Beaverlog Tips: Volume 29 - November 28, 2005

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Security Issues Followup

Our last newsletter had an article on security issues in which it was mentioned that The THERAPIST's data files are not encrypted. Reader and customer Paul M. Brinich, Ph.D. Wrote in to tell us that he lets Windows XP handle encrypting his data. In Windows Explorer, locate your data folder folder, which is usually

c:\Program Files\The THERAPIST\Data

Highlight the folder and click the folder name with the right mouse button. On the popup menu, select Properties which opens the properties window for the selected folder. On the General tab of the properties window, look for and click the Advanced button. In the lower half of the Advanced Properties window, look for a check box that says "Encrypt contents to secure data." Check this box and clock Ok to save the change. Back on the Properties window, click Ok. Another window opens for you to confirm the change and you can select whether to apply the change to the Data folder only or the Data folder and its subfolders. Select the option to apply the option to the folder, its subfolders, and files. This will also encrypt your practice data which is where the protection really needs to be.

He went on to suggest using a phrase instead of a single password since it is harder for someone to guess. I'd like to add that passwords and phrases should contain numbers and unusual punctuation to make it even harder. It would be pretty tough to guess the following: "This & Th@ 57"

Thanks Dr. Brinich, these are really useful tips.

 

Using Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer is an extremely useful program and is referenced in installation guides, newsletter articles, technical support articles on our web site, and often by technical support personnel when you call with a problem. The following is a collection of several tips and techniques for making Windows Explorer more effective and easier to use.

NOTE: Don't confuse Windows Explorer with Internet Explorer. These are two very different programs with unfortunate name similarities. The former is the subject of this article while the latter is used to browse the internet.

How to Find Windows Explorer

In most versions of Windows, you can find Explorer on one of two places on the All Programs menu. It is almost always listed either on the Programs menu directly or under Accessories. If you cannot find it in either location, try the various submenus of the Accessories menu. Another way to get there is to go to Start > Run, type Explorer and click Ok.

You can also get to Windows Explorer by clicking "My Computer" on your desktop or right-clicking on the Start button and selecting Explore.

However you get there, you can make it easier to access Explorer in the future by placing it either on the Start menu or on your Quick Launch bar. The Quick Launch bar is the row of small buttons, usually at the bottom of your screen, that you can use to run programs. Windows usually comes with just a few programs on the bar but you can add your own.

There are two ways to do it:  either copy the menu item from the All Programs menu or create a shortcut from the program file from within Explorer. To copy a menu entry, locate the entry you want to copy. Click and hold down the right mouse button on the entry and drag the it to the Start button. If you pause with your mouse over the Start button the menu will open. Release the right mouse button to copy the Explorer menu selection here. Alternately, you can and drop it to your Quick Lauch bar. In Windows XP, an easier way is to right click the menu entry and select "Pin to Start menu."

The other way is done while running Explorer. Find the Explorer program file which will be named Explorer.exe. It should be in the Windows folder. You may not see the .exe part of the name if you have not turned off the option to hide extensions of known file types. You might want to skip ahead to the sections on displaying file details and other folder options before continuing.

Once you have located Explorer.exe, you can place it on your Windows Start Menu or the Quick Launch bar the same as copying a menu item above by right clicking and dragging to either the Start menu or Quick Launch bar. When you release the right mouse button to drop it, a popup menu gives you the option to "Create Shortcut Here." Create the shortcut and don't copy or move the file. In Windows XP, you can right click the file and select "Pin to Start menu" from the popup menu.

Showing File Details

Searching for a file or finding information about a file can be made much simpler by having Windows Explorer show you the file details on the screen. This is a simple option that can be set in a couple of ways. The easiest is to go to the View menu and select "Details." This should not be confused with menus named either "Select Details" or "Choose Details." This option affects only the current folder and Windows should remember it for next time you are in that folder.

Other Folder Options

There are several other folder options that can be changed to make Windows Explorer easier to use. First be sure you are in the folder for which you want to make the changes then go to the Tools menu and select Folder Options. Change to the View tab and you will see a list of options. We are only going to deal with a couple of them but you can find out what they all do by clicking on the question mark button on the upper right corner of the screen. The mouse cursor will change to a question mark and you can then click on the option you want to learn about. Some of the options are not be present in all versions of Windows.

The following options should be checked:

Display the contents of system folders
Display the full path in the address bar
Remember each folder's view settings

The following should NOT be checked:

Hide extensions for known file types

By unchecking this last option, it prevents Windows Explorer from hiding information you will often need to see. Another reason this last option should be unchecked is that it can cause security problems when checked. This is because it provides an avenue for malicious programs to fool you into opening them.