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Windows XP Guide (Page 4/6)

Posted: September 19, 2001
Written by: Sine

User Accounts

Windows XP is being marketed towards the consumer, even though it’s built on the Windows 2000 architecture. Because of this, there are a few features that normal users may not be familiar with, and having multiple users on one computer is one of them. Windows XP Professional takes user accounts beyond what Windows 2000 provides, so even those familiar with 2000 may be surprised.

When you install Windows XP, you are asked to create an “administrator” user. This is different from Windows 2000, which automatically creates an Administrator and then creates a normal user of your choice.

Windows XP provides for two kinds of accounts – Administrator and Limited. An administrator user can change any aspect of the computer and generally has full control of the system, whereas a Limited user has control over their own files and settings but can’t mess with the system. (You can change the permissions of Limited users, to provide varying degrees of limits).

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You control all of this through the “User Accounts” Control Panel applet. You can create new users, delete users, change passwords, and modify permissions. One of the neat parts about XP’s users is that each user has a separate picture that shows up on the login screen. Another interesting feature is that you can switch users without logging out of the first user – you can still have programs running on the other user.

The New Folder Settings

Windows Explorer has some new features, as well. Aside from the normal icon, list, detail and thumbnail views, XP includes a tile view which looks somewhat like the normal icon view, but provides more information. Explorer also has the ability to read the ID3 tags from MP3s and can show things like album, artist and song name under tile or detail view (to configure this, click on “Choose Details” under the View menu of an explorer window).

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You still have all the same folder options that came with other versions of Windows. To view these, open an Explorer window and click on View, and then Folder Options. Once you get everything set the way you want it, you can make it the default across the system by clicking on the View tab and choosing “Apply to All Folders”.

The New Control Panel

Windows Millennium first introduced a simplified Control Panel, but this one is much better. Instead of showing all the Control Panel applets all at once in a big menu, it has categories that you can traverse, giving you menus that you can use to change whatever you want.

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I’m sure that experienced Windows users will switch back to the old Control Panel (by clicking on Tools, then Folder Options, and picking “Use Windows Classic Folders”), but some may like the new, less overwhelming Control Panel.

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