Sunbelt TechTips for the week of July 24

How to hide user accounts from other users

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If you have several users sharing an XP computer and you want to hide the User Accounts applet in Control from those who don't need to have access to it, here's how:

Click Start | Run.

Enter gpedit.msc in the Run box to open the Group Policy Editor.

In the left console tree, expand User Configuration | Administrative Templates | Control Panel.

In the right details pane, doubleclick "Hide specified Control Panel applets."

Click the Enabled option.

Click the Show button.

Click the Add button.

In the Add field, enter nusrmgt.cpl

How to get rid of old computer names saved in the Remote Desktop Client

If you’ve used Windows XP's Remote Desktop quite a bit, you might find that old computer names are still there in the dropdown list on my Remote Desktop Connection client. One way to get rid of them is by using a little program called Remote Desktop Assistant that will let you clean up that list in short order. Unfortunately, while the page is up, it looks like the link to the download no longer works. Luckily, you can also remove entries from the computer list manually, by editing the registry, if you prefer. You can find instructions on how to do that here.

Popup windows still appear with Popup Blocker turned on

In Windows XP SP2, the default setting for the IE popup blocker is "on," but you may find after installing SP2 that popups still appear even though it shows to be turned on. Now how annoying is that? This can happen for a number of different reasons: the popup window's sites is in your Trusted Sites, the popup is being opened by an ActiveX control, the popup is opened by some software program you have running on your system. The solution depends on the cause; you can read about some ways to resolve the problem in KB article 843015.

Sounds don't play after the computer comes out of hibernation

On some Windows XP SP2 computers, you might find that when the computer resumes operation after hibernating, sounds no longer work - but if you reboot, your sounds are restored. This happens because of a problem with the Portcls.sys driver. Obviously, it can be inconvenient to have to restart every time you resume from hibernation (might as well just shut the computer down instead of hibernating). Luckily, there's a hotfix available for this problem, but Microsoft recommends you apply it only if you're having this specific problem. If that's you, you can find out how to get it by reading KB article 892559.

USB device connected to USB 2.0 hub is not detected

If you have a USB 2.0 hub attached to one of the USB ports on your Windows XP SP2 computer, and you connect a new USB device to it, you might find that not only does Windows not detect the new device, but all your other USB devices connected to that hub stop working and you have to reboot to get them back. What's up with that? Seems it's caused by a conflict between the USB 2.0 driver and the Enhanced Host Controller Interface (EHCI) specification. The good news is that there's a hotfix available for this one, too. Find out how to get it from KB article 892050.

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How to share your Windows Calendar in Vista with others

One of the cool new applications in Vista is the Windows calendar. Previously, you had to install Office with Outlook or a third party calendaring application, but now there's a built in calendar, where you can enter your appointments and events, set reminders, and invite participants. It also includes a task list. Best of all, you can easily share it with others. Here's how:

In the toolbar across the top of the calendar, click Share.

Select Publish.

Type in a name for the calendar and enter a location to publish (or browse for one). You can publish your calendar in a network folder or on a Web server.

Select whether you want changes you make to the calendar to be automatically published.

Check the checkboxes for the calendar details you want to publish (notes, reminders, tasks).

Click the Publish button.

After your calendar is published, you can click the Announce button to send email to people with whom you want to share the calendar.

Click the Finish button.

Now other Vista users can share your calendar in their own Calendar application, or others can access it on the Web if you published to a web site.

Vista Remote Desktop provides a new layer of security

Remote Desktop, the mini version of Terminal Services built into Windows XP and now, Windows Vista, is a great convenience for those who want to use the desktop of another computer on the network without physically going to that machine. But security has always been a concern, especially when using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) over the Internet. Windows Vista supports a new feature, Network Level Authentication, for RDP connections. This adds security by authenticating users before establishing the full Remote Desktop session. Read more here.

Vista helps you keep data in sync

One of the new features in Vista is the Sync Center, which provides you with a centralized place for synchronizing with network folder, mobile devices like your Pocket PC, flash memory cards, and other compatible applications. You get to the Sync Center by clicking Start | All Programs | Accessories | Sync Center. Here you can set up and manage synchronization partnerships. You can schedule automatic synchronization (every day, every week, every month, whenever you log onto the computer, etc.). When the Sync tool performs a synchronization, it checks the copies of the files in both locations of the partnership and updates them so that they match. You can read more about it here.

The missing Run box

Last week we reported that the Run box is now hiding in the Programs | Accessories menu. What we didn't say (and thanks to David U. for pointing it out) is that you can also use the Search box in the Start menu to run programs, rendering the old Run box no longer necessary. Another alternative, pointed out by Lloyd M., is to use the Windows Key + R keyboard shortcut.