Windows XP Tips

by Joe Madeira

How to create a Restore point in XP.
Let's say you are going to install new software, and you want to be able to go back if it messes up your system.

1. Click START
2. Select All Programs, then Accessories
3. Select System Tools, then Create a Restore Point
4. Enter a descriptive name or date, then click Create

Now if something gets scrogged up, you can go back to when it was good.

By now, you should have Service Pack 1 for Windows XP installed. This includes several fixes, mostly security fixes. It can be downloaded from
Select your edition of XP. To determine which version of Windows you are running and if you have Service Pack 1 installed.

1. On the taskbar at the bottom of your screen, click Start.
2. Right click on My Computer
3. Click Properties at the bottom of the list.

A dialog box displays the current version of Windows under System. There is no benefit to installing SP1a if you are already running Windows XP SP1. SP1a is the same as SP1 less Microsoft Virtual Machine (VM).

Do you know what you can do with that Windows Logo key in XP? Yes, it brings up the Start menu if you hit it alone. It can do more than that.
    1. Hit the Windows key and E to start the Windows Explorer. (not Internet Explorer)
    2. Hit the Windows key and F to search for files using the Windows Explorer.
    3. Hit the Windows key and R to display the Run dialog box.
    4. Hit the Windows key and D to minimize or restore all windows.
    5. Hit the Windows key and Break to bring up the System Properties dialog box.

You see, the Windows Logo key can be a shortcut to several things without having to click on Start and then select.

How to find out if you are using NTFS file system or FAT32:
    1. Click START and select My Computer
    2. Right click the hard drive you want to check
    3. Select Properties, General tab
    4. About 3 lines down, under File System, it should tell you which system you are using. NTFS is preferred since it offers the best support for large hard drives.
If you are not using NTFS, you can convert to it, but you cannot go back.

Do you leave your computer on all the time to save time booting, or to save the initial power surge? Try STANDBY instead.
    1. Click on the START button in the lower left corner.
    2. Click Turn Off Computer.
    3. Click Standby

If the fans shut down and the monitor goes into power save mode, it is working. It will boot back up in a few seconds when needed, saves power, and saves the power surge of a cold start-up

Windows XP Service Pack 1 is now available for free download from Microsoft's web site. There are several fixes that PC World says "Ignore at your peril." This includes a fix to the flaw that allows files to be deleted by clicking on a link, which you could get by e-mail or a web page.The download, however, takes some time, and if you have only a dial-up connection, I recommend you order the CD. It is only $10, and can probably be shared. I installed it painlessly (except for the time it tied up my system). The install process continues to download files as needed, then unpacks them. The CD solves this problem.

In Windows Explorer (no, not Internet Explorer), do you wonder where the "Tools, Find, Files or Folders" that was in previous Windows versions went? It was a useful tool. But now it's on the toolbar, and is called "Search." Click the Search icon that looks like a magnifier. It opens a dialog box that asks, "What do you want to search for?" If you click All Files and Folders, more options are available to narrow down the search. The hardest thing is to get the view window back to normal. Click View, then Explorer Bar, Folders. There you are. Do you wonder how to open Windows Explorer? It is just like Windows 95 or 98. Simply right click on the START button, select Explore.

Do you need to know what version of Windows XP you are running? You may, if you want to know if a security fix or some other fix applies to you. It is easy to determine which version of Windows you are running:

    1. On the taskbar at the bottom of your screen, click Start, and then click Run.
    2. In the Run dialog box, type winver
    3. Click OK.

A dialog box displays the version of Windows that you are running.

Do you want to know what programs are set to start automatically when you start your computer?
  1. Right click on the START button in the lower left corner.
  2. Click Open. The Start Menu window appears.
  3. Double-click the Programs folder icon
  4. Double-click the Startup folder icon. The Startup window is displayed.
To stop a program from starting automatically, just delete the shortcut displayed in the Startup window. Don’t worry, it is only a shortcut.

Likewise, to have a program start automatically, copy a shortcut for the program and paste it in the startup window. That’s all there is to it!

For More Information Check These Web Sites:

Windows 98 Annoyances | Absolute Wininfo | Angela Lilleystone's Win 98
Bob Cerelli's Windows Page | Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows

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This page was last updated on:
April 2010