Best Practice Ezine #7 – Registry Tips

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Guy’s Best Practice and Litmus Test Ezine #7 – More Registry Tips

This week’s newsletter features more tips for changing the registry and displaying hidden settings.  I also have a section on ‘Unhiding’ settings, for example ‘Show Hidden Devices in Device Manager.

Registry Tips

I have three registry challenges for you, also I have created a .reg file which will apply registry values automatically. The first registry hack is just a ‘bit of fun’ to change the ‘My Computer’ Icon on the desktop so that it displays the computer name and username. The other two are registry changes will solve more practical problems, displaying the security tab in exchange, and preventing Windows 2000 icons changing their appearance.

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

1) Display your ComputerName and Username on the desktop

My idea is to re-program the desktop so that the My Computer icon displays the true ‘hostname’ and your username. However, this is not just a ‘cheap’ rename of ‘My Computer’. If you succeed with my challenge then who ever logs gets their hostname and username displayed on the desktop.

Warning, before you make this registry hack, backup the relevant portion of the registry first in case it does not work.

Display your Username and Computer Name
Principle: Find the setting for the My Computer object in the HKey_Classes_Root, substitute two variables for the original setting. This is a particularly difficult registry change so pay attention to which registry editor to use for which step. Warning: Export the registry FIRST. In XP Pro = Regedit, File (menu), Export. [In W2K = Regedit, Registry (Menu), Export Registry File.]

Problem 1: you need to rename LocalizedString to LocalizedString.Old
Solution 1: use Regedit just for this renaming step Regedt32 does not seem to be able to rename.

Problem 2: you need to create a value type called Expand_SZ.
Solution 2: use Regedt32 because regedit cannot create Expand_SZ values.

I recommend you check out this page where you can get a .reg file to automatically add the setting to your registry.

Getting Started

1) Locate with regedit [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D} rename LocalizedString to LocalizedString.Old

  • 2) Now switch to Regedit32 Create a new VALUE type Expand_SZ name it LocalizedString On XP and Windows 2000 with SP3 replace LocalizedString with %Username% at %Computername%

    Press F5 to refresh the ‘My Computer’, there is no need to logoff and certainly do not reboot.

    3) Note 1. If this does not work on older Windows 2000 (pre SP3) then copy the contents of LocalizedString.old @C:\WINNT\system32\shell32.dll,-9217@1033,My Computer and substitute %UserName% at %ComputerName% for My Computer (note the comma).

    4) Note 2. If it fails and the My computer icon is called %computername%, then Import the registry file that you saved and start again. If you did not Export and have to troubleshoot then it is very difficult! The problem is that the registry seems to create a new entry, you will have to have to find this CLSID and delete, then start again, before you try do Export the registry this time!

    Download a .reg file which will automatically make this change

  • See more on Windows 8 .Reg Files.

2) Registry Hack for Exchange 2000

The scenario: You wish to change permissions for objects in your Exchange Organization.

The problem: Exchange 2000’s System Manager does not display the Security Tab. The default position is that when you check any of the Exchange Organization objects, there is no Security Tab.

The solution
To display the permissions tab, make this change to the registry.

Here is the correct path to navigate:
Once you reach the above section of the registry you need to create a DWORD called ShowSecurityPage.
A value of 1 (Numeric one) means on, whilst 0 (Zero) means off.
Close the Exchange System Manager, and then reopen (no need for a reboot).

See more Registry Hacks here

3) Mysterious ‘Chameleon’ Icons in Windows 2000.

I call them ‘Chameleon’ Icons because they keep changing their appearance. The phenomenon only happens in Windows 2000, it seems as though Microsoft has fixed it in XP. What happens is hat down at the area some call ‘Quick Launch’ others call Taskbar, icons randomly changing their appearance and masquerade as a different application.

Here are instructions on how to cure the problem by adding Max Cached Icons to the registry.
Getting Started
First Objective: find: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer

Second Objective: create a String Value called Max Cached Icons
Edit (Menu), New, String Value called: Max Cached Icons (N.B. Include spaces as shown)

Third Objective:  set the value
Set the value of Max Cached Icons to 4096 (Range 100 to 4096 default = 500)
DELETE the ShellIconCache file in the \winnt folder. N.B. This is a hidden file and it is a file not a folder

Finally, Log off and Log on again. Now you should never have problems with the icons again.

Display Hidden Settings.

This section has nothing to do with the registry, however it will save you frustration.  By default, the operating systems hides settings which are useful for we professionals, for example: ‘Show All Files’ in the Explorer View menu.

Here are three more places you can go and unhide settings.

1) Unhiding the Device Manager helped me find, then delete a ‘phantom’ printer.
System Icon – Hardware, Device Manager, View, Show Hidden Devices.

2) Changing the DNS settings to Advanced helped me to see the cached pages.
DNS (Select the Server Object), View, Advanced.

3) The advanced settings of Active Directory Users and Computers helped me in two ways. Firstly it showed me the ‘Lost and Found’ folder so that I could recover orphaned users. Secondly the displaying the advanced features enabled me to configure the extra Exchange Tab on a user’s properties.
Active Directory Users and Computer – View, Advanced Features.

See more on on Unhide settings here

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