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Editing photos in Vista
Vista includes many photo editing tools in the OS. The Windows Photo Gallery is a replacement for the old Windows Picture and Fax Viewer in XP, and it allows you to directly import digital photos from your camera , CD, flash card, etc. When you import the pictures, you can have them automatically rotated to the correct orientation. That’s a cool feature if you take lots of pictures with the camera held vertically. You can even select to delete the photos from the camera after they’ve been transferred so you don’t have to do it manually. There are basic editing functions such as adjustment of exposure and color, cropping, and automatic red eye fix. Find out more about Photo Gallery here.

How to create a shortcut to quickly lock your XP or Vista computer
It’s a good idea to lock your desktop if you’re going to be away from the computer for a while and there are others around and you don’t want them to use your account. You can do so by pressing the key combo Windows Key + L (with Fast User Switching disabled), but what if you’re using a keyboard that doesn’t have the Windows key? Then you can create a shortcut to put on your desktop or Quick Launch bar and simply click it to lock the desktop. This works in both XP and Vista:

  1. Right click an empty area of the desktop and select New Shortcut.
  2. Enter the following location for the shortcut: %windir%System32rundll32.exe user32.dll, LockWorkStation
  3. Name the shortcut “Lock” or something similar.

Now when you click the shortcut, the desktop is locked and you must press CTRL+ALT+DEL and enter your username and password to unlock it.

Beware fake greeting cards
There are several web sites through which you can send a virtual birthday, anniversary or other greeting card to a friend. It’s a nice gesture; you construct the card, create a message to go inside and enter the friend’s email address, and he/she is notified to pick up the card on the web site. I’ve received many in the past from friends of mine. Recently, though, phishers have begun to exploit this common feature, sending you fake cards with URLs that, when clicked on, will take you to a malicious site that attempts to steal information that can be used for identity theft. Even experienced Internet users are sometimes fooled; see the blog post here. Be very careful about picking up those cards now. One clue that a greeting card message isn’t legit: most of the real services give you, in the email notice, the name or email address of the sender. If the message just says “a friend sent you a card,” with no identifying info, proceed with caution.

Why is my password expiring?
I reinstalled XP Pro on my computer a month or so ago. Now I’m getting a message that my password will expire in 14 days. I know I never got those messages before the reinstall. I don’t want to change my password. Is there a way to stop it from expiring? Thanks! – Joel K.

ANSWER: By default XP Professional is set up for passwords to expire in 42 days. You start to get the warning 14 days prior to expiration. This is a security measure; changing your password regularly makes it less likely to be guessed or hacked, especially in a business environment. On a home computer, you may not need such a high level of security. Here’s how to stop your passwords from expiring:

  1. Click Start Run and type this in the Open box: control userpasswords2
  2. In the User Accounts dialog box, click the Advanced tab.
  3. Click the Advanced button under Advanced User Management.
  4. In the Local Users and Groups section, click Users.
  5. In the right pane, right click your user name.
  6. Click Properties and then click the General tab.
  7. Check the box labeled Password Never Expires.
  8. Click Apply and OK to close the dialog boxes.

Now you can keep the same password and it will never expire.

Deb Shinder