Securing The Key

Published Date
01 - Oct - 2007
| Last Updated
01 - Oct - 2007
 
Securing The Key
Q. I believe Windows XP activation can be backed up to a floppy for later retrieval in case of a reinstall. How is this done?
Sanjay Ghosal

Create an Activation Status Floppy Diskette: navigate to the %systemroot%system32 folder. Copy the wpa.dbl and wpa.bak files to the floppy. Reinstall XP. After the install is complete and the XP Out Of Box Experience (OOBE) window appears-where you'd normally activate the product-decline to activate and let the installation complete. Restart and use [F8] to bring up the Advanced Boot Options menu.

Select Minimal Safe Mode here. Navigate to the %systemroot%system32 folder. Rename the existing wpa.dbl and wpa.bak files. Using the floppy diskette, copy the previously backed-up wpa.dbl and wpa.bak to the %systemroot%system32 folder. Reboot; XP should be activated.
 
Cracking The Code
Q. How do I create a password reset disk for XP, and how do I use it if I lose my password?
Pramod Negi

There's something called the Forgotten Password Wizard, which allows you to create a password reset disk that can be used to recover password and personalised computer settings if the password is forgotten. The steps to perform the task differ for domain and workgroup scenarios.

If your computer is on a domain, you can create the Domain Password Reset Disk as follows. Press [Ctrl] [Alt] [Delete] to open the Windows Security dialog box. Click Change Password. Click Backup to open the Forgotten Password Wizard. Click Next, then follow the on-screen instructions.

If your computer is not part of a domain, you can create a Non-Domain Password Reset Disk; the procedure here varies depending on whether you have an administrator account or a limited account.

If you have an administrator account, create an Administrator Password Reset Disk: open User Accounts in the Control Panel. Select the Administrator. Click Prevent A Forgotten Password under Related Tasks. Follow the instructions in the Forgotten Password Wizard. For a Limited Account Password Reset Disk, do the same, but by selecting the Limited User Account instead of Administrator.

Here's how to use the Password Reset Disk to log on to a computer: boot through the disk you created. Click the username whose password is on the recovery disk. Press [Enter] or the Right Arrow. This causes the "Did You Forget Your Password?" message to appear. You can click the "?" button to see your password hint. If you have forgotten this as well, you can use your Password Reset Disk to reset your password. This will start the Password Reset Wizard. Follow the instructions and you will be able to set a new password. The Password Reset Disk is also automatically updated with the new password information, so you don't have to create a new password reset disk.

Note that the disk you create can only be used with the computer on which it was created.

Shut Up, Shut Down!
Q. When I try to shut down my computer, some applications stop responding and I have to manually end the processes. This doesn't cause any data loss, but it is irritating. Is there a way to automate termination of non-responding processes?
Shripad Gokhale

Enabling the value AutoEndTasks in the Registry will take care of your issue. This is referred to as "Force Exit." In the Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_USERS.DEFAULT Control PanelDesktop. Modify or create the String Value AutoEndTasks and give it a value of 1. If you only want this setting to apply to the currently logged-on user, go to HKEY_ CURRENT_USERControl PanelDesktop.

Enforcing Change
Q. I run a computer class and need the XP computers, which are password-protected, to force users to reset their passwords every month. These computers are not on a domain.
Anirudh Sharma

There's a setting in the Registry you can change for this purpose. In the Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NT CurrentVersionWinlogon. Modify or create a DWORD Value called PasswordExpiryWarning. For the value data, enter the number of days before expiration for the nag screen (which asks to change the password) to start appearing. Done!
Confound These Formats!
Q. In AVI to DVD software, while converting VCD files to DVD format, the audio stream box is blank. It doesn't show the audio formats. VCDs are generally of the DAT file format. Are AVI and DAT of the same type? Please tell me how to convert VCD into DVD format and vice versa.
Vipul Shah

