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User Accounts Challenge

by quilgar / August 14, 2010 3:56 AM PDT

Tried searching the data base but could not make any of the threads fit my situation.

When I start up, through a dual boot, I go straight into my xp desktop. Been that way for years. No sign on screen just straight to my desktop. My son wishes to use the computer so I tried setting up a User Account for him. Each time I have tried my desktop disappears along with all my normal stuff.

Got over that by stepping the machine back to a previous restore point. However that obviously removes the User Account for my son.

Do not wish for my son to have Administrator access.

Advice would be most welcome. Thanks for reading this.
quilgar

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Tell us more.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / August 14, 2010 7:09 AM PDT

Tell us the setup, make and model of the system. You say, dual boot and boots straight into XP, but that doesn't sound right, so step through the process, eg Dual boot option screen, which other OS is listed there?

When you select XP from the dual boot screen what happens then? You are taken direct to your Desktop without the XP Welcome Screen?

Is this your XP's own Administrator account, or did you set up your own Admin capable account and it is logging into that. Just a note if this is XP's own Administrator account, what happens if that account gets corrupted? How do you then access the OS to repair it, or retrieve your files apart from via the other dual boot option?

If this is your own Admin capable account, have you at some time bypassed the login screen? The method to do this is given here;
http://www.theeldergeek.com/unattended_logon.htm
Perhaps you can check that, and reverse the steps.

If you used a utility like TWEAKUI for XP, I would use that again to reverse the steps.

Once you have your own user account set up properly, that is, Welcome Screen, password required to be entered, then try creating a Limited User account for your son.

Mark

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re: Tell us more
by quilgar / August 14, 2010 8:12 AM PDT
In reply to: Tell us more.

All that I know is that it runs XP. Where can I find what you are asking for?
The other operating system is Ubuntu.

"When you select XP from the dual boot screen what happens then? You are taken direct to your Desktop without the XP Welcome Screen?"

That is precisely what used to happen but what happens now is that I get a sign on screen with only Administrator password required showing and I am asked to log on - password required. During one of my many attempts to sort this out I did set a password. Which one and how I cannot remember as I have had several attempts to sort this and had to step my machine back after each attempt in order to access my original profile.

"Is this your XP's own Administrator account, or did you set up your own Admin capable account and it is logging into that. Just a note if this is XP's own Administrator account, what happens if that account gets corrupted? How do you then access the OS to repair it, or retrieve your files apart from via the other dual boot option?"

Do not know what xp's own admin looks like - please see my earlier answer as to whether the Admin account is my own....When I try to set up another user account it instructs me to set up an Administrator Account first. That is how I came to be locked out of my original profile previously. I set up another Admin and my profile vanishes. As to the "what if" bit - no idea, sounds serious though. Store nothing in My Docs. All files are stored on a separate internal hard drive. Only exception is the email client.

Never knowingly by passed nuttin and would not know a tweak if it bit me.

"Once you have your own user account set up properly, that is, Welcome Screen, password required to be entered, then try creating a Limited User account for your son."

We have a Welcome Screen, password but it will only allow me to set an Administrator Account. Thank you for your kind interest in assisting. Going to bed now. Good night MarkFlax

quilgar

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Here's the problem
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / August 14, 2010 9:34 PM PDT
In reply to: re: Tell us more

I must say it is quite strange that you have installed Ububtu as a dual boot OS but you are unable to find information such as Make and Model of the computer, and other such information that is requested in Red above each post window. Ubuntu is an open source OS and is Command Line operated, which means this is not for the 'inexperienced' user.

Here is the information requested in red above each post window;

Note: If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

Remember, we can't see your computer and so we rely wholly on what information you supply.

That said, here is the problem.

When you first got this computer with XP installed and turned it on, it arrived with an Admin capable account. I call that the "System Administrator" account. You need that, because without it you cannot log-in to Windows to customise it, add other accounts, install software, and update Windows without being an Administrator.

HOWEVER, it is recommended that you immediately create your own Admin capable account, before making any changes. Then either Switch Users to the new Admin capable account, or reboot, (restart), the computer and log-in to XP using that new Admin capable account.

It is also recommended that you password protect both accounts.

With two Admin accounts, the "System Administrator" account and the new "Admin capable" account, you use the new account to setup your computer as you wish. But if there are any problems with the OS, for example, your own account becomes corrupted, you now have the fall-back of the System Administrator account which will help you resolve issues.

Once that new Admin Capable account is created, the System Administrator account disappears from the Welcome Screen. This is by design as that System Administration account is now hidden from prying eyes. The System Administrator account can be accessed through XP's Safe Mode if needed.

