Windows XP Pocket Reference

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Windows XP Pocket Reference Windows XP Pocket Reference David A. Karp Editor Nancy Kotary Copyright © 2009 O'Reilly Media, Inc. O'Reilly Media Chapter 1. Introduction This pocket reference is intended to provide the information Windows XP users need most often in a quick and concise format. This tiny volume is small enough to fit in your pocket or laptop case, yet is packed with hundreds of tips, shortcuts, and other tidbits of information that will make Windows XP easier to use. Enjoy quick access to keyboard and mouse shortcuts ( Chapter 2 ), summaries of all the programs and games included in Windows XP ( Chapter 3 ), and a 700-entry setting locator ( Chapter 4 ). More experienced users will appreciate the most commonly used Registry tweaks ( Chapter 5 ), documentation on all command prompt commands ( Chapter 6 ), and a security checklist ( Chapter 7 ) to help protect your computer. For less-experienced Windows XP users, a brief crash course is included at the end of this chapter. If you're a hands-on learner, you should be able to pick up any of the concepts discussed here in no time at all. Anyone wishing to learn more will benefit from the additional background and details provided by full-size books such as Windows XP in a Nutshell , Windows XP Annoyances , and Windows Power Tools, also available from O'Reilly. Conventions Used in This Book The following typographical conventions are used in this book: Constant width Used to indicate anything to be typed, as well as command-line computer output, code examples, Registry keys, and keyboard accelerators (discussed below). Constant width italic Used to indicate variables in examples and so-called "replaceable" text. For instance, to open a document in Notepad from the command line, you'd type notepad filename , where filename is the full path and name of the document you wish to open. [Square brackets] Square brackets around an option (usually a command-line parameter) mean that the parameter is optional. Parameters and keywords not shown in square brackets are typically mandatory. If you see two or more options separated by the | character, it means that they are mutually exclusive; only one or the other can be specified, but not both. Italic Used to introduce new terms and to indicate URLs, variables in text, file and folder/directory names, and UNC pathnames. Rather than using procedural steps to tell you how to reach a given Windows XP user interface element or application, we use a shorthand path notation. For example: Start → Programs → Accessories → Calculator means "Open the Start menu (on the Desktop), then choose Programs, then choose Accessories, and then click Calculator." The path is always relative to a well-known location, such as the following: Control Panel Start → Control Panel (in the Windows XP-style Start Menu) Start → Settings → Control Panel (in the Classic Start Menu) My Computer, My Network Places, Recycle Bin The familiar Desktop icons by these names, any of which may or may not be visible, depending on your settings Start The Start button on the Taskbar Windows Explorer/Explorer The two-pane folder view, commonly referred to as simply "Explorer": Start → Programs → Accessories → System Tools → Windows Explorer xxxx menu Menu xxxx in the application currently being discussed (e.g., File, Edit) Note that the elements of the Control Panel may or may not be divided into categories, depending on context and a setting on your computer. So, rather than a cumbersome explanation of this unfortunate design every time the Control Panel comes up, the following notation is used: Control Panel → [Performance and Maintenance] → Scheduled Tasks where the category (in this case, Performance and Maintenance) is shown in square brackets, implying that you may or may not encounter this step. TIP image with no caption There is often more than one way to reach a given application or location in the interface. You may see multiple paths to reach the same location in this book, mostly because the shortest path is not always the most convenient. A Crash Course in the Basics of Windows XP Windows XP, although technically an incremental upgrade to Windows 2000, has been positioned as the direct replacement to Windows Me, officially marking the end of the DOS-based Windows 9x/Me line. Windows XP is indeed the long-anticipated operating system designed to finally unify both lines of Windows, bringing the bullet-proof stability of NT to home and small business users, and the industry support of Windows 9x/Me to corporate and power users. The following brief sections illustrate the layout of the Windows XP interface and identify the important concepts and components. Continue to Chapter 2 for tips and shortcuts for working with files, windows, and applications. The Desktop Like most modern operating systems that use graphical user interfaces (such