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A Sea of Freebies

Although you no doubt have collected your own arsenal of workhorse programs to assist you in your daily chores, Windows XP Professional, like past versions of Windows, comes replete with numerous freebie utility programs to handle common, everyday tasks. These utility programs range from the bizarre to the useful—from pinball and solitaire to audio CD and DVD movie players, word processing programs, and a calculator, to name but a few. Whether they are intended for entertainment or as daily helpmates for such tasks as jotting down simple notes or making quick calculations, none of these programs requires a degree in rocket science to figure out. They are fairly self-explanatory, and it's possible you've used them before in their previous versions. Therefore, this chapter covers them only briefly, suggests a few tips, and leaves the rest to you and the Windows Help file.

Because many of the accessory programs fall into discrete categories, such as communications, multimedia entertainment, or system tools, look to relevant sections of this book to find coverage of such tools. This chapter covers the more basic, yet still quite useful, tools that don't fit neatly into a pigeonhole.


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