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Windows NT Tips

Find your CD Key Re-Install without the Disks
List IP Addresses Create a repair disk
Find a downloaded file Fonts installed in Windows NT
NT Performance Monitor  Avoid Lockups
Configuration for DHCP Clients Disable IE Customization
Windows NT Diagnostics Share Documents
Memory Management Turn off animation
Last known good registry Using the Windows key
Limit user access Connect-as Option
Performance Monitor Log Rebuild Icons
Filtering events in Event Viewer 40 Bit or 128 Bit Security
Update a File on all workstations ScanDisk and Defrag
Disable logon caching  Turn off CD-ROM Autorun
Boot.ini Option Reference Disable CHKDSK at Startup
What's running at system start

Prevent System Shutdowns

Empty Documents Menu Task Scheduling
Control Logon Times  


Use the information below at your own risk.  See "Terms of Use"

Find your CD Key

If you have misplaced your CD jewel case and need the CD Key to re-install Windows NT, here's how to locate it in your registry:
  • Use a Registry Editor and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion. Find Productid, and digits 6 through 15 make up the CD key.


Re-Install without the Disks

If you have stored all of the data from the Windows NT Distribution CD or on your local hard drive, it is not necessary to use the 3 setup disks to reinstall Windows NT. Here's how:

1. Partition the local drive and make it DOS-bootable.
2. If you're using a networked drive, install the network drivers required to access the drive containing the distribution files.
3. From the target drive, type g:\winntcd\i386\winnt/b (g:\winntcd is the drive and path to the distribution files). Press Enter.


List IP Addresses

You can find a list of your current IP addresses and settings assigned to your system; open the Command Prompt from the Start buttons Programs menu and type ipconfig/all.


Create a repair disk

Windows NT will prompt you to create Emergency Repair Disks when you install the software. If you skipped that step, here is how to create the disks: Go to Start/Run and type RDISK. The repair disk records your primary Partition Boot Sector's settings and boot parameters. If you change those areas, you must recreate the repair disk.


Find a downloaded file

If you have forgotten where you downloaded a particular file or the program sent the files to their default directories without prompting you for a pathway to your directory of choice, here is how to find these files:

Go to Start> Find Files or Folders... option.  Rather than looking for a name, look for any file by "Date Modified". Enter in the date that you downloaded the file or if you're not certain of the exact date, enter in a time span such as a 3 day period. 


Fonts installed in Windows NT

During a typical installation, Windows NT 4.0 installs the following TrueType fonts into the Windows\Fonts folder. Because Windows NT 4.0 or other applications may require one or more of these fonts in order to run and display dialog boxes correctly, It is recommended that you do not delete or remove these fonts from the Fonts folder.

Windows NT 4.0 also installs several hidden font files (e.g., Marlett.ttf, Dosapp.fon, Vgafix.fon), which do not usually appear in Windows Explorer or in the Fonts Control Panel, but may appear in font management utilities. Windows requires these hidden font files in order to run. Do not delete or remove them from the Fonts folder.






Arial Bold


Arial Bold Italic


Arial Italic


Courier 10,12,15


Courier New


Courier New Bold


Courier New Bold Italic


Courier New Italic


Lucida Console




MS Sans Serif 8,10,12,14,18,24


MS Serif 8,10,12,14,18,24






Small Fonts




Symbol 8,10,12,14,18,24


Times New Roman


Times New Roman Bold


Times New Roman Bold Italic


Times New Roman Italic





NT Performance Monitor

When you install IIS on NT 4.0 Server (or Personal Web Server on NT 4.0 Workstation), the software adds its own monitoring entries to the Windows NT Performance Monitor. To access these new monitoring devices:

1. Launch the Performance Monitor from the Start button's Programs/Administrative Tools menu.
2. Select Edit/Add to Chart.
3. Select FTP, Gopher, HTTP, and/or IIS from the Object pick list.


Avoid Lockups

Having each Explorer window run as a separate process is a good work around for a Windows NT Explorer crash. Here's how to set this up:
  1. Run the Registry Editor and follow this key:  HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Explorer. 
  2. Create a new DWORD value called DesktopProcess and set its data field to 1. 
  3. Quit the Editor, log off and log back on again. 

Note:  You can still get access to the taskbar and Desktop whenever a particular window freezes up.


