Windows NT 4.0
If you're about to install Windows NT 4.0 on a computer, check to make sure how the hard disk is set up. If the disk drive exceeds 1024 cylinders (most do these days) make sure you format and partition the disk with LBA enabled.
You can have some serious problems if LBA is applied to a disk formatted when LBA was disabled. You'll most likely get a Stop error telling you that the boot device is not accessible.
If this happens to you after you've been running a hard disk for a while, the problem is more likely to be a corrupt partition boot sector.
If you suddenly get a corrupt partition boot sector error after you've been running a hard disk for an extended period of time, you may wonder how it happens. One cause (one we recently encountered) is a defective disk controller. However, hardware isn't necessarily the problem. There is a chance that some software can corrupt the partition boot sector. So how do you identify the problem? You can try to eliminate one factor at a time. It could be the hard disk; try another one. It could be the controller; try another controller if possible. QUICK PATH IN MS-DOS NT Workstation 4.0 Subscriber A. S. has a tip for those of us who need to use the command prompt frequently. You can open Windows NT Explorer and drag a file you want to run to the command prompt window. This will enter the complete file name (path + file name) at the command prompt. All you have to do is click in the command prompt window to activate it and then press Enter. THROUGH THE WINDOWS NT Workstation 4.0 When you have a number of open folder or application windows that you need to access, you can press Alt-Tab to cycle through windows and programs. But if you're working in a program and want to see another open (but not currently visible) folder window, you can press Alt-Esc to cycle through the windows. When you use this method, the windows will appear in open view. The first time you press Alt-Esc, all the open windows appear. Pressing the combination again will cause the current active window to disappear and activate the next window. This continues until all the windows disappear and you're back at your application window. Note that this only works with windows that are currently open on the desktop; it does not open and display minimized windows. ADDING CONTROL PANEL TO THE START MENU NT Workstation 4.0 Subscriber J. W. offers this method of adding Control Panel to your Start menu. Right-click on Start and choose Open. Right-click on the Start Menu window, and then select New, Folder. When the new folder appears, give it the following name (you must type the name exactly as shown here): Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D} Now click on Start and Control Panel will be the first item (top of the list). When you move your mouse over the new Control Panel folder, a cascading menu of all your system's Control Panels will appear. DELETING COM PORTS NT Workstation 4.0 There are times when you might want to get rid of a Com port--at least temporarily. To do this, click Start, Settings, Control Panel and double-click Ports. Click the port you want to delete to select it and then click Delete. After you delete the port and restart the computer, you may find that you still get an error event associated with the offending port. This can happen because there's still information about the port in the Registry. If this happens to you, you need to eliminate the port using RegEdit. To do this, run RegEdit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Serial\Parame ters. Under Parameters, you'll find each of your serial ports. Delete the one in question and choose Registry, Exit to close RegEdit. Now restart the computer. If the port is active, it could appear again in Control Panel, Ports. If this happens, the only thing you can do is run your BIOS CMOS Setup utility and turn off the port. SOME THINGS LAST FOREVER NT Workstation 4.0 When you use Windows NT 4.0 along with other operating systems, you can tell the system how long to wait before booting into the default selection. You can set the time to as short or as long as you like (provided you like 0 to 999). If you want, you can even tell the system to take no action until you make a selection and press Enter. To do this, run Windows NT Explorer and locate Boot.ini. Right-click Boot.ini and choose Properties. When the Properties dialog box opens, deselect the Read-only check box and click Apply. Now click OK to close the dialog box and save your changes. Now double-click the Boot.ini icon to open it in Notepad. When the file opens, locate Timeout and change it to Timeout = -1 Then save the file (File, Save) and restart the computer. Now the system will wait for you to make a selection until Miami freezes over. AUTOMATIC LOG-ON We've looked at this topic before, but many people still ask about it. We have a number of new subscribers who didn't see the tip before, and we have some other subscribers who saw it and didn't keep it. So, here it is again. If you'd like to log-on to your personal workstation without having to enter a password each time, you can set your system to automatically log-on. To do this, click Start, Run and type in RegEdit. Now click OK. When RegEdit opens, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon. Right-click in the right pane of Winlogon and choose New, String Value. Name the new value AutoAdminLogon. Now DC your new entry and assign it the value of 1. Click OK. Next, you need to tell Windows NT about your password. Right-click the right pane again and choose New, String Value. This time assign the name DefaultPassword. Double-click the new entry and type in your password. Click OK. Now you can close RegEdit (Alt, R, X) and restart your computer. Note that this pretty much destroys your security. Anyone can start the computer, and if someone runs RegEdit and checks in Winlogon, he or she can see your password. KEEP IT RUNNING If you'd like to hide Task Manager but still keep it running and ready for immediate use, here's how. Open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl-Shift-Esc. Next, choose Options, Hide When Minimized. Now you can run Task Manager and it won't take up space in the taskbar. To make it visible again, DC its icon. It's a small bar graph display in the right side of the taskbar near the time display. NOVELL TO SUPPORT WHAT MICROSOFT WON'T As the Crustaceous One noted last week, Novell's NetWare customers as well as those of the up and coming Windows NT will soon find themselves SOL for having installed Novell Directory Services for NT on their servers. That's because Microsoft is set to refuse technical support, whether the problems are with NDS or with NT. But wait! says Novell. As a result of Microsoft's plans, Novell will provide direct technical support for Novell Directory Services for NT as noted in an article on Novell's Web site at Novell also responds to Microsoft's many denigrations of NDS in the same article. In so doing, Novell proves that you can indeed refuse to be assimilated, no matter how futile it might seem. USE CAUTION WHEN SCALING RASTER FONTS Windows NT includes a set of raster fonts. These are the fonts that you commonly use in the various parts of the system. They come in specific sizes. For example, you'll find MS Serif in 8, 10, 12, and 14 point sizes. Although you can use these fonts for any of your applications (and NT will scale them), they always look best in their supplied sizes. If you scale them more than one or two point sizes, they will become jagged looking. Here is a list of the Windows NT raster fonts. Courier, MS Serif, MS Sans Serif, Small, Symbol. AUTO-DELETION If you like to use Notepad to store notes for yourself while you work, here's something you may not have noticed. When you use cut and paste to move all the text from Notepad to your primary document, Notepad will then decline to save an empty document. It will delete the file instead, with your permission of course. To take a look at how this works, add some text to a Notepad document and save it under a new name. Now select and cut the text and then choose File, Save. Because there's nothing left in the document to save, Notepad will offer to delete it. FORMATTING A DOS DISK If you sometimes boot into MS-DOS, you should make a bootable floppy disk in case of problems. When you do, make sure to format the floppy disk from MS-DOS, not from the Windows NT command prompt. A disk formatted from the command prompt will not produce the correct Partition Boot Sector on the floppy disk. Also, just in case you need to be reminded (you probably don't), you can't read an NTFS partition when you boot from an MS-DOS floppy disk. ANOTHER WAY Version: NT Workstation 4.0 A number of people have reported a problem with a recent tip. We said you could put Control Panel into the Start menu by creating a new folder and naming it Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}. This method works fine on systems we tested it on and we've been unable to duplicate the problems reported by readers. However, since this causes a problem for some Windows NT 4.0 Workstation installations, subscriber K. L. suggests that you add Control Panel to your desktop by opening My Computer and then right clicking the Control Panel. Next you select Create shortcut. We apologize to those who have had trouble with the original tip. EIGHTY-SIXING THE STARTUP SCREEN In a recent tip we said that you can eliminate the startup screen by renaming winnt.bmp and winnt256.bmp files to winnt.old and winnt256.old. You can also use your own BMP files by naming them winnt.bmp and winnt256.bmp. Subscriber I. F. rightly informs us that you can use RegEdit to change the name of the file you want to use as a startup screen. As usual, we must warn you that messing with the Registry can cause you some real headaches if you make a mistake. With that in mind, follow the procedure listed here very carefully. Click Start, Run and type in RegEdit Now click OK or press Enter. Navigate to HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop. In the right pane locate Wallpaper and double-click it to open the Edit String dialog box. The current value is most likely Default. Change it to the BMP file you want to use and click OK. Now choose Registry, Exit to close RegEdit. Restart the computer and your new startup screen will appear. If you don't want a startup screen, just delete Default in the Edit String dialog box and click OK. Now close RegEdit as described. WHY DRAG? You can print a document quickly if you put a shortcut to the printer on your desktop and drag a document icon to it. You can do the job even quicker if you put a printer shortcut into the Send To folder. To do this, open Windows NT Explorer and navigate to Winnt\Profiles\Administrator\Send To (assuming you're the administrator). Now click Start, Settings, Printers. When the Printers window opens, hold down Ctrl and drag the printer icon to the Send To folder. Now you can right-click a document icon and choose Send To, YourPrinter (or whatever you called your printer). DISABLED FLOPPY DRIVE In Windows NT 4.0, some tape drives may disable your floppy drive. These may include the HP Colorado T3000, HP Colorado T1000, and Wangtek QIC-3010. All of these use the qic117.sys driver and run off the floppy drive controller. When this driver loads, it makes a number of system calls and then takes over the floppy drive controller to ensure maximum performance, as well as to minimize the chance of data errors while you're using the tape drive. But once it loads, you won't be able to access your floppy drive. Instead, you will see this error message: "A:\ is not accessible--The requested resource is in use." The work-around is to make sure the qic117.sys driver does not load until a backup starts. Go to Control Panel, Devices, and find the tape device. Click the Startup button, select Automatic from the list, and click OK. THROW ANOTHER LOG-ON THE FIRE Several weeks ago, we ran a tip describing a Registry edit that would allow automatic log-on. Since then, we've received a number of questions about the tip, most of them related to the log-on working only once. This happens when you don't enter your password. For the tip to work, you must have a password, and you must enter the password that you chose for your system log-on. If you enter a different password, you'll have problems with other programs, such as Microsoft FAX (thanks to subscriber R. L. R. for this info). Keeping in mind the usual warnings about making changes to the Registry, run RegEdit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon. Look in the right pane for AutoAdminLogon. If it's there, double-click it and change the value to 1. If it isn't there, choose Edit, New, String Value (NT 4.0) or Edit, String Value (NT 3.51). Name the new value AutoAdminLogon and give it the value 1. For the Auto log-on to work, you have to add your password. Look for DefaultPassword in the right pane. If it isn't there, create it by choosing Edit, New, String Value (4.0) or Edit, Add Value (3.51). Assign your password to it. Now you can close RegEdit and restart the computer. Note that if you click Start, Shut Down and select Close All Programs and Log On as a Different User, and then click Yes, the system will restart without offering to sign on a new user. SEMI-AUTOMATIC, ALMOST INVISIBLE BACKUPS Subscriber J. D. M. provides this tip, showing you how to run NT Backup completely in the background. The first step is to create a shortcut to ntbackup.exe. To do this, open Windows NT Explorer and locate the \winnt\system32 folder. Now locate ntbackup.exe. Use the right button to drag the ntbackup.exe icon to the desktop (or to a desktop folder). When the icon is where you want the shortcut, release the mouse button and choose Create Shortcut(s) Here. Next, right-click your new shortcut icon and choose Properties. Click the Shortcut tab and then click the Target text box. Delete whatever is in there and then type in (exactly): drive:\WINNT\system32\NTBACKUP.EXE backup drive:\data /a /v /d Data Folder /hc:on /t normal where drive is your current NT drive letter and Data Folder is the name of the backup set. The example shown will backup the drive:\data folder. Now click the arrow at the right side of the Run list box to expand the list. Select Minimized and click OK. When you double-click the new shortcut icon, NT Backup will start, run in the background, and perform the backup operation specified by Data Folder. WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE? Subscriber A. T. asks why you need to use the Start command to run a program from the command prompt. As A. T. says, you can run any executable file from the command prompt by simply typing in its name. The difference is that you can run a program in a command prompt window by simply typing its name and pressing Enter. When you use the Start command, however, you run a program in a NEW command prompt window by entering Start ProgramName and pressing Enter. For example, if you want to run a program named program.exe, you can simply type program at the command prompt and the program will run. Let's try this with xcopy. Open the command prompt window and go to the root folder (type md c:\test and press Enter). Now type xcopy c:\data c:\test Press Enter and xcopy will run and copy c:\data to c:\test. Now let's use Start. Open a command prompt window and type Start xcopy c:\data c:\test and press Enter. This time, xcopy will run in a separate command prompt window. You can continue to use the original window to perform other work. MOONLIGHT PRINTING If you'd like to print massive amounts of material while you sleep quietly, far removed from the smell of ozone, you can schedule your printing for when you're not around. To do this, click Start, Settings and choose Printers. When the Printer window opens, right-click your printer icon and choose Properties. Now click the Scheduling tab. Select From and then pick your time range. After you make the choices, click OK to close the dialog box and record your changes. If you would like to print some documents immediately and some later as scheduled, you can create a new "printer" just like your current printer. The only difference is that you use scheduling on the second printer. You can give the new printer a distinctive name (such as Midnight) and use it to print those scheduled documents. RECYCLE AS MUCH AS YOU WANT You have a few options when it comes to the Recycle Bin. For example, you can specify how much disk space you want to devote to deleted (or potentially deleted) material. To see what changes you can make to your Recycle Bin, right-click its icon and choose Properties. When the dialog box opens, you can select the amount of space used by the Recycle Bin. The default is 10 percent. If you like, you can also deselect the check box, Display Confirmation Dialog. With this deselected, you will no longer be asked if you're sure you want to move a file (or files) to the Recycle Bin. You'll still be prompted when you empty the Recycle Bin. If you have more than one drive, you can select Configure Drives Independently and then set the space requirements for each drive. After you make all the desired changes in the Properties dialog box, click OK to save the changes and close the dialog box. SAVE YOUR SCREEN . . . AND YOUR DATA Screen savers have several uses: They protect your screen from "burn-in" (though arguable with modern color monitors), they hide your work from curious eyes while you're away from your desk, and they provide entertainment for you and those who pass your office. A screen saver can also provide some additional data protection if you use a password. To set up one of the Windows NT screen savers, right-click the desktop and choose Properties. When the Display Properties dialog box opens, click the Screen Saver tab. Choose the screen saver you want to use and then click Settings to customize it. After you change some of the settings, click Preview to see how it will look on your screen. If you'd like to use password protection, select the Password Protected check box and click OK. The screen saver will use your default system password. Note: If you use password protection, you'll find that there is a slight delay between the time the screen saver appears and the password protection takes place. If you move the mouse during this time, the Windows NT screen will re-appear without a password request. You may find this delay handy if the screen saver kicks on while you're at the computer--just move the mouse, or press a key, and the screen saver will deactivate. TRASH IT A number of subscribers have asked if you can change the name of the Recycle Bin. The answer is that you can if you really want to. You have to use RegEdit though. As usual, we need to warn you that messing around in the Registry can totally disable your system. So be careful. Click Start, Run and type in RegEdit. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00 AA002F954E} and double-click the Recycle Bin icon in the right pane. Change it to Trash (or whatever you want). Close RegEdit and restart the computer. When the computer restarts, the Recycle Bin will be named "Trash." Note that all other references remain Recycle Bin. So when you right-click the Trash icon, the menu choice will still be Empty Recycle Bin. WHAT KIND OF MEMORY? If you need to run an old MS-DOS program, you may find that it needs to have some expanded memory available to work properly. To set up a program of this type, first create a shortcut to the program. To do this, use the right mouse button to drag the file's icon onto the desktop. Once you've created a shortcut right-click it and choose Properties. In the dialog box, click Memory. Now you can tell the system what type of memory you need. In general, we can't tell you what settings to use because these settings are very dependent on the specific program you need to run. However, we do suggest that you use Auto in Expanded (EMS) memory. If this won't work, try some other settings. After you make all your selections, click OK. QUICK AND EASY If you liked the tip we ran about adding Control Panel to the Start menu, here's another one for you courtesy of subscriber S.v K. To add a Printer panel to the Start menu, create a new folder (right-click the desktop and choose New, Folder). Name the folder exactly as follows: Printers.{2227A280-3AEA-1069-A2DE-08002B30309D} Now right-click Start and choose Open. Drag the new folder to the Start Menu window. You must type the name exactly as shown here. The period between Printers and the bracket is not a typo. We suggest that you copy the line from this message and then paste it to create the new folder's name. ONLY A SINGLE CLICK AWAY Here's a neat trick from subscriber R.H. If you click Start, hold down the mouse button, and drag the pointer to the program you want to run, that program will launch as soon as you release the mouse button. It doesn't seem to matter how deep you have to go to locate your program. All you have to do is keep that mouse button down until you reach your program. CLEAN UP YOUR DOCUMENTS Several subscribers have asked how to manage the Documents list (Start, Documents). One way to manage the list is to get rid of it: Click Start and then choose Settings, Taskbar. When the Taskbar Properties dialog box opens, click Start Menu Programs. Click Clear and then OK to delete the current Documents list. If you don't use the Documents list at all, or if you don't want the list to carry over from one session to another, you can write a batch file to delete the list contents automatically when you start the computer. This way, you'll have only the documents that you opened during the current session. To write the batch file, open NotePad. Enter the following, keeping in mind that you may need to modify the path for your own system. Also, the "n" in the file shown refers to your Windows NT hard disk letter. del /q n:\winnt\profiles\administrator\recent\*.* After you type in the line shown, choose File, Save As and name the file Cleanup.bat. To make the file run automatically, open Windows NT Explorer and locate your new file. Now use the right mouse button to drag the file to the appropriate Startup folder. In the case of our example, this is C:\Winnt\Profiles\Administrator\Start Menu\Programs\Startup. When you release the right mouse button, Windows NT will open a menu. Choose Create Shortcut(s) Here. With the shortcut to Cleanup.bat in the Startup folder, your Documents list will be deleted each time you start or restart the computer. Note that this applies only to the current desktop--other users won't have their files deleted. EXPLORE FROM HERE, TOO Here's a useful tip from subscriber A.J. If you're working with the command prompt and would like to open Windows NT Explorer, simply type Explorer /e and press Enter. This will open Explorer in the current directory. If you'd like to open a simple single-pane version of Explorer, type explorer . and press Enter. NOTE FOR EXPLORERS Subscriber S. S. offers a quick way to get to the Explorer: Place a shortcut icon on the desktop. To do this, you can right-click the desktop and choose New, Shortcut. Now click Browse and locate Explorer.exe (you'll find it in \Winnt). Click Next and then Finish. All you have to do to open Explorer now is double-click the new shortcut's icon. DOUBLING COMMANDS In the last tip we showed you how to run more than one program on a single MS-DOS command prompt line. This time, let's look at running more than one MS-DOS command on a line. Let's say that you'd like to run CHKDSK and then run MEM. Type at the command prompt chkdsk & mem and press Enter. This will run CHKDSK and then run MEM when CHKDSK finishes. HOW MANY DOS PROGRAMS DO YOU WANT TO RUN? If you use the command prompt frequently to run MS-DOS programs or batch files, you can run several programs sequentially by typing Program1 && Program2 && Program3 at the prompt and then pressing Enter. The line shown here will run Program1 first and, if all is well, will then run Program2. If Program2 runs successfully, Program3 will run. If you'd like to check this out, you can create a few batch files to work with. Open the command prompt and type (at the prompt) copy con program1.bat @ echo off echo This is Program 1 Now press F6 and press Enter (pressing F6 will insert ^Z into the line). Repeat the process for Program2.bat and Program3.bat. Now run the programs as shown above and you'll get This is Program 1 This is Program 2 This is Program 3 A SAVING STEP If you need to use Disk Administrator, you may want to make sure you save your current configuration before you start making changes. To do this, click Start and choose Programs, Administrative Tools, Disk Administrator. Now, before you start work, choose Partition, Configuration, Save. Insert a formatted floppy disk into Drive A and click OK. Now go ahead and mess with the partitions--you can restore them later if you choose Partition, Configuration, Restore and click Yes. I COMMAND IT If you need to use the Command Prompt frequently, here's a feature that can help make your life easier. Let's say you've been working with some MS-DOS programs, and by this time you've entered quite a few commands. If you'd like to reuse some of those commands, or at least see what you've done, press F7. Your command history will pop up in the Command Prompt window. You can scroll through the commands and press Enter to execute a selected command. SOUND ADVICE You can choose the sounds that you want to use for each Windows NT event. Click Start, Settings, Control Panel and double-click the Sounds icon. Click each Windows NT event to select it and then click Browse. Locate the sound you want to associate with the selected event and double-click it. Now you can click the Play button in Preview to see if you like the sound you selected. If not, click Browse and choose a new sound. If you like the sound, move on to the next event and make a selection for it. When you finish making your sound selections, you may want to save the sound scheme, so click Save As and enter a name. Click OK, and then Click OK again to close the dialog box. When you want to recover your sound scheme, click Start, Settings, Control Panel and double-click the Sounds icon. Now click the arrow at the right side of the Schemes list box. When the list expands, click the sound scheme you want to use. Click OK to close the dialog box and record your selection. PARDON THE INTERRUPTION An interrupt conflict can be a true pain. To help you avoid such conflicts as much as possible (and solve them when you can't) here's a list of interrupt assignments. 