Chapter 17. Accounts, Permissions, and Logging On

For years, teachers, parents, tech directors, and computer lab instructors struggled to answer a difficult question: How do you rig one PC so that several different people can use it throughout the day, without interfering with each others’ files and settings? And how do you protect a PC from getting fouled up by mischievous (or bumbling) students and employees?

Introducing User Accounts

Like the Windows 2000 under its skin, Windows XP is designed from the ground up to be a multiple-user operating system. On a Windows XP machine, anyone who uses the computer must log on—click (or type) your name and type in a password—when the computer turns on. And upon doing so, you discover the Windows universe just as you left it, including these elements:

  • Desktop. Each person sees his own shortcut icons, folder icons, and other stuff left out on the desktop.

  • Start menu. If you reorganize the Start menu, as described in Chapter 1, you won’t confuse anybody else who uses the machine. No one else can even see the changes you make.

  • My Documents folder. Each person sees only her own stuff in the My Documents folder.

  • Email. Windows XP maintains a separate stash of email messages for each account holder—along with separate Web bookmarks, a Windows Messenger contact list, and other online details.

  • Favorites folder. Any Web sites, folders, or other icons you’ve designated as Favorites appear in your Favorites menu, and nobody else’s

  • Internet cache. ...

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