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CNET Membership newsletter August 27, 2004 


The 5 that matter

Dear CNET members:
As the parent of a two-year-old, I will eventually be faced with a situation similar to Debbie's concerning her kids' computer use. While this week I received a variety of suggestions on disciplinary actions for children on computers, I thought it best to stick with a solution from a technical standpoint and leave parenting to the parents. However, since there were so many interesting submissions this week, I included not only the winning answer by Al C. and honorable mentions to follow, but also a couple of additional sections from our members, which range from software application recommendations to advice on how to deal with your children. It's all interesting stuff, so definitely check them out and chime in with your two cents. Thanks for all the great submissions!

1I was wondering if someone could help me set my computer up so that my kids can use it but cannot download or install anything without my permission. I have caught my son installing Kazaa (with viruses coming with it!), using it, then uninstalling it before I got home. I hate to punish my other children by having to leave my computer off all day.

--Submitted by: Debbie B.


The easiest and most straightforward answer to PC Security is to install Windows XP and use the NTFS option for your file system. This gives you the potential of industrial-strength security. Most earlier versions of Windows for the home simply did not have the notion of security built into them except for screensaver passwords and the ability to segregate users in Outlook Express. They assumed that if the user had access to the PC, the user was entitled to do anything at all.

Security is so central to Windows XP that what you want to accomplish comes built in. Once you have added each member of the family as a limited user, they won't be able to do anything you don't want them to. Out of the box, they will be able to browse the Web, read and create e-mail, and run programs that you have installed, but not much more.

There are advanced features that control downloading from the Web. You can prevent kids from going to Web sites you want to restrict, such as the infamous whitehouse.com. Note that even if they download programs, they will not be able to install them. Nor will they be able to remove programs. I'm not discussing the advanced features, because they are nice to have but not essential to your goal. Study Internet Options in the Control Panel to access many of these advanced features. Implementing others is beyond the scope of a short response... Read more

--Submitted by Al C.

(Please click on the follow links for the honorable mentions, Software application recommendations by our members, and other miscellaneous submissions.)

For Al's efforts, we’re sending him his choice of any Help.com Learning CD.

Check out next week's question:

I just replaced my 40GB hard drive with a new 80GB one. But now my computer shows the drive at less than half of its capacity. I am running Windows Me with a 1.4GHz P4. What is wrong here?

--Submitted by: Michael M.


We feature a new question every Friday. If you have the answer, e-mail us at messageboards@cnet.com. If we choose your response, you'll get a free Help.com CD. Click here for Q&A submission guidelines and check out our previous Q&As here.


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1  Windows SP2 on your mind?
If you're a Windows XP user, chances are you've heard quite a bit about all the buzz surrounding the recent release of SP2 (Service Pack 2). It is one of Microsoft's largest updates for this OS, and it has created quite a bit of noise in our Windows XP forum. This release by Microsoft is big deal since it addresses many security issues with the OS and adds security enhancement features that supposedly give users a better shot at protecting themselves from the harmful elements of cyberspace. So are you ready to install this update? Or are you going to wait till the dust settles and let Microsoft work out all the kinks? If you're on the fence about this service pack release, here are few starter discussions I have picked out just for you. Hopefully, these discussions and the questions that you ask in our XP forum will help you decide if it is time for you to install the update.

1 How do I become proficient in Web design on my own, and what materials do I require?
Have you ever considered building a Web site of your own? Why not? With a Web site, the possibilities are endless--from sharing your passionate interests with millions of other folks worldwide to making money, all from the comfort of your home. So if you're interested or need some help to get started, here is a great discussion for you to check out. And if you're a Web site designer, help us out by offering some tips for newcomers to this world. The more information we gather, the better we'll get at making the World Wide Web a great place to be! More from the Web Design forum

1 E-mailing large numbers of digital photos
Most e-mail clients will not allow heavyweight inbound e-mail to reach you since it usually exceeds the limits of your e-mail box. So what's the solution when you want send Aunt May all of your graduation pictures? Find out in this discussion, where more than a few of our members provide a solution. And if you have some other suggestions, let's hear them. More from the Computer Newbies forum




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