0 Timer 1 Keyboard 2 Cascade (for interrupts above 8) 3 COM2, COM4 4 COM1, COM3 5 LPT2 6 Floppy Controller 7 LPT1 8 Clock 9 Sometimes used for ISA in a PCI computer 12 PS2 Mouse Port 13 Math Coprocessor 14 IDE Controller Note that interrupts 10 and 11 are generally not used. IN BRIEF When you install Windows NT Workstation 4.0, Briefcase is automatically installed. (When you install Windows 95, you have a choice concerning Briefcase). Most people seem to ignore Briefcase. However, if you use more than one computer, you can make good use of Briefcase. Let's look at how to use Briefcase. Open Windows NT Explorer and copy a data file (Word, WordPerfect, whatever) into Briefcase. Right-click the file and then choose Send To My Briefcase. Now insert a formatted floppy disk into Drive A and move the Briefcase to the floppy by dragging its icon with the mouse. Next, open the data file and make some changes. After you've made a few changes, close the data file and double-click the Briefcase folder on the floppy disk in Drive A to open it. Choose Briefcase, Update All. When the dialog box opens, click Update. If you make changes to the file in the Briefcase (on Drive A), Briefcase will update the file on the floppy. If you make changes to the file on the hard disk, the file in Briefcase (on the floppy) will be updated. WHERE IS BRIEFCASE? In the last tip, we discussed how to use Briefcase. We suggested that you move files into Briefcase using Send To. You may encounter a few problems creating new Briefcase folders and using Send To. Here's what happens. Let's say you create a new Briefcase folder (right-click the desktop, choose New, Briefcase). The Briefcase will be named New Briefcase. Send To will only work with a Briefcase named My Briefcase. So, click the name of the new Briefcase twice and change its name to My Briefcase. There's nothing magic about using Send To. If you prefer, you can simply copy files from Explorer to My Briefcase. A BATCH OF BACKUPS There are easy backup options now available in the form of Zip drives (and others of that type) and rewritable CD-ROM drives. These drives make backing up data very easy, since all you have to do is copy your data files to the disk--no special backup programs needed. One way to make doing everyday backups even easier is to write a batch file for the process. Try something like this: Open the Command prompt and type Copy con backup.bat h: md data md util xcopy /e /i /r c:\data h:\data /s xcopy /e /i /r c:\util\*.* h:\util Now press F6 and then press Enter. Of course, you need to enter your own drive letters and folders. If the folder already exists, you'll get a message, but the batch file will continue to run. After you've debugged your new batch file and are sure it's doing what you want, create a shortcut to it on your desktop, or in a folder of your choice. Right-click the shortcut and choose Properties. When the Properties dialog box opens, click the Shortcut tab. Click the arrow at the right side of the pull-down box labeled Run. Select Minimized and click OK. Now you can double-click your new icon to make the backup. Since you've minimized it, you won't see anything on the screen when you run the file. PAGING FILE SIZE For the best performance, you should set the initial paging file size to 12MB more than your system RAM. To check or modify the paging file settings, right-click My Computer and choose Properties. When the System dialog box opens, click the Performance tab, click Virtual Memory, then Change to check your current settings. If the initial setting isn't the desired RAM + 12MB, select the drive on which you want the paging file to appear (or the one it's currently on) and type in Initial and Maximum settings. This should be RAM + 12MB for Initial and more, if you like, for Maximum (watch that hard disk space though). Now click Set and then click Close to close the dialog box and record your change. You'll have to restart your computer for the changes to take effect. DESKTOP VIEW Subscriber M.N. wants to know if there's a way to put the desktop into the Start menu. If anyone knows a way to do this, please let us know. To help out M.N. in the meantime, here's something you can try. Open My Computer. If the toolbar doesn't appear in the window, choose View, Toolbar. Now, in the toolbar, select Desktop. Minimize the window. This places the window in the taskbar. As long as you shut down the system by choosing Start, Shut Down, the Desktop window will remain in the taskbar. If you use F4 to shut down, the window will be closed. Of course, you also have to remember to minimize the window rather than closing it after you use it. VOICE OF THE PEOPLE If you're just now getting interested in working with voice and sounds, you have the perfect starting point already on your hard disk. Let's say you'd like to record some sound bites from some of your CDs. Here's how. Put the audio disk into the CD-ROM drive and open the CD Player (it will probably open automatically; if it does, click the Stop button). Now open the Recorder (Start, Programs, Accessories, Multimedia, Sound Recorder). Now click Record on the Sound Recorder and then click Play on the CD Player. Watch the graphical indicator on the Sound Recorder. If you see some of the waveforms flatten out, the record volume is too high. Choose Edit, Audio Properties, and when the dialog box opens, reduce the Recording volume. Note: If the waveform is flattening out, your sound file will be distorted. The recording time is entirely dependent on your system memory. With 64MB of RAM installed, we can record 150 seconds (stereo, 16 bits, 44100 samples per second). You can also get more recording time if you reduce the sound requirements. To do this, choose Edit, Audio Properties and click the arrow at the right side of the Preferred Quality list box. Choose Radio Quality and click OK. Alternatively, you can click Customize and then choose the audio parameters from the Customize dialog box. Click OK when you're finished and then click OK again to close the Audio Properties dialog box. If you have a microphone or tape player, you can try working with both. To use a tape player, you'll need an adapter to connect both the right and left channel cables to the type of connector used by your sound card. You can get these adapters at Radio Shack. The adapter plugs into the Line input on the sound card. The Sound Recorder is far from a full-featured digital recorder, but it does a great job with sound bites and comments. And it's a great way to get started. SHORTCUTTING THE SHORTCUT If you liked the single-pane version of Explorer that we discussed in the last tip, you might like to put a shortcut on the desktop that will open the single-pane version for you. Open Windows NT Explorer and navigate to \Winnt and locate Explorer.exe. Use the mouse to drag the Explorer.exe icon to the desktop to create a shortcut. Now right-click the shortcut and choose Properties. When the Properties dialog box opens, click the Shortcut tab. Now click the Target text entry box and enter %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe .. (one space and two periods) to open a single-pane Explorer at the root folder of your Windows NT drive. MS-DOS AND WINDOWS NT 4.0 In a recent tip, we mentioned that you can't view an NTFS partition when you boot the computer from an MS-DOS floppy. And we were correct. However, subscriber V. points out that you can get some software that will allow you to view that NTFS partition after an MS-DOS boot. The software is called NTFSDOS and you'll find it at After you download and extract the file (it's a ZIP file), format an MS-DOS floppy with the system (format a: /s using MS-DOS--not Windows NT). Now copy the two extracted files (ntfsdos.exe and ntfshlp.vxd) to the floppy. When you restart with the floppy in Drive A, you'll be able to view the NTFS partition. You won't be able to make changes, but you can view it. SIGNING ON We described in several tips how to make a registry change to allow automatic log-on for the administrator. Readers L.B. and J.L. point out that if you want to log on as another user, you can. All you have to do is click Start and then choose Shut Down. Select the radio button labeled Close All Programs and Log On as a Different User? Click Yes and hold down the Shift key while Windows NT restarts. This time, you'll get the familiar sign-in box. CLARIFYING RUN Recently, we pointed out that you can run BAT, COM, and EXE programs if you click Start and then choose Run. You type in the Program's name and click OK. Reader J.P. reminds us that you can also use Run to launch a registered application's document. For example, if you open Run and type in test.txt Windows NT will launch notepad and load the file. AUTOMATIC MS-DOS? Subscriber C.D. likes the fact that he can press Ctrl-Shift-Esc to launch Task Manager in Windows NT 4.0. He wants to know if there's a keystroke to launch the command prompt. There isn't, but you can add a keystroke to do the job. Right-click the Start button and choose Open. When the window opens, double-click the Programs icon. Now right-click the Command Prompt icon and choose Properties. When the Properties dialog box opens, click the Shortcut tab. Now click in the entry box labeled Shortcut Key and type D (or whatever key you want to assign). When you do, Windows NT will finish the line, making it Ctrl-Alt-D. Click OK to save your change and close the dialog box. Now you can open the command prompt window by simply pressing Ctrl-Alt-D. MORE ON THE COMMAND PROMPT In a recent tip, we described a way to mark, copy, and paste data in the command prompt window. In that tip, we suggested that you click the Command button and then choose Edit. From the Edit menu, choose Mark. You mark the area you want to copy using the mouse and then choose Command, Edit, Copy. There's a way to speed up this operation: You can use QuickEdit mode. Right-click your Command Prompt icon and choose Properties. When the Properties dialog box opens, click the Options tab. Now select the check box labeled QuickEdit Mode and click OK. Double-click the Command Prompt icon now. After the window opens, press the mouse button and drag across some text. You'll find that this selects the text now. To copy the selected text, right-click in the selected area. You can now move to another application's document, click in it, and press Ctrl-V to paste the data from the command prompt window. DON'T RUN THAT PROGRAM Running programs on a remote system can be a valuable diagnostic tool. However, when you're working with files on a remote system, you should resist the temptation to run a program just to look at some data. There are several good reasons to avoid running programs on a remote computer. First, they will run very slowly because of the speed of the phone line. If you use ISDN, the speed will be better, but still slow. Second, if you run programs over a phone line, you could cause a system hang-up. This can happen simply because all phone lines are subject to noise interference. Some noise at the wrong time can cause you to lose control. When you call a remote site, you're much better off restricting your session to file transfers. LOST PASSWORD One reader lost the Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.02 password. Even after reinstalling IE, the lost password is still in effect. If you're running Microsoft Internet Explorer (3 or 4) and find yourself in this position, here's what to do. Because we're going to dig into the registry, we have to issue the usual warning: Be careful; if you mess up the Registry, you'll have a serious problem. With that in mind, let's go. Click Start and choose Run. Type in regedit and press Enter. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies \Ratings. In the right pane, you'll see Key and a string of hex numbers. Click Key to select it and then press Del. Click Yes when the Confirm dialog box appears. Now choose Registry, Exit to close RegEdit. Note: If you don't find Ratings where we describe it, run RegEdit and choose Edit, Find. Type in Ratings and click Find Next. This will locate the folder for you. The remainder of the procedure is the same. GETTING RID OF THE RUNS Subscriber R.K. would like to know if you can eliminate part of the long Run list that results from repeated use of the Run dialog box. There's one way we know of, and that's to edit the registry. Perhaps some subscribers know of another way. If you do edit the registry, be careful. Click Start, Run, type in regedit and press Enter. When RegEdit opens, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\ RunMRU. In the right pane, you'll see a list of the files in the Run menu. To delete one of them, click its icon and press Delete. You can delete as many as you like--all if you choose. When finished, choose RegEdit, Exit to close the program and save your changes. Now restart the computer and you'll have only what you didn't delete in the Run list. MORE EXPLORING Subscriber K.F. wants to know if you can add Explorer icons to the Start menu so that each one will open to a different folder. The answer is yes, you can. Open Windows NT Explorer and locate \Winnt\Explorer.exe. Now hold down Ctrl and drag the Explorer.exe icon to the Start Menu. Repeat for each incidence of Explorer you want to add to the Start menu. Right-click Start and choose Open. Locate each of the new Explorer shortcuts and rename them to suit their opening folders. For example, you might want one to open the c:\Data folder, so you could name it "Explore Data." Next, right-click the icon and choose Properties. When the Properties dialog box opens, click the Shortcut tab. Now click in the Target entry box and delete the existing command. Type in n:\Winnt\Explorer.exe n:\data, /n, /e where "n" is your drive designation and "data" is the folder where you want Explorer to open. Click OK to close the dialog box and save your changes. You need to repeat this process for each of your Explorer shortcuts, adding the correct folder for each of them. BATCH FILES CALLING If you need to use several batch files, here's a situation you may well encounter. Let's suppose that you have a batch file that calls other batch files. You can run one batch file from another. All you have to do is enter something like this example: This is the calling batch file. Let's name it CallIt.bat. @echo off echo This is line 1 echo This is line 2 Test.bat This is the file that's run from CallIt.bat--Test.bat. @echo off echo Here I am When you run CallIt.bat, it will display the two lines that are echoed and then run the batch file named Test.bat. So the output will look like this: This is line 1 This is line 2 Here I am No problem there. But what if you'd like to use something more like this next example? @echo off echo This is line 1 echo This is line 2 Test.bat Echo This is line 3 When you run this batch file, you'll get: This is line 1 This is line 2 Here I am and that's all--no line 3. When you run Test.bat from your batch file, control is turned over to Test.bat. To solve the problem, use the Call instruction. For example, if you modify your batch file as follows, you can maintain control: @echo off echo This is line 1 echo This is line 2 call Test.bat echo This is line 3 This time, you'll get: This is line 1 This is line 2 Here I am This is line 3 So, your batch file runs Test.bat, but when Test.bat finishes executing, control returns to the calling batch file. EXPLORING Reader S.T. observes that you don't have to go to all the trouble of putting an Explorer icon in your Start menu--it's already there. If you right-click the Start button, you can choose Explore, or Explore all Users to open the Explorer. M.W.F. points out that if you have one of the newer keyboards, you can simply press Windows-E to open Explorer. NAMING IT If you've installed the Windows NT Resource Kit and decide to use the WinAT Command Scheduler, you could get the message: "The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect." Then, after you press OK a few times, WinAT will appear. The only problem is that when you try to use it, you get a Dr. Watson error. This problem will occur when you install the Windows Resource Kit into a folder with a long file name. Unfortunately, WinAT can't handle those long file names. To correct the problem (or to avoid it) install the Windows Resource Kit to a folder with a standard short name. DISK FULL TipWorld subscriber T.A. wants to know what to do when the files for your Emergency Repair Disk won't fit on a floppy disk. You have a few options depending on your hardware. For example, if you have a Zip drive (or some other large removable disk drive), you can put your emergency files there. A rewritable CD is another possible location for those emergency files. If you have only a floppy disk drive to work with, you can use Backup to hold the files. Backup will prompt you to insert disks as needed. You'll find the Emergency Repair files in \Winnt\Repair. OH NO! MY DRIVE IS BAD? Here's a bug that could cause some serious anxiety. Let's say you decide to go to the Command Prompt and type Chkdsk n: /f where "n" is a drive letter. Instead of getting what you expect in the Event Log, you get: Event ID: 41 Source: Disk description: The file system structure on the disk is corrupt and unusable. Please run the Chkdsk utility on the device Device\Harddiskx\Partitionx with label x. NOTE: X is the partition's volume label. Don't get too excited; the problem is that Chkdsk displays the wrong message. The message should be: Autochk will be run on this volume because user has selected it. That's much better isn't it? DISK FULL TipWorld subscriber T.A. wants to know what to do when the files for your Emergency Repair Disk won't fit on a floppy disk. You have a few options depending on your hardware. For example, if you have a Zip drive (or some other large removable disk drive), you can put your emergency files there. A rewritable CD is another possible location for those emergency files. If you have only a floppy disk drive to work with, you can use Backup to hold the files. Backup will prompt you to insert disks as needed. You'll find the Emergency Repair files in \Winnt\Repair. MINIMAL WINDOWS Reader M.B. would like to point out that those with the newer style keyboards can press Windows (Window Key)-M to minimize all active windows. To undo, press Windows-Shift-M. A NEW LOGO Although we've covered this topic in the past, we've recently received questions from several subscribers about how to change the Windows NT 4.0 startup logo. The Windows NT 4.0 startup logo is in the \Winnt folder. There are actually two of them: Winnt.bmp and Winnt256.bmp. Winnt.bmp is used if your video system doesn't handle at least 256 colors. Otherwise, Winnt256.bmp is used. Since most people now have systems that handle more than 256 colors, the file name to use is Winnt256.bmp. If you'd like to use a different BMP file, simply click once on the name tag of Winnt256.bmp. Wait a second or so and then click again. Now you can change the file's name. We used "Winnt256.old." The system will ask if you want to change the extension; click Yes. Now locate the BMP file you want to use, and name it "Winnt256.bmp." Move this file to \Winnt. You can use a file of almost any size, but for it to appear normal, it needs to be no larger than your screen. So, if your screen is 800 by 600, you should use a file of that size or less. After you have your new file in place, restart the computer to view it as a startup logo. Note: If you choose Close All Programs and Log On as a New User, the logo may appear only very briefly. You need to restart the computer to get a good look at the new startup logo. SPEEDY START MENU NAVIGATION You can control the speed of navigation on the Start menu by tweaking a setting in your NT Registry. This change will reduce the time it takes for the Start Menu to display the next tree when you move your cursor over it. To make the change, you'll use RegEdit. To launch RegEdit, click Start, Run, type REGEDIT (not case sensitive) and click OK. Next, drill down to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Control Panel/Desktop entry, then select MenuShowDelay. Change the value of this setting to 100, click OK, exit RegEdit, and restart your system. Check out the improvement in speed of display! SEE AND SAY Have you ever experimented with any speech programs? If not, you may want to examine textHELP ScreenReader from Lorien Systems in Northern Ireland. This cool program will convert speech from any text in a word processor or a text editor. You run the program by using standard tape or CD control. If you click Play and start typing in your word processor, the program will read back your text as you type. If you'd like to have your mail read to you, just activate textHELP and select the text you want to hear. Click Play and sit back and listen. To download the program, go to This is a shareware version of a commercial program designed to help people with dyslexia and other problems that may interfere with reading. If you'd like to examine a demo of the commercial version, go to DOCUMENT DESTRUCTION Subscriber T.K. asks if there's any easy way to get rid of the long list in Start, Documents. We use a batch file that we've published before. For the new subscribers, and for those who missed it the first time, here's how to get rid of those long lists: Open Windows NT Explorer and navigate to the root folder (usually c:\). Right-click in the right pane and choose New, Text Document. Name the new document "Clean.bat." You'll get a message about changing the extension--tell it to go ahead. After you've named your new document, right-click its icon and choose Edit. Type in the following: del /q n:\winnt\profiles\administrator\recent\*.