Friday, August 22, 2008

Compatibility Mode Make older programs run in Windows XP

If you're having trouble running older programs originally developed for previous versions of Windows, you're not out of luck. Luckily for consumers, Microsoft built Compatibility Mode into XP. Compatibility Mode allows you to run a program using the shell of the original program it was developed for. 


Here's how to access a program's Compatibility Mode in XP: 


Find the executable or program shortcut icon you'd like to run. 
Right-click the icon and select Properties. 
Click the Compatibility tab and place a checkmark next to the text labeled "Run this program in compatibility mode." 
Select the operating system that the program was originally intended to run on. 
You may need to fine-tune the three fields under "Display Settings" if an older program requires 640x480 resolution or 256 colors. 
Click Apply.

Try starting the program after making these changes. If it still gives you trouble, try a different operating system. If the program was written for Win95 and worked fine in Win98, there's nothing that says it still won't work fine with Win98.

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XP File Sharing and Permissions

File sharing and permissions in Windows XP seem complicated. 


Microsoft provides a Knowledge Base article, but reading it is like walking through molasses: It describes in infinite detail a file security system based on a 1-to-5 scale. However, if you look for this 1-to-5 scale anywhere in your security-settings interface, you may come away a little confused. These numbers are nowhere to be found. 


Microsoft's 1-to-5 scale means nothing to the individual user and relates in no way to the actual practice of setting your security protocols. Enter the Screen Savers. We are here to explain it to you. 


The security settings the user actually sets relate to read access, write access, shared folders, and password protection. These features are available in both Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional, however the features only work if the operating system is installed with NTFS. FAT32 does not support the file permissions described here. 


You can choose to install Windows XP Home using NTFS, but you should use a FAT32 file system if you are dual booting and want to see the contents of your Windows 95, 98, or Me partition from your XP partition. Your file system is not set in stone when you install Windows XP. You always can change your file system from FAT32 to NTFS without losing any of your data; however, the transition is one-way only. 


There is no going back to FAT32 from NTFS unless you grab a copy of Partition Magic. Microsoft recommends you install Windows XP Home with FAT32 if you intend to install more than one OS on your computer or if your hard drive is less than 32GB. 


If you have Windows XP Home or Professional running NTFS, you can hide files and entire folders from prying eyes. When you set up multiple user accounts on one machine, any user with administrator access can view the documents in another's My Documents folders. To protect a folder, right-click it, choose Properties, the Share tab, and select "make this folder private." No one, not even a fellow system administrator, can access these most secret files. 


Every file or folder contained within whichever folder you choose to make private will take on the settings of the parent folder. If the administrator does not have a password to the account, Windows XP will prompt the user to make a password or risk subjecting his or her private work to public scrutiny. No Windows password means no protected files. 


A person who logs in as a guest or as a user without administrator privileges cannot see the contents of any other user's My Documents folder, even if the folder has not been explicitly made private. The user with limited privileges can, however, set a password and protect his or her documents from the prying eyes of the administrators. Windows XP is all about privacy. 


It is a nice feeling to keep your personal tax documents secure from the passing lookey-loo. It's about time Microsoft made snooping your computer more difficult than snooping your medicine cabinet.

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XP Game Compatibility

You want to know if all your favorite games are still going to run under Windows XP. Remember what happened when we tried to run games on our Windows 2000 machines? Sometimes we were a little disappointed. Windows 2000 was made more for corporate applications than "Quake," but true techno-geeks know they don't have to sacrifice death matches for a robust business environment -- at least not anymore. 


Windows XP has shown an impressive track record of game compatibility. We ran a number of standard games, such as "Tiger Woods Golf," "NHL 2001," "Max Payne," and "Unreal" on our Windows XP Professional machine. Some of these games were specifically slated for Windows 95 and 98, and were shown not to work in Windows 2000. The installation in XP was as smooth as silk. The games ran quickly and beautifully -- not a problem in sight (except for my bad chip shot -- Tiger was hanging his head in shame). 


Some less-sophisticated programs may not run as smoothly, and we found that some older applications, such as the Atari 2600 Classic Game Collection, did not appreciate the Windows XP environment. In this case you can use the Application Compatibility Wizard, found in the accessories menu. XP includes integrated compatibility layers to mimic older versions of Windows, so if your program does not work in Windows XP, the compatibility wizard will walk you through the process of getting even your favorite DOS games up and running. In this case, we ran the Atari Classic Game Collection in the Windows 95 environment, at 256 colors and 640x480 screen resolution. Then we set XP to always run our Atari application in this environment, and everything was smooth sailing after that.

One final tip about compatibility: Don't run the compatibility wizard if your program appears to be running well in the normal environment, as the wizard will give you an error message. In general, XP has great program compatibility, so you can upgrade your operating system without giving up all your old favorites. 

 

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Windows XP and Symmetric Multiprocessing

Symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) is a technology that allows a computer to use more than one processor. The most common configuration of an SMP computer is one that uses two processors. The two processors are used to complete your computing tasks faster than a single processor. (Two processors aren't necessarily twice as fast as a single processor, though.) 

In order for a computer to take advantage of a multiprocessor setup, the software must be written for use with an SMP system. If a program isn't written for SMP, it won't take advantage of SMP. Not every program is written for SMP; SMP applications, such as image-editing programs, video-editing suites, and databases, tend to be processor intensive. 

SMP in Windows XP

Operating systems also need to be written for SMP in order to use multiple processors. In the Windows XP family, only XP Professional supports SMP; XP Home does not. If you're a consumer with a dual-processor PC at home, you have to buy XP Professional. Windows XP Advanced Server also supports SMP.

In Microsoft's grand scheme, XP Professional is meant to replace Windows 2000, which supports SMP. In fact, XP Professional uses the same kernel as Windows 2000. XP Home is designed to replace Windows Me as the consumer OS, and Windows Me does not support SMP. 

The difference between XP Professional and XP Home is more than just $100 and SMP support. XP Professional has plenty of other features not found in XP Home; some you'll use, others you won't care about. Get more information on the differences by reading this article.

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Windows XP and Symmetric Multiprocessing

Symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) is a technology that allows a computer to use more than one processor. The most common configuration of an SMP computer is one that uses two processors. The two processors are used to complete your computing tasks faster than a single processor. (Two processors aren't necessarily twice as fast as a single processor, though.) 

In order for a computer to take advantage of a multiprocessor setup, the software must be written for use with an SMP system. If a program isn't written for SMP, it won't take advantage of SMP. Not every program is written for SMP; SMP applications, such as image-editing programs, video-editing suites, and databases, tend to be processor intensive. 

SMP in Windows XP

Operating systems also need to be written for SMP in order to use multiple processors. In the Windows XP family, only XP Professional supports SMP; XP Home does not. If you're a consumer with a dual-processor PC at home, you have to buy XP Professional. Windows XP Advanced Server also supports SMP.

In Microsoft's grand scheme, XP Professional is meant to replace Windows 2000, which supports SMP. In fact, XP Professional uses the same kernel as Windows 2000. XP Home is designed to replace Windows Me as the consumer OS, and Windows Me does not support SMP. 

The difference between XP Professional and XP Home is more than just $100 and SMP support. XP Professional has plenty of other features not found in XP Home; some you'll use, others you won't care about. Get more information on the differences by reading this article.

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Password Recovery Disk

Take preventive measures against losing user-level passwords.

It doesn't matter if you never again remember a Windows user password. Thanks to XP's Forgotten Password Wizard, your conscience will be free and clear -- should your mind happen to accidentally misplace your user password.

I highly suggest you create a password recovery disk the minute you create your user account. Why? In order to create a password recovery disk you're going to need your password. Write it down the minute you create your user account and then proceed to creating your very own password recovery disk.

Here's how to launch the Forgotten Password Wizard: 


Single-click Start menu, Control Panel, and User Accounts. 
Click your user account name. 
Under Related Tasks on the left, click "Prevent forgotten password" to launch the wizard.

Now that you've launched the wizard, let it walk you through creating the recovery disk. Make sure the disk you use is formatted and in the drive. After it's finished creating the disk, label it and stash it away for an emergency. 


If you happen to forget your password, all you need to do is click your user icon at the logon screen. Even though you don't have your password, go ahead and click the green arrow just like you would to finish logging on to your computer. This will launch a little yellow dialog box directing you to use your password recovery disk.

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Custom User Icons

If you plan on getting a copy of XP, one of the first things you're going to do is set up a user account. Why not give your user account its very own picture? It's OK if you don't want to use a picture of your own because Windows comes with at least 20 beautiful pictures to choose from.

Here's how you can customize your user account icon. 


Single-click the start menu and choose Control Panel. 
Single-click the User Accounts icon. 
Find the user account you'd like to change the icon for and click on it. 
Click the text that says "Change My Picture." 
You'll have the option to either pick one of the predefined icons or choose your own. 
If you like one of the predefined icons, just highlight the one you like and click the button labeled "Change Picture." 
If you'd like to use your own picture, just click the magnifying glass or the text labeled "Browse for more pictures." This will launch a dialog box directing you to navigate to where your new picture is stored. After you find it, just click Open to save your new changes.

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Make XP display a custom screen saver using your very own pictures

It used to be darn near impossible to create a personal screen saver using your own photo collection. To do this, you had to track down a third-party application and sloppily piece together your pictures to create a screen saver. 


Well, the engineers at Microsoft must have realized they hated third-party applications and decided enough was enough. XP can take any pictures stored in your "My Pictures" folder and display them in random order as a screen saver. 


