17 November 2001
Revised 6 January 2002
I was getting tired of adding all these cool Windows XP sites to my bookmark list. So I decided instead to group them all together in one place. While this was meant simply as a convience for me, hopefully you can find some of these sites as useful as well. As always, many of these products are still beta. Create a RESTORE POINT before installing them
!!ALERT!! Microsoft has released a security patch to fix problems with Universal Plug and Play. This is a Critical Update!
Themes/Visual Styles/Logon Screens
One of the first customizations many people make to Windows XP is to change the default color schemes. The three color schemes that Windows XP ships with leaves much to be desired. Fortunately, there are many people who took on the task of improving on them.
1. StyleXP - A good style to start with and some themes require it to be installed. Site also includes StyleBuilder to create your own themes and visual styles.
2. dotnet - This theme is my personal favorite. It's based on the upcoming .NET colors. Site also includes the excellent Windows.NET visual style.
3. ThemeXP - A decent site with themes and login screens.
4. LogonUI - A simple utility that lets you view and change your Windows XP logon screen. Excellent.
XP Upgrade Guides
Upgrading an Operating System is rarely easy or problem free. These guides attempt to make things go a bit smoother.
1. Upgrading to Windows XP - Our own guide to help the transistion go smoothly. Also includes a fix or two to problems people have experienced
2. Windows XP as an Upgrade - A comprehensive guide to taking the big plunge. This guide covers it all. Excellent!
3. Windows XP Upgrade Advisor - Running this program before you upgrade to XP will tell you what hardware and software on your PC is not compatible with Windows XP.
Running into a problem is never a fun thing, but not knowing where to go for help is even more frustrating. Below are a few places to go online for help.
1. Windows XP Expert Zone - Microsoft's own online community for help and support.
2. Newsgroups - Newsgroups can be one of the best tools for support. Many of my problems get solved there. Remeber, though, most of the people in the newsgroups are not professionals and are subject to an occassional bit a bad advice
3. Microsoft's TechNet - I haven't spent much time here, but it looks full of good information.
Now that you got everything looking right and running well, it's time to tweak that new OS. Here are a few sites that can give you a hand in pushing Microsoft's latest OS to the max.
1. Windows XP: Getting Things Done, Part 1 - Not really a tweak guide, but it offers a few pointers to improve the performance of XP.
The best of the rest.
1. Rename your Start Button - I don't know of any utilities yet to do this, so this guide shows you how to hack your Start Button.
2. Powertoys - A great collection of applets put out by Microsoft. The latest version includes right-click ISO CD burning and a Shell Audio Player.
3. Windows Media Bonus Pack - Microsoft's Bonus Pack for Windows Media includes utilities, PowerToys, visualizations, skins, sound effects, and much more.