This lesson introduces a number of the features and enhancements incorporated into Windows XP Professional since the release of Microsoft Windows 2000.
Windows XP Professional includes an Automatic Updates (AU) feature. AU is a proactive service that allows users with administrative privileges to automatically download and install critical operating system updates, such as security fixes and patches. Because the installation might require you to restart your computer, you are notified before the installation takes place and given the opportunity to postpone the download operation. Updates are downloaded in the background so that you can continue to work during downloading.
AU uses the Windows Update control to scan the system and decide which updates apply to a particular computer. AU uses its innovative bandwidth-throttling technology for downloads. Bandwidth throttling uses only idle bandwidth so that downloads do not interfere with or slow down other network activity, such as Internet browsing. Only one administrative user at a time can run the AU client.
Windows XP Professional enables users to save information such as photos and software to a compact disc (CD) without using third-party software. Because CD-recordable (CD-R) and CD-rewritable (CD-RW) drives are now inexpensive options on computers, this feature enhances the standard conveniences that Windows offers to users.
Users can select a folder of images from a digital camera, drag it to the CD-R icon, and then create a CD. They can also transfer files more easily to a CD instead of copying them to a smaller capacity floppy disk.
This feature also provides options for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and independent software vendors (ISVs). OEMs can create branded applications that generate emergency boot CDs instead of emergency boot floppy disks, and ISVs can offer a "burn to CD" option on their Windows versions.
To copy files or folders to a CD follow these steps:
You must have a blank, writable CD and a CD-ROM drive that has the capability of writing CDs to use this feature.
Windows XP Professional supports ClearType, a new text display technology. ClearType triples the horizontal resolution available for rendering text through software, which provides a clearer text display on a liquid crystal display (LCD) screen with digital interface.
To specify ClearType follow these steps:
The Compressed Folders feature provides the ability to create ZIP folders and view their contents. Compressed folders allow you to compress large files so that you can store more files on a floppy disk or hard drive.
To create a compressed folder follow these steps:
The Desktop Cleanup Wizard helps keep your desktop uncluttered by periodically checking for unused shortcuts and removing them without harming the installed program. By default, the Desktop Cleanup Wizard checks for unused shortcuts every 60 days and offers to move them to a folder on the desktop called Unused Desktop Shortcuts.
To run the Desktop Cleanup Wizard follow these steps:
Windows XP Professional displays the Desktop Items dialog box, as shown in Figure 1.2.
The Start menu has been redesigned for easier access to important and frequently used tasks. In addition to prominent Internet and e-mail links, the new Start menu lists the programs that you use most frequently. Windows XP Professional continually updates this list based on your usage of programs. It adds programs that you are using and removes programs from the list that you have not been using. Windows XP Professional does not remove the programs from your computer, just from this list. The Start menu also lists important user folders such as My Documents, My Pictures, and My Music.
To customize the Start menu follow these steps:
The Start Menu tab lets you choose between the Windows XP Professional Start menu and the Classic Start menu used in earlier versions of Windows.
The Customize Start Menu dialog box has two tabs: General and Advanced.
The General tab allows you to select an icon size for programs, configure the amount of frequently used programs you want displayed on the Start menu, and select the Internet and e-mail items shown on the Start menu.
The Advanced tab, shown in Figure 1.3, allows you to configure Start menu settings, items, and recent documents.
Windows XP Professional provides fax support that enables you to send faxes over a network from a computer with an attached fax modem or fax board or with a local area network (LAN) connection. You can print to fax from any application, send cover fax pages, and track and monitor faxes. New wizards enable simpler configuration of this feature and fax sending.
IT administrators can use the Component Object Model (COM) application programming interface (API) to control fax capabilities and the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) to set up the fax service within their infrastructure. Developers can use COM to send faxes programmatically. In addition, they can use the fax APIs to write applications to automatically send faxes.
To send or manage faxes follow these steps:
The Fast User Switching feature allows multiple users to simultaneously share a computer without closing all of their applications first. For example, if you are creating a Microsoft Word document and leave your computer for a short time, Fast User Switching permits another person to use your computer to access another computer account-perhaps to find a customer's account balance-while leaving your Word session open. All of this is done without either of you logging off the computer.
