Sams Teach Yourself MS Win XP in 21 Days


John guides the reader through the new and unfamiliar Windows interface, while introducing the new features. The book provides information in several formats, all integrated with theory, tutorials, procedures, tips and comprehensive.


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John guides the reader through the new and unfamiliar Windows interface, while introducing the new features. The book provides information in several formats, all integrated with theory, tutorials, procedures, tips and comprehensive.

Topics range from:

  • Installation of Windows XP
  • Whether to upgrade and if so, how to do it
  • Configuring services and setting up users
  • Navigation of the new menus
  • Explanation of the new internet options, such as third party cookie alert, firewalls, and web publishing wizard
  • Registry configurations
  • Integration ideas for home networks and explanations about using the networking wizards
  • Accessory overview
  • Using XP on laptops
  • Working with Linux
  • Maintaining the system & productivity tips
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These four guides approach Microsoft's newest operating system (which may or may not be generating requests at your library) from different perspectives. TechTV focuses only on Windows XP Home Edition yet assumes some familiarity with previous Windows versions and is more appropriate for upgraders or those buying an additional PC than for first-time Windows users. A valuable addition to XP collections, it will supplement more basic guides. On the other hand, Teach Yourself, Norton's, and Unleashed clearly target intermediate to advanced users and include information on both XP Home and Professional editions. A self-study resource for patrons who quickly need to get up to speed with XP, Teach Yourself is a solid series addition, with helpful summaries, Q&As, quizzes, and exercises. Norton's is a characteristically thorough reference packed with tips for power users and resources for further information. Unleashed mostly covers Windows XP Professional and features useful appendixes on related topics such as TCP/IP, but it is less clear and less detailed than Norton's. All three will suit larger public libraries with a business and technical population. [For more reviews of XP titles, see Computer Media, LJ 11/1/01. Ed.] Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
Whether you think of Windows XP as a major innovation, minor upgrade, or threat to civilization, a veteran freelance author and technical editor explains the essentials of this new operating system. Suitable primarily for intermediate to advanced-level users. Includes a 21-day mastery plan and a glossary. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780672322631
  • Publisher: Sams
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Series: Sams Teach Yourself Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 746
  • Product dimensions: 7.41 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 1.55 (d)

Meet the Author

John Mueller is a freelance author and technical editor. He has writing in his blood, having produced 51 books and over 200 articles to date. The topics of his writing range from networking to artificial intelligence and from database management to heads-down programming. Some of his current books include a SOAP developer guide, a small business and home office networking guide, and a Windows 2000 Performance, Tuning, and Optimization book. His technical editing skills have helped over 25 authors refine the content of their manuscripts. John has provided technical editing services to both Data Based Advisor and Coast Compute magazines. He's also contributed articles to magazines, including SQL Server Professional, Visual C++ Developer, and Visual Basic Developer. He is currently the editor of the .NET electronic newsletter for Pinnacle Publishing.

When John isn't working at the computer, you can find him in his workshop. He's an avid woodworker and candle maker. On any given afternoon, you can find him working at a lathe or putting the finishing touches on a bookcase. One of his newest craft projects is glycerin soap making, which comes in handy for gift baskets.

You can reach John on the Internet at John is also setting up a Web site at He invites you to visit his site and make suggestions on how he can improve it. One of his current projects is creating book FAQ sheets that should help you find the book information you need much faster.

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Read an Excerpt

Day 3: Exploring the Interface

The user interface for an operating system is its spokesperson. The rest of the operating system does the work, but the user interface is what people see. Therefore, it's important that the user interface gives the user the best impression. Windows XP provides more than a few surprises when it comes to the user interface. Not only do you get more interface choices than ever before, but you'll also find that this interface is more flexible. Windows XP allows you to have things your way—at least, to an extent.

