While Microsoft is keen for us to move to Windows Vista, we've got other ideas. With a brand-new service pack and a slew of useful add-ons XP works better than ever. Here are 50 tools that can extend XP's useful working life still further.
Extend XP today, for free
XP: Trick or tweak?
In this feature, we outline 50 such tools that help you get more from what's officially the world's most popular OS. Some help to ensure XP runs smoothly; others are add-ons, filters and extensions that help you get more done or simply make using XP more enjoyable.
The result will be a leaner, meaner machine that dispenses with all the unnecessary frills, while continuing to offer an enjoyable user experience. These applications let you tinker with your onscreen setup so it works for you, help you get around irritating restrictions that are designed for PC newcomers and generally help you get more from your Windows setup.
Microsoft, meanwhile, has had a final shot at making Windows XP all it can be with the release of Service Pack 3 (SP3). If you've not already done so, we urge you to consider getting your hands on the update.
Windows XP SP3 offers a collection of fixes and patches that you may or may not already have – our handy guide will show you how to ascertain your current Windows Update status and outlines the most convenient ways for you to acquire and install XP SP3.
Of course, we've not forgotten Vista users in our rush of enthusiasm for Windows XP's last hurrah. Many of the tips we've outlined apply equally to the newer OS and, where appropriate, we've listed alternative Vista-compatible tools that will achieve the same end.
Windows Vista users have their own reason to be cheerful, in any case. In late February, Microsoft started rolling out that OS's first service pack, Vista SP1. Reviewed here, SP1 proves that Microsoft is at the very least pushing Vista in the right direction.
It's been a tough first year for Vista, but we hope to see things improve. After all, it's got a lot of catching up to do if it's ever to earn the respect of Windows XP users.
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