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Vista: Don’t let users write to removable media
USB flash memory drives can be a great convenience – but they can also pose a security threat. It’s awfully easy for someone to download data to one and make off with it. And if there’s a CD or DVD burner installed, that’s another way someone can take away data. Yet another option is to download data to an MP3 player or cell phone. Vista gives you a way to block the use of these devices through Group Policy. You can allow people to read data on their devices but not write to them, or you can block the use of the devices altogether. To find out how, see my blog post of February 11 titled “Block Removable Storage Access with Vista Group Policy” here.

How to enable print job notifications in XP
If you share printers on your home network, all the computers that use a printer may not be in the same room as the printer. It would be nice to know when your document has been printed. You can enable print job notification so users will know when their jobs have been printed. Here’s how:

  1. Click Start and then click Printers and Faxes.
  2. Click File and select Server Properties.
  3. Click the Advanced tab.
  4. Select “Show informational notifications for network printers.”
  5. Click OK.

Why partition disks, anyway?
Having a hard disk divided into more than one partition is important if you want to dual boot two or more operating systems (for example, XP and Vista). You can’t install them on the same partition without creating a lot of headaches, so you need to either have the disk partitioned or have more than one physical disk installed in the computer.

But even if you don’t dual boot, having multiple partitions allows you to install your operating system on one partition and your data on another. Then if you need to reformat and reinstall the OS, you don’t wipe out the data by doing so.

In addition, having more smaller partitions instead of one huge one can increase performance by effectively reducing access time to the disk. For an explanation of how that works, click here.

Slow performance when you use the Favorites menu in XP SP2
If you get slow performance on your Windows XP Service Pack 2 computer when you use the Favorites menu in Internet Explorer or Windows Explorer, it may be because you’ve redirected the My Documents folder to a network location and the desktop.ini cache is enabled. There’s a hotfix available to fix the problem. To find out how to get it, see KB article 898612.

Damaged profile causes problems in XP

If your user profile becomes damaged, Windows XP will create a new profile for ou. However, you may find that your My Documents folder is empty and the settings for your Outlook, IE and Passport accounts have to be reconfigured. Luckily, your documents are probably still on the hard drive. To find out how to get things back to normal, see KB article 326688.

You can’t install XP Pro and Home to separate folders or partitions
If you try to install XP Pro (or Vista) in a dual boot configuration with an existing installation of XP Home, you may find that you aren’t prompted for a location to install the second operating system. Instead, Setup wants to install in the same folder where Home Edition is installed. This happens because you’re using Express Setup. To install to a different location, you need to use Advanced Setup. For instructions on how to do that, see KB article 283236.

Deb Shinder, Microsoft MVP