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How can I use the Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows 2000 SP3 "Set Program Access and Defaults" feature?

A. In keeping with recent agreements in the United States between Microsoft and the US Department of Justice (DOJ), XP SP1 and Win2K SP3 will include an item called "Set Program Access and Defaults" in the main Add/Remove Programs Control Panel applet and in the Start menu. This feature lets you set options for the availability of the following Microsoft components:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE)
  • Microsoft Outlook Express
  • Windows Media Player (WMP)
  • Windows Messenger
  • Java Virtual Machine (JVM)

Microsoft refers to these components as visible entry points. For each component, the Administrator can select a default program (i.e., the Microsoft option or a third-party option) and whether the Microsoft component should be visible. The "Set Programs Access and Defaults" feature doesn't remove any application files; it simply removes the visible components associated with the application. For example, if you clear the Outlook Express check box so that the application is no longer enabled, Windows will remove the Outlook Express quick launch and Start menu items. However, you can still execute Outlook Express by typing the following application executable at the command prompt:


You can configure this feature in three ways:

  • Microsoft Windows--the standard out-of-the-box configuration where all Microsoft components are the default and visibly available.
  • Non-Microsoft--an alternative configuration where none of the five Microsoft components are the default or visibly available.
  • Custom--an alternative configuration where you select what the default components should be and which Microsoft components are visibly available.

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Microsoft designed these options for OEMs to use during installation with Sysprep or an unattended setup.

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