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Beginners Guides: Little Known Features of WindowsXP
Beginners Guides: Little Known Features of WindowsXP - PCSTATS
We will explore the features and abilities of WinXP, with an eye towards providing a better understanding of the capabilities of the operating system, and the options available to the user.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Jul 30 2007   M. Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Files and Setting Transfer Wizard / Local Computer Policy Settings

Once you have launched the wizard on your old computer, choose the method you will use to transfer the information.

Network and direct cable connections can be used, as can floppy or ZIP disks, and you can also store the information on a drive, either in the current (old) computer or on a network drive shared out from the new one.

Now choose whether you wish the program to transfer both your files and settings, either one, or your own custom set of files. A list of the files and settings to be transferred is provided.

Please note that although the wizard can transfer the settings of various Microsoft and third party software applications, you will need to have actually installed the relevant software on your new computer before you do the transfer, as only your settings are moved over, not the programs themselves.

Windows will create one or more compressed .dat files in the location you chose, depending on the amount of data to be moved across. This will take a considerable amount of time if you have large files in you're my documents folder or on the desktop.

Once this process is finished, move to the new computer and start the files and settings transfer wizard from the accessories/system tools menu. Select 'new computer,' and indicate that you have already collected files and settings from your old computer.

It will begin the transfer of settings, which also may take a considerable amount of time.

If you are running XP and have not yet applied service pack 1, please do so before you attempt to use the files and settings transfer wizard, as it contains several relevant bug fixes.

System Information

The system information window, reached from 'start/programs/accessories/system tools/system information,' contains more information about your computer and it's current installation of Windows than you could ever possibly want to know.

If you need some specific information about hardware or software installed in your computer for tech support, chances are it can be found here.

Local Computer Policy Settings (Windows XP Pro only)

Unknown to most users, Windows XP Pro has a vast array of configurable security and application settings hidden away in the computer management interface. These ‘local policies’ are a heritage from Windows 2000 and NT; both more business centered operating systems. They’ve been removed from plain sight because of their potential to really mess up the operation of Windows XP. Having said that, the local security settings give you a lot of control over your system as long as you take the time to understand what each setting is really going to do.

The best way to get at the complete set of local policy settings is to open a run prompt (‘start\run’) and type ‘gpedit.msc.’


As you can see, the local policies are divided into two groups, Computer Configuration and User Configuration. Computer configuration options change the way Windows XP operates, while user configuration options change the way users interact with the operating system. It’s worth noting that all the settings here apply equally to all users of the computer, and only the one computer. The same settings using ‘group policy’ (administrative policies applied to computers that are members of a Windows domain) can be applied selectively to groups of users or individual users across the network. Local policies are the ‘single computer’ version of group policies.

Just by looking through the various directories available from this screen, you can find a lot of customization options. The ‘extended’ tab at the bottom of the right hand pane will give you information you need on the various settings. Often you can double click them for more explanation. Be careful what you set, as many options here can cripple the way XP operates.

Some locations that you might want to look at:

Everything in ‘computer configuration\windows settings\security settings.’ Many interesting and crucial security settings are available here. The ‘account policies’ section allows you to set password complexity and login attempt options, while the ‘local policies’ tab allows you to enable auditing of users and set what exactly they are and are not allowed to do with the computer. Great stuff.

‘Computer configuration\administrative templates.’ Many more interesting options here. One example: stop MSN Messenger from starting by default. Go to ‘windows components\windows messenger’ and enable ‘do not automatically start windows messenger.’

‘User configuration\administrative templates’ Contains a huge amount of options for configuring the programs built into Windows XP. Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Messenger, etc. can all be changed here. Look through and you will find something you like.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Little Known Features of WindowsXP
 Pg 2.  The Windows XP Event Viewer
 Pg 3.  Local Users and Groups
 Pg 4.  Hard Disk Management
 Pg 5.  Mounting Drives as Folders
 Pg 6.  To Mount a Partition as a Directory
 Pg 7.  Operating System Restore
 Pg 8.  System Restore Continued
 Pg 9.  Windows Services
 Pg 10.  How to Disable a Service
 Pg 11.  Accessibility Options
 Pg 12.  Built in Backup Utility
 Pg 13.  — Files and Setting Transfer Wizard / Local Computer Policy Settings
 Pg 14.  Windows Task Manager / Enabling Firewall

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