Chapter 9: Maintaining and Optimizing Windows Vista Systems

Exam Cram

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Event Viewer

The Event Viewer is a useful tool for viewing and managing logs of system, program, and security events on your computer. Event Viewer gathers information about hardware and software problems and monitors Windows security events. The Event Viewer can be found in Administrative Tools, and it is contained within the Computer Management Console (see Figure 9.6).

Figure 9.6

Figure 9.6

Event Viewer.

Problem Reports and Solutions Tool

The Problems Reports and Solutions tool works with the Windows Error Reporting services to provide a history of attempts to diagnose problems on your computer. It also prompts users if they want to send error information to Microsoft over the Internet. It can also check for solutions over the Internet. You can view a list of current problems at any time by following these steps:

  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.

  2. In the Control Panel, click System and Maintenance, and then click Problem Reports and Solutions.

  3. In the Problem Reports and Solutions dialog box, click See Problems to Check in the left pane.

Restore a Driver to Its Previous Version

If you install driver and you encounter problems with the driver, you can roll back the driver. To roll back a device driver, open the Device Manager from within the Control Panel. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, enter the password or provide confirmation. Double-click the category containing your device driver, and then double-click the name of the device you want to restore to a previous driver version. Click the Driver tab, and then click Roll Back Driver. If there's no previous version of the driver software installed for the selected device, the Roll Back Driver button will be unavailable. If the machine does not boot, you can try loading Safe mode before accessing Device Manager.

System Restore

System Restore helps you restore your computer's system files to an earlier point in time. It's a way to undo system changes to your computer without affecting your personal files, such as e-mail, documents, or photos. This comes in handy when you install a program or a drive that causes Windows to behave unpredictable. If uninstalling does not fix the problem, you can try restoring your computer's system to an earlier date when everything worked correctly.

System Restore uses a feature called System Protection to regularly create and save restore points on your computer. These restore points contain information about registry settings and other system information that Windows uses. You can also create restore points manually.

System Restore is not intended for backing up personal files, so it cannot help you recover a personal file that has been deleted or damaged. You should regularly back up your personal files and important data using a backup program.

Restore points are created automatically every day, and just before significant system events, such as the installation of a program or device driver. You can also create a restore point manually.

System Restore automatically recommends the most recent restore point created before a significant change, such as installing a program. You can also choose from a list of restore points. Try using restore points created just before the date and time you started noticing problems.

To access the System Restore utility, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start button and select Programs.

  2. Select Accessories.

  3. Select System Tools

  4. Select System Restore.

  5. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, enter the password or provide confirmation.

Remote Desktop and Remote Assistance

Starting with Windows XP, Microsoft introduced Remote Desktop and Remote Assistance. Similar to Terminal Services used in Windows 2000 servers, you can have access to a Windows session that is running on your computer when at another computer. This means, for example, that you can connect your work computer from home and have access to all of your applications, files, and network resources as though you are in front of your computer at work. You can leave programs running at work, and when you get home you can see your desktop at work displayed on your home computer, with the same programs running. Another example of using Remote Desktop and Remote Assistance is to remotely troubleshoot or administer a computer that is not nearby.

You would use Remote Desktop to access one computer from another remotely. With Remote Desktop Connection, you can access a computer running Windows from another computer running Windows that is connected to the same network or to the Internet. For example, you can use all of your work computer's programs, files, and network resources from your home computer, and it's just like you're sitting in front of your computer at work.


Warning - You cannot use Remote Desktop Connection to connect to computers running Windows Vista Starter, Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Basic N, or Windows Vista Home Premium. You can create outgoing connections only from those editions of Windows Vista. Windows Vista Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions offer full Remote Desktop Connection capability.



Note - You cannot use Remote Desktop Connection to connect to computers running Windows XP Home edition.


To connect to a remote computer, that computer must be turned on, it must have a network connection, Remote Desktop must be enabled, you must have network access to the remote computer (this could be through the Internet), and you must have permission to connect (a member of the Administrators group or the Remote Desktop Users group). For permission to connect, you must be on the list of users. The steps that follow include adding names to that list.


