Windows XP marks the biggest change to the Windows OS since the advent of Windows 95. It combines the stability of the NT/2000 operating system with the user-friendliness and hardware support of the consumer Windows line?and it does so literally, because those two operating systems have been combined for the first time in XP. Although there are two versions of XP?Home Edition and Professional Edition?the differences between them are relatively minor and have to do primarily with security and administrator tools. Under the hood, they're the same OS.

XP marks several other change as well. DOS is no longer a part of the underlying OS, although it's still available as a command prompt. Multimedia and graphics have been built into the operating system more directly than before and are no longer treated as an afterthought. And, cosmetically, XP has been given a makeover, in both the way it looks (rounded windows and almost cartoonish at times) and the way it works.

All this is good news for would-be operating system hackers. Because of the operating system's greater stability, those who work under the hood of XP can concentrate on actually getting work done and making the OS more effective, rather than trying to fix its shortcomings. Because of the richer interface and greater support for graphics and multimedia, you can more easily change the way the operating system works and looks. And, because the OS offers a variety of tools for recovering from errors, you can hack to your heart's content without worrying that you'll damage the OS beyond recognition.

This collection is based on the hands-on, real-world experience of those who in many cases have been using PCs well before any version of Windows even existed. They have wrestled with each new version of Windows as it was released, and found ways to take advantage of every nook and cranny of the operating system. When XP came out, they applied that hard-earned knowledge to it as well, and came up with ways to take advantage of the myriad new features of the operating system.

The results is 100 hacks that are useful, frequently entertaining, and will save you countless hours at the keyboard. Whether you want to speed up your PC, customize XP's interface, hack your wired and wireless network, get more out of the Web, make better use of email, use the Registry to bend the operating system to your will, or use XP for countless other useful tasks, you'll find what you're looking for here. And each hack doesn't just show you how to do something; it also teaches why it works. Each hack is a starting point, rather than an ending point, so that you can apply the knowledge you've gained to create new hacks of your own. Try it out?who knows, in the next edition of this book, you may get a hack of your own published.