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The Bottom Line

Here are some of the most important things to remember about configuring your copy of Windows XP:

  • Most configuration settings for Windows XP are found somewhere in the Control Panel. (The Display Settings utility is a good place to look.)

  • With Windows XP you can change the overall desktop theme, the desktop background, and the color scheme. You can't change the colors of individual desktop elements.

  • By default, Windows XP groups like items on the Taskbar—and hides inactive icons in the System Tray.

  • By default, the Start menu displays the last five active programs. You can customize the Start menu to display more or fewer programs, and to permanently add your favorite programs to the Start menu. (Right-click the Start button and select Properties to display the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box.)

  • You can configure Windows XP for either single-clicking or double-clicking of icons and files. (Open My Computer and select Tools, Folder Options.)

  • To gain even more control over the way Windows XP looks and acts, install the Tweak UI utility (available from Microsoft's Web site).


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