Warning - To use Remote Desktop, the computer that you are trying to connect to must be on, Remote Desktop must be enabled, and you must have the proper permissions.


To allow remote connections on the computer you want to connect to, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start button. Right-click Computer, and select Properties.

  2. Click Remote Settings, and then select one of the three options under Remote Desktop. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, enter the password or provide confirmation.

  3. Click Select Users. If you are enabling Remote Desktop for your current user account, your name will automatically be added to this list of remote users, and you can skip the next two steps.

  4. In the Remote Desktop Users dialog box, click Add. This will add users to the Remote Desktop Users group.

  5. In the Select Users dialog box, do the following:

    • To specify the search location, click Locations, and then select the location you want to search.

    • In Enter the Object Names to Select, type the name of the user who you want to add, and then click OK.

    • The name will be displayed in the list of users in the Remote Desktop Users dialog box.

To start Remote Desktop on the computer you want to work from, follow these steps:

  1. Open Remote Desktop Connection by clicking the Start button, selecting Accessories, and selecting Remote Desktop Connection.

  2. In the Computer box, enter the name of the computer that you want to connect to, and then click Connect. (You can also type the IP address rather than the computer name if you want.)

For more advanced options before the connection, click the Options button.

Remote Assistance is used to give or receive assistance remotely. For example, a friend or a technical support person can access your computer to help you with a computer problem or show you how to do something. You can help someone else the same way. In either case, both you and the other person see the same computer screen. If you decide to share control of your computer with your helper, you will both be able to control the mouse cursor.

To use Remote Assistance, first you invite a person to help you, using e-mail or an instant message. You can also reuse an invitation that you have sent before. After the person accepts the invitation, Windows Remote Assistance creates an encrypted connection between the two computers over the Internet or the network that both computers are connected to. You give the other person a password so that he or she can connect. You can also offer assistance to someone else, and when that person accepts your offer, Windows Remote Assistance creates an encrypted connection between the two computers. To start a Remote Assistance session and to create invitations, click All Programs, Maintenance, and then click Windows Remote Assistance.


Warning - To allow a user to remotely access a Windows Vista computer, you need to enable Remote Desktop or Remote Assistance through the firewall.


Exam Prep Questions

  1. You work as the desktop support technician at Acme.com. You have a computer with 1 GB RAM with Windows Vista Ultimate. You want to add a fast removable flash drive to improve performance. What should you use?

    1. Windows SuperFetch

    2. Windows ReadyBoost

    3. Windows ReadyDrive

    4. Windows Memory Diagnostic tool

  2. You work as the desktop support technician at Acme.com. You have a user who loaded a drive, but now Windows does not boot properly. You want to display the driver names while they are being loaded during startup. What should you do?

    1. Start System Configuration. On the Boot tab, select the Base Video check box.

    2. Start System Configuration. On the Boot tab, select the Boot Log check box.

    3. Start System Configuration. On the Boot tab, select the No GUI Boot check box.

    4. Start System Configuration. On the Boot tab, select the OS Boot Information check box.

  3. You insert a flash drive and discover that you cannot make use of all the memory on the USB flash device when configuring ReadyBoost. What do you think the problem is?

    1. The USB flash drive has slow flash memory.

    2. The USB flash drive has fast flash memory.

    3. The USB flash drive has both slow and fast flash memory.

    4. The USB flash drive does not meet the minimum requirement to configure ReadyBoost.

  4. You work as the desktop support technician at Acme.com. You suspect an application is not releasing memory. You would like a user who is using the Windows Vista machine to run Performance Monitor. What do you need to do so that the user has access to Performance Monitor?

    1. Add the user to the Power Users group.

    2. Add the user to the Performance Log Users group.

    3. Add the user to the Performance Monitor Users group.

    4. Add the user to the Administrators group.

  5. If you want to see whether you are running out of physical memory, which counter should you use?

    1. CPU utilization

    2. Pages\sec

    3. Network utilization

    4. Interrupts\sec

  6. You work as the desktop support technician at Acme.com. You have a user who called and states that he has had problems over the past few weeks. You need to identify the cause of the failures. Therefore, you want to look at a historical view of workstation performance and see when the failures first started. What should you do?

