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July 8, 2002—In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY

2. FAQS

    Q. How can I reset the unread-email counter on the Windows XP Welcome logon screen?
    Q. How can I remove the unread-email counter from the Windows XP Welcome logon screen?
    Q. How can I change the Windows XP or Windows 2000 boot screen?
    Q. How can I remove the DFS tab from Windows Explorer?
    Q. How can I disable Windows 2000's Scheduled Tasks drag-and-drop functionality?
    Q. What is the Windows 2000 Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT)?

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS

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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 tell you how to reset and remove the unread-mail counter on the Windows XP Welcome logon screen and how to change the XP or Windows 2000 boot screen. I explain how to remove the DFS tab from Windows Explorer and how to disable the Win2K Scheduled Tasks drag-and-drop functionality. I also describe the Win2K Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT) and tell you where you can download it.

You can preorder my new book, "The Windows XP/2000 Answer Book: A Complete Resource from the Desktop to the Enterprise," from Amazon.com. The book will be out by the end of September. For a limited time, save $15 off the list price!
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0321113578/windowsntfaq

2. FAQS

Q. How can I reset the unread-email counter on the Windows XP Welcome logon screen?

A. The unread-email counter that appears on the XP Welcome screen can sometimes indicate that more unread messages exist than the actual number of messages. Although several scenarios can lead to this error, a common example is when another user accesses your machine to check his or her email while you're logged on.

The best way to clear the unread-email counter is to download the Tweak UI XP PowerToy and perform the following steps:

  1. Start Tweak UI.
  2. Select the Repair branch in the left-hand pane of the dialog box.
  3. Select "Repair unread mail count" in the right-hand pane, then click "Repair Now".
  4. Close Tweak UI.

Alternatively, you can use the registry to reset the unread-email counter by performing the following steps:

  1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
  2. Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\UnreadMail\ subkey.
  3. Double-click Message Count, set the value to 0, then click OK.
  4. Close the registry editor.

Q. How can I remove the unread-email counter from the Windows XP Welcome logon screen?

A. If your computer belongs to a workgroup and you use the XP Welcome logon screen to log on to that workgroup, the OS will display the number of unread messages on the logon screen. To disable this feature, perform the following steps:

  1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
  2. Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\UnreadMail subkey.
  3. Double-click MessageExpiryDays (or create a new value of type DWORD if MessageExpiryDays doesn't exist), set the value to 0, then click OK.
  4. Close the registry editor.

Q. How can I change the Windows XP or Windows 2000 boot screen?

A. First, a disclaimer: Microsoft doesn't support modifying core system files. Every time a service pack or hotfix replaces one of these files, you must perform the following procedure again. This procedure is provided as is and works as shown; please don't email me to ask for specific assistance. Please post all questions to the Windows & .NET Magazine forums.
http://www.winnetmag.com/forums

When Windows starts, a progress bar indicating the status of the boot process appears on top of a Windows logo background. You can't use the registry or a configuration file (e.g., .ini file) to modify this background. However, you can modify the bitmap resource, which stores the background image, in the ntoskrnl.exe (the Windows kernel) file that's active during the boot process. You'll need to copy the ntoskrnl.exe file and replace the bitmap resource with the bitmap you want to use. If you want to modify an XP boot screen but you're not up to the challenge of manually modifying ntoskrnl.exe, you might want to try BootXP, which is available at the following URL:
http://www.bootxp.net

You'll need two applications to modify the ntoskrnl.exe file: Jasc Sofware's Paint Shop Pro from http://www.jasc.com to modify an XP boot screen (if you're modifying a Win2K boot screen, you can use any paint program because, unlike XP and as I explain later, Win2K doesn't rely on color palettes)and Angus Johnson's Resource Hacker from http://www.users.on.net/johnson/resourcehacker

The boot screen bitmap must consist of 16 colors. When you modify an XP boot screen, you'll need to download a 16-color Windows palette (win.pal) and 16-color viewable palette (16.pal) from http://www.windows2000faq.com/articles/download/25797.zip . Otherwise, the bitmap image that you create for your boot screen will appear as just a black image.

When Win2K displays the boot screen bitmap image, it loads the colors from the actual bitmap. When XP displays the bitmap image, it loads the colors from a standard palette, which complicates the process of replacing the bitmap image for the XP boot screen. The general steps for replacing the boot screen image in both XP and Win2K are as follows:

