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Windows XP hints and tips

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Access the hidden security tab

If you have used Windows XP Pro, you may have noticed that when you right click a file and select Properties from the context menu that is displayed, there is a Security tab in the dialog. This does not exist in Windows XP Home Edition and the Security tab is missing. However, if you boot up in safe mode and log on with an administrator account, the Security tab magically appears in the Properties dialog. You can then use it to apply the security settings you want and then you can restart Windows to return to normal mode. Unfortunately, there is no other way to achieve this and it is a bit of a hassle having to reboot every time you want to make changes. Unfortunately, it is just one of the limitations of the Home Edition.

To get into Safe Mode you switch on the computer or restart Windows and just as Windows starts to load, press the F8 key (tap it a few times). If you do this just at the right time (it takes a bit of practise), you'll be presented with a black and white text-only startup menu. Use the cursor keys to select Safe Mode and press Return to start Windows.

View hidden and system files

Windows XP assumes that a novice is using the computer and it hides many files and folders, making them inaccessible. The files that are hidden are usually configuration files, system files, and other files important to Windows. However, the solutions to many problems often require system files to be searched for, displayed or edited. You can't do this if they are hidden, so you should make them visible. (If novices use Windows they should have their own user account and you can make hidden and system files accessible only to you as an administrator.)

In any Explorer window, select Tools, Folder Options and click the View tab. Select Show hidden files and folders, then clear the ticks against Hide extensions for known file types, and Hide protected operating system files. In the Search window, expand the More advanced options section, then tick Search system folders, and Search hidden folders and files.

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