But you haven't done that. You have been using the System Administration as your normal account. This is the problem. When you attempt to create a new account, either a new Admin account or a new Limited User account, the System Administration disappears from the Welcome Screen and you cannot access it. That is also by design.

What you need to do now, if you are willing to carry through with this, is to treat your System Administration as corrupt. Create a new Admin capable account, password it, log-in to that account, then treat the System Administration as a corrupted profile. Microsoft has guidance for transferring data from a corrupted profile to a new profile and this transfers all of the data from the corrupted profile to the new one. In effect you are creating a duplicate Admin account based on the information and data from the System Administration account. That guidance is in the link below;
How to copy data from a corrupted user profile to a new profile in Windows XP.

Once you have done that, and only then, you can then create a Limited User account for your son.

Mark

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re: Here's the problem.
by quilgar / August 15, 2010 8:32 AM PDT
In reply to: Here's the problem

Hi Mark,

I am not a troll. A friend of mine is into Ubuntu and stuff. He installed the system and the dual boot. Rarely see him these days and I have never got round to removing the stuff. Partition Magic is not my idea of a relaxing afternoon. Ubuntu seems like a sound system but it will not run the Adobe suite which I use. OpenOffice is sweet.

I believe that I understand your post. The System Admin is a safety net, hidden back door, for emergency use. Setting up an ordinary Admin Account hides that back door.

I have printed out the info from the link you gave. Yes I do wish to follow this through.

In your response below you say "Once you have done that, and only then, you can then create a Limited User account for your son.". However in the instructions from ms it says "Log on as a user other than the user whose profile you are copying files to or from." This would seem to indicate that I must create my new Admin Account and another account that I use to log into to effect the transfer of my old settings from the System Admin to the new Admin. Am I interpreting this correctly?

Thank for making such a detailed "ground level zero" response to my post. It is greatly appreciated.

With regards to the info of model number etc I bought this machine off ebay in an unmarked black box two years ago. Been a good workhorse. Can you point out what I click to get such information?

quilgar

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Yes that's right.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / August 15, 2010 8:14 PM PDT

Hi quilgar.

Yes you have understood that. It's difficult to follow but the steps are like this;

1] Login to Windows with the account you are using now, (eg the System Administrator account).

2] Head over to Control Panel > User Accounts, and create a new "Admin capable" account. Passwording that account is preferable, but if you do password it, please remember that password.

3] Now, reboot the system and login to your new account. You will see that the other System Administrator account does not display on the Welcome Screen.

Why do all this? Your new account will be brand new, so there will be the bare essentials installed. All of your software and data is stored in that System Administrator which we recommend is not used. You need to treat that account as corrupt so that the instructions in that Microsoft link I gave can be followed to create another new Admin capable account to copy over all the data from this System Administrator account.

Note, use different usernames and passwords for all of these accounts.

4] Follow the instructions in that Microsoft link to treat the System Administrator account as corrupt, create a new account and copy all the data from it to the new account.

5] When done you will have, a hidden System Administrator account with all of your data, a new Admin capable account which is bare bones, and a new Admin capable account which is a duplicate of the hidden System Administrator account, and this last one is the one you will use the most. Give this new account a password, and don't forget it.

6] What you do next is up to you. You cannot delete the hidden System Administrator account, but you could, if you wished, delete that bare bones account. It has served it's purpose. However, I wouldn't do that. On my system I also have the hidden account, but I also have two Admin capable accounts, my main one and a spare one, just in case my main one has problems.

7] In your new duplicate account, check that all of your data and software is working properly, then you could delete the unwanted data from the hidden account's Documents folders, as they should now be duplicates.

Cool Now, you can create a limited account for your son.

If you want to find out information about the computer, find your My Computer icon on the Desktop, right click it, and select Properties. That will give you some information.

Hope that helps.

Mark

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Re: Yes that's right.
by quilgar / August 18, 2010 8:24 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes that's right.

Hi Mark,
Thank you again for the simple instructions.

I am away from my computer from now until Monday evening. Going away to Windsor for a few days with my wife.

When I get back I will have a go at your scheme. I can see the sense in doing it.

Wonder how many people out there are using the System Admin Account on xp? I have been running xp on several machines since its inception and, unknowingly, have never used anything but the System Admin Account. Live and learn.

quilgar

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Sadly....
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / August 18, 2010 7:49 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: Yes that's right.