We'll begin by looking at the most important tool in the Windows user inter-face, Windows Explorer. At one time, Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer were two separate tools. Today they're the same tool with two different user interfaces. Therefore, I'll use the term Explorer to talk about both applications. We'll use the Windows Explorer version of the interface because we'll discuss Internet Explorer during Day 4. Remember, however, that you can perform the same actions with both tools within the limits of each application's interface.

Our next discussion will also include managing the user interface. I'll show you how to change various interface elements so that you can switch from the simple Windows XP interface to a Windows 2000 look-alike and everything in between. By the time this day is over, you'll know enough about the Windows XP user interface to create a comfortable environment for yourself or anyone you're working with.

An Overview of Windows Explorer

Of all the tools in Windows XP, the most important tool to learn is Windows Explorer. This single tool provides access to resources, both local and remote. You can use it to view Web pages, as well as the content of your disk drives. Using Windows Explorer, you can set security on your drives and use the Address bar as a command line substitute. Context menus allow you to manipulate objects in various ways, and you can even extend Explorer to fulfill other needs. Figure 3.1 shows a typical example of the Windows Explorer interface. However, as we'll see today, this is just one of many ways to view this utility.

Beginning at the top of the display, you'll see the main menu and three toolbars: Standard Buttons, Address Bar, and Links. (Microsoft might hide the Links toolbar by default, use View | Toolbars | Links to display it.) I'll describe each of these toolbars in the "Toolbars" section that follows. You'll use the View | Toolbars menu options to activate and deactivate each toolbar. The dots on the left of each toolbar allow you to move it. (Microsoft might lock the toolbars by default, use View | Toolbars | Lock the Toolbars 3 to remove the check next to this option.) When you have the toolbars in the desired posi-tion, use the View | Toolbars | Lock the Toolbars command to remove the dots and keep the toolbars in place.

Below the toolbars is the data area. As you can see, Windows Explorer as shown in Figure 3.1 contains two vertical panes (you might see other configurations). Changing some of the settings will vary the number of panes between one and two. The right, or detail pane, is always present. Each pane serves a specific purpose as listed below.

  • Explorer Bar The Explorer Bar pane normally appears on the left side of Windows Explorer. This pane contains a hierarchical view of your drives (as shown in the figure), a search form, or even a list of contacts. We'll discuss the Explorer Bars in more detail in the "Explorer Bars" section that follows.
  • Details You'll normally see a list of objects in this pane. The content of this pane will vary but will generally include details about the object selected in the Explorer Bar pane. For example, if you select the Folders Explorer Bar and choose a folder, the Details pane will contain the files within that folder. Likewise, if you perform a search, the Details pane will contain a list of objects matching the search criteria.

The Tip of the Day is a special pane that appears between the middle and right panes. You'll use the Tip of the Day to learn more about Windows Explorer. Turn this feature on and off using the View | Explorer Bar | Tip of the Day command. The Next Tip link within the Tip of the Day pane allows you to view each tip in the database in rapid succession.

The very bottom of the Windows Explorer display contains a Status Bar. This helpful element provides quick information about a selected object. For example, if you select a file, the Status Bar will show the file size. If you don't have any objects selected, the Status Bar tells you the number of objects within the current container. Finally, when you select multiple objects, the Status Bar contains the number of objects selected and could contain other amplifying information. You turn this feature on and off using the View | Status Bar command.

One of the Explorer Bars that you'll use most often is the Folders Explorer Bar. In fact, Windows Explorer will normally start with this Explorer Bar. You can divide the Folders Explorer Bar into several functional areas. The following sections tell you about each of these areas and detail how you can use them to your benefit.

My Documents

One of the features that has followed users around for several versions of Windows is the My Documents folder. (In some cases, Windows XP might use your name for this folder such as John's Documents.) This folder can appear in a number of places, such as the Desktop. It's also one of the folders that appears within Windows Explorer. Microsoft has set aside a My Documents folder for each user on the machine. It's your private storage area.

Windows XP includes a new feature. You'll only see it when using single pane folders and only if you select the Show Common Tasks in Folders option on the General tab of the Folder Options dialog box. Figure 3.2 shows this view of the My Documents folder when you select this option from the Start menu (in order to obtain the single pane view).