Backup NT Registry

To create a backup copy of NT Server's Registry, go to Start> Run, type regedt32 and press Enter. Highlight the name of the first HKEY folder and select Registry> Export Registry File. This will export the file to a folder of your choice. Repeat this process for each file you want to export.


Configuration for DHCP Clients

Using the DHCP Manager, you can configure default routers and gateways for DHCP clients by following the steps below:
1. Start the DHCP Manager and then select the scope you want to configure.
2. On the DHCP Options menu, select Global to define global options or Scope to define scope-specific options.
3. Ensure the Router option is listed in the Active Option list box. If it is, select it and then click Value.
4. Click the Edit Array button. In the New IP Address field enter the IP address of the primary default gateway. Cick Add. Repeat this process for other default gateways.
5. Choose OK to save the option values.
6. Changes in scope options become effective only when a lease is set initially or renewed.
submitted by: Jim Kiggle


Disable IE Customization

If you would like to disable the animated swirling globe that the IE Administration kit lets your ISP or administrator customize, here's how:

Go to Start> Run, type in regedit, drill down to HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/Toolbar. Locate the BrandBitmap and SmBrandBitmap value names in the right pane and delete them. Reboot.


Windows NT Diagnostics

Windows NT Diagnostics program makes it easy to track down system conflicts or find unused I/O interrupts. Here's how:
  1. Click on Run and type WINMSD on the command line. 
  2. Under the Resources tab, all system peripheral devices are sorted using various parameters, such as IRQ channel, I/O p ort or DMA channel. 
  3. Click on an option to view your detected system devices. 

Note:If you double-click on a device you'll be presented with the individual properties as currently defined.


 Share Documents

If you would like to share documents with your fellow workers, it is possible to place a shortcut on your desktop to their desktop folders. Here's how:  In NT, you'll find the Desktop folder at /profiles/UserName/Desktop. You can also restrict the sharing of drives and folders to certain individuals or groups. Right-click on the drive or folder to want to share, select Sharing, click on Permissions from the Shared As section, remove the Everyone entry, click on the Add button and add the individuals or groups you want to share with. Then click on OK.


Memory Management

If you find that you are short on system memory, you can make an adjustment that may give you a little extra. Here's how:

Go to Start> Run, type in regedit. Follow this path:  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/Session Manager/Memory Management. Click on Memory Management to show its contents in the right pane. Double-click "DisablePagingExecutive" then adjust the DWORD value accordingly. Set this to 1 if you want to allow kernel paging, 0 if you don't. 


 Turn off animation

You can speed up your system a bit by turning off the windows animation. Here's how:

Go to Start> Run, type in regedit. Follow this path:  HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics. Click on WindowMetrics once to open its contents in the right pane. Look for "MinAnimate", double-click it and set the string value to 0 to turn off animations. If MinAnimate does not exist, right click inside the right pane and choose New> String Value. Type MinAnimate then press enter. Now that the string value is created, double click it and set the string value to 0.


 Last known good registry

If you crash Windows NT and you do not have a back up copy, you may be able to recover by using the "Last Known Good" option. While booting, press the space bar at the blue screen then press "L" to boot using the last known registry.


 Using the Windows key

Use the Windows key and the corresponding other keys for a shortcut to various functions in Windows 9x and Windows NT:

Windows + E = Opens Windows Explorer at My Computer
Windows + R = Opens Run command dialog window
Windows + F = Shows Find file/folder dialog
Windows + D = Shows your desktop
Windows + M = Minimizes all running applications
Windows + Shift + M = Maximizes all running applications
Windows + F1 = Opens Windows help, rather than the application's help
Windows + Pause = Shows the System Properties dialog
Windows (only) = Displays the Start menu, press it again to make it disappear.


 Limit user access

If you would like to limit the total number of users that can log on to your NT server, here's how:

Go to Start> Run, type in regedit and follow this path:  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/System/CurrentControlSet/ Services/LanmanServer/Parameters, set Users (DWORD) to the maximum number of users you want to allow to connect simultaneously. Reboot for this to take effect.


 Connect-as Option

Windows NT administrators have an option to use lower-privileged accounts for day-to-day computing activities. It's the Connect-As option; it lets you access secured network shares from your Windows NT Workstation. When you try to access a share unavailable to the current user account, NT presents a Connect-As dialog box prompting for a user name and password. You may enter an administrative account and password without logging out from the current session.