    1. You should use Performance Monitor.

    2. You should use the Reliability Monitor.

    3. You should use a System Diagnostics Data Collector Set.

    4. You should use the Resource Overview tool.

  7. You work as the help desk technician at Acme.com. You have a user who is getting a Stop error and then the computer is started in Normal mode or Safe mode. What should you do to troubleshoot this problem further?

    1. Uninstall Windows Vista and reinstall Windows XP.

    2. Reboot the computer using the Windows Vista installation DVD and run the Startup Repair tool.

    3. Run Software Explorer.

    4. You should disable startup items by running msconfig.exe.

  8. You made changes to the video refresh rate on your computer, but now the display does not work properly. What should you do?

    1. Run the SYSEDIT tool.

    2. Reinstall Windows.

    3. Reboot the system with the emergency repair disk.

    4. Press F8 during the boot sequence and select Last Known Good Configuration.

  9. Your machine will not boot properly. You suspect a faulty driver that you just installed. Unfortunately, you cannot access the Device Manager because the system does not complete the boot process. What should you do next?

    1. Restart the computer with another Windows version.

    2. Insert a DOS bootable disk into the drive and boot the system.

    3. Reboot the computer in Safe mode.

    4. Start the System Configuration tool.

  10. What tool would you use to temporarily disable a service that starts during the boot process?

    1. Device Manager

    2. System Configuration

    3. Boot.ini tool

    4. Last Known Good Configuration option

  11. You just loaded a new application. Now your computer has gotten slow and sometimes causes Stop errors. Even after reinstalling the application, you still have the same problems. What can you try next?

    1. Roll back the latest driver using Device Manager.

    2. Reboot the computer in Safe mode.

    3. Press F8 during the boot sequence and select Last Known Good Configuration.

    4. Use the System Restore tool to restore to a known good working restore point.

  12. Which of the following does support Remote Desktop?

    1. Windows Vista Home Basic

    2. Windows Vista Home Premium

    3. Windows Vista Ultimate

    4. Windows Vista Starter

  13. To use Windows Remote Desktop, a user must be added to one of two groups. What are the two groups?

    1. Administrator

    2. Power Users

    3. Remote Desktop Administrators

    4. Remote Desktop Users

Answers to Exam Prep Questions

  1. Answer B is correct. Windows ReadyBoost boosts system performance by using USB flash devices as additional sources for caching. Answer A is incorrect because SuperFetch utilizes machine-learning techniques to analyze usage patterns to allow Windows Vista to make intelligent decisions about what content should be present in system memory at any given time. Answer C is incorrect because ReadyDrive boosts system performance on mobile computers equipped with hybrid drives. Answer D is incorrect because the Memory Diagnostic tool is used to test memory and not to increase performance.

  2. Answer D is correct. If you open System Configuration, select the Boot tab, and you select OS Boot Information, it will show you the driver names that are loaded during startup. Answers A, B, and C are incorrect because those options do not provide that information. Base Video starts the monitor with a 640x480 resolution. The Boot Log generates a log that can be accessed after it boots. The No GUI Boot check box starts in with a command prompt.

  3. Answer C is correct. To get the benefit of ReadyBoost, your USB device needs to use fast flash memory. Therefore, if you insert a USB flash device that consists of slow and fast flash memory, ReadyBoost will only use the fast flash memory. Therefore, answers A and B are incorrect. Because ReadyBoost recognizes some of the memory, you can assume that the USB flash device meets the minimum requirements. Therefore, answer D is incorrect.

  4. Answer C is correct. For standard users to run the Performance Monitor, you must add them to the Performance Monitor Users group or make them administrators. Because there is no need to make them administrators, it is best to only add them to the Performance Monitor Users group. Therefore, answer D is incorrect. Answer A is incorrect because Power Users groups are only there for backward compatibility. Answer B is incorrect because there is no such group.

