The company's beta demo emphasised that Windows XP automatically displays thumbnails when a digital camera is plugged in and that it copies audio and video files more quickly.
But the features that really caught my eye were the tie-ins. Each application now contains commands such as "Buy the DVD", "Get Prints of This Photo" and so on.
Microsoft says XP stands for "eXPerience," but the revenue links built into the operating system make it look as if "eXtra Profits" are the focus.
Faced with a declining growth rate for PC sales, the company has apparently decided to position Windows XP as a giant e-tailing portal. The company can collect a piece of the business generated when users send their images out for photo-finishing, buy multimedia content or use other tied-in services.
Although there's nothing new about tie-ins, it will be interesting to watch the jockeying over which companies will get to service XP's soon-to-be-gigantic user base. I asked a Microsoft spokesman if he could say who these providers would be, but the answer wasn't immediately clear.
I'll be writing more about Windows XP as its beta versions get closer to a final product.
If you have details about new tricks and undocumented features in XP, send me a message at the address below. Your confidentiality is guaranteed.
Get back Thumbnail view
Speaking of thumbnails, I wrote in my column three weeks ago about a way to make individual folders in Windows Me and Windows 2000 display graphics as small thumbnails in Windows Explorer. You also can do this globally by pulling down Explorer's View menu and clicking Thumbnails.
Reader Zisha Weinstock says that this worked great until her daughter installed a graphics program.
The installation grabbed the associations for some file extensions and broke the Registry entries that are needed for Thumbnail view to work.
But not to worry. It's a simple problem to correct, if this happens to you.
Step 1. Close all running applications.
Step 2. In Windows Me and Windows 2000, click Start, Run.
Step 3. In Windows Me, type the following command and click OK: regsvr32 %windir%\system\thumbvw.dll
In Windows 2000, type the following command and click OK: regsvr32 %windir%\system32\thumbvw.dll
Step 4. You should see a message that DllRegisterServer succeeded.
That's it. This reregisters the Thumbvw.dll file, after which Thumbnail view should work again.
Make Windows 2000 shut down
Reader Ron Houtman was having a problem with a Windows 2000 PC that would hang rather than shut down properly.
He found that the problem was related to his ATX power supply and an interaction with its configuration.
Here's how to fix it:
Step 1. In Windows 2000, you must be logged on as Administrator or as a user with administrator privileges. Any network policies in effect must also permit the procedure.
Step 2. Right-click the My Computer icon on the Windows Desktop; then click Manage.
Step 3. Select the Device Manager icon in the left pane of the Computer Management window that appears.
Step 4. Pull down the View menu, and then click Show Hidden Devices.
Step 5. In the right pane, expand "NT AMP/Legacy Support," if present. Right-click the item "NT AMP/Legacy Node," and then click Properties.
Select "Use this Device" (enable).
This procedure should allow Windows 2000 to properly handle the device that's interfering with the shutdown.
Readers Weinstock and Houtman will receive a free copy of Windows Me Secrets for being the first to send me tips I printed.
Microsoft last week released for manufacturing its latest version of Office. OfficeXP, previously called Office 10, includes new features for collaborative working and publishing. Integration with the web and services like Microsoft's Hotmail and MSN Messenger instant messaging application are improved.
Smart Tags recognises information as it is typed in: for example, when the start of an address is entered in Word, the program would offer to add in the rest from the Outlook address book. Microsoft says it can "virtually assure" people that they won't lose their documents to any type of computer crash. Work on the suite started about two years ago.
Livingston's latest book is Windows Me Secrets (IDG Books). Send tips to Brian Livingston. He regrets that he cannot answer individual questions.