A locale is a set of cultural and regional preferences that correspond to a user's language and sublanguage (for example, Canadian French and U.K. English). Compared with Windows 2000 Professional, this feature adds support for the following locales: Galician, Gujarati, Kannada, Kyrgyz, Mongolian (Cyrillic), Punjabi, Divehi, Syriac, and Telugu. The feature also includes enhancements to the Regional and Language Options control panel.
The Auto-Configuration for Multiple Network Connectivity feature provides easy access to network devices and the Internet. It also allows a mobile computer user to seamlessly operate both office and home networks without manually reconfiguring Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) settings.
You can use this feature to specify an alternate configuration for TCP/IP if a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server is not found. The alternate configuration is useful when a computer is used on multiple networks, one of which does not have a DHCP server and does not use an automatic private Internet Protocol (IP) addressing configuration.
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 provides visual refresh and enhanced support for Document Object Model (DOM) Level 1 and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Level 1. Internet Explorer 6.0 also provides the following features:
Networking has also been enhanced to include changes to cookie handling for improved privacy, and changes to Passport and other authentication dialogs to allow a more integrated password and credential management.
Instant Messaging allows users to quickly communicate with one another over the Internet. Internet Explorer 6.0 includes the ability to show MSN Messenger, Outlook Express, and Outlook contacts in a side panel. The Windows Messenger in Windows XP Professional offers multimedia audio, video, and data real-time communication over the Internet. All you need is a .NET passport, which you can create using your Microsoft Hotmail account or using MSN Messenger, and a dial-in connection to the Internet. If you want real-time audio and video, you will need a microphone and a Web cam.
To access Instant Messaging follow these steps:
Microsoft designed the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) for use in the home and by small businesses. It provides protection on computers directly connected to the Internet. It is available for LAN or dial-up networking, virtual private networking (VPN), and Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet (PPPoE) connections. It also prevents scanning of ports and resources (file and printer shares) from external resources.
Windows XP Professional includes two Terminal Services features: Remote Desktop and Remote Desktop Connection. Remote Desktop provides access to a desktop from any Terminal Services client. It also allows you to access the following:
In addition, Remote Desktop enables Remote Console access, allowing the primary screen output to be redirected to a Terminal Server client.
The Remote Desktop Connection feature is the end-user tool for establishing connections to computers running Terminal Services. Corporate employees who work at home, using a line-of-business application that is hosted on a Terminal Server, can use the Remote Access Service (RAS) to dial in and the Remote Desktop Connection to use the application. Remote Desktop Connection has many features that allow optimization for almost any network speed.
To access the Remote Desktop Connection follow these steps:
Windows XP Professional displays the Remote Desktop Connection dialog box, as shown in Figure 1.4.
The Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) redirector is a new mini-redirector that supports the WebDAV protocol for remote document sharing over Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). The WebDAV redirector supports the use of existing applications and allows file sharing across the Internet (through firewalls and routers) to HTTP servers. For example, the WebDAV redirector allows users at different locations to share and collaborate on a file. A user can also use WebDAV redirectors to publish Web data, or make use of Internet repositories for storing data or sharing information with family and friends.
To use the WebDAV redirector follow these steps:
Windows XP Professional starts the Add Network Place Wizard.
The Add Network Place Wizard displays the Where Do You Want To Create This Network Place dialog box (see Figure 1.5).
The Web Publishing feature enables users to publish files to a Web-hosting service. This feature uses the .NET Passport Wizard to sign up for passports so a user does not need to enter a password at the Web site.
The Welcome screen provides the ability to set up multiple user accounts on one computer. You create these accounts during Setup or from the Control Panel. The separate accounts establish profiles that separate each user's data. By default, the accounts are not password protected, but users can set passwords on their specific accounts if they want.
The following questions will help you determine whether you have learned enough to move on to the next lesson. If you have difficulty answering these questions, review the material in this lesson before beginning the next lesson. The answers are in Appendix A, "Questions and Answers."