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The Numbers tab of the Customize Regional Options property sheet gives you fine control over how Windows XP displays and sorts numbers. Some of the options you can control include:
* Decimal point character
* Number of digits to display after decimal point
* Digit grouping character (for example, the comma in 1,000)
* Negative number indicator
* Displaying a leading zero in decimal numbers
Time Shaver The big news here, and the point to remember for the test, is that Windows XP supports the Euro, the European currency standard.
The Currency tab of the Customize Regional Options property sheet also lets you change the decimal point character and the digital grouping character, as in the Numbers tab.
Time and date formats
The Time tab lets you set the time format, the time separator symbol, and the AM and PM symbols. The Date dialog box lets you set the date format (short and long versions) and date separator. The Date tab also lets you change how Windows XP interprets two-digit dates. The default is to assume a year between 1930 and 2029; that is, '30' would mean '1930' and '29' would mean '2029.'
Tip Make a note that if you use the Offline Files feature of Windows XP-in which Windows makes a copy of a network file on your hard disk so that you can work with it away from the network-the computer time and date are critical! Windows uses the time and date stamp when synchronizing offline files, for example, after you've been away on a trip. If your PC's time and date (which you set in the Date and Time control panel) don't match up with your network servers' settings, synchronization isn't reliable.
Troubleshooting Languages and Locales
If you're having problems with a PC that has multiple languages and/or locales installed, here are a few troubleshooting tips:
* If you're having trouble with a single application, check to see if it supports Unicode. If it doesn't, you may need to change the 'default input language' (the language that Windows XP uses for non-Unicode applications).
* If you're moving documents between two PCs, make sure both have the same language groups added via the Regional and Language Options control panel.
* Try learning the language in which the document you're reading was written. (Windows XP can't help you there! Maybe Windows 2020....)
Windows XP includes some accessibility features that make it friendlier to a wider variety of users. The Accessibility Options control panel has five tabs: Keyboard, Sound, Display, Mouse, and General. (Unlike most control panels, the General tab doesn't appear first; the Keyboard tab does.)
Here are the various accessibility settings you can control on the Keyboard tab:
* StickyKeys: Lets you type a multikey combination (the most famous example being Ctrl+Alt+Del, the 'three-finger salute') one key at a time, instead of all keys simultaneously.
The keys that become sticky are Ctrl, Alt, Shift, and the Windows logo key. By default, you can toggle StickyKeys on or off by tapping the Shift key five times in succession; the Settings button offers various other customizations.
* FilterKeys: Lets you customize how Windows XP deals with quick keystrokes and repeated keystrokes.
Some users may tap keys involuntarily and unintentionally; the Settings button lets you specify a minimum time that a user holds a key down before Windows recognizes it as a bona fide keystroke. You can also specify key repeat delay and repeat rate settings that override those on the Keyboard control panel.
* ToggleKeys: Lets you instruct Windows XP to make sounds when the user types the CapsLock, NumLock, and ScrollLock keys.
A high tone sounds when one of these keys turns on, and a low tone sounds when it turns off.
The Sound tab lets you instruct Windows XP to provide some visual cues for those who cannot hear system sounds easily or at all:
* SoundSentry: An on/off check box that lets you tell Windows XP to 'flash' a part of the screen (which you can select via the Settings button) whenever Windows or a Windows program plays a sound.
* ShowSounds: Another on/off check box that signals applications to display captions for any sounds they may generate. Application developers must write their programs to support this feature for it to work.
The Display tab's Use High Contrast check box lets you instruct Windows XP to override the color scheme on the Display control panel and use a high-contrast color scheme, which is more easily viewable by those with vision limitations. The Settings button gives you a few options for customizing the display's appearance (white-on-black, black-on-white, regular size, large size, or a custom color scheme).
The MouseKeys feature lets the user operate the mouse with the numeric keypad. The Settings button lets you control speed and whether to use the Ctrl and Shift keys to modify acceleration.
Here are the features that you control via the General tab: