Win2K Graphical Utilities

Delve into the OS's vast toolbox

Like the 2000 Lexus, Windows 2000 comes fully loaded. In addition to the impressive options that the basic OS provides, Win2K offers an array of command-line and graphical utilities. These utilities provide a level of functionality far beyond that of the venerable Notepad, Paint, and WordPad utilities that Microsoft OSs have included since Windows 3.0. In this Top 10, I tell you about the coolest graphical utilities you'll find in Win2K Professional.

10. Windows Media Player. As online seminars and video-based training become commonplace, Windows Media Player has transmuted from a simple entertainment utility to a staple of the Win2K toolbox. Windows Media Player can play .avi, .wav, .wma, and .mp3 files. You'll find this utility under Programs, Accessories, Entertainment, Windows Media Player.

9. Imaging. The new Imaging utility provides digital photo capturing, editing, and printing capabilities that far surpass the basic drawing functions of the old standby Paintbrush utility. You'll find the Imaging utility under Programs, Accessories, Imaging.

8. Fax Server Management. The Fax Server Management utility lets you configure fax devices and send and receive faxes. You'll find this utility under Programs, Accessories, Fax, Fax Server Management.

7. Phone Dialer. Like the Address Book, the Phone Dialer utility works in conjunction with other programs (e.g., the Fax Server Management utility) to let you place voice, videoconference, and fax calls from your system. To use Phone Dialer, you can use voice lines with a modem and telephone number or you can use IP addresses to communicate over a network. You'll find this utility under Programs, Accessories, Communications, Phone Dialer.

6. HyperTerminal. Although the Internet has become the business world's primary communications conduit, many organizations and network devices still use asynchronous communications for basic Telnet connections and file transfers. HyperTerminal provides these asynchronous capabilities to Win2K. You'll find this utility under Programs, Accessories, Communications, HyperTerminal.

5. Scheduled Tasks. This Windows 98 utility is a much-anticipated addition to Win2K. Scheduled Tasks lets you automatically run programs, scripts, or batch files on a daily, weekly, or monthly timetable. The utility is much easier to use than Windows NT's command-line At utility, which it replaces. You'll find this utility under Control Panel, Scheduled Tasks.

4. Disk Cleanup. Win2K uses more temporary files than any prior version of Windows. (Temporary files can slowly eat away your available disk space.) By letting you display and remove temporary files, Internet cache files, and unused program files, Disk Cleanup helps you recover lost space. You'll find this utility under Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Cleanup.

3. Backup. Microsoft has completely revamped the NT version of Backup. Win2K's Backup utility is more flexible, more powerful, and easier to use. In addition to letting you back up the registry and create Emergency Repair Disks (ERDs), the new Backup utility lets you back up to a variety of media types, including external disk and CD-ROM. You'll find this utility under Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Backup.

2. Disk Defragmenter. Regularly defragmenting your systems' hard disks is vital to those systems' performance. Win2K's basic toolset includes the Lite version of Executive Software's Diskeeper. You'll find the utility under Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Defragmenter.

1. NetMeeting. One of Win2K's best-kept secrets, the NetMeeting utility is more than just an easy-to-overlook videoconferencing tool. NetMeeting's Remote Desktop Sharing feature lets you perform the kind of remote control management functions that typically require a third-party tool. You can also use NetMeeting to share remote applications, perform file transfers, and host multiuser chat sessions. You'll find this utility under Programs, Accessories, Communications, NetMeeting.

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