To make a personal screen saver in XP, follow these directions: 


Right-click an empty spot on your desktop and choose Properties. 
Click the Screen Saver tab inside the Display Properties dialog box. 
In the Screen Saver pull-down menu, choose "My Pictures Slideshow." 
Underneath the Screen Saver pull-down menu, adjust the time of inactivity before Windows will initiate your screen saver. 
Click Settings to make additional adjustments. You'll be able to adjust transition effects between pictures, how frequently they change, what size the pictures should be, and more. 
Click OK when you're done tweaking the settings adjustments. 
Press the Preview button to see what your screen saver looks like. 
If everything is to your liking, click Apply.

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Volume Icon in Taskbar

It's really handy to have access to the Volume Control panel in the event you quickly need to move the volume slider up or down. In its default state, XP ships with almost a clean slate for both the desktop and taskbar. So, if you'd like to place the volume control icon in the taskbar, you're going to need to make a little adjustment. 


To place the volume control icon in the taskbar, follow these steps: 



Single-click the Start menu. 
Single-click Control Panel. 
Single-click Sound, Speech, and Audio Devices. 
Single-click Sounds and Audio Devices to launch the Sound and Audio Devices properties. 
On the Volume tab, locate the text labeled "Device Volume" and place a check mark next to the text labeled "Place volume icon in the taskbar." 
Single-click Apply. 


You should now have the volume icon in the taskbar. Now all you need to do is double-click this icon to bring up your Volume Control panel.

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Classic Look Make XP look just like older versions of Windows

If you're like me, you probably have grown way too close to the familiar Windows interface. That's OK. I don't adjust well to change either. 

After installing XP you may notice the revamped interface looks nothing like the old one. I was completely thrown back when I tried using it for the first time, but I suspect that over time the new interface will begin to grow on you as it has with me. 

Therefore, to ease your transition to the new OS, make a simple adjustment to XP to give it that classic look. 

Here's how to do it: 


Right-click your Desktop and select Properties. 
On the Desktop Display properties, click the Appearance tab. 
Under the Windows and buttons pull-down menu, select Windows Classic. 
Click Apply to see your new look. 
Click OK to close the Desktop Display properties.

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Add sound to almost every event in Windows

XP comes with a new set of sounds that will surely add pizzazz to the way you work in Windows. But there's one problem -- you need to actually turn on the Windows default sound scheme before you'll be able to hear them. 


To turn on the Windows XP default sound scheme, follow these directions: 


Single-click the Start menu. 
Single-click the Control Panel. 
Single-click the Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices icon. 
Single-click the Sounds and Audio Devices icon or the text labeled "Change the sound scheme." 
Make sure you're on the Sound tab and locate the pull-down menu under Sound scheme. 
Select the Windows Default option and press Apply. Windows will ask you if you want to save the previous sound scheme. Since there wasn't a sound scheme already loaded, just choose No.

If you look under the text labeled "Program events," you'll be able to sample your new sounds or customize them with your own. Read Customize Events Sounds if you'd like to learn how to do this yourself.

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The Windows XP File Systems

When installing Windows XP from scratch, it prompts you to select from two different file systems: FAT32 and NTFS. As expected, it gives no real reason why you should select one or the other, and defaults to NTFS. 

FAT32
If you're installing on a dual-boot system where you would have a FAT32 partition (default type for Windows 98 and SE for partitions over 2GB), you may run into problems depending on your situation. The FAT32 file system was created when the size of hard drives exceeded 2GB. The previous file system for DOS and Windows 95 was FAT16, which offered at most 2GB of allocation on your hard drive. This of course is useless for today's hard drives when you can't find anything under 10GB anymore. Where FAT16 allowed a 2GB maximum, FAT32 only allows a 32GB maximum. If your hard drive is over 32GB, you'll have to split it into separate partitions, or use NTFS.

NTFS
NTFS was introduced with Windows NT. Among the reasons why it was introduced, it allowed partitions greater than what's even offered today, and boasts better performance and security. Focusing on security, it's possible that while an NTFS hard drive is secure when running Windows XP, there's no easy way to get back into the hard drive if you boot from an emergency floppy that only sees a FAT16 or FAT32 partition, such as what you'd get from a 98 or ME emergency floppy. The security in NTFS actually prevents you from circumventing its own file system from a boot floppy. This means that if for some reason your hard drive becomes unusable and you need to move data off of it, the task won't be as easy as it was when using Windows 95, 98, and ME. The solution that the user has in this situation is to boot from the Windows XP CD and run a repair on the hard drive. This should fix any problems the user had with the system and bring it back to a bootable state. The other issue is in dual-boot situations. Running under NTFS, you can see FAT16 and FAT32 partitions, but if you boot back into Windows ME, you can't see the NTFS partition. This is a problem if you downloaded something to your XP partition and you want to move it to your ME partition while running under ME. Also, if you upgraded ME to XP and you convert your file system from FAT32 to NTFS, you cannot go back to Windows ME since ME can't run under NTFS. However, only NTFS allows you to set permissions on individual folders so that you can control who sees what.

Converting from FAT32 to NTFS at a later time
If you want, under Windows XP you can convert your FAT32 partition to NTFS using the following command from your Command Prompt:

convert c: /fs:ntfs

Conclusion
With all this information, find what suits your needs and go with it. If you're the kind of person that backs up regularly, go with NTFS. Same if you want to use a partition over 32GB without partitioning. If you want to play it safe, or if you want the ability to transfer files from one partition to another under a dual-boot situation, stick with FAT32. If you want to read more about these file systems, Microsoft has an excellent article on their web site.

 

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XP expires

To reduce instances of "casual copying" (a nice name for software piracy), Microsoft has implemented a two-stage antipiracy scheme in its upcoming OS. The first stage is the installation and registration counter: this lets you install Windows XP only five times on the same system. (Note that you'll be able to install the final version of XP on only one machine, as opposed to the current beta, which can be installed on five machines for testing purposes.) The second stage creates a profile of the system to prevent you from reinstalling or registering the OS on different PCs. 

To make this scheme work, you must activate your copy of Windows--over the Internet or by calling for an activation code--within 30 days of installation. Activation differs from a classic registration process in that no personal information is requested by or sent to Microsoft, just a record that a specific copy of Windows XP is installed on your specific PC. If you fail to activate your copy of the OS within 30 days, your login will fail. (Since XP is based on Windows NT-like privilege levels, you can't use your computer until you log on.) 

Microsoft says the scheme should not prevent you from reinstalling your copy of XP on your PC as many times as you need to, as long as it's the same PC or close to it, allowing for some hardware changes. It's the "some" that has most folks worried. In theory, you might have to reactivate your OS if you upgrade significantly or swap out a lot of components because XP might think it's running on a new PC. So far, Microsoft isn't saying what system information the OS uses to determine the "same PC or close to it" status. That means we don't know to what degree you can upgrade your hardware before you cross the invisible line. We also don't know how much, if any, personally identifiable data Microsoft is gathering from your PC. 

Microsoft says you can, of course, change at least one and possibly several hardware components--RAM, video or sound cards, CPUs, motherboards, and so on--without having to reactivate your OS. But if you try to reinstall your copy of Windows XP on what Microsoft calls a "different or significantly upgraded or changed PC" (again, the company declined to specify how different), the activation will most likely be rejected, requiring you to call Microsoft to explain and get a new (free) activation code. 

Microsoft plans to set up a new call center for U.S.-based customers to expedite activation issues. Many non-U.S. customers will likely have to go through the existing, shared Microsoft technical support lines they currently use. Microsoft says it expects only 2 percent of the total installed base of Windows XP to have to reactivate the OS. Whether the anti-piracy initiative will present problems for consumers or result in fewer upgrades to XP remains to be seen. Remember, the final release is at least a few months off. 

 




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Windows XP support OpenGL

Although the operating system does not have built-in support for the 3D graphics standard, according to Microsoft. However, XP does support the graphics standard OpenGL by way of your video card drivers. If you're getting graphics errors after you upgrade to Windows XP, check your video settings (click Control Panel > Display > Properties > Settings > Advanced > Adapter) for OpenGL controls. If you don't see any, check with your video card's maker to get updated video drivers for Windows XP. 

 

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Windows XP and DVD

Nowadays, PCs are sold with either a DVD-ROM drive, or a CD-R drive. There are drives that do both, there are even drives that burn both. Either way, those of you with DVD-ROM drives will want to know if you can play DVD movies on your XP machine. XP out of the box won't play DVD Video. DVD's video is stored in a format called "MPEG 2", and you need an MPEG decoder to get the video off the DVD into a format that the computer can show you. 

Without yet installing any third-party applications, I popped in my DVD of Fantasia 2000. XP asked me which application I wanted to open the disc with and I selected "Windows Media Player" since it was the only option - the other one being "Do Nothing". When WMP started I got a message box saying "WMP cannot play DVDs because there is no DVD decoder". 

As a registered user of PowerDVD 3.0, I installed it on my XP machine. After reboot, I got an error about a missing ASPI file, but ignored it. I rebooted again and the message didn't come up a second time. Update Oct. 16, 2001: After installing PowerDVD 3 under the retail version of Windows XP Pro, this message no longer shows up. The error happened under Win XP Home Edition RC2. I started Power DVD 3.0 and without any hassle, Fantasia 2000 was playing on my PC. 

I don't know the exact reason why Microsoft chose not to include DVD decoding in their XP operating system, especially since Apple includes DVD decoding in MacOS 9 and the soon to be released MacOS 10.1. 

Update: Microsoft announced MP3 and DVD support via third-party add-on packs, available on Oct. 25, 2001. 

