Reader Challenge for December 2008 and November Winner

Can you change the default login process in Windows Vista?

The December 2008 Challenge
Solve this month's Vista Update challenge, and you might win a prize! Here's the challenge: I was speaking at a small-business seminar recently and took a coffee break with some IT pros who run consulting firms aimed at small businesses. They were discussing the recent changes in their practices since more of their clients are buying Windows Server 2003 and running domains instead of the peer-to-peer networks usually adopted by small businesses.

One consultant, Barney, said some of his clients who had only a few employees had asked if he could change the default login process to eliminate the Ctrl-Alt-Del sequence. He then opined that it was a shame you couldn't do that on a computer running Windows Vista in a domain.

Another consultant, Maria, said, "I'm pretty sure you can."

Who's right? Barney or Maria? \[See below for the answer and a poll/invitation to readers.\]

To Take the Challenge
Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to [email protected] by December 10, 2008. You MUST include your full name, street mailing address (no P.O. Boxes), and a telephone number. Without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win, so your answer is eliminated, even if it’s correct. I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. I’m a sucker for humor and originality, and a cleverly written correct answer gets an extra chance. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for an email receipt.

November 2008 Reader Challenge Winner
Congratulations to Marcia Adams of Texas, the winner of our November 2008 Reader Challenge. She asked for a copy of "Running QuickBooks in Nonprofits" from CPA911 Publishing, to assist her volunteer efforts for the neighborhood soccer league.

Answer to December Reader Challenge and A Reader Poll and Invitation of Sorts:
Maria is right: You can eliminate the Ctrl-Alt-Del sequence in domains on any client computer running Vista. Open the User Accounts applet in Control Panel, select Manage User Accounts, and then select the Advanced tab. In the Secure Logon section, clear the option labeled Require Users To Press Ctrl-Alt-Del.

Finding this sequence wasn't easy, because Vista's Help files almost never give instructions on the keystrokes/mouse clicks required to get to most of the Vista dialog boxes. Instead, the Help files have a link that takes you to a specific dialog box (which may be Step 3 in the task you want to accomplish, and you have no idea of that dialog box's relationship to similar tasks performed in its "parent" dialog box).

I queried a lot of authors before I could tell you how to open this dialog. I get a lot of mail about this Vista paradigm. How do you feel about it? Feel free to answer in the comments section below this article. Or email me at the address above.
A. Very annoyed
B. Mildly annoyed
C. I like it

If you have a lot of spare time and want to document the step-by-step directions to get to dialog boxes and configuration windows that are merely quick links in Vista help, we'll post it and give you credit for your industriousness. If enough people participate we could probably assemble the entire collection.

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