Best Practice Ezine #6 – Registry Tips

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Guy’s Best Practice and Litmus Test Ezine #6 – Registry Tips

This week’s newsletter is in two halves; the first half features Registry Tips and stories, while the second half has follow up on last week’s Exchange Tips.

Contents for Ezine #6

Registry Tips

Exchange 2003 – Revisited

Registry Tips

Hacking the registry is an emotive term. It brings to mind thoughts of expert knowledge, with a dash of bravado and more than a hint of forbidden fruit.

How Dangerous is editing the registry?  In my opinion everyone goes through 5 stages before they master the registry.

  1. Fear of the new language
  2. Wonderment of the Power of Regedit
  3. Complacency – I can do anything
  4. Panic
  5. Respect for the Registry

1) AutoAdminLogon – Works on all the Windows family

Automatic Logon has all the ingredients of a registry hack: a security risk, specialist business use and most of all AutoAdminLogon is fun to implement.

AutoAdminLogon creates a huge security loophole by allowing a machine to start without requiring anyone to logon. So what can be the justification? The answer is installation scripts, especially where you apply service packs immediately after the main install. If the script turns on AutoAdminLogon, then the installation engineer does not have to visit the machine midway through the job. A clever script will then reset AutoAdminLogon to zero, meaning off one the task has completed.

Instructions to set AutoAdminLogon

First Objective – Open Regedit then drill down to:
HKey_Local_Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\winlogon.
If AutoAdminLogon exists then Double Click on AutoAdminLogon and set value =1 (Numeric 1)
If AutoAdminLogon does NOT exist then go to: Edit (Menu), New, String Value, Type AutoAdminLogon

Second Objective – Create DefaultPassword

In regedit, you need to go to the EDIT menu, New, String Value type DefaultPassword.
To get AutoAdminLogon to work you need to add DefaultPassword to the same WINLOGON area.
Set the password to what ever it needs to be for the DefaultUser to logon successfully.
Note 1: You will need a reboot
Note 2: The DefaultUser does not have to be Administrator, set it to who ever is most appropriate.
Note 3: To break out of AutoAdminLogon and select a different username, keep your finger on the Shift key before logon.

See Windows 8 AutoAdminLogon Registry Settings.

Guy Recommends: The Free IP Address Tracker (IPAT) IP Tracker

Calculating IP Address ranges is a black art, which many network managers solve by creating custom Excel spreadsheets.  IPAT cracks this problem of allocating IP addresses in networks in two ways:

For Mr Organized there is a nifty subnet calculator, you enter the network address and the subnet mask, then IPAT works out the usable addresses and their ranges. 

For Mr Lazy IPAT discovers and then displays the IP addresses of existing computers. Download the Free IP Address Tracker

2) RegisteredOwner – Evans Twp

Damon Runyan had character in his book who was always giving horse racing tips. He had a catch phrase ‘ and a Tale goes with it’ meaning there was always an interesting story behind the ‘Tip’. Well I have ‘ and a Tale goes with it’, for my next registry tip.

Evans Twp – RegisteredOwner

In my homeland of Wales, Twp (pronounced Tupp) means a stupid person. The IT manager of a company I was working with was called Evans and in common with many mangers he was not very IT literate. So one of the techies, Dai ‘eighteen months’, nicknamed the manager Evans Twp. (Dai lost half of one ear in a Rugby scrum so he only had an ear and a half!).

The IT department took on a new lad called Peter. Now practical jokes are often part of initiation for new workers and this company was no exception. Peter’s first job was to install 5 new servers. During the set-up he came to the Organization Menu and he asked Dai ‘eighteen months’ what he should enter. Dai said "Put Evans Twp in the box". When Peter proudly showed off the new server he was taken aback when Mr Evans went ballistic and accused Peter of undermining his authority. What had happened was Mr Evans saw that the ‘Registered To’ in the System Icon said: – Evans Twp! (Meaning: Evans the stupid one!)

I was visiting the company doing other work when I heard of Peter’s distress. Poor lad was told that he had to come in a the weekend and reinstall the servers with proper company name as the ‘Registered Owner’. I took him aside and showed him how to find RegisteredOwner using Regedit. We found Evans Twp and changed it to a more appropriate value. Peter was thrilled as it only took a moment and he did not have to sacrifice his weekend.


Method Drill down to: HKEY_Local_Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\RegisteredOwner

Double Click RegisteredOwner then change the value to what you want. Re-open the System Icon and check your new value

Here are my latest views on the 5 stages on mastering the registry.

EXCHANGE 2003 – Follow up from last week.

3) Readers Points

Two readers wrote in to make some valuable points about Exchange 2003 migration.

C.H. Pointed out that one Migration Path would be Exchange 2003 on an Exchange 2003 member server in a Windows 2000 domain.

B.G. Emphasised that it is ‘Best Practice’ to run deployment tool = exeploy.hta from the Wizard at the Startup screen. Do not run exdeploy.exe directly.

4) Circular Logging

Circular Logging SOUNDS like a good idea, but it does not get the Guy seal of approval.

Best Practice

Professionals: Think of disaster recovery, they disable circular logging 99% of the time
Amateurs: Think Circular Logging is best practice for database logs

Why is Circular Logging not best practice?
During disaster recovery, if you have over-written the transaction logs then you can only restore as far as the last backup. When all the logs are available, Exchange automatically replays the logs and recovers all the transactions.

What is Circular Logging?

Exchange, SQL and Active Directory databases all rely on transaction or write-ahead logs. Events can be quickly written to the logs, then later ‘committed’ to the main database file. Circular logging over-writes these transaction logs to save disk space.

Where do you check the circular logging setting?

a) Open the Exchange Administrator, double-click Servers.
b) Select the server which has the storage group you want to enable circular logging.
c) Right-click the storage group, and then click Properties.
d) On the General tab, click Enable circular logging, and then click Yes.

Why does such a potentially harmful setting exist?
The one time you may need circular logging is if your disk is full. When you first install a database you always think ‘no way will the disk ever get full’ – experience teaches it will!

Windows 8 Registry

Windows 8 new features   • Windows 8 Metro UI    • AutoAdminLogon   • Win 8 Registry

Windows 8 Registry Hacks   • IP Address Manager   • Win 8 Start Menu   • E 170 Registry

Litmus Tests   • Windiff  • Regedit  • Ezines

E 107 Reg  • E 84 Reg   • E 7 Registry Tips   •E 6 Reg  • Registry