allow column, and click OK. Repeat for any other folders that give you trouble.
One way to reduce annoying UAC prompts is to loosen security on your PCs “All Users” Desktop folder, which lets you to rename any desktop icon without having to give permission every time.
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