We suspect that the vast majority of Windows users, (XP, Vista, Windows 7), are using this System Administrator account. All too often we see frantic pleas for help in these forums where their account has failed, and they have no other accounts with which to repair it, or recover their files.

Good luck if and when you do this.

Mark

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Re: Sadly
by quilgar / August 28, 2010 9:02 AM PDT
In reply to: Sadly....

Hi Mark,
First chance I have had to sit down and have a go.

Have created two Admin Accounts. Now following the info in the Microsoft link to copy data from the System Admin to my selected Admin profile.

Have successfully navigated to C/Documents and Settings/Administrator (I know that I should be using a back-slash but this keyboard does not have one, well it has one but it prints as # and the " and @ are transposed and the # key prints as

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Did you unhide files?
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / August 28, 2010 8:48 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: Sadly

In that guidance, ( http://support.microsoft.com/kb/811151 ), under the heading, Copy files to the new user profile, section 2, it says to use Windows Explorer to "show hidden files and folders" and de-select "Hide protected operating system files".

Did you do that first? Also, one more thing you need to do in Windows Explorer > Tools > Folder Options, View tab. De-select the option to "Hide extensions for known file types". That will ensure that file type extensions show for each file.

If so, then I would review the files in that {Username} folder and I believe they should list like this;

ntuser.dat
ntuser.dat.log
ntuser.ini

You don't copy those, but you copy any others. If you have any ntuser.dat.log1 or ntuser.dat.log2, etc, don't copy those.

See if that helps.

Mark

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Re: Did you unhide files?
by quilgar / August 29, 2010 7:13 AM PDT
In reply to: Did you unhide files?

"De-select the option to "Hide extensions for known file types". That will ensure that file type extensions show for each file." No. I did not do the above. Have now and all is there.

I now have the original SysAdmin, Admin1 and Admin2 profiles. Logged on as Admin1 I have copied the folder for SysAdmin, less the excluded files, and attempted to paste it in to the folder for Admin2. It tells me that there is already a folder names blah and I have have clicked Yes To All.

It starts to run and then gives "Cannot copy checkfonts:Access is denied. make sure disc is not full or write protected and that the file is not currently in use." As soon as I click OK it stops the paste process. i have checked the folders on Admin2 and they have not been updated.

Stuck once again Mark
quilgar

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Well, Taking Ownership.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / August 29, 2010 8:13 PM PDT

That "Access Denied" error message is a common one in XP and can be corrected by Microsoft's "How to take ownership of files and folders".

I am beginning to wonder if this is worth it. Certainly keep trying, but at some stage you might consider that you have a working Admin capable account you created yourself, (Admin1), and the System Administrator, (SA), account is now hidden from the Startup Welcome Screen. Any personal files, documents, photos, music, videos, etc, can be copied from the SA account's My Documents folders to the Admin1 My Documents folders. Once copied and verified, they can then be deleted from the SA folders.

Your Start menu listing of installed programs can be copied from the SA account, (C:\Documents and Settings\SA\Start Menu) to the Admin1 Start Menu folder.

Your SA Desktop folder, (C:\Documents and Settings\SA\Desktop), that contains all your Desktop shortcut icons can similarly be copied across to your new Admin1 account.

Some applications may not work in the new account without reinstalling into the new account, but only time will tell.

Other problems may include email management. if you use browser based email accounts that is not a problem, but if you use email clients like Outlook Express, Outlook, Thunderbird, etc, there could be difficulties transferring the existing email folders and settings to the new account.

Mark

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Re: Well, Taking Ownership
by quilgar / August 30, 2010 7:49 AM PDT

Hi Mark,

Many thanks for your patient hand-holding but I am calling it a day. Every single thing that I try and copy across the machine screams "Access Denied". I have no intention of following "the fix" for each and every folder.

Fortunately none of my data is stored in My Docs. All my data is stored on a different internal hard drive so no worries there. I have, up until now, used Thunderbird but this situation has got me used to using web based mail.

Thanks again Mark. My son now has his own profile and my computer is better protected than when we started this thing.

All the best,
quilgar

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Just a final reply then
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / August 30, 2010 8:43 PM PDT

I'm replying to your post here;
http://forums.cnet.com/5208-6142_102-0.html?messageID=3366192#3366192
The forum software limits how many 'child' posts can be made to a parent post to about 12 or so. We hit the limit there.

Good luck with your decision to halt the attempt at copying a profile. I think you are wise to do so in this case. We can stumble on with such things and get nowhere, or get deeper and deeper into the mire, where sometimes the sensible course may be to 'cut and run'.

It seems everything is as you wish, so that is a result then, Happy

Mark

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