* Keep in mind that our example is for the administrator--you'll have to use a different path for other users. With Clean in place in the root folder, use the right-mouse button to drag the icon to the desktop. When you release the button, choose Create Shortcut(s) Here. Now right-click the shortcut and choose Properties. When the Properties dialog box opens, click the Shortcut tab. Now click the arrow at the right side of the Run entry box. Select Minimized from the list. When you double-click the Clean icon, the batch file will run invisibly and delete the entire Documents list. If you'd like to always delete these files on startup, you can put a shortcut to Clean.bat into your Startup folder. CHOOSE A NAME When you install Windows NT 4.0 Workstation along with another operating system, the Setup program determines the name of the alternate system. For example, if you install Windows NT 4.0 on a system that already runs under Windows 95, the Setup program will name the alternate system "Microsoft Windows." If you'd prefer it to read "Windows 95" or "Microsoft Windows 95," you can edit the name in Boot.ini. Open Windows NT Explorer and then find Boot.ini in the root folder. Double-click the icon to open it and then save it as Boot.txt. Now that you have a backup, right-click Boot.ini and choose Properties. Deselect the Read Only check box and click OK. Now double-click the icon again to open it. Locate the line that reads "Microsoft Windows" and change it to "Windows 95" (or whatever you wish). Now choose File, Save to save Boot.ini. Still in Windows NT Explorer, right-click the icon again and choose Properties. This time, select the Read Only check box to make the file read-only. Click OK to close the dialog box and save your change. HAVE IT YOUR OWN WAY In the last tip, we showed you how to use your own BMP file for the Windows NT 4.0 startup logo. But suppose you like the default logo well enough--you'd just like to personalize it a bit. Since the logo file Winnt256.bmp is a standard BMP file, you can easily edit it. Open Windows NT Explorer and navigate to \Winnt. Locate Winnt256.bmp and double-click its icon. The file will open in Paint. You can use the Paint tools to make whatever modifications you like. Let's suppose you'd simply like to add your name or your company's name to the logo. First choose the color by clicking White (or another color that will show up over the dark blue background) at the bottom left of the window. Now click the Text tool (the big "A") and click where you want the text to appear. Choose your font and font size and then type in the info. Choose File, Save to save your changes. Choose File, Exit to close the program. When you restart, your additions will appear in the logo. SIZING IT UP Reader T.R. asks if you can make the Command Prompt window larger, as you can in Windows 95. The answer is yes and no. You can make the Command Prompt window larger and make use of the new size, but this doesn't mean that existing MS-DOS programs will use the new size. To size your window, right-click the Command Prompt icon and choose Properties. Click the Layout tab and use the Spin boxes to set your screen and buffer sizes. When finished, click OK to close the dialog box and save your changes. Now double-click the Command Prompt icon to open a window. You'll see that your window is now the size you specified. The only way to see how the new window will respond to a given program is to run the program. In most cases, resizing the Command Prompt window won't make any difference to the MS-DOS program--it will still run, but it will run in a standard-size window. You can use the larger size for your own purposes, though--the larger size may make it easier for you to deal with batch files. LET NT FILL IN THE FILE NAME NT will help you fill in file names at the command prompt, saving you a few keystrokes. For example, if you're typing regedit.exe to launch the Registry Editor, you can simply type the first few letters and press the Tab key. NT fills in the rest. However, you need to make the following change for this to work: You'll make the change using RegEdit. To launch RegEdit, click Start, Run, type REGEDIT (not case sensitive) and click OK. Drill down to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Command Processor entry, then select CompletionChar and set the value of REG_DWORD to 9. Click OK to save your changes, exit RegEdit, and restart your system to make the changes take effect. SECURITY TIP: FORCE A MINIMUM PASSWORD LENGTH For a hacker, the front door is the log-in screen. Your choice of passwords is either his ticket in or his frustration. The shorter you make your password, the easier it is for the hacker to guess. Make your password at least eight characters long. The maximum length you can type in an NT log-on box is 14 characters. If you're a system administrator, you can regulate the size that users make their passwords. You'll find this setting and many other password options in the User Manager utility under the Administrative Tools group on the Programs menu. You select a username from the list, then choose Policies/Account to open the Account Policy dialog box and set the restrictions. SECURITY TIP: DON'T USE PASSWORDS THAT CAN BE FOUND IN A DICTIONARY A common trick of hackers is to run an application that attempts to break into your system by running a list of common words or an entire dictionary against your user ID and password. The best defense against this technique is to avoid using common words, names of places or people, or other easily guessed words. Don't use your family members or pets' names, your job title, or anything that is commonly related to you. And, avoid putting your ID and password on anything near your computer, like sticky notes or bulletin boards. Sounds silly to some, but it's very common, and a hacker's dream come true! SECURITY TIP: USE COMPLICATED PASSWORDS As we've been discussing over the past few tips, it's a good idea to make it hard for potential hackers to guess your password. NT4 Service Pack 2 includes a new feature that dramatically increases the strength of your network passwords. This feature requires user passwords to be at least six characters long (you can increase that length for individuals and groups). They must also contain characters from at least three of the following four groups: English uppercase letters (A-Z), English lowercase letters (a-z), Arabic numerals (0-9), and punctuation or other special characters. To activate NT's special password requirements feature, you'll need to have installed Service Pack 2 or later and have administrator rights. Next, you need to copy the file PASSFILT.DLL from the Service Pack folder to the %systemroot%\System32. To make the change, you'll use RegEdit. To launch RegEdit, click on Start, then Run. Type in REGEDIT (not case sensitive) and then click OK. Drill down to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa and select Notification Packages. Next, select Data type REG_MULTI_SZ, and click OK. Next, add the value PASSFILT in the Data box (if the value FPNWCLNT is already there, press Enter and add the new data under the existing text). Finally, exit RegEdit and restart the computer to make the change. DON'T DO IT! When you're fooling around in the root folder (perhaps editing Boot.ini) be very careful that you don't mess with a file named BOOTSECT.DOS (this name is the same whether your alternate system is MS-DOS or Windows). The boot loader uses this file to boot the alternate operating system. If it can't locate, or read, this file, you can't boot your alternate system. QUICK FIX Subscriber A.D. reports from Germany that there's a quick way out of an Explorer Shell hang-up. Press Ctrl-Alt-Del and click Task Manager. Now choose File, New Task (Run) and type in Explorer.exe Click OK and your Explorer Shell will restart. We haven't had an Explorer Shell hang-up lately, so we haven't tested this tip thoroughly. What we did was kill Explorer and then restart it. Next time you have an Explorer Shell hang-up, give this method a try. GIVE ME THE NUMLOCK We recently explained how to make sure that Numlock is always on when you start the system. As subscriber C.B. points out, you can turn Numlock on automatically for all users, rather than just one. This is one of those RegEdit tips, so be careful in there. Click Start, Run, type regedit and click OK (or press Enter). When RegEdit opens, go to HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Keyboard. If InitialKeyboardIndicators is set to zero (0), Numlock will be disabled after the log-on (regardless of your BIOS setting). To enable Numlock, double-click the InitialKeyboardIndicators icon and enter 2 in place of the default 0. Click OK and then exit RegEdit. Note that this change applies only to profiles created after the change is made. If you delete your profile folder, then log off and log back on, NT will create a new profile with the Numlock change enabled. START AN INVISIBLE PROGRAM Reader K.R. asks if there's a way to start a program at bootup without placing the program in the StartUp folder. You can do this by editing the Registry. As always, be careful. Click Start, Run, type regedit and press Enter (or click OK). Now go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows. In the right pane, you'll see Load and Run. To run a program, double-click the Run icon and enter the name and path of your program. For example, to run a batch file named Test.bat in the Batch folder, you'd enter c:\Batch\test.bat Click OK to save the entry and then close RegEdit and restart the computer. OPEN IT IN NOTEPAD There are times when you want to open a file such as, Autoexec.old, or Bootlog.prv. All of these files have one thing in common--they are "unknown" files that have no associated program. Because what you want to do most often is open the file in NotePad to read it, why not make NotePad the default for unknown files? To do this, you need to edit the Registry. So be careful, and let's get started. Click Start, Run, type regedit and press Enter. Now navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Unknown\shell. Click Shell and then right-click in RegEdit's right pane. Choose New, Key and name the new key "Open." Now click the new Open key and right-click in the right pane. Choose New, Key again and this time, name it "Command." Double-click the (Default) icon and when the dialog box opens, type notepad.exe %1 and click OK. Close RegEdit (choose Registry, Exit) and restart the computer. Now you can double-click any icon with an unknown extension, and it will open in NotePad. Of course, not all files will open in NotePad, but those that won't will let you know. BUILT-IN SCREEN CAPTURE Need to capture a screen on your Windows NT system? Just buy a screen-capture software package. Just kidding! With Windows NT, you don't need to purchase extra software to do simple screen captures. This capability is built into the NT operating system. To grab a screen, just press your Control and Print Screen buttons simultaneously. This will capture the entire screen. If you only want to capture the active window, press your Alt and Print Screen buttons simultaneously. This process copies an image to your clipboard. Now you can paste it into your favorite image editor such as PhotoShop or PaintShop Pro. CLEANING UP YOUR BOOT MENU AFTER A NEW INSTALL When you install a new version of NT over an older one, you'll find that your old boot menu choices still appear along with any new ones you set up. You can get rid of any old listing as follows: First, you'll need to locate the boot.ini file on your system and remove the Read Only attribute. Next, launch your favorite text editor such as NotePad and open the file. You should find that the bottom two lines listed in the file were put there by the old system--you can delete those. Remove any other unnecessary entries and save the file. Don't forget to set the file attribute back to Read Only to protect it from accidental changes. SECURITY TIP: HIDE YOUR LOG-IN INFORMATION In a previous tip, we told you about automating your log-in with a Microsoft PowerToy called TweakUI. This utility stores the values for your username and password in the Registry in an unencrypted format. This is an open door for those who know and understand the registry and how to gain access. If you do set up your system for automatic log-on, you can still protect your log-in information by storing it in a secure area. Or you can simply edit the permissions associated with that segment of the Registry. You'll use the RegEdit utility to make this change, as follows: To launch RegEdit, click on Start, then Run. Type in REGEDIT (not case sensitive) and then click OK. Next, drill down to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlog on and choose Security from the menu. Next, choose Permissions and change the default permission for the Everyone group from Read to Special. Finally, deselect the Query Value check box and exit RegEdit. When someone other than an administrator attempts to access the key, it will appear grayed out. SECURITY TIP: DON'T USE YOUR REGULAR PASSWORD ON THE INTERNET While surfing the Internet, you'll run in to many sites that require you to enter a username and password in order to access certain information. A good rule is, never use your NT log-on password to sign on to a Web site. In doing so, you take the chance of someone intercepting it and attempting to log into your system using your information. Just use something simple and completely different from your NT password. It's the safe way to surf! TURN ON NUMLOCK BY DEFAULT When you log on to your Windows NT system, the NumLock key is turned off by default. You can change this setting in the Registry using RegEdit. To launch RegEdit, click on Start, then Run. Type in REGEDIT (not case sensitive) and then click OK. Drill down to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Keyboard. Then change the value of the InitialKeyboardIndicators value from 0 to 2. Click OK to save the change, exit RegEdit, and restart your system. A COMMAND PROMPT AT YOUR FINGERTIPS Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Several subscribers have asked if there's a way to add a Command prompt command to the menu you get when you right-click a folder (in Explorer, or on the desktop). Selecting the command would then open a Command Prompt window at the folder path. Helpful reader S.P. suggests an easy way to accomplish this. Run Windows NT Explorer (or open My Computer) and choose View, Options. When the Options dialog box opens, click the File Types tab. Now locate Folder and select it. Click Edit. Click New to open the New Action dialog box. Type Command Prompt in the Action: entry box, and type cmd.exe in the Application Used to Perform Action entry box. Click OK, and when you get back to the Edit File Type dialog box, click OK again. Back in Options, click Close. Now you can right-click a folder and choose Command Prompt to open a Command Prompt window at the folder's path. For example, we have an Office folder on the desktop. If we right-click that folder and choose Command prompt, the Command Prompt window opens at the path to the folder (C:\WINNT\Profiles\Administrator\Desktop\Office). WHY IS THAT PROGRAM STILL THERE? Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Subscriber G.A.B. wants to know how to get rid of ghost listings in Add/Remove (Start, Settings, Control Panel, Add/Remove). Ghost listings are programs that no longer exist on the computer. You'll get ghost listings if you delete a program without using Add/Remove. And you sometimes get ghost listings even when you DO use Add/Remove to uninstall a program. There is a way to delete these listings, but they require that you edit the Registry. So be careful. And before you start, make absolutely sure that you do want to get rid of a listing. If the program still exists, you won't be able to uninstall it once you've deleted the listing. Click Start and choose Run. Type regedit and click OK (or press Enter). Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Uninstall and locate the offending entry. Select it and press Delete. Close RegEdit and restart the computer. FULL FOLDERS Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Subscriber S.O. points out that you can quickly determine the number of files and the total file size contained in a folder. All you have to do is right-click the folder and choose Properties. The Properties dialog box will display the folder's location, the number of bytes, and the number of files in the folder. HANDY DESKTOP Windows NT Workstation 4.0 In a recent tip, we described a way to put a desktop icon in the taskbar. Several readers suggested a better way than ours. Run Windows NT Explorer and go to \Winnt\Profiles\Username\Desktop (where Username is the name you use in Win NT). Now right-click Start and choose Open. Use the right-mouse button to drag the Desktop icon from Windows NT Explorer to the Start menu. Release the mouse button and, when the menu appears, choose Copy. This procedure produces a Start menu item that acts like a standard Start menu item. That is, when you move the mouse pointer over the item, a submenu opens. NETWORKED DOS Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Reader N.D. asks about using the Command Prompt with networked drives. This is no problem, provided you map the drives. Open Network Neighborhood and double-click the computer with which you want to work. Now right-click the drive you want to map and choose Map Network Drive. Notice which drive letter is assigned to the drive. Now open a Command Prompt window and type in the new drive letter. You can now work with the new drive in the Command Prompt window. CREATE SHORTCUT TO CONTROL PANEL TOOLS When you want to launch a Control Panel tool, you typically click Start, Settings, Control Panel, and then double-click the tool in the Control Panel Window. There's a quicker way to access and launch these tools. Here's how: First, you'll need to define an association with the CPL file extension. To do this, launch Explorer, choose the .CPL setting and associate it with %windir%\system32\control.exe. Next, locate the CPL file you want quick access to in the C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32 directory (for example display.cpl) and create a shortcut, then drag it to your desktop. The next time you need the tool, it's a double-click away! DELETING FILES WITH FOUR-CHARACTER EXTENSIONS It's a good idea to surf through your hard drive occasionally and delete some of the many files you acquire as your surf the Internet. For example, you may have a habit of saving Web pages to your hard drive for future reference. The files you download may have a file extension of .HTM or .HTML, depending on the type of server from which you saved them. When you're doing your cleanup, you may delete *.HTM in your download directory. However, NT might only delete the .HTM files and ignore the .HTML files. This depends on a Windows NT setting for handling Short File Extensions. Windows NT includes a registry setting that makes four-character extensions appear as three-character ones, meaning that when you delete *.HTM, you'll get *.HTML as well. Your Windows NT 4.0 workstation is set to On by default. The actual Registry key looks like this: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\system\currentcontrolset\control\filesystem value: Win95TruncatedExtensions: REG_DWORD If the value is set to 0, the key is off. If it's set to 1, the key is on. FONTS, FONTS--WHY SO MANY FONTS? When you take a look at the fonts loaded on your Windows NT system, it appears that you have many extra copies of the same font. For example, you may have bold, bold italic, italic, narrow, condensed, and other versions of the same font. Fortunately, you can filter down to display only the main fonts, providing you with a better view of what you have on your system. To make this change, launch Control Panel, then double-click the Fonts icon. Next, choose View, Hide Variations. The next time you view your list of fonts, NT displays one line for each of these font families, cleaning up your view of the installed fonts. QUICK ACCESS TO REGEDT32 REGEDT32 is the master tool for editing your Windows NT registry. You'll find the executable file in your %windir%\system32 directory. To launch the editor, you can click Start, Run and type REGEDT32 To provide quicker access, you might want to place a shortcut to the editor on your desktop. To create the shortcut, launch Explorer, locate the file regedt32.exe, and right-click the icon. Choose Create Shortcut, then drag the copy onto your desktop. Now, you'll have quicker access to the editor when you need to make changes to your Windows NT registry. RUN 16-BIT APPS IN A SEPARATE VDM Still running a few old 16-bit applications? If so, you should consider running them in a separate VDM (Virtual DOS Machine). This isolates the application in case of failure and will also improve performance. You can choose the option to run 16-bit applications in a separate VDM when you configure a shortcut or run the executable from Explorer. If you want to set the default for running 16-bit apps to be "run in a separate VDM," you can do so by editing the following Registry entry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/WOW To make the change, edit or add the Value of type REG_SZ with value name DefaultSeparateVDM and set it to Yes. (The default is No.) Save your changes and restart your system to make the changes take effect. ICONS AND MORE ICONS Windows NT Workstation 4.0 You can choose icons for any of your desktop shortcuts. All you have to do is right-click the current icon and choose Properties. When the Properties dialog box opens, click the Shortcut tab and then click Change Icon. When the Change Icon dialog box opens, you'll see a list of icons from which to choose. If you don't care for any of the icons shown here, click Browse. Now you can search for some icons. A good first stop is Moricons.dll. This file contains a wide variety of icons from which to choose. You'll find icons in many DLL files. Just open them one at a time and see what they have to offer. And don't forget that you can use many BMP files as icons. You'll find icons just by browsing the system. If you still don't find what you're looking for, check out some of the icons at NTFS PERFORMANCE BOOSTER If you're taking advantage of NTFS, you'll be interested in knowing about this performance trick. Each time you use Explorer or the DIR command to list a directory on an NTFS volume, Windows NT updates the LastAccess time stamp on each directory it detects. If you have large numbers of directories, this update process can become time-consuming and could adversely affect performance. Fortunately, you can make a change to the following key in your NT Registry and prevent the update, saving you time and processing power. To make this change, launch the Registry Editor and locate HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem Click on Value Add Name and add the value NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate of type REG_DWORD Next, set its value to 1, preventing the LastAccess time stamp from being updated. Save your changes and restart your system to make it happen. DO IT LONG DISTANCE Windows NT Workstation 4.0 If you're away from the office and would like to add another file to your Briefcase, you can simply access the office system and move your new file into the remote Briefcase. There's no reason to copy the Briefcase to the laptop and then move it back to the system computer. To enable this, make sure before you catch the plane that you have access to all the necessary folders from a remote site. SEE IT ALL Windows NT Workstation 4.0 If you're working in the Command Prompt and you would like to see all your directories, try this. At the prompt, type dir /s |more and press Enter. All the entries will appear one screen at a time. To make your lists easier to read, you might want to sort by name. To do this, type dir /s /o |more at the prompt and press Enter. SWITCH IT ON A number of readers have requested information about the Windows NT Explorer switches. Thanks to reader R.B. for pointing us to the complete list of Explorer switches from Microsoft. The basic syntax is Explorer [/n][/e][,/root,(object)][[,/select],(sub object)] /n opens a new single-paned window (as we reported in a recent tip). /e opens Explorer in the standard view at the current folder. /root,(object) opens at the specified root level. /Select, Folder tells Explorer which folder gets the focus. /select,(filename) tells Explorer which file gets the focus. If you want to open Explorer in desktop view, right-click the Windows NT Explorer shortcut and choose Properties. Now click the Shortcut tab and enter %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /e,/root, into the Target text entry box and click OK. Let's suppose that you'd like Explorer to open in your data folder. Right-click the Explorer icon and choose Properties. Click the Shortcut tab and enter %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /select, c:\data and click OK. To open Explorer in the data folder, enter %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /e /select, c:\data and click OK. You can even have Explorer select a specific file for you. For example, if you'd like to select the Calculator when Explorer opens, you'd right-click the Explorer icon, choose Properties, click the Shortcut tab, and enter %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /select,c:\winnt\system32\calc.exe If your installation isn't on Drive C, enter the drive letter that you use. DRIVERS GALORE! Need an updated or new driver for an NT device? Check out You'll find a wealth of drivers for all your devices, from CD-ROM and display drivers to network and printer drivers. This site contains one of the most complete and updated driver databases on the Internet. SHARING THE PAGEFILE.SYS FILE ON DUAL-BOOT SYSTEMS If you set up your system to dual-boot Windows NT and Windows 95, you can save space by allowing both systems to share the common PAGEFILE.SYS on a FAT partition. It takes a few steps, but it's worth the savings in space. First, you'll need to configure the NT Pagefile, setting it to the common FAT partition with Min/Max the same. To access this setting, open the Control Panel and then choose System, Performance, and finally Virtual Memory. Next, you'll need to configure Windows 95, setting your own virtual memory setting using the same settings as you used for NT. Again, you'll find this setting by accessing the Control Panel, choosing System, then Performance, and finally Virtual Memory. Finally, reboot to Windows 95 and make the following changes to your SYSTEM.INI: [386Enh] section: PagingFile=X:\PAGEFILE.SYS PagingDrive=X: MinPagingFileSize=NNNNN MaxPagingFileSize=NNNNN where X: is the common drive and NNNNN is the size of PAGEFILE.SYS in kilobytes. Restart your system and look for the file Win386.SWP on your Windows 95 drive. Delete it and you're finished. TRACKING REGISTRY CHANGES When you install a new application on your Windows NT workstation, the setup program automatically makes any necessary changes or additions to the Registry. Knowing what changes were made is not information normally provided to you by the setup screens or the README files included with the application. Fortunately, there's a way you can track the changes. It takes a few steps, but it's worth it if you really need to know what changes were made. Here's the process: Before you begin the setup, launch the Registry Editor. Next, select each Root Key that you wish to compare (usually the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, HKEY_CURRENT_USER, and HKEY_CLASSES keys), then choose Registry, Save Subtree As from the menu. Next, choose Save As Type and select Text Files. Name the file something easy to remember for each key, like local.old, current.old, and classes.old. Now, install your new application. After completing the installation, repeat the steps above using a new extension, such as NEW. Finally, you can compare the files using a text editor, word processor, or a tool like WINDIFF from the Resource Kit.

