Although it may seem like the most mundane of tasks, there are actually several ways to govern startup and shutdown behavior that can make a dramatic difference in the way you use the computer.
In this chapter, we learned that something as simple as pressing the power button can cause one of three distinct behaviors. Such customization can be a great way to prevent unwanted shutdowns or to simplify the procedure for exiting a Windows session. Teaching small kids to hit the computer's power button when they're done can be a great way to save both power and, more importantly, data.
You also saw that startup behavior can be modified by adding or removing items in the Startup folder. This can speed access to your most frequently used programs under most circumstances, but you also learned how to bypass the Startup folder altogether on those occasions where you want to get access to the desktop as soon as possible.
This chapter also looked at the default way of switching between multiple users on a single XP installation. This default behavior is called Fast User Switching, and it can be very useful in a home office or in certain office environments where many people are accessing data that is stored on a file server from a single XP machine.
In the next chapter, we'll discuss drive and file system management. We'll cover the way XP stores and secures data on the hard disks in your computer, and we'll provide some valuable advice about optimizing this disk storage.