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Windows XP Authentication

It wouldn't be fair to start off without placing a link to Microsoft's article about Windows XP activation. In a nutshell, XP Activation is an anti-piracy technology that links your computer to the CD that installed XP. This way, if someone tries to install XP from the same CD, when XP installation goes out to the internet to activate XP, it will see that the CD that XP is being installed from already has a PC linked with it, and that the PC that it's currently being installed on isn't that same PC that's in the Microsoft database. If this happens, you can use XP for a certain period of time, but after that time (I think it was changed to 30 days), you cannot boot back into XP on that second PC without calling Microsoft and getting a 50-digit activation code.

At first I thought it was a little extreme, and I still think it is. Technically, according to the EULA, you can only install Windows on one PC. 

You can find the End User License Agreement (EULA) in c:\windows\system32\eula.txt if you need to refer back to it after installation.

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No Java in Windows XP

Microsoft has announced it will not include support for the Java programming language in the upcoming Windows XP. After settling a lawsuit with Java creator Sun Microsystems in January, the software giant decided the easiest way to prevent further litigation was to simply remove the code entirely. 

The settlement stipulated that Microsoft would no longer license Java from Sun, and refrain from stating that Windows is "Java Compatible." Outdated Java support will remain available as an added download from Windows Update if required. Java's removal from the software giant's new operating system comes on the heels of announcements surrounding .NET, Microsoft Web services based on XML. 

These services are accessed over the Internet from a variety of devices. Coincidentally, Sun has been developing its own Java-based version of .NET, dubbed Jini. However, Microsoft vehemently denies claims that it intends to phase out support for Java as an attack on Sun.

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Microsoft Product Activation

Microsoft Product Activation which will only allow you to install Windows XP on one system at a time. Under this new policy, you must use the CD Key code that comes with the software to install the operating system. You'll then have 30 days in which to contact Microsoft, either via the Internet or by telephone, and activate the software. 

When you do, you won't have to give Microsoft any personal information, just your CD Key code. Microsoft will assign you an activation code, which you'll then enter in the appropriate text box in the Microsoft Product Activation wizard. If you don't activate the software within the 30-day period, you won't be able to boot Windows XP past a dialog box that prompts you to enter activation code. 

When you enter the activation code, it supposedly analyzes your system's specific hardware configuration, generates some hardware ID code based on this information, and then associates the activation code with this hardware ID code. If for some reason you have to reinstall Windows XP on the same system, you'll be able to use the same activation code. 

If you purchase an additional computers and you want to install Windows XP on your new system instead, you'll need to reactivate the software. While Microsoft says it's possible to install it on another machine, it's unclear how exactly this will work under its license agreement. Consumers should refer to the terms of their license agreement to determine whether or not it is legal to transfer a license to another computer. But in those cases where it is allowed, the product must first be removed from the previous computer. Users may be required to complete the activation on the new computer by placing a call to the Microsoft Activation Center. The details are still a bit hazy, but you can be sure that Microsoft will figure them out before the release. 

If you only have one PC and rarely reinstall the operating system, this really won't be a problem. but, if you have multiple PCs in your home, you won't be able to buy one copy of Windows XP and install it on all the PCs in your home. Instead, you'll need to buy one copy for each system. 

This may sound harsh, it's actually been a part of the Microsoft End-User License Agreement for years. The only difference is that now Microsoft has developed a physical way to enforce what the paper license has said all along.

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Display the Quick Launch Bar

If you have opened more than one program, you might like to display and use the Quick Launch bar. The Quick Launch bar makes it easy to access frequently used programs like Windows Media Player and your e-mail, and to open an Internet Explorer window. Windows XP loads several programs in the Quick Launch, including Show Desktop. One click on Show Desktop minimizes all the programs on your desktop. Another click restores them just as you'd left them. 

To display Quick Launch on the taskbar

1. If the Quick Launch bar is not displayed, right-click an empty area on the taskbar and click Properties. 
2. On the Taskbar tab, under Taskbar appearance, select the Show Quick Launch check box and click OK. 
After Quick Launch is displayed, click Show Desktop to minimize all open programs.

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Multiuser Features and Advanced Settings

Like Windows 2000, but unlike Windows 95, 98, and Me, the ability to log in multiple users simultaneously plays a big role in Windows XP. There is a default Administrator account set up when Windows XP is first installed, but you can create as many accounts as you need later, depending on how many people will be using the machine. Each user, once he or she has an account, can customize XP to his or her liking. Individual users get their own subfolders in the Documents And Settings folder; this folder serves as a centralized location for most personalized information, such as the Start Menu, Favorites, and Documents settings. 

Missing Administrator account

Once you have created regular user accounts, the default Administrator account vanishes from the Welcome screen, which you see when the computer starts up. Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete twice at the Welcome screen to retrieve the standard logon dialog. You can log on as Administrator from here. To switch among accounts, just click the Log Off button on the Start menu. You'll then see the Log Off Windows dialog box. Click the Switch User button, and you'll be taken to the Welcome screen where you can select and log on to other accounts. 

Show yourself

Only the Administrator can set up new user accounts (go to Control Panel > User Accounts > Create A New Account). You can select a picture to identify the account. When you're logged on to the system under your username, this picture, along with your username, peeks out at you from the top of the Start menu. There are a slew of 48x48-pixel bitmap images to choose from within XP. They're housed in D:\Documents And Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\User Account Pictures\Default Pictures. But why limit yourself? You can also copy any graphic you want into this folder or browse for another from your hard drive. Usable file types are BMP, GIF, JPEG, or PNG. However, always use a square picture, to limit the white space on the side. Your image can be any size but will be displayed as 48x48-pixel image, so a close-up works best. 

Hide yourself

Once you've created a user account, password-protect it to keep other users from viewing your files, Favorites, and cookies. Why? You may not want your child to see the note that you're sending to his or her teacher, or you may be planning someone's surprise party. (Note: Anyone with an Administrator account can still see them.) 

Worried about remembering your password? 

Create a hint to help you when you initially create it by following the prompts during setup. XP stores the password hints in the Registry at Hkey_local_machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Hints. 

What if the hint doesn't help? 

Any user or Administrator can create a password reset disk, which you can use to log on and create a new password. Go to Control Panel > User Accounts and select "Prevent a forgotten password" in the Related Tasks box on the left. Follow the wizard's instructions. After creating the disk, find a safe place for it. Don't forget the password or where you put the disk. Someone else could use it to change your password without you knowing it. 

 

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Protect your Identity

Like many other audio players, Windows Media Player rushes out to the Internet to find information for you when you play a CD. Some of this information, such as song titles and album art, is useful, but Media Player also identifies your copy of Media Player to the site where it's getting data. Why? According to the help file, "The server uses this unique identifier to monitor your connection. By monitoring your connection, the server can make adjustments to increase the playback quality and to alert you about events that occur when receiving streams over the Internet." 

If you're disturbed by this exchange of information, here's how to stop it. In Windows Media Player, click Tools > Options and go to the Player tab. Notice the option that says "Allow Internet sites to uniquely identify your player?" Turn it off. 


 

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Small Windows XP FAQ

Does the Home or Pro version include IIS?
Only the Pro version has it.

I installed the Pro version but I can't find IIS.
The Pro installation doesn't install IIS by default. Go to Start->Control Panels->Add/Remove Programs, and click on "Add Windows Components". IIS will be listed in there. 

How many computers can I install XP on?
Microsoft allows you to install XP on only one computer. Technically, it's been like this all along except there's been no way to enforce it. Microsoft's new Authentication System forces XP installations to link the PC, the CD Key, and an ID number that identifies your computer's components together, which means that you can't install XP from the same CD on another PC. You can read more about Windows XP Activation if you click here.

Will my programs work under Windows XP?
That's a complicated issue. Most modern programs have been written to work on Windows 95 and above, all the way to Windows XP using an API called Win32. By using this API, it guarantees that the application will work on any Win32 supported platform, so long as the application was properly written to Microsoft's guidelines. If an application wasn't written properly, it has the potential to break under not only XP, but any future OS. Now, programs that ran under DOS might not work at all due to a whole slew of reasons. Any popular DOS applications and games are sure to have a support forum, so check them out if you can.

Just in case your application doesn't work properly under Windows XP, there's a "Compatability Mode" in which your application will run in an environment similar to a previous operating system. Currently, the operating system choices are:

Windows 95
Windows 98/ME
Windows NT (Service Pack 5)
Windows 2000

So if you're having trouble with a particular application or game under XP, right click on the application's icon and click on the "Compatability" tab. You can also set a forced resolution of 640x480, force 256 (8-bit) color, and force the system to disable themes.

If I upgrade from Windows 98 or ME to Windows XP, can I revert back?
Yes, but I haven't done it myself so I don't know what the consequences are from upgrading, and then downgrading again. If you upgraded, there should be an item in "Add/Remove Programs" that allows you to uninstall XP. Note: if you upgraded to XP, and then changed your file system to NTFS, you cannot go back to 98 or ME since those operating systems don't understand how NTFS works.

Will my games work under Windows XP?
This is even more complicated than the application issue. Games are supposed to be written to not only the Win32 API, but any one of many different graphics APIs such as Direct 3D or OpenGL. Sometimes games take a "short cut" to gain better performance. Since Windows XP is built on a different core than Windows 95, 98, and ME, it's possible that some games won't work. You can read more about games under XP by clicking here.

Can I watch DVDs on Windows XP?
Not "out of the box", unfortunately. Microsoft is forcing consumers to buy a "DVD Decoder Pack" to allow playback of DVDs. You can read more about that by clicking here.

Can I listen to MP3s with Windows XP?
Yes. Windows Media Player will playback MP3s. If you're Yes. Windows Media Player will playback MP3s. If you're having trouble playing MP3s with Windows Media Player, make sure you have the latest update.

