Windows 2000
All work and no play
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Windows 2000's administrative tools typically display resources in two forms:
  • Leaf objects, which represent actual resources such as printers and users.
  • Container objects, which essentially act as folders in the Win2000 management tools--they contain other objects. Container objects can hold other container objects or, ultimately, leaf objects.
When you promote a Windows 2000 server to be an Active Directory Domain Controller, the process generates several container objects, which can be grouped into four categories:
  • Users--holds global security groups and user accounts for your domain.
  • Builtin--holds leaf objects for local security groups. (You can't move default objects from this container.)
  • Domain Controllers--holds an account for each DC in your domain.
  • Computers--holds accounts for all Win2000/WinNT computers in your domain.
If you migrate directly from NT 4.0, many existing resource entries will automatically route to these new containers. ED'S WINDOWS 2000 TIP #9 Dr. Watson has a thriving practice in Windows 2000. This venerable utility kicks in every time an application crashes, logging faults and capturing debugging information that might be of use to a developer. The good Doctor can be a nuisance, however, especially if you never do anything with the debug files. If that's the case for you, turn off Dr. Watson--or at least curb the utility's appetite. From the Run dialog box, issue the command drwtsn32 /i. That opens the Dr. Watson Options dialog box. Start by specifying the path where you want log files created. To reduce the amount of disk space used for each crash, uncheck the Create Crash Dump File option. (You can always re-enable it if you encounter a persistent and repeatable problem that requires debugging.) * WINDOWS 2000 AND WINDOWS NT 4.0 DNS COEXISTENCE Last week, I wrote about my experiences with Windows 2000 (Win2K) and Windows NT 4.0 coexistence and mentioned that I had to stop and restart my NT 4.0 DNS servers every time I booted a Win2K server. (This problem didn't occur on Win2K systems I configured as domain controllers.) If you're testing a mixed environment, the symptoms of this problem include a blank domain name field in the top portion of the Ipconfig/all display and an error from Nslookup stating that the DNS server is unknown. An enterprising reader in Saudi Arabia passed on Microsoft's solution for eliminating the NT 4.0 DNS stop-and-restart step. When you set up standalone Win2K servers as members of an NT 4.0 domain, you must manually enter the primary DNS suffix for the server. You can define the DNS suffix (e.g., during installation or any time after you get the server running (as long as you haven't also installed and configured Certificate Authority--CA--in standalone or enterprise mode). Open My Computer, Properties, Network Identification, Properties, More, and enter the DNS suffix information. Reboot the server. Run Ipconfig and verify that the DNS name appears as you entered it, then try Nslookup again. On my systems, this adjustment made NT 4.0 DNS work properly. I only wonder why Win2K doesn't automatically enter the DNS name when you install a standalone server-- the OS does enter the DNS suffix field when you install a Win2K domain controller running Active Directory (AD). * RDISK SECURITY FIX On January 2, Microsoft released an update for the emergency repair utility Rdisk that eliminates a vulnerability that occurs when Rdisk terminates abnormally. If Rdisk fails when you're updating Registry information (e.g., creating repair files), the utility leaves behind a temporary disk file containing all the Registry hives with their current settings. The temporary file permissions are wide open, so anyone can read from or write to the file. The Rdisk vulnerability exists in Windows NT 4.0, Terminal Server Edition (WTS) and NT 4.0. You must call Microsoft Support to get the update. In the unlikely event that Rdisk fails before you install the updated version of rdisk.exe, you can eliminate the security hole by deleting the temporary file after you restart the system. See Microsoft Support Online article Q249108 ( for details. * BATCH JOB ACCESS VIOLATION Do you run batch jobs that contain a for/f construct? If so, your batch job might terminate with either an access violation or an access denied error message. The errors result from the way the console program reuses memory. In some cases, memory locations return to the console program without zeroing first, which causes your batch job to encounter unexpected data. According to Microsoft Support Online article Q250998 (, the algorithm that cmd.exe uses to extract tokens that