as the Mac, Unix, and earlier versions of Windows), Windows XP uses the metaphor of a desktop with windows and file folders laid out on it. This desktop metaphor is provided by a program called Windows Explorer ( explorer.exe ), which runs automatically every time you start Windows. Figure 1-1 shows the default Windows XP Desktop. The layout of the Windows XP Desktop is much cleaner than previous versions Figure 1-1. The layout of the Windows XP Desktop is much cleaner than previous versions Point and Click Windows XP offers several settings that affect the way the interface responds to mouse clicks, all of which are documented in Chapter 4 . The default setting (the way it works when you first install Windows XP) will also be the most familiar to most users, as it is fairly consistent with the way that most computer software works. To click an object, move the arrow cursor so that its pointer is over the object and press and release the left mouse button. Most buttons, menu items, checkboxes, and scrollbars are activated with single clicks. To double-click an object, click the left mouse button twice in rapid succession (not the same as clicking twice slowly). In most cases, icons require a double-click to be activated. Right-click means to click an object with the right mouse button, which typically displays the object's context menu (a list of suitable actions) rather than activating the object. The basic PC mouse has two buttons, but many pointing devices have more. Extra buttons can usually be configured to mimic double-clicks or even keyboard shortcuts, such as Cut, Copy, and Paste. Windows and Menus Any open window contains a frame with a series of standard decorations, as shown in Figure 1-2 . To move a window from one place to another, click on the title bar and drag. Windows are typically decorated with a title bar, title buttons, a menu bar, and a scrollable client area Figure 1-2. Windows are typically decorated with a title bar, title buttons, a menu bar, and a scrollable client area Most types of windows are resizable, meaning that you can stretch them horizontally and vertically by grabbing an edge or a corner with the mouse. Among the buttons on most title bars are two resizing shortcuts: maximize and minimize. If you click the maximize button (the middle button in the cluster in the upper-right corner of most windows), the window will be enlarged to fill the screen, but will no longer be resizable. If you click the minimize button (the left-most button in the cluster), it will shrink out of sight and appear only as a button on the taskbar. One or two scrollbars may appear along the bottom and far right of a window, listbox, or text input area. Scrollbars allow you to move the viewport of the window or box so that you can see all its contents. This behavior is often counterintuitive for new users because moving the scrollbar in one direction causes the window's contents to move in the opposite direction. Look at it this way: the scrollbar doesn't move the contents, it moves the view of the contents. Imagine a very long document with very small type. Moving the scrollbars is like moving a magnifying glass—if you move the glass down the document and look through the magnifier, it looks like the document is moving up. If multiple windows are open, only one window has the focus . The window with the focus is usually the one on top of all the other windows (but not always), and is usually distinguished by a border and title that are darker in color, or otherwise distinguished from the rest. The window with the focus responds to keystrokes, although any window will respond to mouse clicks. To give a window the focus, just click on any visible portion, and it will pop to the front (be careful not to click a button or other control on the window, as the click may activate the feature in addition to bringing the window to the top of the pile). You can also click a taskbar button to activate the corresponding window (even if it's minimized), but often the most convenient method is to use the keyboard: hold the Alt key and press Tab repeatedly to cycle through open windows, and then release Alt when the desired program icon is highlighted. Just as only one window can have the focus at any given time, only one control (text field, button, checkbox, etc.) can have the focus at any given time. Different controls show focus in different ways: pushbuttons and checkboxes have a dotted rectangle, for instance. A text field (edit box) that has the focus is not visually distinguished from the rest, but it is the only one with a blinking text cursor (insertion point). To assign the focus to a different control, just click on it, or use the Tab key (hold Shift to go backwards). Note The Desktop is a special case: although it can have the focus, it will never appear above any other windows. To access something on the Desktop, you have three choices: minimize all open windows by holding