Windows XP Control Panel Options – CompTIA A+ 220-802: 1.5

Windows XP contains some Control Panel utilities that you won’t find in other operating systems. In this video, you’ll learn about Add/Remove Programs, the Network Setup Wizard, Automatic Updates, and more.

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If you’re using a Windows XP workstation, you’re going to see options inside of your Control Panel that aren’t available inside of Windows Vista or Windows 7. Let’s step through some of these Windows XP-specific options that you’ll see in your Control Panel.

In a Windows XP Control Panel, you’ll find Add and Remove Programs. This is a one-stop shop that allows you to see all of the applications that you’ve installed on your computer and, more appropriately, allow you to uninstall those, as well. It’s a great place to go if you need to free up some disk space or you want to remove some of the applications that you’re no longer using.

There’s also an option on your Add or Remove Programs to Add New Programs. Maybe you’d like to simply go to this view and point it to a DVD-ROM that you’ve installed. You also have the option to install new programs directly from Microsoft.

Another option on that same column is to Add or Remove Windows components. Sometimes there is a default setting for Windows XP that installs options for your operating system, but you’d like to add some other capabilities. And you’ll find those additional capabilities inside the Add/Remove Windows Components.

There’s also this last option here to Set Program Access and Defaults. If you wanted to configure web browsing defaults, how you would be sending mail from this computer, there’s another option available for you to customize how your applications will be used on this PC.

In Windows XP’s Control Panel, you also have Network Connections. This option allows you to define exactly how the network connections will be configured in your computer. You’ll see a list of all of the different connections. And these may be LAN connections. They may be VPN connections. It might be even a serial or infrared connection that’s used to network information across that link.

You can also, from this view, define how the Windows Firewall will be used for each of these individual network connections. That way, you can define different configurations for a local ethernet card versus a wireless adapter that you might use when you go to a coffee shop and using a public Wi-Fi network.

There’s also a nice step-by-step wizard in here. So if you need to build a new configuration option, maybe it’s a VPN configuration or brand new wireless connection, you can do all of that from inside the Control Panel under Network Connections. You get not only a text-based view of exactly what you need to do, but there are also pictures that can allow you to understand a little better how to set up these network connections.

One of the options inside the Network Setup Wizard is to configure the sharing of internet connectivity. I chose this option here and chose to show the picture of this so you can get an understanding of exactly what needs to be plugged in and how the communication will run through your system to be able to share that internet communication. This is also a nice step-by-step for someone who needs to understand how to share files and folders on their computer with other people on the network.

Back in Windows XP, we didn’t have things like the Home Group that was introduced in Windows 7. If you wanted to share your files and folders with other people, you needed to go into the Windows configuration and manually configure their shares. So this nice step-by-step wizard allows you to do that right in the Network Setup.

There’s also a nice step-by-step that allows you to share a printer. That’s a very common thing to do when you would purchase one printer and you want everybody else to be able to print to that, and you’re not quite sure how to do that from inside the printer’s configuration. The Network Setup Wizard provides you with a step-by-step view takes you right through the process from beginning to end.

Speaking of printers, there’s a Control Panel usually for Printers and Faxes inside of Windows XP. And this is where you would go to define and configure all of your printers and all of your fax configurations. This is where you would also start and stop and manage who can print and how they would print to a particular printer. Fax capability is also built into this Control Panel utility. Maybe you have a modem configured on your system that you’re going to use to receive faxes. And you’ll be able to manage that from inside of the Printers and Faxes setting.

You can also use this to scan information and have it faxed out of that modem, as well. This is a nice utility they combines both of those things together. So you can go to one place to manage both your printers and your faxes.

Our operating systems are constantly being updated with new features and especially security updates. And inside of your Windows XP Control Panel, you’ll see an option for Automatic Updates. You want to be sure to configure this so that your operating system stays up to date all the time.

There’s an option to configure the interval for this, so you can define exactly how often it’s going to be downloading these updates. You can have it every day or every week. You can also manage exactly what time of the day this might occur.

And then you can determine what Windows does if a new update is available. Does it automatically download and install that update? Maybe you’d like it to download but then prompt you for the update? Or maybe it doesn’t do anything. It just notifies you, and then you’ll determine if the information is downloaded and then installed. And if you don’t want any updates on your computer at all– that’s certainly not recommended, but it is an option– you can disable this capability completely.