Performance Monitor Log

Creating the Performance Monitor log:
  1. On the View menu, select Log.
  2. On the Edit menu, select Add To Log
  3. In the Add To Log dialog box you will see Computer and Objects. In Computer, specify the name of the local computer or a remote computer you want to get a log of. In Objects, add the counters that you want Performance Monitor to log. These counters will change depending on the problem that you are troubleshooting.
  4. Highlight the objects that you wish to monitor and select Add.
  5. Under Options select Log.
  6. Under File Name, name the log.
  7. At the bottom of this window you will see Update Time. It is important to set this update time. If you are going to be running the Performance Monitor log for an extended period of time, you will want to set this update time to an interval much higher than 15 seconds or the log will be very large. If you are only going to be running the log for an hour then 15 seconds will be fine.
  8. Now you are ready to start the log. Press the Start Log button located in the same window as the above. This will start the log and this icon will change to a Stop Log icon once the log is started.
When you are ready to stop monitoring the selected objects and examine your log file perform the following steps:
  1. Under Options select Log and Stop Log.
  2. Under the Options menu select "Data from" and "Log File". Now select the radio button beside the perfmon.log field and locate your log file. Choosing File and Open cannot open a log file.
  3. After opening the log file, add the objects and counters that were monitored. Do this for each view needed otherwise the log file's data will not be available.
If you are troubleshooting a performance issue or an issue that looks like a memory leak, the objects that Performance Monitor should log include but are not limited to the following items.

Memory resource issues:
Network interface
Paging file
Physical disk
Terminal Services (if Terminal Server)
For all other resource issues, add additional counters:
Logical disk
Server work queues
All job counters (if ADV server or datacenter)
All Terminal Server counters (if a Terminal Server)
All Protocol counters bound to network adapters
  • If the computer that is running Perfmon is restarted or goes down while the log is going, you can start a new log, or if you specify the name of an existing log file the new data is appended to the end of the log file. It is important to let the engineer know the log was restarted. However, if you are monitoring remotely and the target computer goes down, this does not apply.
  • If there are processes that start after the log was started they will not show up in the beginning of the log. You will need to go to Edit and select Time Window. There is a sliding scale that you can use to view different periods in the log.
  • If the user logs off, the performance monitor log will stop. Performance logging can be setup as a service but running Performance Monitor remotely from another Windows NT system is the easiest way to collect a performance log.

[Top]  Tip supplied by: Microsoft

Rebuild Icons

Your Desktop icons can occasionally become corrupt, but don't fear, rebuilding the icons is an easy task.  Here's how:
  1. Find the ShellIconCache file in your main Windows NT directory, then delete it.
  2. Log off and log back on again, and your icons should be rebuilt from scratch. 


Filtering events in Event Viewer

Windows NT records not only error events in its logs in Event Viewer, but also warnings and informational events as well. If you find the amount of information you must wade through in Event Viewer overwhelming, you can use a filter to help you zero in on the events you're looking for. To configure a filter in Event Viewer, choose
View | Filter Events. You can use this dialog box to filter events by a range of dates, by type (such as Warning, Information, or Error), or even by User or Computer name. Once you've set a filter, Event Viewer displays the message (Filtered) in its title bar to remind you that you're filtering events. To turn off filtering, choose View | All Events.


40 Bit or 128 Bit Security

NT supports both 40-bit and 128-bit. Under US export restrictions, the length of the encryption key is limited to 40-bit. There is no limitation on the level of encryption used within the US or Canada (at least for now). There is no elegant way to tell what level has been installed or is running. If rsaenh.dll exists on the server, then at one time or another, the 128-bit version was installed. BUT the mere existence of rsaenh.dll does not mean that you are running 128-bit. Best bet is to check the file properties on ndiswan.sys, schannel.dll, security.dll, and ntlmssps.dll If you're running the 40-bit version, then the file description Export Version will be seen. If you're running the 128-bit version, then the description will contain a caution that it cannot be exported from the US or Canada.