As you can see, the My Documents folder contains two subfolders: My Pictures and My Music. These folders are special because they provide additional capabilities when you continue to use the Task pane on your machine. The Task pane for the My Pictures folder contains a special set of tasks that allow you to view your pictures as a slide show, order prints of your pictures from the Internet, or print copies of your pictures. You can also set a picture as the wallpaper for your Desktop. Figure 3.3 shows an example of these extra commands. Likewise, the Web content for the My Music folder contains special tasks that allow you to play all of the entries in the folder or shop for music online.

You can also change the appearance of the My Pictures folder. Right-click on any open area in the folder and choose View | Filmstrip from the context menu. The folder now contains a set of picture-viewing tools as shown in Figure 3.4. (Note that you might see a My Videos folder that contains an extended set of these controls.) Selecting an object will allow you to use the controls to size the picture and move from one picture to the next. The tools also include two controls for rotating the picture, a handy feature when working with pictures captured in landscape, rather than portrait orientation. Without it, you'd have to tilt your head sideways to see the picture at the correct orientation.

Pocket PC users who have ActiveSync installed on their system may see a My Pocket PC folder here. This folder will contain all of the data files from your Pocket PC. This folder doesn't appear to provide any special functionality other than a link to your PDA.

Some people don't need the My Documents folder. Company policy might dictate that you place all user data on the network so that it's easy to monitor and backup. What this means is that you'll have an empty My Documents folder hanging around on your system. You can get rid of this folder from the Desktop by using the Tools | Folder Options command to display the Folder Options dialog box. Select View and clear the Show My Documents on the Desktop in the Advanced Settings list.

Unfortunately, My Documents will continue to waste space in Windows Explorer and on your hard drive. You can temporarily remove it from Windows Explorer by highlighting the object and pressing Shift+Delete, but the action is temporary. My Documents will grow back even more determined to stay in place. Attempts to delete the folder from your hard drive will fail with an error message. I even tried logging in as another user with administrative privileges to delete the unwanted and unloved folder from my system. The attempt worked, but the folder grew back the next time I started the machine. In short, Microsoft has determined that you'll have a My Documents folder whether you need it or not. Removing it from your Desktop will have to be enough to satisfy you....

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Table of Contents


Intended Audience. Conventions Used in this Book.

Week 1 At a Glance.

Day 1. Introduction to Windows XP.

Why Windows XP Is a Good Choice. How Can You Use Windows XP? What's New in Windows XP? Hardware Requirements. Windows XP Problem Areas. Summary. Workshop.

Day 2. Windows XP Installation and Configuration.

Planning Your Installation. Installing from the CD. Installing from a Network. Unattended Installations. Creating a Dual Boot Setup. Windows XP Upgrades. Checking the Installation. Summary. Q&A. Workshop.

Day 3. Exploring the Interface.

An Overview of Windows Explorer. Changing the View. Working with the Taskbar. Managing the Desktop. Summary. Q&A. Quiz. Exercises.

Day 4. Getting Online.

Creating a Connection Using Internet Connection Wizard. Internet Connection Sharing Ins and Outs. Setting the Internet Options. Connections. Using NetMeeting. Summary. Q&A. Workshop.

Day 5. Using Outlook Express.

Subscribing to and Viewing Newsgroups. Using Outlook Express Mail. Using Outlook Express News. Summary. Q&A. Workshop.

Day 6. Accessory Overview.

Working with the Accessibility Features. A New Way to Collaborate. Sending and Receiving Faxes. Text Processing Aids. Summary. Q&A. Workshop.

Day 7. Playing with Multimedia and Games.

The Standard Windows Multimedia Add-ons. Using the Windows Movie Maker. Scanner and Camera Support. Multimedia Hardware Support. Text to Speech Support. Recording Your Own Data CDs. Game Controller Configuration. Configuring Windows Games. Troubleshooting DirectX. Troubleshooting Techniques for Network Gaming. Playing Windows Games. Summary. Q&A. Workshop.

