I bought an Apple Computer about a month ago and I'm learning OS X as well as running Windows XP. There are a couple of programs that I must have and only XP has them. For example, I can not access my on line banking with out the use of Internet explorer. Firefox or Safari just won't work for this task. Additionally, there are no drivers for my new Lexmark printer, so I have to use XP for printing. Consider using Parallels to quickly move from OS X to XP without rebooting.
It is my impression that XP runs better on my Apple than on any PC I have ever owned, or had the opportunity to use. Their sound and video drivers are far better than I have seen on any PC...just my opinion, plus I have iTunes and Photo booth.
The first thing to do after installing XP (or Vista) is to go to the Microsoft web site and download all of the security patches and up dates. There are a lot of these for XP and it will take a little while to download and install, but the process is automatic.
The second thing to do is to get a virus program. There is a very good one to be had at aol.com and it is free. It automatically up dates virus signatures every few hours and is always running in the background.
Your next step to to download and install the Firefox browser. It is far more secure than Internet explorer. Get the web accelerator from Google. It to is free and it really super charges you browser. Netscape is another browser option, or use any browser you like. I recommend the use of the free Thunderbird email program which I am I using in OS X. The Outlook Express email program works fine, but but I am not convinced it has all it's holes patched.
A freeware program called ADAWARE SE is the best program for removing, data miners, Trojans and other malware, though no one program will catch everything. The shareware version of this program will run in the background, while the free version requires you to run a scan. Takes a minute to run and I use it at the end of every day if I have been online.
I spend a lot of time in Usenet and for this I use Forte Agent. It has a lot and bells and whistles, too many in fact. However, I use it's filter to block all .exe, .com. .msi, .scr, programs that are found in some the binary news groups. This is not free but you can use it for thirty days while your search for it's serial/key. I am not about to tell you how this is done.
I have settled on a program called WinUtilties to clean my system of junk files. It also cleans and optimizes the system registry and memory. Windows uninstall programs often leave links, directories and registry entries, which after a while clog up your hard drive. It also has a memory optimizing feature which I find very useful. This is not freeware.
Tucows.com is the place to go for windows software, freeware and shareware programs. This site also has software for other operating systems.
Perhaps Vista will turn out to be more secure than XP; you can run programs other than as system administrator (this is clunky to do with XP).
However with XP and the programs I have mentioned, or similar ones, XP security is pretty good. Windows updates are release on Tuesdays from m$$$$, so you can configure you system to download and install these automatically.
I wireless router is strongly recommended.
I recommend Open Office for all your word processing needs, whether you are using an Apple or PC
To keep your system running at optimum speed it is necessary to defrag your hard drive now and again. This is done with the defrag program. This is found by clicking start/search and typing "defrag" in the menu that appears (this is like using Finder). Click on the icon and the program starts. Right click on this icon and you can create a short cut which will place the icon on the desktop. Any program can be started from the desktop by linking the .exe file that starts the program, or you can just use start/programs.
Use Explorer, not Windows Explorer, if you want to access your root directory. Find this the same way mentioned above and place its icon on the desktop. All installed programs will be in the "program directory". DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING IN THE WINDOWS DIRECTORY! However, you can add .bmp files (uncompressed graphic files) to the Windows directory and then use this graphic file as Windows wallpaper. By right clicking on the desktop select the .bmp file you just added to the Windows directory. While here you can diddle with your screen saver settings and screen resolution and set the time for system sleep and hibernate. You can also get any up dates for your NVIDIA drivers.
Right click on the desktop and create a new folder. You can drag and drop other desktop icons to this folder so your desktop is not cluttered with icons. Multiple graphic files (in any format) can be added to the desktop. Simply click "save as" in your graphic program and select desktop from the menu. You can opt to download files to your desktop. BTW, Paint Shop Pro is a scaled down version of Photo Shop at a fraction of the cost. With this program you can open multiple windows within s window and then minimize the program, closing all windows. The program icon goes to the tool bar, which, when clicked, restores all of the windows within windows. This program has many of the tools found in high end graphic programs.
Of course you can have separate multiple windows open at the same time just like OS X. You have no doubt notice how easy it is to resize a window without going to the window's lower right corner. This drives me crazy.
Drag an drop from is pretty much the same a OS X.
If you are using explorer you can create a new directory(folder)by clicking file/new at the top of the window AFTER single left clicking on the root directory (read c:\). This will create a new folder in the C:\ directory. You would do this to create a tmp or download directory to store down loaded or temporary files. Create a new folder any place in the directory structure in the same way. Don't mess with the files in any directory except for the ones YOU create. You can create as many folders and sub folders as you want and create a link from that folder to your desktop.
I hope new Windows users will find some of this info useful.
Windows seems to run smother and faster if you put it to sleep rather than powering down. During sleep XP will recover many MB's of memory.
Now, if someone would tell me how to completely remove programs from OS X and the way to optimize/clean the HD it would be much appreciated. I did download a program called OnlyX (I think this was the name) I would like any thoughts as to a good newsreader for OS X, or other software I should have.
BTW, I have used Windows since it's 3.0 version, but I have an open mind, otherwise I never would have spent two big ones and bought an Apple. I'm making a sincere effort to find my way around OS X. I am not into the "my OS is better than yours"; that is pure BS. With a boot camped sys., or parallels, you have the best of all worlds. I intend to learn some unix programing, but at this point I am still learning the very basics. I better learn quick, 'cause at my age buying green bananas is a risk.
This one tip will help you sleep better tonight
A few seconds are all you need to get a better night's rest.