Audio streams of a DVD usually consist of six audio channels, and are Dolby Digital encoded. To decode the audio, you need to have the appropriate AC3 filters installed. In absence of these codecs, the DVD audio cannot be decoded, so you're unable to see anything in the audio stream box. You can download the free AC3 filters from http://ac3filter.sourceforge.net. Alternatively, you may also download and install DVD players such as CyberLink PowerDVD 6 from www.cyberlink.com or InterVideo WinDVD  from www.intervideo.com.
The DAT format is different from AVI. DAT is an implementation of the MPEG-1 format, whereas AVI is the native video format used by Windows. You can use software such as Nero Vision Express (bundled with Nero CD/DVD burning software) to convert VCD to DVD and vice-versa. You can also use TMPGEnc from www.tmpgenc.net/e_download.html.

Looking All Over The Place

Q. Whenever I select File > Open in any application and use the Look In section to browse to a location, the application freezes for several minutes. I use Windows XP Professional.
Rohit G

You'll need to remove unreachable network connections to prevent the dialog box and application from not responding-Windows tries to populate the drop-down list with these unreachable hosts. In Internet Explorer, select Tools > Disconnect Network Drive. Disconnect all network connections that are unreachable. You can know which network connections are unreachable by looking at error messages like "Could not connect to network drive" during XP startup.

Wasted Clicks
Q. Ever since I installed the .NET Framework, XP shows me my username on the Welcome screen and prompts me to click on it before I can proceed to the desktop. This is irritating because I am the only user on my computer and I do not use a password.
Shahid Gul

While the following tweak will make for convenience, it comes at a price: the lack of security. Due to the way it is implemented, anyone with local or remote access to the computer can easily navigate to the Registry key and find out your password-you'll need to add one-since it's stored as a plain text string.

Open the Registry Editor and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinlogon. Modify or create the String Values called DefaultUserName, DefaultPassword, and AutoAdminLogon.

For the first and second, enter the values as the account name and password respectively. Set the third String Value to 1.

Hidden On The CD
Q. Is it true that a free Backup utility is bundled with Windows XP Home Edition? My installation does not have any indication to this effect.
Deepak Singh

No Backup icon is present on the Start menu in Windows XP Home Edition, nor is Backup listed in Add/Remove Programs. It's just necessary to do a manual install: insert the CD and navigate to [CD Drive]:VALUEADDMSFT NTBACKUP. Double-click Ntbackup.msi to start the Wizard that installs the Backup utility.

Wakey, Wakey!
Q. When I boot into my XP computer, I find that on clicking the Start Menu items, they are unresponsive for up to a couple of minutes.
Kiran Raaz

If you are not a part of a network, run msconfig and click the Services tab. Remove the checkmark from Workstation, click OK, and reboot.
If you are a part of a network, open Network Connections in the Control Panel. Right-click your network connection and select Properties. Uncheck File and Print Sharing, and reboot.

In The Beginning
Q. I need to run a batch file every time I boot into Windows. The file should run before anyone logs on. I use Windows 2000 Server.
S Venkatraman

Create a batch file named Autoexnt.bat using Notepad-include the commands you want to run at startup in this file. Copy the file you just created, in addition to the Autoexnt.exe, Servmess.dll, and Instexnt.exe files located in the Resource Kit CD-ROM to the %SystemRoot% System32 folder. Then run instexnt install. You should receive the following message:

CreateService AutoExNT SUCCESS with InterActive Flag turned OFF
To configure the AutoExNT service to run at startup, go to Administrative Tools and click Computer Management.  Double-click the Services and Applications branch to expand it, then click Services. Make the AutoExNT service Automatic.
Link Unlinked
Q. When I click on a hyperlink-or if I right-click on one and select Open in New Window-nothing happens, or a blank window opens. I use Windows XP SP2 and IE6.
Durgesh Parakh

This can happen when certain files in Windows are improperly registered. Quit all running programs. Run regsvr32 urlmon.dll. You should receive the "DllRegisterServer in urlmon.dll succeeded" message. If this does not resolve the problem, repeat the regsvr32 command for each of the following files: Shdocvw.dll, Actxprxy.dll, Oleaut32.dll, Mshtml.dll, Browseui.dll, and Shell32.dll. Restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

The Gift Of The Tab
Q. My Display Properties does not display the Desktop tab… why?
Saurabh Sikdar

Your problem is likely caused by improper Group Policy settings. To restore the Desktop tab, run gpedit.msc. Navigate to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Explorer. In the right pane, double-click Turn On Classic Shell.  Set the radio button to Not Configured and click OK.