STOP THAT! You can choose how Windows NT Workstation 4.0 will behave when it encounters a Stop condition. Click Start and choose Settings, Control Panel. Double-click System and then click Startup/Shutdown. When a computer is sharing a number of resources, such as a printer or folders that other users need to access, you might want to select Automatically Reboot. After you make the selection, click OK and Windows NT will prompt for a restart. The disadvantage to using this option is that you'll get less information about the Stop in the Event log. In some cases, you may not even know that an error has occurred. You'll have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages in your own situation.

AUTORUN NOT! Do you like Autorun? You know, you stick a CD into the drive and, with a flurry of music or other sounds, the disc opens. One problem is that a disc in the CD-ROM drive often opens when you least expect it. If you prefer life without Autorun, this tip is for you. Disabling Autorun requires you to edit the Registry. And you know what we always say about editing the Registry--be careful. Click Start, Run. Type regedit and press Enter. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Cdrom In the RegEdit right pane, locate Autorun and double-click its icon. Change the one (1) to zero (0) and click OK. Close RegEdit (choose Registry, Exit) and restart the computer.

KEEP IT SAFE When you use Xcopy at the Command Prompt to copy a group of files, all read-only attributes are reset by default. If you need to make sure you keep all your files' read-only attribute set, type xcopy (whatever) /k and press Enter. If you'd like to check this, open the Command Prompt window and type copy con test.bin and press Enter. Now enter xxx and press Enter. Next, press F6 and press Enter. Now type attrib +r test.bin and press Enter. To make sure the read-only attribute is set, type attrib test.bin and press Enter. You should see the "r" that indicates a read-only file. Next, insert a floppy disk into Drive A and type xcopy test.bin a: Press Enter to make the copy. If you type attrib a:\test.bin and press Enter, you'll find that the read-only attribute is missing. But if you use xcopy text.bin a: /k and press Enter, the attribute will remain as you can see by typing attrib a:\test.bin again.

MASS RENAMING There are times when you may have a group of sequential files (usually graphics) that you'd like to rename. However, most of us don't like to click the file name, wait a second or so, click the file name again, then change the name and press Enter. This is tolerable for one or two files, but if you have many files, all this work becomes tedious. This is where NameWiz comes in. NameWiz is a shareware utility that will solve those mass renaming problems for you. Let's say you have a whole slew of image files that you'd like to rename sequentially. All you have to do is run NameWiz and tell it what you want--no more tedious individual renaming. NameWiz is a product of SoftByte Labs. Registration is $19.95. You'll find it at

CALL IT IN Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Subscriber T.O. is interested in finding out if you can use Briefcase from a remote laptop using Windows 95. Yes, you can--as long as you have RAS installed so you can call in to your Windows NT Workstation 4.0 system. Before you leave on that trip, put the necessary documents into the Briefcase on the laptop. Now, call your system and move the Briefcase to a location on the NT system. Note that the Briefcase icon will disappear from the laptop. This is normal. Now make a few minor changes to the document on your laptop. Call your system now and open the Briefcase on the system computer. Now you can update the Briefcase to get your files in sync. And there's always this to consider: If it works when you call from another room, it will work just as well when you call from Margaritaville.

AUTOSIZING EXPLORER When you use Windows NT Explorer in Details view (choose View, Details), the columns act much the same way as those in a spreadsheet such as Excel or 1-2-3. You can size the columns to fit the contents with a double mouse click. All you have to do is go to the top of the column and double-click the line that separates one column from another. When you do this, the column to the left of the line will resize to fit the longest entry in that column.

INSTALLING WINDOWS NT WORKSTATION 4.0 FROM WINDOWS 95/98 This question is from reader Steve M.: "Is it possible to upgrade from Windows 98 to Windows NT Workstation 4.0? If not, is it possible to install Windows NT Workstation 4.0 from Windows 98?" Windows NT Workstation 4.0 is not an upgrade for Windows 98 (or 95). However, you can install Windows NT Workstation 4.0 from Windows 95/98. Just put the Windows NT Workstation 4.0 installation disc into the CD-ROM drive. When the Setup screen appears, click Windows NT Setup and then follow through with the installation.

COMMENTS FOR NETWORK NEIGHBORHOOD Here is a tip from reader Leigh K.: "Sometimes it is useful to have an additional comment besides the machine name. To accomplish this in Windows NT Workstation 4.0, click Start, Settings, Control Panel, and double-click the Server icon. When the Server dialog box opens, type your comment in the Description entry box and click OK. Your comment will now appear under the comment column in Network Neighborhood." To see the Comment column, open Network Neighborhood and choose View, Details. Thanks for the tip, Leigh.

ADDING FILES FROM THE FLOPPY DISK DRIVE Here is a question from subscriber Warren C.: "A friend brought me a cool wallpaper file on a floppy disk. I installed the wallpaper. Now, when I start the computer, I get an error message telling me there is no disk in drive A:. "I never got this error before I installed the wallpaper, but I don't see why this should cause an error. When I return to using no wallpaper, the error message disappears. Do you have any suggestions?" It sounds like you installed the wallpaper from the floppy disk. Every time you start the computer, Windows NT Workstation 4.0 tries to locate the wallpaper on the floppy disk. What you need to do is copy the wallpaper file to your hard disk. Run Windows NT Explorer and copy the wallpaper file from the floppy in drive A: to your \Winnt folder. Now right-click the desktop and choose Properties. When the Display Properties dialog box opens, click the Background tab and select your new wallpaper. Click OK to close the dialog box and save your new wallpaper selection. With the wallpaper file on your hard disk, you will no longer get the error message.

OPENING EXPLORER WITH NO EXPANDED FOLDERS Reader Charles O. sent us this Windows NT Explorer question: "When I open Windows NT Explorer, it always opens with the current folder expanded. I would prefer that it open with no expanded folders. I vaguely recall seeing a tip somewhere on how to do this. Could you explain this in one of your tips?" What you can do is open My Computer in Explorer view. To do this, right-click the desktop and choose New, Shortcut. When the Create Shortcut wizard opens, enter explorer /e,/root,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D} in the Command Line entry box and click Next. Now enter the name you want to assign your new shortcut and click Finish. When you double-click the new shortcut, Explorer will open with no folders expanded. Network Neighborhood does not appear in this view. You see only the items that appear in My Computer. Note: It is easy to make a mistake when you enter such a long string. We suggest that you copy the name from this document and paste it into the shortcut name label. We have tested this name as shown here and determined that it works properly.

PRINTING TO A FILE Here is a printing question from reader Kevin J.: "I sometimes print to a file (using Generic/Text Only). When I do this, I always use the file right away, so I dislike having to type a name in the dialog box that opens each time. Is there any way to bypass the dialog box and just print to the same file name each time?" There is a way, but you need to edit the Registry. To make this a bit easier, we wrote a REG file to do the job. To create this REG file, run Notepad and enter the following as shown here. Where you see the words BLANK LINE GOES HERE, press Enter. Do not type in BLANK LINE GOES HERE. REGEDIT4 BLANK LINE GOES HERE [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Ports] BLANK LINE GOES HERE "C:\\MyFile.prn"="" If you prefer, you can use a different name and folder. Choose File, Save As, and name the file printfile.reg. Locate a folder for your new file and click Save. You can now double-click the printfile.reg icon to enter its contents into the Registry. Restart your computer and click Start, Settings, Printers. When the Printers window opens, double-click the Add Printer icon. When the Add Printer wizard opens, select the My Computer radio button and click Next. Locate your new port (C:\\MyFile.prn), select its check box, and click Next. In the wizard's next page, select Generic and Generic/Text Only, then click Next. If asked whether you want to use an existing driver or replace it, select the Replace Existing Driver radio button and click Next. In the next page, select the radio button labeled No, since you most likely don't want to use Print To File as your default printer. Click Next, then select the radio button labeled Not Shared and click Next. In the final wizard page, select the radio button labeled No and click Finish. Now, when you print to a file, its name will always be MyFile.prn and you won't get a dialog box asking for a new name.

RENAMING A REGISTRY KEY Here is a Registry question from reader Seth B.: "I was attempting to make a Registry change I saw in a tip. I accidentally typed an incorrect name. Is there some way to rename a key? I didn't know how to rename the key, so I just deleted it and started over." What you did was fine. However, to rename a key in RegEdit, right-click it and choose Rename from the menu. Type the new name and press Enter.

SETTING A CUSTOM SHORT DATE IN CONTROL PANEL Reader Lou M. sent in this Windows NT Workstation 4.0 question: "I would like to set the short date to a four-digit year. The problem is that there is no such selection in Regional Settings. Can you use a Registry setting to produce the four-digit year?" You could modify a Registry key, but you can set a four-digit year in Regional Settings even if you don't have that format in the list (we do have that setting on our system--using SP5). To set the short date, click Start, Settings, Control Panel. When Control Panel opens, double-click the Regional Settings icon. With the Regional Settings Properties dialog box open, click the Date tab. Select the current Short Date Style entry and replace it with MM/dd/yyyy and click OK to close the dialog box and save your new date format.


Reader Marcy D. submitted this tip:
"I thought others might be interested in turning off those speaker beeps. I don't mean turning off the sound card signals, just the speaker. I'm not even sure why we still have speakers in computers, anyway.
"To turn off the speaker, you need to do a simple Registry edit."
We created a REG file to implement Marcy's tip. As usual, run Notepad and enter the following exactly as shown. However, when you see BLANK LINE GOES HERE, don't type in BLANK LINE GOES HERE--just press Enter.
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Sound] 
Choose File, Save As, and name the file SoundOff.reg. Locate a folder for the file and click Save. Double-click the new file's icon to merge it with the Registry.
If you should need to turn the sound back on, make a copy of the REG file and name it SoundOn.reg. Change "Beep"="No" to "Beep"="Yes".
Thanks for the tip, Marcy.


In the last tip, reader Pete D. discussed how to change the Command Prompt window size while working at the Command Prompt. This time, Pete discusses how to change the Command Prompt window colors while working at the Command Prompt.
If you would like to change the Command Prompt window colors while working at the Command Prompt, you can simply type "color BG, FG" where BG is a hex number representing the background color, and FG is a hex number representing the foreground color. You can choose your colors from the following list. 0 = Black 1 = Blue 2 = Green 3 = Aqua 4 = Red 5 = Purple 6 = Yellow 7 = White 8 = Gray 9 = Light Blue A = Light Green B = Light Aqua C = Light Red D = Light Purple E = Light Yellow F = Bright White
So if you wanted bright white characters on a blue background, you would type "color 1F" and press Enter."
As with the window sizing, you can make a color change if you click Start, Settings, Control Panel and double-click the Console icon. When the dialog box opens, click the Colors tab and select your new colors. Click OK to close the dialog box. Thanks, Pete.

CHANGING THE COMMAND PROMPT WINDOW SIZE Here is a Command Prompt tip from reader Pete D. We'll run Pete's tip in two parts. Here's the first part. "I was working in a Command Prompt window when I decided to see if some of the old MS-DOS Mode commands would work. I discovered that you can set the size of the Command Prompt window during a session. All you have to do is type mode con cols=XXX lines=YYY and press Enter. If you want to increase your Command Prompt window size, you could enter mode con cols=90 lines=35 and press Enter." This works only for the current session. If you want to change the Command Prompt window permanently, click Start, Settings, Control Panel. When Control Panel opens, double-click the Console icon. When the Console Windows Properties dialog box opens, click the Layout tab and set the window size using the spin boxes. After you make your changes, click OK to close the dialog box and record your new settings. Thanks for the tip, Pete.

LOCKING OUT THE TASKBAR Subscriber Fran C. submitted the following tip: "I manage several Windows NT Workstation 4.0 systems and was looking for a way to lock the taskbar to keep people from changing it and other properties. I discovered that you can do this with a simple Registry edit." We created a REG file that will take care of this change for you. To reproduce the REG file, run Notepad and enter the following information. Where you see the words BLANK LINE GOES HERE, press Enter to enter a blank line. Do not type in BLANK LINE GOES HERE. REGEDIT4 BLANK LINE GOES HERE [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion Policies\Explorer] "NoTrayContextMenu"=dword:00000001 BLANK LINE GOES HERE Choose File, Save As, and name the new file lock.reg. Locate a folder for the file and click Save. When you double-click lock.reg, the information will merge with the Registry. After a restart, a right-click will have no effect. This also prevents users from right-clicking the Start button and choosing Open (or any other command). Since you may want to remove this protection at times, you can generate the following file to turn the right-click response back on: REGEDIT4 BLANK LINE GOES HERE [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer] "NoTrayContextMenu"=dword:00000000 BLANK LINE GOES HERE Name this one Unlock.reg and use it to gain access to the right-click menu again.


Chuck G. submitted the following tip: "I would like to point out that people can often save some printing time if they elect to use the RAW data mode. When using the RAW mode, Windows NT Workstation 4.0 doesn't have to convert the data sent to the printer to metafile format.
"To do this, just click Start, Settings, Printers. When the Printers window opens, right-click your printer icon and choose Properties. In the Properties dialog box, click the General tab. Now click Print Processor and select the check box labeled Always Spool RAW Datatype." Thanks for the tip, Chuck.

POWER SHUTDOWN IN WINDOWS NT WORKSTATION 4.0 We recently published a tip on how to get Windows NT Workstation 4.0 to power down on shutdown like Windows 95/98. This particular tip was a follow-up to a previous tip, and we failed to provide readers with all the necessary background. Reader Kurt S. sent these comments. "In your tip 'Automatic Power Off on Shutdown,' you omitted one detail. You might need to modify the Registry (depending on your default) to reflect the autoshutdown switch by setting PowerDownAfterShutdown to 1." Kurt is correct. To modify the Registry (be cautious as always when altering the Registry), click Start, Run, type regedit and press Enter. When RegEdit opens, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\ CurrentVersion\Winlogon. Double-click PowerDownAfterShutdown and set it to 1. If you don't have the entry, right-click in the RegEdit right pane and choose New, String Value and name it PowerDownAfterShutdown. Set it to 1 and choose Registry, Exit to close RegEdit. When you restart the computer, your new setting will take effect. The next time you shut down, you should get the power-off feature if your system supports it. As we said in the earlier tip, you need to replace Hal.dll with Hal.dll.softex from the Service Pack 5 disc. Copy Hal.dll.softex to your \Winnt\System32 folder. Rename the original Hal.dll to and then rename Hal.dll.softex to Hal.dll. On the same subject, we also received e-mail from reader Steve McL. "This works on Dell models after Gxpro (Pentium-200 Pro). Also it works for Service Pack 4 users. There is a hal.dll.softex in the Service Pack 4 40-bit and 128-bit versions. I do know that the file doesn't work on IBM ThinkPad models 600 and 600e." Thanks for the comments, Kurt and Steve. We apologize for the previous oversight.

RUNNING CONTROL PANEL APPLETS FROM THE COMMAND PROMPT Here is a tip from reader Louie R.: "If you are working with the Command Prompt and need to open a Control Panel, you can open the applet from the command line. All you have to do is enter rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL + the applet you need and press Enter. "Since I sometimes need to access the Control Panel while in the Command Prompt window, I wrote a batch file to do the job for me. You can write it using Notepad. When you save the file, be sure to use the .bat extension. I called the batch file control.bat. @echo off rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL %1.cpl Choose File, Save As, and name the file control.bat. Now you can enter control desk and press Enter to open the Display Properties dialog box. "Here is a list of the app names to enter when using control.bat. Accessibility: access Add/Remove Programs: appwiz Display: desk Joystick:joy Mouse: main Multimedia: mmsys Modems: modem Regional Settings: intl System: sysdm Time/Date: timedate.cpl "Maybe someday we won't have to use the Command Prompt window as much as we do now, but for the present, Control.bat has proven very convenient for me." Thanks for the tip, Louie.

CHANGING THE COMMAND PROMPT'S FUNCTIONALITY Administrators often find themselves typing a lot of commands. To make these tasks a bit easier, Microsoft lets you customize the prompt's behavior. On the Options tab, you can enable Quick Edit to gain mouse functionality for editing items under the Edit menu. In addition, you can activate Permanent Insert Mode to avoid overtyping existing text when editing. Particularly useful are the Command History Buffer Settings and Number Of Command Buffers. Not only will these options save you some typing, they also will eliminate duplicate commands from the history, saving you the bother of endless scrolling. You'll find another useful option under the Layout tab. Here, you can set the buffer width and height. With the buffer set, if the content of the window is larger than the window itself, scroll bars are applied to allow viewing of information that is off the visible window.

GETTING RID OF FINDFAST Here's a question we see rather frequently: You've installed Microsoft Office, and now you would like to get rid of FindFast. How do you do this? You can remove FindFast from your Start Up folder, but this won't quite finish the job. To do it right, click Start, Settings, Control Panel. When Control Panel opens, double-click the FindFast icon. In FindFast, click an entry and choose Index, Delete Index. Repeat the process for each of your index listings. After you have deleted all the index listings, choose Index, Close, Stop. Finally, right-click Start and choose Open. Double-click Programs and then double-click Start Up. Delete the FindFast entry and restart your computer.

KEEP THE FILES ON YOUR HARD DISK Reader Della C. has an installation question: "Is it possible to expand the entire contents of the i386 folder on the Windows NT Workstation 4.0 installation disc to a local hard disk? This would help when I want to copy files into my current installation." Yes, it is possible. To expand the files to your hard disk, insert the installation disc in the CD-ROM drive and open a Command Prompt window. At the prompt, type d:\i386\winnt32 /t:c /x and press Enter. When the Windows NT 4.0 Upgrade/Installation dialog box opens, click Options. Deselect the check box labeled Create Boot Floppy Disks and click OK to close the dialog box. Now click Continue to expand all the files to the C: drive. After all the files expand, you'll get a dialog box asking if you want to restart. In this dialog box, click Exit To Windows NT. At this point, all your expanded Windows NT Workstation 4.0 files appear in a folder on drive C: named $win_nt$.~ls. Change the name to something like NT; you now have a folder on your hard disk with all the Windows NT Workstation 4.0 files expanded.

REINSTALLING COMMAND.COM Here is a Windows NT Workstation 4.0 tip from reader Warren C.: "I recently deleted in the \Winnt\System32 folder. I didn't realize what had happened until I tried to run an old MS-DOS program. After some gnashing of teeth, I discovered that all I had to do was insert the Windows NT Workstation 4.0 installation CD into the drive and enter expand d:\i386\command.co_ %systemroot%\system32\ at the Command Prompt to copy a new to my system." This assumes your CD-ROM drive is D:. If yours is not, just substitute the appropriate drive letter. Thanks for the tip, Warren.

SAVING THE ENTIRE REGISTRY One way to make sure you don't lose the Registry is to make a complete backup using RegEdit. As always, proceed with caution when editing the Registry--we can't guarantee the results. To do this, click Start, Run, type regedit and press Enter. When RegEdit opens, choose Registry, Export Registry File. When the dialog box opens, select the radio button labeled All and name your file RegBack. Click Save to create the Registry file and close the dialog box. Choose Registry, Exit to close RegEdit.

USING FIND TO DELETE FILES Here is a Windows NT Workstation 4.0 tip from reader Richard M.: "Sometimes I need to delete a group of files that all have the same extension. For example, I use a program that generates a group of files with the extension .tst. Once I finish with the program, it leaves all these unneeded files in the folder mixed with the files I do need. "One very easy way to delete a group of files is to use Find to delete files with the same extension anywhere on the drive. All you do is click the desktop and press F3 to open Find. Next select the drive or folder you want to search and type in the extension--in my case, *.tst. Click Find Now to locate all the files. Click one of the files to select the list and then press Ctrl-A to select the entire list. Now press Delete to delete all the files at once." We agree--this is a useful technique. However, you should proceed with caution since you could easily delete files you might need. Thanks for the tip, Richard.


Administrators often find themselves at the command prompt for long periods of time. To make the command prompt environment a bit more comfortable, you can customize its appearance. For example, under the Options tab, you can set the size of the cursor to anywhere from just an underline to a solid, character-sized block. On the Options tab, you can dictate whether the command prompt appears in full-screen mode or a windowed environment. On the Font tab, you can select the font, font size, and bold (if available) font style.

The situation:

Here's the situation Chief Romines described: "I'm relatively new to NT networking. When troubleshooting customer problems, it's often necessary to determine whether the user is logged in to the network. This helps the support rep determine whether the problem is with the network or e-mail.
"A customer calls the help desk complaining that Outlook will not open. Instead, the customer gets an error message that reads 'your Outlook mailbox could not be opened...' The support rep needs to determine whether there's a network connectivity error, a user account problem, or a problem with the Exchange server. The support rep can ping the customer's workstation, so the network connectivity is intact. Other customers in the user's department are logged on to Exchange, verified by Exchange Administration. The support rep needs to be able to verify that the user has successfully logged on to the network, in order to determine whether the problem is with the user's network account or the Exchange mailbox."

The challenge:

How can the support rep verify that the user is actually logged on to the NT network, independent of asking the user?

The solutions:

Thanks to Dominic Bosco, TechRepublic's "IT Guy," for helping select the winning solutions for this quiz from among the 200 submissions we received. We're sending TechRepublic T-shirts to Jon Wyman and Cesar Lilo.
Jon wrote: "To check whether a user is logged on to the NT network, just use the NBTSTAT -a or NBTSTAT -A From this you will get the remote PC's NetBIOS Names table. Within this will be the user's login ID; with a type <03> unique, he/she is logged in. Hey, presto, you now know whether they are logged on to the network without asking."
Cesar wrote: One way to verify that the user is logged on to the NT network is for the rep. to issue a "NET USER userid /DOMAIN" and confirm the last time the user logged on to the network by reading the 'Last Logon' line."

CLOSING OPEN PROGRAMS AT RESTART This Windows NT Workstation 4.0 question is from reader Daryl M.: "I sometimes leave Windows NT Explorer, Control Panel open when I shut down or restart the computer. As soon as the computer restarts, these programs open again. Is there an easy way (maybe a Registry edit) that will close all open programs when you shut down?" We have received this question from several readers, so let's do a REG file that will close all windows when you shut down the system and will not remember to open them again on restart. As usual, we don't guarantee that any REG file will do exactly what you might expect or that it will not compromise your system. To create the REG file, run Notepad and enter the following code as shown here. Where you see BLANK LINE GOES HERE, press Enter to insert a blank line. Do not type in BLANK LINE GOES HERE. REGEDIT4 BLANK LINE GOES HERE [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows \CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer] "NoSaveSettings"=hex:01,00,00,00 BLANK LINE GOES HERE Now choose File, Save As and name the file Closed.reg. Locate a folder for your new file and click Save. To use the REG file, double-click its icon. You'll get a dialog box informing you that the data has been entered into the Registry. Click OK to continue. Restart the computer and the new setting will take effect. The first time you restart, open programs will again open. The second time you restart, they will not. Once you run this REG file, you will no longer be able to resize your taskbar or change the position of your desktop shortcuts permanently. Some people find these changes desirable, others don't. To rescind the changes you made with Closed.reg, open Notepad and create a new file named Open.reg. Enter the following into your new file. REGEDIT4 BLANK LINE GOES HERE [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer] "NoSaveSettings"=hex:00,00,00,00 BLANK LINE GOES HERE

DOES YOUR TASKBAR LEAVE A TRAIL? Reader Maurice C. has a question about the Windows NT Workstation 4.0 taskbar: "I activate the taskbar AutoHide because I like having the taskbar hidden when I don't need it. Lately, though, the taskbar leaves a trail when it disappears. Do you have any idea how to get rid of this trail?" We tried to simulate this problem, and the only way we could do it was to tell Windows NT to select Show Window Contents While Dragging. So we suggest that you disable this feature. Right-click the desktop and choose Properties. When the Properties dialog box opens, click the Plus tab. Deselect the check box labeled Show Window Contents While Dragging and click OK to save your selection and close the dialog box.

PUT THE MICROSOFT INTERNET EXPLORER ICON BACK ON YOUR DESKTOP This question is from reader Linda O.: "I deleted my Microsoft Internet Explorer desktop icon. Now I want it back. I know that I can create a shortcut, but I would prefer to have the original icon." Right-click your desktop and choose New, Folder. Name the folder Internet Explorer.{FBF23B42-E3F0-101B-8488-00AA003E56F8} and press Enter. We suggest that you copy the name, then paste it into your new folder's name box.

USING UNNAMED ICONS IN WINDOWS NT WORKSTATION 4.0 Reader Nancy B. sent this question: "Is it possible to have a shortcut icon on your desktop with no name? I have some icons I downloaded from the Internet that are self-explanatory (for me, anyway), and I would like to eliminate the names. The problem is that Windows NT Workstation 4.0 forces me to enter a name." You can't enter a space, but you can use a comma. We know this isn't an entirely satisfactory method, but you can't eliminate names on individual shortcuts. Try several keys to see what suits you best. You could also try entering a character from the keypad. Just hold down Alt and enter your number using the keypad (this won't work with the numbers across the top of the keyboard). Try 0128 and up to see if you can find a character you like.

How to set an NT server to automatically restart at a predetermined time. THE ANSWER: Find Shutdown.exe in the Windows NT Server Resource Kit and use the AT command or WinAT to schedule shutdowns and restarts.


If you've moved to Routing and Remote Access Services (RRAS) for a combined user dial-in/inter-network solution on the same NT 4.0 server, you may have run into a weird error message while running Remote Access Services Phonebook.
If you see the error: An application error has occurred and an application log is being generated. RASPHONE.EXE Exception: access violation (0xC0000005, Address 0xnnnnnnc) you're in for a little registry editing.
The problem typically lies in invalid or corrupt keys at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\RAS Phonebook\Callback
Open Regedit32 and delete any keys that are not in the form DEVICE_NAME (PORT).
To learn more about RRAS, check out this introductory article on Microsoft's site. Microsoft advises that you need to be running a minimum of Service Pack 4 before moving to branch routing. Copy and paste this link into your browser:


Moving users to a new domain is always a hassle, and it can be compounded by a bunch of support calls from users who can't find the new domain in the Logon dialog box's drop-down list.
Fortunately, the workaround for this is a simple registry edit on the client system.
  • Open Regedt32.
  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon.
  • Select and delete the Dcache value name in the right pane.
  • Select and delete the DcacheUpdate value name.
  • Shut down and restart the workstation.
Deleting these values will cause the client system to rebuild the domain list upon the next reboot. Then, users will be able to find the new domain in their drop-down lists.


Here is a tip from reader Anita B.: "I like to use shortcut keys, but soon discovered they work only when an object is either on the desktop or in the Start menu. In view of this, I decided to create a special folder for the shortcuts I want to assign keys to and place it in the Start menu. This way, I can have my shortcut keys and easily make any changes necessary."
To do this, you can right-click Start and choose Open. When the Start Menu window opens, right-click it and choose New, Folder. Name the new folder Shortcuts.
Now you can drag some shortcuts into the new folder. To assign a keystroke to one, right-click it and choose Properties. When the Properties dialog box opens, click the Shortcut tab. Now click in the Shortcut Key entry box and enter the character you want to use for your shortcut key. For example, you might enter a C for the Windows NT Calculator. Windows NT Workstation 4.0 will add Ctrl-Alt to your key, so you would then press Ctrl-Alt-C to open the Calculator. After you make your selection, click OK to close the dialog box and save your new key assignment.
By the way, you can also use your new Start Menu Shortcut folder to run the entered programs.


Reader Elwin C. has a question about Windows NT Workstation 4.0 repair:
"I recently had to use my repair disk to reconstruct a Windows NT Workstation 4.0 installation. Every time I stepped through the procedure, I got a message telling me that the file riched20.dll wasn't copied. The third time I went through the procedure, I decided to heck with it and continued. All seems well now, but it worries me that I got that error. Am I asking for trouble down the road? Should I try another repair?"
This can happen when you upgrade or when you repair an installation if you have installed Microsoft Office. It isn't anything to worry about. What happens is that Microsoft Office installs a file named riched20.dll, and Windows NT Workstation 4.0 also installs the same file to support WordPad. Just ignore the message and continue with your repair.


We have received several questions from people who are having problems creating REG files. For example, instead of Test.reg, they get Test.reg.txt.
The best approach to this problem is to enclose the name in quotes. If you need to name a file MyFile.reg in Notepad, choose File, Save As and type "MyFile.reg" and then click Save.


