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Microsoft® Windows® XP Step by Step, Deluxe Edition
Author Online Training Solutions, Inc.
Pages 464
Disk 1 Companion CD(s)
Level Intermediate
Published 10/09/2002
ISBN 9780735616318
Price $39.99
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Chapter 3: Managing Computer Security



Chapter 3  Managing Computer Security

After completing this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Change your computer's name.
  • Create, modify, and delete user accounts.
  • Set account passwords.
  • Represent accounts with pictures.
  • Set up Fast User Switching so that several people can be logged on simultaneously.
  • Analyze your computer's security settings.
  • Configure security zones.

In the old days, computers were isolated, and the only way to get information from one to another was to transfer it on a floppy disk. With the advent of networks, information transfer became easier, but so did the possibility that the information on a particular computer would be accessed inappropriately or even illegally from another computer. As networks have grown from small to large to huge, concerns about information security have also increased.

Most people think of security in terms of protecting against viruses and intruders, or hackers. Many commercial software packages that detect and treat computer viruses are available. Apart from the use of special software, the most common way of addressing security concerns in a networked computer environment has been through a system of user accounts and passwords. Microsoft Windows XP extends this account and password system to single stand-alone computers to allow more than one person to use the same machine. For example, if you manage your family's financial records on a home computer that is also used by your children to do their homework, you might want to set up separate accounts for your children so that they can't view or change the critical records you work with while logged on to your account.

The great thing about user accounts and passwords is that they help to keep your information private; that is, you can prevent other users from reading or altering your documents, pictures, music, and other files. You can choose to share files by placing them in a folder that is available to other users, but you don't have to. With Windows XP, each user can personalize his or her own working environment and have easy access to frequently used files and applications without worrying about other people making changes.

In this chapter, you will learn how to rename your computer and how to manage user accounts on Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home Edition computers.

The practice files for this chapter are located in the SBS\WindowsXP\Computer folder. (For details about installing the practice files, see "Using the Book's CD-ROM" at the beginning of this book.)

Changing Your Computer's Name

Every computer has a name. That might seem like something out of a science fiction story in which computers take over the world, but there is nothing sinister about it. Your computer was named during the Windows XP initial setup process. It might have been named after its user, after its make or model, or based on what it is most commonly used for (for example, Production); or it might have been given a whimsical name to give it some sort of personality.

In this exercise, you will locate and change your computer's name.

There are no practice files for this exercise.

Follow these steps:

  1. Log on to Windows, if you have not already done so.
  2. On the Start menu, click Control Panel.
  3. The Control Panel window opens:

    Click to view graphic
    Click to view graphic

  4. Click the Performance and Maintenance icon.
  5. The Performance and Maintenance window opens, looking something like this:

    Click to view graphic
    Click to view graphic

  6. Click the See basic information about your computer task.
  7. The System Properties dialog box appears:

    Click to view graphic
    Click to view graphic

  8. Click the Computer Name tab to display it:
  9. Click to view graphic
    Click to view graphic

    The names of your computer and, if applicable, your domain or workgroup are displayed in the center of the tab. If you are logged on to a domain, your computer name is represented as computer name.domain.

  10. Click Change to open the Computer Name Changes dialog box:
  11. Click to view graphic
    Click to view graphic

    Your current computer name is highlighted.

  12. Type your new computer name in the Computer name box, and click OK.
  13. If your computer is connected to a network domain, you will be prompted for the user account name and password of a network administrator who has permission to rename the computer in the domain.

  14. If you are prompted to do so, enter your user account name and password, and then click OK.
  15. When Windows XP says you must restart the computer for the changes to take effect, click OK.
  16. Click OK to close the System Properties dialog box, and then click Yes to restart your computer.
  17. Your computer now has a new name.

Working with User Accounts in Windows XP Professional

If your computer is part of a network, your network administrator must set up a user account or accounts for the computer to be able to access the network. User accounts can be established during the setup process or at any time from Control Panel.

If you have administrative privileges, you can create local computer user accounts that allow other people to access your computer. For example, you might want to create a local user account for a friend so that he or she can log on to your computer to check e-mail. Each user account belongs to a group with permissions to perform certain operations on the computer. The most common groups are:

  • Administrators, who have unrestricted access to the computer.
  • Power Users, who have most administrative capabilities but with some restrictions.
  • Users and Guests, who are restricted from making system-wide changes.
  • Backup Operators, who can override security restrictions for the purpose of backing up or restoring files.