the Windows logo key (not on all keyboards) and pressing the D key, right-click an empty area of the Desktop and select Show the Desktop, or press the Show Desktop button on the Quick Launch taskbar to temporarily minimize all running applications. Most windows have a menu bar, commonly containing standard menu items such as File, Edit, View, and Help, as well as any application-specific menus. Click a single menu item to drop it down and then click any item in the menu as needed. Click outside of a menu or press the Esc key to get out of the menu. Figure 1-3 illustrates menus. Menus are easy to use, but nested menus can be cumbersome Figure 1-3. Menus are easy to use, but nested menus can be cumbersome Files, Folders, and Disks Files are the basic unit of long-term storage on a computer. Files are organized into folders (also called directories ), which are stored on disks. Disk names Drives are differentiated by a single letter of the alphabet followed by a colon. "A:" and "B:" represent the first and second "floppy" (usually 3.5-inch) disk drive on the system. "C:" represents the first hard disk drive, or the first partition of the first hard disk drive. "D:" often represents a CD or DVD drive, but it (and subequent letters) can represent an additional hard disk drive or other removable drive. Pathnames Folders , which contain files, are stored hierarchically on a disk, folder inside folder. A path to a file begins with the root (top-level) directory, represented as the drive letter followed by a sole backslash (e.g., C:\ ). Additional nested folders are simply listed after their "parents," with backslashes used to separate each folder; for example, C:\Windows\System32\ represents the System32 folder, located in the Windows folder, located in the root of drive C: . The heirarchy of all the folders on your hard disk is visually represented by the tree in the left pane of Windows Explorer, discussed in Chapter 3 . Network paths Files and folders accessed remotely over a network are referred to via a UNC (Universal Naming Convention) pathname, similar to the standard path notation discussed previously. For example, the UNC path \\shoebox\o\hemp\adriana.txt refers to a file named adrianna.txt , located in the hemp folder, located on drive o: , located on a computer named "shoebox." Long filenames DOS and Windows 3.1, the Microsoft operating systems that preceded Windows 95 and Windows NT/XP, only supported filenames with a maximum of eight characters, plus a three-character file type extension (e.g., myfile.txt ). Filenames could further only be composed of letters, numbers, and these basic symbols: $ % ^ ' ` - _ @ ~ ! ( ) # & . Spaces were not allowed. Windows XP supports long filenames (up to 260 characters), which can include spaces, as well as the additional punctuation characters: $ % ^ ' ` - _ @ ~ ! ( ) # & + , ; = [ ] , and extensions are no longer limited to three characters; for example, .html is perfectly valid (and distinctly different from . htm ). Note Windows XP's filesystem is case-preserving, but also case-insensitive. For example, the case of a file named FooBar.txt will be preserved with the capital F and B, but if you were to type FOObar in a File → Open dialog box, Windows would recognize it as the same file. File Types and Extensions Most files have a filename extension, the (usually three) letters that appear after the last dot in any file's name. Common file extensions include .xls (for Excel spreadsheets), .txt (for plain text files), .html (for hypertext markup language files, commonly known as web pages), and .jpg (for JPEG image files). Although all these files hold very different types of data, the only way Windows differentiates them is by their filename extensions. By default, file extensions are hidden, but it's best to have them displayed. Go to Control Panel → Folder Options → View tab, and clear the checkbox next to the "Hide extensions for known file types" option. This way, you can see what type a given file is, and even change its extension to expose new functionality. Warning Renaming a file's extension will not alter the file's internal structure or formatting; you'll need an application that understands the file's format to convert it to a different type. However, changing the extension will likely change the application with which the file is associated. Windows uses a file's extension to determine what to do when the file is double-clicked and right-clicked; this system is known as file types or file associations. To see all the configured file extensions on your system, go to Control Panel → Folder Options → File Types tab. Here, you can change the applications that are associated with certain documents, and even add new associations and functionality. TIP image with no caption Although only the default application for a file type will be used when a file is double-clicked, additional programs can be linked up with a file type so that