Maintaining the old 8.3 naming convention on your servers used to make a lot of sense, particularly if you had a lot of legacy infrastructure that still relied on that standard. However, things have changed, and it may be time to move on. Certainly, your NTFS performance will improve if you decide to move away from 8.3 and rely solely on 32-bit-long filenames.
Just open the registry for editing and find the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem You'll see the value NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation REG_DWORD, which by default is set to 0. Change this setting to 1 and you'll disable 8.3 filename creation on the next reboot.
A word of warning: If your shop still has a lot of 16-bit processing going on out there, don't rush to make this fix. This also applies to broad-based utility packages, including Norton's, that you may have installed. ASSIGNING DRIVE LETTERS Here is a question from reader Mac McC.: "I have five computers, all running under NT 4.0 with Service Pack 5. All have a hard disk (of course), a 3.5-inch floppy, a CD reader, and an Omega Zip drive (100MB). All drives are labeled differently. Is there a way to reassign the drive and partition letters so that all computers look the same--short of starting all over again from scratch?" You can use Disk Administrator to assign the drive letters. Since we have no specific information on your current drive letter assignment, let's run through an example using two computers. Both computers use drive C: as the primary Windows NT Workstation 4.0 partition. A second partition, drive D:, is used for data storage and so forth. The CD-ROM drive is drive E:, and the remaining removable storage is drive F:. On the second computer, the removable storage is drive E: and the CD-ROM drive is F:. So on computer 2, click Start, Programs, Administrative Tools (Common), Disk Administrator. When Disk Administrator opens, click the CD-ROM partition and choose Tools, Assign Drive Letter. Set the CD-ROM to drive X: (or anything not in use). Now click the removable storage partition and choose Tools, Assign Drive Letter. Set this drive to E:. Repeat the procedure and set the CD-ROM to F:. There is usually no problem with changing the drive letters of CD-ROM drives and other removable storage devices. You need to be a little more careful with hard disk partitions, though. If you have loaded programs on the partition, Windows NT Workstation 4.0 won't be able to locate the program files after you rename the drive. Don't rename the partition that holds Windows NT Workstation 4.0. CHANGING FILE ASSOCIATIONS Reader Joe B. has a question about file associations: "How does one change a program type that has been associated with a file type using the Open With window?" Once you associate a file type with a certain application using the Open With window, it stays associated. You can change it to another association the same way--in the Open With window. Try this: Run Windows NT Explorer and click the file you want to change. With the file highlighted, hold down the shift and then right-click the file. Choose Open With from the menu and the Open With dialog box will open. Select the new program and click OK. If you want to make the new selection permanent, make sure you select the check box labeled Always Use This Program To Open This Type File before you click OK to close the dialog box and save your new selection. EDITING AT THE COMMAND PROMPT Here is a Command Prompt question from reader Tom D.: "Is there an easy way to copy and paste between Windows NT programs and the Command Prompt window? I know about choosing Edit, Mark, and so on, but I keep thinking there is a better way." As you've pointed out, one way to copy and paste in the Command Prompt windows is to choose Command Box, Edit, Mark. Then you use the Shift-Arrow keys to select the portion of the window you want to copy. After you make the selection, press Enter to copy to the Clipboard. However, you could choose to use QuickEdit mode, which makes the process a bit more Windows-like. In QuickEdit mode, you can use the mouse to select the portion of the window you want to copy and then simply press Enter to copy your selection to the Clipboard. To enable QuickEdit mode, choose Start, Settings, Control Panel. When Control Panel opens, double-click the Console icon. When the Console Windows Properties dialog box opens, click the Options tab. Now select the check box labeled QuickEdit Mode, then click OK to save your new selection and close the dialog box. EXPANDING THE SP6 FILES Reader Bill P. has this question about Service Pack 6: "In a recent tip, you discussed how to copy the NT CD-ROM i386 files to your hard disk for ready use. Is it possible to do the same thing with the SP6 CD-ROM files?" Yes, it is possible--and simple, if you have WinZip installed on your system. Here's how: Start by running Windows NT Explorer and creating a folder for the files. We put ours under \Setup\SP6. Next, right-click SP6I386.exe and choose Extract To. WinZip will open and ask you to select the folder you want to use. Identify the folder you just created--the files will unzip and you can run Upgrade from there. By the way, we use WinZip 7.0 SR-1. We do not know if this works with other unzipping software. FINDING YOUR CD KEY Reader Joanna B. has a CD key question. "I somehow managed to lose my Windows NT Workstation 4.0 CD case. The CD key was on the back of the case, and I don't have it recorded anywhere. This will be a problem if I ever have to install Windows NT Workstation 4.0 again. Is there a way to retrieve the CD key from Windows NT Workstation 4.0, so I can record it somewhere for future use?" To get the CD key, right-click My Computer and choose Properties. When the System Properties dialog box opens, click the General tab. You'll find the CD Key under Registered User. The CD key is the middle 10 digits. The entire number format is: xxxxx-012-3456789-xxxxx In this example, the CD key is 012-3456789. LOCKING YOUR SYSTEM Here is a Windows NT Workstation 4.0 tip from reader Anne B.: "I discovered only recently that there is an excellent way to keep others from accessing your system while you're away from your desk--and this method is built into Windows NT Workstation 4.0. All you have to do is press Ctrl-Alt-Delete. When the Windows NT Security dialog box opens, click Lock Workstation. Once you do this, no one can access your computer without a password. "This method takes only a few seconds and works very well." OPENING THE START MENU Reader Andrew S. asks us to point out that you can open the Start menu from the keyboard even if your keyboard doesn't have a Windows key. All you have to do is press Ctrl-Esc. In previous versions of NT, pressing Ctrl-Esc opened the Windows NT Task List. In Windows NT Workstation 4.0, you press Ctrl-Shift-Esc to open the Task Manager. Also, as Andrew pointed out, you can use Alt-Esc to toggle between open programs. This does not work like Alt-Tab. When you press Alt-Esc, Windows NT Workstation 4.0 toggles directly to a new window. This works only with windows that are not minimized. If you minimize a window, you can't reach it with Alt-Esc. VIEWING DIRECTORIES AT THE COMMAND PROMPT Reader Ken A. has a Command Prompt question: "I have to work at the Command Prompt often. I was wondering if you know a way to do a DIR and see only the directories available on a specific drive." You can modify the DIR command to display directories only. Type dir /ad and press Enter. If the listing is too long, you can add the pause switch as well. Type dir /ad /p and press Enter to view the directories one page at a time. If you need to see all the subdirectories in the current directory, type dir /s/ad /p and press Enter. VIEWING FAT 32 AND NTFS PARTITIONS Here is a comment from reader Andre C.: "A recent tip stated that you can't see NTFS partitions from a FAT32 partition. I can do just the opposite. I have two computers, one running Windows NT Workstation 4.0 with NTFS partitions and the other running Windows 98 with FAT32. From either machine, I'm able to save, delete, and copy files without a problem. What's the deal?" On any given computer, you cannot access a FAT32 partition from Windows NT Workstation 4.0. Also, on that same computer, you can't see the NTFS partition when running Windows 95/98. It's different when you use a network. Let's say you have one computer running Windows 98, networked with another computer running Windows NT Workstation 4.0. You can work with files over the network even if you use FAT32 on the Windows machine and NTFS on the NT 4.0 Workstation machine. But suppose your Windows 98 computer can dual-boot and therefore has an NTFS partition. You will not see that partition on either computer. You can't see it because Windows 98 doesn't recognize NTFS. WORKING WITH LONG FOLDER NAMES AT THE COMMAND PROMPT This Command Prompt question is from Chuck L.: "I have yet to be able to type anything more than eight characters long at the Command Prompt. Everything I do needs to end with ~1. I'm sure this must be a setting somewhere. Do you have any suggestions?" We don't have that problem with Windows NT Workstation 4.0 SP 5. However, you should be able to use the full names if you enclose them in quotes. For example, to go to the Program Files folder, you would type cd "c:\Program Files" and press Enter. Give this a try and see if it works. You might also want to install the latest service pack. A HIGH-RISK WAY TO RENAME A DOMAIN You can rename your domain using a method described in a Microsoft article, but it is not recommended unless ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. If it's unavoidable, then go in armed with the knowledge found in Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q178009. In essence, this procedure forces you to break all trust relationships and then propagate new domain entries back out to the network. THIS IS A BIG DEAL. Microsoft itself does not warranty the procedure and disclaims any responsibility for the effects it may have on third-party software. A SIMPLE BACKUP FOR PROXY SERVER Unless you actually enjoy keeping a meticulous log of all the changes you make to Proxy Server, you'll probably appreciate a more convenient backup scheme. The following process creates a text file containing all the information you need to rebuild Proxy Server with your current configuration, making it preferable to simply reloading and reconfiguring Proxy Server. Because this process creates only a text file, you don't need to take the server down or require everyone to log off in order to perform your backup. 1. Select Microsoft Management Console from the Start | Programs | Microsoft Proxy Server menu. 2. Navigate to Console Root | your proxy server | Winsock Proxy. 3. Right-click Winsock Proxy and select Properties from the shortcut menu. 4. Within the Winsock Proxy Service Properties dialog box, select the Service tab and click Server Backup. 5. A Backup dialog box will appear with a default file location of C:/msp/config. Click OK to begin the backup. To verify that the backup was successful, open Notepad and go to the directory you specified earlier. The names of backup files are based on the date you performed the routine. Next time, we'll look at how you can use these backup files to restore your Proxy Server. AN NT SAFEGUARD FOR 16-BIT APPLICATIONS Because 16-bit applications can be somewhat troublesome, NT offers you the option of running them in their own memory space. Then, if the legacy app crashes, it won't bring NT down with it. Here's how to set it up: 1. Go to the application's Properties dialog box. 2. Select the Run Application In Own Memory Space option. If this is an option you'll use frequently, you can create shortcuts to your applications with this protection selected. Follow these steps: 1. Use NT Explorer to find the application. 2. Right-click the application icon and, holding down the mouse button, drag it to your desktop. 3. Select Create Shortcut. 4. Right-click the shortcut and select Properties. 5. Select the Run Application In Own Memory Space option. CHANGE MULTIPLE ACCOUNTS AT ONCE Using Account Manager for Domains, you can change settings for multiple users at once. The process is pretty simple. Select the first account that you want to modify, then hold down [Ctrl] and select any additional accounts. You can also use [Shift] to select multiple accounts in a row, or [Ctrl][Shift] to select one group, then another. Now, just click on User Properties and make whatever changes you want. CHANGE THE DEFAULT SCREEN SAVER When you leave your server logged off, the logon screen saver will kick in after the designated amount of time has passed. You can change the screen saver shown with a simple change to the registry. REGEDIT4 [HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop] "ScreenSaveActive"="1" "Scrnsave.exe"="c:\winnt\black16.scr" "ScreenSaveTimeOut"="600" You can specify any other screen saver by changing the path of Scrnsave.exe to any .scr file. C:\winnt\system32\scrnsaver.scr will also blank out the screen. The timeout above is for 600 seconds (10 minutes), but it can also be changed by setting a new value. It's recommended that you use blank screen savers on a server to preserve clock cycles. CHECKING A USER'S LOGON STATUS Sometimes you need to check to see if users are logged on to the network without picking up the phone and calling them. You might also need to get a quick glimpse of a user's recent logon history. Here are two timesaving ways to accomplish these simple tasks. 1. Go to the command prompt and use the NBTSTAT command in either the nbtstat -a or nbtstat -A form. You'll get access to a remote PC's NetBIOS Names table. Within this table will be the user's logon ID. If you see a type <03> unique, the user is logged on. 2. Go to the command prompt and issue the NET USER userid /DOMAIN command. Confirm the last time the user logged on to the network by reading the Last Logon line. DON'T DELETE EX-EMPLOYEES When someone leaves a company, often the first instinct of an administrator is to delete that user's account. Don't do it! Once an account is deleted, its security ID and all permissions assigned to it are gone forever. Why increase the time you spend setting up accounts for new hires? Instead, when an employee leaves, disable his or her account and change its password. When a replacement is hired, rename the predecessor's account with the new employee's name and ID. This will give the new person in the position access to the same directories and objects the other person had, while freeing you from a lot of unnecessary busywork. EXPAND YOUR MIND (AND FILES) When you lose a critical system file, you don't necessarily have to reinstall your operating system. Use Expand.exe to restore your files to the system. This will work in both NT and 9x. (Expand is included in NT, the Windows 98 Resource Kit, and the OLDDOS directory of the Windows 95 CD.) The syntax of the program is as follows: Expand [-r] Source Destination The -r flag will rename a file, the source can be one or many files, and the destination can be a file or directory. (It must be a directory if the source is multiple files.) The compressed files are usually found as somefile.ex_ with the underscore signifying the compressed file. On 9x systems, these files are usually found inside a .CAB file, so you will need a program like WinZip to extract the files. FORCE PEOPLE OFF AFTER HOURS Many NT administrators set logon and logoff hours for an account, mistakenly thinking that NT will kick people off at the logout time. Instead, NT will only fail to validate a logon request made after that time period. Anyone currently logged on can continue to work. To kick people off after the allotted time, select the Forcibly Disconnect Remote User From Server When Logon Hours Expire check box. You'll find this check box under the Account Policies menu in the User Manager For Domains. GET BACK THAT OLD FILE MANAGER FEEL IN EXPLORER 4.0 Those of you who are accustomed to using NT 3.51 File Manager probably find NT Explorer 4.0's default settings somewhat irritating. "Why can't it be like it was before?" is a common lament. While it won't be exactly the same, here's a method to make things look a little more like they did in the old days. 1. Open Explorer and select View | Options. 2. Be sure to select the Show All Files radio button to avoid hiding system files. 3. Select these options: Display The Full Path In Title Bar, Display Compressed Files And Folders With Alternate Color, and Include Description Bar For Right And Left Panes. 4. Click OK. 5. Return to the View menu and select Details. Things will look more like what you're used to now. RECLAIM YOUR OLD DESKTOP IN EXPLORER 4.0 In yesterday's tip, we told you how to tweak a few settings to make NT Explorer 4.0's File Manager act more like the old one in NT 3.x. If you're also nostalgic for the look of your old desktop, here's a way to get it back: 1. Right-click the Start button. 2. Select Explore. 3. Within the Explorer window, right-click the Programs folder in the right-hand pane. 4. Select Create Shortcut. 5. Drag your new Shortcut To Programs folder to your desktop, rename it "Program Manager," and double-click to open it. The folders within should correspond exactly to those in the NT 3.x Program Manager. 6. Right-click the Windows NT Explorer icon. 7. Select Create Shortcut. 8. Drag the shortcut to your desktop and rename it "File Manager." It will open in the dual-pane Explorer view and default to the root of your system disk. To complete the look, hide the standard NT icons and set your taskbar to Auto Hide. GET TO KNOW RASPHONE Yesterday, we mentioned a problem you may have encountered while running RASPHONE with Routing and Remote Access Services (RRAS). If you're unfamiliar with RASPHONE, you may want to get to know this handy little utility better. RASPHONE is a dial-in applet that, unlike RASDIAL, provides many user- friendly features, including: * Prefix/suffix * Auto-redial * Authentication on retries * Operator-assisted dialing * Terminal mode input connections * Statistics * Edit password If you want to place RASPHONE's Port Status dialog box on your desktop for easy access, follow these steps: 1. From a Windows NT command prompt, run RASPHONE. 2. Make a connection to . 3. Exit RASPHONE, but don't break the connection. 4. From the command prompt, run RASPHONE with the -s switch. HIDE USER-CREATED SHARES Any share that you create can be hidden from the network browser with a simple keystroke. Just as you can hide the IPC$, C$, and other administrative shares, you can also hide a user share by simply adding a $ at the end of the name. By doing so, you hide the share from anyone browsing in Network Neighborhood, but you can still map to the share by typing its name directly. This same trick can be used for hiding an NT printer share. HIDING DRIVES FROM "MOTIVATED" USERS Preventing accidents is what you're all about. Given that, you might want to hide certain drives from users if they don't absolutely need access. NT enables you to hide drives from the obvious access points (Explorer and My Computer), although a motivated user could still access them from Start | Run. But you can change that. Start up the Registry Editor and follow these steps: 1. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USERS\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer. 2. Right-click within the right pane and choose New/DWORD Value. 3. Name the new key Hidden and press [Enter] twice. 4. Within the Edit DWORD Value dialog box, select Decimal. 5. Enter the number corresponding to the drive you want to hide (A: 1, B: 2, C: 4, D: 8, E: 16, etc.). If you want to hide more than one drive, add the numeric values assigned to the drives. For example, to hide drives D and E, enter 24. 6. Exit the registry. The next time the PC boots up, the drives will be hidden from casual browsers. HOW DO I INSTALL SBS IF THE DISK CONTROLLER ISN'T AUTODETECTED? NT's habit of autodetecting files is usually pretty handy, but you can get stuck if something doesn't pan out just so. If the disk controller isn't autodetected, SBS will blue screen with the message "STOP: 0x0000007b Inaccessible Boot device" during the first reboot. To work around this, boot from the three NT setup diskettes. When you see the "Windows NT is now detecting your hardware" message, press [F6]. When NT prompts you to specify install files, select Skip At The Next Reboot. Next, you'll see another "STOP: 0x0000007b Inaccessible Boot device" message. As the conversion to NTFS has not yet occurred, boot to a floppy and copy the OEM driver to\system32\drivers. Your system should work fine on the next reboot. LOCATE THE INSTALLATION KEY If you ever lose the installation key for Windows NT, you'll be out of luck when you try to reinstall it later. To quickly find a copy, open the System Control Panel. The CD Key is digits 6-15 of the line below the company name on the General tab. DELETE THE RECENT DOCUMENT LIST FROM A BATCH FILE To delete the list of recently opened documents from the Start menu, simply run the following command: Del %systemroot%\profiles\%username%\recent\* /q %systemroot% resolves to the installed location of Windows NT, %username% resolves to the currently logged-on user, and the /q switch does the task without prompt. ORGANIZE YOUR START MENU How many times have you looked for a program on your Start menu, only to find that it's lost in a sea of programs? Windows 95 is bad enough, but with NT you have both All User and Currently Logged On User Start menus to deal with. How do you organize it all? One method is to use the Start Menu option from Start | Settings, but it's easier to simply right-click Start and select Explore or Explore All Users. This will automatically open the explorer to the Start Menu of the user you are logged in as (if you select Explore), or the Start Menu For All Users (if you select Explore All Users). From here you can create subfolders in which to store your applications. For example, you might create a folder called Arts And Crafts where you store Adobe, Paint Shop Pro, or other graphics programs. Or you may have individual folders for Games, Office apps, Development software, etc. You can even go deeper (like putting an SDK section in the Development folder) on the Start menu. Just remember, too many subfolders can be as frustrating as having too many options in the Programs folder. PERMANENTLY DISABLE THE HIDDEN ADMINISTRATION SHARES The C$, D$, etc. shares can pose a security risk on your systems, since they're widely known among NT hackers. The problem is that when you delete these shares, they're re-created after every reboot. To disable the shares altogether, make the following change to the registry. (Remember that working with the registry does include risks, so make sure you have a verified backup before beginning.) * HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services \LanManServer\Parameters\AutoShareServer * Change the value of this key to 0. For workstations, the key is AutoShareWks. POP OPEN CONTROL PANEL WITH A SINGLE CLICK Don't you hate having to go through Start | Settings | Control Panel just to open your Control Panel? Wouldn't it just be easier to open Control Panel with a single click? You can, and here's how. You can use either the Explore or Explore All Users option, depending on whether you're setting up this shortcut just for yourself or for your users as well. Depending on where you want the shortcut located, add a new folder. If you want the shortcut at the top level (directly above Start | Programs), put the folder in the same area as Programs. If you want it under programs, put it in the Programs folder. Now the tricky part. Rename the folder Control Panels.{21EC2020-3AEA- 1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}. Now when you click Start, you'll see the Control Panels option; hover over it, and you'll see a list of all your control panels. PREVENTING AUTOMATIC EXCHANGE INSTALLATION If your organization doesn't use Exchange, the fact that it installs along with the rest of Windows NT 4 is just plain annoying. Here's how to prevent it: 1. Copy the i386 folder from the NT installation CD to an NT system's hard drive. 2. Navigate to the folder from a command line. 3. Enter "expand Syssetup.in_ Syssetup.inf" and rename Syssetup.in_ to Syssetup.old. 4. Edit Syssetup.inf to replace MSMAIL.INF with ;MSMAIL.INF in the [BaseWinOptionsInfs] section. Now, if you install NT from the new folder, the Exchange client will not be installed. PRINT MORE DOCUMENTS WITH LPR If you use LPR to connect your printers to the server in NT, you may notice that printers with heavy traffic will slow down. This may be because of the default settings of LPR on your system. By default, LPR is set to use 11 ports to print on. Once printed on, a port can take several minutes to become available again. To fix this, apply Service Pack 3 or later and make the following changes to the registry. In HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\LPDSVC\lpr, look for the IP address of the LPR printer. Change the value from 0 to 1 to enable all ports greater than 1024. If you've installed Service Pack 4 or greater, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\LPDSVC and save the lpr key to an external file. Then delete the lpr key altogether. Re-add the lpr key to the system, add the REG_DWORD value UseNonRFCPorts to the key, and set the value to 1. After applying the patch, run NET STOP SPOOLER and NET START SPOOLER to restart the printer system. Your printers will now print continuously. REPLACE FILES CURRENTLY IN USE. With the help of a handy utility, you can replace files on your system even if they're in use. Download InUse from Microsoft to replace files anytime. x86.exe The syntax to use the program is: INUSE source destination [/y] source Specifies the updated file destination Specifies the existing file to be replaced /y Suppresses confirmation prompt to replace file /? Displays syntax help The source and destination must include the complete physical or UNC path name. Using the /y flag will allow the file to be changed without a prompt for confirmation. Note that the changes will not take effect until you reboot the machine. RPC UNAVAILABLE ERROR When adding a printer, you may see the error, "Operation could not be completed. The RPC Server is unavailable." Typically, this means that the Spoolss.exe or Spoolss.dll has been corrupted. You'll need to replace these files with working copies. The best way to do this is by reapplying the last service pack, but you can also do it using the InUse plug-in program, as explained in a previous tip. Copy and paste this URL into your browser: SCHEDULE A REBOOT ON A REGULAR BASIS Using the shutdown command from the Windows NT Resource Kit and the AT command scheduler, you can schedule a reboot whenever you need one to occur. Simply set the command line for the AT command to shutdown /r /l /c /y, and the server will automatically reboot. The /r flag for shutdown reboots the server, the /l flag specifies the local machine, /c closes all programs, and /y eliminates the need for a prompt. SCSI ADAPTER INSTALLATION You may have attempted to install a new SCSI adapter under NT and found that the SCSI Adapters | Drivers | Add function didn't recognize your new SCSI adapter. This is not uncommon and is usually the result of a problem with the %SYSTEMROOT%\SCSI.INF file. The following steps might fix your problem: 1. Launch the command prompt. 