Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Multiuser Features and Advanced Settings

Posted by vishnu vardhan reddy boda at 1:31 PM

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Like Windows 2000, but unlike Windows 95, 98, and Me, the ability to log in multiple users simultaneously plays a big role in Windows XP. There is a default Administrator account set up when Windows XP is first installed, but you can create as many accounts as you need later, depending on how many people will be using the machine. Each user, once he or she has an account, can customize XP to his or her liking. Individual users get their own subfolders in the Documents And Settings folder; this folder serves as a centralized location for most personalized information, such as the Start Menu, Favorites, and Documents settings.

Missing Administrator account

Once you have created regular user accounts, the default Administrator account vanishes from the Welcome screen, which you see when the computer starts up. Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete twice at the Welcome screen to retrieve the standard logon dialog. You can log on as Administrator from here. To switch among accounts, just click the Log Off button on the Start menu. You'll then see the Log Off Windows dialog box. Click the Switch User button, and you'll be taken to the Welcome screen where you can select and log on to other accounts.

Show yourself

Only the Administrator can set up new user accounts (go to Control Panel > User Accounts > Create A New Account). You can select a picture to identify the account. When you're logged on to the system under your username, this picture, along with your username, peeks out at you from the top of the Start menu. There are a slew of 48x48-pixel bitmap images to choose from within XP. They're housed in D:\Documents And Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\User Account Pictures\Default Pictures. But why limit yourself? You can also copy any graphic you want into this folder or browse for another from your hard drive. Usable file types are BMP, GIF, JPEG, or PNG. However, always use a square picture, to limit the white space on the side. Your image can be any size but will be displayed as 48x48-pixel image, so a close-up works best.

Hide yourself

Once you've created a user account, password-protect it to keep other users from viewing your files, Favorites, and cookies. Why? You may not want your child to see the note that you're sending to his or her teacher, or you may be planning someone's surprise party. (Note: Anyone with an Administrator account can still see them.)

Worried about remembering your password?

Create a hint to help you when you initially create it by following the prompts during setup. XP stores the password hints in the Registry at Hkey_local_machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Hints.

What if the hint doesn't help?

Any user or Administrator can create a password reset disk, which you can use to log on and create a new password. Go to Control Panel > User Accounts and select "Prevent a forgotten password" in the Related Tasks box on the left. Follow the wizard's instructions. After creating the disk, find a safe place for it. Don't forget the password or where you put the disk. Someone else could use it to change your password without you knowing it.

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