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Tips Windows NT: Mai 1998



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.



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.



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


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.


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


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


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.



Windows NT Workstation 4.0
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


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


Click OK to save the entry and then close RegEdit and restart the computer.



Windows NT Workstation 4.0
There are times when you want to open a file such as Read.me, 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


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.



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.



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.



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


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).


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


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.


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.


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.



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.



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


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



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



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


and press Enter. Navigate to


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.


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.


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