Question:  What is the clear type setting in Windows XP?

Answer: Clear type makes screen fonts appear more uniform and consistent. Strange Microsoft chose to have this feature turned off by default. This feature helps most on laptop displays. To turn clear type on, right-click on the desktop, left-click on Properties, select Appearance, Effects, and then select Clear Type from the drop down menu.

Question: Is there a fast way to get to the Windows desktop when several programs are running?

Answer: Hold down the Windows Key (the key next to the Ctrl key with the Windows flag on it) and tap the D key.

Question: Is there anything simple to do to speed up Windows startup?

Answer: Take a look at the system tray (the area on the taskbar to the left of the clock) and see how many icons are there. Each icon is a program which starts when Windows starts up. Many of the programs on your computer will start up when they are needed and some pre-load to make the startup faster. A good example is Real Player. They problem with these programs pre-loading is they tie up computer resources and also make the start up time longer. Usually you won't notice any difference in how long it takes these programs to run when they are needed if you turn them off. Some of the programs are started in the Startup group. When you go to the Start button, Programs, Startup, you will see programs listed. If there are any listed you don't need, right click on them and delete them. Some of the programs in the system tray are loaded through the registry. Many times you can right click on the icons and there may be a setup or configuration choice where you can left click and set the program to not load when Windows starts.

Question: I'm considering new hardware and now I see some things are USB 2.0, what's that?

Answer: USB 2.0 is the new standard for USB devices. None of the computers as of the first part of 2002 have USB 2.0 support built in. The only way to get USB 2.0 support is to have an add-in card to plug the devices in. The advantage to USB 2.0 is devices will be able to communicate with the computer 24 times faster than the present USB devices do. The computers themselves are mostly USB 2.0 now. This speeds up transferring pictures, scanning, writing to external drives, and probably printing, etc.

Question: How do I get older programs to run under Windows XP?

Answer: Some programs which were written for a specific version of Windows may not start and might give a message box similar to the one below:

If this occurs, you need to run the Windows compatibility wizard. To run the wizard, click Start, click Help and Support, click Fixing a problem, click Application and software problems, under Fix a problem click Getting older programs to run on Windows XP, and then click the Program Compatibility Wizard link in the instructions. You can follow the prompts and select the correct version.

If you would rather set the compatibility mode manually, go to the icon or menu item to start the program, right click and left click Properties. Click the compatibility tab and change the settings. You can also use this tab to change screen resolutions.

Question: When do I use System Restore?

Answer: System Restore was added to Windows in the Millennium version. You can use it to go back in time in case installing a program or driver doesn't work properly. I recommend going to the Start button, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and click on System Restore. Click on set a restore point and then label it something you know such as "Before installing Microsoft Office". After setting the restore point, you can go ahead and install or change whatever it is you want and if things don't work right you can again go to System Restore and click on Restore to an earlier time to put the computer back to where it was working. System restore does not affect data files, only drivers and program installations.

Question: Is there a good source for files and templates for Office?

Answer: Microsoft has a great support site for templates, add-ins, and program updates. Just click here to download files. The main Microsoft Support page has still more links for clipart, help, etc.

Question: What are the advantages of having a LCD monitor?

Answer: There are several advantages to having a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD). The first is size. A LCD monitor is much smaller and lighter. It is like having a regular monitor without the back part sticking out. Also the diagonal measurements are the exact size, unlike regular monitors which on average are one inch smaller than the stated size. The power consumption of a LCD monitor is also considerably less than that of conventional monitors. LCD monitors also do not emit electromagnetic interference or x-rays like regular monitors do.

Question: Is the firewall in Windows XP all I need.

Answer: The jury's still out on this one. From everything I've seen lately, your best bet is to use Zone Alarm. This program is free for individuals and seems to work flawlessly. Apparently the firewall built into Windows XP is better than nothing but is not adequate. The firewayy in Vista and Windows is much better and is usually adequate for most people.

Question: I'm getting a message when starting up that a file needed to run Windows can't be found but Windows starts up, why am I getting this message?

Answer: More than likely you are getting this error message because you removed a program and the uninstall didn't go properly. I have promised I will not give advice on my web site pertaining to modifying the registry since I don't want anyone to edit the registry then find out they did something wrong and the computer won't run any more. My advice is if you are getting a message that a file can't be found which is needed for Windows, call me to repair the problem.

Question: Why does my computer start dialing the Internet without me telling it to?

Answer: Hopefully you don't have a virus which is doing this. It shouldn't be too much of a problem now, but if you have Real Player version G2, it will cause this situation. Also check programs running in the system tray to see if there is a program active which is trying to contact a web site for updates.

Question: I can't find the NetBeui protocol in Windows XP.

Answer: Microsoft in their infinite wisdom chose to put the best network protocol in a separate directory on the Windows XP disk which you have to manually install as follows. Go to CD\valueadd\msft\net\netbeui and copy nbf.sys to the c:\windows\system32\drivers directory. Copy netbnf.inf to the c:\windows\inf directory. Now when you go to add a protocol, Microsoft NetBeui will be on the list.

Please Note: All information provided in The Help Desk web site is in easy to understand terms, in my opinion only, and may not necessarily be the only accepted answers or advice.  I will not be responsible for any problems caused from anyone making any configuration or hardware changes to their computer system resulting from information obtained from this web site.  Please contact me prior to using any content from this web site.