Sunbelt TechTips for the week of July 10

How to turn the guest account on and off

How to turn the guest account on and off

If you want to allow someone to access your computer without creating an account for him/her, you can activate the XP Guest account. The guest account has limited privileges and users who log on with this account cannot access password protected files, folders and settings. If it's not being used, you should turn the Guest account off to prevent hackers from using it to get into the computer. Here's how to turn it on and off if your XP computer is not a member of a Windows domain (most home systems):

Log on with an administrative account.

Click Start | Control Panel | User Accounts.

Click Guest.

Select "Turn on the Guest Account" or "Turn off the Guest Account."

Click OK.

You can also activate or deactivate the Guest (or other) account using the Computer Management console, by clicking Users in the left console tree, then right clicking the user account you want to enable or disable and selecting Properties.

Error connecting Xbox 360 to Windows Media Center PC

If you try to connect your Xbox gaming device to your XP Media Center Edition PC, you might get an error that says "Connection Error." You should try installing (or reinstalling) the Media Center Extender software on the XP Media Center computer. For instructions on how to do so,

Can't remove trusted root certificate authority

If you're using certificate-based authentication and you try to use Internet Explorer to remove a trusted root certification authority on your XP computer, it may not get removed or it may get reinstalled automatically. What's up with that? It happens because the Update Root Certificates component is turned on. It's easy to turn this component off and prevent this from happening. To find out how,

Error 1719 when you try to add or remove a program

If you try to add or remove a program that uses Windows Installer Microsoft Software Installation (.msi) package files (such as Microsoft Office programs) you may get Error Message 1719 that says "The Windows Installer Service could not be accessed. You may be running in safe mode or Windows Installer may not be correctly installed." If you aren't running in safe mode, the most likely cause is that the Installer files on the disk are missing or damaged. You may need to re-register the Windows Installer by editing the registry, or you may have to reinstall the Installer. For instructions on how to do both,

Block common ad server URLs

Don't want to see all those ads from common Internet ad servers like ads.doubleclick.net, ads.infospace.com, ads.msn.com and many more? As you probably know, your browser goes to the IP address associated with those URLs, and you can use the hosts file on your computer to redirect those unwanted URLs to a non-existent address. The hosts file is one of several ways your computer matches addresses to IP addresses. The hosts file is a text file that you can edit. You'll find it in the WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc directory in XP. But you don't have to go through all the trouble of finding the URLs for those ad servers because Mike's done it for you. He's created a host file that contains all those servers and even built an installer program that will install it for you. Link here. You can also test-drive our , which provides ad-blocking.

Keep up with New Vista Developments: Windows Vista Team Blog

The Vista Launch Team at Microsoft keep you updated on what's going on with the new OS, as well as other cool tech ideas and gadgets they run across, in this blog. Check it out

While you're there, be sure to take a look at the screenshots of the new Windows Standard theme.

Use Vista's Reading Pane to preview your docs without opening them

One of my favorite new features in the Vista Explorer is the Reading Pane. When you turn this on (by clicking the Organize button in the toolbar and selecting Layout | Reading Pane), you get an instant preview of documents that you highlight in Explorer, without opening them. For instance, just click a Word document and you can examine its contents in the Reading Pane, including all formatting and any embedded graphics (similarly to the way you can preview a message in Outlook's reading pane without opening the message). Way cool! If you're beta testing Vista, let us know your favorite new feature and we'll compile a list of the top vote-getters.

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