XP account setup snafu correctable

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February 12, 2004|By James Coates | James Coates,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

We just received a new PC with Windows XP and set it up in a way we don't like. When it asked for the primary and secondary users, I put in my husband's name as primary and me as secondary, not knowing what that meant. I set up Outlook Express while logged in as myself. I then went into my husband's account, and he did not have the Outlook messages that I had. Can I forward all the e-mail to him that I see when I log in and then delete my account? We don't want separate accounts.

A lot of folks just hate the way setting up Windows XP herds them into creating multiple accounts without explaining that they really don't have to do that. It can become a pain to continually encounter a "welcome" screen and type in a password every time somebody else uses the computer.

So your question needs two answers: How to stop this log-on, log-off-by-account nonsense, and how to move the past e-mail into a single account.

To save the e-mail, open Outlook Express and reduce the size of the window so you can see the desktop behind it. Click on each item in the mailbox and drag it out to the desktop. Each note will become an icon that looks like an envelope with a filename ending in .eml.

Next, click on Start and Control Panel and User Accounts. In the Control Panel, pick "Change an Account" and then pick your husband's and delete it. You will get an offer to save all your husband's files in a folder on your desktop. Select this and all those e-mails will be moved onto your desktop in a new folder. You then can open Outlook Express and drag them into whichever folder you want.

Now, select your own account on the Control Panel, and you will get a choice to remove the password you created at setup. If you are asked to create a new password, just tap the Tab key to jump from the first box to the second box and again to jump to the box for setting up a password hint. With the password left blank, you won't need to type one in any longer.

Finally, click on the Advanced choice in the User Accounts display and remove the check box from the Fast Switch command that creates the need to go back and forth. This will leave you with a single identity.

There is a Microsoft program called TweakUI that adds dozens of options to Windows, including a check box to turn off all the log-on stuff. Check it out at www.microsoft.com/support.

The Chicago Tribune is a Tribune Publishing newspaper. Contact James Coates at jcoates@tribune.com.

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