Though Windows XP is overall a really good operating system, few people use it for anything beyond a container for their other programs. This is kind of like buying a van and using it to store things in; it works, but you're not really getting a lot of value out of the van.
The best tip overall for Windows XP is to spend some time with it. Use quickmenus everywhere – this is clicking your right-hand mouse button (in a lefty mouse, the left-hand button) while hovering over different elements: icons, the desktop background, the toolbar.
There are a lot of things you won't learn this way, though, like the following: Speeding up the painfully slow Start menu:
Have you noticed that when you click it, the Start menu doesn't exactly move like greased lightning? You can speed this up by editing the Registry key associated with it. Open Registry Editor (Start | Run, then type 'regedit' and hit Enter) and navigate to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Control Panel \ Desktop \ MenuShowDelay
The value that will display here is 400. Change it to a smaller value; zero is nice. This should help somewhat. If it's still slow, it may just be your processor. Undoing Mistakes:
Sometimes you really, really regret installing a program, changing a registry setting, or otherwise fiddling with your system. In MS Windows XP Pro and up, you can fix these mistakes very easily without losing data by going to your now-zippy Start menu, accessing Programs | Accessories | System Tools | and selecting System Restore. Select the first option, "Restore My Computer to a Previous Time." Then pick the last time you were happy with the way your computer worked. Problem changes are undone, and the program or other issue that caused the changes will be deleted, without touching data files. It's like sending the computer back through time! Show file extensions for all file types:
By default file name extensions for all file types are hidden. To see all file extensions in Windows Explorer, follow these steps:
- Start | Settings | Control Panel
- Double click on Folder Options
- Select View tab
- Uncheck the tick for "Hide extensions for known file types" check box
- Click OK
If you have two documents, or two web pages, or a doc and a web page, or spread sheet, etc. you want to compare side by side, open both of them and nothing else. Right-click on your Taskbar (the thing your Start button lives on) and select Tile Windows; you can tile vertically or horizontally. You will wind up with both or multiple documents, open side-by-side or each above the others.