Can I rip MP3s with Windows XP?
Just like the DVD issue, you cannot rip MP3s with XP "out of the box". You'll have to buy the "MP3 Pack" which allows you to add MP3 ripping capabilities to Windows Media Player. However, you can use Music Match Jukebox and other third-party rippers as you have before, so long as they work under XP (chances are they do, but check the web pages of the applications to be sure). You can read more about music under XP by clicking here.

Can I have multiple operating systems installed on the same computer alongside Windows XP?
Yes. There's a procedure that's involved in order to do it properly. If you're installing Windows XP on a machine that already has another Windows OS, you have to make sure that you can install XP on a seperate partition, or a seperate hard drive. You cannot install XP on the same hard drive or partition that already has another operating system on it, meaning two OS's can't share the same space at the same time. The key is to install Windows XP last, this way the NT boot loader, which allows you to choose which OS to load at boot time, is installed by the XP installer. Microsoft has an article about multibooting.

What are the requirements for running Windows XP?
The minimum requirements can be found by clicking here.

If I'm buying the XP upgrade version, do I have to install over my old OS, or can I install fresh?
You can most certainly install fresh. When installing XP, you'll be prompted for your previous OS's CD. Once XP sees that it's a valid CD, you switch CDs again and the XP installer continues on its merry way.

What are the upgrade paths for Windows XP? Do I need to buy the full version?
All the valid upgrade paths for the Home and Pro versions can be found by clicking here.

I got a PC from with a restore CD instead of an actual Windows installer CD, is it considered valid for an upgrade?
This is tricky. Some PC manufacturers give the user a "Restore CD" which, although has a version of Windows on it, is nothing more than a "snapshot" of the hard drive when the user opened the box for the first time. Chances are, when the XP upgrade asks for the previous Windows OS CD, it will reject the Restore CD since it wasn't made by Microsoft. Your best bet would be to check with the manufacturer of your PC and see if you have an upgrade option. I'm still looking on Microsoft's site for a definitive answer on this.

Will Windows 2000 drivers run under XP? I heard that XP is just Windows 2000 with a new face.
There's no guarantee that Win2k drivers will work under XP. I wouldn't suggest even trying since it might make your system unstable. The best you can do is to check with your device's manufacturer first and see if they already have XP drivers ready for you to download from their web site.

I see there are two versions of XP - Home and Professional. Which one should I get?
Microsoft did a very good job of splitting the two versions, and making sure that one group doesn't need the features of the other flavor of XP. The only issue I can see i Microsoft did a very good job of splitting the two versions, and making sure that one group doesn't need the features of the other flavor of XP. The only issue I can see is the multi-processor support you get from the Pro version, and if it will affect gaming. Click here to read Microsoft's comparison of the two.

 

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Remove Windows Messenger

I don't recommend this but In Windows XP, Windows Messenger will be the hub of your connection to the .NET world, and now that this feature is part of Windows, I think we're going to see a lot of .NET Passport-enabled Web sites appearing as well. But if you can't stand the little app, there are a couple of ways to get rid of it, and ensure that it doesn't pop up every time you boot into XP. The best way simply utilizes the previous tip:

If you'd like Windows Messenger to show up in the list of programs you can add and remove from Windows, navigate to C:\WINDOWS\inf (substituting the correct drive letter for your version of Windows) and open sysoc.inf (see the previous tip for more information about this file). You'll see a line that reads:

msmsgs=msgrocm.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,hide,7

Change this to the following and Windows Messenger will appear in Add or Remove Programs, then Add/Remove Windows Components, then , and you can remove it for good:

msmsgs=msgrocm.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,7

 

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Add/Remove Optional Windows Components

For some reason, Microsoft has removed the ability to specify which Windows components you want to install during interactive Setup, and when you go into Add/Remove Windows Components in the Control Panel, you still don't have the full list of applications and applets you can add and remove. Thankfully, this is easy to fix. 

To dramatically expand the list of applications you can remove from Windows XP after installation, navigate to C:\WINDOWS\inf (substituting the correct drive letter for your version of Windows) and open the sysoc.inf file. Under Windows XP Professional Edition RC1, this file will resemble the following by default:

[Version] Signature = "$Windows NT$"
DriverVer=06/26/2001,5.1.2505.0

[Components]
NtComponents=ntoc.dll,NtOcSetupProc,,4
WBEM=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,wbemoc.inf,hide,7
Display=desk.cpl,DisplayOcSetupProc,,7
Fax=fxsocm.dll,FaxOcmSetupProc,fxsocm.inf,,7
NetOC=netoc.dll,NetOcSetupProc,netoc.inf,,7
iis=iis.dll,OcEntry,iis.inf,,7
com=comsetup.dll,OcEntry,comnt5.inf,hide,7
dtc=msdtcstp.dll,OcEntry,dtcnt5.inf,hide,7
IndexSrv_System = setupqry.dll,IndexSrv,setupqry.inf,,7
TerminalServer=TsOc.dll, HydraOc, TsOc.inf,hide,2
msmq=msmqocm.dll,MsmqOcm,msmqocm.inf,,6
ims=imsinsnt.dll,OcEntry,ims.inf,,7
fp_extensions=fp40ext.dll,FrontPage4Extensions,fp40ext.inf,,7
AutoUpdate=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,au.inf,hide,7
msmsgs=msgrocm.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,hide,7
msnexplr=ocmsn.dll,OcEntry,msnmsn.inf,,7
smarttgs=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,msnsl.inf,,7
RootAutoUpdate=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,rootau.inf,,7
Games=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,games.inf,,7
AccessUtil=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,accessor.inf,,7
CommApps=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,communic.inf,HIDE,7
MultiM=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,multimed.inf,HIDE,7
AccessOpt=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,optional.inf,HIDE,7
Pinball=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,pinball.inf,HIDE,7
MSWordPad=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,wordpad.inf,HIDE,7
ZoneGames=zoneoc.dll,ZoneSetupProc,igames.inf,,7

[Global]
WindowTitle=%WindowTitle%
WindowTitle.StandAlone="*"

The entries that include the text hide or HIDE will not show up in Add/Remove Windows Components by default. To fix this, do a global search and replace for ,hide and change each instance of this to , (a comma). Then, save the file, relaunch Add/Remove Windows Components, and tweak the installed applications to your heart's content.

 

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Change the location of the My Music or My Pictures Folders

In Windows 2000, Microsoft added the ability to right-click the My Documents folder and choose a new location for that folder in the shell. With Windows XP, Microsoft has elevated the My Music and My Pictures folders to the same "special shell folder" status of My Documents, but they never added a similar (and simple) method for changing those folder's locations. However, it is actually pretty easy to change the location of these folders, using the following method.

Open a My Computer window and navigate to the location where you'd like My Music (or My Pictures) to reside. Then, open the My Documents folder in a different window. Drag the My Music (or My Pictures) folder to the other window, and Windows XP will update all of the references to that folder to the new location, including the Start menu.

 

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Add Album Art to any Music Folder

One of the coolest new features in Windows XP is its album thumbnail generator, which automatically places the appropriate album cover art on the folder to which you are copying music (generally in WMA format). But what about those people that have already copied their CDs to the hard drive using MP3 format? You can download album cover art from sites such as cdnow.com or amguide.com, and then use the new Windows XP folder customize feature to display the proper image for each folder. But this takes time you have to manually edit the folder properties for every single folder and you will lose customizations if you have to reinstall the OS. There's an excellent fix, however.

When you download the album cover art from the Web, just save the images as folder.jpg each time and place them in the appropriate folder. Then, Windows XP will automatically use that image as the thumbnail for that folder and, best of all, will use that image in Windows Media Player for Windows XP (MPXP) if you choose to display album cover art instead of a visualization. And the folder customization is automatic, so it survives an OS reinstallation as well. Your music folders never looked so good!

Album cover art makes music folder thumbnails look better than ever!

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Troubleshooting and Driver Issues

With Windows XP, installation and hardware configuration has never been easier. The installation of new hardware and the recognition of hardware devices during the installation process has never been so easy and reliable. 


The Windows 2000 Factor 

What do you do if XP is unable to find a driver for your device? Windows XP is based on an enhanced Windows 2000 kernel, so 2000 drivers should work in XP, but this is not always the case. I loaded one system that had a Wacom board with a 2000 driver, and no matter what I tried, I was unable to find a suitable driver for this component. I disconnected the unit and am waiting for an XP driver update.


The .vxd drivers used in Windows 98 are not supported at all by Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Using these drivers could create more issues in Windows XP, and you should stay away from them. Check your device manager, and disable those devices that have yellow cautionary flags if you are unable to locate an appropriate driver. 


Now that XP has been officially released on the market, manufacturers of those components that are lacking compatible drivers should be issuing those drivers in the near future. Keep checking those manufacturers' websites. When the driver become available, enable those devices, and update the drivers.

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Burning CDs in Windows XP and the Limitations

Windows XP's integrated CD burner is powered by the Roxio engine but lacks the familiar Easy CD Creator interface. There is no CD Burner icon on the desktop or in the start menu. So where is this promised CD burner? There are two answers, depending on if you want to burn audio or data CD's. 


To burn data CDs

Open a folder. Look at the folder options on the left of your screen. You should see an option to Copy All Items to CD or Copy to CD, depending on your folder view. You can also right-click a file or folder and choose Send To and then CD drive. I appreciate that XP has made it as easy to drop files to a CD as it is a Zip disk. It does not copy the files immediately. Instead, it places them into a repository and waits for further instruction on when and where to burn the CD. Now, place a blank CD into your CD drive or navigate to your CD drive in My Computer, and choose to write the files to a CD. 


