Mobile Computer Hardware
Windows 2000 obviously provides support for mobile computing. In this section we’ll explore mobile hardware profiles, APM, ACPI, and other power related options.
Windows 2000 still supports the use of hardware profiles to control which hardware drivers and services are loaded when Windows 2000 boots, such as when you are either on or off the network. If you have more than one hardware profile, you will be prompted to choose one when the system boots. The default hardware profile includes networking support, but if the machine is a laptop, you should also create an ‘off the network’ profile. Specify that a profile is for a laptop by choosing ‘This is a portable computer’ in the properties of the profile. Windows 2000 will automatically attempt to determine whether or not the computer is docked. If you want the profile to be used exclusively in a docked or undocked mode, you should choose the appropriate of option, as shown below.
If Windows 2000 detects a docking station, you will find an Eject PC button on the Start menu that you can use to dock or undock without a reboot. Windows 2000 also supports changing PC Cards, drives, and external hardware (such as USB or parallel devices) without a reboot. However, you should notify the system that you are planning to unplug a device by using the Unplug option in Add/Remove hardware, or the Unplug/Eject taskbar icon.
Windows 2000 continues to provide support for reducing power consumption via both Advanced Power Management (APM, or older hardware-based power management) and Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI, or newer power management coordinated by the OS). Power consumption options are configured via the Power Options program in Control Panel. What you should know about power management in Windows 2000:
– APM is only supported on Windows 2000 Professional – not on any of the Server products. Windows 2000 supports APM 1.2.
– In order to configure APM on a system, it must have an APM-compliant BIOS, and you must be a member of the administrators group. If you don’t have an APM-based BIOS, you won’t see the APM tab in Power Options.
– If you’re having problems relating to APM, use the Apmstat.exe tool, which is available if you install the Support Tools from the Windows 2000 CD.
– You can configure different hardware schemes, to control what elements will be power-managed, and when. You can also set up custom schemes, with the settings you specify. An example of a built-in scheme is Presentation, where the computer will not power down the monitor, hard disks, or go into standby.
– To warn that batteries are running low, configure an alarm in the Alarms tab of Power Options (only seen on systems with batteries).
– Hibernate mode (shown below) can be enabled, and allows you to save the current system state (the contents of RAM) to the hard disk and put your computer into a low power standby. Doing this allows you to restart your system to the exact settings where you left off, by reloading the contents of the file into memory (gets you up and running more quickly). Note that although it suggests that computer will be totally powered down, it is still possible that a scheduled task (for example) could re-power the computer. As such you should know that if you are flying, having your computer in hibernate mode does not meet airline requirements – you still need to do a proper, complete shut down.
The bad news is that I/O device monitoring, configuration, and troubleshooting covers a whole gamut of hardware including printers (already covered), fax printers, scanners and cameras, multimedia devices, mice, keyboards, smart card readers, modems, infrared, and USB devices. The good news is if you know the basics, you should be fine. Most I/O devices are looked at individually below according to where you configure settings in Control Panel (where applicable):
Fax: Allows you to set properties such as fax user information and cover pages. Users send a fax by printing it to the fax printer. This tool also allows an Administrator to set properties with respect to how faxes are sent, received, or saved. Note that you will only see this tool is a fax modem is installed, and that a fax printer cannot be shared like other printers.
Scanner and Cameras: Not much to see here except an Add button, link to the associated troubleshooter and a Test button on a device’s General tab.
Sounds and Multimedia: You can get into and change the properties (such as drivers) or related hardware from here.
Mouse: change the speed, button configuration, click settings, pointer speed, and mouse hardware settings.
Keyboard: control input locales (language layout), key speed, and hardware settings.
Wireless Link: This option exists in Control Panel if your system has an infrared device installed. The Wireless Link icon appears on the taskbar whenever another infrared device is within range, allowing you to exchange files between systems or print to a printer with an infrared port.
Smart Cards (not in Control Panel): Smart cards will be automatically detected by Plug and Play (if compliant), and will connect to either a serial, USB, or PC Card port. In order to use a smart card, a certificate must first be installed on your card, which includes your private and public keys (requires an Enterprise Certificate Authority – more on this later in the series). The smart card can then be used to log on locally or remotely. Users will be prompted for a PIN number after inserted their smart card. Smart Cards use the Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) as their authentication method.
USB Devices (not in Control Panel): USB devices are listed in Device Manager under Human Interface Devices. One issue with USB is that your system BIOS may not support it, or may have it disabled (enable in BIOS). All USB devices attached to the same controller have a fixed amount of bandwidth to share. This can be allocated via the Advanced tab of the USB controller’s properties. Note also that there are two types of USB hubs: those that are self-powered (electrical plug – more power), and those that are bus-powered (less power, not good for things like scanners, etc). You can view the amount of power that a device will consume from the Power tab of the USB Root Hub properties.
Phone and Modem Options: since Windows 2000 cannot detect certain internal modems, you can use the Modem tab in this program to open the Add New Modem wizard. Going into the properties of a modem allows you to run a diagnostic test, as well as write the results to a log file.