pass as parameters in the for/f command is vulnerable to reused memory-- poor programming, to say the least. Microsoft released a new version of cmd.exe on January 25, and you must call Microsoft Support to get the update. * KNOWLEDGE BASE NOT UPDATED I like to check the text version of the Windows NT Knowledge Base at each week for new entries. Sadly, Microsoft hasn't updated the text version in a timely fashion for a couple of months. The text database is the only one that includes a cumulative index, and there are no new entries since January 21. I reviewed the daily updates to the Windows NT Knowledge Base and found more articles regurgitating old information dating back to 1998 than new articles, so it's not clear what's really going on. The alternative, examining daily postings, is arduous and time-consuming compared to downloading a current index file and selected articles. If Microsoft plans to retire the text version, it should let us know where we can obtain the equivalent information, specifically a daily or a weekly index of what has changed and a downloadable text version of the articles. MAKING THE NT WINDOW FOCUS FOLLOW A MOUSE (contributed by Nicholas Kohner, How can I make the Windows NT window focus follow my mouse? 1. Run Regedit. 2. Open HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Mouse. 3. Double-click on ActiveWindowTracking. 4. Enter 1 in the Value data box. 5. Click OK. 6. Close the Registry editor. 7. Reboot. PROBLEMS WITH OFFLINE FOLDERS The following text is from a recent threaded discussion on the Windows 2000 Magazine online forums ( January 14, 2000, 03:55 A.M. Problems with Offline Folders I'm administering a Windows 2000 beta LAN with one root, one child domain, 10 terminal clients, 10 Win2K Professional workstations, and 70 mobile clients all running Win2K Pro (all beta 3). I plan to configure the mobile user home-folders as offline-folders. I discovered some problems. 1. Where is the client-site cache (CSC)? Microsoft explains that you will find it at %systemroot%\csc, but it isn't there. Where can I find the CSC folder? 2. My users' home-folders' size is limited with disk quotas. To avoid problems, I have to limit the size of the client site cache on the mobile clients. I tried this with the offline-folder group policy but it doesn't work. Although you can see the limitation to the CSC in ControlPanel/FolderOptions\OfflineFolders after a reboot of the client set by the group policy, I can store as much data as I want into the offline home folder during an offline session. When I log on again, and this data is synchronized with the home-folder on the server, the synchronization stops when the users' disk quota is full. The only way to roll this back is to increase the users' disk quota by an administrator. No solution for a production environment. Thread continues at ED'S WINDOWS 2000 TIP #10 Want to lock your Windows 2000 workstation fast? The standard technique takes two steps: Press [Ctrl][Alt][Del] (which brings up the Windows Security dialog box), and then press K or [Enter] (the default Lock Computer choice). But I've found a faster way. Start by creating a shortcut on the Windows desktop, using the following command: rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation (The final parameter is case-sensitive, so watch those caps carefully.) Open the Properties dialog box for the shortcut, click in the Shortcut Key box, and press the key combination you want to assign to the shortcut--I use [Ctrl][Alt]X, but you can assign any combo that doesn't conflict with an installed application. Drag a copy of the shortcut onto the Quick Launch bar; leave the original on the desktop or move it onto the Programs menu (I suggest burying it in the Accessories/System submenu). You can now lock your desktop with one click of the Quick Launch icon, or by pressing the shortcut key you defined. Cheap Printing There's buried treasure in Office 2000's new printer drivers. If you're willing to fuss with a few dialog boxes (and maybe squint a bit), you can cut your paper bill in half or more. Next time you print from an Office 2000 program, look in the Zoom section of the Print dialog box. A drop-down list lets you shrink printed pages so that two, four, even 16 pages fit on a single sheet of paper. For most documents, the 2-up option cuts your paper requirements in half--that can come in handy if you're carrying a big report in your briefcase to read on a plane or train. To add advanced printing capabilities to any Windows program (including the ability to print booklets), try the $39.95 FinePrint 2000 utility. It works especially well with Windows 2000. ENABLING MY IOMEGA PARALLEL PORT ZIP DRIVE (contributed by Zubair Ahmad, Q: My Windows 2000 Professional (Win2K Pro) computer doesn't detect my Iomega parallel port Zip drive. How can I make the Zip drive work in Win2K Pro? A: Although Add/Remove Hardware in the Control Panel doesn't detect your Iomega Zip drive, you can use the Device Manager in Win2K Pro as a workaround. Click Start, Settings, Control Panel. Double-click System. On the Hardware tab, click Device Manager and then expand Ports. Right- click the parallel port that the Zip drive connects to (e.g., LPT1) and click Properties. On the Port Settings tab, you'll see an option called Enable legacy Plug and Play detection. Check that box and make sure you select the correct port under LPT Port Number. Win2K will now automatically detect your Zip drive and install the appropriate driver. You'll see the new drive letter, labeled Removable Disk, in Windows Explorer. You can access the Zip drive without rebooting your computer. I tested this procedure on Win2K Pro final code, and the OS properly detected and installed my Iomega Zip drive. Q: How do you start and stop the legacy devices in Windows 2000 Professional (Win2K Pro)? I don't see the Devices applet in the Control Panel, as it is in Windows NT 4.0. A: In Windows NT 4.0, the Devices applet in the Control Panel lets you start and stop devices. You can also set the Startup types (e.g., System, Boot) of individual devices. In Win2K Pro, this option is somewhat hidden. Click Start, Settings, Control Panel. Double-click the System icon. On the Hardware tab, click Device Manager. The default view doesn't show the legacy devices. From the View menu, select Show hidden devices to see the Non-Plug and Play Drivers icon. Expand the gray icon for Non-Plug and Play Drivers. Right-click a device and select Properties. Go to the Drivers tab, where you'll see the options to start or stop the device in the Current status section. The drop- down menu in the Startup section offers five options: Automatic, Boot, Demand, System, and Disabled. Unfortunately, I haven't discovered a way to enable the Show hidden devices option by default. You must manually check that option every time you open Device Manager. Even a custom Microsoft Management Console (MMC) won't save that setting.

Startup problems can be among the most frustrating to troubleshoot.

Your system boots, a few messages flash by, and then... nothing. Fortunately, Windows 2000 includes a new boot-logging option that can help you narrow down the offending driver or service. When you see the Startup menu, press [F8], choose Enable Boot Logging, and try to start Windows. When the system hangs, restart and press [F8] again, but this time choose Safe Mode With Command Prompt. You'll find the log file, Nbtlog.txt, in the Windows folder (typically C:\Winnt). Examine it with a text editor--the last line typically identifies the device driver or service that's causing the problem. PRINTER SECURITY You can set the following levels of security on a printer: No Access: prevents users from printing to the device. Print: users can print to a device, pause, resume and delete their own jobs. Manage Documents: a user can change the status of any print job submitted by any user; however, the user cannot change the status of the printer. Full: the user has complete access and administrative control of the printer. To change print permissions, do the following: 1. Log on as an administrator. 2. Double-click the My Computer icon on the desktop. 3. Double-click the Printers icon. 4. Right-click the printer whose permissions you wish to change, and then select Properties. 5. Select the Security tab. 6. Select the Permissions tab. Set the desired permissions for user. CUSTOMIZING YOUR SEND BUTTON You're just a right-click away from customizing your Send To button so that it includes your frequent tasks. In Windows NT, go to the WINNT\Profile\All Users\Send To folder. Right-click a blank space on the screen, and select New, then Shortcut. At the Create Shortcut window, make your selection. (You can include administrative shares to a serve-i.e., \\servername\c$).) This tip works great on workstations frequently used for copying files. WINDOWS 2000 EMERGENCY REPAIR DISKS In Windows 2000, there isn't an Rdisk.exe program with which to create an ERD, as there is in NT 4.0. To create an ERD, you must do the following: 1. Go to Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Backup. 2. Select Create An Emergency Repair Disk from the Tools menu. 3. Follow the onscreen instructions. Keep in mind that W2K's ERDs no longer contain the registry. Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q216337 explains that the registry hives are too big to fit on one disk, and can only be saved by doing a full system backup, including the system state.
