Stories by Brian Livingston

Easy Way to Secure Windows 9x/2000, NT Machine

Anders Gustafsson of the Aaland Islands, Finland, writes that there's a quick and easy way to lock a Microsoft Corp. Windows 9x/2000 or Windows NT machine to password-protect it when you walk away.

Let's Talk About Me

Among the most highly touted new features of Windows Me is a "roll back" utility called System Restore. This program runs silently in the background, saving a "snapshot" of important system and program files every 10 running hours, or at least once per day.

Service Pack 1 for Windows 2000 Stops Useful Trick

Many of my readers are using Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000, or thinking of upgrading to it. For these pioneers, I wrote in my Aug. 14 column that Windows 2000's recommended new Service Pack 1 has one significant glitch: SP1 disables network and Internet access if you're using a personal firewall product, such as ZoneAlarm or BlackICE, with security set on "High."

Window Manager: More Tips from Readers

In my July 3 column, I described a number of little-known switches that control the objects that Microsoft Corp. Windows Explorer focuses on when opened. For example, you can make Explorer open with your Windows folder highlighted instead of the root of C: (as in Windows 98) or the My Documents folder (as in Windows 2000).

Window Manager

When this column is published, I'll be in Yokohama, Japan, covering the board meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Window Manager

I've received several messages from readers lately asking me about Windows Explorer. Almost every Windows user eventually needs to use Explorer to manage files. But Microsoft Corp. makes it very hard for people to find out how to configure the thing the way they want it.

Window Manager

My columns of the last few weeks have inspired readers to send a number of comments. I'm trying to print as many of the best ones as I can. Here's another installment of tricks from my readers' kit bags.

The Best New Tips for Windows 2000

It won't be too many more weeks now before we can all buy Windows Millennium Edition (ME). Meanwhile, my readers have sent in several good tips to help you get the most out of Windows 98 and Windows 2000 while they're still the latest, greatest things.

Window Manager

A programmer renowned for showing how Internet Explorer (IE) could be removed from Microsoft Corp. Windows 98 has topped himself. Shane Brooks' new product, 98Lite III, lets you remove almost any part of Windows you don't want.

Suspecting Microsoft's Kerberos Change

Last week, I mentioned in passing that Microsoft Corp. had included in Windows 2000 a nonstandard version of the Kerberos security protocol. This subject bears a little more explanation.

Window Manager

For such smart guys, Microsoft Corp.'s top executives sometimes act incredibly dumb. While federal and state officials were meeting to agree on a proposal to penalize Microsoft for its antitrust violations, Chairman Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer loudly proclaimed in the press that the company had no reason to change any of its business practices. Ballmer told editors of The Washington Post, for example, "We behaved in every instance with super integrity."

How to Speed up Windows NT & other Tricks

This week, I report on some tips that readers have sent in response to previous columns. I wrote a series about "Windows arthritis" in three columns published on June 21, June 28 and July 5, 1999 (see This is a problem in which Windows 9x appears to become slower and slower as it's used over a period of several months.

Window Manager

I've written recently about security risks for Microsoft Corp. Windows users when connected to the Internet. Reader Eric Pogroski points to a feature of Windows 2000 that can help. You can shut off your "always-on" Net connection when not in use. Along with hardware and software firewalls, this makes you invisible to hackers. In Win2000's Explorer, right-click the My Network Places icon, then select Properties. Right-click Local Area Connection, then click Disable. To connect again, repeat these steps, but click Enable. Does anyone have a screen-saver to do this automatically after a period of inactivity?