Taking a fresh look at the Windows XP Task pane

The Task pane in Windows XP is home to many handy shortcuts -- but you can't see them if you don't look for the pane in the first place. Greg Shultz discusses why it's worth it to take a second look at the Task pane.

If you're like most Windows XP aficionados, chances are good that you prefer the Folders pane in Windows Explorer to the Task pane that displays by default in My Computer. If that is the case, you probably avoid My Computer or simply click the Folders button on the toolbar each time you open My Computer. If so, you've probably never spent much time looking at the commands on the Task pane and may be missing many handy command shortcuts.

For example, how many times have you dug into the Control Panel to access Add/Remove Programs? If you use the Task pane in My Computer, you can simply click Add Or Remove Programs in the System Tasks section. Moreover, if you open a drive from My Computer, you will find another command that you frequently use in the Files and Folders section of the Task pane: the Make A New folder command.

When you select a folder, you can copy and move folders anywhere on your hard disk very easily by selecting the Copy This Folder or Move This Folder commands. When you do, a Browse dialog box will appear. This essentially serves as an alternate version of the Folders pane in Windows Explorer.

When you select a file, you can choose either the Copy This File or Move This File command and get the same Browse dialog box with a Folders pane.

Note: This tip applies to Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional.

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By Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.