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.
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