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Managing Windows Vista Files and Folders Frequently Asked Questions


Below, you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding Managing Files and Folders in Windows Vista. If you are unable to find the answer to your question here, you can find additional computer support via our Free Technical Support
Form or our Free Computer Help Forums.

How can I edit administrative files using Notepad? How can I restore accidentally deleted fonts?
Accidentally deleted hibernation files Why won't my Folder settings remember my settings?
How to edit the HOSTS file in Vista? I'm having a .zip file problem in Vista
How can I safely delete the Windows.old folder? I can't find the Boot.ini file in Vista
Does Vista come with the capability to Zip files? How can I search for a specific file type?
Compress File option not listed in right click menu What is Encryption File System (EFS)?
Recycle Bin shows files when no files exist Where is the Favorites folder in Vista?
No BitLocker in Vista Business? Desktop.ini Files Showing on Desktop
How can I see the total file size in a window? Why am I not able to delete certain files?
 

Use the Information below at your own risk.  See "Terms of Use"

How can I edit administrative files using Notepad?

As an added security feature in Vista, trying to edit administrative and system files within Notepad with produce an access denied error message. In order to successfully edit these files, you will need to open Notepad administrator. Here's how:

  1. Go to Start

  2. In the Search box, type: Notepad

  3. Right click Notepad

  4. Select "Run As Administrator"

Once you have opened Notepad as Administrator, you can successfully edit system and administrative files.

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How can I restore accidentally deleted fonts?

Q: I have been playing around with a few of my fonts in Windows Vista and have lost a few of them by accident. How can I restore the original fonts?

A: You will need to run the system file checker. It will scan all of your files and repair what has been displaced. Here's how:

  1. Go to Start>> Programs>> Accessories>> Run.

  2. With the run command window open, type in: sfc /scannow

  3. Press Enter

  4. The System File Checker will begin. Once completed, restart your computer. You should now have all of your fonts restored.

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Accidentally deleted hibernation files

Q: When I was performing a disk cleanup on my Vista Premium addition I accidentally deleted the hibernation files. Now, when I close the lid on my laptop, it seemingly goes in to hibernation mode, but when I open it back up, all I get is the dreaded blue screen of death! How can I restore these files so that my computer will hibernate correctly?

A: Follow these simple instructions:

  1. Go to Start>> Programs>> Accessories.

  2. Right click the Command Prompt.

  3. Select Run as administrator from the resulting menu.

  4. Type the following command in to the command prompt and then press Enter on your keyboard:

    powercfg -h on

This will restore your hibernation files and allow your computer to hibernate correctly again.

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Why won't my Folder settings remember my settings?

Q: If I set a folder to remember a certain setting, after the next reboot it reverts back to its original setting. How can I get Vista to remember the setting that I choose?

A: Yes, this is a common bug in Vista. I'm hoping that there will be information providing a fix for this in the coming months. I feel your pain. Once there is a fix available for this, I will post it right here.

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How to edit the HOSTS file in Vista?

Q: I have been trying to edit my HOSTS file to stop certain advertisements from showing, however, when I try to save it, I receive a message that states I do not have permission to edit this file. I am the administrator, so how can I successfully edit this file in Windows Vista?

A: You will have to run the text editor (NOTEPAD) as administrator. Simply right click the program and select "Run as administrator" from the resulting menu. Now you can edit the HOSTS file.

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I'm having a .zip file problem in Vista

Q: I was able to double click a file and use Vista's built in tool to work with these files. This feature is no longer functioning. Is there a way that I can fix this?

A: Yes, just follow the instructions outlined below to restore the Zip function.

Zip Fix Download

  1. Click the "Download Now" button to download the Zip Fix file.

  2. Download the file to your desktop.

  3. Right click the file and select Merge from the resulting menu.

Note: You may need Administrator privileges to execute this fix.

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How can I safely delete the Windows.old folder?

I have successfully installed Windows Vista Ultimate to my system and would like to delete the Windows.old files so that I can regain that disk space. How is this done?

A: You can delete this folder by using the Disk Cleanup Tool, here's how:

  1. Go to Start.

  2. Type the following in the Search box, then press Enter: disk cleanup

  3. Click to open the Disk Cleanup tool.

  4. Click Continue when you receive a UAC (user account control) dialog box.

  5. Place a checkmark in the checkbox titled: Previous Windows Installation(s).

  6. Click OK.

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I can't find the Boot.ini file in Vista

Q: Can you tell me where I can find the Boot.ini file in Vista?

A: Vista doesn't have a Boot.ini file as XP did. Vista uses a command-line tool called BCDEdit (
Boot Configuration Data). The easiest way to edit the BCD is to use a third party tool. The most commonly used tool I've seen is Vista Boot Pro.

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Does Vista come with the capability to Zip files?