Week 2 At a Glance.

Day 8. Working with Users.

An Overview of Computer Management. Managing Local Users and Groups. Shared Drive and Folder Monitoring. Multi-user Workstation Setup Tips. Summary. Q&A. Workshop.

Day 9. Working with Software.

Adding and Removing Programs. Using Event Viewer. Checking Performance. Managing Data Sources. Summary. Q&A. Workshop.

Day 10. Working with Hardware.

Configuration Issues. Using the Add Hardware Wizard. Using Device Manager. Using Profiles. Hard Disk Configuration. Printer Installation and Configuration. Keyboard Optimization. Mouse Setting Configuration and Adjustment. Video Advanced Settings. Phone or Modem Configuration. Summary. Q&A. Workshop.

Day 11. Configuring Services.

An Overview of the Control Panel. Understanding the Active Directory Connection. Modifying Service Settings. Configuring the Indexing Service. Setting Power Usage. Summary. Q&A. Workshop.

Day 12. Working with the Registry.

Using RegEdit. Modifying File Associations. Saving and Restoring Application Settings. Registry Settings Located in INF Files. Tips for Avoiding Registry Disasters. Summary. Q&A. Workshop.

Day 13. Using Laptops and Handheld Devices.

Special Configuration Issues for Laptops. Special Configuration Issues for Handheld PCs. Data Transfers. Working with PCMCIA. Using Briefcase. Installing Microsoft ActiveSync. Power Management Strategies. Summary. Q&A. Workshop.

Day 14. Setting Up a Network with Windows XP.

General Network Setup. Configuring a Personal Firewall. Configuring Authentication Options. Special Hardware Considerations. Simple Network Management Protocol. Using the Routing Information Protocol (RIP) Listener. Working with Queued Components. Summary. Q&A. Workshop.

Week 3 At a Glance.

Day 15. Using Windows Networking.

Using the Network Setup Wizard. Building a Network. Sharing Resources. Using Remote Access Server (RAS). Connecting with Dial-Up Networking. Networking Services and Other Features. Summary. Q&A. Workshop.

Day 16. Configuring Security.

Creating a Security Plan. Security Considerations for User Accounts. Managing File/Folder Access. Setting Local Security Policy. Encrypting Data on Your Hard Drive. Overcoming Windows Security Deficiencies. Tips for Thwarting Crackers Inside and Out. Summary. Q&A. Workshop.

Day 17. Working With Linux.

Installing and Configuring Samba. Using Linux as a Print Server. Linux Security Differences. Tips for Optimizing Linux Use with Windows. Working with Linux Clients. Summary. Q&A. Workshop.

Day 18. Working with NetWare.

Using the CSNW Applet. Using the NetWare Client. Using NetWare Administrator. Working with Rconsole. Installing Long Filename Support. Understanding NetWare Printer Support. Tips for Optimizing NetWare Use with Windows. Summary. Q&A. Workshop.

Day 19. Creating Scripts and Automating Tasks.

Script Essentials. Working with Scripting Objects. Using the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard. Scheduling Tasks. Using Synchronize. Summary. Q&A. Workshop.

Day 20. Developing a Web Page.

Working with Internet Information Server. Creating Web Pages. Summary. Q&A. Workshop.

Day 21. Maintaining Your System and Finding Problems.

Maintenance Issues. Locating Software Problems. Locating Hardware Problems. Locating Network Problems. Summary. Q&A. Workshop.

Appendix A. Answers to the Quiz.Appendix B. 52 Productivity Tips that Really Work.Appendix C. Top Ten Windows Web Sites Exposed.


Appendix D. Windows XP Command Line Reference.

Using Telnet and Telnet Server Administrator. Using Simple TCP/IP Services. Using the Most Popular Command Line Utilities. Summary. Introduction. Terms.


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