To burn music CDs

The Windows Media Player was always a monstrosity, and now it now includes a new function -- CD burning. Select a song in your My Documents folder, and choose Copy to Audio CD from the folder options on the left. Surprise! Up pops the Windows Media Player, waiting for you to choose Copy to CD. Hit the record button, and have a good time.


Limitations of the incorporated CD burner

You cannot create bootable CDs with the Windows XP CD burner, nor can you create a CD from an image (like a .iso file). If you want this functionality, you need to install your favorite CD burning software. Don't try to install Easy CD Creator 5 just yet -- Windows XP won't let you. 


Roxio will have XP patches available on their website soon, but only for their latest edition of CD creator. Roxio will not support Easy CD Creator 3.X and 4.X for Windows XP, and the user will be required to purchase the upgrade to Easy CD Creator 5 Platinum. 


Windows XP does not have a CD burning interface, but it has CD burning artfully integrated into the operating system. However, third-party CD burning software is still necessary for those who want to burn more than the occasional audio CD. 

 

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How to Use Qfixapp.exe In Windows XP

This article describes the Quick Fix utility (Qfixapp.exe) that is included with the Application Compatibility Toolkit for Windows XP and Windows .NET. Qfixapp.exe is a tool that includes pre-packaged fixes that provide an easy way to fix a program.

Use Qfixapp.exe To Apply Program Fixes

You can use Qfixapp.exe to quickly apply various program fixes (AppFixes, also known as "shims") to a program to determine their effectiveness. Qfixapp.exe reads the %SystemRoot%\windows\apppatch\sysmain.sdb database to produce a list of available fixes. When you select an AppFix, you can start the program executable (.exe) file, and the AppFix will be applied. If a suitable AppFix is found, the tool eventually helps you to generate and test matching file information. When you run Qfixapp.exe, you see the following items: 
The The application for which to apply the fix(es) check box. This setting disables existing fixes in the database.

The Layer tab with the Choose one of the existing layers to apply to your app box that contains the following entries:


256 Color
640X480
Disable Themes
Internaltional
LUA(Limited User Account)
LUACleanUp
NT4SP5
ProfilesSetup
Win2000
Win95
Win98
The Fixes tab. On this tab you can select the individual fixes that you want to apply.
Example of How to Use Qfixapp.exe
1. Start Notepad, and then click About Notepad on the Help menu. Note that the version is 5.1.

2. Start Qfixapp.exe, click Win95, click Browse, and then open the Windows folder. Note that the Windows\System32 folder is protected by Windows File Protection, so it is not able to use the layers.

3. Click Notepad.exe, click Open, and then click Run.

4. Start Notepad, and then click About Notepad on the Help menu. Note that the version is now 4.0.

If you click ViewLog, you could see what AppFix(es) are being used. If you click Advanced, you could see information about the .exe file. You can click Add Matching Info, and then select files that are related to the .exe file to identify that particular program. After you finish that step, you could click Create Fix Support to add the layers with the Matching Information (GRABMI) and create an XML-based database that is named YourAppName.sdb. Note that in the preceding example it is named Notepad.sdb, and is in the AppPatch folder.

 

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Step by Step Guide to Installing a New Printer in Windows XP

When installing a new printer with the Add Printer Wizard, you can choose between adding a local printer (one that's directly cabled to your computer through one of the ports) or a network printer (a printer that's connected to your network with an Ethernet connection, just as your computer is connected to the LAN).

To install a new local printer with the Add Printer Wizard, follow these steps:

1. Click the Start button on the Windows taskbar and then click Control Panel on the right side of the Start menu.

2. Click the Printers and Other Hardware hyperlink if the Control Panel window is in Category View. 

Otherwise, double-click the Printers and Faxes icon if the Control Panel window is in Classic View.

3. Click the Add a Printer hyperlink in the Printers and Other Hardware window to start the Add Printer Wizard and then click the Next button, or press Enter to advance to the Local Printer or Printer Connection dialog box.

4. Make sure that the Add Printer Wizard selects the Local Printer radio button, and the Automatically Detect and Install my Plug and Play Printer check box beneath this radio button before you click the Next button.

5. If the wizard is unable to detect your printer in the New Printer Detection dialog box, click Next to install the printer manually.

6. Select the port for the printer to use in the Use the Following Port drop-down list box in the Select a Printer Port dialog box and then click the Next button.

7. Click the manufacturer and the model of the printer in the Manufacturers and Printers list boxes, respectively, of the Install Printer Software dialog box. 

If you have a disk with the software for the printer, put it into your floppy or CD-ROM drive and then click the Have Disk button: Select the drive that contains this disk in the Copy Manufacturer's Files drop-down list box and then click OK.

8. Click the Next button to advance to the Name Your Printer dialog box. 

If you want, edit the name for the printer in the Printer Name text box. If you want to make the printer that you're installing the default printer that is automatically used whenever you print from Windows or from within a Windows program, leave the Yes radio button selected beneath the heading, Do you want your Windows-based programs to use this printer as the default printer?

9. Click the Next button to advance to the Printer Sharing dialog box. 

If you want to share this printer with other users on the network, click the Share Name radio button and then, if you want, edit the share name (this is the name that the other users on the network see when they go to select this printer for printing their documents) that the wizard gives the printer in the Share Name text box.

10. To print a test page from your newly installed printer, click the Yes radio button selected beneath the heading, Would you like to print a test page? in the Print Test Page dialog box.

11. Click the Next button to advance to the Completing the Add Printer Wizard dialog box, where you can review the settings for your new printer before you click the Finish button or press Enter to finish installing the new printer.

To use the Add Printer Wizard to install a printer that's available through your Local Area Network, you follow just slightly different steps:

1. Click the Start button on the Windows taskbar and then click Control Panel on the right side of the Start menu.

2. Click the Printers and Other Hardware hyperlink if the Control Panel window is in Category View. Otherwise, double-click the Printers and Faxes icon if the Control Panel window is in Classic View.

3. Click the Add a Printer hyperlink in the Printers and Other Hardware window to start the Add Printer Wizard and then click the Next button or press Enter to advance to the Local or Network Printer dialog box.

4. Click the A Network Printer or a Printer Attached to Another Computer radio button in the Local or Network Printer dialog box and then click the Next button or press Enter to the Specify a Printer dialog box.

5. If you know the name of the network printer, click the Connect to This Printer (or to Browse for a Printer, Select this Option and click Next) radio button and then enter the network path in the Name text box. 

If your network printer is on a network that uses an Internet address and you know this URL address, click the Connect to a Printer on the Internet or on a Home or Office Network radio button and then enter the address in the URL text box. If you know neither of these pieces of information, leave the Browse for a Printer radio button selected and then click Next to advance to the Browse for Printer dialog box.

6. In the Browse for Printer dialog box, locate the printer in the Shared Printers list box by clicking the network icons until you expand the outline sufficiently to display the printer icon. 

When you click the printer icon in this outline, the wizard adds the path to the Printer text box above.

7. Click the Next button to advance the Default Printer dialog box. 

If you want to make the printer that you're installing the default printer that is automatically used whenever you print from Windows or from within a Windows program, leave the Yes radio button selected beneath the heading, Do you want your Windows-based programs to use this printer as the default printer?

8. Click the Next button to advance to the Completing the Add Printer Wizard dialog box, where you can review the settings for your new printer before you click the Finish button or press Enter to finish installing the new printer.

After you add a printer to your computer, you can start using it when printing with programs such as Word 2002 and Excel 2002, or when printing from Windows itself.
To switch to a new printer that you haven't designated as the default printer in programs such as Word and Excel, you need to open the Print dialog box (choose File-->Print) and then select the printer name in the Name drop-down list box.

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Multibooting with Windows XP - Installing Windows NT Workstation 4.0 and Windows XP

Setting up a computer to run Windows XP as well as an earlier operating system such as Windows NT Workstation 4.0 requires addressing compatibility issues among different file systems: NTFS, FAT, and FAT32.

Normally, NTFS is the recommended file system because it supports important features, including the Active Directory™ service and domain-based security. However, using NTFS as the only file system on a computer that contains both Windows XP and Windows NT is not recommended. On these computers, a FAT or FAT32 partition containing the Windows NT 4.0 operating system ensures that when started with Windows NT 4.0, the computer will have access to needed files. In addition, if Windows NT is not installed on the system partition, which is almost always the first partition on the disk, the system partition should also be formatted with FAT.

Windows NT 4.0 cannot access files that have been stored using NTFS features that did not exist when Windows NT 4.0 was released. For example, a file that uses the new NTFS encryption feature won’t be readable when the computer is started with Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, which was released before the encryption feature existed.

Note: If you set up a computer so that it starts with Windows NT 3.51 or earlier on a FAT partition, and Windows XP on an NTFS partition, when that computer starts with Windows NT 3.51, the NTFS partition will not be visible.

Checklist Summary
To configure a computer containing Windows NT 4.0 and Windows XP, review the following guidelines:

As explained above, using NTFS as the only file system on a computer
containing both Windows XP and Windows NT is not recommended. 

Make sure that Windows NT 4.0 has been updated with the latest released Service Pack available for download before installing Windows XP. 


Install each operating system on a separate drive or disk partition. 

When you perform a new installation of Windows XP (as opposed to an upgrade), by default, the installation is placed on a partition on which no other operating system is located. You can specify a partition during Setup. 

Don’t install Windows XP on a compressed drive unless the drive was compressed with the NTFS file system compression feature. 

On any partition where you perform a new installation of Windows XP (as opposed to an upgrade), you will need to re-install any programs, such as word processing or email software, after Setup is complete. 

Install the programs used by each operating system on the partition with that system. If you want your programs to run with multiple operating systems, you need to install separate copies of the programs in each of the operating system partitions. 

