Windows 2000: tuning the new OS

The trouble with having an Internet-ready mobile system on your desk is that it's not always on your desk. And when you take a notebook away from the network, docking station and power cable, its configuration and power needs change. Here are a few Windows 2000 tricks that help you get the most out of your notebook.

Power play

When you remove a laptop from its docking station, you should change the power scheme to ensure optimal performance. In Control Panel, select Power Options. In the default Power Schemes tab, select Portable/Laptop from the drop-down list box - or Max Battery if you're keen on preserving power. When back at your desk, select the Home/Office Desk scheme.

Keep in sync

Files on a network or storage device hooked up to a docking station won't be available when you undock. To make sure they're accessible, mark them as Available Offline and ensure they will be synced up (see "Synchronise offline"). Then, most importantly, select Start-Log Off before removing your system from the docking station.

Pack your briefcase

If you transfer information using Zip disks or the like, use My Briefcase to maintain version control of the files. As in Windows 9x, this function is still tricky to master, but it works fine: first, insert a removable "shuttle" disk into your main computer. Open My Briefcase and drag the files you want to transfer into it. Then drag the Briefcase folder into the shuttle disk.

When it's fully copied, remove the disk, and insert it into your portable or home office system. Open the Briefcase folder from the shuttle disk and work on the files.

When you are ready to synchronise the files to your main desktop system, remove the shuttle disk from your portable computer and reinsert it into a disk drive on your main computer. Now, here's where you've got to be careful: open Briefcase on the removable disk, and then either select the Briefcase menu's Update All (which updates all of the files), or, if you want to update only one or two of the files, click to select them, and then select the Briefcase menu's Update Selection.

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