Update a File on All Workstations

If you have a file that needs to be updated on all of your workstations, create a batch file utilizing the "net use" command. Here's how:

net use z: \\wgnrNT-01\c$\directoryname
net use y: \\wgnrNT-02\c$\directoryname
net use x: \\wgnrNT-03\c$\directoryname

These three lines from a batch file map drives x: y: and z: on the host computer as the target directory for the file. When running the batch file (supposing you named it userfiles.bat), type userfiles.bat filename. The filename should be the name of the file you wish to drop on every computer. Include the following lines of text to use that command line parameter:

copy %1 "x:"
copy %1 "y:"
copy %1 "z:"

If you wish to clear all the mappings, include:

net use z: /del
net use y: /del
net use x: /del


ScanDisk and Defrag

There is no ScanDisk with Windows NT, nor is there a defragmentation utility. The Microsoft solution for Windows NT defragmentation depends upon the type of file system in use. If it is NTFS, then you must perform a backup, blow the data away, and restore it to achieve defragmentation. If it is a FAT partition, then Microsoft recommends booting into DOS 6.22 and using its defrag utility.
The disk checking feature with Windows NT is Check Disk. Right-click a drive in My Computer and choose Check for errors. If the drive cannot be locked, a dialog box will appear, asking if you would like to do it the next time NT starts up.


Disable logon caching 

When users disconnect from the network, it is possible for that user to still logon even if his/her account has been disabled or deleted. A security measure that you can take with Windows NT is to disable it from caching a user's logon information. To disable this ability, launch any registry-editing program and navigate to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Currentversion\Winlogin

From here, find the value called CachedLogonsCount and change it to 0
(zero). Once you reboot, NT will stop caching logon information.


Turn off CD-ROM Autorun

Many times the CD-ROM autorun feature just isn't necessary. Here is how to turn this feature off:
  • Open a registry editor and navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Cdrom sub-key
  • locate the Autorun entry in the right pane. 
  • Change the value to 0 to turn it off or 1 to turn it on again.

BOOT.INI Option Reference

Below, you will find a number of useful switches used by software developers to test their drivers under a variety of different system configurations. /MAXMEM= This option will limit NT to using only the amount of memory you specify. The number is interpreted as MB. Example: /MAXMEM=16 would limit NT to using 16MB of the system's memory. 

/BURNMEMORY= This option will cause NT to "forget" about the amount of memory specified, which limits memory like /MAXMEM. The value specified is interpreted as MB. Example: /BURNMEMORY=128 would have NT discard 128MB of the physical memory on the machine as unusable. 

/ONECPU This option will have NT only enable one CPU of a multiprocessor system. 

/NUMPROC= Only the number of CPUs specified will be enabled. Example: /NUMPROC=2 on a 4-way system will cause 2 of the 4 processors to be unused by NT. 

/SOS Causes NT to print information about what drivers are being loaded as the system boots. 

/BASEVIDEO Causes NT to use the standard VGA display driver when moving to GUI mode. 

/NODEBUG Prevents kernel-mode debugging from being initialized. Overrides the specification of any of the three debug-related switches, /DEBUG, /DEBUGPORT and /BAUDRATE. 

/CRASHDEBUG Its name implies otherwise, but this option is synonymous for /NODEBUG. 

/DEBUG Enables kernel-mode debugging. 

/DEBUGPORT= Enables kernel-mode debugging and specifies an override for the default serial port (COM1) to which a remote debugee is connected. Example: /DEBUGPORT=COM2. 

/BAUDRATE= Enables kernel-mode debugging and specifies an override for the default baud rate (19200) at which a remote debugee will connect. Example: /BAUDRATE=115200. 

The /kernel=filename switch enables you to define the actual KERNEL to be loaded at startup. This is useful in switching between a debug enabled kernel full of debugging code and a regular kernel. It is also useful for forcing Windows NT to load a specific kernel. For example, /KERNEL=ntkrnlmp.exe. This switch command loads the Ntkrnlmp.exe in the System32 directory. 