If the computer is on a Windows NT Server or Windows 2000 Server domain, each installation of Windows XP on that computer must have a different computer name.

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Installing Windows XP with MS-DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows Millennium Edition

You must address file system compatibility to ensure a multi-booting configuration with these earlier operating systems and Windows XP. Remember to install the latest operating system last, otherwise important files may be overwritten.

Checklist Summary

To configure a computer containing Windows XP and Windows 9x or MS-DOS, review the following guidelines:

On computers that contain MS-DOS and Windows XP:

MS-DOS must be installed on a basic disk on a partition formatted with FAT. If MS-DOS is not installed on the system partition, which is almost always the first partition on the disk, the system partition must also be formatted with FAT. 

Windows XP must be installed last. Otherwise important files needed for starting Windows XP could be overwritten. 

On computers that contain Windows 95 and Windows XP:

As in the case above, Windows 95 must be installed on a basic disk on a partition formatted with FAT. (For Windows 95 OSR2, FAT32 may be used.) If Windows 95 is not installed on the system partition, which is almost always the first partition on the disk, the system partition must also be formatted with FAT (or FAT32 for Windows 95 OSR2). 

Compressed DriveSpace or DoubleSpace volumes won’t be available while you are running Windows XP. It is not necessary to uncompress DriveSpace or DoubleSpace volumes that you will access only with Windows 95. 

Windows XP must be installed last. Otherwise important files needed for starting Windows XP could be overwritten. 

On computers that contain Windows 98 (or Windows Me) and Windows XP:

As in the cases above, Windows 98 or Windows Me must be installed on a basic disk on a partition formatted with FAT or FAT32. If Windows 98 or Windows Me is not installed on the system partition, which is almost always the first partition on the disk, the system partition must also be formatted with FAT or FAT32. 

Compressed DriveSpace or DoubleSpace volumes won’t be available while you are running Windows XP. It is not necessary to uncompress DriveSpace or DoubleSpace volumes that you will access only with Windows 98. 

Windows XP must be installed last. Otherwise important files needed for starting Windows XP could be overwritten. 

 

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Making Sense of the New My Computer Program in Windows XP

Windows needs a place to store your programs and files. So, it borrowed the file cabinet metaphor, translated it into light and airy Windows icons, and called it the My Computer program. My Computer shows the files and storage areas inside your computer, allowing you to copy or move them, rename them, or delete them.

Everybody organizes his or her computer differently. Some people don't organize their computers at all. To see how your computer has been organizing your files, click the Start menu and click My Computer. 



The My Computer program is a big panel of buttons — sort of an extension of your desktop. Here's a brief rundown on what those big icons along My Computer's right side mean:

Files Stored on This Computer: Windows XP lets many people use the same computer, and everybody's files stay private. However, sometimes everybody wants to share information — letters from relatives, for instance. That's where the Shared Documents folder (shown in the margin) comes in.

The Shared Documents folder contains files and folders accessible to everybody that uses the computer. To share things with other users of your computer, call up My Computer and store the information inside My Computer's Shared Documents folder. (Double-clicking any folder shows its contents.)

Two additional folders live inside the Shared Documents folder: Shared Music and Shared Pictures. Everybody using the computer may also access music and pictures stored in here.

If you don't want other users to share your information, keep it out of the Shared Documents folder. Instead, store the information in your My Documents folder, accessible from the Start menu. (See the Other Places area listed along My Computer's left side, as shown in Figure 1? You can also open your My Documents folder from there by clicking its name.)



Notice two other folders in Figure 1, one belonging to Guest and the other to Tina? You see those folders because you're viewing the My Computer area of an administrator's account. The administrator can peek inside the files of any other user. So, Figure 1 shows the My Documents folders of two other users, Tina and the Guest account. Those folders are called Tina's Documents and Guest's Documents, respectively.



Hard Disk Drives: This one's not too difficult. It lists the hard drives installed on your computer. Double-clicking a folder here shows what's inside, but you rarely find much useful information. In fact, Windows often simply tells you to back off and look for programs on your Start menu, instead. Unlike files and folders, hard dives can't be moved to different areas.

Devices with Removable Storage: This area shows stuff you take in and out of your computer: floppy drives, CD-ROM drives, Iomega Jaz drives, and even MP3 players, if they're Windows XP compatible, like the HipZip's PocketZip player shown in Figure 1. 

Scanners and Cameras: Digital cameras and scanners often appear down here, depending on their make and model.

Unlike files and folders, Hard Disk Drives, Devices with Removable Storage, and Scanners and Cameras can't be moved to different areas. They're stuck where they live in the My Computer area. To make them more accessible, you can place shortcuts to them on your desktop or any other convenient spot.



My Computer also includes several boxes along its left side. They serve mainly as shortcuts — pointers — that take you to other areas on your computer. The boxes change according to what you're viewing in My Computer. These choices appear when you first open My Computer, and here's what they mean.

System Tasks: Both items listed here, View System Information and Add or Remove Programs, deal with your computer's innards. They're shortcuts to icons on Windows XP's Control Panel.

Other Places: Three of these items, My Network Places, My Documents, and Control Panel, are simply shortcuts to items that appear on your computer's Start menu.

You may wonder (as others have) why there's a shortcut to the Shared Documents folder here, because the Shared Documents folder already appears a few inches to the right, as you can see in Figure 1. Hmmm, a mystery.

Details: Finally, something interesting. Click almost any icon in My Computer, and the Details window automatically displays information about that object: the date a file was created, for instance, or how much space it consumes.

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Saving Web Pages with Internet Explorer 6

Occasionally, you may want to save an entire Web page on your computer (text, hyperlinks, graphics, and all). To save the Web page that currently appears in Internet Explorer, choose File-->Save As to open the Save Web Page dialog box shown in the following figure. Select the folder in which you want the page saved and then click the Save button.

After saving a Web page on your hard drive, you can open it in Internet Explorer and view the contents even when you're not connected to the Internet. If your motive for saving the Web page, however, is to be able to view the content when you're not connected to the Internet, you're better off saving the page as a Favorite marked for offline viewing. That way, you can decide whether you want to view other pages linked to the one you're saving and you can have Internet Explorer check the site for updated content. 

You can also e-mail a Web page or a link to the page to a colleague or friend. To send the current Web page in a new e-mail message, click File-->Send-->Page by E-mail on the Explorer menu bar and then fill out the new e-mail. To send a link to the page instead, click File-->Send-->Link by E-Mail. To create a desktop shortcut to the Web page, click File-->Send-->Shortcut to Desktop.

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Make Windows XP Professional Accessible

Do you have trouble reading the screen, hearing the sound themes, using the keyboard, or moving the mouse? Windows XP Professional includes features such as Accessibility Wizard, Accessibility Options, and Utility Manager that make Windows XP accessible and usable by everyone.

For more detailed information about accessibility options, keyboard shortcuts, and assistant technology programs in Windows XP Professional:

Click Start, then click Help and Support, and then click Accessibility, in the left-hand column. 

–or– 


Press the Windows Logo key + F1, use the TAB key to highlight Accessibility, and then press ENTER. 
To learn more about Microsoft products available for people with disabilities, visit the Microsoft Accessibility Web site.

Note: The information in this section applies only to users who license Microsoft products in the United States. If you obtained this product outside the United States, your package contains a card that lists Microsoft subsidiary support services, telephone numbers, and addresses. Contact your subsidiary to find out whether the type of products and services described here are available in your area. 

Accessibility Wizard
The Accessibility Wizard asks you questions about your accessibility needs and automatically configures text size, and settings for display, sound, and pointer.

To start the Accessibility Wizard

Click Start and point to All Programs. Then point to Accessories, point to Accessibility, and click Accessibility Wizard. 

–or– 


Press the Windows Logo key , press P to open All Programs, and then press ENTER. Press A to open Accessories, press ENTER to open Accessibility, and then press ENTER again to start Accessibility Wizard. 
Note: Utility Manager lets you start, stop, and check the status of the accessibility programs you select from the Accessibility Wizard.

To open the Utility Manager

Click Start and point to All Programs. Then point to Accessories, point to Accessibility, and click Utility Manager. 

–or– 


Press the Windows Logo key , press P to open All Programs, and then press ENTER. Press A to open Accessories, press ENTER to open Accessibility. Use the arrow keys to highlight Utility Manager, and then press ENTER. 
Accessibility Options
Accessibility Options allow you to directly customize keyboard, display, and mouse functions.

To open Accessibility Options

Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Accessibility Options. 

–or– 


Press the Windows Logo key , use the arrow keys to highlight Control Panel, and then press ENTER. Use the TAB key to highlight Accessibility Options, and then press ENTER. 

 

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Mapping Network Drives in Windows XP

If you use Windows XP on a local area network (LAN), and you save and open files in shared folders as part of a workgroup on a server, you can create a virtual drive whose drive letter appears in the My Computer window along with those of your local drives — a process referred to as mapping a network drive. To map a network drive, follow these steps:

1. Click Tools-->Map Network Drive on the My Computer menu bar to open the Map Network Drive dialog box.

2. Click the Drive drop-down list button and select the drive letter you want to assign to the virtual drive containing this network folder (note that the list starts with Z: and works backwards to B:) from the pop-up menu.

3. Type the path to the folder on the network drive in the Folder text box or click the Browse button and select the folder directly from the outline of the network drives and folders shown in the Browse For Folder dialog box. Now click OK to close the Browse For Folder dialog box and return to the Map Network Drive dialog box (where the path to the selected folder now appears).

4. If you want Windows to recreate this virtual drive designation for the selected network folder each time that you start and log on to your computer, leave the check mark in the Reconnect at Logon check box. 

If you only want to use this drive designation during the current work session, click the Reconnect at Logon check box to remove the check mark.

