A+ Certification / Beginners

Using Tools and Configuration Utilities

A computer's configuration is very important for both cosmetic and functional reasons. In the following sections, you get a good look at the tools that you use to manage your system configuration.

Control panel applets

Most of the settings for your computer are stored in the Registry, but the Registry is a place where, if you make an error while making changes, it can require that you reinstall your operating system. To make your actions less prone to major errors, Microsoft created the Control Panel. The Control Panel contains applets that let you change many system settings without requiring you to make direct changes to the Registry. Control panel applets are the recommended method of changing most of your system settings.

Table below provides a summary of each Control Panel applet and identifies on which operating system(s) you'll find them.

Control Panel Applets
Control Panel AppletDescription
Accessibility OptionsChanges the settings for accessibility features for users who have physical limitations.
Add Hardware (XP)Runs a Plug and Play hardware detection of your computer to detect new hardware devices or allows you to manually select devices to install.
Add/Remove Hardware (2000)Performs Plug and Play detection, full hardware scan, device configuration, and device removal.
Add or Remove ProgramsAllows you to start the installation of programs, displays a list of installed programs that can be removed, and allows you to add or remove optional operating system components (such as games).
Administrative ToolsOpens a folder that contains the Administrative Tools for Windows. These tools allow you to configure, manage, and control your Windows computer.
Automatic UpdatesConfigures the Automatic Update service on Windows and allows you to choose how and when your updates are installed.
Date and TimeChanges the system date, time, and time zone.
DisplayAllows you to configure your display options. This includes video card settings, screen resolution, color depth (number of colors), and color scheme.
Folder OptionsAllows you to change the default folder options for your computer. These are the same options that are available through Windows Explorer's Tools → Folder Options command.
FontsDisplays a list of fonts that are installed on your computer, allows you to see what the fonts look like, and allows you to delete fonts from or copy fonts into the folder.
Game ControllersAllows you to add or remove game controllers and joysticks.
Internet OptionsAllows you to configure Internet options and connection settings. It also allows you to clear your Temporary Internet Files and History folders.
KeyboardAllows you to change the sensitivity settings for your keyboard and the layout for your keyboard.
Licensing (Server)This is available only on Windows servers. It allows you to set or change the number of client access licenses that you have purchased.
MailConfigures the mail system for the computer.
MouseConfigures the orientation, motion, and double-click settings for your mouse.
Network Connections (XP)
Network and Dial-up Connections (2000)Configures connections to your network or other networks.
Network Setup WizardSets up your computer to run on a small network. Often used for home environments.
Phone and Modem OptionsConfigures dialing rules and modem settings.
Power OptionsConfigures power management settings for your computer.
Printers (2000)Adds, removes, or configures printer settings and queues.
Regional and Language Options (XP)
Regional Options (2000)Configures the operating system to support different currency, numeric, date, and time settings for specific countries, and inputs and displays languages.
Scanners and CamerasConfigures installed scanners and cameras.
Scheduled TasksLets you add, modify, or delete scheduled tasks.
Security CenterConfigures and reviews security settings for the computer, including anti-virus, Windows firewall, and automatic updates.
Sounds and Audio Devices (XP)
Sounds and Multimedia (2000)Lets you choose sounds for system events, like window open or new mail, and allows you to configure audio or multimedia hardware.
SpeechLets you change settings for text-to-speech systems or for voice recognition.
SystemLets you configure advanced system settings for hardware and performance.
Taskbar and Start Menu (XP)Configures settings for items displayed in the Taskbar and in the Start menu.
User Accounts (XP)
Users and Passwords (2000)Configures user profiles and user settings.
Windows FirewallContains configuration settings for the Windows Firewall that comes with Windows XP Service Pack 2.
Windows Media ConnectConfigures digital media devices.
Wireless LinkConfigures infrared ports on system to send and receive files.
Wireless Network Setup WizardWizard for setting up or adding to a wireless network at a small office or home.
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