Introduction To Windows XP timesaving techniques

Whatever happened to the old-fashioned notion that PCs are supposed to save time, not waste it by the bushelful? What can average people do to make Windows work for them, not against them?
That’s where this topic comes in. This topic isn’t limited to dry “click this, press that” tips: Windows XP Timesaving Techniques goes outside the traditional computer box to solve real-world problems that Windows XP users encounter every day.
All Gaul may have been divided into three parts, but this topic needs eleven (a particularly, uh, galling admission). Here’s what you’ll find.

Part I: No-Bull Installation and Setup of Windows XP

If you haven’t yet set up Windows XP, or if you’re still in the process of getting adjusted to Service Pack 2, this is the place to start. In addition to advice that gets you up and running in no time, I cover the rarely discussed aspects of product registration, retrieving your product key, and installing a legitimate copy of Windows over the top of a pirate copy — without losing all your settings or wiping out your hard drive.

Part II: Making Windows xp Lean and Clean

Fine-tune Windows so that it helps you work faster. Here you can decide which desktop settings really make a difference and which ones don’t. I also show you how to train Windows to respond to your needs. You find out how to transfer your old settings to a new PC, activate Passport without divulging your personal information, set up (or avoid) ClearType, “brand” your laptop computer to deter theft and identify you as its owner if it somehow gets lost, make your PC turn itself off when you shut down Windows, and how to switch users in the blink of an eye.

Part III: Convincing Windows xp to Work Your Way

You discover how to launch your most frequently used programs quickly — both on the Windows taskbar and by using hot keys, including hot keys that you build yourself.
I also show you how to take good care of your data. Discover quick file management techniques, such as renaming a group of files en masse, finding files quickly and effectively (and getting rid of Rover the Search Companion in the bargain), printing a list of files in a folder with a click, and much more.

Part IV: Making the Most of Internet and E-Mail in Windows XP

Take back control of the World Wide Timesink. You can find out about configuring and customizing Internet Explorer (including zapping pop-up, pop-over, and pop-under ads for good), controlling cookies to reduce spam, taking control of Windows/MSN Messenger so everybody and their brothers don’t bother you when you’re online, and keeping Outlook Express running like a dream. I help you set up Trillian, so you can run instant messaging with anyone, anytime. I also show you how to make the most of Google. And if you’ve got kids, this is the part where I show you how to protect them online.

Part V: Optimizing Your Musical Entertainment in Windows XP

A surprising number of pitfalls await the unfortunate. Here’s how to avoid them. Get no-nonsense, person-to-person music gathering techniques; recommendations for buying music; and inside tips on ripping and burning. Customize Windows Media Player 10 and manipulate playlists, create your own music CDs, transfer music to players and other PCs, and tune in to WMP radio. Yes, the free radio is still there, if you know where to find it.

Part VI: Having Fun and Saving Time with Visual Media in Windows XP

Video and pictures take time to handle, but they’re such fun. So here’s how to spend less time while having more fun. Take snapshots and record videos with a Webcam, edit your home movies, manage digital pictures, and decrease picture download times. Ever wonder how to retrieve pictures that you accidentally deleted from your camera? The answer’s here. You can also find techniques for printing pictures and using your scanner effectively.

Part VII: Ensuring Peak Network Performance in Windows XP

These days, everyone’s networked, or so it seems. But how efficient is your network? Here you can find out how to get the most out of your peer-to-peer network, get home and small office network installation tips, find out the best way to share one Internet connection among several machines, and add (and configure) new network users.
If you’re looking for help installing a wireless network, look no further. I take you through the fastest way to set up your network — and, far more importantly, secure it.
I also tell you the whole story — the real story — behind Windows XP Simple File Sharing. It isn’t as simple (or as secure) as you think.

Part VIII: Fast Security Techniques for Windows XP

This part contains full behind-the-scenes coverage of the Windows Security Center, new in Service Pack 2. It gives you common-sense approaches to solving the rabidly hyped problem of computer security. Protect your PC from real viruses; conduct fast, easy, and safe online shopping transactions; and thwart intruders with a firewall. Best of all, I show you how to put an icon on your desktop that will “lock down” your system in a split-second. If you need to set up and monitor your security perimeter, look no further.

Part IX: Keeping Your Windows XP PC Alive

An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of painful cures. Here you can discover how to run periodic maintenance automatically while you’re off lounging somewhere (or meeting some insane deadline). I show you how to decide how much maintenance is enough and how to determine when to run maintenance checks so that your workflow isn’t affected.
And what about keeping Windows up to date? I show you why I don’t trust Microsoft to update my PCs automatically. Decide which updates are critical and which ones can wait, get Remote Assistance and other forms of help, and make backups without a problem.

Part X: Fast (Nearly Painless) Disaster Recovery in Windows XP

Has Windows gone to Hades in a handbasket? Again? Here are the tricks you need to try in down-to-earth language. Find out how to survive (and permanently stop) the dreaded Blue Screen of Death. Find out how to get your PC to boot when it doesn’t want to, restore your system to its pre-calamitous condition, and recover lost passwords. It ain’t pretty, but sometimes you have to take the Windows bull by the horns.

Part XI: The Scary (Or Fun!) Stuff in Windows XP

Most of the techniques in the first ten parts are pretty straightforward. In Part XI, I take you deep into the belly of Windows XP. Find out how to make changes to the Registry without getting burned, and go through three of my favorite Registry tweaks that aren’t covered by Microsoft’s programs. I also show you how to use Program Compatibility Mode when you absolutely, positively have to get an old program to work.

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