5. If you're mapping the network drive for someone else who uses a logon different from your own, click the Different User Name hyperlink and enter the user name and password in the associated text boxes in the Connect As dialog box before you click OK.

6. Click the Finish button in the Map Network Drive dialog box to close it and return to the My Computer window.

The network folder that you mapped onto a virtual drive now appears at the bottom of the contents area under a new section called "Network Drives" and Windows automatically opens the folder in a separate window.

After mapping a network folder onto a virtual drive, you can redisplay the contents in the My Computer window by double-clicking that drive icon.


To remove a virtual drive that you've mapped onto My Computer, click Tools-->Disconnect Network Drive; next click the letter of the virtual drive in the Disconnect Network Drives dialog box and then click OK. Windows then displays an alert dialog box warning you that files and folders are currently open on the virtual drive and that you run the risk of losing data if files are open. If you're sure that you have no files open on that drive, click the Yes button to break the connection and remove the virtual drive from the My Computer window.




If you use Windows XP on a local area network (LAN), and you save and open files in shared folders as part of a workgroup on a server, you can create a virtual drive whose drive letter appears in the My Computer window along with those of your local drives — a process referred to as mapping a network drive. To map a network drive, follow these steps:

1. Click Tools-->Map Network Drive on the My Computer menu bar to open the Map Network Drive dialog box.

2. Click the Drive drop-down list button and select the drive letter you want to assign to the virtual drive containing this network folder (note that the list starts with Z: and works backwards to B:) from the pop-up menu.

3. Type the path to the folder on the network drive in the Folder text box or click the Browse button and select the folder directly from the outline of the network drives and folders shown in the Browse For Folder dialog box. Now click OK to close the Browse For Folder dialog box and return to the Map Network Drive dialog box (where the path to the selected folder now appears).

4. If you want Windows to recreate this virtual drive designation for the selected network folder each time that you start and log on to your computer, leave the check mark in the Reconnect at Logon check box. 

If you only want to use this drive designation during the current work session, click the Reconnect at Logon check box to remove the check mark.

5. If you're mapping the network drive for someone else who uses a logon different from your own, click the Different User Name hyperlink and enter the user name and password in the associated text boxes in the Connect As dialog box before you click OK.

6. Click the Finish button in the Map Network Drive dialog box to close it and return to the My Computer window.

The network folder that you mapped onto a virtual drive now appears at the bottom of the contents area under a new section called "Network Drives" and Windows automatically opens the folder in a separate window.

After mapping a network folder onto a virtual drive, you can redisplay the contents in the My Computer window by double-clicking that drive icon.


To remove a virtual drive that you've mapped onto My Computer, click Tools-->Disconnect Network Drive; next click the letter of the virtual drive in the Disconnect Network Drives dialog box and then click OK. Windows then displays an alert dialog box warning you that files and folders are currently open on the virtual drive and that you run the risk of losing data if files are open. If you're sure that you have no files open on that drive, click the Yes button to break the connection and remove the virtual drive from the My Computer window.

 

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Making Older Programs Run under Windows XP

Some programs designed for earlier versions of Windows won't run under Windows XP. Until you can get your hands on a program upgrade for Windows XP, you can try running the program in one of Windows XP Compatibility Modes by following these steps:

1. Double-click the desktop shortcut called Run in Compatibility Mode that's automatically installed there when you install Windows XP to open a full-size Help and Support window with instructions and controls for starting an application in Compatibility Mode. 

You can also open this window by clicking Start on the Windows taskbar and then clicking Help and Support on the Start menu. Next, click the Find Compatible Hardware and Software for Windows XP link and then click the Program Compatibility Wizard link at the bottom of the window navigation pane.

2. Read the instructions on the Welcome to Programs Compatibility Wizard screen, paying particular attention to the warning about not using Compatibility Mode on programs, such as anti-virus software and backup tools, that specifically prohibit their use on future editions of the operating system before you click the Next button.

3. In the next screen, click the radio button indicating how you want to locate the program you want to run: I Want to Choose from a List of Programs, I Want to Use the Program in the CD-ROM Drive, or I Want to Locate the Program Manually.

4. If you selected the I Want to Choose from a List of Programs radio button, click the name of the program you want to run in the list that appears before you click Next. 

If you selected the I Want to Locate the Program Manually radio button, type the path to the program in the text box that appears or click the Browse button and locate it in the Please Select Application dialog box and select the Open button before you click Next.

5. In the next screen, called Select a Compatibility Mode for the Program, click the radio button for the version of Windows under which your program used to run or was designed to run: Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 (Service Pack 5), Microsoft Windows 98/Windows Me, or Microsoft Windows 2000.

6. In the next screen called Select Display Settings for the Program, click the check box or boxes for the display settings that are recommended for running the program. 

These check box options include: 256 Colors, 640 x 480 Screen Resolution, and Disable Visual Themes.

7. Click the Next button to advance to the Test Your Compatibility Settings screen where you can verify your selections for the program.

8. If your settings are correct, click the Next button to run the program in compatibility mode.

If Windows XP can run the program in the selected Compatibility Mode, the program then launches in a separate window. If Windows can't run the application, you receive an alert box indicating that there's a problem. In such a case, you have to contact the software manufacturer and get an upgrade for the application that's specifically designed for the Windows XP operating system. Note that when you exit the program that you're running in compatibility mode, Windows automatically returns you to the Program Compatibility Wizard in the Help and Support window.

 

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Keeping Windows XP Up-to-Date

The Windows Update feature notifies you of the latest updates and bug fixes for the Windows XP operating system directly from the Microsoft Web site. To launch the Windows Update, you click the Start menu, point at the All Programs button, and then click Windows Update in the Programs menu.

As soon as you click select Windows Update on this menu, Windows gets you online and connects you to the Windows Update Web page on the Microsoft Web site.

To have your computer checked out to see whether you're in need of some updated Windows components, follow these steps:

1. On the Microsoft Windows Update Web page, click the Scan for Updates hyperlink.

When you click this hyperlink, the Windows checks your system for needed updates. After checking your system, the number of updates appears in the list of three types of updates (Critical Updates, Windows XP, and Driver Updates) in the pane on the left side of the window.

2. To have the Update Wizard install particular updates in one or more of the various categories, click the check boxes in front of each update name and description.

3. After you have all the updates that you want selected, click the Review and Install Updates hyperlink in the pane on the left side of the window.

4. Click the Start Download button on the Download Checklist page.

A license agreement dialog box then appears. Choose the Yes button to sell your soul to the devil (just kidding) and start the download.

After you click the assent to the license agreement, the Microsoft Windows Update page downloads and installs the updated files for the component(s) you selected. When the download and installation are complete, the message Download and Installation Successful appears on Windows Update Web page.

5. Click the Close box in the upper-right corner of the Windows Update Web page to close this browser window.

Just in case you're the type who would never think to use the Windows Update command on the Start menu, Windows XP turns on an AutoUpdate feature that automatically starts bugging you about new Windows features that you can download and install.

AutoUpdate indicates that Windows updates that could benefit your computer are available by placing an Install Reminder icon (with the picture of the Windows logo above a tiny globe) in the Notification area of the Windows taskbar. From time to time, a ScreenTip appears above this Install Reminder icon, telling you that new updates are available.

To get the Windows updates downloaded or to silence the Install Reminder, click that icon in the status bar. Windows then displays an Updates dialog box with three buttons along the bottom: Settings, Remind Me Later, and Install.

To go online and have Windows download and install the new updates (using the procedure outlined in the steps in the preceding section), choose Install. To be reminded to update at a later time, choose the Remind Me Later button and then select the time interval that must pass before the Install Reminder starts prompting you again in the drop-down list box of the Remind Me Later dialog box that appears.

To turn off the AutoUpdate features so that it never bugs you again, follow these steps:

1. Click the Start button and then click Control Panel.

2. Click the Switch to Classic View button at the top of the Control Panel navigation pane on the left side of this window.

3. Double-click the System icon to open the Systems Properties dialog box.

4. Click the Automatic Updates tab and then in the Notification Settings section, click the Turn Off Automatic Updating, I want to Update My Computer Manually radio button.

5. Click OK or press Enter to close the System Properties dialog box.

 




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Joining a Network

If you want to connect to a network during Setup, you must have the correct hardware installed on your computer and be connected to your network.

If you will be using a network, first determine whether your computer is joining a domain or a workgroup.

If you're not sure, select Workgroup when you are prompted during Setup. (You can always join a domain later, after Windows XP Professional is installed.) Any computer user can join a workgroup—you don’t need special administrative permissions. You must provide an existing or new workgroup name, or you can use the workgroup name that Windows XP Professional suggests during Setup. 

If you select Domain ask your network administrator to create a new computer account in that domain or to reset your existing account. Joining a domain requires permission from the network administrator. 

Joining a domain during Setup requires a computer account to identify your computer to the domain you want to join. If you’re upgrading, Setup uses your existing computer account; or if there isn’t one, Setup prompts you to provide a new computer account. Ask your network administrator to create a computer account before you begin Setup. Or, if you have the appropriate privileges, you can create the account yourself and join the domain during Setup. To join a domain during Setup, you need to provide your domain user name and password. 

Unless you're an advanced user, it's recommended you use the default settings.

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Logging On to Your computer

After you've installed Windows XP Professional, you can configure common settings, including user accounts and network connections.

If you already have a user account, log on to your computer with that account name and password. If you don't have a user account, you must first log on as the administrator to create one.

Log On as the Administrator
Until you set up a user account on your computer, you need to log on as the Administrator. For security reasons, you should create a user account for yourself and a user account for each person who may be using the computer.