2. Type del/f/q%SystemRoot%\inf\Scsi. inf Expand\i386\SCSI. in_%SystemRoot%\Inf\Scsi.inf (where is the drive where you have your NT 4.0 CD-ROM). You can also install third-party SCSI drivers using the Have Disk option if you have the drivers on a diskette, CD-ROM, or a networked drive. USE IPC$ TO ADMINISTRATE It can be a major security risk to always be logged on as a domain administrator. When you walk away from your machine, even for a short time, you open yourself up to security breaches. Instead, log on to your workstation as a regular user and connect to a server with the IPC$ share when you need administrative privileges. The syntax is as follows: Net use \\thePDC\IPC$ /user:domain\AdminAcct AdminPasswd When you're finished with your administration task, issue the following command: Net use \\thePDC\IPC$ /d This will get you back to your user-level account. SETTING CRITICAL PARAMETER ALERTS NT's Performance Monitor has some handy alerts to let you know when your server is entering crash territory. You can set these alarms according to your own environment's weaknesses, but we'll use page file size as an example. Launch Performance Monitor and follow these steps: 1. Select View | Alert. 2. Choose Edit | Add To Alert. 3. From the Paging File object, select the % Usage Peak option. 4. Set to 90% to receive a warning before NT starts expanding the page file automatically, causing performance degradation. Easy enough! Experiment to discover what works best for you. SYNCHRONIZE YOUR WATCHES! You can easily synchronize your system's time with that of the server by using the Net Time command. Net Time \\YourServer /set /yes This command will synchronize your workstation's time with the server's and set it according to your time zone. The time zone factor will work only in Windows NT. Windows 9x will not recognize the time zone difference, so you'll need to synchronize with a server in your time zone. TROUBLESHOOTING 16-BIT WINDOWS APPLICATIONS With all the hype over Windows 2000 and 32-bit processing, it's a healthy reality check to remember that many organizations still run 16- bit applications. But doing so is becoming more dicey all the time. If the 16-bit application you want to run under NT 4 is constantly crashing, one of the following might be the problem. * SHARE.EXE is being loaded by your AUTOEXEC.NT or substitute file. * The NT PATH variable has an entry pointing to the WINDOWS or WINDOWS\SYSTEM directories of a Windows 3.x or Windows 95 installation. * The NT COMMAND.COM might be missing, damaged, or replaced by another version. * The VER.DLL file in the WINDOWS\SYSTEM or WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 directories might be damaged or replaced with an invalid version. If you need to replace COMMAND.COM or VER.DLL, you can extract fresh copies from the NT CD-ROM or Service Pack. UGLY GUYS LOVE PIZZA! This mnemonic phrase above is an easy way to remember your user and group structure: U>G>L\Parameters\TCPIP, where is the name you recorded in the previous step. 4. Change the values of EnableDHCP to 1 and IPAddress And SubnetMask to 5. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\DHCP and change the Start value to 2. Note: Please remember that editing your registry can be risky; always have a verified backup before you begin. HIDE THE SERVER FROM THE WORLD Occasionally, you may need to hide a server from the browse list. This may be because you don't want to open the server up to hackers or just because the server is intended for personal use, and you want to keep unknown factors out. Here's a registry change that lets you hide your server from the rest of the world but lets you still access it through command methods. [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\ Parameters] "Hidden"=dword:00000001 Note: Editing your registry carries potential risks, so always have a verified backup before you begin. HIDING THE LAST LOGON If you work in a security-minded environment, you may want to disable the default setting in NT 4.0 that displays the name of the last person who logged on to the system. It's often far too easy to guess a user's password from his or her username or from the logon environment. You'll need to launch Regedt32 and follow these steps: 1. Select the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key. 2. Find subkey \Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon. 3. Go to Edit | New | String Value. 4. Enter DontDisplayLastUserName for the string's name. 5. Double-click the new string to edit the value. 6. Change the value to 1. 7. Click OK. 8. Exit the Registry Editor. NOTE: Please remember that editing your registry can be risky; be sure you have a verified backup before you begin. MAKING MEANINGFUL MACHINE NAMES When you install a new machine, don't arbitrarily pick a name for the machine out of thin air. Establish a standard for the naming of the machine that doesn't tie it to the user. This will eliminate personalized or confusing names within the company and make it easier to locate a machine physically. For example, in one company, machines follow the standard TWSBIS01. This standard breaks down as follows: * The first two characters, TW, are simply an abbreviation for the company name, TechWorks. * The third and fourth characters stand for the machine type. For example: SP--Server Primary (Domain Controller) SB--Server Backup (Domain Controller) SM--Server Member WS--Workstation 9X--Windows 95/98 2K--Windows 2000 AD--Active Directory Server (Windows 2000) * The fifth and sixth characters designate the department the machine is in (e.g., IS--Information Systems). * The last two characters tell the order in which the machines are configured. You could use some other meaningful designation here as well. Feel free to come up with your own standard, but make sure it's uniform and makes sense. WHO STOLE MY IP ADDRESS?!?! If you ever get the error of having a conflicting IP address, you may want to know who the culprit is. Even in a large corporation, this is easier to determine than you might think. You need only arm yourself with another workstation and the stolen IP address. First, open a command prompt on the working workstation or server. Now, type in the command nbtstat -a where is the stolen IP. Look at the results returned. When we tested this on our NT server, the results from the workstation were: ROB1 <00> UNIQUE TECHWORKS <00> GROUP ROB1 <03> UNIQUE REDWARDS <03> UNIQUE Notice the two records with <03> as the NetBIOS type. One is the machine name; the other is the logon name. Armed with the logon name, you now know who's logged on to the workstation with your IP. If no one has logged on yet, you still have the machine name and should be able to track down the culprit with that. CAN'T BROWSE NETWORK AFTER INSTALLING A NEW CARD? After installing a new network card and the network drivers on a post- SP3 system, the following message may appear in the event viewer: "System error 1130 has occurred. Not enough server storage is available to process this command." This error occurs because the overwriting of some network files won't work with other patched NT files. To fix this problem, apply (or reapply) the latest service pack. CHANGE THE DEFAULT APPLICATION INSTALLATION LOCATION With the following registry patch, you can change the default location where Setup Programs installs files. 1. Open Regedt32 and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Microsoft\Windows\Current Version. 2. Double-click ProgramFilesDir and enter the new path. 3. Double-click ProgramFilesPath and type in the new path again. NOTE: Please remember that editing your registry is potentially risky; always have a verified backup before you begin. CHANGE THE SYSTEM FONT It's easy to change the system font that's installed on your NT system. Import the registry change below, modifying "vgasys.fon" to the font name you wish to display. [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\GRE_Initialize] "FONTS.FON"="vgasys.fon" NOTE: Please remember that editing your registry is potentially risky; always have a verified backup before you begin. EXPLORE MY COMPUTER FROM THE DESKTOP OR START MENU You can create a shortcut to My Computer that will open in Explorer view with a simple shortcut. Simply create a new shortcut and paste in the following command line: explorer /e,/root,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D} From now on, when you open this shortcut, you'll see My Computer as the root of the Explorer window. LOAD BALANCE YOUR NETWORK CARDS If you have multiple NIC cards using the same wire (Ethernet or Token Ring), you may want to load balance the communications on the cards. Importing the following registry changes to your system can do this. [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\NetBT\Parameters] "RandomAdapter"=dword:00000001 "SingleResponse"=dword:00000001 (Changing the values to 0 will turn this ability off.) NOTE: Please remember that editing your registry can be risky; always have a verified backup before you begin. RUN ALL 16-BIT APPS IN THEIR OWN MEMORY SPACE You may recall from a previous tip ("An NT safeguard for 16-bit applications," Jan. 28, 2000) that it's generally a good idea to run legacy apps in their own memory spaces. This allows an app to crash without taking all other apps down with it. Here's a registry change that will set this as your default option: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\WOW] "DefaultSeparateVDM"="yes" Note: Please remember that editing your registry is potentially risky; always have a verified backup before you begin. SPEED UP NTFS PERFORMANCE When browsing a directory on an NTFS volume, the LastAccess time stamp is updated for every directory detected. With a large number of directories, updating can take a very long time. To disable the update, make the following registry change. [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem] "NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate"=dword:00000001 Note: Please remember that editing your registry carries potential risks; be sure you have a verified backup before you begin. ZERO OUT THE PAGE FILE ON SHUTDOWN When you shut down your NT machine, the page file retains anything that was stored during its last access. This can be a security problem if someone gains access to the page file. To make the inactive pages in the page file fill with zeros, import the following change to your registry: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\ Session Manager\Memory Management] "ClearPageFileAtShutdown"=dword:00000001 Note: Please remember that editing your registry is potentially risky; always have a verified backup before you begin. FIX A SLUGGISH NETWORK AFTER INSTALLING SP4 OR HIGHER After installing Service Pack 4 or higher, you may notice that your network seems to have slowed down. This is because of a change that Microsoft made to the RDR.sys file that increases network traffic. This fix was for a problem with handles being invalidated when a dismount occurs. While Microsoft is likely to fix this problem in SP7, you can address it now with the following registry change: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Rdr\Parameters] "FileSystemControlFilter"=dword:00000000 NOTE: Please remember that editing your registry can be risky; always have a verified backup before you begin.
When installing Windows NT on a new machine, you may get the Blue Screen of Death (or Knowledge, as Microsoft calls it) with an IRQL error. The problem can usually be solved by changing out the memory in your machine with a different set of chips. Occasionally, memory will go bad, and this is one of the signs of a bad chip. Note that this error doesn't necessarily point to memory problems. If changing RAM doesn't work, check for other hardware failures.
To free up space on your system hard drive, you may want to change the default location of the spool folder on your system. Moving it from the Spool\Printers folder of your System32 location will accomplish this. The spooling folder can be changed for all printers or for individual printers with the following registry changes:
For all printers: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Printers] "DefaultSpoolDirectory"="Path to new spool"
For individual printers: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Printers\] "SpoolDirectory"="Path to new spool"
NOTE: Please remember that editing your registry can be risky, so be sure you have a verified backup before you begin.
Occasionally, you may notice that your print server may hang when logging on or stopping and restarting the spooler service. This will happen because of an overly large number of documents in the spool folder. If the buffers of your printers can hold them, you can send documents faster by implementing an LPR fix. If not, or if you are not using TCP/IP Printing, then copy the files out of the spool folder to another location on the hard disk, then copy them back a little at a time.
If you want to access Outlook(r) Express mailboxes and address book from either operating system, install Outlook Express under Windows 95 and log on as the user RSC. Boot to Windows NT as Administrator, install Outlook Express, and then change two Registry keys, thus letting the Windows NT version access the data from the Windows 95 install. For the Windows NT address book, change HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\WAB\WAB4\Wab File Name to the value that points to the address book location under Windows 95 (e.g., key name: Default). Key value: C:\WIN95\Profiles\rsc\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book\rsc.wab Old value: C:\winnt\profiles\administrator\applicationdata\microsoft\address book\administrator.wab For the data (Mailboxes), change the value under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\{B5088BD0-A847-11D3-A7AB-0010100003C5}\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0. Key name: Store Root Old value: "%UserProfile%\Application Data\Identities\{B5088BD0-A847-11D3-A7AB-0010100003C5}\Microsoft\OutlookExpress\" New value: "c:\program Files\outlook express\rsc" Note that Windows NT generates the value {B5088BD0-A847-11D3-A7AB-0010100003C5} and uses it to locate and identify the profile in Windows NT, but it's irrelevant to the actual location of the data.
If, when booting your NT system, you get a BSOD with an error of STOP 0x00000074--BAD_SYSTEM_CONFIG_INFO, it means you may have designated some of the registry files in the System32\Config folder as Read Only. To solve this problem, you'll need to boot into a different install of Windows NT on the same machine and change the permissions manually. If you're still getting the BAD_SYSTEM_CONFIG_INFO error after doing this, it's possible that you've accidentally changed the account permissions on the System32\Config folder and removed the Full Control permissions for the System Account. (This can happen by accidentally leaving the cascading permissions on a folder turned on.) To correct this problem, you'll need to boot into another install of Windows NT on the same machine and restore the permissions on the folder.
After downloading, post-SP3 service packs can be extracted without being installed by using the command SPName.exe /x. The service pack can then be applied by using these flags following the Update.exe command. -f = Force applications to close at shutdown -u = Unattended installation -n = Do not create an uninstall folder -z = Do not restart -q = Quiet mode, no user interface -o = Overwrite OEM files without prompting Use these flags as necessary in order to install only the programs you need.
If you accidentally turned off the New Phonebook Entry Wizard by opting to enter the information directly, you can turn it back on by doing the following: 1. Open Dial-up Networking. 2. Go to More | Logon Preferences. 3. Select the Appearance tab. 4. Click to select the Use Wizard To Create New Phonebook Entries check box. 5. Click OK. You will once again be able to use the Wizard to enter phone numbers.
If your system boots and unsuccessfully tries to renew or find its IP address from the DHCP server, it will wait a full five minutes before trying again. To decrease the wait time between requests, install Service Pack 6 and make the following change to the registry: [HKEY_LOCAL_Machine\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Dhcp\Parameters] "DhcpUseLargeNumberOfRequests"=dword:00000001 Note: Please remember that editing your registry can be risky; always have a verified backup before you begin.
Drivers HeadQuarters is a Web directory of hundreds of device drivers for Windows NT operating systems, as well as 3.1x, Win 9x, and Win2K systems. The site links to driver resources for hardware manufacturers and is organized in 27 convenient categories. Drivers HeadQuarters has standard driver categories for everything from printers, modems, monitors, plotters, audio devices, and disk drivers. You'll also find drivers of special interest to system admins for such items as networking cards, SCSI drives, and IDE controllers. Finding a driver on this site is easy. To find a printer driver, just click the printer category followed by the printer manufacturer, and you'll find yourself transported to the manufacturer's software download page. You spend a minimal amount of time looking for the manufacturer's site or tracking down their software, driver, utilities, updates, patch, support, or whatever-they-choose-to call-it page. This site also offers a free software utility called Driver Detective v2.0. It's a powerful little tool that helps you locate .drv, .dll, and .vxd files on a computer and then displays the filename, a short description, the company name, and the version number.
When booting up your NT system (client or server), your Autoexec.bat file and any system settings therein are parsed and added to the system settings (which can be viewed by typing SET at a command window). If you don't want the settings in the Autoexec.bat file (like, for example, the system path setting), to be included in your system settings, you can apply the following registry change to your system: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\ CurrentVersion\Winlogon] "ParseAutoexec" = "0" To re-enable the parsing of the Autoexec.bat, change the value to 1. Note: As always, we'll remind you that registry editing is serious business; always have a verified backup before you begin.
Occasionally, you may want to simply shut down a workstation without having to log on first. To save the time of logging on, activate the shutdown button on the logon screen with the following registry patch: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\ Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon] "ShutdownWithoutLogon" = "1" To turn off the Shutdown button, set the value to 0. Note: Please remember that editing your registry can be risky; always have a verified backup before you begin.
Don't you hate it when you leave the Always Use This Program To Open This File option turned on? Do you want to change it back so it prompts you to specify a program each time? It's simple to delete that association in Windows NT. To delete the association with that file type, at the command prompt enter the command ASSOC.EXT= where .EXT specifies the extension of the file type whose association you want to delete (e.g., .WAV for wave files). Now whenever you double-click on the file of that type, the system will ask you what program you want to use to open the file.
Your NT network is only as secure as its weakest password. NT provides a great utility for controlling passwords called the User Manager. To access this utility go to the Start menu and select Administrative Tools | User Manager. In the User Manager window select the user or group you want to work with and then go to the Policies menu and choose Account. NT will display an Account Policy dialog box where you can control the maximum age of a password, its minimum length, and uniqueness. By limiting the life of passwords and requiring at least 8 characters (NT allows passwords up to 14 characters) you can reduce your system's susceptibility to brute-force attacks. You can test how your system holds up under a brute-force attack with a password cracking utility called L0phtCrack. This utility works by grabbing passwords as they move across a network or by extracting the NT passwords from the system registry or an emergency repair disk. L0phtCrack uses a dictionary to guess passwords but also attacks the full key space by systematically searching letter, number, and symbol combinations. You can download L0phtCrack at the L0pht Heavy Industries Web site.
Windows NT systems are well designed to manage performance, but there are some factors that you might need to keep track of. With that purpose in mind, Microsoft NT provides a graphical tool for monitoring your system. To access the Performance Monitor go to the Start menu and select Programs | Administrative Tools | Performance Monitor. The utility defaults to a Chart mode. You can access Alert, Log, and Report modes by selecting them from the View menu. To activate the Performance Monitor you'll need to add a counter. Click the Plus button on the toolbar or go to the Edit menu and choose Add To Chart. The Performance Monitor will display a dialog box where you can select the computer on your LAN that you want to monitor. In this dialog box you can also choose from a lengthy list of Objects to monitor, including cache, NetBEUI, processor, server, and telephony. Other options on this dialog box let you control factors like instances, counters, colors, and more. You can even set up the Performance Monitor to issue alerts when specific events occur. You can find out more about the Performance Monitor by going to the Help menu and selecting Contents.
If you find yourself trying to hunt down online information on Windows NT or related software, don't waste time with an Internet search--you can usually find what you need in two or three clicks at the Windows NT Resource Site. This site is a small link directory of essential Windows NT system administration and Web development resources. The Windows NT Resource site is divided into 16 major categories covering subject areas like Windows NT Web Server Tools and Add-ins, Server Development, System Services, System Administration, Magazines, and Books. There are 800 to 900 links on the site and to simplify access each category is divided into subcategories. For example, The System Administration category is broken into the 26 subcategories, including Backup, Diagnostics, Event Log Processing, and Scripting. The site also provides an internal search engine. The Windows NT Resource Site is a fantastic place to help you locate NT administration and site development resources on the Internet.
Most programs install in C:\Program Files by default. You can change this default by editing the registry. Open the Registry Editor by selecting Start | Run | Regedt32. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version. In the right pane, double-click ProgramFilesDir and change the path in the String Editor to the drive and folder you want (i.e. D:\Program Files). You must also modify the entry for ProgramFilesPath. Exit the Registry Editor and restart your computer. Be aware that some programs still require installation in the C:\Progam Files folder.
THE QUESTION: TechRepublic member Ron wanted information about PING1W.exe and CHKADMIN.exe, processes he found on several of his workstations that start up automatically. Copy and paste this URL into your browser:
THE ANSWER: User Puniet replied that these files are trojans and have probably been spread to all the workstations. PING1W.exe is a utility that keeps PINGing other machines on the same network, and CHKADMIN.exe is a utility that captures administrators' passwords when they log on to machines.
In My Network Neighborhood
THE QUESTION: TechRepublic member Vasudevan wanted to know how to set a description or comment in Network Neighborhood on a Windows NT 4 workstation. Copy and paste this URL into your browser: Comment+for+Windows+NT+Machine+in+Network+Neighborhood&ooc=open THE ANSWER: Reader Mnjohnson said to open the Server applet in Control Panel and type a comment in the Description text box, which will appear as a comment in Network Neighborhood. Mnjohnson also said Vasudevan would need admin privileges.
Hackers often gain access to a system by setting up an automated program that bombards a server with thousands of possible password combinations. Windows NT provides an auditing utility that can help you recognize these hacking attempts by tracking events at the system and object level. By default, this auditing option is turned off. To configure NT to audit events, go to the Start | Programs | Administrative Tools | User Manager. In the User Manager window, go to the Policies menu and select Audit. In the resulting Audit Policy dialog box, click the Audit These Events radio button to activate auditing and use the check boxes to track successful and failed events for * Logon And Logoff * File And Object Access * Use Of User Rights * User And Group Management * Security Policy Changes * Restart, Shutdown, and System * Process Tracking When you select one or more of these items, NT tracks occurrences of the events and stores them in the Security Log, which you can view in the Event Viewer (go to Start | Programs | Administrative Tools | Event Viewer). To watch for failed logons, for example, check the Failure box for Logon And Logoff and click OK. With this configuration, periodic checks of the Event Viewer should quickly provide evidence of a high frequency of failed logon attempts that could indicate a hacker trying to break into your system.
If you receive an error when trying to change directories into a long filename (especially one concerning parameters), then you might be using the COMMAND.COM window instead of the 32-bit CMD.EXE window. Try switching to CMD.EXE and reissuing the change directory (cd) command. If that doesn't work, you can try using the PUSHD command with the following syntax: Pushd Long File Name
