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* You can copy files from one infrared device to another by dragging and dropping files to the Wireless Link icon, or by running IRFTP.EXE from the Run dialog box, selecting the files, and clicking the Send button.
* Lowering the maximum connection rate on the infrared device's property sheet may correct some communication problems.
In addition to infrared devices, Windows XP Professional adds native support for wireless network adapters that adhere to the IEEE 802.11 and 802.11b standards. (802.11 supports transfer rates of 1 to 2 Mbps while 802.11b supports 11Mbps. Newer and even faster standards are in development.) These devices fall into the category of 'wireless LAN' because they have much greater range than infrared connections.
A special icon (Wireless Network Connection) appears automatically in the Network Connections folder when you install an 802.1x wireless network adapter to your PC. You must be logged on as an Administrator to set properties for this connection, and your wireless adapter must adhere to the Wireless Zero Configuration standard, too.
The default settings let Windows XP automatically detect the presence of a wireless network, as evidenced by another PC with an 802.1x adapter (so-called 'ad hoc' mode) or a Wireless Access Point that acts as a signal relay station ('infrastructure' mode). The Network icon in the system tray on the taskbar (which Microsoft now calls the 'notification area') lets you right-click it to browse, and connect to, any available wireless networks.
Windows XP uses Wireless Electronic Privacy, or WEP, by default as a way to protect wireless communications from eavesdropping. A synonym for WEP is 802.1x authentication.
Plug and Play and Mobile Computers
Plug and Play is a system-wide specification that makes adding, configuring, and removing devices easier and more automatic. This technology is especially important to portable computer users who often disconnect and reconnect different devices to their notebook PCs. Plug and Play's goal is to allow such users to plug and unplug devices as they need to without having to worry about installing or uninstalling device drivers; manually resetting resource assignments (interrupts, memory addresses, and so on); or restarting their computers.
For Plug and Play to work, the specification requires support at all levels: computer hardware, BIOS, bus, operating system (ta-daa), device driver, and device. Windows XP looks at the first two items at setup time and installs the appropriate HAL, or Hardware Abstraction Layer.
Remember As with power management, Windows XP Plug and Play works best with PCs that support the ACPI standard (see the 'ACPI' section).
Tip If you need to remove and reinstall a Plug and Play driver (for example, because you chose the wrong driver file when you originally installed the device), here's how: Uninstall the driver by using Device Manager, then restart the system, and let Windows XP Professional autodetect the device again. At that time, you can provide the proper driver files - for example, on a CD from the device's manufacturer.
Remember Plug and Play can normally install devices even if you're not logged on as an Administrator, as long as the computer doesn't have to ask you for the location of a device driver, and as long as the driver is digitally signed by Microsoft. Otherwise, you must be a Power User to be able to install, uninstall, and configure Plug and Play hardware, and you must be an Adminis-trator to install, uninstall, and configure non-Plug and Play hardware. The usual practice is to make portable computer users either Power Users or Administrators.
Installing certain scanners, printers, and ISDN adapters and some PDA software requires you to be logged on as an Administrator. You must also be an Administrator to run the Internet Connection Wizard.
Plug and Play doesn't work equally well for all different computer buses, but it works quite well on mobile computers that use the PC Card bus (what we formerly called PCMCIA, an acronym that you still see occasionally). PC Card devices also go by the name credit-card devices. Typically, PC Cards are modems, disk drives, and network adapters. PC Cards that use a 32-bit data path often go by the name CardBus.
The system level software that controls PC Cards is card services.
ACPI machines support dynamic reconfiguration of PC Card devices, meaning that you can plug in and unplug these devices without having to reboot. However, if you're removing an Ethernet, SCSI, or hard disk PC Card, you should 'stop' the card before removing it, by using the PC Card icon on the notification area. Windows XP tells you when it's okay to remove the device.
Tip PC Card modems (as well as internal PCI modems) often require you to install a COM port driver first, before you can install the modem driver itself.
Many mobile computer users plug their computers into a docking station when they're dropping by the office to collect a paycheck, submit an expense report, or flirt with the boss's [son, daughter] (choose the best answer). The docking station may have a different keyboard, display, network adapter, and so on.