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  1. Hardware Profiles Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 allow you to store multiple hardware configurations in the registry. For example, you can create hardware profiles for docking stations, which is an important function for those of you with portable computers. You can also create hardware profiles for removable devices. A hardware profile is a set of instructions that informs the operating system which devices to start, which drivers to load, and which settings to use for each device when you start your computer. To create a new hardware profile in Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003, start the System applet, go to the Hardware tab, and click the Hardware Profiles button. The Hardware Profiles window will appear (Fig. 5.11). Figure 5.11: The Hardware Profiles window During OS installation, the Setup program creates the default hardware profile, which includes all hardware detected on the computer during the installation. To change the hardware profile's properties, select its name from the Available hardware profiles list and click the Properties button. You can also create a new hardware profile based on existing ones. To do so, select the hardware profile, click Copy, and enter the name for the new profile in the Copy Profile dialog. To delete the existing hardware profile, select it and click the Delete button.
  2. Finally, the Hardware Profiles dialog allows you to specify the system's behavior as related to the hardware-profile selection. The bottom part of this dialog contains the Hardware profiles selection option group, containing two radio buttons. If you set the Wait until I select a hardware profile option, Windows will display a list of existing hardware profiles during startup. The system will wait until the user selects one of the displayed hardware profiles. If you set the second radio button, navigate to the field directly below this radio button and specify a time interval (in seconds). This instructs Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003 how long to wait before the default hardware profile is loaded automatically. Hardware profiles are stored in the registry under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Hardware Profiles (Fig. 5.12). Figure 5.12: Hardware profiles are stored in the system registry under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Hardware Profiles