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Groove Accounts and Identities

To use the Groove client, you need an account. You also need an identity. Although these might seem to be the same thing, they are actually quite different. Let's explore the difference between accounts and identities and explore how to manage them.

Accounts and Identities

The actual account is a file stored on your system that includes the following information, according to Microsoft:

  • A Groove identity, or more than one identity, along with the private keys that define those identities
  • Cryptographic information, such as the master key to protect those workspaces
  • Devices on which you operate Groove
  • Workspaces that you are included as a member of
  • Contacts you communicate with and their corresponding information

During the login process, your password or certificate (if you use a certificate) decrypts the account file so that you can assume those identities it contains and access the information within.

An identity, on the other hand, is the "electronic presence" that Groove users need to interact with you. You can only associate identities with one Groove account, although you can have multiple identities linked to that account. And, you can move that account across multiple systems if you like. By default, you are given an identity that just includes your account name. You can leave this or change it to suit your needs. You can also create more than one identity to link to your account.

Now, why would you want more than one identity? Well, with some persons, you might want to be known by your official name, whereas with others you might be more relaxed and want to use a more familiar name. It's all about the persona you want to maintain within the Groove workspace environment.

Each identity you create has a contact file associated with it that will provide others with information about the identity. So, you can give out more or less information regarding yourself depending on the identity you are using and the environment in which you choose to use it. For instance, you might use one identity for a particular business venture that uses the address and contact information for that business, but you might have another identity for your actual place of employment that includes a completely different set of personal information.

To add identities to your Groove world open the preferences either from the Launchbar or from within a workspace. To do so, select Preferences from the Options menu. The first tab is the Identities tab. A down arrow lists all your identities. To create a new identity, click the New Identity button. You will then see all the information you can enter, as shown in Figure 6.9.

Figure 6.9

Figure 6.9 Creating a new identity.

After you have the information included for the various identities you choose to use, click the E-Mail This Contact link to send the identity card to another person's contacts. Alternatively, you can click the Save This Contact as File link, to save the identity as a Groove contact file (.vcg extension) that can be sent to others.

Back Up Your Groove Account

You don't want the problem of losing your account in one way or another. The disk could crash, for instance, or you might have a corruption of the files. So, a good backup is always the safest bet.

One easy way to have a secondary copy of your account is to add it to another computer. As mentioned previously, you can use your account (with all your identities) on multiple systems. To do that, you need to add the account to those systems, as follows:

  1. From the File menu, select Use Account on Another Computer.
  2. You will be presented with a set of instructions that explain that first you want to save your account file and then copy it to another computer (see Figure 6.10).
    Figure 6.10

    Figure 6.10 Backing up and moving your account.

  3. Install Groove on the other computer.
  4. Close the Account Configuration Wizard when it starts.
  5. On the new computer, double-click the file, which should have been copied to the new system. The file will have a .grv extension on it.

If you just want to save your account as a backup copy, follow these steps:

  1. Select Options, Preferences.
  2. Go to the Accounts tab, shown in Figure 6.11.
    Figure 6.11

    Figure 6.11 Saving your account through the preferences.

  3. Select Save.
  4. From the Save Account As dialog, choose the location of the account file.
  5. Select Save.

It is recommended that you save the account information to another location. In the event of a system crash, the account will be safe either on a network server, another system, an external drive, or a USB keychain. (The file isn't very big.)

Note that you can do more than save the account; you have these options, too:

  • Change Password. Select this option to change the password. You have to fill in the Password and Hint fields.
  • Remember Password (check box). Select this option if you want to log in to your account later without having to enter the password again.
  • Enable Password Reset (check box). Select this option if you want to be able to request a new password or smartcard certificate from the administrator of your account.
  • Save. Already discussed above, this option enables you to save the account.
  • Delete. Select this option to delete the account.
  • Remove Computer. This option enables you to you eliminate a system that is handling your account.
  • Rename Computer. With this option, you can you rename the computer account. (Note that this doesn't actually change the name of the actual system.)

To manually back up or archive your workspace, select File, Save Workspace As, Archive. The end result will be a single binary file that includes the workspace data, membership, tools, and more. Keep in mind that this copy will quickly become out-of-date. Microsoft provides a special note in their documentation for restoration issues with the archived copy. They remind us that the copy is not the current workspace (obviously). When the workspace is restored, all the other members will appear as suspended because they don't have this supposed new copy of the workspace on their systems (even though, its really the old version).

In addition to ThreeWill, mentioned previously, a couple of other Microsoft partners have workspace archive tools:

  • Dicodemy, GForce.Backup (www.dicodemy.net/ProductsAndServices/GForceBackup.aspx). GForce.Backup is a personal backup utility for Microsoft Office Groove 2007 that enables users to manage and restore archived workspaces and automatically back up Groove workspaces that have changed, on a userdefined schedule.
  • Information Patterns, Toucan Bambuco (www.infopatterns.com/products/ToucanBambuco.aspx). Toucan Bambuco is a middleware application that enables you to back up your workspaces by invoking a simple script from the command line or at predefined intervals through the Windows Scheduler.

Groove Security Settings

To configure security settings for a specific identity, select Preferences from the Options menu. Then go to the Security tab, shown in Figure 6.12. From here, you can select a down arrow and choose the identity.

Figure 6.12

Figure 6.12 Security settings.

One item you can see is the digital fingerprint for each identity. These are created when you create the identity. It's a long, random number that is issued automatically. You can use this number to verify other Groove users before accepting them into your workspace.

Under Communication Policies, you have several options, including the following settings under Allow Me to Communicate with:

  • Any contact without warning or restriction (default). No warnings or restrictions will be issued, regardless of the contacts verification status.
  • Any contact but warn me when communicating with contacts whose identities have not been verified. A warning is issued before you contact persons who don't satisfy the requirements. The warning displays in the Contact Verification Alert dialog box, which provides an option for verifying these users.
  • Only contacts whose identities have been verified by my organization. All contacts you interact with must be certified by the Groove admin.

You can select the check box to Block Restricted File Types, and then see the restricted files by clicking the View Restricted Types link. This will show you all the different files that aren't allowed.

Under Workspace Restrictions is another check box: Restore or Join Only Microsoft Office Groove 2007 (or Later) Workspaces. This check box enables you to lock down the ability to join workspaces created with earlier versions of Groove.

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