Copyright Michael Karbo, Denmark, Europe.


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    Chapter 7. Performance and adaptability

    When Windows XP is running well in the computer and all the user programs are installed, then everything seems to be all right. But there are several options in Windows XP worth looking at.

    When Windows XP starts up, it is done with lots of standard settings, which might not be the best choice for you. Among other things Windows XP has as standard a very colourful and resource-demanding graphic user interface, which might seem rather intrusive. I prefer the classical Windows 2000 user interface, which is easy to activate. But you can also find several other setting options suitable for the more demanding users.

    Figure 42. The taskbar works well now!

    The taskbar

    As standard the taskbar is locked when Windows XP has just been installed, and the small practical buttons in the area Quick launch are not shown. This is why I always begin by right clicking on the Start button and choosing Properties. My settings on the tab Taskbar are the same as those in Figure 42.

    Classical user interface

    One of the big changes in Windows XP was the colourful user interface with lots of animations and other smart graphic effects. People have different tastes but there is no doubt that from the point of view of efficiency then the classical Windows look is to be preferred. The traditional user interface is much faster to use and the computer employs a minimum of power to register the individual program windows.

    Windows classical is chosen from the tab Themes in the dialog box Properties for screen (which can be found by, for example, right clicking on the desktop):

    Figure 43. The classical Windows look just works.

    When you click on OK, it takes a couple of second while Windows XP changes the graphic user interface to the classical look. You can also minimize the effects via the dialog box Properties for system, which is opened most easily with the Windows key+Pause. Then click on the tab Advanced and then on the topmost button Settings for performance:

    Select Adjust for best performance as shown below. You can see a list of all the graphic effects, which are deactivated:

    I recommend the user interface I use myself. It is well though out and works without too much frills and fuss. In this booklet, however, clips will usually be shown from the normal and more colourful Windows XP user interface.

    I also usually remove the bi-colours in the program title bar. This is done via the tab Appearance in the dialog box Properties for screen. Click on the button Advanced. Then click on the bar Active window and select the same colour twice:

    Figure 44. It can be irritating with two colours in menu bars. They have been removed here.

    Windows Explorer

    The program Windows Explorer is a central feature when working with files and folders. Here are some settings for Windows Explorer, which will ensure maximum control over the files and their location:

    View details. View details is, I think, the best option for a super user:

    When the display is selected, it should apply to all folders. Select the menu Tools Folder options:

    Click on the tab View, and click on the button Apply to all folders:

    View all files and complete file names. As standard Windows conceals the last part of the files' titles in Windows Explorer. This can often be very irritating; there might be, for example, several file titles with the same beginning in a folder, and if you can't see the rest of the title, it can be very difficult to see the difference. This is easy to change. On the same tab, View (in Folder options), you can see several options, which ensure maximum information about files and folders:

    Figure 45. As standard Windows conceals a number of file and folder details. But this is easy to change.

    Superfluous elements in the Start menu

    Finally there is the Start menu, which it can also be a good idea to adjust.

    Figure 46. If you are tired of the Start menu's appearance, then it can also be changed.

    The line of thinking behind the Start menu is, in fact, rather good; the idea is that the menu should itself keep an eye on, which programs you use. So shortcuts are automatically created for, for example, the last five programs, you have worked with. But sometimes it seems as if the menu has been covered with a little too many shortcuts. Then it is a good thing to tidy up.

    By right clicking on the Start button you can choose Properties and the tab Menu Start. A click on the button Customize gives you options for simplifying the Start menu in different ways.

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