they appear when a file is right-clicked. For example, you can set it up so that right-clicking a .jpg image file allows you to quickly view, edit, print, or email the image by simply selecting the appropriate action. Chapter 2. Shortcuts There are a bunch of ways to improve your experience with Windows XP. Some solutions involve making modifications and additions to the operating system, while others describe how to work with the tools that come out of the box. The tips in this chapter illustrate the various keyboard and mouse shortcuts available in Windows XP. Working with Files The tips that follow show you how to predict — and even change — how Explorer responds to the dragging and dropping of files. Here's an overview of how drag-drop works in Windows Explorer: If you drag an object from one place to another on the same physical drive ( c:\docs to c:\files ), the object is moved. If you drag an object from one physical drive to another physical drive ( c:\docs to d:\files ), the object is copied, resulting in two identical files on your system. This means that if you drag an object from one physical drive to another physical drive and then back to the first physical drive, but in a different folder ( c:\docs to d:\files to c:\stuff ), you'll end up with three copies of the object. If you drag any file named setup.exe or install.exe from one place to another, Windows will create a shortcut to the file, regardless of the source or destination folder. The exception is if you drag a file named setup.exe into a recordable CD drive, it will be copied. And if you drag a bunch of files of different types (including, say, setup.exe ), the create-a-shortcut rules will be ignored, and they'll just be copied or moved as appropriate. If you drag any file with the .exe filename extension into any portion of your Start Menu or into any subfolder of your Start Menu folder, Windows will create a shortcut to the file. Dragging other file types (documents, script files, other shortcuts) to the Start Menu will simply move or copy them there, according to the aforementioned rules. If you drag a system object (such as a Control Panel icon), a warning is displayed, and a shortcut to the item is created. These objects aren't actually files and can't be duplicated or removed from their original locations. TIP image with no caption To aid in learning the keystrokes, notice that the mouse cursor changes depending on the action taken. A small plus sign [+] appears when copying, and a curved arrow appears when creating a shortcut. If you see no symbol, the object will be moved. This visual feedback is very important; it can prevent mistakes if you pay attention to it. Controlling Drag-Drop The best way to control drag-drop is to use a combination of certain keystrokes and the correct mouse button to ensure the desired results every time you drag an object. That way, you don't have to try to predict what will happen based on some rules you won't likely remember. Copy To copy an object in any situation, hold the Ctrl key while dragging. If you press Ctrl before you click, Windows assumes you're still selecting files (as Ctrl is also used to select multiple files, as described later in this chapter), so make sure to press it only after you've started dragging but before you let go of that mouse button. Of course, this won't work for system objects such as Control Panel items—a shortcut will be created regardless. Using the Ctrl key in this way also works when dragging a file from one part of a folder to another part of the same folder. Move To move an object in any situation, hold the Shift key while dragging. Likewise, if you press Shift before you click, Windows assumes you're still selecting files, so make sure you press it after you've started dragging but before you let go of that mouse button. Like above, this doesn't apply to system objects like Control Panel icons. Create a shortcut To create a shortcut to an object under any situation, hold the Alt key while dragging. Note that this is different than in previous versions of Windows. Choose what happens each time To choose what happens to dragged files each time without having to press any keys, drag your files with the right mouse button , and a special menu will appear when the files are dropped. This context menu is especially helpful, because it displays only options appropriate to the type of object you're dragging and the place where you've dropped it. Undo Explorer's Undo command (in the Edit menu, as well as available by right-clicking in an empty area of Explorer or the Desktop, or by pressing Ctrl-Z) allows you to undo the last few file operations. If you've copied, moved, or renamed one or more objects, the command will read Undo Copy, Undo Move, or Undo Rename, respectively. Additionally, if your Recycle Bin is configured to store files, Undo Delete may appear. TIP image with no caption If you're doing a lot of copying, moving, and