Q: My Lenovo Ideapad running Windows 10 Home shows four users: me (admin), spouse (principal user), Guest1 (account I set up for visitors), and Guest, an account I don’t remember setting up.
The Guest1 account opens OK. When I try to switch to the Guest user, I get only a blank screen, never a login prompt, and finally end up resorting to my recovery flash drive to boot the machine.
After successfully restarting (as admin) I attempted to remove the Guest account. The other three accounts are visible in the Accounts application, but the bogus Guest account doesn’t, so I can’t delete it.
— Glenn Evans, Seattle
A: It sounds like the Guest account is corrupt. And I’m figuring you’re trying to remove the Guest user account through the User Accounts utility in the Control Panel.
There is one other method you can try. Click on the magnifying glass icon next to the Start button and then enter “netplwiz” in the search field and hit Enter. Select “Run as Administrator” in the window that pops open.
You’ll then see a list of users. If Guest is there, delete it.
If it isn’t there then I’d say that account is REALLY corrupt. But since you can’t log in with it successfully I’d say you don’t need to worry about deleting it.
Q: I have an older SanDisk Cruzer USB drive that used a U3 login system. This was password-protected by me to open the drive. Someone got hold of it and tried multiple times to log on without success. They left it behind and when I went to open it, I now have a message that says: “You have reached the maximum number of failed password attempts. For security reasons, all data and programs on your U3 device are now permanently inaccessible. You have to erase all device data to continue using your U3 smart drive. Click ‘Erase’ button to erase all device data or click ‘Cancel’ to abort the Launchpad and decide later.”
As it gives that second option to decide later, I am really hoping there is some way to get one more chance to open since I know my own password. Of course, I have some files in there that are not backed up anywhere else since I wanted them secured, just not this secure that I will never have access to them again.
Any suggestions or ideas?
— Vincent Farinas
A: I wish I had good news for you but I don’t. Once the limit on failed password attempts is exceeded the only way to use the drive is to reformat it, which means you lose all your data.
I can understand why SanDisk has this policy. If there was no limit a hacker could use a program to issue countless passwords until they eventually hit on yours. Websites that are similarly protected simply lock your account for a set period of time, say 24 hours. Unfortunately, USB drives don’t yet come with clocks so they can’t do that.
If you want that secure data encrypted and password-protected I’d urge you to make a second copy that is stored somewhere that is also secure.
I know that at this point that’s like closing a barn door after the horses have run away …
Q: My computer is running Windows 7 Professional. My old computer (which is no longer) had the PrintMaster program installed and over years have accumulated a lot of homemade projects. When I try to install the PrintMaster disc, my current system indicates it doesn’t recognize. The PrintMaster information indicates Windows 95, 98, or NT 4.0 or later. Is there anything I can purchase that will recognize the PrintMaster information? If so, what and if not, what would you suggest that I can/could do to be able to use the enormous amount of information I have obtained over the years?
— Marilyn Ward, Kent
A: Sounds like you need to update your copy of PrintMaster. PrintMaster 2020 supports Windows 7 as well as Windows 10. You can check it out here: https://www.printmaster.com.