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Monday, April 16, 2001

Playing digital audio with Win 2000
By Vipul Verma

THOUGH best is a relative term and could mean differently for various persons yet generally speaking Windows 2000 is the best operating system. It has imbibed the best of Windows 98 and Windows NT and has some advanced features related to safety and stability that adds further value to it. However, a majority of persons are "driving this Mercedes Benz the vintage model way." With some tips and tricks up your sleeves, you can make the best use of Windows 2000 operating system.

Net sharing

Today one of the most prominent uses of a computer is the Internet. However, Internet users always demand more from their computer and the Net connection. Catering to the demand of computer users, Windows included Internet sharing feature in the Windows 98 Second edition. This was further refined in Windows 2000 to make it easy -to-use.

If you are using Windows 2000 you just need to have LAN, a telephone line and a Net connection to share it with other users. Since every dial-up connection now has a sharing tab on its Properties window, thus sharing an Internet connection becomes as easy as clicking the "share this connection" box. You can also enable dial-on-demand from this window that allows other computers on your network to cause connection-sharing computer to dial that connection if it is not already done. These are surely value-added features of Windows 2000 that offer a lot more to the Internet users.

This feature has its relevance more in the home segment and small offices, as it is practically not feasible to connect more than 2 or 3 computers. This is so because the bandwidth in the case of dial-up connection is already low and by distributing it over a number of PCs, this may go down further. The set-up is also simple as for proper connection sharing, the computer that is the server (Win2000) needs to have a fixed IP address. This can be set on the local area connection, from the Start Menu> Settings> Network and Dial-up connections.


Dial-up networking

Moreover, besides Internet sharing feature, Windows 2000 also has a better dial-up networking features. For example just like Windows NT, you can add alternative numbers to your dial-up connection. Thus, for adding alternative numbers from the first page of the dial-up networking properties click on Alternates button. This window allows you to put in alternative numbers to try. You can also specify that the successful number will be moved to the top of the list. This feature, though was present in Windows NT, has its relevance in all operating systems as by having this feature on your system you can easily save yourself from the trouble of busy ISPs numbers. Now DUN (dial-up networking) will automatically dial the alternative number for you.


Windows 2000 is all about innovations and ease-of-use. You must have noticed in the operating systems other than Windows 2000, especially in the older versions, when you run your CD-ROM, other programs either stop or perform slow. This is because when CD-ROM is running, there is a heavy load on the processor that affects the performance of other programs.

Increase performance

Did you know in Windows 2000 if you configure your primary IDE and secondary IDE drives, i.e. your hard disk and CD-ROM in DMA or UDMA mode, then the performance of your system increases tremendously? You can easily set the primary IDE or the hard disk in DMA/UDMA mode in other operating systems also. But by all chances the secondary IDE or CD-ROM is being set in the PIO mode.

However, in Windows 2000 you can set both of them for optimal performance of your computer. First of all check it out whether your drives are in DMA mode or not. You can do this by right clicking on My Computer and then by clicking on Manage. Now select the device manager and then select IDE ATA/ATAPI Controller. In the Window that opens, click on Primary IDE Channel. Now click on Advance Setting Tab. Here you will find the current transfer mode. Ideally it should be set to DMA if available. However, if it is not correct, try Auto Detect.
Now close this window and the Windows will boot automatically. Repeat this whole process again and check for the settings. If you still find the setting not set to the DMA, try selecting DMA mode and then rebooting. Now, you have configured the settings for DMA mode for Primary IDE. Repeat the whole process once again and select secondary IDE channel in the Windows instead of Primary IDE. Unless you have installed secondary hard disk on your system, this would normally represent your CD ROM drive.
On repeating the above-mentioned procedure, normally you will find the PIO in the transfer mode. However, for optimal performance of your CD-ROM drive and your computer, change it to the DMA mode and click OK. The system will be rebooted and optimally configure your CD-ROM drive. This setting will enhance the overall performance of your computer as the load on your CPU would get reduced substantially from 90 per cent earlier (PIO mode) to 10 per cent (DMA mode) that will boost the performance of other programs, which would be running simultaneously.

With Windows 2000 you can also enjoy digital audio with your CD drive, as there is a new feature in Windows 2000 for CD-ROM drives. Thus for enabling digital audio, go to the device manager and in the properties for the CD drive go to the Properties tab. Click on the box "Enable digital audio" for digital audio pleasure on your computer. Now you can have a home theatre right on your desktop and can play audio and video CDs.