Using, or not, Windows File and Folder Encryption

Recently, I found out the easy way, thankfully, that there is a critical reason for not using Windows file and folder encryption. The files and folders will be unavailable if the drive on which they reside is moved to another computer!

I had to revive my previous laptop in order to run an old version of software incompatible with Windows 7. I felt inordinately smug that 1) I hadn’t yet cleaned and dumped the laptop, and 2) I use a removable hard drive for many of the tools my two laptops would need to share.

Luckily I was only stuck slightly when, on-site at a new client’s, I couldn’t get to information I wanted to use from the removable drive. The files had been encrypted on the drive while connected to the other laptop.

I say luckily, because, while searching for a work around (or reality check) I read posts from people who found out only when a computer had died and they installed the old drive in a new system. Yikes.

I expect this may seem obvious to some of you. It wasn’t to me. And it effectively kills any reason whatsoever to use it. Indeed, I’d go so far as to call it a danger.

I haven’t settled on an alternative, so if you have a personal favorite, I’d like to hear about it. And if I’ve just missed the work around, I’d be pleased to hear about that, too.


Sorta Startup Menu

I use a laptop as my sole machine. I find it irksome to wait for programs to start when Windows starts up. For example, I may want to start up, grab a document, and then shut down immediately. And, I’m just a really impatient person.

Recently I moved all my start up programs into a subfolder in the Windows Startup folder. Now when the laptop boots, the folder opens, and I can pick the programs I want to start. It’s all about control, baby.

First, open the All Users Startup folder.

Open All Users Startup folder

Open All Users Startup folder

Second, create a new subfolder in the Startup folder (I just called mine Startup).

Create new subfolder

Create new subfolder

Third, move the shortcuts in the Startup folder into the new subfolder. That’s it. The next time you login, the folder with the short cuts will open on your desktop.

The How-To Geek: Create Your Own Admin Panel

The How-To Geek has posted instructions for creating your admin panel. I followed his Vista example on my XP box, easily. There were a couple of minor differences [1], but it is a <ahem> snap.

Custom Admin Panel

Custom Admin Panel

Why? As the author says, navigating the Windows menu for individual utilities like disk management, user management, services, and so on is inconvenient. Combining the utilities I use most often into one admin panel is a great productivity tip. Thanks, How-To Geek (and Steve).

[1] The task scheduler isn’t an mmc snap in in XP.