/HAL= These options pecify overrides of NTLDR's selection of the file named NTOSKRNL.EXE in the system root (<winnt>\system32) as the kernel's image file and of the file named HAL.DLL as the HAL image file. They are extremely useful for alternating between a checked kernel environment and a free kernel environment. If you wish to boot into a checked environment that consists solely of the checked kernel and HAL, which is typically all that is needed to test drivers, follow these steps on a system installed with the free build (retail NT):

  1. Copy the checked version of the kernel from the checked build distribution CD to your <winnt>\system32 directory, naming it NTOSKCHK.EXE. If you are on a uniprocessor then copy NTOSKRNL.EXE, otherwise copy NTKRNLMP.EXE. 
  2. Copy the checked version of the HAL from the checked build distrution CD to your <winnt>\system32 directory, naming it HALCHK.DLL. To determine which HAL to copy, go into your <winnt>\repair directory and open setup.log in Notepad. Search for HAL.DLL and you'll find a line like "\WINNTF\system32\hal.dll = "halmps.dll","1a01c". The name to the right 
    of the equal sign is the name of the HAL you should copy. 
  3. Make a copy of the default line in the system's BOOT.INI. 
  4. In the string description of the boot selection add something that indicates that the new selection will be for a checked build environment e.g. "Windows NT Server Version 4.0 CHECKED". 
  5. Add the following to the end of the new selection's line: /KERNEL=NTOSKCHK.EXE /HAL=HALCHK.DLL 

You're done. Now you can select the new line to boot into a checked environment or select the pre-existing selection to boot into the free build.

/3GB This switch made its debut in NT 4.0 Service Pack 3 and is supported on all later releases of NT. It will cause the split between the user and system portions of NT's virtual address map to move from 2GB (2GB user, 2GB system) to 3GB (3GB user, 1GB system). Giving virtual memory intensive applications like database servers a larger address space can improve their performance. Note, however that for an application to take advantage of this feature two additional conditions must hold: The system must be part of the NT Enterprise suite (SP3 is not) and the application must be flagged as a 3-GB aware application. 

/PCILOCK Stops Windows NT from dynamically assigning IO/IRQ resources to PCI devices and leaves the devices configured by the BIOS. 

/NOSERIALMICE=[COMx | COMx,y,z...] Disables serial mouse detection of the specified COM port(s). Use this switch if you have a component other than a mouse attached to a serial port during the startup sequence. If you use /NOSERIALMICE without specifying a COM port, serial mouse detection is disabled on all COM ports. 


Disable CHKDSK at startup

If your boot time seems to long, you can disable the long CHKDSK process. This will shorten the time by adjusting some of the tasks that run at boot up. Here's how:

Open a registry editor and navigating to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\BootExecute sub-key. Change the entry to reflect a value of: autocheck autochk * 
Your system will now bypass the test at startup.


What's running at system start

A detailed list of all items running at startup can be obtained by your NT systems registry. Simply navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run sub-key and view the entries displayed. You can delete the ones you don't need, keep in mind that deleting the wrong thing could kill a software application.


Prevent System Shutdowns

Take away the ability for users to shut down your Windows NT system without implementing System Policies

If you don't want to fuss with System Policies, but you'd still like to prevent system shut downs by your users, you still can. simply navigate to the registry subkey HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer and change the entry entitled NoClose to 1. Restart the machine and your settings will be now be effective.


Empty Documents Menu

If your desire is to have an empty Documents menu every time you start your Windows NT system, you can do so very easily. 
  • Open a registry editor and navigate to the subkey HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer. 
  • Find the entry ClearRecentDocsOnExit and change the value to 1. 
  • Restart your system and it should now be an empty menu.


Task scheduling

The ability to schedule tasks to run at various times on your Windows NT server can be very beneficial. In the past administrators either had to buy a third-party program or use AT and WinAT. The obvious disadvantage to buying a third party program was the cost. AT and WinAT were okay but they weren't exactly versatile. When Microsoft released Internet Explorer 5 however, they introduced a tool called Task Scheduler. This is a powerful utility that allows you to schedule different tasks to run at different times and also under a different security context. To use it you simply need to make sure that you have IE 5 or higher loaded on your NT server. Then open your My Computer icon and look for a folder called Scheduled Tasks. The Add New Task option will start a wizard that will walk you through the whole process.


Control Logon Times

If your users logons seem to be taking a long time because they're prompted with profile dialog box questions that can last 30 seconds, you can reduce this time by editing the registry. To do so, navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon portion of the registry and change the ProfileDlgTimeOut value to a number of seconds between 1 and 600. Thirty is the default time. You must restart your system for the changes to become active.


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