User Accounts: Maintenance and Screen Resolution

not2brightSeptember 21, 2012

I'm thinking of creating a second user account for my W7 desktop so that the other user can have her own account while I would have mine (with admin rights). That would allow me to password-protect mine (lots of things in Documents and my Outlook email that I'd like to keep from would-be hackers, etc.).

Two questions immediate entered my mind:

1) We may prefer using different screen resolutions. I already use Resolution Changer on occasion for that on the one shared account we have now, but it needs to be changed manually. I recently came across a site touting "Carroll" (see link below) for storing resolution settings on a per-user basis. Does anyone here know enough about this program to offer a review of reliability, safety, etc. ?

2) When I do maintenance on the computer (Avira AV scans, MBAM scans, defrag, chkdsk, etc.) will all those programs -- or any of them individually -- need to be done for each user account, or will running the scan in my own account cover the other one ?

Thanks for any comments ! :-)

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Gaaaaaa!!!! I forgot the link.

Here it is...

Here is a link that might be useful: Carroll

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 5:03PM
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It is recommended that the screen resolution on LCD monitors should not be changed from the default settings. (Never seen any comments suggesting what might happen if one does change the setting but...)

Anyway I presume a second user may have vision issues? Try the magnifier in Windows 7, maybe that will do the trick.

Click Start and without doing anything else type magnifier and a new screen appears with options. Click 'Start magnifier' and a small window appears where you can increase the size. Play a little and see what you think.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 7:54PM
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It is recommended that the screen resolution on LCD monitors should not be changed from the default settings. (Never seen any comments suggesting what might happen if one does change the setting but...)

I don't think it doesn't anything to the monitor (although I'm sure that someone will come along shortly and correct me...) What it does do is make everything look funky. I don't see the sense in paying for a monitor and then not using it's full potential. Kind of like buying a camera but not wanting to focus before taking a picture. ;-) I understand that the default font and icons in Windows might be a little difficult for some to see but there's ways to adjust that without touching the resolution.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 6:51AM
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Thanks for the comments. I have actually been through the resolution issue before (here at the forum, as it happens). So I'm not really concerned too much about that at the moment. I was simply mentioning it by way of background to the whole 'making another user account' thing. (Sorry for the confusion -- but I still appreciate the opinions !)

My main concern -- now that I've gone ahead and created a second user account -- is whether there's anything that needs to be done differently as far as AV, Anti-malware scans, defragging, etc. are concerned. Do I need to download & install a second version of these things for the new account ? If not, do I need to run AV and MBAM scans, etc. twice, once from within each account ? Or can I just run each scan once from within my own account (that has admin rights) ?

Thanks ! :-)

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 7:51AM
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Very interesting question, the way this article is written MSE scans all user accounts. Presumably others would do likewise.

I suppose a safe way to be sure when doing a manual scan is to run the scan as the administrator to be sure.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 10:45AM
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Have you ever heard the expression "No good will come of this"? You've got two users, and you're paranoid about restricting access to the other one? And you're worried about "hackers"?

Your next post will be "I can't get in to a password protected doc file", or, "I can't access something mistakenly put into the other user account".

Restricted and separate user accounts on a PC are often troublesome and lead to unnecessary problems. The easiest solution is to get another PC. If you're worried about file access, put your precious files on a thumb drive and keep it in your pocket. Email accounts, use web access and a unique password. The simplest approach is always the best approach.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 1:45PM
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LOL @snidely

You may be right ! ;-)

OTOH, since multiple user accounts (with the option of password protection) are a part of my W7 system, I figure they were put there to be used when the occasion arose -- and this might be a fitting one.

Btw, the goal here is not to restrict access by the other user, but to make it easier for her to access her account (for her modest web activities) w/o requiring her to enter a password every time she logs on. Only I will have to do that, and it won't be that inconvenient for me, but it would be for her.

Getting another PC is not financially feasible for us. But the thumb drive suggestion is a good one. I'll think about it.

Also, webmail accounts are usually the very ones that are hacked and compromised, no ? Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, etc. Not only are email addresses stolen thereby (via the contact list or from the emails directly), but the more malevolent hackers also delete important and personal emails -- sometimes all of them -- just for fun. "web access and a unique password" are not necessarily enough (think: Mat Honan). By keeping all my contacts' addresses strictly offline and my emails likewise -- and backing them up using MailStore) -- any hacker of my online accounts will find nothing usable except my own email address(es).

