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  1. Other Popular Customization Methods There are many other customizations that allow you to modify the standard behavior of Windows NT/2000/XP or Windows Server 2003 operating systems. This section describes some helpful customizations that are safe from a system-stability point of view. Changing the Color that Windows Explorer Uses to Display Compressed and Encrypted Objects If your drives are NTFS-formatted, you can use Folder Options to display compressed or encrypted files and folders in color (by default, compressed-file system objects are displayed in blue, while encrypted ones are displayed in green). These default options are the only ones that UI provides you. If you want to display these objects using alternate colors, you can do it by means of editing the registry. To change the default color for compressed-file system objects, proceed as follows: 1. Start Regedit.exe, and open the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explore r registry key. If you want the new settings to apply to each user, open the HKEY_USER\.DEFAULT\software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explore r registry key. 2. Create the new REG_BINARY value entry and name it AltColor. Set the value for the new entry to the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) equivalent of the desirable color in the following format: "AltColor"=hex:rr,gg,bb, 00 where rr is the Red component, gg is the Green component, and bb is the Blue component. The patterns for the most common colors are provided in Table 4.3. Table 4.3: RGB Patterns for the Most Common Colors Color Red Green Blue red ff 00 00 yellow ff ff 00 green 00 ff 00 cyan 00 ff ff blue 00 00 ff magenta ff 00 ff brown a5 2a 2a black 00 00 00
  2. 6. Close the Registry Editor and reboot the system to review the effect. If you don't like it, simply delete the AltColor entry. Proceeding in a similar way, you can also change the default color used to display encrypted files. This time, you will need to open the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer registry key and create there a new REG_BINARY value named AltEncryptionColor. Assign this new entry the value corresponding to the color of your choice, using the same format: "AltColor"=hex:rr,gg,bb, 00 where rr is the Red component, gg is the Green component, and bb is the Blue component. The patterns are the same as in the previous example (see Table 4.3). Configuring the AutoRun Function The AutoRun function is a useful add-on included with Windows 95/98 and Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. It is particularly useful when you start programs from CDs or install new software. However, if you only need to copy one or two files from the CD, waiting for the AutoRun function to finish can be annoying. Note If you use a portable PC (like a Notebook), it is recommended to you disable the AutoRun function - especially if your Notebook runs on batteries. The AutoRun function will significantly decrease the time you can work without recharging the batteries, while bringing no advantages. Experienced users will recall that Windows NT/2000 required you to edit the registry directly in order to disable the AutoRun function. One of the most common tips found on Internet sources recommended that you open the registry using one of the registry editors, find the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Cdrom key, set the AutoRun value to 0, and reboot the system. Not The tip above, of course, worked. Officially, however, Microsoft recommends that e you not use the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Cdrom\Autorun registry value entry to turn off the AutoPlay feature in Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003, since the real function of this registry element is different - its purpose is to turn on or off the media-change notification (MCN). There is a better way to disable the AutoRun feature for CDs. The real registry entry that disables the AutoRun function for CDs is as follows: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Polici es\Explorer\NoDriveTypeAutoRun. Setting this value to 0xb5 switches off the AutoRun function for CDs efficiently, without affecting other features that you probably do not want to disable.
  3. After a brief investigation of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, you will notice a new enhancement - the AutoPlay capability (Fig. 4.19). AutoPlay is a new feature that detects content such as pictures, music, or video files on removable media and removable devices, and then automatically starts applications required to display or reproduce the appropriate content. This simplifies the use of specialized peripheral devices such as MP3 players and digital photo readers. It also makes it easier for users who are unfamiliar with the software needed to access various content types. If you are an experienced Windows user, you may remember that Windows Millennium Edition (Windows ME) also performed a similar function for photographic content on imaging devices, automatically running the Windows Image Acquisition user interface (Scanner and Camera Wizard) when a camera or scanner was plugged in. Windows XP and Windows Server 2002 extend this function by making it universally available for all hot-plug removable-storage devices that appear in My Computer. AutoPlay is extensible so that other devices and media can benefit from this architecture, even the legacy ones. Figure 4.19: Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 provide a rich set of options for configuring the AutoPlay function Note, however, that AutoPlay should not be confused with AutoRun. The AutoRun function, introduced in Windows 95, enables a compact disc to automatically launch a function (such as an application installer or game play) when the user inserts the CD into the CD-ROM drive. This is carried out by an Autorun.inf file in the root directory of the
  4. compact disc. If you want to disable the AutoRun function in Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, proceed as follows: 1. Find the NoDriveTypeAutoRun value entry under one of the following registry keys: o HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion Policies\Explorer o HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion \Policies\Explorer o HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVe rsion\Policies\Explorer 2. If this value doesn't exist, create it (it must be of the REG_DWORD data type). Set the value for this new element according to the desired function (valid entries are listed in Table 4.4). Table 4.4: Effects of the NoDriveTypeAutoRun Value Value Meaning 0×1 Disables AutoPlay on drives of unknown types. 0×4 Disables AutoPlay on removable drives. 0×8 Disables AutoPlay on fixed drives. 0×10 Disables AutoPlay on network drives. 0×20 Disables AutoPlay on CD-ROM drives. 0×40 Disables AutoPlay on RAM disks. 0×80 Disables AutoPlay on drives of unknown type. 0×FF Disables AutoPlay on all types of drives. A data value of 0×95 is the default, which disables Autoplay on drives of unknown type, floppy drives, and network drives. If Autorun is set to 0, Autoplay is disabled on all drives. If Autorun is set to 1, you can hold down the shift key as you change media to prevent Media Change Notification (MCN). Appropriate settings in NoDriveAutoRun also disable Autoplay. When Autoplay is enabled, it begins as soon as you insert media, so setup programs and music start immediately. Note If NoDriveAutoRun or NoDriveTypeAutoRun are set in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE root key, then these settings in HKEY_USERS and HKEY_CURRENT_USER are ignored. If you set the NoDriveTypeAutoRun value
  5. via the Disable Autoplay Group Policy, you can add the CD-ROM drive type or disable Autoplay on all drive types. Any other settings must be created via the registry. When you change the media in a CD-ROM drive, a MCN message is sent to trigger media features, such as AutoPlay. You can suppress the MCN message for specific vendor/products by configuring the AutoRunAlwaysDisable value name, a REG_MULTI_SZ data type, at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Cdrom. Typically, AutoRunAlwaysDisable contains a list of devices that do not support AutoPlay, such as a changer, because they must load the media to verify that the device is a CD-ROM. The entries in AutoRunAlwaysDisable suppress the MCN message for all devices that match the character string you enter, starting at the beginning. You can, for example, disable all CD-ROMs manufactured by ABC Company, by setting one line to ABC. If a device is identified in AutoRunAlwaysDisable, AutoPlay does not operate on the device, regardless of the value of Autorun, NoDriveAutoRun, or NoDriveTypeAutoRun. Use AutoRunAlwaysDisable as a last resort for disabling Autoplay.
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