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Windows XP hints and tips

Add a guest password with this secret tweak

There may be times when you want to allow other people to access your home or work computer. For example, if a friend visits, or you have guests, or to allow any worker to access any computer. There is a special Guest account in Windows XP and it is designed for just this purpose.

It allows anyone to log on to Windows, but it limits what they are able to do and it doesn't give them full administrator access like other accounts. It is therefore more secure and it protects your computer both from malware and from guests that might be tempted to snoop around the system or try to change things they shouldn't.

Guest mode is enabled by going to User Accounts in the Control Panel and enabling it. Unlike other user accounts though, it doesn't allow you to set a password. You might want to set one to increase the security a bit with this secret tweak.

One odd thing about the Guest account in User Accounts is that you can't set a password and the option just isn't there. It's hidden for some reason. However, there is a way to make it visible. You click Start, Run and enter cmd to open a command prompt window and then type net user guest password at the command prompt and press Return.

If you now go to the Guest account in User Accounts in the Control Panel you wll find an option to set the password just like the regular accounts. It's magically appeared! It's strange that the option exists, but Microsoft has chosen to hide it and make it awkward to turn on.

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