In any case, I appreciate the alternative perspective. :-)

To owbist,

Thanks for the comment. I also found this page below where (assuming the information is correct) MBAM also scans over all accounts. :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: WindowsClub-MBAM

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 7:16PM
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Bright, don't take that thread as gospel.

I say that because I found a Malwarbytes site touting the pro version and it specifically said it protected all user accounts. As you obviously realise all these companies have to offer better incentives to get us to actually part with cash for the pro versions.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 9:32PM
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I understand. At the same time, I noticed that the person responding to the question in that thread was Corrine (from LandsDown) ! And her comments were regarding MBAM and Super Anti-Spyware, so I figured, since she didn't clarify that it was only true of the premium versions, that she was referring to the free versions in her response.

Anyway, thanks for the caveat ! :-)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 7:43AM
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A windows password is like a latch on a window. It'll keep honest people honest, but anyone wishing entry can easily enter. Free software can crack Windows passwords in less than 60 seconds.

Unless you take your machine out in public a lot and fear leaving it somewhere, having a password is really not accomplishing anything. If the preceding sentence is true, you protect yourself better by keeping any personal info off the PC. With your use of passwords, you're inconveniencing yourself much more than a would-be hacker.

All email systems in common use are "webmail" unless you're talking about a private system that requires VPN access. All are subject to unauthorized or malicious intrusion

An email address is as public as a street address. I promise you, no one is desperate to get your Aunt Helen's email address. Any user of email should understand that their account is subject to invasion, subject to compromise, and as such, is subject to being abandoned in favor of a new account. Unauthorized entry is highly unlikely to cause you any harm besides annoyance and slight inconvenience.

Do you back up your telephone conversations too? I'm sure you don't, so why would you back up emails?

Just trying to offer a balanced view, I think you make things more difficult for yourself than is necessary. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 12:55PM
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Hi, snidely,

I appreciate the continued food for thought re: my Windows user account password situation. :-) :-)

OTOH, I'm not sure your comments reflect the conventional wisdom (at least in the online articles I've been reading, as I try to keep an open mind about these things):

1. Just because "anyone wishing entry can easily enter" doesn't mean one should make it easy for the attackers.

"Anyone wishing entry can easily enter" your home and/or car as well. Are you saying you yourself, therefore, never lock your car doors or the door and windows of your home ? Are you saying your email account password is "password" ?

Most people say, "Make it as hard as possible for the hackers to get at your information." I tend to agree.

2. You're right -- I don't back up my phone conversations. But not backing up emails goes against just about everything I've ever read on basic email safety/security.

We all have emails that we would surely not miss if they were gone for good. Apparently, none of yours is very important. You may be one of those "read and delete" types of email readers. That's fine. (In fact, that's the way I am with my RSS feeds.)

But... many other people have important information in email messages, in saved online files, etc. That's why such online services as Google, Hotmail/Skydrive, etc. have such large storage to begin with, no ?.... So that people can keep things they want/need to keep. And the email companies themselves back up your email as a precaution and advise users to do the same (via forwarding to second account, using offline client, etc.).

3. I'm not so much concerned about someone getting by Aunt Helen's email address as I am someone hacking into my account and using my email address to send something to her (virus, porn, phishing email, etc.). If my contacts see a message coming from me (or presumably so), they're more likely to open it. That could spell trouble. Again, it's a matter of basic precautions against stuff we don't want to deal with. And that's another reason why I'm moving in the direction of having all my contacts/emails offline.... so that anyone getting into my online webmail account/interface will find nothing there to work with: no contact addresses, no emails stored, no online files, etc. Everything will be offline and backed up further on CD.

4. I'm not so sure the myriads of people who have had their email accounts compromised, emails deleted, contacts bombarded with spam, porn, virus-laden emails, etc. -- and many of whom have written about the nightmare of trying to recover the account -- and the emails) -- would call it all a "slight inconvenience." Again, Mat Honan's recent experience is frightening, and so are the stories of many others.

Anyway, I truly appreciate your perspective. I always want to hear the different sides of an issue so I know I'm not missing an 'angle' on whatever I'm thinking about. :-)

Btw.... how did you know I have an Aunt Helen ? ;-)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 4:17PM
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nottobright, I agree with you. I don't see how a unique password can be broken easily if they don't make sense to anyone or anything, even if they do it is not the end of the world. Do what you want to do and enjoy it. I added an account for my granddaughter with one condition, I have her password. She didn't mind because she wasn't doing anything she wanted to hide. She felt special to have an account of her own. If she had said no I wouldn't have wanted her to have an account.

