Edit the Registry from a remote browser

Users often call your Help desk with problems that you know you can solve if you make a small change to their Registry settings. Rather than leaving the comfort of your office or talking a user through regedit, you can use PS Group's RegWeb.

RegWeb is a utility that lets you use a Web browser to modify the Registry on a remote Windows NT system that has a Web server. RegWeb lets you access, modify, insert, and delete Registry keys and their values from remote computer systems. RegWeb is a Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) extension that conforms to Internet Server API (ISAPI) standards. To use RegWeb to access the Registry on a remote system, you must install IIS 2.0 or later on your NT servers and Microsoft's Personal Web Server for Windows on your workstations.

Simple Installation
Installing RegWeb is effortless. After you log on to your NT system as an administrator, you run the regweb.exe file, which is included in the software you download from PS Group's Web site. The utility automatically installs in a subdirectory of your Web root directory. The utility creates a virtual directory (regweb) in your IIS configuration to point to a default HTML file in that directory. If you use a default HTML document name other than default.htm, you'll need to manually rename the file in your Web root directory's regweb virtual directory.

How RegWeb Works
On the client side, you need a frames-capable browser to properly use the software. When you connect to a RegWeb-enabled system, a Web page with three panes (one top, one left bottom, and one right bottom) appears. The top pane contains a series of command buttons you click to access various Registry hives. The two bottom panes resemble NT Explorer: They contain a treeview you can drill through to reach the Registry key you want. When you reach the folder containing the keys you want to view, you click the folder name. A list of keys and their values appears in the right bottom pane. To change a key's value, you click that key.

My Test
I installed RegWeb on my Micronics-based NT server. I logged on to a client workstation running Windows 98 and Internet Explorer (IE) 4.0 and connected to the RegWeb-enabled host. I drilled down two levels in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE Registry key before I received an access error: I didn't log on to the NT domain as an administrator. RegWeb uses NT's security to validate remote users. If you aren't logged on as an administrator, the utility limits your access to the Registry.

When I logged back on as an administrator, RegWeb let me drill down farther in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE Registry key. Screen 1 shows my remote editing session. I drilled down to the subdirectory in which Windows maintains a list of programs to execute when the system starts. A New command button lets you add a new key and value. You can delete keys or change their values when you click the key name. For testing purposes, I created a new Registry key, added several values to the key, and saved my changes. To verify that I had properly updated the Registry, I logged on to the NT server as an administrator and ran regedit to inspect the Registry values manually.

No Special Services Required
To use RegWeb, you must install IIS on the computer system you want to update. However, installing and managing IIS on each computer system might present significant problems (e.g., security problems if some of the systems access the Internet) that reduce RegWeb's benefits.

Other tools are available that let you edit the Registry from a remote location. However, most of those tools require you to install special services or programs on your client computer. RegWeb lets you update the Registry from any frames-capable browser, which means you can update NT computer Registries from a Sun or AIX computer.

The best thing about RegWeb is its price: It's free. Thus, you can use RegWeb on one computer or on 100 computers.

RegWeb
Contact: PS Group * 513-743-0156
Web: http://www.prostream.com
Price: Free; download from Web site
System Requirements: Windows NT Server 4.0 or NT Workstation 4.0, Microsoft's Internet Information Server 2.0 or later for NT servers, Microsoft's Personal Web Server for Windows for NT workstations