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The Control Panel

This is the way the Control Panel opens in XP. Click Switch to classic view to make it look like the figure on the right.

Category View
Classic View

This is the starting point for most of the settings and changes to be made in Windows. Accessing the Control Panel is done as follows:

In Win 9x/Me/2000 click Start, Settings, Control Panel.
In XP, click Start, Control Panel

Variations:
1. If the XP start menu has been set to "Classic", then it will be as shown for Win 9x/Me/2000.
2. The start menu may be mosified to show the control panel items in a menu form instead of the window noted above.

I'll review each icon briefly and provide links to pages that explain some in detail.

1. Accessibility Options provides some special controls for disabilities. This page at Microsoft explains each feature in detail. This page explains the use of the feature in the Control Panel in detail. In addition I searched the MS site for accessibility and got this page in response which lists all the links in MS for this subject. Now with windows 8 much has changed. Do a search for Accessibility Options.

2. Add Hardware is rarely needed anymore. XP has provided almost perfect Plug and Play.

3. Add/Remove Programs is discussed in detail on this page.

4. Administrative Tools is best left to the geeks.

5. Date & Time allows setting the correct date & time as well as Changing the Time Zone worldwide, turning on or off the automatic change for daylight saving time changes and XP includes the ability to synchronize the computer's clock with a national time standard. In Win98/Me/2000, you had to download and install a program called Set Time to accomplish this.

6. Display properties allows changing many items of appearance. I'll cover it in detail later. This page provides some info for now.

7. Folder Options is discussed on this page.

8. Font. This is the control for viewing, adding or removing installed fonts. This page provides a discussion of changing font sizes in Internet Explorer and Windows.

9. Game Controllers. This is the control for joysticks and such for playing video games that use such controllers. I'll leave discussion of this for the serious gamers.

10. Internet Options. There are many settings here. I'll create a page later to cover them. Some of them are discussed in my cleanup discussions.

11. Java Plug-in allows you to turn the Java control on or off. Java is a special language used on the web to display various elements of a web page. Best leave this alone. This is the best explanation I found: "Sun Microsystems developed Java as a programming language for adding animation and other action to Web sites."

12. Keyboard. This is the control for changing keyboard settings. This page covers the settings.

13. Mail is a control area for adding your pop3 type mail accounts. This is normally done in Outlook Express. One use I can see here is to Export your accounts and save the settings. If you use AOL, MSN, Yahoo or Hotmail, this does not apply.

14. Mouse. This page covers the settings.

15. Network Settings. This is the control area for establishing a network or setting up a new internet connection.
Here are some links to discussions of networking:
PC mag article from the Nov 19, 2003 issue
Home networking 101 from the april 8 issue
This Page is the granddaddy of them all

16. Phone & Modem Options is the control and test area for your telephone modem. Has nothing to do with cable or DSL modems. Looks like I need a page to explain this one. Later.

17. Power Options. Looks like I need a page to explain this one too. Later.

18. Printers & Faxes. One more for a new page.

19. Quick Time & Real Player (if you have them) are control settings for these add on programs used to play various types of audio/video files.

20. Regional & language Options allows settings for different parts of the world. The settings affect Numbers, Currency, Time & Date formats. If you want to see the settings for any country, drop the country list and select the country of choice. When done, click CANCEL. DO NOT HIT APPLY OR OK.

21. Scanners & Cameras. New to XP, this is one of the best new features in XP. It provides control for acquiring pictures from these devices and many times works easier and better than the software provided with the device. Read Windows Help to learn to use it. The new XP Printing wizard compliments this and makes printing a breeze.

22. Scheduled Tasks allows running any program on a schedule. I do everything manually.

23. Sounds and Audio Devices. This is a fun area. You can test and modify the sounds made by Windows. I'll provide more detail later.

24. Speech. also new to XP is the ability to have the computer read text to you. This page explains how to set it up.

25. System. Provides info on the system and various hardware. Need a detaied discussion of this later.

26. Taskbar & Start Menu. Same as right clicking on the taskbar. Allows changes to these items.

27. User Accounts. New in Me, changed in XP. Needs detail as well later.

Any other icons you may have are custom to your system.

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