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Windows XP Power Hound by Preston Gralla

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The Control Panel

When you click the Start menu, your ultimate destination is often the Control Panel—a kind of central dashboard that lets you customize many aspects of Windows XP, from your network connections to the date and time display, to your mouse and keyboard. Most people think that when it comes to the Control Panel, what you see is what you get. But the Control Panel earns its name in more ways than you think. This section explains how to tap into your latent domineering instincts.

Accessing the Control Panel Faster

Getting to the Control Panel's menus and dialog can be an epic clickfest. You have to click the Start menu, then the Control Panel icon itself, and often several other icons and menus to get to the one you need. Your hand could fall off before you reach your destination.

You can speed up the time it takes to get to Control Panel applets—the programs where you actually tweak settings—by having Windows XP display them in a cascading menu when you choose Control Panel from the Start button, as shown in Figure 2-20.

To make Control Panel applets cascade, right-click the Start menu and choose Properties Start Menu Customize Advanced. Under the Control Panel heading, choose "Display as a menu." Click OK, then OK again.

Tip

If you're a serious Control Panel jockey, place a toolbar for it on the taskbar. Section 2.3.4 tells you how.

Cleaning up the Control Panel

The Control Panel has a bevy of settings you can manage. But the sheer number of icons makes it tough to ...

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