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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February 3, 2003—In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY

2. FAQS

  • Q. What's the Windows Media Player (WMP) 9 coders/decoders (codecs) download?
  • Q. How can I configure my command prompt to display the machine name?
  • Q. How can I install the Microsoft Loopback Adapter in Windows XP?
  • Q. How can I use Group Policy to restrict access to the Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) configuration tabs?
  • Q. How can I use the registry to restrict access to the Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) configuration tabs?
  • Q. How can I prevent users from importing or exporting their Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) Favorites?

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Don't Miss Our 2 New Security Web Seminars in March!
  • Join the HP & Microsoft Network Storage Solutions Road Show!

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)

This week, I discuss the Windows Media Player (WMP) 9 coders/decoders (codecs), how to configure a command prompt to display the machine name, and how to install the Microsoft Loopback Adapter in Windows XP. I also explain how to use Group Policy and the registry to restrict access to the Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) configuration tabs and how to prevent users from importing and exporting their IE Favorites.

Around the industry this week, Microsoft will soon release Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 (SP4) and Microsoft Office 11 beta 2 to beta testers. Also, according to the Microsoft article "'Stop 0x0000006b' or Setup Stops Responding at 'Setup is Starting Windows' When You Install a Windows XP SP1 Client Image from a RIS Server", the company has responded to a bug in Microsoft Remote Installation Services (RIS). The fix is available at http://download.microsoft.com/download/a/4/d/a4df10ac-0f6b-488c-bfff-c6ea1d9d3f67/q327536_w2k_sp4_x86_en.exe .


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2. FAQS

  • Q. What's the Windows Media Player (WMP) 9 coders/decoders (codecs) download?
  • A. When WMP plays various media, the program checks the Web for updated codecs, which it uses to translate media file information into the appropriate audio or video format. You can manually download these codecs in a self-install package, which is available at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/format/codecdownload.aspx .

  • Q. How can I configure my command prompt to display the machine name?
  • A. If you connect to multiple computers (e.g., by Telnet), you can configure the command prompt to display the name of the computer you're connected to. The best way to do this is to configure the command processor to automatically run a prompt command at start-up to evaluate the %computername% environment variable. To configure the prompt, perform the following steps:

    1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
    2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Command Processor registry subkey (to configure the prompt for everyone) or to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor registry subkey (to configure the prompt only for the current user).
    3. From the Edit menu, select New, String Value.
    4. Enter a name of AutoRun, then press Enter.
    5. Double-click the new value, set it to "prompt \[%computername%\]$S$P$G" (don't type the quotes), then press Enter.
    6. Close the registry editor.

    The change takes effect immediately. Your command prompt will now look like

    \[thunder\] c:\documents>

    where "thunder" is the computer name. The registry setting passes the prompt command when each command session starts. The $S inserts a space, the $P specifies the drive and path, and the $G inserts the greater than (>) symbol. For other options, go to the command prompt and type

    prompt /?

    to view the Help menu.

  • Q. How can I install the Microsoft Loopback Adapter in Windows XP?
  • A. The Loopback Adapter is a useful tool for testing the configuration of network protocols such as TCP/IP on a local system when you don't have a network card. To install the Loopback Adapter, perform the following steps:

    1. Start the Control Panel Add Hardware applet (go to Start, Control Panel, Add Hardware).
    2. Click Next to go to the introduction dialog box.
    3. Select "Yes, I have already connected the hardware", then click Next.
    4. Scroll to the bottom of the list of hardware, select "Add a new hardware device", then click Next.
    5. Select "Install the hardware that I manually select from a list (Advanced)", then click Next.
    6. Select "Network adapters", then click Next.
    7. Select Microsoft as the manufacturer, select Microsoft Loopback Adapter as the adapter, then click Next.
    8. Click Next to go to the confirmation page.
    9. Click Finish to complete the installation.

    You'll now have a new adapter under Network Connections.