Most services will be removed when you uninstall your software. For those services that linger, you can remove them by editing the Registry.
  • 1. Start the Registry (Start\Run\Regedt32.exe).
  • 2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services key.
  • 3. Select the key of the service you want to delete and select Delete from the Edit menu.
  • 4. Click Yes when prompted "Are You Sure You Want To Delete This Key."
  • 5. Close the Registry Editor.
You can also remove services by using a utility called Intsrv.exe that's included with the Windows NT Resource Kit.
If you need to replace a DLL that the system is currently using, you won't be able to remove or rename the DLL using Windows Explorer; however, you can remove or rename it using the command line. First, copy the new DLL to the correct location (e.g., xxx.dll_new). Then, replace the current DLL using the following syntax: rename xxx.dll xxx.dll_old rename xxx.dll_new xxx.dll Reboot the machine. Upon startup, the system will be using the new DLL. You should always keep the old DLL in case of any problems on startup.
Hibernate Windows 2000 in the Air
I've been spending a lot of time using Windows 2000 (Win2K) on a notebook computer, and it's a big improvement over Windows NT 4.0 on a notebook. However, there is a warning in the release notes and the Win2K Help file about not using the new Standby feature while traveling on an airliner. I finally understand why.
Standby is a new option available from Start/Shutdown that puts the system into a very low-power mode but leaves data in RAM. If you use this feature on an airliner, the system can decide to wake up--even when the notebook's lid is closed--which violates federal air regulations requiring all electronic devices to be turned off during takeoff and landing.
Most up-to-date notebook PCs offer a hibernation feature, which you can use as an alternative to Standby. Instead of leaving data in RAM and running the system on low power, Hibernate copies data from RAM to the hard disk and then shuts down the system. On Restart, the process reverses. To enable Hibernate, select Start/Settings, Control Panel. Open the Power Options icon, and select the Hibernate tab (if there isn't a Hibernate tab, then your PC doesn't offer this feature). Check the Enable Hibernate support box, and click Apply. The next time you shut down the PC, you'll find Hibernate listed as an option, along with Standby. Hibernate isn't quite as fast as Standby, but it gets the job done.
John Ruley
Windows 2000 Pro UPDATE News Editor
Q: I use an external 56K modem on my Windows 2000 Professional (Win2K Pro) computer. If I turn the modem on before I start the computer, the modem works fine. However, if I turn the modem on after I'm already in Win2K Pro, I can't get the modem to work properly. Do you know a solution or workaround?
A: This problem is a known bug in Win2K. Depending on your connection type, you'll see different error messages. For example, when you try to dial out with your modem, you might see the following error message: "Error 633. The modem is already in use or not configured for dialing out." Or you might see "Error 692: There was a hardware failure in the modem (or other connecting device)." If you look at the device in Win2K Pro, the system reports that the device is working fine, but you still can't dial out.
According to Microsoft, you must restart your computer while your modem is on. As a workaround, Microsoft suggests you go to Control Panel, System, Hardware. Right-click the modem and select "Scan for hardware changes." Microsoft describes this procedure in Support Online article Q238317 ( However, this workaround won't work in all cases. My solution, which has always worked for me, is to turn the modem on and off. Sometimes I have to do this several times.
Which is Which?
One of Windows 2000's novice-friendly interface changes is practically guaranteed to annoy experienced users. By default, the Address bar in an Explorer window shows the name of the folder, without a clue as to its location in the hierarchy of drives and folders. That's especially frustrating when you're trying to move files between two identically named folders on different machines.
Fortunately, there's an easy fix: From any Explorer window, choose Tools, Folder Options, and click the View tab. In the Files and Folders section, choose one or both of the "Display the full path" options. You can configure Explorer to show detailed path information in the Address bar (where the path can be edited) or the title bar, or both.
