How to fix the Snipping Tool not working error on Windows Vista

For some reason the Snipping Tool in Windows Vista tends to frequently lock up, resulting in the familiar error message "The Snipping Tool is not working on your computer right now". In fact, it just happened to me so I thought I'd jot down the steps I took to fix the problem.

Microsoft's error messages are not always very helpful, and this is no exception. Restart your computer? Really?

It turns out you can quickly reset this handy screen capture utility without restarting your computer, just by killing the SnippingTool.exe process in your control panel.

Don't let that line of techno-speak scare you away either - it's actually super easy if you follow the steps below:

1. Open your Task Manager by giving your computer the 3-fingered salute (press Ctrl+Alt+Del keys at the same time). Select "Start Task Manager" from the list of options that are displayed.

2. Click the "Processes" tab in the popup dialog, and click on the SnippingTool.exe process.

3. Click the "End Process" button and confirm that you want to kill this service.

4. Start up the Snipping Tool again, which you can find in your Start -- All Programs -- Accessories menu.

A few clicks is all it takes to restart the Snipping Tool and get back to taking screen shots in Windows Vista.

How to copy pictures from your iPhone to Windows

The iPhone's built-in camera makes it easy to snap decent quality photos, but the process for copying those photos to your computer using iTunes is clunky and a little different than you'd expect from most digital cameras.

Fortunately it's easy to just copy photos from your iPhone to your PC using Window's photo importer.

How to copy pictures from your iPhone to Windows without using iTunes:

1. Plug in your iPhone to your computer using the usb data cable that comes with your iPhone. Windows will detect your iPhone and ask you what actions you'd like to take:

2. Click "Import pictures" to start the import process.

3. Enter a keyword tag to let you easily find your pictures after they've been uploaded to your computer.

4. Click the "Import" button to start the import process. You can also choose to remove photos from your iPhone once they've been uploaded.

Once your photos have been copied over to your computer, Windows will open the Photo Gallery and will show you the pictures you've just uploaded.

No syncing, no fuss, and no iTunes or extra software required. Just photos copied over to your PC like you'd expect.

How to open Windows Explorer in a specific folder

Ever notice how Windows Explorer opens up to your Documents folder on Windows Vista, or the My Documents folder on XP?

That's not usually where I want to start looking for files - I usually want Windows Explorer to open at the root of my C: drive.

If you have a specific folder that you'd like Windows Explorer to always open to by default, then here's an easy change to make that happen.

First, find the menu or shortcut that you typically use for opening Windows Explorer. For most people that's going to be on the Start -- All Programs -- Accessories -- Windows Explorer menu.

To make it easier to get to, you can copy that menu to your Windows taskbar by right-clicking the Windows explorer menu, selecting Copy, and then right-clicking on the taskbar next to the Start button and selecting Paste.

Once you find the Windows Explorer menu or shortcut, right-click it and select Properties

You'll be prompted with a Windows Explorer Properties dialog. In the Target field, enter the desired startup folder in double-quotes after explorer.exe. Be sure to leave a space between the folder location and explorer.exe, like this:

For Vista:

%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe "C:\"

For XP:

%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /e,"C:\"

Click OK, and the next time you select that menu or shortcut, Windows will open Explorer in that folder by default.

Does Motorola's PhoneTools Program Work on Vista?

Question: I'm a big fan of Motorola's PhoneTools software, and I've used it for a while on Windows XP to copy pictures from my phone to my PC. I recently upgraded to Vista though, and now PhoneTools won't recognize my phone. What's the trick to getting it to work?

Answer: I've also used PhoneTools for quite a while and would say it's my hands-down favorite program for connecting my wife's RAZR V3 phone to our laptop, so we can copy pictures and ring tones between the laptop and her phone (and vice versa).

I was able to get it running on Vista but first I had to download and install the Motorola USB Driver v3.5.0 for Windows (32-bit) to get it working on Vista.

Motorola makes you create an account, which always drives me nuts, so I downloaded it and saved it on my web server so at least you won't have to create an account. You can get the Vista RAZR drivers here without having to create an account.

Once you download and install the driver, then you'll be able to run PhoneTools and it will recognize your RAZR phone on Vista with a USB data cable or Bluetooth connection:

Where are the cool games that come with Windows Vista?

Question: My work laptop doesn't have any games on it, but I thought there were some cool games like chess and mahjong that came with Vista. Is there a way to turn them on or install them?

Answer: I think a lot of companies would rather their employees use their laptops for work instead of play, but I find that I'm more productive if I can play a game every once in a while during work hours :-)

Windows Vista ships with several new games that are fun to play and help you recharge your mind for a few minutes, like Mahjong and Chess. There's even a new game called Purble Palace that kids will love.

These programs are part of the Vista operating system and just need to be enabled.

Click the Vista Start button and select Control Panel from the right side of the programs menu. Then select "Programs" and you'll see a link titled "Turn Windows features on or off".

Expand the option for Games and check off the ones you'd like to install/enable. Click OK and you'll now have access to games on your laptop.

To play a game, just click Start --> All Programs --> Games and select the game you'd like to play.

I love the new version of Mahjong that comes with several choices of tile layouts: