Windows XP: The Complete Reference


Get the most out of Windows XP-the most exciting upgrade to today's most popular operating system-with help from this comprehensive resource. You'll get complete details on everything from installation and configuration to performance tuning and networking with Windows XP Learn to take full advantage of all the latest enhancements-including improved support for scanners, digital cameras, and audio devices as well as new features that make mobile computing easier and more stable....
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Get the most out of Windows XP-the most exciting upgrade to today's most popular operating system-with help from this comprehensive resource. You'll get complete details on everything from installation and configuration to performance tuning and networking with Windows XP Learn to take full advantage of all the latest enhancements-including improved support for scanners, digital cameras, and audio devices as well as new features that make mobile computing easier and more stable.

You'll also discover how to safely shop and browse on the Internet using the advanced security and privacy features included in Windows XP Covering both versions-Professional and Home Edition-this clearly written, thorough guide is a must-have for every Windows user.

  • Install or upgrade to Windows XP easily using the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard
  • Get details on all the new features - for both Professional and Home editions of Windows XP
  • Set up your desktop, configure your mouse and keyboard, and add or remove hardware
  • Protect your computer using built-in firewall
  • Work with text, numbers, pictures, sound, and video with Windows Media Player 8
  • Network with Windows XP - Including designing a Windows-based LAN
  • Learn tuning techniques to maximize performance
  • Connect to the Internet with dial-up, DSL, and cable Internet accounts, and share your connection with other computers
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780072192971
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
  • Publication date: 9/28/2001
  • Series: Osborne Complete Reference Series
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 1070
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.14 (h) x 2.24 (d)

Meet the Author

John R. Levine is the author of two dozen books, ranging from Linkers and Loaders to The Internet For Dummies. He also runs online newsgroups and mailing lists, hosts a hundred Web sites, and consults on programming language and Internet topics. He lives in the tiny village of Trumansburg, New York, where in his spare time he's the water and sewer commissioner. John is also active in the anti-spam movement, is a board member of CAUCE (Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail), and runs the Web site.

Margaret Levine Young is the coauthor of over two dozen books with various coauthors, including The Internet For Dummies, Internet: The Complete Reference, and Poor Richard's Building Online Communities. She holds a B.A. in computer science from Yale University, helps run the Unitarian Universalist Association's online communities at, lives in Vermont, and experiments in e-commerce at her family's Great Tapes for Kids Web site at

Doug Muder is a semiretired mathematician who has contributed to a number of books about computers and the Internet, including Internet: The Complete Reference and Dragon Naturally Speaking For Dummies. He is the author of numerous research papers in geometry and information theory, and dabbles in various forms of nontechnical writing. (Check out his fiction and essays at Doug lives in Nashua, New Hampshire with his wife, Deborah Bodeau, whom he met while getting his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago.

Alison Barrows has authored or coauthored books on Windows, the Internet, Microsoft Access, and other topics. In addition to writing books, Alison writes and edits technical documentation and training materials. She holds a B.A. in international relations from Wellesley College and an M.P.P. from Harvard University. In real life, she hangs out with her toddler, Parker; aspires to compete in Agility with her Portuguese Water Dog; and tries to carve out some time to practice yoga. Alison lives with her family in central Massachusetts.

Rima Regas is a freelance writer, technical editor, and a specialist in the networking and hardware fields. She has contributed to many Internet, networking, and hardware books. Rima is also a multiplatform networking consultant.

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from
Chapter 2

Running Programs

Starting Programs when Windows Starts When Windows starts up, it looks in the Startup folder of your Start Menu for shortcuts to programs (see Chapter 8, section "What Is a Shortcut?") This folder is usually stored in C:\Docurnents And Settings\ username\Start Menu\Programs (assuming that C: is the partition where Windows is installed). If any programs or shortcuts to programs are stored in this folder, Windows runs them automatically when it has finished starting up. To see the programs in the Startup folder, choose Start I All Programs I Startup and see what programs are listed.

For example, you can use this Startup folder to run your word processor and e-mail programs automatically each time you start Windows. Just create shortcuts in your Startup folder (see Chapter 8, section "Making Shortcuts").

Note: The Windows Registry, which stores information about Windows and your applications, can also tell Windows to run programs automatically on startup (see Chapter 38, section "Running Programs on Startup").

Controlling the Size and Shape of Your Windows

Windows enables you to control the size and position of most windows, so you can arrange your open windows to see the information you want to view. A window can be in one of three states:
  • Maximized, taking up the entire screen, with no window borders.
  • Minimized, so all that appears is the window's button on the taskbar.
  • Restored, or in a window; that is, displayed with window borders (see Figure 2-1). You can change the height and width of restored windows. Most windows on your screen are restored windows.

Moving a Window

The title bar is the colored bar that runs along the top of the window. To move a window, click anywhere in the title bar of the window, except for the System Menu button or the buttons at the right end of the title bar. Next, drag the window to the place you want it to appear. Release the mouse button when the window is located where you want it.

You can also use the keyboard to move a window. Press ALT-SPACEBAR to display the System menu, press m to choose the Move command, press the cursor keys to move the window, and then press ENTER when the window is located where you want it. You can also right-click the program button on the taskbar and choose Move from the menu that appears.

Minimizing a Window A button appears on the taskbar for each program that is running. To minimize a window-make a window disappear, leaving nothing but its taskbar button-click the window's Minimize button, the leftmost of the three buttons on the right end of the title bar, or click the window's System Menu button and choose Minimize from the menu that appears. You can also minimize a window by using the keyboard. Press ALT-SPACEBAR to display the System menu and press N to choose the Minimize command. You can also minimize a window by right-clicking the window's button on the taskbar and choosing Minimize from the menu that appears. To switch between minimized, and either restored or maximized, click the taskbar button for the program.

Note: Minimize windows when you want to unclutter your desktop without exiting programs.

Minimizing All Windows

You can minimize all the open windows on your screen by right-clicking a blank area on the taskbar and choosing Bring Desktop To Front from the shortcut menu that appears. Using only the keyboard, you can press WINDOWS-M (using the WINDOWS key, which is next to the CTRL key on many keyboards). If the Show Desktop icon appears on your taskbar (it's on the Quick Launch toolbar, usually right next to the Start button), you can also click this icon to minimize all your windows. (See "What Can Appear On the Taskbar?" in Chapter 10 for a description of the Quick Launch toolbar.) To reverse this command, right-click a blank area on the taskbar and choose Send Desktop To Back from the menu that appear'. 0r, press SHIFT-WINDOWS-M.

Maximizing a Window

To maximize a window-expand it to cover the whole screen-click the window's Maximize button, the middle button on the right end of the title bar, or click the window's System Menu button and choose Maximize from the menu that appears. When a window is maximized, its Maximize button is replaced by the Restore button, which returns the window to the size it was before you maximized it. Double-clicking a window's title bar switches between maximized restored.

If the window is currently minimized and you want to maximize it, right-click the button on the taskbar for the window and choose Maximize from the menu that appears. You can maximize a window by using the keyboard, too; press ALT-SPACEBAR to display the System menu and press x to choose the Maximize command. You can also maximize a window by right-clicking the window's button on the taskbar and choosing Maximize from the menu that appears.

Restoring the Window to Its Previous Size

After you maximize a window, you can restore it-return it to its previous size. Click the window's Restore button to restore the window, or click the window's System Menu button and choose Restore from the menu that appears. The Restore button appears (as the middle button on the right end of the title bar) only when the window is maximized.

If the window is currently minimized and you want to restore it, click the taskbar button for the window.

You can restore a window by using the keyboard, too; press ALT-SPACEBAR to display the System menu and press R to choose the Restore command. You can also restore a window by right-clicking the window's button on the taskbar and choosing Restore from the menu that appears.

The choice between maximizing programs and running them in windows (restored) is a matter of taste. If your screen is small or low resolution, maximize your windows, so you can see their contents as clearly as possible. If you have a large, high-resolution screen, you can run your programs in windows so you can see several programs at the same time.

Arranging All Windows

If you want to see all the windows on your desktop at the same time, you can ask Windows to arrange them tastefully for you. Right-click a blank area of the taskbar and choose one of the following commands from the menu that appears:
  • Cascade Windows Opens all the windows so they overlap, with their upper-left corners cascading from the upper-left corner of the screen, down and to the right.
  • Tile Windows Horizontally Opens all the windows with no overlap, with each window extending the full width of the screen and one window below another.
  • Tile Windows Vertically Opens all the windows with no overlap, with each window extending the full height of the screen and one window next to another.
If you choose one of these commands by mistake, you can undo the command by right-clicking a blank area of the taskbar and choosing Undo Tile or Undo Cascade from the menu that appears.

If four or more windows are open, Tile Windows Horizontally and Tile Windows Vertically arrange the windows the same way-in a grid.

Changing the Size and Shape of a Window

If a window is minimized or maximized, you can't change its size or shape. Maximized windows always take up the entire screen, and minimized windows always appear only on the taskbar. When a program is restored (running in a window), you can change both the size and the shape (height and width) of the window by using the window borders. To change a window's height or width, click the border around the window and drag it to the place where you want it. If you click along a top, side, or bottom border, you move one window border. If you click the corner of the window border, you move the borders that intersect at that corner. When your mouse pointer is over a border, it changes to a double-pointed arrow, making it easy to tell when you can start dragging.

You can move and resize windows by using only the keyboard, if that's your preference. To move a window, press ALT-SPACEBAR to display the System menu and press M to choose the Move command Press the cursor keys to move the window where you want it; then press ENTER to choose that position. To resize a window, press ALT-SPACEBAR to display the System menu, and press S to choose the Size command. Next, press cursor keys to adjust the window size and press ENTER to select that size.

Closing Windows

In the upper-right corner of almost every window, you see a red button with an X-the Close button. Clicking the Close button performs the same action as choosing File I Close from the window's menu. If the program appears in only one window (the usual situation), closing the window exits the program, the equivalent of choosing the File I Exit command.

If you'd rather use the keyboard, you can close many windows by pressing CTRL-F4. To close a window and exit the program, press ALT-F4. If the window is minimized, you can close the window without restoring it first. Right-click the window's button on the taskbar and choose Close from the menu that appears.

Giving Commands

Almost every Windows program enables you to issue commands to control what the program does. For example, the WordPad program includes commands to create a new document, save the document you are working on, print the document, and exit the program (among its many other commands). Most programs provide several ways to issue commands, including choosing commands from menus and clicking icons on the toolbar.

Choosing Commands from the Menu Bar

The menu bar is a row of one-word commands that appears along the top of a window, just below the title bar. To choose a command from the menu bar or to choose a command from ...
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Table of Contents

Pt. I Working in Windows XP
1 The Basics of Windows XP 3
2 Running Programs 17
3 Installing Programs 51
4 Getting Help 69
5 Copying, Moving, and Sharing Information Between Programs 81
6 Sharing Your Computer with Multiple Users 95
Pt. II Managing Your Disk
7 Using Files and Folders 137
8 Managing Files and Folders 167
9 Backing Up Your Files with the Backup Utility 207
Pt. III Configuring Windows for your Computer
10 Setting Up Your Start Menu and Taskbar 243
11 Setting Up Your Desktop 267
12 Keyboards, Mice, and Game Controllers 297
13 Adding and Removing Hardware 315
14 Printing and Faxing 339
15 Running Windows XP on Laptops 359
16 Accessibility Options 391
Pt. IV Working with Text, Numbers, Pictures, Sound, and Video
17 Working with Documents in Windows XP 413
18 Working with Graphics 431
19 Working with Sound 453
20 Working with Video 489
Pt. V Windows XP on the Internet
21 Configuring Windows to Work with Your Modem 507
22 Connecting to the Internet 531
23 E-Mail and Newsgroups Using Outlook Express 567
24 Browsing the World Wide Web with Internet Explorer 621
25 Internet Conferencing with Windows Messenger and NetMeeting 661
26 Other Internet Programs that Come with Windows XP 683
Pt. VI Networking with Windows XP
27 Designing a Windows-Based Local Area Network 707
28 Configuring Windows for a LAN 737
29 Sharing Drives and Printers on a LAN 767
30 Connecting Your LAN to the Internet 787
31 Network and Internet Security 801
Pt. VII Windows Housekeeping
32 Formatting and Partitioning Disks 829
33 Keeping Your Disk Safe 855
34 Tuning Windows XP for Maximum Performance 865
35 Troubleshooting Windows XP 877
36 Other Windows XP Resources 901
Pt. VIII Behind the Scenes: Windows XP Internals
37 Windows XP Configuration Files 913
38 Registering Programs and File Types 925
39 Running DOS Programs and Commands 935
40 Automating Tasks with the Windows Script Host 959
A Installing or Upgrading to Windows XP 965
Glossary 991
Index 1035
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For years, Microsoft has had two series of Windows versions: the Windows Me/9x series (which includes 95, 98, 98 Second Edition, and Millennium Edition, or Me) for individual users and the NT series (Windows NT and 2000) r corporate users and network servers. And for years, Microsoft has been trying to merge the two (slightly incompatible) series, so that everyone could run more or less the same version of Windows. With each new Windows release, Microsoft promised that the next release would be the one that combines these two strains of Windows.

Microsoft has finally done it. Windows XP is the upgrade to both series of Windows, Me/9x and 2000/NT. Windows XP (also known by its prerelease code name, Whistler) does away with the legacy architecture of the Windows 9x series. Windows 95 and its successors were based on DOS, the pre-Windows, non-graphical operating system that PCs started with. Windows XP removes the underlying DOS environment for increased reliability, and it uses the Windows NT/2000 file system for better security. Windows XP is based on Windows 2000 and combines the technical core of NT/2000 with the ease of use of Windows 98 and Me. Because of its business-oriented lineage, Windows XP has some great new capabilities for Windows Me/9x users, including password-protected user accounts and system management programs. But Windows XP also adds people-friendly features that were lacking in Windows NT and 2000, along with a completely redesigned (and spiffy-looking) screen design called Luna. This book helps you to make sense of the world of Windows XP, find your way through all the new and sometimes confusing options, learn the new interface, and make it work for you.

Initially, Windows XP comes in two versions: Home Edition (for home use) and Professional (for small-office and workstation use). These two versions are intended for workstations-that is, computers that people sit in front of and use directly. Two additional versions, Windows .NET Server and .NET Advanced Server, will be available in 2002. (Despite the ".NET" in their names, these are high-end versions of Windows XP.) These versions run on servers-computers that provide services to other computers over a network. This book describes Windows XP Home Edition and Professional as they are used on desktop and laptop workstations at home and at work. We hope that this book-both on paper and on the CD-ROM in the back-will help you make the most of Windows XP.

Later in this Introduction are sections titled "New Features in Windows XP," an overview of Windows XP's features, and "Differences Between Windows XP Editions," descriptions of the various versions of Windows XP.

Who Is This Book For?

This book is for everyone who uses Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional. You might already have Windows XP installed on your computer, or you might be considering upgrading a Windows Me, Windows 98, or Windows 2000 system to Windows XP. You might have a lot of experience with other computer systems, or Windows XP may be your first exposure to computing.

Your computer might be the only one in your home or office, or it may be one of many on a local area network. You probably have a modem or network card, although Windows works perfectly well without either. Chances are, your computer is connected to the Internet, or will be soon.

If your computer is connected to a large network, we don't expect you to be the network administrator, but if you're in a small office with two or three computers, we tell you how to set up a small, usable Windows network. If you have a modem, we discuss in detail what's involved in getting connected to the Internet, because Windows XP includes all the software you need to use the Internet.

Note: If you are the network administrator of a domain-based local area network, or if you need to know about the security and networking options for large networks, consider getting Windows.NET Server: The Complete Reference (by Kathy Ivens, published by Osborne/McGraw-Hill). It's the companion volume to this book for information technology staff members who support Windows XP servers and networked workstations.

What's in This Book?

This book is organized around the kinds of things that you want to do with Windows, rather than around a listing of its features. Each part of the book concentrates on a type of work you might want to do with Windows.

Part I: Working in Windows XP

Part I covers the basics of using Windows. Even if you have used Windows forever, at least skim through this section to learn about XP's entirely new interface environment. If you are new to Windows, you'll want to read it carefully.

Chapter 1 starts with the basics of working in Windows: using the mouse and managing your windows. Chapters 2 and 3 explain how to run and install programs beyond those included with Windows-including using the new Compatibility Mode options that can run even the oldest DOS and Windows Me/9x programs. Chapter 4 covers the newly revamped Help And Support Center, including how to get assistance from friends, coworkers, and Microsoft over the Internet. Chapter 5 looks at the many ways to move and share information between and among programs. User accounts, which have been vastly improved in Windows XP, are described in Chapter 6.

Part II: Managing Your Disk

All the information in your computer is stored in disk files and folders, and Part 11 helps you keep them organized and safe. Chapters 7 and 8 cover day-to-day file and folder operations, including how to use Windows Explorer (also known as My Computer) to manage your files. Chapter 9 describes the backup program that comes with Windows, and how to set up a regular backup regim

Part III: Configuring Windows for Your Computer

Windows is extremely (some would say excessively) configurable. Part III tells you what items you can configure and makes suggestions for the most effective way to set up your computer.

Chapter 10 covers the all-new Start menu, the gateway to the features of Windows. Chapter 11 details the desktop, the icons, and other items that reside on your screen. Chapter 12 explains your keyboard and mouse (yes, lots of options exist just for the mouse), and Chapter 13 tells you how to add and set up additional hardware on your computer. Chapter 14 covers printing, including setting up printers and installing fonts, and using the built-in fax features. Chapter 15 highlights the special features that are useful to laptop computer users. Chapter 16 covers the accessibility features that make Windows more usable for people who may have difficulty using conventional keyboards and mice, seeing the screen, or hearing sounds.

Part IV: Working with Text, Numbers, Pictures, Sounds, and Video Chapter 17 discusses Windows' simple but useful text and word processing programs and calculator feature. In Chapter 18, you read about new features for viewing, printing, e-mailing, and making Web pages with your pictures, including ordering prints over the Internet. Chapters 19 and 20 examine Windows' extensive sound and video multimedia facilities, including the powerful new Windows Media Player 8.

Part V: Windows XP on the Internet

Windows offers a complete set of Internet access features, from making telephone or network connections to e-mail and the World Wide Web.

Chapter 21 explains the intricacies of setting up a modem to work with Windows, whether you use a dial-up account or a high-speed cable, ISDN, or DSL connection. Chapter 22 tells you how to use that modem to create and set up an account with an Internet service provider or online service. Chapter 23 describes Outlook Express 6.0, the Windows accessory program that handles your e-mail. Chapter 24 covers Internet Explorer 6.0, Microsoft's updated Web browser. Chapter 25 examines online chatting and conferencing with Windows Messenger and NetMeeting, and Chapter 26 discusses the other Internet applications that come with Windows.

Part VI: Networking with Windows XP

Because it is based on Windows 2000, which itself was derived from a network server operating system, Windows XP has extensive uilt-in networking features. You can set up your Windows machine as a workstation in a large network, as a server in a small network, or as both.

Chapter 27 introduces local area networks, including key concepts such as client-server and peer-to-peer networking. Chapter 28 walks you through the process of creating a small network of Windows systems. Chapter 29 tells you how to share printers and disk drives among your networked computers. Chapter 30 explains how to use Internet Connection Sharing to share one Internet account and modem among all the computers on a LAN. Chapter 31 covers the improved network security features that Windows XP provides, including the Internet Connection Firewall.

Part VII: Windows Housekeeping

Windows is sufficiently complex that it needs some regular maintenance and adjustment, and Part VII tells you how. Chapter 32 discusses disk setup, including removable disks and new hard disks that you may add to your computer, as well as NTFS and FAT32 partitions. Chapter 33 tells you how to keep your disk working well and how to use the facilities that Windows provides to check and repair disk problems, including defragmenting and taking out the garbage. Chapter 34 explains how to tune your computer for maximum performance, and Chapter 35 reviews the process of troubleshooting hardware and software problems. Chapter 36 describes the other Windows resources available on the Internet and elsewhere, including Automatic Updates, which can automatically identify and install updated or corrected Windows components.

Part VIII: Behind the Scenes: Windows XP Internals

Part VIII covers a variety of advanced Windows topics. Chapter 37 describes the configuration files that Windows uses, and Chapter 38 describes the Registry, the central database of program information that is key to Windows' operation. Chapter 39 covers the Command Prompt window that enables you to run DOS programs. Chapter 40, the final chapter, concludes with the Windows Script Host, a sophisticated system to automate frequently performed tasks.

Appendix, Glossary, and Instructions for Installing the Book's CD-ROM The Appendix describes how to install Windows XP as an upgrade to a Windows system, from scratch on a blank hard disk, or as part of a dual-boot configuration. The Glossary describes all the terminology you need to know to understand Windows. At the very back of this book, you'll find a page of instructions for how to use Windows XP: The Complete Reference E-book, which is stored on the accompanying CD-ROM. (For more information, see "About the E-book" later in this Introduction.)

Conventions Used in This Book

This book uses several icons to highlight special advice: Tip: A handy way to make Windows work better for you. Note: An observation that gives insight into the way that Windows and other programs work. Caution: Something to watch out for, so you don't have to learn the hard way.

When we refer you to related material, we tell you the name of the section that contains the information we think you'll want to read. If the section is in the same chapter you are reading, we don't mention a chapter number. If you find yourself skipping around the book, consider reading the text on the screen using the CD-ROM (see the next section).

When you see instructions to choose commands from a menu, we separate the part of the command by vertical bars ( I ). For example, "choose File I Open" means to choose File from the Menu bar and then choose Open from the File menu that appears. If the command begins with "Start I ," then click the Start button on the taskbar as the first step. See "Giving Commands" in Chapter 2 for the details of how to give commands.

About the E-book

The CD-ROM in the back of this book contains the entire text of the book as a set of several hundred interlinked Web pages that you can display with Internet Explorer or any other Web browser. Our goal is for the e-book edition on the CD-ROM to be your reference and tutorial companion as you use your Windows system.

For instance, as you read in Chapter 33 about disk management and you want to know more about how to recover from faults and crashes, you can click a link on the e-book Chapter 33 to jump to that material. The e-book makes it easy to follow links from topic to topic until you get the information you need-without flipping to the back of the book to consult the index.

Wherever the book says "See Chapter so-and-so," the e-book has a link that you can follow with a single click. In the printed book, we refer you to related information by saying "see Chapter 18" or referring to other sections in the current chapter. The e-book has been coded-using Web-style hyperlinks-to provide references to related topics. When you read the e-book, you can click links to jump directly to the section of the book that contains the related information.

We've also added other useful links both within the book and to external resources on the World Wide Web. For example, if Microsoft's Web site has more information about a topic, we provide you with a clickable link to the page you want. We also provide Internet addresses for companies that provide Windows-compatible products and information. The book also has its own Web site (at where you'll find the latest Windows XP information we think you'll find useful.

The key to the e-book is the electronic Glossary page that you'll find one click away from the CD's opening screen. This Glossary provides an alphabetical list of Windows-related and Internet-related terms, each linking to the section of the book that introduces that concept. To learn about a topic, find the term in the glossary and follow the link into the text.

A page of instructions at the very back of this book describes how to install and use the e-book on the CD-ROM.

New Features in Windows XP

At first blush, Windows XP looks very different from its predecessors-the new Luna interface can be a startling change, with its simplified desktop and Start menu. Windows is still under there, though-and, as we'll show in Chapter 11, you can switch the Windows desktop back to a more familiar style. But the Luna interface isn't the most important new feature. Here is a list of other new features:
  • The CD Copy Wizard built into Windows Explorer makes it easy to copy your files (including music and graphics files) onto CDs (see Chapter 7, section "Making Your Own CDs").
  • Backup is back! Microsoft used to provide a backup program with earlier versions of Windows, but recent versions have left it out (see Chapter 9). We're glad to see that it's back, as running backups regularly is vital to keeping your files safe. If you use Windows XP Home Edition, you'll need to install it from the Windows XP CD-ROM.
  • Internet Explorer (IE) version 6.0 is an upgrade to Microsoft's powerful Web browser, and Outlook Express 6.0 is the newest version of Microsoft's e-mail and newsgroup program (see Chapter 24, section "What Is Internet Explorer?").
  • Fast User Switching and password-protected user accounts make it convenient to create and use a separate user account for each person who uses a single computer (see Figure I-1). If you assign passwords to the accounts, users can have a private, password-protected folder for their files. Fast User Switching lets several people stay logged on at the same time, with a new keystroke -WINDOWS-L-to switch from one user to another. If you use the NTFS disk format, you can password-protect files and folders, too (see Chapter 6). • Windows Messenger challenges AOL Instant Messenger and other instant-messaging programs (see Chapter 25).
  • Windows Media Player 8 is a step up from the previous version, with DVD support, audio CD creation, and even automatic downloading of audio CD cover art from the Internet (see Chapter 19).
  • Photo printing and Web publishing are built in: when Windows encounters a folder that contains graphics files, it offers wizards that can upload your pictures to a Web site or send them off to a photo-printing service (see Chapter 18, section "Printing Your Pictures at Home"). You can see your photos as a filmstrip or slideshow, too.
  • The Files And Settings Transfer Wizard helps you move your stuff from one computer to another, including your documents and settings (see Chapter A, section "Transferring Your Data Files and Windows Configuration Settings").
  • The Internet Connection Firewall protects your computer (or your whole LAN) from intruders on the Internet (see Chapter 31, section "Enabling the Internet Connection Firewall Between Your PC and the Internet").
  • Web Folders enable you to work with files and folders on FTP and Web servers using Windows Explorer (see Chapter 26, section "Working with FTP and Web Servers Using Web Folders").
  • The Last Known Good Configuration option lets you recover from Windows crashes by returning to a Windows configuration that worked (see Chapter 35, section "Startup Modes").
  • Remote Assistance enables you to ask a friend, coworker, or a support professional to take over your computer via the Internet and fix a software problem (see Chapter 4, section "Allowing a Friend to Control Your Computer").
  • Product activation requires you to "activate" Windows over the Internet or phone within a grace period, or the program stops functioning (see Appendix, section "How Does Product Activation Work?"). Activation doesn't require personal information from you (it's not the same as registration) and is designed to stop software piracy.
Windows XP also removed a few programs that came with some earlier Windows versions. Windows XP doesn't come with FrontPage Express (an HTML editor for creating Web pages), Microsoft Chat (an Internet Relay Chat program for chatting over the Internet), or Active Movie (which has been replaced by Movie Maker and Windows Media Player 8).

Differences Between Windows XP Editions

Windows XP comes in various versions: Windows XP Home Edition (for home and small-office users), Windows XP Professional (for corporate workstations), Windows XP 64-Bit Edition (for Itanium-based workstations), Windows .NET Server (for network servers), and Windows .NET Advanced Server (for network servers that need advanced features).

Windows XP Home Edition and Professional

These two versions of Windows XP are very similar: Microsoft has disabled a few features in Home Edition and made a few cosmetic changes. Here are the major differences:
  • Backup The Microsoft Backup program comes with both editions, but must be installed separately in Windows XP Home Edition (see Chapter 9, section "Installing the Backup Utility").
  • Multiprocessor support Home Edition supports only a single processor (CPU). Luckily, the vast majority of computers have only one processor. However, users of high-end scientific and analytical workstations need to install Professional.
  • Domain-based network support Home Edition cannot log onto a domain-based network. The networks within most large organizations use domains, so Home Edition won't suffice for corporate workstations. However, small-office and home users can use Home Edition on smaller workgroup-based peer-to-peer networks (see Chapter 27).
  • User administration Professional has a more flexible system of user accounts. Home Edition enables you to set up accounts for each user of the computer and choose whether they are administrative (with the ability to give any command) or limited (within all administrative privileges). See Chapter 6.
  • File Encryption Home Edition doesn't support file or folder encryption on NTFS-formatted disks (see Chapter 6, section "Can Windows XP Keep Files Private?"). Remote Desktop Home Edition doesn't include this Web-based application (also called Terminal Server client), which enables you to see the desktop of another computer on your own.
  • Offline Files And Folders Home Edition doesn't support this feature, which allows you to copy files from a server to a laptop before going on the road, and then synchronize the files when you reconnect to the network.
  • Upgrades You can't upgrade from Windows NT or 2000 to Windows XP Home Edition, only to Professional. You can upgrade from Windows 98 or Me to either version of Windows XP.

Microsoft has a comparison of Home Edition and Professional at

Windows XP 64-Bit Edition

This edition of Windows XP adds support for the Intel Itanium processor family. These processors are used on high-end engineering, scientific, and graphics workstations.

Windows .NET Server and Advanced Server

These versions of Windows are, as the names imply, designed to run on servers rather than on workstations. That is, they are designed to provide services to other computers on a network rather than being used for day-to-day work by someone sitting at the keyboard. They are based on Windows XP, but include these additional features:
  • Slower performance as workstations These editions are optimized for network services, not for workstation performance.
  • Support for server software Many server programs, such as Microsoft Exchange, Advanced Server Pages, and SQL Server, require Windows.NET Server or Advanced Server, and don't run on Windows XP Home Edition or Professional.
  • Clustering Servers can be linked together into clusters to handle large network demands.

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