Keep Your Start Menu to Yourself. The
items in the Start menu come from two
sources: one that is user-specific and one that is
shared. The Windows XP upgrade puts all
existing Start menu items into the shared area. If
you delete any items from your account's Start
menu, they are deleted from each user's Start
To permit individualized Start menus, you must
click on Start, select My Computer, and click the
Folders toolbar button. Next, navigate to
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start menu.
Right-click on that folder and select Copy.
Now right-click on each user's folder
in C:\Documents and Settings and select Paste.
You may be asked to confirm replacing items in
the Start menu folder; answer Yes to all. Finally,
delete C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start
menu. Now each user has a personal copy of the
Start menu and can freely delete unwanted items
without affecting others.
Installing programs may add new items to the
shared area. To move these to your personal
Start menu, right-drag them to the desktop and
choose Move here. Then right-drag them back
to the Start button and again choose Move here.
Avoid Simple File Sharing. Windows
XP's Simple File Sharing, which is
enabled by default, is extremely limited. For
example, you can't configure a folder so that you
and only you can access it remotely, or set
per-user permissions as in Windows 2000.
To disable Simple File Sharing in Windows XP
Professional, launch Windows Explorer, choose
Tools | Folder Options, and click on the View
tab. Uncheck the box for Use simple file sharing
(Recommended) and click OK. Now when you
right-click on a folder and choose Sharing and
Security..., the Sharing tab will provide the
detailed control found in Windows 2000. Note
that Windows XP Home users can't escape
Simple File Sharing without upgrading to
Windows XP Professional.
Fast User Switching. Fast
User Switching can be a very handy feature.
It lets you switch among users without logging
off. To enable it, open the User Accounts applet
in the Control Panel, click on Change the way
users log on or off, and check the Use Fast User
Now when you select Log Off, a Switch User
option appears that lets you quickly change to
another account without forcing any users to
close their programs. (Holding down the
Windows key and typing the letter L is a speedy
shortcut to the user list on the Welcome screen.)
Beware of the trade-offs, though. You should
avoid running system-level utilities when another
user is logged on, and if you're looking for the
best performance, don't let idle accounts in the
background tie up system resources. The feature
is best for those times when you simply need to
get in and out quickly. Also note that Fast User
Switching does not work if your computer is a
member of a network domain.
Protect Your Password. Windows
XP lets you supply a hint along with
your password. If you forget the password, the
Welcome screen offers the hint. This hint is
visible to anyone trying to log on to your system,
so if you use a hint, choose one that's meaningful
only to you. Better yet (though only if the
computer is not part of a domain), use a
password reset disk instead.
To create one, open the User Accounts applet
located in the Control Panel, click on your
account, click Prevent a forgotten password in
the task pane, and follow the prompts. Now if
you enter the wrong password, Windows XP
will prompt for the floppy disk. Just make sure
you keep this disk in a safe place.
Access the Administrator Account. The
Administrator account is not displayed on
the Welcome screen. To access it, press
Ctrl-Alt-Del, release just the Del key, and press
Del again. This will display the Windows
2000-style log-on, from which you can now log
on as Administrator.
Logged on as Administrator, you can control and
demote all accounts (including the main user
account). And in corporate environments, the IT
department often uses the Administrator account
to log on to and manage employee systems.
Windows 2000-Style Log-on. The
Windows XP Welcome screen provides any
intruder with a list of user accounts, some of
which may even offer helpful password hints. To
replace the Welcome screen permanently with
the more secure Windows 2000-style log-on
box, launch the Control Panel's User Accounts
applet, click on Change the way users log on or
off, and uncheck Use the Welcome screen. (This
will also disable Fast User Switching.)
Protect Your Accounts. For
additional security, you can force users to
press Ctrl-Alt-Del at log-on (to prevent Trojan
horses from taking over your system) and
eliminate the automatic display of the last user's
name in the log-on box. Launch Regedit and
navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System. Find
or create a DWORD value named
Don'tDisplayLastUserName and set its data to 1.
In the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon key, find or
create a DWORD value named DisableCAD
and set its data to 0 (zero). Note that you must
be using the Windows 2000-style log-on, as
discussed in the previous tip.
Set Up Ownership on Hard Drives. If
you use NTFS, you can designate who owns a
hard drive. This is useful on systems that have
multiple user accounts set up. You must be in the
Administrators group to perform this task.
Click Start, then go to the Control Panel.
Double-click Administrative Tools and then
Computer Management. In the console tree,
click Disk Management. Right-click on the drive
for which you want to set up ownership, click
Properties, then choose the Security tab. Click
Advanced, and then click on the Owner tab.
Click on the new owner, then click OK.
Add a Subfolder in the Start Menu Visible to All Users. Normally,
when you add a submenu to the Start
menu, it's limited to your own account; others
who log on can't see it. But there's a simple way
to add a Start menu subfolder visible to anyone
who logs on. You must be logged on as an
Just right-click on the Start button, select Open
All Users, and double-click on the folder to
which you want to add a subfolder (this will
usually be Programs). Right-click on any empty
area within the box and select New, and then
choose Folder. Type the name of the new folder
and hit Enter.
Copyright (c) 2002 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.