Other groups are available for support personnel, network administrators, and remote users. There are also special groups that might be created when a computer is upgraded from other versions of Windows to Windows XP Professional. And finally, anyone assigned to the Administrators group can create custom groups.

In this exercise, you will create a local computer user account, change its privileges, and then delete it.

There is no working folder for this exercise, but you do need to know your computer's name.

Follow these steps:

  1. Log on to Windows, if you have not already done so.
  2. Click the Start button, and on the Start menu, click Control Panel.
  3. Control Panel appears, like this:

    Click to view graphic
    Click to view graphic

  4. In the Control Panel window, click the User Accounts icon to open the User Accounts dialog box.
  5. Click the Advanced tab.
  6. In the Advanced user management area, click Advanced to open the Local Users and Groups window.
  7. In the left pane of the Local Users and Groups window, click the Users folder to display a list of the current user names:
  8. Click to view graphic
    Click to view graphic

  9. On the Action menu, click New User to open the New User dialog box:
  10. Click to view graphic
    Click to view graphic

  11. In the User name box, type Joe.
  12. In the Full name box, type Joe the Dog.
  13. In the Description box, type Man's best friend.
  14. In the Password box, type Woof!.
  15. Type the password again in the Confirm password box.
  16. Ensure that the User must change password at next logon and the Account is disabled check boxes are cleared, and then click Create.
  17. The account is created, and the input screen is cleared.

  18. Click Close to return to the Local Users and Groups window.
  19. Joe has been added to the list of users, as shown here:

    Click to view graphic
    Click to view graphic

  20. In the right pane of the Local Users and Groups window, double- click Joe to open the Joe Properties dialog box.
  21. Click the Member Of tab.
  22. Joe is currently shown as a member of the Users group, the default group for new users.

  23. Click Cancel to close the Joe Properties dialog box.
  24. To add Joe to another group, click the Groups folder to display a list of the available groups in the left pane of the Local Users and Groups window:
  25. Click to view graphic
    Click to view graphic

  26. In the right pane of the Local Users and Groups window, double- click Power Users to open the Power Users Properties dialog box.
  27. Click Add.
  28. If you are connected to a network domain, click the Locations button, click your computer name, and click OK.
  29. In the Enter the object names to select box, type Joe, and click Check Names.
  30. The Select Users dialog box looks something like this:

    Click to view graphic
    Click to view graphic

    The name you typed is replaced by the computer name\user name combination.

  31. Click OK to add Joe to the Power Users group, and then click OK to close the Power Users Properties dialog box.
  32. Click the Close button to close the Local Users and Groups window, and click OK to close the User Accounts dialog box.
  33. On the Start menu, click Log Off, and then click Log Off in the Log Off Windows dialog box.
  34. You are logged off of Windows and returned to the logon security screen.

  35. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to access the Log On to Windows dialog box.
  36. In the User name box, type Joe.
  37. In the Password box, type Woof! (or the secure password you created in step 11).
  38. The characters of the password are displayed as dots as you type.

  39. Click the down arrow to the right of the Log on to box, and click your computer in the drop-down list.
  40. Click OK.
  41. Joe is now logged on to your computer, but not your network domain. The Start menu expands, with Joe's full name shown at the top:

    Click to view graphic
    Click to view graphic

    Because this is the first time that Joe has logged on to this computer, the desktop is in its default state.

  42. On the Start menu, click Log Off, and then click Log Off in the Log Off Windows dialog box to log Joe's account off of the computer. Then log back on as yourself, changing the Log on to setting to your domain if necessary.
  43. Now you'll change the group to which Joe is assigned again. Open Control Panel, and click the User Accounts icon to open the User Accounts dialog box:
  44. Click to view graphic
    Click to view graphic

  45. In the Users for this computer list, click Joe, and then click Properties to open the Joe Properties dialog box.
  46. On the Group Membership tab, click Other, and click Administrators in the drop-down list.
  47. Click OK to change Joe's group membership to Administrators.
  48. Now that you've completed this exercise, you don't need this account on your computer, so in the Users for this computer list, click Joe, and then click Remove.
  49. A message box warns you that Joe will no longer be able to use this computer.

