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Issue #573: July 15-21, 2018

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Q: Within the Windows Documents folder, how can entire folders be password protected? Password protecting individual files isn’t hard, but if there is a substantial number of files it becomes tedious. For example: Documents > Recreation > [multiple files] can the Recreation folder with its entire contents be password protected with one or two simple commands? The various programs I use are MS Office Suite (2010), WordPerfect Suite (X7) AskSam (so old you might not recall it – no longer sold, but is the best database I have found – I’ll submit a future question regarding it).

– Doug B.
Niceville, Florida

A: What you’re describing is one of the functions of user accounts, Doug.  If you right-click a folder and select Properties, you’ll see a tab labeled “Security”.  The purpose of this tab is to control the permissions given to various users of the computer.  It would be a simple matter to edit the properties of folders you want to secure and uncheck all the permissions for it except for the account or accounts that you wish to be able to access it.  Unfortunately, people tend not to set up their personal computers this way.  They tend to use the system in a more open manner, with multiple family members sharing a single user account, or even if they do have individual accounts, everybody is set up to belong to the Administrator group, because it’s easier to manage things that way.  While this technically works, it also bypasses all of the folder-level and file-level security that’s built-in to the Windows file systems.

There are other ways to achieve the same effect.  You’ll get varying levels of security depending on how knowledge level and determination of those whom you would keep out of the folders in question.  The method I’m thinking of is far too complex to be repeated here.  Visit TinyURL.com/IGTM-0573 to read about it.

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 Q: Something has recently happened with my desktop PC, and I’m no longer able to directly open photos (.JPG files) from file folders. When I attempt to do so, I receive the error message “Invalid value for registry”. I sought resolution via a Google search and attempted to implement the first “fix” I found (going to Start, then Settings, System, Apps & Features, clicking on the “Photos” app, then clicking on “reset” under Advanced options). No dice! Then, I used Regedit to check the entries under the Windows Photos registry key.  I only found two entries under that key that seemed to be okay. I didn’t change anything. I’m flummoxed and the problem persists. Your thoughts?

 – Peter B.
Niceville, Florida

A:  Well first of all, let me give a giant raspberry-laced “Thanks, Bill!” for the error message in question, which generically points to the entire registry without giving you the slightest hint of even what software threw the error. You may as well have an automobile-style idiot light that illuminates and says “Registry” for all the help you got out of that message.  I continue to be aghast at Microsoft’s inclination to believe that every single user of its products has an advanced degree on Computer Science that they can fall back on to diagnose this kind of inane error message.  As someone who has worked as a Software Engineer since 1985 I feel well-qualified to say this: It isn’t that difficult to create meaningful, helpful error messages that guide users to a solution.  This is just lazy programming.  Okay!  Rant mode off!

 My research leads me to believe that this error happens when the Registry contains information for more than one version of the software.  This shouldn’t happen, because when a newer version installs, it should clean-out the old Registry keys, but apparently it can, and does occur.  You said the Registry entries “seemed to be okay” but you didn’t say what you were looking for.  If you know how to examine them to determine the actual contents, delete the one with the older version to remove the conflict and the problem should go away.  Barring that, you can try Microsoft’s App Troubleshooter, which you can run at TinyURL.com/IGTM-0573A.  If that doesn’t help, Microsoft recommends using their System File Checker tool.  Instructions for that can be found at TinyURL.com/IGTM-0573B.  If you’re still having problems, as a last-ditch, strong-arm fix, de-install the software, go and delete all of those Registry entries (be careful that’s all you delete), then re-install.

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