It's My Business!
Q. I share my XP computer with my younger brother, who fiddles with my settings. I use Outlook Express and want to prevent him from making changes to my account settings.
Balbir Sandhu

Make sure your brother doesn't read this! In the Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftOutlook Express

Modify or create a DWORD Value called No Modify Accts.

Giving it a value of 1 will mean no modifications will be allowed, and 0 will reverse that.

Into The Void
Q. The Device Manager on my computer appears empty. I use Windows XP Pro.
Rasik Mehta

A blank Device Manager window appears if the Plug and Play service is turned off or disabled. Just re-enable the service: run services.msc. Double-click Plug and Play. If you receive a Configuration Manager dialog, just click OK.  In the Startup Type list, select Automatic. Close the Service Manager and restart.

Exit Interrupted
Q. Whenever I try to shut down my computer, I get a message: "DEVLDR Not Responding." When I click End Now, the computer stops responding and I am unable to shut down Windows safely. I have a Pentium II processor, and I recently installed a LeadTek WinFast TV-Tuner and a Creative SoundBlaster Live! card.
Neeraj Baweja

Uninstall the Creative SoundBlaster Live! driver and install the default one that came with XP (you may be prompted to insert your XP CD). Your sound card will not work with this driver; you need to install a patch from http://www.softwarepatch.com/utilities/creativelive3.html. Your problem should be solved.

Who Am I?
Q. When I open System Properties, I get an error message: "Application has failed to start because Framedyn.dll was not found."
M Jamadagni

Either Framedyn.dll is damaged or missing, or the Windows Path environment variable does not point to the %SYSTEMROOT% System32Wbem folder. This requires you to:

Replace the Framedyn.dll file: In the Run dialog box, type in %systemroot%system32 dllcache and click OK. Copy framedyn.dll. Then type %systemroot%system32Wbem into the Run dialog box and click OK. Paste your file there. Click Yes if you are prompted to replace the existing file.

Verify system variables: Right-click on My Computer and select Properties. You may get an error message; just click OK. Under the Advanced tab, click Environment Variables. Under System Variables, click Edit. If no Path variable is listed, click Net. In the Variable name box, type Path. In the Variable value box, type %SystemRoot% system32; %SystemRoot%; %SystemRoot% System32Wbem. Click OK three times.

Confound These Formats!
Q. In AVI to DVD software, while converting VCD files to DVD format, the audio stream box is blank. It doesn't show the audio formats. VCDs are generally of the DAT file format. Are AVI and DAT of the same type? Please tell me how to convert VCD into DVD format and vice versa.
Vipul Shah

DVD audio streams usually consist of six audio channels, and are Dolby Digital encoded. To decode the audio, you need to have the appropriate AC3 filters installed. If you don't the DVD audio cannot be decoded, so you're unable to see anything in the audio stream box. You can download the free AC3 filters from http://ac3filter.sourceforge.net. Alternatively, you may also download and install DVD players such as CyberLink PowerDVD 6 (www.cyberlink.com) or InterVideo WinDVD  (www.intervideo.com).

The DAT format is different from AVI. DAT is an implementation of the MPEG-1 format, whereas AVI is the native video format used by Windows. You can use software such as Nero Vision Express (bundled with Nero CD/DVD burning software) to convert VCD to DVD and vice-versa. You can also use TMPGEnc from www.tmpgenc.net/e_download.html.



Team DigitTeam Digit

All of us are better than one of us.