  1. Start Resource Hacker.
  2. From the file menu, select Open.
  3. Navigate to the \%systemroot%\system32 folder (e.g., c:\windows\system32) and select ntoskrnl.exe.
  4. From the File menu, select Save As and enter a name of ntoskrmd.exe (now you can safely edit the new file without risk of damaging the original file).
  5. Expand the Bitmap folder in the left-hand pane, expand item 1, and select item 1033.
  6. From the Action menu, select "Save \[ Bitmap : 1 : 1033\]".
  7. Enter a location and name to use to save the existing bitmap, then click Save (keep Resource Hacker open and running on your system).
  8. Start Paint Shop Pro and load the bitmap you just saved. (If you're modifying an XP boot screen, you'll see only a black image; if you're modifying a Win2K boot screen, skip to step 11.)
  9. From the Colors menu, select Load Palette.
  10. Load the 16.pal file (i.e., the viewable palette file) you downloaded and ensure you've selected "Maintain indexes" under the "Apply palette using" section. After you load the viewable palette, the boot screen bitmap will appear on screen.
  11. Modify the boot screen bitmap as you desire.
  12. If you're modifying an XP boot screen, after you finish modifying the bitmap, select Load Palette from the Colors menu, then load the win.pal file (i.e., the Windows palette file) that you downloaded. The screen will go black again. If you're modifying a Win2K boot screen, continue to the next step.
  13. Save the bitmap file and close your paint program.
  14. Back in Resource Hacker, ensure that you still have the 1 under Bitmap selected (from step 5).
  15. From the Action menu, select Replace Bitmap.
  16. Click the "Open file with new bitmap" button.
  17. Select the new bitmap you created, then click Open.
  18. Click the "Open file with new bitmap" button.
  19. Select the new bitmap you created, then click Open.
  20. On the Replace dialog box, ensure that bitmap 1 is selected, then click Replace.
  21. From the File menu, click Save.
  22. Go to Start, Run, and type
    cmd.exe to open a command prompt.
  23. Navigate to the root of the C drive by typing
    c:
    cd \
  24. So that you can edit the file, modify the boot.ini file attributes by typing
    attrib boot.ini -r -s -h
  25. Edit boot.ini, copy your current Windows start line to a new entry with a modified kernel to create a modified boot option, then save. For example, you would change
    \[boot loader\]
       timeout=5
       default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
       \[operating systems\]
       multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP
       Professional" /fastdetect
    to
    \[boot loader\]
       timeout=5
       default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
       \[operating systems\]
       multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP
       Professional" /fastdetect
       multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP
       Professional Modified Start Screen" /fastdetect /kernel=ntoskrmd.exe
    Reset the boot.ini attributes to their default state by typing attrib boot.ini +r +s +h Reboot the machine and select the modified boot option you just created to view your modified boot screen. If the boot process fails, select the unmodified boot option.

After you're happy with your modified boot screen, you can change the boot.ini file to include only the modified boot entry with the /kernel option. For example:

 \[boot loader\]
   timeout=5
   default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
   \[operating systems\]
   multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP
   Professional Modified Start Screen" /fastdetect /kernel=ntoskrmd.exe

Be aware that if you apply a service pack or a hotfix and you continue to use the modified ntoskrnl.exe file, the fixes you apply won't go into effect and you might experience compatibility problems. Should this happen, you can manually replace the standard ntoskrnl.exe file with the modified version by booting into the Recovery Console or by pressing F8 during the boot process to boot into "Safe mode command prompt." If you use either method, you'll boot to a command prompt where you can overwrite the standard ntoskrnl.exe. If a service pack or hotfix replaces ntoskrnl.exe, you'll need to modify the new ntoskrnl.exe file supplied with the fix to restore your modified boot screen.

You can use Resource Hacker to explore the other bitmaps you can change. Just be sure you always have an alternative boot option and that you don't change the original ntoskrnl.exe file while experimenting. For example, bitmap 8 for XP is the three progress bars that scroll across the screen during the boot process (you can change this bitmap by following the steps I outlined above and substituting bitmap 1 for bitmap 8).

A few words of warning. I've noticed that when I edit a bitmap in Paint Shop Pro and save the image under a different name, the new picture is a different size. As a result, when I insert the image into ntoskrnl.exe and attempt to boot the system, the boot process fails and displays an error message indicating that the system can't find ntoskrnl.exe. You must save the bitmap image over the existing file that you used Resource Hacker to export.


Q. How can I remove the DFS tab from Windows Explorer?

A. To remove the DFS tab from Windows Explorer so that you can prevent users from changing properties on local DFS shares, perform the following steps:

  1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
  2. Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\PoliciesExplorer subkey.
  3. From the Edit menu, select New, DWORD Value.
  4. Enter a name of NoDFSTab and press Enter.
  5. Double-click the new value, set it to 1, and click OK.
  6. Close the registry editor.

You can also use Group Policy (go to User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Windows Explorer, and select the Disable/Remove DFS option) to remove the DFS tab.


Q. How can I disable Windows 2000's Scheduled Tasks drag-and-drop functionality?

A. Win2K introduced the Scheduled Tasks folder and lets you drag files (including executable files) into the Scheduled Tasks folder to automatically create a new scheduled task. Users can also right-click an application, select Copy, navigate to the Scheduled Tasks folder, then click Paste to accomplish the same thing.

To disable this drag-and-drop functionality, but still let users schedule tasks through other means, perform the following steps:

  1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
  2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Task Scheduler5.0 subkey to disable the Scheduled Tasks drag-and-drop functionality for all users of a particular machine or to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Task Scheduler5.0 subkey to disable the Scheduled Tasks drag-and-drop functionality for a specific user (create the subkey if it doesn't exist).
  3. From the Edit menu, select New, DWORD Value, name the value "DragAndDrop", and set it to 1.
  4. Close the registry editor.
  5. Log off, then log on for the change to take effect.

If you change both the machine and user settings, the machine settings will take precedence over the user settings. You can also disable the drag-and-drop functionality in Group Policy (go to User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Task Scheduler, Prohibit Drag-and-Drop option for users or go to Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Task Scheduler, Prohibit Drag-and-Drop option for machines).


Q. What is the Windows 2000 Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT)?

A. The Win2K ADMT can help you migrate from Windows NT 4.0 domains to Win2K Active Directory (AD). The tool identifies possible problems before you start the migration. After migration, ADMT helps you consolidate domains, convert NT resource domains to organizational units (OUs), simplify trusts, and do many other wizard-based tasks. For more information, visit Microsoft's Web site at the first URL below or download the tool from the second URL below.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/techinfo/planning/activedirectory/admt.asp
http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/downloads/tools/admt/default.asp


3. ANNOUNCEMENTS
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