May 2005 Reader Challenge Winners

May 2005 Reader Challenge Winners Congratulations to the winners of our May Reader Challenge. First prize, a copy of "Running QuickBooks 2005 Premier Editions," from CPA911 Publishing, goes to Joseph Rancello of Florida. Second prize, a copy of "Windows Server 2003 in a Nutshell" from O’Reilly Associates Publishing, goes to Edward Braiter of Quebec, Canada. Visit http://www.windowsitpro.com/article/articleid/46399/46399.html to read the answer to the May Reader Challenge.

June 2005 Reader Challenge

Solve this month's Windows Client challenge, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to challenge@windowsitpro.com by June 23, 2005. You must include your full name, and street mailing address (without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win, so your answer is eliminated, even if it’s correct). I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. I’m a sucker for humor and originality, and a cleverly written correct answer gets an extra chance. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for a receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem here on June 24, 2005.

The Challenge

A friend who just started as a technician at a corporate IT Help desk tells me he’s surprised by the number of hours he spends troubleshooting display problems. The situation gets worse when the company rolls out new computers or updates the OS on existing computers. See whether you can solve a couple of the problems he had to manage.

Question 1:

Several computers in the accounting department are shared among multiple users. User A (who logs on to the computer to enter employee timesheets every morning) complains that every time she logs on to the computer, the resolution is set to 800 x 600. She changes the resolution to 1024 x 768. She knows that User B (who produces warehouse pickslips for orders every afternoon) is resetting the resolution. She asked to be given the same rights and permissions as User B so that her settings are retained in her profile. Both users have the same permissions, so what’s going on?

Question 2:

A user spent hours customizing his GUI and loves the new look. He wants to duplicate the look on his home computer. In fact, he thinks it’s so fabulous that other employees will want to use the same design. He started to create a document that enumerates every change he made, but realized he couldn’t remember them all. He asked the Help desk for a way to audit all the changes he made so that he could reproduce the changes on other computers. There’s no audit log for display changes, but it’s quite easy to duplicate a customized GUI on another computer. Tell me how to do this, and your answer must cover both Windows XP and Windows 2000 systems.

The Answers

Question 1:

Display resolution settings apply to the computer, not the user. User B’s settings aren’t retained either, and she is changing the resolution back to 800 x 600 every time she logs on . (She didn’t call the Help desk for a permanent fix.) The same paradigm works for color-depth settings. I call this an annoying bug, Microsoft calls it a “by design” feature.

Question 2:

When you create a customized interface in Windows XP, it’s called a “Theme,” and the file that holds all the new settings is saved in your My Documents folder. You can copy, or email, that file to any other XP computer. Then select Browse from the drop-down list in the Theme field to select the file (which has a .theme extension). When you create a customized interface in Windows 2000, your settings are saved to the registry, at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Appearance (including subkeys). Export the key to a .reg file, and copy or email it to another Win2K user. Double-clicking a .reg file imports it to the local registry.