April/May/June/July 2002 Windows Assistance
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True Size Of Directory July 5 , 2002
Folder Properties
Properties page for Folders.

You want to burn your data to a CD but the data is in many sub-directories. Since Windows Explorer only gives the size of the current directory you have no idea of the true size of the directory and it's sub-directories. Or do you? To find out the true size of a directory which includes all sub-directories just right-click the directory and select Properties (yes, the big tip again.) Select the General tab. There are two items for size. Size and Size on Disk. We have no idea what the difference is. Do you? To be on the safe side we use the larger of the two when determining size when we are coping data to a CD.

Help with Passwords May 19 , 2002

I know the Windows Help System gets no respect. BUT. Ignoring Help will only leave you less informed. An example is Passwords.

Start Help. Enter password and click the Arrow or press Enter key. With Windows XP you will get 15 Suggested Topics and 15 Full-text search matches. Click on the Bar for Full-text Search Matches. One of the choices is Best Practices. Click Best Practices. Read.

Enforce Password Complexity Rules May 17 , 2002

We've now discussed two of the three primary ways to enfore password security. 1 - Password Age Limits. 2 - Password History.

The third method is to use complexity rules when creating passwords.

If this policy is enabled, passwords must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Not contain all or part of the user's account name
  • Be at least six characters in length
  • Contain characters from three of the following four categories:
    • English uppercase characters (A through Z)
    • English lowercase characters (a through z)
    • Base 10 digits (0 through 9)
    • Nonalphanumeric characters (e.g., !, $, #, %)

Complexity requirements are enforced when passwords are changed or created.

Like the previous two password policy rules this rule is located at: All Programs >> Accessories >> Administrative Tools >> Local Security Policy. Under Account Policy select Password Policy.

Prevent the Use of Old Passwords May 15 , 2002

One habit we all have is using one password over and over again. That may be fine for a stand-alone workstation but can cause security problems with workstations tied to a network. One solution is to require users to change their password on a regular basis. Another solution is to prevent users from using an old password. This is referred to as Enforcing password history.

Keeping a password history forces users to use new passwords before reusing a previously used password.

Tthe setting is found in the same location as our previous tips location. All Programs >> Accessories >> Administrative Tools >> Local Security Policy. Under Account Policy select Password Policy.

Let Passwords Last Forever May 8 , 2002
Local Security Policy window
Maximum Password Age Property

When you install Windows XP the default length of time a password last before it has to be changed is 42 days. You can change this to never (0 days) or to whatever you want.

From the Start button select: All Programs >> Accessories >> Administrative Tools >> Local Security Policy. Under Account Policy select Password Policy. In the right-panel select the item you want to change, such as password age, and press Enter button.

XP's Super-Annoyances May 6 , 2002
PC World Magazine has some fixes to some of the more annoying habits of the Windows XP. Those default settings that put our nerves on edge. Take a look.
Security Basics April 18, 2002

PC911, a site we've discussed several time in the past, has just released an updated version of its how-to article on "Securing Windows."

That's primarily for Windows 2000 and XP, but there's other info in the general "Safe computing" section of the site that's also applies more broadly. Check it out!

Security Analyzer April 12, 2002

Security should be priority number one. Make sure your system is secure and you have all the security bulletins are installed. To assist in this Microsoft has released version one of it's Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA), that allows an individual home or corporate user or an administrator to scan one or more Windows-based computers for common security misconfigurations. Version 1.0 of MBSA includes a graphical and command line interface that can perform local or remote scans of Windows systems. MBSA runs on Windows 2000 and Windows XP systems and will scan for missing hotfixes and vulnerabilities in the following products: Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Internet Information Server (IIS) 4.0 and 5.0, SQL Server 7.0 and 2000, Internet Explorer (IE) 5.01 and later, and Office 2000 and XP.

Read the knowledge base article and download anaylzer from here.

WordPad Template April 3, 2002

There is no tip today. We had planned on showing how to use read-only files as templates for programs like Wordpad. The first step was to create a RTF (Rich Text Format) file as a basic template for Wordpad. We then needed to set Wordpad as the default program for RTF files. Here's where the problems start. We could set RTF to open in Wordpad but now Wordpad claims it can't find the file we are trying to open. Claims the name or path for the file is in error. It all worked fine before we changed the setting for RTFs. Is this Microsoft tweaking our butts because we aren't using Word to edit RTF files? We will see.

Found the problem. When you are changing the program in the Filetype section for RTF Microsft normally sets up the quotes. It even add the %1. This time if failed to add the quotes for %1. Extra quotes were required. Here is the correct version: "C:\Program Files\Windows NT\Accessories\WORDPAD.EXE" "%1". Microsoft left off the quotes for the %1.

Now whenever you open a RTF file it will open in Wordpad. Next tip - create the Wordpad template.

View Attributes April 1, 2002

Windows Explorer you can only view file attributes using the Details view or by selecting Properties for the file or folder.

To select the Details view go to the View menu and select Details. To view Properties for a file or folder go to the File menu and select Properties or right-click the mouse and select Properties. If Attributes is not one of the view columns then from the View menu select Choose Details and check the box next to Attributes. Use the Move Up and Move Down buttons to change the column postions in the View.

You cannot view Attributes in any other view in Windows Explorer. Go figure.

Correction: You can see the file or folder attributes in the Details section of the Taskbar.

March 2002