linux and windows tips, mathematics, and some recipes

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Windows XP Pro - tips and tweaks


One thing you may consider doing is converting your filesystem to NTFS. By default, most computers ship hard drives formatted for the FAT32 filesystem. This was largely superceded by NTFS, introduced with Windows NT. The primary advantages of NTFS over FAT32 are:
  1. Much stronger security model - with FAT32 every user has complete access to the filesystem, whereas NTFS permissions are more UNIX-like.
  2. Better performance for large volumes.
  3. Support for encryption and compression.
  4. NTFS is a journalling filesystem. All transactions are logged, which facilitates recovery after crashes. The practical upshot is that you won't be forced to run Scandisk each time your computer crashes!
NTFS has some disadvantages. It may lead to slower performance on small volumes (say less that 8Gb). You may also have difficulties working with NTFS from other operating systems. At the moment, there is no way to write to an NTFS drive from within Linux. At any rate, I considered the advantages to outweigh the disadvantages and decided to perform the conversion. The procedure is for conversion is given at the Microsoft support site.

Simple Sharing

If you want to be able to view and change the permissions of objects within Windows, you would be well advised to turn off simple sharing. To do this, go to:
Start → Control Panel → Administrative Tools → Local Security Policy

Then go to

Security Settings → Local Policies → Security Options

Choose Network Options. Find the key "Network Access: Sharing and security model for local accounts". Change the setting to "Classic - local users authenicate as themselves".


ClearType is a mechanism for producing high quality display on LCD screens, such as those found in laptops and flat panel displays. By default, ClearType is deactivated in Windows XP, but it is highly recommended that you turn it on! To activate ClearType, simply right-click on the desktop and select the Properties option from the context menu. In the Appearance tab, choose Effects..., and then choose the ClearType option for "Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts". In order to more finely tune ClearType, download and install the ClearType PowerToy. ClearType can then be tuned from Control Panel → Appearance and Themes → ClearType Tuning.


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