Windows nightmare is easy to fix
Q. I am new to computers and I have big problems. I've messed up my computer's monitor display settings until the box you use to change properties is huge and disappears off the bottom of the screen. It happened after I clicked on a choice called 3-D by mistake. The box where I need to repair this is so large that I cannot see the OK button at the bottom after I make the fix.
A. You're facing one of the nightmares of the Windows operating system that is very scary but also easy to fix.
Many folks get in trouble when they put the mouse arrow on the desktop and give a right-click to bring up the link to the Properties tool panel that handles stuff like screen resolution, colors displayed, speed of the video card, size of icons and much else.
Usually the problem hits when the user goes to the tab called Settings and changes the resolution so it is far smaller than the monitor can display. The result is that all the windows become too large to show on the monitor screen.
You need to know that since you can see the top of the Properties box, you can fix it by giving a right-click at the top and then selecting the Move command this summons. With this selected, you can move the window up and down and back and forth using the cursor arrow keys. Punch the up arrow until that OK button appears and give it a click. If you cannot see the top of the display you can still activate the Move command by tapping Shift + Control + M (as in Move).
Now you can fix the problem by changing the settings your miscue ordered in the first place. Look for the slider bar in the center of the Settings tab in Properties. Use the mouse to drag it to the right until the resolution is at least 1,024 by 768. That will return the display to where everything fits the monitor.
Q. At my sign-on screen, how can I hide my own user name if I have a guest come and ask to sign on under "Guest" to check their mail? I like to have a place to hide from the world. Sometimes I play games there and do research. And guess what? Since I never communicate with anyone there, I have yet to get any mail there. Isn't that neat?
A. Computer users everywhere, from the worst of seasoned hackers right down to first-timers, share your wish for invisibility while logged on to Windows XP.
First I'll show you an easy way to do this by downloading software from Microsoft called TweakUI. Then I'll describe how to do what you want by changing the Windows registry.
TweakUI is intended for slightly advanced users and includes dozens of ways to change various aspects of Windows. One is to set up the computer so that it boots up without displaying the Welcome screen where a Guest logs on. With this Auto login tweak running you still can tap the L key plus the Windows logo key (lower left between Ctrl and Alt) to call up the Guest account.
To download TweakUI point your browser to www.microsoft. com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys /xppowertoys.mspx.
Microsoft has strict rules about TweakUI and other "Power Toys" and warns users that the company does not support this software.
Another way to hide a user's name is to do a tweak of your own to the sensitive Windows registry files -- but first you've got to make a registry backup. Click on Start and then select Run and type in regedit followed by Enter. In the registry editor this opens, click on File and then pick Export. You can later restore the registry by clicking the exported file's icon.
Now you need to dig into the registry to the following spot:
HKEY--LOCAL--MACHINE 1/4 Software 1/4Microsoft 1/4Windows NT 1/4 CurrentVersion 1/4Winlogon 1/4 SpecialAccounts 1/4UserList 1/4.
Put the cursor at the end of the list and give a right-click and pick New and then Dword from the pop-up menu this summons. In the blank line this creates at the end of the list you need to type in your exact user name. Click the new entry and put a 0 in for a value. This tells the computer not to display your user name.
When set up this way, with just one user account and a guest account, you can let a visitor press Windows logo plus Shift to get the Guest link. When the guest logs off, your computer will return to your invisible account.
Keep in mind that this works only if you have one user and a Guest account. If you have more than one user name, the only way to restore your hidden account is to backtrack and redo the regedit and change the value to 1.
I'll bet you'll agree with me that even invisibility isn't worth that kind of bother.
Knight Ridder Newspapers