Friday, 30 November 2012

Stop Password Expiration

After you have run Windows XP for a while, you may receive this message when you
log on: "Your password will expire in 14 days.....".
By default, Windows XP is set up with passwords which will expire after 42 days. 14
days in advance, Windows will start warning you of this fact. If you do not want your
passwords to expire:

1. Go to Start > Run and in the Open: box type control userpasswords2
2. Select the Advanced tab in the User Accounts window
3. Press the Advanced button below the Advanced user management header
4. Select Users in the Local Users and Groups
5. In the right pane, right-click the user name for which you want to change the
setting, and select Properties
6. On the General tab, check Password never expires
7. Click Apply and OK (all the way out)

Safely Remove Hardware Icon

If you have an USB device attached to your system, you will notice an icon in the
Notification area, which - when clicked - will give you the option to Stop your
hardware, before you unplug it.
It is possible that you never unplug this hardware. So how do you get rid of the icon?
As far as I know the only way is to right-click the notification area, and selecting
Properties. Under the Notification area heading, click Customize. Find the Safely
Remove Hardware icon and select Always hide in the Behavior column next to it
(press OK and Apply to back out).

Multi user features

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.

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

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Not A Tweak, But A Double XP Surprise!

Neither Win2K nor WinME has the ability to create a simple, basic, DOS- based boot
floppy (a "startup disk") unless you jump through hoops or do things in nonstandard
ways. Because XP is the fusion of Win2K and Win9x/ME, I assumed it would follow
the same "no boot floppy" tack. But instead, I was surprised to poke around in XP
and see that the format option there does indeed offer a "Create MS-DOS Startup Disk."

As an experiment, I created a startup disk, and all went smoothly. I was able to use
the disk to boot my PC without any problems. But when it started up, I got the
second surprise. The DOS boot message showed "Microsoft Windows Millennium." To
confirm this, I typed "Ver" to see what version of DOS was running, and the screen
showed: Windows Millennium [Version 4.90.300]

Although it's very strange to see the WinME startup message on an XP-created
floppy, all this means is that Microsoft cribbed a few essential DOS boot files from
WinME, and made it so XP can drop them onto a freshly- formatted floppy for you.
I'm glad they did: It's a very good thing that Microsoft restored the ability to make a
simple boot disk.

Display the Sharing Tab in Folder Properties

In Windows 2000, getting to the Sharing options for a folder was simple: Just right click,
choose Properties, and you'd see a Sharing tab. In Windows XP, this feature is
missing by default, but you can make the system display the Sharing tab if desired.
Simply open up Folder Options (My Computer, then Tools, Folder Options) and
navigate to the View tab. In the Advanced Settings section, scroll down to the
bottom and uncheck Use simple file sharing (Recommended), a Mickey Mouse
feature if there ever was one. Now share your folders on the LAN as you would in
Windows 2000.