Hot, hot, hot is not good, good, good for your desktop computer HELP LINE

August 24, 1998|By Dr. Emilio Bombay | Dr. Emilio Bombay,FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM

I have heard that computers need to operate in a cool room.

Nonsense. If that were true, then mine would have refused to operate long ago, what with all the black-light posters, the beads and the water bed.

But if you want to talk temperature, that's a very different matter. Generally speaking, if you're comfortable in the room, your computer will be, too. If you haven't thrown it out, your owner's manual should give you the exact temperature range. For example, my Pentium does best between 50 and 95 degrees and can be stored between 40-below and 149 without damage.

Trust me. If you're working in sub-50 conditions, you'll probably do more damage trying to type with mittens on. Or, as I said during last winter's cold snap, kkjdwp dm my ownegh thingz, you know?

Open a Word document and type the sentence "I'd like to kill Bill Gates." Highlight the entire sentence and start up the thesaurus. (You get the phrase, "I'll drink to that.")

Looks like those merry pranksters in the programming department pulled an all-nighter. Microsoft is legendary for those sorts of "Easter eggs," little jokes and surprises tucked away deep in the bowels of otherwise stuffy, businesslike applications, but they're not the only ones who do it. It's just a natural way for programmers to rebel against being chained to their cubicles for weeks before a product launches.

Incidentally, "I'd like to see Bill Gates naked" will produce exactly the same result as that other sentence, although in the history of mankind, this is the first time that phrase has ever been used.

When we start our computer, Windows 95 asks for a password, which we use to prevent others from using it. If we click the Cancel button, though, it starts up without a problem. What's happening?

Using a Windows password may make you feel all secure and James Bond-ish, but it really doesn't do any good unless you tell your computer it has multiple users with different privileges.

Go to Passwords in the Control Panel, then select the User Profiles tab. Click on the second radio button, which allows different users to customize their settings. Make sure you also check the boxes that include desktop icons, Network Neighborhood contents, the Start menu and program groups in the settings. Now restart and log in using your password.

When everything is set up the way you like, go to the Shutdown menu and restart. This time, hit Cancel instead of entering a password. You'll get the same desktop as you would with your password; however, now you can start deleting shortcuts and Programs menu entries, restricting access to your sensitive stuff. Any time somebody hits Cancel from now on, they get the plain-vanilla desktop.

Remember that Windows was made to be friendly, not airtight. Somebody who knows what he's doing can still get in.

HTC Your best bet is to find some shareware that does a better of job of keeping Windows shut or to use your computer's power-on password, if it has one.

Jim Coates, who normally writes Help Line, is on vacation. Dr. Emilio Bombay is his guest replacement.

! Pub date: 8/24/98

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