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volume 8 number 11 november 2003 TipSheet

Welcome to the November issue of MicroMetric's TipSheet.

This monthly newsletter is targeted at addressing the needs of our customers.

This month we'll continue a series of tips on Windows XP.


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 menu.

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 inC:\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.


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 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 Switching box.

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.


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.

Copyright 2003, MicroMetric, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Permission to copy in total, with this statement and copyright, is hereby granted.

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