Question: In your column last week you answered a question about removing the password request in Windows. I followed your instructions and the password request still comes up. Did I do something wrong?
--Paula R., Encino
Answer: No, most likely not. There are three areas where you can set your computer to ask for a password. First, the CMOS setup has a place to establish a password that must be entered before you can compete the boot-up process. This is called a "hardware" password. When your computer first starts, a message is displayed on your screen that tells you how to enter the CMOS or setup file, e.g. "press the del key to enter setup." Once in setup you can add, change or remove a hardware password.
The other two areas in which passwords can be established are the Windows password and the User Profile password. Windows will no longer ask you for a password after you open Passwords in Control Panel and change your password to a blank by pressing the Enter key for the new password.
The third and final way to turn passwords on and off involves User Profiles. When you open Passwords from within Control Panel you will see two tabs. The Change Password tab controls the Welcome to Windows password, and the User Profiles tab controls passwords for each user profile.
On the User Profile tab select "All users of this computer use the same preferences and desktop settings," and Windows will no longer ask you for your user profile password. If your computer is part of a network, your network administrator can help you with password problems.
Q: I often send Microsoft Word and Excel files as attachments to e-mails. Several of the companies I work with will not open any e-mail attachment because of virus fears. How can I send a document in an e-mail message without having to make an attachment out of it?
--Larry E., San Dimas
A: You have a couple of choices here. First, you can highlight the entire document (CTRL + A). Click on Edit and then on Copy. Open a new e-mail message. Place the cursor where you want the document to start, click on Edit and then on Paste. You also can use CTRL + C to copy and CTRL + V to paste. If you use any Microsoft Office Application, you can send the document you're working on directly as an e-mail message.
From within a document, spreadsheet, etc., click on File and then on Mail Recipient. Windows will open a dialog box so you can address the e-mail and include a cc: if needed. You can open your Outlook address book from there if you need to find an e-mail address. Click on Send a Copy and select Send As Unicode (your recipient must be using an e-mail program that supports Unicode) or Send As Is (send using the default text. Text that is not in the default format may be unreadable by the recipient).
Hard Drive Scrubber
Q: I plan to donate a few computers that are no longer used in my business. I'm concerned about sensitive data on the hard drives. Is there a way to remove all of the hard drive data so it can't be recovered?
--Chris D., Costa Mesa
A: When you delete (erase) a file from your hard drive, Windows deletes the first letter of the file name. That file is still recoverable as long as a new file doesn't overwrite the vacant hard drive space created by the deleted. Data recovery experts can even retrieve information from a hard drive that has been reformatted. There is a new product available called Data Eraser by a company named Ontrack. Data Eraser not only reformats your hard drive, it writes a series of characters in patterns over the entire surface of the hard drive. Once that process takes place, your original data is gone forever. Data Eraser is available as a download for $29.95 at www.ontrack.com. Ontrack also makes a product called Internet Cleanup that removes any trace of where you've been and what you looked at in any Internet session. It deletes History, Cookies and Cache information. It sells for $24.95.
Q: I use both MSN and AT&T Worldnet to connect to the Internet. How can I use each one without having to change the default settings each time I go on the Internet?
--Arnold G., Santa Monica
A: If you have to change settings to connect to either MSN or AT&T Worldnet you must be connecting to the Internet through your browser, e.g., Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. You can easily solve this problem by creating two dial-up networking accounts in Windows, one for each of your Internet service providers. Here's how to do it.
Double-click on My Computer and then on Dial-up Networking. Double-click on Make New Connection. Type in a name for this connection, e.g., MSN Connection, and then click on the Configure button under the window that describes your modem. At the bottom of that window, change the modem speed from the default setting of 115,200 to 57,600. The faster setting sometimes causes your modem to have difficulty maintaining a connection. Now click OK.