Friday, February 19, 2010

Hide shared folders with Windows XP Pro's Net command line tool

When you want to limit who can access your shared folders in Windows XP Pro, you can use the Net command line tool to hide your computer, and subsequently your shared folders, from other network users. Greg Shultz shows how to create a hidden share.

By sharing a folder in Windows XP Pro, it usually means that you want network users to be able to find and access the folder in the My Network Places tool. If you want to share a folder with only certain users, you can use the Net command line tool to essentially hide your computer and shared network folders.

Follow these steps to create the hidden share:

  1. Open a command prompt.
  2. Type this command: net config server /hidden:yes.
  3. Share the folder as you normally would.

If your computer is already sharing network folders, it may take up to 30 minutes for this command to take effect and hide the computer name.

Users who have access to the hidden shared folder can get to it by using the UNC name or by mapping the hidden share to a local drive letter. To unhide the computer, type
net config server /hidden:no.

Download an extension to learn more about Windows XP fonts

If you're curious to learn more about the fonts on your Windows XP machine, there's a free and handy extension that will give you the scoop. It also helps you see which fonts are already on your machine.

The Fonts folder, located in the Control Panel, provides a number of features you can use to keep track of the fonts installed on your Windows XP system. For example, on the View menu, you'll find the the List Fonts By Similarity command, which gives you a unique way to organize your fonts, and the Hide Variations command, which makes it easier to quickly discern available fonts by showing only one font from each family.

If you want to add more features to the Fonts folder, you can download the newest version (2.30) of the Font properties extension from Microsoft's typography page

After you download and install this extension, the number of tabs on each font's properties dialog box will jump from two to 11, with each tab providing all kinds of information about the font. The information contained on these 11 tabs includes very detailed descriptions of each font, links to the font vendors and font designers, legal information, such as ownership, copyright, trademark, license, and embedding permissions, as well as technical information about the font.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Change the font Windows XP displays in Windows Explorer

Windows XP uses the same font for desktop icons and Windows Explorer. If the font is too hard to read, you can change its size or the font itself with a few mouse clicks. Here's how to adjust the look of your system fonts.

Windows Explorer and My Computer display the same font that Windows XP uses for icon titles on your desktop: Tahoma, 8 point. If you want to change the font or font size used in Windows Explorer, follow these steps:

1. Access the Display Properties dialog box by right-clicking the desktop and selecting the Properties command.
2. Select the Appearance tab and click the Advanced button.
3. Select Icon from the Item drop-down list.
4. Use the Font drop-down arrow to select a font from the list.
5. Click OK twice -- once to close the Advanced Appearance dialog box and once to close the Display Properties dialog box.

You can see the new font by launching Windows Explorer or My Computer. If you don't like what you see, repeat the steps and select a different font.

Permanently set Windows XP's Windows Explorer as your flash drive's default AutoPlay action

AutoPlay can be fickle when it comes to determining the default action for opening files from your flash drive. Here's how to configure Windows XP to bypass AutoPlay and automatically launch Windows Explorer when you insert your flash drive.

If you have a USB flash drive holding various Windows XP files, you may want to configure the drive to automatically open Windows Explorer rather than display the AutoPlay dialog box.
You can select the Open Folder To View Files In Windows Explorer and select the Always Do The Selected Action check box but that only configures the flash drive for one file type. Here's how to configure your flash drive to open Windows Explorer for all file types at the same time:
1. Insert your flash drive into the USB port.
2. When you see the AutoPlay dialog box, click Cancel.
3. Open My Computer, right-click your flash drive icon, and select Properties.
4. In the Properties dialog box, select the AutoPlay tab.
5. Perform the following steps for each item in the Content Type drop-down list:
- Select an item in the Content Type drop-down list.
- Choose Select An Action To Perform in the Actions panel.
- Select the Open Folder To View Files In Windows Explorer action.
- Click the Apply button.
6. Click OK to close the Properties dialog box.
Now use the Safely Remove Hardware feature to remove your flash drive -- wait a moment and plug it back in. You'll see the AutoPlay progress appear momentarily, and then you should see Windows Explorer open to show the contents of the flash drive.