You can prevent users from changing the Taskbar in Windows NT by editing the registry. 1. Select Start | Run. 2. Type Regedt32 and click OK. 3. Go to the [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion Policies\Explorer] hive and set the value of "NoTrayContextMenu" = 1. This will also prevent users from right-clicking the Start button and selecting Open or any other command.
Q: We run a 16-bit DOS application on our Win2K Pro desktop computers. Sometimes, when I try to shut down my system, the process running the application hangs. I have to kill the process manually. Is there an easy way to automatically kill hung processes at shutdown?
A: When you issue a shutdown command, the OS sends a request to all active processes to close down so that it can complete the shutdown process properly. Most applications, especially 32-bit applications, usually honor this request. Once in a while, you run into a misbehaving 16-bit application that ignores the shutdown request. Although the system prompts you to kill the task or wait for a while so it can kill the task for you, you can automate terminating a hung process at shutdown.
If you want hung processes to terminate automatically for all users who log on to your computer, you can modify the default user profile. Otherwise, modify only the current user's profile. Run regedt32.exe and go to HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop (to modify only the current user profile, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop). On the right side, you'll see an entry AutoEndTasks with a default value of 0. Change this value to 1.
(contributed by Zubair Ahmad,
Are you still using Adobe Type Manager to deal with PostScript fonts? Windows 2000 makes this venerable utility unnecessary--at least for everyday use. If you have Type 1 fonts, just drag them into the Fonts folder, and Windows 2000 installs them automatically. A word of warning, though: Don't select the Show Only TrueType Fonts option (found on the TrueType Fonts tab of the Folder Options dialog box). Windows applies this setting literally and hides any PostScript fonts along with raster and other non-scalable fonts.
By default, Windows 2000 (Win2K) does not display non-Plug-and-Play (PnP) legacy devices. To view these devices: 1. Right-click My Computer and press Manage. 2. Select Device Manager. 3. Select Show Hidden Devices from the View menu. 4. Expand the non-Plug-and-Play Drivers to display the legacy device drivers. 5. You can manage a driver by right-clicking it.
If you set the AdminPassword in the [GuiUnattended] section of the answer file, but Windows 2000 doesn't remember it, it might be because you used an asterisk. For example, you might use [GuiUnattended] AdminPassword=*MySuperSecretPassword After the install, you would not find your Administrator password set to *MySuperSecretPassword but to blank. An asterisk (*) anywhere in the string tells setup to set the password to blank.
Computer Management
Need to see a list of shares, services, Event Log entries, or any other aspect of a Windows 2000 computer (server or workstation)? If you can view the list in Microsoft Management Console, you can export it to a text file. To open the standard Computer Management console, open Control Panel, double-click the Administrative Tools icon, and double-click Computer Management. Select the category you want to export in the left-hand tree pane. Right-click and choose Export List from the shortcut menu. Specify whether you want to send the list out in tab-delimited or comma-delimited format, give the file a name, and click Save. You can now import the text into a spreadsheet or a report for additional analysis.
Champagne Smashing
Launch party once it meant the hullaballoo around releasing a new program or piece of hardware to the market. Now it often means the shindig for the official first day of a dot com Web site, a big expensive party meant to draw publicity to the venture and venture capitalists to the workers.
Gray Matter
Hardware is the chips and boards and circuits and disk drives.
Software is the programs--the operating system, the applications.
Wetware is the brain--that human organ that runs its own programs and animates its own hardware.
The best way to open a command prompt in a selected folder in Explorer is to add a context menu option to folders that will then open a command prompt at the selected folder. Use regedit.exe to browse to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\Shell. Add a new key (using the Edit menu) called MenuText. Double-click the default of this new key and enter the text you want to display when you right- click a folder (e.g. "Open Command Prompt"). Select the key MenuText and add a new key under it called "Command." Double-click the default of this key and enter \system32\cmd.exe /k cd "%1"-- where system dir is your system directory (e.g., c:\winnt). Close the Registry editor. You don't have to reboot the machine for this to work. Now, when you select a folder in Explorer and right-click, a new option in the menu called Open Command Prompt takes you to the currently selected folder.