deleting of files, it's hard to know exactly what you're undoing when you use Undo. The easiest way to tell is to click and hold the mouse button over the Undo menu item in Explorer or a single-folder window and look in the status bar (use View → Status Bar if it's not visible). This is not available on the Desktop, but luckily, Undo works the same regardless of the folder from which you use it. Specifying the Destination Typically, you must have both the source folder and the destination folder open and visible to copy or move an object. Here are some ways to overcome this limitation: Open Explorer (launch Explorer.exe ) or a single folder window (by double-clicking a folder icon) and make sure the folder tree is visible (View → Explorer Bar → Folders). Or, right-click any folder icon and select Explore. Then, drag one or more items over the tree pane on the left and hold the mouse cursor over the visible branch of the destination folder. After two or three seconds, Explorer automatically expands the branch and makes the subfolders visible. Figure 2-1 illustrates this. Hold dragged files over folders to expand the branches Figure 2-1. Hold dragged files over folders to expand the branches You can also use cut-and-paste (or copy-and-paste) to move or copy files, respectively. Select the file(s) you want to copy, right-click, and select Copy to copy the file(s) or Cut to move the file(s). The keyboard shortcuts for the cut, copy, and paste operations are Ctrl-X, Ctrl-C, and Ctrl-V, respectively. Then, open the destination folder (or click on the Desktop), right-click on an empty area (or open the Edit menu), and select Paste . Whether the file is copied or moved—or a shortcut is made—depends on the same criteria as if you had dragged and dropped the item. The standard Windows Explorer toolbar has two buttons, Move To and Copy To, that allow you to point to a location when moving and copying, respectively. Select the file(s) you want to move or copy, click Move To or Copy To, and then specify the destination folder in the dialog that appears. Unfortunately, these functions can't be found in Explorer's menus or in the context menus of any files or folders; they're only available on the toolbar. If Explorer's toolbar isn't currently visible, go to View → Toolbars → Standard Buttons to turn it on. By default, the Move To and Copy To buttons are in the sixth and seventh positions on the toolbar, respectively. If they're not, right-click on the toolbar and select Customize. An alternative tool with more options is available as part of Creative Element Power Tools ( http://www.creativelement.com/powertools/ ). Duplicating Files and Folders Windows lets you copy and move files from one folder to another by dragging them with different combinations of keystrokes, as described earlier in this chapter. You can also rename a file by clicking on its name or highlighting it and pressing the F2 key. However, if you want to make a duplicate of a file in the sa me directory and assign it a different name, the process might not be as obvious. There are several ways to do it: Hold the Ctrl key while dragging a file from one part of the window to another part of the same window. This works in single-folder windows, on the Desktop, and in Explorer. Use the right mouse button to drag the file from one part of the window to another part of the same window, and then select Copy Here. For keyboard enthusiasts: press Ctrl-C and then Ctrl-V to create a duplicate of a file using the clipboard. Regardless of which solution you use, duplicates are always assigned new names to avoid conflicts. If you need a bunch of duplicates of a file or folder, start by duplicating it once. Then, select both the original and the copy, and duplicate them both. Then, select the resulting four objects and duplicate them to make eight. Helpful Explorer Keystrokes Certain keyboard shortcuts can be real time savers in Explorer, especially when used in conjunction with the mouse. The following tips assume you're using standard double-clicking, the default in Windows XP. If you've chosen to have icons respond to a single click (by going to Control Panel → Folder Options → General tab), just replace "double-click" here with "single-click." Hold the Alt key while double-clicking on a file or folder to view the Properties sheet for that object. Although this is often quicker than right-clicking and selecting Properties, the right-click menu — also known as the context menu — has a bunch of other options, most of which are not accessible with keystrokes. For more information on context menus and file types, see the discussion of Explorer in Chapter 3 . Hold the Shift key while double-clicking a folder icon to open an Explorer window at that location (as opposed to a single-folder window). Be careful when using this, because Shift is also used to select multiple files. The best way is to select the file first. Press Backspace in an open