Control Panel contains applications that you use to customize selected aspects of the hardware and software configuration for a computer. You configure hardware settings by creating and configuring hardware profiles. Windows XP Professional uses these hardware profiles to determine which drivers to load when system hardware changes.
A hardware profile stores configuration settings for a set of devices and services. Windows XP Professional can store different hardware profiles to meet the user's different needs. Hardware profiles are used primarily for portable computers. For example, a portable computer can use different hardware configurations depending on whether it is docked or undocked. A portable-computer user can create a hardware profile for each state (docked and undocked) and choose the appropriate profile when starting Windows XP Professional.
To create or modify a hardware profile, in Control Panel, click Performance And Maintenance. In the Performance And Maintenance window, click System, and then in the System Properties dialog box, click the Hardware tab. Click Hardware Profiles to view the Available Hardware Profiles list (see Figure 11.9).
Figure 11.9 Available Hardware Profiles list in the Hardware Profiles dialog box
Windows XP Professional creates an initial profile during installation, listed as Profile 1 (Current). You can create a new profile with the same configuration as another profile. To create a new profile, in the Available Hardware Profiles list, select the profile that you want to copy, and then click Copy.
The order of the profiles in the Available Hardware Profiles list determines the default order at startup. The first profile in the list becomes the default profile. To change the order of the profiles, use the Up and Down arrow buttons.
If there are two or more profiles in the Available Hardware Profiles list, Windows XP Professional prompts the user to make a selection during startup. You can configure how long the computer waits before starting the default configuration. To adjust this time delay, click the Select The First Profile Listed If I Don't Select A Profile In option and then specify the number of seconds in the Seconds text box within the Hardware Profiles Selection group. You can configure Windows XP Professional to start the default profile by setting the number of seconds to 0. To override the default during startup, press Spacebar during the system prompt. You can also select the Wait Until I Select A Hardware Profile option to have Windows XP Professional wait for you to select a profile.
When using hardware profiles, be careful not to disable one of the boot devices with the Devices program in Control Panel. If you disable a required boot device, Windows XP Professional might not start. It is a good idea to make a copy of the default profile and then make changes to the new profile. This way, you can use the default profile again if a problem occurs.
To view the properties for a hardware profile, in the Available Hardware Profiles list, select a profile, and then click Properties. This displays the Properties dialog box for the profile.
If Windows XP Professional identifies your computer as a portable unit, the This Is A Portable Computer check box is selected. If Windows XP Professional determines that your portable computer is docked, it automatically selects that option. You cannot change this docked option setting after Windows XP Professional selects it.
The following questions will help you determine whether you have learned enough to move on to the next lesson. If you have difficulty answering these questions, review the material in this lesson before beginning the next lesson. The answers are in Appendix A, "Questions and Answers."