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Playing Photoshop Album Slide Shows; Recommending Windows XP

Sunday, September 26, 2004; Page F07

The DVDs I've made in Adobe Photoshop Album -- all slide shows with background music -- play fine on my computer, but not on either of my two DVD players. A technician at CompUSA told me that DVD players can't play digital images created with Adobe's software. Is that true?

Somewhat. The slide shows that Photoshop Album creates come in the form of PDF (Portable Document Format) files, which can be easily read on computers but are illegible to DVD players.

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To produce a disc that will play in most new DVD players, you need to scale back your ambitions a bit: Instead of making a slide show, just burn the photo files themselves to the disc, without any soundtrack (select the photos you want, then choose the "Burn" command in Photoshop Album's "File" menu).

Most reasonably new DVD players can read JPEG photo files (that's short for "Joint Photographic Experts Group"); these players will usually sport a "JPEG" label on the front.

I probably missed this along the way, but do you recommend XP over 2000, and why?

Yes, I do. Two words: System Restore. This XP-only utility (which I recommended here last week) will roll your system back to an earlier state to undo botched installations, exorcise system-wide malfunctions and evict spyware intruders. It does this without damaging or destroying any of your own data (though it will yank every program installed since the last "restore point").

The second-most-important reason to pick Windows XP over Windows 2000 is security; once patched with Microsoft's Service Pack 2 update, XP is a lot safer on the Internet than 2000. (Without that bug-fix patch, the two systems are about equally insecure.) XP also offers better hardware and software compatibility. And if you use WiFi, XP -- as updated by SP2 -- offers a notably cleaner, easier interface than whatever third-party software you'd have to run in 2000.

-- Rob Pegoraro

Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or rob@twp.com.


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