This seeded article at laptop magazine gives a few good pointers on taking advantage of some of the productivity enhancing features available in Vista for mobile users; but seemed a bit incomplete in leaving out some improvements that were specifically targeted towards laptop computer users. Rather than rehashing all of their material in a separate article, I will expand on the seed with some analysis and tips of my own to follow.
Please consider the seeded article first to keep my comments in context (and as a more appropriate grain of salt).
1. Turn Off User Account Control
No, one should not turn "off" UAC specifically, instead tweak it so it is less annoying but still offers a level of protection to the primary user account, and a warning if programs start to act suspicious.
You can do a search for tips on how to disable screen blanking and other parts of UAC (such as on this vistahelp.blogspot.com article ) , or you can get a utility like TweakUAC which can supress the prompts for admin accounts, while leaving the other UAC protections in place.
4. Create a Flip 3D Shortcut
If you remember to press the Control key at the same time you call up Flip3D (ctrl+windows+tab), then you can release the keys and the screen will keep the stacking preview in place while you scroll thru the selections to get the window you want. The same tip works with ctrl+alt+tab preview as well.
If you like using the Windows Sidebar in Vista, you can also add a gadget called Vista Hot Corners which can trigger the fixed Flip3D effect by mousing over a (customizable) spot on the sidebar; and it can also do a faithful recreation of the (OS X) Exposé effect. Getting to the configuration on this gadget is a little tricky, and there is currently no keyboard shortcut to activate it, but it is pretty good for a first version gadget idea.
7. Expanded Right-Click Options
That has actually been an option in earlier versions of Windows (it was one of the ways to call up the "Run As" command), but it is nice to see they have expanded on the idea with Vista. It also appears there may be a way for a user to customize thier own options on this feature.
9. Activate Parental Controls
Note that "Parental Controls" don't just set up the system to control accounts for your kids. It also gives you control of how or when "guests" use the computer, such as when certain friends come over and try to play a prank on you when they ask to use it to check their email (or to protect against the things they might unknowingly click on to install while surfing).
Parental Controls cannot be enabled on the default Guest account that is created when Vista installs, so it is recommended that the Guest account be turned off and another account be created to manage and generate activity reports for other people who may use the system.
In a corporate environment, these options are likely to be provided thru group policy, and Parental controls may not be an available option for the user, but instead it can be managed by the IT department.
And a couple of extra tips for mobile users:
Tip # 11, Check your Power Options.
Since the original article was written with mobile PC users in mind, it is important to also mention battery life and tips to save it when using the computer away from a standing power connection.
Along with the Mobility Center, there is also a console for power management available in Vista; which can be brought up either by typing "power options" in the Start menu search bar, thru the control panel, or by right clicking on the battery indicator on the system tray, and choosing "More power options".
In the Power Options console you will see three default power plans that can be used to save power, keep the system running as standard for CPU intensive applications, or to find a point of balance between performance and longer battery use. You can customize each plan to further suit your computer usage, tweak the advanced features of each plan to squeeze every last minute of spare energy from parts of the system that are not in heavy use, and even create your own plans.
If you launch the console thru the system tray, there is also a link to a Windows Help article giving tips on conserving battery power.
Tip # 12, Get in Sync with your Offline Files
Using the Offline Files features of Vista, in conjunction with the new Sync Center console, can enable a mobile user to keep information on their computer synchronized with an external storage space, such as a network share in their workplace, or other supported devices. This is different from the former Briefcase function in Windows, which is still included for legacy support.
The Sync Center tries to be a central point to manage the various devices and locations that can be set up to keep data shared between the notebook and other file locations.
The Offline Files feature is designed to give the user a copy of their working files that they can access when a network connection is not available. Additional features allow the setting of disk usage limits for files to be synchronized, and the ability to encrypt offline files for additional security. The encryption feature works on versions of Vista that have EFS (Encrypting File System) support, and will work in addition to the new Bitlocker full drive encryption capability touted in the Enterprise and Ultimate versions of the OS.
Both of these features can be accessed thru the Windows control panel, or by typing the name into the Vista search bar.