Windows NT Tips & Tricks

1. Securing Hard Disk Drive Mappings
Windows NT4.0 with service Pack or later must be loaded for this to work.

Have you ever wanted to prevent users from changing their drive mapping?  If so, you can prevent Windows NT users from mapping new drives or disconnecting their existing drives by modifying the Registry.  Begin by accessing the registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies|Explorer.  Next, add the value NoNetConnectDisconnect  with a data type of REG_DWORD and a value of 1.  This value removes the Map Network Drive and Disconnect Network Drive from the menu in Windows NT Explorer and from the shortcut menu displayed when users right-click on the Network Neighborhood icon.

2. Security clear paging file at shutdown
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINES\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\ControlSession Manager 
SubKey\Memory Management
ClearPageFileAtShutdown
If you set this to the Value Type REG_DWORD and a value of 1, all data in the paging file will be cleared upon system Shutdown, however, it will not take place until after the first reboot.  This is a good security measure.

3. Use an answer file to automate installations on Windows NT
If you need to install Windows NT on several computers, you can configure unattended installations.  What's required is that you share the Windows NT CD-ROM on your network (typically on a server)  and create an answer file.  The answer file contains all of your answers to the questions you typically answer during the installation.  In order to help you create this answer file, Microsoft included a wonderful utility called the Windows NT Setup Manager on the Windows NT CD-ROM.  You can use this utility to create the necessary files for performing unattended installations.

Begin by copying the Setupmgr.exe file from the
\Support\Deptools\hardware_platform folder to your hard drive (replace hardware_platform folder with either 1386 or Alpha).  You might want to copy this file to your \winnt folder.  Next, double-click on the file to run it.  You'll now see a dialog box with three buttons--General, networking, and Advanced Setup.  When you click on the General Setup button, you can define settings such as the licensing information (User Name and Organization), computer name, product id, computer role (workstation in a workgroup, workstation in a domain, server in a workgroup, server in a domain, PDC , or BDC), the install directory (c:-winnt by default), time zone, and licensing.  You use the Networking Setup button to define the networking card, protocols, network services, modem, and IIS settings you want to use.  Finally, you use the Advanced Setup button to specify the drivers you want to install for the computer's mass storage device, display, keyboard, and mouse.  In addition, you can specify a different logo and caption to be displayed during the installation.  Once you've configured all of the settings you want to use for your installation, save them by clicking on the Save button.  You can use any name for your answer file, but Setup Manager automatically assigns an extension of .txt to the file.

When you're ready to install Windows NT on a computer, you start the installation and tell Windows NT to use the answer file you created in Setup Manager.  For example, if you named your Setup Manager answer file "answer.txt" and stored it in the share \\server\install, start the installation by accessing the Windows NT Setup files and typing the following command:

Winnt /u: \\server\install\answer.txt 

4. Auto-completing directory path names for Windows NT
You can configure Windows NT to automatically complete long directory path names for you (a feature that's always been available in UNIX).  Begin by editing your computer's Registry (run regedt32.exe).  Access the Registry Key

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Command Prompt

In the right-hand pane, double-click on the CompletionChar value.  By changing CompletionChar from 0 to 9, you configure Windows NT to automatically complete paths for you in a Command Prompt window.