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Keep computer users from running Windows Messenger in XP or Vista
Do you have a computer that you share with others (for example, your children) and don’t want them to be able to use Windows Messenger? There are third party programs you can buy to control the running of certain programs, but there’s an easier and cheaper way to disable Messenger in XP or Vista, using Group Policy.

  1. Log on as an administrator.
  2. Click Start | Run.
  3. In the Run box, type gpedit.msc to open the Group Policy editor. In Vista, you will be prompted to continue. Click the Continue button.
  4. In the left pane, under Local Computer Policy | Computer Configuration, expand Administrative Templates and then Windows Components.
  5. Double click Windows Messenger.
  6. In the right pane, double click the policy “Do not allow Windows Messenger to be run.”
  7. Click the Enabled option.

Note that Remote Assistance will not be able to use Windows Messenger when you disable it this way.

Security at Home
If you find that most of the computer security information you find on the web seems to be focused on businesses, visit Microsoft’s Security at Home web site for articles and tips aimed at home computer users, including ways to protect children from the dangers of social networking web sites, how to create stronger passwords, and how to use controls built into Vista, Xbox and other products to control kids’ Internet use. Check back often for new information.

What’s going on with my Vista display?
QUESTION: I’ve upgraded to Vista Ultimate and I love it – BUT … sometimes after the computer has been running for a long time, I suddenly start having weird display problems, where parts of the screen go black or become transparent or the toolbar disappears or moves to a different location. Not good! Can you help? – Jon. J.

ANSWER: If it’s any consolation, you’re not the only one who’s had this problem. Logging off and logging back on should stop the bad behavior (for a while, at least), or you can stop and restart Windows Explorer. Here’s how:

  1. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL and select Task Manager.
  2. Click the Processes tab.
  3. Click explorer.exe to select it and click End Process, then confirm.
  4. Click the Applications tab.
  5. Click New Task and type explorer.exe in the Open box.
  6. Click OK to restart Explorer.

This can get old, though. There is an update you can download that should solve the problem.

Deb Shinder