Windows XP and 2000 Tips & Tricks UPDATE—brought to you by the Windows & .NET Magazine Network and the Windows 2000 FAQ site
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(below COMMENTARY)


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August 19, 2002—In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY

2. FAQS

  • Q. What's the Windows 2000 Automatic Updates feature?
  • Q. How can I use the registry to configure the Windows XP or Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3) Automatic Updates feature?
  • Q. How can I modify the DLL search order in Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3) and later?
  • Q. How can I connect to a Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) console?
  • Q. Why do Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) RDP sessions have poor color quality?
  • Q. How can I disable the Encrypting File System (EFS) on a Windows 2000 or later machine?

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Become Part of Our MEC 2002 Focus Group!
  • Real-World Tips and Solutions Here for You

4. CONTACT US

  • See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

1. COMMENTARY
(contributed by John Savill, FAQ Editor, jsavill@winnetmag.com)

With Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3) now available and Windows XP SP1 on the way, I take a look this week at some of the new features in the service packs. I examine the Win2K SP3 Automatic Updates feature and tell you how to use the registry to configure this feature. I also describe how to modify the DLL search order, how to connect to a Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) console, how to correct poor color quality in RDP sessions, and how to disable the Encrypting File System (EFS) on a Win2K or later machine.

My new book, "The Windows XP/2000 Answer Book: A Complete Resource from the Desktop to the Enterprise" (Addison-Wesley), is now available for preorder on Amazon.com at the URL below. The book will be available at the end of September.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/0321113578/windowsntfaq


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2. FAQS

  • Q. What's the Windows 2000 Automatic Updates feature?

  • A. When you use the Automatic Updates feature, your desktop machine automatically connects to Microsoft for any critical updates that might apply to your machine. The content is similar to that of the Windows Update feature except you don't have to manually go onto the Internet to check for updates—the Windows OS does it for you.

    Win2K Service Pack 3 (SP3) introduced the Automatic Updates feature, which is an enhanced version of Windows XP's Automatic Updates feature. (XP SP1 will update the XP version to match the functionality of the Win2K SP3 version.) Whereas the Win2K SP3 version of Automatic Updates lets you automatically install the updates at a scheduled time, the core XP version doesn't.

    To access the Win2K Automatic Updates interface, go to the Start menu, Settings, Control Panel, and select the Control Panel Automatic Updates applet. You'll also see a new service, Automatic Updates, that runs even if you disable automatic updating.

    To enable Automatic Updates, select the "Keep my computer up to date" check box. Automatic Updates offers three configuration options:

    • "Notify me before downloading and notify me again before installing them on my computer"—This option works in a similar way to the old-style Critical Update Notification: Automatic Updates notifies the user if a critical update is available; the user can then select which updates Automatic Updates should download.
    • "Download the updates automatically and notify me when they are ready to be installed"—With this option, Automatic Updates periodically checks the Windows Update Web site and silently downloads critical updates when the user's Internet connection is idle. After the updates finish downloading, Windows displays the Automatic Updates icon in the taskbar status area. The user can then click the icon to get details about what updates were downloaded, to be reminded to install the updates later (from 3 minutes to 3 days later), or to install the updates now.
    • "Automatically download the updates, and install them on a schedule that I specify"—With this option, Automatic Updates downloads the updates and automatically installs them at a scheduled time (if the updates require a system reboot, Automatic Updates lets users stop the shutdown if they are currently logged on).

  • Q. How can I use the registry to configure the Windows XP or Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3) Automatic Updates feature?

  • A. I described the Automatic Updates options you can set with the user interface in a previous FAQ

    ( http://www.windows2000faq.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=26220 ). You can use the registry to configure these same Automatic Updates options by performing the following steps:

    1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
    2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update subkey.
    3. Set the DWORD values according to the table at http://www.windows2000faq.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=26221 .
    4. Close the registry editor.

  • Q. How can I modify the DLL search order in Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3) and later?

  • A. With Win2K SP3 and later, you can force the OS to check the path variable for DLLs before the OS uses the standard search paths, including the working folder. This modification might be useful if, for example, you're running a program from a network drive and you want the OS to check your local machine for DLLs before it checks the network share. To enable this functionality, perform the following steps:

    1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
    2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager subkey.
    3. From the Edit menu, select New, DWORD Value.
    4. Enter a name of SafeDllSearchMode, then press Enter.
    5. Double-click the new value, set it to 1 to enable the preemptive path search, and press OK.
    6. Close the registry editor.
    7. Restart Windows for the change to take effect.

    You can set the new value to 0 to restore the default search behavior.

  • Q. How can I connect to a Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) console?

  • A. The Windows 2000 Server family lets you make two connections to a server in Win2K Server Terminal Services administration mode without requiring additional licenses, but neither connection is an actual console session. Win.NET Server addresses this omission by letting you connect to the console session using technology taken from Windows XP's Remote Desktop feature.

    The XP Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) client can connect to a console session, but this ability is hidden. To connect to a Win.NET Server console from an XP system, you have to start the RDC client with the /console switch by typing the following at the command prompt:

    msdtc /console

    The RDC graphical interface will start as usual, but the connection to the Win.NET Server will display a console session instead of creating a new RDP session.

    To modify the RDC client shortcut to always include the /console switch, right-click the RDC client shortcut item on the Start menu, select Properties from the context menu, and add /console to the Target. For example,

    C:\Program Files\Remote Desktop\mstsc.exe

    becomes

    C:\Program Files\Remote Desktop\mstsc.exe /console

    If you aren't using XP, you can install the Win.NET Server RDC client on a Win2K or later client. Win.NET Server also ships with the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Remote Desktops snap-in, which lets you connect to a console by selecting the "Connect to console" check box.

  • Q. Why do Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) RDP sessions have poor color quality?

  • A. The color depth of Win.NET Server RDP sessions will be set to one of the following values:

    • No limit
    • 24 bit
    • 16 bit
    • 15 bit
    • 8 bit

    As a result, the RDP session might display poor color quality if you've selected a low color-depth setting.

    To change the color-depth limit, perform the following steps:

    1. Start the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Terminal Services Configuration snap-in (go to Start, Programs, Administrative Tools, and click Terminal Services Configuration).
    2. Select the Connects branch in the left-hand pane.
    3. Right-click RDP-Tcp in the right-hand pane, then select Properties.
    4. Select the "Client Settings" tab.
    5. Either clear the Limit Maximum Color Depth option, or select it and set the actual limitation required.
    6. Click OK.

  • Q. How can I disable the Encrypting File System (EFS) on a Windows 2000 or later machine?

  • A. To disable EFS, perform the following steps:

    1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
    2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\EFS subkey.
    3. From the Edit menu, select New, DWORD Value.
    4. Enter a name of EfsConfiguration and press Enter.
    5. Double-click the new value, set it to 1 to disable EFS, then click OK.
    6. Close the registry editor.
    7. Reboot the machine.

    This change will affect all users: When users try to encrypt a file, they'll receive an error. You can set the registry value to 0 to enable EFS, but this value doesn't exist by default.

    3. ANNOUNCEMENTS
    (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

  • BECOME PART OF OUR MEC 2002 FOCUS GROUP!

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    4. CONTACT US
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    • ABOUT THE FAQS — jsavill@winnetmag.com
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