has a snazzy new interface. Don't be intimidated by all those colorful new dialogs. Consult these tips to get XP's good looks to work for you
Turn back the clock
Gray is definitely out. The folks at Microsoft bathed Windows XP in color. Don't like XP's look? To switch back to the Classic look that resembles Windows 2000, right-click the desktop, select Properties, click the Themes tab, and choose Windows Classic from the drop-down list. Voilà! You're back to comfy shades of blue and gray--not to mention having all those familiar icons.
Click "Switch to Classic view" in the upper-left corner of the Properties dialog to bring back the familiar Control Panel icons of earlier versions of Windows. To get back to a Start menu that looks more like Windows 2000's, right-click in an empty portion of the Start menu's left-hand column, select Properties, and go to the Start Menu tab. Select Classic Start Menu. To bring the new look back, just reverse these steps
Customize the Start menu
The Start menu gets more real estate in XP than in previous versions, and it's more customizable. To make the Start menu display only the applications you want, rather than the default determined by Microsoft, right-click in an empty section of the Start menu's left column, and select Properties > Start Menu > Customize. Here you'll find a list of your most frequently used programs. (XP keeps track of what you use and what you don't, then updates this list dynamically.) Don't want your boss to know that Pinball, Solitaire, and Quake all make your list? Go to the General tab, click Clear List, and set the counter to zero
In XP, your favorite programs are displayed in the top left column of the Start menu. Microsoft starts you off with and Outlook Express.
Want to display a different set of applications in this spot? Right-click an empty portion of the Start menu's left column and select Properties > Start Menu > Customize. At the bottom, deselect the program you no longer want displayed in the "Show on the Start menu" dialog, and, using or My Computer, navigate to the program you want instead. Right-click the program and select "Pin to Start menu." To rename the new shortcut, right-click it and select Rename. Note: You can't pin files, just programs
Organize your desktop
The only default icon on XP's desktop is the Recycle Bin, but we think it's a good idea to add a shortcut to Computer Management, a quick and dirty way to get to such important tools as the Event Viewer, Local Users and Groups, Shared Folders, the Device Manager, and Disk Management. To surface this handy management dialog, click Start > Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > Administrative Tools. Right-click the Computer Management shortcut. Select Copy from the dialog menu. Right-click an empty portion of the desktop and select Paste Shortcut. Use this procedure to add shortcuts to anything else; use Windows Explorer or My Computer to find your target.