  5. Answer B is correct. To see how much paging takes place between RAM and the paging file, you use the pages\sec counter. A high value indicates that you need to use paging often, which means you are running out of physical memory. Answer A is incorrect because CPU utilization shows how hard the processor is working. Answer C is incorrect because network utilization indicates how much bandwidth is being used on the network. Answer D is incorrect because a high value for interrupts\sec might indicate a faulty device or device driver.

  6. Answer B is correct. The two places to look for a history of problems are the Event Viewer and the Reliability Monitor. Answer A is incorrect because Performance Monitor is used to measure performance. Answer C is incorrect because the Data Collector Set is used to group counters together so that you can call them up as needed or schedule them to be measured. Answer D is incorrect because the Resource Overview tool shows the performance of the major subcomponents, including CPU, memory, network, and disk.

  7. Answer B is correct. Because you cannot start the computer, there might be a problem with the startup files. Therefore, you need to run the Startup Repair tool. Answer A is incorrect because you don't want to go back to an old operating system. Answers C and D are incorrect because you cannot start Windows to get to the Software Explorer or msconfig.exe (System Configuration tool).

  8. Answer D is correct. If you load a driver and your machine does not boot properly, you can access the Advanced Boot menu and try Last Known Good Configuration. Answer A is incorrect because you cannot access SYSEDIT because you cannot get the Windows GUI to load. Answer B is incorrect because reinstalling Windows takes a lot of effort and may not correct the problem. Answer C is incorrect because there is no emergency repair disk to use with Windows Vista; everything is included with the Windows Vista installation disc.

  9. Answer C is correct. If you cannot boot the computer, the next logical step is to boot Windows in Safe mode. In Safe mode, minimum drivers are loaded. Answer A is not a viable option because most systems do not have another hard drive with another Windows version. This solution can also become very messy. Answer B is incorrect because you cannot use DOS to correct most Windows problems. Answer D is incorrect because you need to first load Windows before you can use the System Configuration tool.

  10. Answer B is correct. The System Configuration tool is a diagnostic tool that can help you isolate startup programs and services that prevent Windows from booting. Answer A is incorrect because Device Manager manages devices, not services. Answer C is incorrect because the boot.ini file (used in Windows 2000 and Windows XP) is used to select certain drive parameters and to provide a boot menu so that you can choose which operating system to boot on a multiboot system. Answer D is used to revert back when you load a driver, service, or program that prevents Windows from loading. It does not disable a service.

  11. Answer D is correct. System Restore can reconfigure Windows back to its original settings before the problem occurred. Answer A is incorrect because this is not a device problem. Answer B is incorrect because you can load Windows, so you don't need to use Safe mode. Answer C is incorrect because if you log on to Windows successfully, it will overwrite the last known good configuration.

  12. Answer C is correct. Windows Vista Ultimate does support Remote Desktop. You cannot connect to computers with Remote Desktop that have Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium, or Windows Vista Starter. Therefore, answers A, B, and D are incorrect.

  13. Answers A and D are correct. All administrators are automatically given the necessary permission to use Windows Remote Desktop. For other users, you must add them to the Remote Desktop Users group. Answer B is incorrect because the Power Users group is mostly used for backward compatibility. Answer C is incorrect because there is no Remote Desktop Administrators group.

Recommended Readings and Resources

Mitch Tulloch, Tony Northrup, Jerry Honeycutt, Ed Wilson, Ralph Ramos, and the Windows Vista Team, Windows Vista Resource Kit (Pro - Resource Kit) (Redmond, Washington: Microsoft Press, 2007).

William R. Stanek, Introducing Microsoft Windows Vista (Redmond, Washington: Microsoft Press, 2006).

Patrick Regan, Working with Windows 2000 and 2003 (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2004).

Patrick Regan, Troubleshooting the PC with A+ Preparation, 3rd Edition (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2006).

Copyright © 2007 Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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