  • Q. How can I use Group Policy to restrict access to the Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) configuration tabs?
  • A. IE includes seven configuration tabs that you can access either from the Tools, Internet Options menu or from the Control Panel Internet Options applet. The tabs are

    • General—basic options for configuring the home page, temporary Internet file settings, and history
    • Security—settings for configuring Internet security options (e.g., ActiveX options)
    • Privacy—privacy settings for Internet connections
    • Content—settings for Internet connection ratings and personal profile information
    • Connections—settings for configuring dial-up and firewall options
    • Programs—executables used for various Internet programs
    • Advanced—advanced options

    You can use Group Policy to disable any of these tabs. First, start Group Policy Editor (GPE) for a specific policy (e.g., from the Microsoft Management Console—MMC—Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in, right-click a container, select Properties from the context menu, select the Group Policy tab, then select Edit). Navigate to User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Internet Explorer, Internet Control Panel. There, you'll see an option for disabling each of the seven tabs.

  • Q. How can I use the registry to restrict access to the Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) configuration tabs?
  • A. In the previous FAQ, I told you how to use Group Policy to disable the IE configuration tabs. You can also edit the registry to disable these tabs by performing the following steps:

    1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
    2. Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft registry subkey.
    3. If the Internet Explorer subkey doesn't exist, create it (from the Edit menu, select New, Key and type Internet Explorer) and navigate to that subkey.
    4. Under the Internet Explorer subkey, create a subkey called Control Panel, then navigate to that subkey.
    5. From the Edit menu, select New, DWORD Value, and create the first value (i.e., GeneralTab) from the table below. Press Enter.
    6. Double-click the created value, set it to 1 to disable the specified tab, then click OK.
    7. Repeat Steps 5 and 6 for each value in the table below.
    8. Close the registry editor.

    The changes take effect immediately. To reenable the tab, set the registry value to 0 or delete the value.

    DWORD Value to Create     Tab Disabled
    ——————————-     ——————
    GeneralTab                General
    SecurityTab               Security
    ContentTab                Content
    ConnectionsTab            Connections
    ProgramsTab               Programs
    PrivacyTab                Privacy
    AdvancedTab               Advanced

    You can view a figure of a sample configuration at http://www.windows2000faq.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=37775 . In the figure, the Security and Advanced tabs have been removed but the Connections tab is still visible because its value is set to 0 in the registry. The remaining four tabs are all visible by default because they're not affected by the configuration that the figure shows.

  • Q. How can I prevent users from importing or exporting their Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) Favorites?
  • A. By default, users can use the File, "Import and Export" menu option in IE to import and export their IE Favorites. You can disable this functionality by performing the following steps:

    1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
    2. Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft registry subkey.
    3. If the Internet Explorer subkey doesn't exist, create it (from the Edit menu, select New, Key and type Internet Explorer), then navigate to that subkey.
    4. From the Edit menu, select New, DWORD Value.
    5. Enter the name DisableImportExportFavorites, then press Enter.
    6. Double-click the new value, set it to 1, then click OK.

    The change takes effect immediately. Users will still be able to run the Import and Export Wizard, but when they click Finish, the wizard will inform them that it's been disabled.

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

  • DON'T MISS OUR 2 NEW SECURITY WEB SEMINARS IN MARCH!

  • Windows & .NET Magazine has two new Web seminars to help you address your security concerns. There is no fee to attend "Selling the Importance of Security: 5 Ways to Get Your Manager's Attention" and "Building an Ultra Secure Extranet on a Shoe String," but space is limited, so register today!
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    4. CONTACT US
    Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

    • ABOUT THE FAQS — jsavill@winnetmag.com
    • ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL — warren@winnetmag.com

    (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)

    • TECHNICAL QUESTIONS — http://www.winnetmag.net/forums
    • PRODUCT NEWS — products@winnetmag.com
    • QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR WINDOWS XP AND 2000 TIPS & TRICKS UPDATE SUBSCRIPTION?
      Customer Support — tipsandtricks@winnetmag.com
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