NOTE: These tips have been verified to work with Windows XP build 2505 (RC1) and 2526 (RC2). Older Beta 2 tips--many of which do work in RC1 and RC2, by the way--can be found here.
UPDATED! Newer tips can be found at the bottom of this page.
When you download the album cover art from the Web, just save the images as folder.jpg each time and place them in the appropriate folder. Then, Windows XP will automatically use that image as the thumbnail for that folder and, best of all, will use that image in Windows Media Player for Windows XP (MPXP) if you choose to display album cover art instead of a visualization. And the folder customization is automatic, so it survives an OS reinstallation as well. Your music folders never looked so good!
Album cover art makes music folder thumbnails look better than ever!
Open a My Computer window and navigate to the location where you'd like My Music (or My Pictures) to reside. Then, open the My Documents folder in a different window. Drag the My Music (or My Pictures) folder to the other window, and Windows XP will update all of the references to that folder to the new location, including the Start menu.
To dramatically expand the list of applications you can remove from Windows XP after installation, navigate to C:\WINDOWS\inf (substituting the correct drive letter for your version of Windows) and open the sysoc.inf file. Under Windows XP Professional Edition RC1, this file will resemble the following by default:
[Version] Signature = "$Windows
IndexSrv_System = setupqry.dll,IndexSrv,setupqry.inf,,7
TerminalServer=TsOc.dll, HydraOc, TsOc.inf,hide,2
The entries that include the text hide or HIDE will not show up in Add/Remove Windows Components by default. To fix this, do a global search and replace for ,hide and change each instance of this to , (a comma). Then, save the file, relaunch Add/Remove Windows Components, and tweak the installed applications to your heart's content.
Cool, eh? There are even more new options now under "Accessories and Utilities" too.
If you'd like Windows Messenger to show up in the list of programs you can add and remove from Windows, navigate to C:\WINDOWS\inf (substituting the correct drive letter for your version of Windows) and open sysoc.inf (see the previous tip for more information about this file). You'll see a line that reads:
Change this to the following and Windows Messenger will appear in Add or Remove Programs, then Add/Remove Windows Components, then , and you can remove it for good:
Kiss Windows Messenger goodbye!
But fear not, you can still cause your Windows XP RC1 or RC 2 system to display the Sharing tab if desired. Simply open up Folder Options (My Computer, then Tools, Folder Options) and navigate to the View tab. In the Advanced Settings section, scroll down to the bottom and uncheck Use simple file sharing (Recommended), a Mickey Mouse feature if there ever was one. Now share your folders on the LAN as you would in Windows 2000.
To do so, open up Control Panel and navigate to Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices. Then, choose the task titled Change the sound scheme. In the dialog that appears, choose Windows Default for the sound scheme. Windows will ask you whether you want to save the previous scheme, which is usually a brain-dead questions, since no scheme was previously loaded. So choose No, and then click OK to exit the dialog.
After you hit ENTER, you'll be greeted by gpedit, which lets you modify virtually every feature in Windows XP without having to resort to regedit. Dig around and enjoy!
GPEDIT: It's your best friend for XP configuration.
I'm always looking for more good tips! If you've got something interesting, please send them along.