Jewish World Review Nov. 17, 2003 / 22 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764


Special tweak may be needed to change logon; printing e-mail gets him booted offline; network wizard won't let him do so

By James Coates

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | (KRT) Q. Somehow I activated the Windows XP start-up password (as if I am a user). Now I can't find how to change my system back to where it does not prompt me for a password at the start-up of Windows. How do I turn this off?

Chet Staples, Carol Stream

A. There are two ways to approach the goal of stopping that often-annoying feature in which Windows XP demands that a user continually log back on every time the computer boots up. This is particularly irritating when only one person is using the machine, as in your case.

The fix is to click on Start and Run and then type in the command: control userpasswords2 in the display. This brings up a menu from the Windows XP Control Panel for user accounts, with a check box to switch off the logon prompt as desired as long as only one user is registered. In cases where more than one user has been created, it is necessary to use special software from Microsoft called Tweak UI to change the settings.

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This Tweak UI is fascinating stuff for us propeller heads because it permits several dozen small adjustments to change the look and feel of the operating system and speed up many operations. The software was created by Microsoft, but the company makes a point of warning that Microsoft does not support or guarantee it, leaving users on their own should something go wrong.

You can download Tweak UI at this address: www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/downloads/powertoys.asp.

Tweak UI is one of a handful of so-called Power Toys that enhance Windows in ways that Microsoft decided are too complex for ordinary users, but that just about everybody would enjoy exploring. The best feature in Tweak UI is a module that describes ways to use keyboard commands and other steps to accomplish stuff that just isn't available elsewhere to Windows users.

Q. Whenever I try to print e-mail, I get disconnected from America Online. I have uninstalled and reinstalled AOL 9.0. I tried to use AOL help, but I got disconnected then also.

David Dachner, Columbus, Ohio

A. Consider yourself a victim of America Online's annoying effort to commercialize not only its own ad-filled browsing software but to insinuate ads into the commands of the computer itself.

When any one of the millions of subscribers with recent versions of the AOL software selects the Print command, the software pops up with an offer to have the material printed by an outside company rather than just sending the job to the customer's own printer. Users must direct the software to use the local computer before the job begins.

This complicates what should be a routine action on a user's computer by initiating an extra communication with the Internet server computers and is causing a lockup in your particular case, Mr. D.

A possible fix would be to shut down your printer and then answer the question about whether to have the printing done by an outside company or done on your own machine. Then, after you get the AOL error message, turn the printer back on.

If this sounds as ridiculous to you as it does to me, let me suggest a workaround. When you want to print a note, try selecting the text you want and then pasting it into a word processor or the WordPad program built into Windows. Since the print command in these other programs is straightforward instead of an advertising opportunity, you will get your print job out and avoid those lockups.

This can be a lot quicker than it sounds. Start by opening the WordPad program every time you run AOL. When you want to print an e-mail, just open the note and tap Control plus A to select its contents. Then go to the WordPad and type Control +V to paste it. Then the Control + P command will order your printout without making those calls to the Internet connections that create the lockups.

Q. I networked my wife's laptop (running ME) with my desktop (running XP). Then, somewhere along the way, the network failed, so I tried to run the Network Setup Wizard again. I put in the same information as before (connection, description, name and work group) but got the error message: "Cannot complete the Network Setup Wizard. An error occurred during configuration of the network on this computer. You can configure your network manually, or you can run the Wizard again with different settings."

Eugene Westphal @btc-bci.com

A. Your description sounds like you are the victim of a very common but difficult-to-spot error in setting the exact name for the two computers you want to network, Mr. W.

Unlike just about every other bit of Microsoft software, the networking routines will fail if there is a trailing space at the end of the name of any of the computers when you name them during the setup process. Everywhere else, tapping the space bar at the end of an entry is how one separates it from the next item.

If one taps the space bar at the end of a file name or a Web address, Windows operating systems have no problem identifying it. But if you tap space at the end of a computer's name, the Windows networking software will not be able to find it.

The fix is easy. Computer names are set in Windows by right-clicking on the My Computer icon, selecting Properties and then opening the Computer Name tab in the display that pops up. There you will find a command to rename. Do this, making sure not to tap the space key at the end.

Then use the manual network setup routine and again type in the name without the leading space. This time the operating system will be able to find the missing computer and establish your network.

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James Coates is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Let us know what you think of this column by clicking here.

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