If you're unable to uninstall a service pack, it's possible that you've reinstalled the service pack and told the installer to make a backup. If a service pack has already been installed, and you reapply it for whatever reason, the backup procedure will overwrite anything else in the backup folder with the current version. To preserve the old system files, copy the backup folder to another location for storage. CORRECTION A tip we ran a few weeks ago, "Start any app minimized" (Mar. 31, 2000), featured an NT registry tweak that some readers have been unable to successfully apply. Further research has turned up a more conventional (and thus safer) way to accomplish the same task: To minimize any application on the taskbar, go to the appropriate .exe file and create a shortcut to it in C:\WINNT\Profiles\username\Start Menu\Programs\Startup. Right-click that shortcut and select Properties. On the Shortcut tab, select Minimized from the Run drop-down list. Reboot your system and it should start with that application minimized on the taskbar. Many thanks to the members who provided this valuable feedback. We regret the error and apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused.
If you've configured your screen saver to lock the desktop upon activation, there's a short grace period after activating the screen saver before the lock kicks in. If you want to adjust the length of this grace period, apply the following registry change and restart your machine. [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\ CurrentVersion\Winlogon] "ScreenSaverGracePeriod"="GracePeriod" NOTE: Please remember that editing your registry can be risky; always have a verified backup before you begin.
The Persistent Connections subkey stores data about the most recent connections to network drives. Understanding how to configure Persistent Connections on Windows NT can help your system start faster and let you control which network connections are made at startup. You can make changes to the way NT works with persistent connections in the registry. Launch the Registry Editor and go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ Network\Persistent Connections In the Persistent Connections directory you'll find values that you can alter to control network connections. The values with single letters show the Universal Naming Convention path of the 10 most recent drives that you've mapped to. You can set the order that the Map Network Drive list displays those UNC paths within the Order value. The SaveConnections value determines whether or not the connections will be persisted after logon (this is a yes/no value). Of course, the SaveConnections option can be turned on or off in the Map Network Drive window, but this tweak will allow the value to be changed within a logon script. NOTE: Remember, editing your registry can be risky, so always have a verified backup before you begin.
If you try to delete a job that was stuck in the print queue, there is a possibility that the job status will show as Deleting but never clear the queue. The problem is that the printer spooler is hung. The fix is simple: 1. Close the printer folder. 2. Stop the spooler service (through the Services control panel or NET STOP SPOOLER). 3. Restart the spooler service. The job will now be deleted from the print queue.
If, on startup, you get an error in the event log of "7022: Messenger Service Hung," it could mean that your NetBIOS network interface is corrupted. To solve the problem, remove the NetBIOS interface service from your network control panel, reboot, add the service back to the network control panel, reboot once more, and then reapply your latest service pack.
Here's a fast tip for clearing the entire contents of the current directory. To delete everything (including subfolders) in the current folder, issue the following command at the command prompt: RD /S "" Although you'll get a "System cannot find the path specified" error, all of the files and folders from the directory will be deleted.
By applying the following registry change to your workstation and/or server, you can prevent users from mapping persistent connections to network resources. This could be done to make sure that when mapping to an administrative share on a server, the share isn't accidentally left connected. [HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ Network\Persistent Connections] "SaveConnections"="no" Note: Please remember that editing your registry can be risky, so always have a verified backup before you begin.
If you need to remove some of the items from your Mapped Network Drive list, you can do so by editing the following registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\ Network\PersistentConnections Delete the entries that you need to, then be sure to change the Order value to remove the letters of the mappings you deleted. You can also rearrange the order of the letters in order to rearrange the order the mappings are displayed. Note: As always, we'll remind you that editing your registry is serious business; always have a verified backup before you begin.
Occasionally, you may want to see how the CPU is performing on your system with just a glance. A simple way to add that functionality is to add the Task Manager to your System Tray. First, you need to place a shortcut to the Taskmgr.exe file in your Startup folder. Then edit the shortcut Properties so that it is set up to run minimized. Now, whenever you log on, the Task Manager will be waiting in the System Tray. (Note that the Task Manager does use some system resources itself.)
If you get an error in the Application Event Log about your profile, it could mean: * Your system is low on hard drive space. * The profile has been corrupted and needs to be deleted. * Your registry size limit has been reached. * The local Profiles folder has had the access type "Change" removed from the "Everyone" profile.
You may want to start an application minimized on your System Tray during startup for any number of reasons (see "Place the Task Manager in the System Tray on startup," Mar. 30, 2000). In this tip we'll discuss a way to do that via the registry instead of adding a shortcut to the startup group. Add a value of type REG_SZ to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run The name of the value doesn't really matter, but make it something descriptive that you'll readily understand. Set the string of the value to "Start /min x:\path to app," where x is the drive letter where the app is stored. For example, if you wanted to make the Task Manager run minimized on startup and didn't want to add the shortcut to the startup group, you could apply this change to the registry: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run] "TaskManager"="start /min c:\\winnt\\system32\\taskmgr.exe" Note: Please remember that editing your registry can be risky; always have a verified backup before you begin.
When installing Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000, you are asked to set the system date format. Most admins leave it in the standard mm/dd/yy format. However, many applications use the default system date when they are run without a user logged on to the local console, and problems can arise when an application expects a different date format. You'll need to keep that in mind when you select the system date format because, once installed, the default date format is coded into the kernel and is not changeable.
If you try to schedule a program to run on a domain controller using the IE Task Scheduler, check the Schedlog.txt file in the WinNT directory. If the error logged was a logon failure, check to make sure that the local Administrators group has been granted Log On As A Batch Job permission by clicking on Policies | User Rights | Show Advanced User Rights in the User Manager utility.
Many new hard drives come with ability to use DMA (Direct Memory Access), making the input/output of the drive run at a higher speed. This will lower the CPU usage of the system when writing to the drive from 90 percent to less than 30 percent. To verify that DMA is enabled on your machine, use your favorite registry editor to edit the registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\DEVICEMAP\Scsi\ScsiPortX where X is 0 for the primary channel and 1 for the secondary channel. If the setting of the DMAEnabled value is 1, then DMA is turned on. ATAPI can also turn on DMA on a channel-by-channel basis, provided the channels are capable of using DMA. To turn DMA on for a channel, apply the following registry change: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\ atapi\Parameters\DeviceX "DriverParameter" = "DMADetectionLevel = 0x1." To disable DMA, set the string to "DMADetectionLevel = 0x0." NOTE: Please remember that editing your registry can be risky, so always have a verified backup before you begin.
If you run a service on your machine in the context of a user account (as opposed to the system account) and the service fails, a Dr. Watson Log and/or Dump file will not be created. This is because the Dr. Watson service tries to access the desktop of the user it is running as. Since the user isn't logged in, it can't do it and fails as well. The only way to fix this issue is by making the service run under the system account and going to Control Panel | Services, selecting the service you wish to modify, clicking the Startup button, checking the Allow System To Interact With Desktop check box, and clicking OK.
When running an application, Windows NT will remember the size and position of the windows of the last 28 applications run. Windows NT will store this in the registry as subkeys of the registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Explorer\Streams These subkeys will be numbered from 1 to 28 in ascending order. As the subkeys become full, older subkeys will be overwritten. Information relating the subkey information to an application is listed as values in the registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Explorer\StreamMRU If something happens that causes the settings to become mixed up, (for example, if a machine gets powered off without a proper shutdown) the window settings of one application may be applied to a different one. To fix the problem, delete all subkeys of the Streams key and all the values listed, except MRUList, of the StreamMRU key. NOTE: Please remember that editing your registry can be risky; always have a verified backup before you begin.
One of the common characteristics of Windows NT system administrators is that they're always looking for quick answers--problem solving and troubleshooting aren't compatible with extensive research. FAQs are one of the Internet's best resources for getting quick answers on specific subjects and the Windows NT FAQ concentrates only on NT. At this site you'll find hundreds of answers to common questions about NT. You can search the site with a Java search engine or browse for FAQs through more than 45 subject categories that cover topics like Active Directory, batch files, Distributed File System, NetWare, service packs, and system configuration. You can also download the Windows NT FAQ as an HTML, text, or Windows help file, which is updated once a week. The Windows NT FAQ Web site is updated daily.
Taking control of how Windows NT handles memory cache can improve system performance. CacheSet is a utility that lets you manipulate the working-set parameters of NT's file cache. With this utility, you can control the minimum and maximum working set sizes as well as reset the cache's working set, forcing it to grow as necessary from your designated minimum. In addition, when you make changes with CacheSet, they'll immediately affect the size of the system cache. According to SysInternals, CacheSet uses the NtQuerySystemInformation call to obtain information about the cache's settings and NtSetSystemInformation to set new sizing information. The working-set information for a process provides guidelines for NT's Memory Manager regarding how many pages of physical memory should be assigned to the application. The cache settings affect the overall allocation, and hence responsiveness, of an application. With CacheSet, you can set new cache sizes, reset previous values, and clear the cache's working set. CacheSet is a freeware applet that runs on all versions of NT and will work without modifications on new Service Pack releases. This utility also comes with the source code. You can download a copy at:
PART 1 The original 1992 version of the Windows NT OS contained approximately 4 million lines of source code. When NT 4.0 was released in 1996, the source code was increased to about 16.5 million lines. The general consensus among many programmers is that more code means more crashes. Here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with NT crashes. Dr. Watson is a built-in utility that acts as an applications debugger for NT. This utility monitors programs running on NT, detects and diagnoses errors, and provides a log of diagnostic information that can help you track down problems. Dr. Watson starts automatically whenever a program crashes, but you can access the utility any time to configure how it will handle a crash. To launch Dr. Watson, go to the Start menu, select Run, and then type DRWTSN32. You can also access this program's .exe file in C:\WINNT\system32\. When you open Dr. Watson, you'll see a series of check box options that let you control how the utility will notify you of a crash, how the log is handled, and when and where to create a crash dump file. The crash dump file is a binary file that Dr. Watson creates during a crash. Although it won't prevent a crash, you can load it into Windows Debugger later in an attempt to prevent future crashes. To configure Dr. Watson to create a crash dump file, just mark the checkbox and specify a filename for the crash dump file in the Crash Dump text box at the top of the dialog box. PART 2 One of the worst scenarios for any enterprise is for the system administrator to be away when a crash occurs. Windows NT systems are configured, by default, to simply wait for a manual restart when they crash. As a result, many non-technical users might simply stare at the infamous blue screen of death, or the system might sit idle overnight, waiting for intervention. The cost of such an incident is unacceptably high, of course. There is, however, a simple method for configuring NT to automatically reboot under such circumstances, and you should make sure your users know about it. To configure for an automatic reboot, right-click My Computer and select Properties. In the resulting System Properties dialog box, click the Startup/Shutdown tab. Enable the Automatically Reboot checkbox and then click OK. This will allow the NT system to automatically reboot after a crash.
As you delete and create files on Windows NT, the total free space gets split into smaller, non-contiguous blocks. This system works well, but eventually a problem arises--new files and changes to old files are scattered across the file system because they can't be stored each in a single contiguous block. Ultimately, this situation degrades a system's performance because multiple seek operations are required to access a single fragmented file. You can overcome this problem by defragmenting the hard drive to consolidate existing files and free space into a continuous group of sectors. As a general rule, you should defragment a disk before it reaches 10 percent fragmentation. Unfortunately, Windows NT doesn't come with a defragmentation utility; however, you can find some good ones on the Internet. Diskeeper, by Executive Software International Inc., is a file defragmentation utility for both NTFS and FAT partitions. It's a stripped-down manual version of the more highly automated commercial product Diskeeper 2.0. Another option is Speed Disk for Windows NT from Norton. Speed Disk also defragments both NTFS and FAT partitions on an NT hard drive.
Perl is a very efficient scripting language that can help you automate tasks for NT-migration/network management projects. With this purpose in mind, NT administrator Tevfik Karagulle set up the Perl Scripts for Network/NT Administration Web site. This PerlRing site provides detailed descriptions and downloads of scripts that perform these functions: * Copy files, set ACLs, and define shares * Create global groups with optional members * Make standard network shares * Change service accounts/passwords of services on NT machines * Tighten security on NT servers * Implement a configurable, WAN-friendly replication of logon scripts * Replicate directories among servers * Provide ping-based trend analysis of WAN-performance If you can't find a Perl script you want on this site, there are links to some very good Perl archives, as well as the PerlRing and NT Professional Webring.
To enable the WINS Proxy Agent on a Windows NT 4.0 computer, you must edit the registry. To do so, start the Registry Editor (Start | Run | Regedt32) and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Netbt\Parameters and change the value for EnableProxy to 0x1. In Windows NT 3.51, you were able to select a check box under TCP/IP settings so that a non- WINS client could use WINS for NetBIOS name resolution, but that check box isn't available in NT 4.0. NOTE: Please remember that editing your registry can be risky; always have a verified backup before you begin.
When you're looking for NT software, you can't waste time cruising around a software site and sifting through programs written for Win9x, DOS, and other platforms. The Web site has a cache of some of the best Windows NT software available on the Internet. The site includes only Windows NT software and, even better, all the downloads are free. is a software archive that's organized in fourteen major categories that cover subjects like workstations, servers, utilities, Windows 2000, drivers, NT security patches and virus alerts, and the latest service packs. You'll also find an extensive bugs list, tips for improving NT performance, a message board, and links to FAQs and other NT sites. The site also includes a search engine you can use to target specific software. is also part of The NT Professional Webring, so you'll find links to plenty of other NT-related sites.
Are you trying to track down some information on a Windows NT error or event? If so, Microsoft has a good database that can help. The Windows NT Error & Event Messages Database has detailed information that's easy to access. A set of three drop-down menus (Components, Subcomponents, and Error Messages) lets you narrow the subject to the exact error or event you're researching. Once you've selected the appropriate categories from each of the three lists, the site will display information about the error message that includes an explanation of what happened to cause the error and any recommended user actions. The site also features a Java search engine.
If you're trying to track down a Windows NT source on the Web, you might want to try an NT-only search engine called NTSeek. This search engine claims to index thousands of NT links, including sources covering software, resumes, job openings, NT user groups, newsgroups, and 32-bit downloadable files. The NTSeek site has a search engine that lets you search with standard Boolean search language or "Natural Language" in either Summary or Detailed mode. In addition, NTSeek provides a Quick Reference search option that features a drop-down menu covering a wide range of related topics. While you're there, you can submit your own Web site to NTSeek and grab a bit of HTML code that will let you post an NTSeek search form on your site.
If you're looking to mirror your Web site, you might want to try out a mirror utility called HTTrack. This program is primarily an offline browser utility, but it has several features that make it ideal for mirroring a Web site. With HTTrack you can download a Web site from the Internet to a local directory, building recursively all directories, HTML, images, and other files. The utility can update an existing mirrored site and resume an interrupted download automatically. This utility arranges the mirror in the original site's relative link- structure, but you can also use filters to exclude links or combine sites into one mirror. You can also use HTTrack in a scanning mode to test links. Additional HTTrack features include proxy support to maximize speed, with optional authentication; multilingual Windows interface supporting English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, and Polish; events logs; and more. HTTrack runs under Windows NT as well as Windows 9x and Win2K. If you're working with a multi-platform site, you'll be glad to know that HTTrack is also available for Linux, Sun Solaris, and other UNIX platforms in a command-line version. Best of all, not only is this utility free, it includes the engine source code. You can download a copy at
A common problem among users is that they think they can just send a program's directory to the Recycle Bin to be deleted--they don't understand the process of uninstalling an application. A program that's been deleted in this manner can cause lots of problems if shared .dll files are involved. In addition, if you use the command prompt or a client over the network, NT won't send the deleted files to the Recycle Bin. In these cases, recovery is very difficult. Timing is the problem. NT will be working to reallocate the clusters that were freed up by the deletion of other files. Once the reallocation is complete, recovery of the deleted files is impossible. You can, however, overcome this problem with a utility called Undelete by Executive Software. This utility lets you scan a local or network drive to recover deleted files. The interface for this utility is really just a simple search tool that allows you to sort results by filename, date, location, and size. Once you find the files in question, select them, click Undelete, and then point Undelete to the directory where you want to save the recovered files. You can download a trialware version of Undelete for Windows NT or 2000 on Executive Software's download page.
Keeping information on an NT network secure from hackers is difficult enough without having to worry about mobile NT workstations. A user that travels with a laptop is susceptible to a different kind of threat--theft. Just a few distracted moments in an airport and the entire system's gone, and with that system a lot of sensitive information about your network. There is, however, a security system that can provide a considerable amount of protection for critical NT- based workstations on the move. Absolute Software Corp. has developed a software/service called CompuTrace that can track down stolen laptops with great accuracy. CompuTrace is a security software utility that uses the Internet or a telephone network to regularly make automatic contacts (about once a week) to the CompuTrace Monitoring Center to update the system's status. When a computer is stolen, all you have to do is report it to CompuTrace. Absolute Software's Recovery Service then monitors incoming calls for your computer's next contact. The Recovery Service traces that call and contacts the appropriate law enforcement agency or company security department in order to recover the PC. You may be thinking, "What if the thief erases the hard drive, obliterating the utility?" CompuTrace will still be on the job. The utility doesn't show up on a computer's regular directory listing and is protected against reformatting and disk partitioning, making it very difficult to remove from a system. Even better, when CompuTrace dials in to the CompuTrace Monitoring Center, the utility is designed to turn off the computer's modem sound, reducing the odds that the thief will realize something is happening. CompuTrace is available for Windows NT systems, as well as Windows 9x and W2K.
If you want to force synchronization of your domain controllers instead of waiting for an automatic replication event, type net accounts / sync from the command line of your primary domain controller. You can also use Server Manager to force synchronization. Start Server Manager, choose the primary domain controller, and select Synchronize Entire Domain from the File menu. You will see a message informing you that the process may take awhile; click OK.
If you're running a Web site under Windows NT Server, getting statistics on site traffic is imperative. FastStats is an analysis utility that takes raw log files and transforms them into site statistics. This utility is capable of accessing records, parsing, and collating standard log files at more than 100 MB per minute. The results are presented in easy-to-read graphs, pie charts, and lists. FastStats provides reports on: * Number of hits on a Web server * Actual number of users linking to a site * Number of requests made when the server is busy * Web sites that link to the server's site * Search engine keywords that are used to access the site * The instances of 404 errors--links to missing documents * Number of times users link to a particular file or directory * Number and type of Web browsers and operating systems that access a Web site * The most frequently requested files, images, HTML pages, and directories FastStats provides a host of additional features. For example, you can watch statistics on one specific page or track users that access your site with a particular type of browser. FastStats is a 32-bit utility that runs under Windows NT. You can download a 25-day trial version of FastStats at, or buy a copy for about $100.
When you sit down to troubleshoot an NT workstation or server, the first thing you need is information about that particular system. Windows NT 4.0 provides a Windows NT Diagnostics tool that can deliver loads of information about a system in moments. To access the Windows NT Diagnostics tool, go to the Start Menu and select Programs | Administrative Tools | Windows NT Diagnostics. NT will display a Windows NT Diagnostics dialog box with individual tabs for Memory, Drives, Display, System, Version, Services, Resources, Environment, and Network configurations. This diagnostics tool makes troubleshooting much easier because you don't have to depend on the user, your records, or your memory for information about the system.
If you're having a problem with a Windows NT server that doesn't seem to be addressed in the latest service pack, you just may need a hotfix. Microsoft only sends out service packs about once a year. To address problems that appear between service pack releases, Microsoft develops hotfixes. Hotfixes usually address a specific problem or condition on an NT server and some require that you have a specific service pack as a prerequisite. You can pick up hotfixes for Windows 4.0, 3.51, and International NT versions at the Windows NT Hotfixes page. You should only use a hotfix if you have an NT machine that's experiencing a specific problem. Microsoft doesn't test hotfixes with the same thoroughness as service packs--often because they're quickly put together to address security or other problems. As a result, a hotfix might cause some instability on individual NT systems. In addition, you'll need to keep careful track of the hotfixes you use, especially if you have multiple NT machines.
If you accidentally delete COMMAND.COM from the \WinNT\System32 folder, you can find it on the Windows NT Installation CD. Place the CD in the drive and open a command prompt. Type "expand CDdrive_letter\i396\command.co_ %systemroot\system32\" (no quotes) to replace the file.
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