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There are an incredible number of Internet-based resources for helping you to use and trouble-shoot your Windows XP system, and we take a look at three of the best.

There are an incredible number of Internet-based resources for helping you to use and trouble-shoot your Windows XP system, and in this edition of Windows Advisor we’ll take a look at three of the best.

Windows XP Resource Center

Windows XP Resource Center, brought to you by the fine folks at Searchwin2000.com, is an easy-to-navigate source of information for veteran as well as novice XP users. The Web site is divided into sixteen areas of interest, and covers everything from installation to performance tuning to trouble-shooting. If you have a question about your Win XP system, chances are you can find something about it here.

The troubleshooting section is especially useful, and covers such diverse topics as error codes, applications compatibility, and networking issues. Each section also offers a sub-section that lists all of the different problems relevant to your search. For instance, you’ll find information for configuring hard drives and working with CD-RW software under “Disk Management.” Most of the categories and subcategories are intuitive, so it’s fairly easy to find whatever you’re looking for.

The site’s strong point is networking, and to that end it also offers a weekly newsletter geared toward IT professionals with guidance on all aspects of effectively managing Windows-based networks. Whether you’re a networking specialist or someone new to the world of XP, you’ll find a lot of solid resources that could help you out of a jam or, perhaps even better, steer you clear of any future problems you might encounter.

Windows XP Fix Zone

If you’re having a problem with your Win XP PC, this is the place to go. Whether you’re interested in fine-tuning your PC to make it load faster, creating a boot disk, or something else entirely, you’ll find the Zone chock full of solutions, tips, and suggestions to meet your every need. There’s also a message board to swap questions with other users, a newsletter you can sign up for to receive the latest and greatest tips, a freeware section, and a how-to section that gives you step-by-step instructions for doing everything from changing the XP start-up button to making your recycle bin work better.

It would take weeks to browse everything that the Windows XP Fix Zone has to offer, but one section I got a lot of use from was the freeware sections. This site has compiled a list of the best free “tweaking” utilities available as well as links to each. It’s nice to have everything collected in one place, and by browsing through the list, I was even able to find a few new programs I didn’t even know existed.

While the Fix Zone does offer a vast amount of fixes for XP users in need, its benefits go beyond that. With the newsletter, message board, and other niceties, this is a virtual hangout for XP novices and power users alike. I’ve even added it to my personal toolbar, and once you visit you’ll more than likely do the same.

Windows Annoyances

If you’ve never been annoyed by Windows, well, you’re in a very small group. Whether it’s the blue screen of death that has you ready to tear out your hair or CD autorun that makes you want to run and hide, Annoyances.org is your one-stop commiseration shop. This Web site provides fixes and work-around solutions for hundreds of different annoyances.

In addition to the fixes, the site provides several message boards for all the different flavors of Windows, a humor section, and information about the various Windows Annoyances books that the Web site has spawned. If you’re frustrated with your OS, take a break and peruse this site. You’ll never look at the blue screen of death the same way again.

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