Yes. Just like with Windows XP, all you have to do is highlight a group of files. Right click and select "Send To", then click "compressed (zipped) folder". Name the folder what ever you would like.

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How can I search for a specific file type?

Q: I am trying to search for files of a specific type such as; how can I find files with the extension .wav only? Or, if I wanted to see all of my music files 'except' files with the .wav extension?

A: You can use 'wildcard' searches to accomplish this. As an example:

Go to Start. In the Search field, type in:

*.wav

You will now see a listing of all file names ending with the .wav extension. If you would like to see all of your other music files except the .wav files, select the "Music" category and then type in the "Show Only" field:

NOT *.wav

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Compress File option not listed in right click menu

Q: I'm trying to compress files using the right click menu, but I do not find it listed in the menu. How can I add it there?

A: Try this:

  1. Navigate to the following:

    C:\Users\Default\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo
     

  2. Then, copy the file "Compressed (zipped) Folder".

  3. Paste the file into the "SendTo" folder located here:

    C:\Users\(user name)\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo

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What is Encryption File System (EFS)?

Encryption is defined as:

A method of enhancing the security of data contained in a message or file. This strong level of security is done by scrambling or coding the contents where it can only be read by someone who has the proper encryption key to unscramble the data.

In Windows Vista, EFS is a built-in feature that allows you to store the data on your hard drive in an encrypted format. Each Windows Vista installation carries its own encryption key unique to that installation.

The one drawback of this I have heard is that if you ever need to perform a repair installation of Windows, any encrypted data that was on your system before the repair installation is now going to be lost forever because you will now have a different encryption key unique to the new installation. So be sure to return all encrypted data back to its original state before you perform a repair installation of Windows.

The key features of EFS are:

  • Easily encrypt data using the check boxes in the files or folders Properties.

  • Once the file is closed it is automatically encrypted.

  • Uncheck the boxes in the files or folders Properties to return your data to its original state.

  • Control who you would like to be able to read the encrypted data.

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Recycle Bin shows files when no files exist

Q: When I place an item in to the recycle bin and delete it, the recycle bin still shows it has items in it. How can I get my recycle bin to show it is empty?

A: Others have experienced this same behavior in the recycle bin. Many have been able to clear this problem by simply creating a blank file using Notepad. Save it to your desktop and then delete it. Now, try deleting the file from the recycle bin. If this doesn't work, try using system restore to restore your computer to a point where you did not notice this issue.

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Where is the Favorites folder in Vista?

The Favorites folder is located by default in: C:\Users\UserName\Favorites

This assumes that C: is where your Vista operating system is located. Also, substitute "UserName" with your actual user name.

A second method of finding your Favorites folder is:

  1. Go to Start

  2. In the Search field, type in: shell:favorites

  3. Press Enter on your keyboard

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No BitLocker in Vista Business?

Q: I am in charge of the IT operations for my company now using Vista Business. I have found out that Vista Business does not offer BitLocker. Is there a 3rd party software that I can use with Vista Business to encrypt the users data?

A: Correct. BitLocker is only offered to Vista Ultimate and Enterprise version having the volume license. A third party software that is widely used is TrueCrypt. I have provided the link to their web site below:

http://www.truecrypt.org/

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Desktop.ini Files Showing on Desktop

Q: All of the sudden I am seeing Icons titles "Desktop ini" on my desktop. I don't know where these came from. Is it safe to delete them?

A: These folders contain customization information. If you were to delete them, they would be recreated with the default information, so you would lose any special functions or customizations that you've applied. These are system files and not meant to be seen. You must have made a change to show all system files. To hide them again follow the instructions below:

  1. Go to Start

  2. Select Control Panel

  3. Select Folder Options

  4. Select View

  5. Place a checkmark in the checkbox titled: Hide protected operating system files

  6. Apply the change and click OK to exit the window

The Desktop.ini folder will now disappear from your desktop. You may have to refresh your desktop by single left clicking an empty area and then press F5 on your keyboard.

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How can I see the total file size in a window?

Q: In Windows XP, I was able to configure it to show the total file/folder size at the bottom of a window. I can't seem to figure out how to configure Vista to display the same. Is there a way to do this?

A: Not to my knowledge. But, you can simply right click a file or folder and select Properties. This will show you the file size and more.

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Why am I not able to delete certain files?

Q: I'm trying to delete a file in my Program files but it says that I do not have permission. I am the only user on my system and am logged in to my Administrator account. How can I give myself permissions to delete certain files?

A: First of all, check to make sure that the file is currently not in use. If it is, you will need to exit the file before Windows will allow you to delete it. You can easily check this in the Task manager (CTRL + ALT + DELETE). If you find it is in use, click to highlight the file and then click End Task.

For instructions on how you can take ownership of files and folders in Vista so that they can be successfully deleted, please refer to our tip below:

Take Ownership of Vista System Files

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