folder window or in Explorer to go to the parent folder. Hold Alt while pressing the left arrow (cursor) key to navigate to the previously viewed folder. Note that this is not necessarily the parent folder, but rather the last folder in Explorer's history. Once you've returned to a previously viewed folder, you can also hold Alt while pressing the right arrow key to move in the opposite direction (i.e., forward). Explorer's toolbar also has Back and Next buttons by default, which work just like their counterparts in Internet Explorer. With the focus on Explorer's folder tree, use the left and right arrow keys to collapse and expand folders, respectively. Press the asterisk (*) key to expand all the sub-folders of the currently selected branch. Hold the Shift key while clicking on the close button [X] to close all open folder windows in the chain that was used to get to that folder. (This, of course, makes sense only in the single-folder view and with the Open each folder in its own window option turned on.) Select one icon, then hold the Shift key while clicking on another icon in the same folder to select it and all the items in between. Hold the Ctrl key to select or deselect multiple files or folders, one by one. Note that you can't select more than one folder in the folder tree pane of Explorer, but you can in the right pane. Note You can select multiple files without using the keyboard by dragging a rubber band around them. Start by holding down the left mouse button in a blank portion of a folder window, then drag the mouse to the opposite corner to select everything that appears in the rectangle you just drew. You can also use Ctrl key to modify your selection. For example, if you've used the Shift key or a rubber band to select the several files in a folder, you can hold Ctrl while clicking or dragging a second rubber band to invert selections (highlighting additional files or deselecting already-highlighed files) without losing your original selection. Press Ctrl-A to quickly select all the contents of a folder: both files and folders. In Explorer or any single-folder window (even in the folder tree pane), press a letter key to quickly jump to the first file or folder starting with that letter. Continue typing to jump further. For example, pressing the T key in your \Windows folder will jump to the Tasks subfolder. Press T again to jump to the next object that starts with T. Or, press T and then quickly press A to skip all the Ts and jump to taskman.exe . If there's enough of a delay between the T and the A keys, Explorer will forget about the T and you'll jump to the first entry that starts with A. Keyboard Accelerators Listed by Function The following keys operate in most contexts—i.e., on the Desktop, in Explorer, and within most applications and dialogs. Action Key(s) AutoPlay, disable temporarily Shift (while inserting CD) Checkbox, toggle on or off Spacebar Clipboard, copy Ctrl-C Clipboard, copy current window as a bitmap Alt-PrintScreen Clipboard, copy entire screen as a bitmap PrintScreen Clipboard, cut Ctrl-X Clipboard, paste Ctrl-V Close current document Ctrl-F4 Close current window Alt-F4 Close dialog box, message window, or menu Esc Command button, click Spacebar Context menu, open Shift-F10, or context menu key on some keyboards Controls, cycle focus on a dialog box Tab (hold Shift to go in reverse) Copy selected item or selected text to the clipboard Ctrl-C Cut selected item or selected text to the clipboard Ctrl-X Date and Time Properties, open image with no caption -B, Spacebar Delete a file without putting it in the Recycle Bin Shift-Del or Shift-drag item to Recycle Bin Delete selected item Del Desktop, activate Ctrl-Esc (or image with no caption ), then Esc, Tab, Tab, Tab Desktop, activate by minimizing all windows image with no caption -D, or click empty portion of Taskbar and press Alt-M Dialog box, cycle through controls Tab (hold Shift to go in reverse) Dialog box, cycle through tabs Ctrl-Tab (hold Shift to go in reverse) Dialog box, click OK Enter (or Return) Dialog box, click Cancel Esc Document, close Ctrl-F4 Document, move to the beginning Ctrl-Home Document, move to the end Ctrl-End Document, switch between Ctrl-F6 or Ctrl-Tab Drop-down listbox, open Down Arrow or F4 Exit an application Alt-F4 Exit Windows Ctrl-Esc, then Alt-F4 File, delete without moving to Recycle Bin Shift-Del File, search image with no caption -F (or F3 or Ctrl-F in Windows Explorer or on the Desktop) Find a computer on your network Ctrl- image with no caption -F Find Files or Folders image with no caption -F (or F3 or Ctrl-F in Windows Explorer or on the Desktop) Focus, move between controls on a dialog box Tab (hold Shift to go in reverse) Folder, close current and all parents (Windows Explorer in single-folder view only) Shift-click Close button Folder, expand and collapse folders in tree Right and left arrows Folder, open in two-pane Explorer view Shift-double-click ...