Control Panel in Windows XP Professional can be used to configure hardware settings, manage user-specific settings, and manage computer-specific settings.

Section 2.1: Configuring Hardware Profiles

A hardware profile is used to store the configuration settings for a set of devices and services on a computer. In Windows XP Professional you can create different hardware profiles for each user who uses a particular computer, or to meet a user's needs in different situations. The user can then choose the appropriate profile the Windows XP Professional should load when starting the computer.

A default hardware profile is created during the installation process of Windows XP Professional. This profile is listed as Profile 1 (Current) in the Hardware tab in the System Properties dialog box. To create a new profile:

  • Click on the start button
  • Point to SETTINGS
  • Open SYSTEM
  • Click on the hardware tab
  • Select the Profile that you want to copy
  • Click COPY
  • Select ALWAYS INCLUDE this profile as an option when windows starts check box
  • Reboot the computer and select the new profile when Windows XP Professional boots.

The new profile will then be loaded when the boot sequence is complete and you can then set which devices must be disabled for the new profile. You can make the new profile the default profile on the HARDWARE PROFILES list by using the arrow buttons to the right of the list box to move the new profile to the top of the list.


Portable computers that are Plug and Play compliant automatically create separate hardware profiles for when the computer is docked and when it is undocked. These are called the Docked Profile and Undocked Profile and are automatically selected when the computer is docked or undocked. If the computer is not fully Plug and Play compliant, you might have to create these profiles and select the appropriate one when booting the computer.