New From Microsoft: Are you a member of a group? Microsoft's latest OS offers enhanced Internet and networking tools.
Built on the NT code, Windows XP has the stability and quick start-up of Windows 2000 and, for the first time, the security of a firewall. You'll be able to access your Windows desktop from another computer, and your system administrator can control and repair your PC from afar. Share a PC? XP's version of Windows Terminal Services lets multiple users save their individual settings on the same computer, and XP makes it easier to set up Internet connections and networks. A new tool called Windows Messenger combines MSN instant messaging and NetMeeting conferencing, so you can share audio, videoconferencing and even whiteboard features with remote workers.
On the downside, XP may have compatibility problems with older software and peripherals, and don't even think about putting this puppy on anything less than a late-model Pentium III with 256MB RAM. Windows XP Professional costs $299 (all prices street) or $199 if you're upgrading.
Schedule This: Visual Day Planner 7.2 wants to help you get organized. This $29.95 scheduling program from InKline Global ( www.inklineglobal.com ) lets you track appointments, meetings and deadlines-and share those schedules with co-workers across your company's network. Visual Day Planner is a handy tool, but it may not beat the calendar functions your e-mail application already offers.
Liane Gouthro, a former technology reporter at PCWorld.com, freelances from her home in Brookline, Massachusetts.