Download (direct link):
* Single-clicking (instead of double-clicking) a highlighted object activates it.
* Thumbnails of selected data files appear in a separate pane.
Active Desktop enables you to plop an entire Web page onto the desktop as well, in which case you can tell Windows XP/2000 how often you'd like it to be updated. Active Desktop also includes a number of enhancements not related in any functional way to Internet technologies, such as new support for drag-and-drop operations on the taskbar.
Tip Unlike Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP Professional silently turns on Active Desktop whenever you place 'Web content' (such as a JPG file) onto the desktop.
The 'single Explorer' aspect of Windows XP/2000 means that you can
* Invoke a Web-browsing window from a Windows Explorer screen by typing the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) into the address bar.
* Switch between the local view and the browser view by using the Back and Forward buttons.
Most of the menu bar buttons change between the two views, which is why I put 'single Explorer' in quotes when introducing this list.
Microsoft has brought Internet technology into the help system, too, by making HTML documents the starting point instead of RTF (Rich Text Format) documents. HTML Help
* Functions like the Windows 98 help engine
* Lets application vendors add graphics more easily
Windows XP/2000 Professional comes with a variety of other Internet-related software, such as
* Outlook Express
* MSN Explorer (XP only, not 2000)
* Internet Information Server (IIS)
* Indexing Service (This is an IIS feature (off by default) that accelerates local drive searches)
Windows XP/2000 updates and expands security options as follows:
* The Kerberos security protocol replaces the older, slower NTLM mechanism for LAN communications.
* Remember Kerberos is the big news in Windows XP/2000 security.
* Encryption joins the NTFS file system.
Users can encrypt data files so that no one else can open or modify those files (Professional edition only).
* The TCP/IP protocol that underlies Internet applications is improved.
* Communication is more secure with new support for
* IPsec (secure IP)
* L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol)
* The default access control restrictions for the file system and the Registry are stricter for Windows 2000 than for Windows NT Workstation 4.0.
* Warning A regular user account in NT may need to be upgraded to a power user account in Windows XP/2000 to perform the same tasks and run the same applications.
* Windows XP/2000 supports hardware-based authentication devices, such as 'smart cards.'
These are common in the military and are becoming popular in the corporate world.
Windows XP makes a number of strides forward (and a couple backward) compared to the NT 4.0 platform when it comes to usability.
Various dialog boxes have been refined in Windows XP and 2000, such as the Open, Save As, Logon, and Shut Down dialog boxes. These improvements are generally of the incremental, evolutionary nature. If you see any dialog boxes on the exam, you should find the changes intuitive and easy to grasp.
The Network Connection Wizard is the most important new one in Windows XP and 2000 Professional (Windows 2000 Server has lots and lots of new wizards).
Remember New to Microspeak? A wizard is a guided sequence of steps that helps the user accomplish a common task.
AutoComplete and MRU lists
Many Windows XP dialog boxes automatically complete fields as the user begins typing them.
Warning AutoComplete creates convenience for some and security holes for others. The Most Recently Used (MRU) lists have grown very long indeed, including even individual fields on Web site forms, and Microsoft has not provided a mechanism for clearing them all. Where the security and privacy of user computing aren't important, AutoComplete and the proliferation of MRU lists save users time while going about daily tasks.
After a period of time, Windows XP begins hiding menu selections that users have not chosen. The Start menu and its cascading submenus show only recently used choices, hiding others beneath a chevron character that, if clicked, shows (after a delay) all the menu options.
Organizations must weigh the potential convenience of disappearing menu options against the potential confusion and delays it can introduce. Personalized menus may be easily disabled via a dialog box, policy setting, or Registry setting.
Windows XP Professional adds the following user interface changes to the previous list:
* Visual Styles that govern the interface's 'look and feel'
* Wider use of the 'Web View' pane in Explorer windows for file-type-specific actions
* A more minimalist desktop by default, which omits the usual My Computer and other icons
* A fast user switching capability for rapidly changing between logged-on accounts
* Support for ClearType, a resolution-enhancing technology for LCDs