In the Forums...
Posted: September 19, 2001
Written by: Sine
Internet Time Synchronizing
This is a feature that I’ve wanted all along, though I never really noticed. Windows will now automatically update your time via the Internet, using the Network Time Protocol (NTP). You can even run your own time server on a network (using third-party tools) and have all of your computers sync to that one.
The settings are accessed by double-clicking on the time on the taskbar, and switching to the “Internet Time” tab. Windows will use time.windows.com by default, though you can change this to whichever time server you prefer. You can disable the whole thing altogether, but for some reason you can’t change the default interval of two weeks – motherboards with badly drifting clocks may need to be updated more often, and there’s an “Update Now” button just for that.
There are a variety of shareware and freeware programs that will do this for you, and are much more configurable. If you want to see a list of these, you can try visiting http://www.tucows.com/sync95.html.
Usually the first thing I do when I install Windows is to install an unzipper to extract all of my backed-up files, but this is a thing of the past. Windows XP has built-in support for zip files, and they now show up as folders with a different icon. You can’t run a program from inside a zip file, though, so they still need to be extracted before you can do anything useful with them.
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I find that other utilities offer more compression and manipulation options, such as WinZip or WinRar, so you may want to install your own preferred program. Many people will find the built-in support to be sufficient, however, so you should find out for yourself.
One of the more interesting new capabilities of Windows XP is its completely integrated data and audio CD writing. This allows you to write any file to CD, and will even decode WMA/MP3 files and burn them as audio tracks.
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The support is slightly cumbersome, however, since the files for a data CD are automatically rolled into an image before they’re burned. This is a step that no other CD-writing program takes, and takes extra time. It’s still convenient, but your CD writer probably came with another program that you can use if you want to. Other CD-writing programs will work fine in Windows XP.
This is another feature that you may or may not use, depending on your preferences and your emotional bond to your utility of choice.