Windows XP and 2000 Tips & Tricks UPDATE, June 9, 2003, —brought to you by the Windows & .NET Magazine Network and the Windows 2000 FAQ site
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1. Commentary

2. FAQs

  • Q. What's the maximum number of arguments that I can pass to a batch file?
  • Q. How can I output all of a batch file's arguments?
  • Q. How can I shift down by one all of a batch file's arguments?
  • Q. How can I configure the Recovery Console (RC) in Windows 2000 and later to not require me to enter the administrator password?
  • Q. Why do I receive an error when I'm previewing an image or video from My Computer under Windows XP?

3. Announcements

  • Learn 10 Ways to Deal with Spam!
  • Assessing Security Risks in Exchange 2003

4. Events

  • Security 2003 Road Show

5. Contact Us

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

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1. Commentary
by John Savill, FAQ Editor, jsavill@winnetmag.com

This week, I describe the maximum number of arguments that you can pass to a batch file, how to output all of a batch file's arguments, and how to shift down by one all of a batch file's arguments. I also tell you how to configure the Recovery Console (RC) in Windows 2000 and later to not require you to enter the administrator password and why you might receive an error while previewing an image or video from My Computer under Windows XP.

Around the industry this week, Microsoft has updated its Directory Services Client for Windows 9x--for more information, see the Microsoft article "Availability of the Directory Services Client Update for Windows 95 and Windows 98" ( http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=323466). You must obtain the new client through Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS).

Microsoft has also released the first patch for Windows Server 2003. The patch addresses a vulnerability that lets Web sites run damaging code on the server. Finally, the company has released MSN Explorer 8.5, which you can download at the Microsoft http://download.microsoft.com/download/5/f/8/5f8a4821-eb6b-469e-85ec-6e29a67c4e60/msnsetup_min.exe, and plans to release Windows Update 5.0 beta soon.


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2. FAQs

Q. What's the maximum number of arguments that I can pass to a batch file?

A. You can pass as many as nine arguments (%1 to %9) to a batch file. For example, if I run test.bat

@rem test.bat
@echo off
echo %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8 %9

by typing

C:\>test a b c d e f g h i

the batch file accepts all nine arguments and displays the following output onscreen:

a b c d e f g h i

Argument 0 (%0) is the name of the program or batch file. If you attempt to pass an argument numbered higher than 9 (e.g., 11), the batch file will use only the first digit of the argument number--for example, %11 would become parameter 1 (i.e., %1) and %543 would become parameter 5 (i.e., %5). If I include a few two-digit arguments in test.bat

@rem test.bat
@echo off
echo %0 %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8 %9 %10 %21 %32

and run the batch file by typing

C:\>test a b c d e f g h i j k l

the batch file displays the following output onscreen:

test a b c d e f g h i a0 b1 c2

Notice that the batch processor amends a number to the parameters that it displays for the two-digit arguments. For example, for parameter 10 (%10), the batch processor used parameter 1 (value a) and added 0 to the end to display a0.

Q. How can I output all of a batch file's arguments?

A. Although you can typically output only nine parameters from a batch file, you can use a percent symbol (%) followed by an asterisk (*) to output all parameters for all arguments passed into a batch file. For example, if I run test.bat

@rem test.bat
@echo off
echo %*

by typing

C:\>test a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p

the batch file will display the following output onscreen:

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p

Q. How can I shift down by one all of a batch file's arguments?

A. You can use the Shift command to move all the arguments in a batch file down by one. If the batch file calls this command once, then argument %1 would become the second argument instead of the first and argument %0 would become the first argument instead of the name of the program or batch file. For example, when I run test.bat

@rem test.bat
@echo off
:next
if "%0" == "" goto end
        echo %0
        shift
        goto next
:end

by typing

C:\>test a b c d e f g h i j k

the batch file will display the following output onscreen:

test
a
b
c
d
e
f
g
h
i
j
k

You can optionally add /n to the end of the shift command where n is the argument to start from. For example, if you used

shift /2

%3 would become %2, %4 would become %3, but %0 and %1 would be unchanged. Obviously, you shouldn't use the /n switch in the above example because doing so will cause the list of parameters to never run out, thus causing a never-ending loop.

Q. How can I configure the Recovery Console (RC) in Windows 2000 and later to not require me to enter the administrator password?

A. To configure the RC to not require you to enter the administrator password, 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\Setup\RecoveryConsole registry subkey.
  3. Double-click SecurityLevel, set its value to 1 to not require password entry (or 0 to require the user to enter the password), then click OK.
  4. Close the registry editor.

You can also use the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Local Security Settings snap-in (go to Local Policies, Security Options, "Recovery console: Allow automatic administrative logon") to configure this setting.

Q. Why do I receive an error when I'm previewing an image or video from My Computer under Windows XP?

A. The error you describe,

Video Preview Failure
Creation of the video preview failed.
Please check the device connection and make sure that the device is not being used by another application or user.

is a known problem that can occur if you unplug and reconnect an imaging device without closing My Computer. To resolve this problem, close and re-open My Computer.

3. Announcements
(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

  • Learn 10 Ways to Deal with Spam!

  • In this audiocast event, you'll discover simple but effective ways to fight spam, plus learn the common tricks spammers use to get your email address. You'll also receive a free white paper from NetIQ about controlling spam and the chance to download a free trial of NetIQ MailMarshal SMTP. Register today!
    http://www.winnetmag.com/seminars/spam

  • Assessing Security Risks in Exchange 2003

  • Videotaped live at Microsoft TechEd 2003, this free archived Web seminar delivers an introduction to the new security features and enhancements of Exchange Server 2003, including the new security APIs that can minimize virus risk and spam traffic. Plus, you'll discover more about the future of the messaging industry and what's on the horizon in assessing risk. Register today!
    http://www.winnetmag.com/seminars/securityrisks

    4. Events
    (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

  • Security 2003 Road Show

  • Join Mark Minasi and Paul Thurrott as they deliver sound security advice at our popular Security 2003 Road Show event.
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