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Need Advice Re: User Accounts/directories


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#1 dazedandconfused

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 03:38 PM

If I were you, I'd want to smack me upside the head, but the special thing about this site is that nobody seems to point out the obvious stupidity of some users, a practice which I'm certainly grateful for at this point. :huh:

Here's my situation: I have a new HP desktop, pre-loaded with Vista Home Premium. I've been slowly setting it up for a week, prior to moving over my data from my XP machine, and prior to connecting to the 'net. I've learned a LOT the last few days, enough to know that I didn't really know what I was doing when I started the process (and maybe still don't). Sorry this is going to be long, but I want to try to cover all I did so I can get good advice.

I initially started out setting up an Admin account, then decided that I wanted to rename it. Then, I set up a standard account for my hubby and figured I'd use the Admin account. Then I realized that I shouldn't be logging in as Admin all the time (duh!) and set up a standard account for myself too. Then, I decided that to keep our documents separate for sanity sake, we'd need to have our own directories under Documents, but with pemissions for both of us to have access to all each other's documents. So, I created two folders under what I 'think' was the Desktop parent directory and set up permissions for everything. Then, I decided that XP drove me crazy with the "two different" desktops and that I'd be much better off having just using one shared standard account, so I renamed one of them. Then, I start looking more closely at the directory and discover the USERS directory, which now has two folder entries, each named from the original accounts, as well as a PUBLIC directory. I was clueless about the new directory structure and the junction-points and all and as they say, a LITTLE knowledge is a dangerous thing. None of this really came to light until I tried to create a test document in Word 2007 and then couldn't seem to save it anywhere, then I started looking around in the directory and thinking Good Heavens, What Have I Done?!?!? I seem to have a mix of user names on the directories, permissions, and everything, from my willy-nilly approach. :huh:

It seems like I now have two options, and I don't know which is best, and/or safest for me to have an understandable system going forward ('cause I swear I'll never do another upgrade and try to figure out another system).

1) I can attempt to get a clear picture of what the directory SHOULD look like (i.e., should it have the same Contacts-Desktop-Documents-Downloads...Videos structure under Desktop, or is that something stupid I did? should there also be two separate and identical structures - from Contacts through Videos under each user name under C:/Users) and then figure out how they should be permissioned and clean it all up... or

2) I can use the System Recovery disk that I initially made (although I don't remember what point in the User Account Setup it was done, and I may end up with many of the same issues - although I'm pretty sure I didn't run very far amok before I did the disk creation because I wanted to have a clean fall-back disk). I've only installed a couple of programs, and have install disks for them (like Office 2007), and I have no data files on it yet, so I wouldn't be losing anything except the time I spent trying to de-junk-ify the machine.

Option 3 would be a restoration to a previous restore point, but since I made so many of them while trying to test out what I thought was a failing Restore (in previous thread), and because I did one every time I installed a new piece of software, they don't go back far enough.

Any advice would be gratefully welcomed.

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#2 usasma

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 04:00 PM

Since it's a new system, I'd suspect that restoring it would be the easiest and most prudent way to set things right. Beware tho', that HP system restore will take several hours (and you've gotta be there to swap disks if there's more than one.

Does your HP have a System Recovery option in the BIOS (when it first boots up)? If so, that may be quicker than the recovery disks.

Once that's done, go in and see what things look like before changing anything. Once you know how it's structured (it's way different from the XP directory structure), then you can start messing with it.

In Vista each account acts as a Standard User account. The difference comes in when an application requests permission to do something that an Administrator is needed for. With and Administrative account, you'll just click on "Allow" or "Ok" to allow the action - in a Standard User account you'll have to enter the account name and password of an Administrator account in order to allow the application to run.

User accounts are now found under the Users folder. There will be a Documents and Settings folder - but it'll have a funny looking icon and won't be accessible (it's called a "junction point" and is only used for compatibility with older applications). Each user will have their own Documents/Pictures/Music/etc folders within their accounts. BTW - Shared Documents are now Public Documents.

It's the Junction Points that makes things seem so strange (IMO) - but just remember that they're just special shortcuts to the new stuff so that older applications can work under Vista.

Say, for example, an older program wants to store stuff in your profile by going through the path of the "Documents and Settings" folder. Vista will allow that path to be used, and the junction point will direct the program to the User folder - thereby (hopefully) preventing any compatibility problems.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#3 dazedandconfused

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 05:24 PM

Thanks John!!!

I've just launched the System Recovery in the BIOS, even though I didn't know what that meant. :huh: It asked if I wanted to use Microsoft's Backup/Restore to a Restore Point, but I selected NO and then when it asked if I wanted to Restore to Factory Settings I selected YES. Now I've got my fingers crossed while it does it's thing. This seems much better than the DVDs (2), and I appreciate the info.

Follow-up question on the "Public" folder. Is this where I'd make two different parent-ish directories - one for me and one for hubby, with our own choices of subdirectories under each of them? And, since it's "public" - I wouldn't need to mess with the permissions at all? I guess at this point I'm aiming for a totally 'shared' machine, but with different directories to put our own documents...and obviously need to K.I.S.S. it.

Anyway, thanks so much for the explainations and the continued help. You're my Valentine today! :huh: BTW, I just had an "adopted" deployed soldier named John. He was in the Army too. (Don't care about what people think about the war, gotta support the soldiers!)

#4 usasma

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 06:08 PM

You can do anything you want inside of the Public directory - but remember it's public so it isn't as secure as your own profile. The default will still be your own Documents, etc directories located within your profiles.

Thanks for the support also! I spent many years deployed to foreign lands, away from my family and friends. It was incredibly lonely and the support that we got helped to make it all worthwhile!
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.




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