Dual Boot NT and 2000
Last week's column about Windows 2000 Professional performance generated comments from two readers who said they're getting acceptable results from Win2K Pro on notebook PCs with just 64KB of RAM. One thing they did that we didn't do in our performance tests is turn off unused services. You can turn off unused services using the Services applet in the Administrative Tools section of the Win2K Control Panel. Many standard Win2K Pro services are intended for computers running on a network; disabling those services on systems that don't require them-- such as notebook PCs--can save significant RAM. Last month, I wrote a column about dual-booting Win2K Pro and Windows NT, in which I discussed problems with restoring a corrupted Win2K boot sector after installing NT. I've now discovered how to repair the boot sector--and it's easy, particularly if you have a system that supports booting from the CD-ROM (if not, you'll need the setup disks). Simply insert your Win2K Pro CD-ROM, boot it to start Win2K setup, and select the option to repair your existing Win2K installation using the emergency disk method. Don't worry if you don't actually have an emergency disk--you won't need it to fix the boot sector. I've tried this method on two systems that I rendered unbootable using NT 4.0 setup--and it worked without a hitch. John Ruley Windows 2000 Pro UPDATE News Editor
If you set the AdminPassword in the [GuiUnattended] section of the answer file, but Windows 2000 (Win2K) doesn't remember it, it might be because you used an asterisk. For example, you might use [GuiUnattended] AdminPassword=*MySuperSecretPassword After the install, you would not find your Administrator password set to *MySuperSecretPassword but to blank. An asterisk (*) anywhere in the string tells setup to set the password to blank.
Booting Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, Windows 2000 Professional, and Windows 98 by Jim Pile
After I ran a tip on how to dual boot Windows NT 4.0 Workstation and Windows 98 FAT 32, I received a number of requests about adding Windows 2000 Professional to create a triple-boot system. Although the method I described will allow a triple boot, I recently found a freeware program called LegendOS Boot Manager that allows you to easily boot among the three operating systems, even when Windows 98 is running on a FAT 32 partition. As was the case with the method I described, Boot Manager requires that all three partitions exist on the same hard disk. To get started, download Boot Manager at Unzip the program to a floppy disk and then read the readme file thoroughly. Set the floppy disk aside for later use. Here is how to set up a triple boot installation (starting with a bare hard disk). I don't intend to imply that this is the only way this can be done -- it's just the way I did it. First, boot the computer using a Windows 98 startup disk. Run Fdisk and answer "no" when asked if you want to use the large hard-disk option (this prevents problems with Windows NT 4.0 Workstation). Create a maximum size partition for Windows NT 4.0 Workstation (2GB). Then restart using the startup disk and format the partition. Install Windows NT 4.0 Workstation. After you finish the installation of Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, restart using the Windows 98 startup disk and run Fdisk again. This time you can select large hard-disk support. Create a new partition for Windows 2000 Professional (size it as you wish). Now, create a partition for Windows 98 (also sized as you wish). Restart using the startup disk and format the new partitions. Next, run Fdisk and set the new Windows 2000 Professional to active. At this point you can install Windows 2000 Professional. When finished, start with the Windows 98 startup disk again and set the Windows 98 partition to active. Restart and install Windows 98. Now you're ready for the Boot Manager disk. Run Windows 98 (this partition should still be active) and place the disk in Drive A. Run Windows Explorer and create a new folder in Drive C named Boot. Copy the files from Drive A to the Boot folder. In the Boot folder, double-click Setup to run the program. Hit Enter. Select the partitions you want to use and name them as you wish. Save the boot information to Drive C. When you restart the computer, your boot selections will appear on the screen.
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Jim Pile has been an instrumentation engineer for 25 years. With this knowledge, he's been writing tutorial newsletters for both The Cobb Group and for IDG over the last five years. He can be reached at