Double Your Desktop. Current
notebooks running Windows XP let you
expand your desktop space by connecting an
external monitor. The notebook LCD and
external monitor work together, letting you view
the same desktop on each, or different desktops,
or an expanded desktop that stretches across the
First, connect the second monitor to your laptop. Then
right-click on your desktop and select the
Settings tab. You should see icons for two
monitors. Right-click on Monitor 2 and click on
Attached. Use the slider to adjust the resolution.
Right-click again on Monitor 2, click on
Properties, select Monitor, and adjust the refresh
rate. It defaults to a flickery 60 Hz, the same as
the LCD panel. Try a higher refresh - say 75
Hz - then click on OK. Finally, click and drag
the Monitor icon to match how you have the
notebook and monitor arranged.
Take Your Files With You. Work
files are often stored on an office LAN. Windows
makes it easy to take files with you
and make sure you are working on the most
Click on Start | My Computer | Tools | Folder
Options | the Offline Files tab | Enable Offline
Files, and choose How and when you
synchronize (for example, at log-on, at log-off, or
hourly). Choose a folder you want synchronized
onto your notebook by right-clicking on it; click
on Make Available Offline, then follow the
Offline Files wizard.
Maximize Battery Life. Careful
use of power management tools and
decreasing screen brightness can stretch battery
life by 30 to 45 minutes. Go to the Control Panel
and open Power Options. You'll see half a dozen
tabs (the layout varies slightly among notebooks). Make
sure that your notebook can go into
Standby mode (in the Power Schemes tab),
meaning that the system stops most activity and
uses the battery to refresh system memory.
A computer in Standby loses 10 to 15 percent of
its charge each day. You should set your system
to go into Hibernate mode after Standby,
meaning that it writes an image of the memory
contents to the hard drive and then shuts down. (Windows
98 doesn't offer Hibernate.) In
Hibernate, there's no loss beyond the battery's
own gradual discharge.
Juggle Wi-Fi At Work And Home. If
you use wireless Ethernet in the office and in a
second location, such as your home or a remote
office, one configuration may work for both. Windows
XP usually auto-detects and connects
to available wireless LANs.
If you need to enable the Zero Config Wi-Fi,
click Control Panel | My Network Connections |
View Network Connections. Right-click on the
Local Area Connection (Wireless) and click
Properties | TCP/IP. Under the General tab,
make sure Obtain an IP address automatically is
checked. Then go to the Wireless Networking
tab and check Use Windows to configure my
wireless network settings. Click on Advanced,
and check for access to Any available network. If
you need specific settings for a second
location, go to the Alternate Configuration tab to
enter settings for that location.
Beef Up Mobile Security. Being
mobile exposes you to additional dangers,
especially if you use wireless networking. Here
are some pointers for improving your security.
• In the Control Panel's Power Options
menu, go to the Advanced tab and check
on the box Prompt for password when
computer resumes from standby.
• Use a firewall (see the "Networking"
section in this story).
• Be cautious about enabling file and print
sharing, especially if you have wireless
networking turned on. You can control
sharing on a drive-by-drive or even
folder-by-folder basis (Start | My
Computer, then right-click on a drive or
folder and select Properties | Sharing) or
by user (look for and click on your user
name in C:\Documents and settings to
access file sharing).
• Turn off wireless networking if you're not
using it. Go to the tool tray in the
lower-right corner of the screen. If there's
a LAN (Wireless) icon, right-click on it
and choose Disable. This gains you an
extra 10 to 20 minutes of battery life.
Optimize Remote Desktop. Remote
Desktop is a very good remote-control
application in Window XP Professional that lets
you take over a Win XP Pro system from any
other PC using Windows 95 or later. (For a
complete review, see "Remote Control" in our
issue of July 2002.) To enable Remote Desktop,
go to Control Panel | System, click on the
Remote tab, and select Allow users to connect
remotely to this computer.
Remote Desktop is very quick, but to get the
best performance, go to the machine that will be
controlling the Remote Desktop host and launch
the Remote Desktop Connection client. Select
Options and click the Experience tab. Then
select the connection type that best matches the
way you're attaching to the host PC.
Using IR In XP. Before
Windows XP, getting your infrared port
to work probably took its toll on even the most
seasoned IT staffers. Driver issues were many,
and even when your IR was functioning, your
coworker's IR probably wasn't.
With Windows XP, things have changed. For the
first time, many users are realizing that their
notebooks have IR ports. On a notebook, IrDA
is a line-of sight connection that can work up to 2
meters away. In most newer notebooks, it can
transfer data at up to 4 Mbps. Now that you
have a working IR port, what are you going to
do with it?
• Sync. Perhaps the most popular use is for
syncing to Palm devices and handheld
PCs without cradles. It takes a little longer
but gets the job done.
• Print. Some printers also have IR ports,
letting you print files from your notebook
without connecting over a network. To set
this up, use the Add Printer wizard, found
by clicking the Printers and Faxes icon in
the Control Panel. Follow the wizard and
choose your local IR port to load the
• Transfer. You can use IR to transfer files
between notebooks if you have no
network to connect over. Place the two
notebooks so the IR ports are within sight
of each other. Then grab the files and send
them from one to the other notebook. As
a security measure, the receiving notebook
will ask whether the owner wants to
receive the files. Just okay the transfer and
let it go.
Many of you may also be wondering about
Bluetooth. It's also a wireless technology; it has a
longer range but a maximum throughput of 1
Mbps. It most likely will supplant IR, but for
now, IR is on just about every notebook, and
Bluetooth is not.
Ten-Digit Dialing. In
many areas across the country you now must
dial the area code (but not the 1) for all local
calls. Making your PC do this is not as
straightforward as you might expect. If you don't
use Locations and Dialing Rules, you can just
specify the ten-digit number. If you do use rules
and locations, follow these steps.
In Windows 98 and Me, go to the Control
Panel, then Modems. Click on your modem and
choose Dialing Properties | Area Code Rules |
Always dial the area code.
In Windows XP and 2000, go to Control Panel |
Phone and Modem Options and click on Dialing
Rules. If your location exists, click Edit;
otherwise, select New. Go to the Area Code
Rules tab and select New. Type in your area
code, and place a check mark next to Include
the area code.
Copyright (c) 2002 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.