When I tell my neighbors about my attempts at not being a victim of a burglary, some just shrug and tell me "if they want in they get in". I tell them I have safe guards set up and my outside lights on at night and why would they break in my well lit home instead of going to your very dark house.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 5:57PM
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How did I know about your Aunt Helen. Why, I've hacked into your email, that how!

"Online articles" represent opinions, and on this, I'm not aware of any consensus. There are too many opinions and too much useless nonsense on the internet pretending to be something more than the drivel it is. Be skeptical about what you read or, better yet, consider it entertainment rather than information.

Comments to your numbers, using same numbers

1. You don't need to make it easy, IT IS EASY unless you physically keep your PC locked in a safe. Yes, anyone can enter my car or home anytime, and for that reason I don't leave anything valuable in them and I assume at any time anything is subject to "misappropriation". I do lock them, so that anyone trying to enter will need to make noise or take some time, that's a deterrent. I suggest you keep your priceless jewels in a safe deposit box, keep a back up of important files there too, and otherwise, move on.

2. Ignore what you've read. If you have something irreplaceable in an email, it should be kept somewhere else. How many priceless emails do you have kept, 20 or 200 or 2000? I hope you know that third party sites are often targets for hackers, and such attacks are often a source of disclosure of confidential information. Personally, I'd never back up anything important to a random website. I trust a physical drive or disk I can control much more.

3. When a hacker penetrates an email site, it's often done by a bot. Emails then sent to contact lists are impossible to mistake for the real thing, everyone laughs about it, and the "victim" simply opens a new account. What information could you possibly have in your email files that would cause you to so obsess about it?

4. I don't know who or what Homan is, but again, the consequence of invaded email accounts that I've seen is that one or two nonsensical messages get sent out, and then life goes on.

I checked with Aunt Helen, she approves this message.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 6:30PM
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Would someone please explain to me why emails are so important. If you don't want anyone to see it, read it delete it. If it is important print it off. The only reason I can think of for being upset if someone sees them is if they are love letters, or spy information. LOL

I clean out my email folders every month, every thing goes.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 7:31PM
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Thanks for the additional input, snidely. :-)

Re: Honan -- see here for StartPage's search results and here for Honan's initial revelation on the matter.

The above search results page also has follow-up articles on how he was able to recover some of the data lost. Lots of techy sites were talking about this.

Also, you said, "Personally, I'd never back up anything important to a random website. I trust a physical drive or disk I can control much more."

Ah, so then you do back some things up somewhere !! ;-) I was getting the impression that you "read-and-delete" everything and that, as a result, your computer has a 1GB hard-drive. :-D

Anyway, I, too, tend to trust something I can control more, which is precisely what motivated my initial actions of moving important stuff offline and doing what little bit I can to protect it (password protection and all).


Here's an interesting blogpost -- just for fun -- from the Windows Team (Hotmail) on types of email users (it goes on to discuss how Hotmail was designed to accommodate them).

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 3:59PM
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I glanced at but didn't read your link, it seems to be a good example of what I was saying, most things one finds on the internet should be ignored. These "events" are over-publicized, never more so than when the victim is a journalist. A similar experience could happen to you, but it's most unlikely.

People have died from being struck by falling plane parts or meteorites. Do you go outside wearing a helmet and body armor? No, because of the very low probability. You accept the risk and move on. If you use common sense and the right tools for your internet use (which for some reason many of the visitors to this forum seem not to do), you can do the same, accept the risk and move on.

My own recent experience - I can't remember the last time anyone told me about having an email intrusion. Except for one person I know, who's had three different email accounts hacked this year. You could look at her experience and conclude that mail invasions are a constant threat, I look at it and suspect that it's her own fault, likely because of her habits and practices.

I have backups of files I wouldn't want to be without; I consider a drive failure to be the most likely risk. I back up things like photos + videos, a limited number of doc and spreadsheet files, etc. I positively don't backup mail files, what would be the purpose? If something in an email is important (which is rarely the case), I move it off of mail and into the folders that get backed up. Then all mail can be deleted.

Do what makes you comfortable but shake off the unnecessary paranoia. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 5:37PM
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