Remote Sounds Over Remote Desktop Connection

Don writes, “I have set up my old Window XP Pro PC to my home theater system and it works fine. However, I would like to control the PC via RDC so I do not need a monitor or have to buy a video card to hook to my TV. I will RDC from my new Vista machine and have the music play through the Home theater and not the Vista PC. Is this possible? When i remote into the XP machine, all the sound goes to the Vista machine and not the home theater.”
By default Remote Desktop brings the sounds from the remote PC to the local PC, which is useful if you are truly working remotely but not ideal in your case. To keep the sounds on the remote PC playing through your home theater, you need to change one of the RDC options before you connect.

Speed Up Vista With ReadyBoost

One of the best ways you can speed up Windows Vista is with ReadyBoost. This is basically a fast USB thumb drive Vista uses as some extra RAM for operating system functions. You need a minimum of a 2GB stick in order to notice any kind of speed bump, but if you use a 4GB USB drive you’ll get even better performance.

Using Xbox Live Vision Camera with Windows

“Can I use the Xbox 360 Live Vision camera as a Webcam with my Windows computer?”
In a word, yes. You can use the Xbox Live Vision camera as a webcam with Windows XP or Windows Vista. After you connect the Live Vision camera to a USB port on your computer, the Found New Hardware Wizard should launch automatically. Choose the option to let Windows Update find the driver automatically. Once the driver is installed, the Live Vision camera should work with any software that supports USB cameras, like Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Skype, etc.

Local Cooling – Windows Power Management

The power management built into Windows doesn’t offer much customization in what gets turned on or off on your system under various configurations. I occasionally find it useful for conserving my laptop battery life, but often Windows power management is more hindrance than help. Local Cooling offers a solid alternative to Windows power management, with a number of handy features. The app automatically turns off your monitor, shuts down or hibernates your PC, and offers a very important option to suspend shutdown when specific applications are running. That last feature is a must because I’ve lost information due to aggressive power conservation features in the past. I don’t necessarily buy into the purported greenhouse gas reduction estimates generated by Local Cooling, but it does offer statistics regarding energy reduction over time, including a competitive feature where you can compare your power savings against the community of other Local Cooling users. [Windows 9x/XP/Vista $0.00]

LogonStudio Vista

As one of the first things you see when you boot your computer, the Logon screen for Windows is possibly one of the first things I grow tired of after the newness of the operating system wears off. Fortunately, software apps like LogonStudio make it easy to add some style to the Logon screen. The Windows Vista version of Stardock’s logon page tweaking app is now available for download, along with a ton of free designs to update the look and feel of your screen. If you’re still on Windows XP, there’s a version of LogonStudio for you as well. And of course, you can always tweak your Windows user account picture with something more personal to add some flare to each username that logs in. [Windows Vista $0.00]

Installing Amazon Unbox Video on Windows Vista

Last night at approximately 11pm I decided I wanted to watch a movie. I don’t have cable at my apartment in Los Altos and I’ve already watched all my HD-DVDs, so watching something from a download service seemed like my best option. I have never tried Amazon Unbox Video previously, so I decided to give their 99 cent rentals a try. Instead of watching a movie last night, I wasted time troubleshooting an error message during the Amazon Unbox Video install process.