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June 2, 2003—In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY

2. FAQS

  • Q. Where can I find my BIOS version in Windows?
  • Q. When I use the Diskpart tool and Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) to install Windows Server 2003, why do I receive an error stating that no valid system partitions were found?
  • Q. How can I pass a double quote (") value to reg.exe?
  • Q. How can I pass a percent sign (%) value to reg.exe?
  • Q. When users request certificates from a Windows Server 2003-based Certificate Authority (CA), why does the CA prompt them to download an ActiveX control?

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Cast Your Vote in Our Annual Readers' Choice Awards!
  • Get Exclusive VIP Web Site Access!

4. EVENTS

  • Security 2003 Road Show

5. 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 where to find the BIOS version in Windows and why you might receive an error if you've used the Diskpart tool and then attempt to use the Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) to install Windows Server 2003. I also explain how to pass double quote (") and percent sign (%) values to reg.exe and why a Windows Server 2003-based Certificate Authority (CA) might prompt users to download an ActiveX control.

Around the industry this week, ALWIL Software has announced avast!, a bootable antivirus and recovery tool for Windows NT and later. Additional information is available at http://www.avast.com.


SPONSOR: HEWLETT-PACKARD

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2. FAQS

Q. Where can I find my BIOS version in Windows?

A. When Windows starts, the OS loads information about the main computer BIOS and video BIOS and stores the following information under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\DESCRIPTION\System registry subkey:

  • SystemBiosDate
  • SystemBiosVersion
  • VideoBiosDate
  • VideoBiosVersion

This information appears in the registry for informational purposes only; changing these items' values has no effect on the system.

Q. When I use the Diskpart tool and Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) to install Windows Server 2003, why do I receive an error stating that no valid system partitions were found?

A. You might receive an error stating "No valid system partitions were found. Setup is unable to continue," if you use Diskpart before executing the winnt32.exe file. To resolve this error, edit the installation script or batch file and add the

/syspart:<drive>:</drive>

parameter to the end of the winnt32.exe command. For example, to specify drive C as the system partition, type

winnt32.exe /syspart:c:

Q. How can I pass a double quote (") value to reg.exe?

A. Reg.exe is a tool that ships with Windows XP (and comes as part of the Windows 2000 resource kits) that lets you manipulate the registry from the command line. To pass a value that contains quotes, you must add a slash (\) before each quote as an escape sequence. For example,

G:\>reg add HKLM\Software\sav /v test /t REG_SZ /d "%userprofile%"

adds the user profile value without the quotes. However,

G:\>reg add HKLM\Software\sav /v test /t REG_SZ /d "\"%userprofile%\""

maintains the quotes around the user profile value. For example, for user profile savijo, including the slashes sets the registry value to "G:\Documents and Settings\savijo" rather than just G:\Documents and Settings\savijo.

Q. How can I pass a percent sign (%) value to reg.exe?

A. Just as you can use a slash (\) as an escape character to pass a double quote ("), you can use a caret (^) as an escape character to pass a percent sign. For example,

G:\>reg add HKLM\Software\sav /v test /t REG_SZ /d "\"%userprofile^%\""

maintains the user-profile value's percent sign. Without the caret, the reg.exe tool will evaluate the value between the percent signs; with the caret, reg.exe will leave the value unchanged.

Q. When users request certificates from a Windows Server 2003-based Certificate Authority (CA), why does the CA prompt them to download an ActiveX control?

A. Windows 2003 includes a new version of xenroll.dll (an ActiveX control that can create certificates) that prompts users of previous Windows versions to download an ActiveX control when requesting a certificate. To resolve this problem, go to the Windows 2003 certificate server and perform the following steps:

  1. Log on as an Administrator.
  2. Open \%systemroot%\system32\certsrv\certdat.inc in a text editor.
  3. Locate the sXEnrollVersion="5,131,3686,0" entry, then modify the entry to sXEnrollVersion="5,131,3659,0"
  4. Save the changes, then close the text editor.

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

  • CAST YOUR VOTE IN OUR ANNUAL READERS' CHOICE AWARDS!

  • Which companies and products are the best on the market? Tell us by nominating your favorites in the annual Windows & .NET Magazine Readers' Choice Awards survey. Click here!
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  • GET EXCLUSIVE VIP WEB SITE ACCESS!

  • The Windows & .NET Magazine VIP Site is a subscription-based online technical resource that's chock-full of problem-solving articles from all our publications. For a limited time, you can access this banner-free site at which you'll find exclusive content usually reserved for VIP Site members only. Only VIP subscribers can access this site after June 13, so check it out today!
    http://vip.winnetmag.com

    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.
    http://www.winnetmag.com/roadshows/security2003

    Sponsored Link

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    5. 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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