The Companion Site for
Special Edition Using Windows XP Professional
Special Edition Using Windows XP Home Edition

Robert Cowart and Brian Knittel

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Are there any questions you have about Windows XP that you'd like us to answer? If so, fill out our "Ask Bob and Brian" form and we'll try to include the answer in this site!

Note: If you're thinking of buying a computer with a 64-bit processor like the AMD Athlon64, AMD Opteron, or Intel Pentium with EM64T, you'll soon have a choice of operating systems: you can use Windows XP Home Edition or Professional, which are 32-bit operating systems, or Windows XP Professional x64, which is due out in the second quarter of 2005. Think carefully before you decide on one or the other: the 64-bit version can support more memory and disk space, and will give you the best performance for modern applications, but it does not support MS-DOS or 16-bit Windows applications.

If you need to use such old applications, you'll either have to forgo the 64-bit operating systems, or set up your computer to dual-boot; that is, install both OS versions so that you can choose which one to run when you start up the computer. If you do decide to dual-boot the 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows, you must install them onto different volumes, that is, different hard disks, or different partitions on the same disk.


Tip: We recommend that you check out the Microsoft Power Toys for Windows XP, which you can download from http://www.microsoft.com/WINDOWSXP/home/downloads/powertoys.asp. This nifty download gives you:
  • The Windows XP TweakUI program - fine tuning for Windows and Internet Explorer features

  • Super-Fast User Switcher - Switch users without having to go through the Login screen

  • Alt-Tab Replacement - shows a preview of the application window as you use Alt-Tab to switch between applications

  • Power Calculator - whiz-bang plotting calculator

  • and more

Sign on as an Computer Administrator user, click the link above, click Download, then click "Run this program from its current location." This will download and install the power toys. Bob and Brian say: Check it out!


Note: Please make a note in your book: The instructions for installing the TweakUI program on page 651 of the Home Edition book no longer apply. The Power Toys installation procedure will install TweakUI onto your Start Menu under All Programs, Power Toys for Windows XP.




If you have a home computer that is used by only one person, you can have your Windows XP computer bypass the Welcome/Login screen and automatically log on to a selected account upon startup. Be warned, however, that this lets anyone use your computer without knowing your password, so it's risky. Think it through before you do this. If you're sure it's safe and desirable to do so, log on as a Computer Administrator. Open a Command Prompt window, type control userpasswords2 and press Enter. This displays the Windows 2000 version of the User Accounts control panel applet. Select the Users tab and uncheck "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer." Click OK, and Windows will prompt you for the user name and password that should be used to log on when Windows starts up. You can still sign off and/or use Fast User Switching if you want to log on to a different account.


Tip: The Device Manager can be told to display extra internal information about each device. To view it, open an Command Prompt window. Type set devmgr_show_details=1 and press Enter. Type start devmgmt.msg and press Enter. Now, select a device, view its Properties page, and select the Details tab to view the detailed driver capabilities information.

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