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The Bottom Line

When you're getting ready to hit the road, be sure the battery on your portable PC is charged up, and that you remember these key points:

  • You can dramatically improve the look of your laptop's display by turning on ClearType. (Open the Display Properties utility, select the Appearance tab, and click the Effects button.)

  • You can manage the power usage of your laptop by using one of Windows XP's preselected power schemes—or by creating one of your own. (Windows' power schemes control how long your computer sits inactive before it shuts down your monitor and hard drive.)

  • When you're going to be away from your computer for a few minutes, send it into standby mode. If you're going to be away for quite a while, send it into hibernation mode.

  • If your laptop isn't connected to a network, you can connect it to another PC with a DirectParallel cable and Windows' Direct Network Connection. Once connected, you can transfer files just as you would over a network.

  • If you want to access your home computer while you're on the road, set up your system for a Remote Desktop Connection (if you're running XP Pro, that is). This new utility lets you completely run another computer by remote control—just as if you were sitting behind the keyboard.

  • If you're running Windows XP Home Edition, you can use Briefcase to transfer files to another PC; Briefcase will then synchronize the changes you make with the original files on the main PC. If you're running Windows XP Professional (with Fast User Switching turned off), you can use offline folders to work on files when you're away from the network, and then resynchronize the files when you next connect.


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