  50. Click Yes.
  51. Joe is removed from the list of users.

  52. Click OK to close the User Accounts dialog box.
  53. Click the Close button to close Control Panel.

Working with User Accounts in Windows XP Home Edition

Windows XP Home Edition supports two levels of user privileges: computer administrator and limited. Users with computer administrator accounts have permission to do everything, including:

  • Create, change, and delete accounts.
  • Make system-wide changes.
  • Install and remove programs.
  • Access all files.

Users with limited accounts have permission to do things that affect only their own account, including:

  • Change or remove their password.
  • Change their user account picture.
  • Change their theme and desktop settings.
  • View files they created and files in the Shared Documents folder.

Each Windows XP Home Edition user account is represented on the logon screen by the user account name and also by a user account picture. Windows XP comes with 23 user account pictures, representing a variety of animals, sports, and interests. You can select the picture that most closely matches your personality or interests. If none of the default pictures is to your liking, you can add a picture you like better.

Graphics used as user account pictures can be bitmap (BMP) files, Graphic Interchange Format (GIF) files, Joint Photographic Expert Group (JPEG) files, or Portable Network Graphics (PNG) files. They can be any size, but they are always displayed at 48 pixels high by 48 pixels wide. If you decide to use a picture that does not have the same height and width, it will be stretched or compressed to fit within the user account picture area on the logon screen.

In this exercise, you will create a new user account with administrative privileges, change its privileges, create a password, and choose a custom graphic to represent the user. You will then delete the account.

The practice file for this exercise is located in the SBS\WindowsXP\Computer \ProfileHE folder. (For details about installing the practice files, see "Using the Book's CD-ROM" at the beginning of this book.)

Follow these steps:

  1. Log on to Windows, if you have not already done so.
  2. On the Start menu, click Control Panel.
  3. Click the User Accounts icon.
  4. The User Accounts window appears:

    Click to view graphic
    Click to view graphic

  5. Click Create a new account to open the Name the new account screen.
  6. You are prompted to enter a name for the new account.

  7. Type Joe, and then click Next to move to the Pick an account type screen.
  8. You are prompted to specify the account type.

  9. Select Computer administrator, and then click Create Account.
  10. Windows XP creates a new account called Joe, and assigns a user account picture to the account, which now appears at the bottom of the User Accounts window.

  11. Now you'll customize Joe's account. Click Joe.
  12. The options for changing Joe's account are displayed as shown here:

    Click to view graphic
    Click to view graphic

  13. Click Change the picture.
  14. You are prompted to select from the default pictures shown here:

    Click to view graphic
    Click to view graphic

  15. Click Browse for more pictures.
  16. In the Open window, click the down arrow to the right of the Look in box, and browse to SBS\WindowsXP\Computer\ProfileHE.
  17. Click the bitmap named joe, and then click Open.
  18. A picture of Joe (a puppy) is added to the available pictures; Joe's user account picture is changed, and then you are returned to the account options screen.

  19. Click Change the account type.
  20. On the Pick a new account type for Joe screen, click Limited, and then click Change Account Type.
  21. In the account options screen, the Limited account type is now indicated to the right of Joe's user account picture.

  22. Click Create a password.
  23. You are prompted to enter a password for Joe's account.

  24. In the Type a new password box, type BowWow!, and then press the Tab key to move to the next field.
  25. To ensure the secrecy of the password, the characters are displayed as dots as you type.

  26. In the Type the new password again to confirm box, retype BowWow!, and then press the Tab key to move to the next field.
  27. In the Type a word or phrase to use as a password hint box, type What does Joe say?.
  28. The screen now looks like this:

    Click to view graphic
    Click to view graphic

  29. Click Create Password to save the password as part of Joe's user account profile and return to the account options screen.
  30. The Password protected status of Joe's account is now indicated to the right of his user account picture.

  31. Now you'll delete Joe's account. Click Delete the account.
  32. You are asked whether you want to keep or delete any files that Joe might have created on the desktop or in the My Documents folder.

  33. Joe has not created any files that you care about, so click Delete Files, and then click Delete Account to delete Joe's account and return to the main User Accounts screen.
  34. Joe's account no longer appears among the active accounts.

  35. Click the Close button to close the User Accounts window, and then close Control Panel.


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Last Updated: September 18, 2002
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