Improving Windows XP: Windows in a Box: Page 2

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A quick click of the executable file and you see the familiar XP bliss desktop background. In a small pop-up box, you will find four menus with over 110 different XP functions.

Actually, the menus are broken down into Functions, Hidden Functions, Other and Folders.

Let’s review the navigation and review some of the commands that are executed from the box.

Functions - Main Windows Management and user functions such as:

• Power (Shutdown, Logoff, Restart)

• Settings (Display, System, Region)

• Control Panel (Add New Hardware, Add/Remove Programs)

Hidden Functions - Diagnostic and system performance tools like:

• Performance (System Monitor, Event Viewer, Performance Monitor)

• Usability (Indexing Service, Remote Desktop, Telnet)

• Diagnostics (Direct X, Dr. Watson, Disk Management)

Other – Functions that you need, but not necessarily everyday

• Utilities (Memory Stat, Who Is, Check Disk)

• Accessibility (Microsoft Magnifier, On Screen Keyboard)

• Wizards (New Printer, Scanner & Camera, Briefcase)

Folders – Options to keep Windows XP running smoothly

• Visual Settings (Wallpaper, Screen Savers, Appearance)

• Download Management (Downloaded Installations and Program Files)

While this is a short list of functions, it gives us a good idea of the cross section of things that can be done.

Things to remember and some cool extras

As mentioned, Windows in a box is a utility for the Windows XP operating system. Thus far, there is no way to add commands to the box. This means you still need to launch your applications and tools the old-fashioned way.

I have actually written the developer of the desktop companion and asked him to consider adding a custom menu that would allow you to add functions to launch such as Word, Outlook, Acrobat, Skype, and such. It might seem strange that I would go to such extremes for a Windows XP utility, but here’s where it gets cool.

I experimented with Windows in a box on my Windows Vista system, and roughly 60 percent of the functions that launch in XP will launch in Vista. The one rough spot is that when a matching function is not found in Vista, Windows in a box gives an error and closes out.

In my email about added functionality, I asked the developer to include Vista support. If you intend to keep Windows XP around for a while this is a great tool to make a good operating system even better.

I have yet to hear back from Big Daddy design but I hope I do, and soon. I have found that it’s not often that you come across that one killer app or one great utility to make your job or life that much easier. Windows in a Box is a little bit of bliss in a very busy world.

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Tags: Windows, Vista, virus, XP, Windows in a Box

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