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Special new features found in Windows XP

by Bob Wright

  1. You can rename several files at one time within Explorer. A long overdue feature, in my opinion.

  2. The tiles view is there for getting quick picture dimensions -- a wonderful thing for those of us who work with the Web. When you select an image, its dimensions will also be displayed in the Status bar (if it's turned on).

  3. Check out the Details view if you have a ton of similar files in the folder. In one glance, you can view the number of pages, bitrate, details, and so on. Of course, it depends on what it is you're trying to view. ).

  4. ClearType is a great reason to upgrade to XP. While it does have a noticeable impact on 2D performance, the view is spectacular. It's not just for LCD screens, contrary to popular belief. Font smoothing is very 20th century.

  5. Your removable drives are automatically added to the SendTo menu. I can't figure out how to get them out of there, as I never really use my floppy or Zip drives.

  6. EXIF support is built into the Explorer shell. This allows you to see embedded information from untouched digital photos. This is another awesome feature for shutterbugs.

  7. Details view in MP3 folders is a must. It's very much like WiMP in the sense that you can view all sorts of song details from within the Explorer window.

  8. Being a neat freak, I appreciated the new Align to Grid feature for the Windows desktop. Now I don't have to right-click and Arrange every time I move a stupid icon. Try as you might, you can't drag desktop icons off of the screen with this option turned on.

  9. Man, you've got to play with the Show in Groups Arrange option. It's neat, and depending on how you have the folder set up, it will provide different sorting options (alphabetically by file type, general file type, and so on). Very, very cool.

  10. When you see the shutdown dialog pop up, hold onto the Shift key if you want to flip energy saving modes (from Stand By to Hibernate).

  11. WiMP will now grab cover shots and detailed information for your DVDs.

  12. When you put in a CD with MP3s on it, XP asks you what you want to do with it. It does the same basic thing when you insert a picture CD or plug in a digital camera. Very friendly.

  13. Icons in the System Tray are now displayed in high color. It's about time! Oddly enough, when you configure the System Tray (by right-clicking on the Taskbar and selecting Properties), in the Notification area, someone forgot to update the old icons for Paint, Network, Calculator, and so on.

  14. Zip file support is finally built into the OS. Yes, I know Millennium had it, too.

  15. No powertoys ship with the Windows XP CD, although they will be available from Microsoft's site. They are a must for any user, experienced or not. Super Fast User Switcher, PowerToy Calculator, Alt-Tab replacement, Virtual Desktop Manager, Photo Toys, TweakUI, Command Window Here, Slideshow generator, Magnifier, HTML Generator, and TimerShot.

  16. ID3v2 is supported throughout the OS (in WiMP 8.0 as well as in the Explorer shell). To edit an MP3's information, pull up its properties and flip to the Summary tab.

  17. You can store/save your current Theme to the My Documents folder. On the surface, this feature appears to be backwards compatible with classic Desktop Themes.

  18. I think I've rebooted this computer less than 10 times, yet XP's boot process (from BIOS to desktop) is faster than it's ever been.

  19. MSConfig is back. Windows 2000 users will appreciate its return. Of course, X-Setup works just fine on XP, too.

  20. In folders designated for pictures, the Tasks pane will give you an option to print them. Choose your images, layout, printer, and so on. If you have a photo printer, this is a spectacular feature. If you choose not to work with the Tasks pane, you can simply open an image in the Windows Viewer and print from there to get to the same wizard.

  21. You'd be surprised at how much alpha blending of icons improves the experience. No matter what wallpaper or background color you're using, they will always look smooth.

  22. SNTP/NTP time synchronization is now built into the Date and Time applet. With it, you can connect to any Internet time-server. Just double click on the time in your System Tray, (lower right hand corner).

  23. When Explorer crashes, the icons are restored in the System Tray. Finally. I verified this the other day when I ran into that weird gray screen problem.

  24. XP comes with a basic slideshow screen saver -- perfect for showing off your recent vacation photos.

  25. The Task Manager now has Networking performance indicators. Right-click on the Taskbar and select Task Manager for more.


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