After you complete Setup, your computer restarts and the “Log On to Windows” dialog box appears.

To log on as the Administrator

In “Log On to Windows,” type Administrator and the password you assigned to the administrator during Setup. 

Click OK. 

If a message appears informing you that the system could not log you on, verify that CAPS LOCK is not turned on, and then retype your password. 

IMPORTANT 
Running Windows XP as an administrator makes the system vulnerable to unnecessary security risks. Instead, use your user account to perform routine tasks such as running programs, working on documents, and visiting Internet sites.

 

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Make Web Pages Available for Offline Viewing

With Internet Explorer 6 in Windows XP, you can make a Web page available offline and view it when your computer is not connected to the Internet—for example on your laptop during a flight. This feature is also handy for viewing Web pages at home without tying up a phone line if you have a dial–up Internet connection.

To make the current Web page available offline

On the Favorites menu, click Add to Favorites. 

Select the Make available offline check box. 




To specify a schedule for updating that page, and how much content to download, click Customize. 

Follow the instructions on your screen. 
To make an existing favorite item available offline

On the Favorites menu, click Organize Favorites. 

Click the page you want to make available offline. 

Select the Make available offline check box. 

To specify a schedule for updating that page, and how much content to download, click Properties. 
To view Web pages without being connected to the Internet

After you mark your favorite pages for viewing offline, you can view them offline by following these steps

Before you disconnect from the Internet, on the Tools menu, click Synchronize. 

When you're ready to work offline, on the File menu, click Work Offline. Internet Explorer will always start in Offline mode until you click Work Offline again to clear the check mark. 

In your Favorites list, click the item you want to view. 
You can also make Web pages available offline without adding them to your Favorites list, by saving the pages on your computer.

Follow these steps

On the File menu, click Save As. 

Double–click the folder you want to save the page in. 

In the File name box, type a name for the page. 

In the Save as type box, select a file type. 

Do one of the following: 


To save all of the files needed to display this page, including graphics, frames, and style sheets, click Web Page, complete. This option saves each file in its original format. 

To save all of the information needed to display this page in a single MIME–encoded file, click Web Archive. This option saves a snapshot of the current Web page. This option is available only if you have installed Outlook Express 5 or later. When you choose Web Page, complete, only the current page is saved. With Web Page, complete and Web Archive, you can view all of the Web page offline, without adding the page to your Favorites list and marking it for offline viewing. 

To save just the current HTML page, click Web Page, HTML only. This option saves the information on the Web page, but it does not save the graphics, sounds, or other files. 

To save just the text from the current Web page, click Text Only. This option saves the information on the Web page in straight text format. 

 

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Playing DVDs in Windows XP

Microsoft raves about how Media Player plays DVDs. But that's a lie. Windows XP can't play DVDs right out of the box. See, even though you've bought a Windows XP computer, a DVD drive, and a DVD, you need something else: special software called a decoder. This bit of software, called a codec because it converts one format to another, enables your computer to translate numbers on a disc into videos of galloping horses on the screen.

Unfortunately, Windows XP doesn't come with a DVD codec, so you must pick up one somewhere else. Where? Well, most computers with DVD drives come with DVD-playing software — a little box with its own little controls. That software installs its own DVD codec in Windows, and Media Player simply borrows that. But if you don't have DVD-playing software, there's nothing to borrow, and Media Player ignores your DVDs.


If you choose Windows Media Player instead of your third-party DVD player to watch DVDs, the controls are pretty much the same as they are for playing CDs.


You probably need to update your DVD software so that it will work under Windows XP. Otherwise, your DVD software won't work under Media Player, either. Head for the Web site of your DVD player's manufacturer and look for a Windows XP patch or upgrade. If you're lucky, the manufacturer won't charge you for the upgrade. Some companies, however, make you buy a new version.


DVD stands for Digital Video Disc & Digital Versatile Disc.



Bending to pressure, Microsoft made a last-minute deal with three companies to provide software for Windows Media Player to create MP3s and play DVDs. The catch? The complete package costs between $20 and $30, with separate components (the DVD decoder on its own, for instance) costing less.


The three companies, CyberLink, InterVideo, and RAVISENT, each offers a DVD Decoder Pack for Windows XP. After October 25, 2001, Windows XP users may order and download the add-on packs from each company's Web site through links inside Windows Media Player.

If you've upgraded to Windows XP from an earlier version of Windows, and your old DVD software no longer works, using the links to get the add-ons might be your best option.

 




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Sharing Your Own Computer's Stuff with the Network

To share a file or folder with your fellow computer users, move the file into your Shared Documents folder, which lives in your My Computer window. (You must move or copy a file into the Shared Documents folder; shortcuts don't always work.)

After you place your file or folder into your Shared Documents folder, it appears in the Shared Documents folder of everybody else using your computer.

Administrators can share folders without having to move them into the Shared Documents folder. The trick is to follow these steps:


1. Right-click on a folder you'd like to share and choose Sharing and Security from the pop-up menu.

Open My Computer and right-click on the folder you'd like to share. When the menu appears, select Sharing and Security. A window appears, showing the Properties for that folder. It opens to the Sharing tab.

Right-click on a folder and choose Sharing and Security to share the folder on the network.

2. Click the box marked Share This Folder on the Network.

A check mark in that box lets everybody peek at, grab, steal, change, or delete any of the files in that folder. To let visitors look inside the files but not change them, remove the check mark from the box marked Allow Network Users to Change My Files.

3. Click OK.

Now that particular folder and all its contents are available for everybody on the network to share.

Sharing a lot of folders isn't a good idea because it gives network visitors too much control over your computer. Even if you trust people, they might accidentally mess something up. To be safe, only share files by placing them in the Shared Document folder.

Inside Shared Documents live two more folders, Shared Music and Shared Pictures. Those two folders are also available to any user. So, if you want to share documents with any user of your computer, store them in the Shared Documents folder. When you make MP3s from your CDs, store them in the Shared Music folder, too, so that everybody can enjoy them.

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Install Windows XP Professional Quick Upgrade

Once you've gathered the information you need, you are ready to install Windows XP Professional.

To perform a quick upgrade


Turn on your computer. 
Insert the Windows XP CD into your computer's CD–ROM drive. 
After your computer automatically launches the CD, click Install Windows XP. 
IMPORTANT 
If your computer doesn't automatically launch the CD, start Setup manually:

Click Start and then click Run. 
Type the following command, replacing "d" with the letter assigned to your CD-ROM drive: 
d:\setup.exe 
Press ENTER. 

When you're asked to choose the type of installation you want, select Upgrade, and then click Next. 

You can upgrade to Windows XP if all of the following are true: 


You're already using a previous version of Windows that supports upgrading. These include: Windows 98 (including Second Edition); Windows Millennium (Me); Windows NT® 4.0 (Service Pack 6 or later); Windows 2000 Professional; or Windows XP Home Edition. (Windows 95 and earlier versions do not support upgrade to Windows XP Professional.) 

You want to replace your previous operating system with Windows XP Professional. 
You want to keep your existing files and personalized settings. 

If none—or only some—of these are true for you, perform a new installation. For more information, see New Installation. 

Review the license agreement and, if you agree, accept it. 

Enter the Product Key from the Windows XP folder. 

Review the text for performing Dynamic Update. If you wish to perform Dynamic Update, select Yes, and then click Next. 

Windows installation starts. 
IMPORTANT 
You must have an active Internet connection to perform Dynamic Update.


When the “Welcome to Windows” screen appears, follow the instructions to complete your upgrade. 

Go to “Configure Windows XP” for information on setting up user accounts and network connections. 

 




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Shutting Down Windows XP

Although the big argument used to be about saturated and unsaturated fats, today's generation has found a new source of disagreement: Should a computer be left on all the time or turned off at the end of the day? Both camps have decent arguments, and there's no real answer (except that you should always turn off your monitor when you won't be using it for a half hour or so).

However, if you decide to turn off your computer, don't just head for the off switch. First, tell Windows XP about your plans. To do that, click the Start button, choose the Turn Off Computer command, and ponder the choices Windows XP places on-screen.

Click Stand By to temporarily put the computer to sleep, click Turn Off to turn off your computer, or click Restart to make Windows XP shut down and come back to life.

Stand By: Save your work before choosing this option; Windows XP doesn't save your work automatically. Instead, it lets your computer doze for a bit to save power, but the computer wakes up at the touch of a button.

Turn Off: Clicking here tells Windows XP to put away all your programs and to make sure that you've saved all your important files. Then it turns off your computer and most of the newer monitors. Poof! Use this option when you're done computing for the day. (If your monitor doesn't turn off automatically, you'll have to push its power button yourself.)

Restart: Here, Windows saves your work and prepares your computer to be shut off. However, it then restarts your computer. Use this option when installing new software, changing settings, or trying to stop Windows XP from doing something awfully weird.

Hibernate: Only offered on some computers, this option works much like Shut Down. It saves your work and turns off your computer. However, when turned on again, your computer presents your desktop just as you left it: Open programs and windows appear in the same place. Putting your computer into hibernation mode is not as safe as shutting it down. (Don't see the Hibernate feature? Hold down Shift, and it will replace the Standby button.)

The Hibernate command takes all of your currently open information and writes it to the hard drive in one big chunk. Then, to re-create your desktop, it reads that big chunk and places it back on your desktop. 

Don't ever turn off your computer unless you've chosen the Turn Off command from the Start button. Windows XP needs to prepare itself for the shutdown, or it may accidentally eat some of your important information — as well as the information of anybody else using the computer at the time.

Remember, if you're done with the computer but other people might want to use it, just click Log Off from the Start menu: Windows XP saves your work and brings up the Welcome screen, allowing other people to log on and play video games.

 

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