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Configure IT Quick: Make the most of your network with these Windows 2000 tips

Learn how to make the default logon dialog box a Microsoft box when running the Novell Client and also how to quickly resolve hosts on a remote LAN.


If you're using Windows 2000 Professional in a corporate environment, odds are you're running a network. Here are two tips to help you take full advantage of Windows 2000's networking capabilities. Learn how to make the default logon dialog box a Microsoft box when running the Novell Client and also how to quickly resolve hosts on a remote LAN.

Switch logon dialogs from Novell to Microsoft
A TechRepublic member recently installed the Novell Client for Windows NT/2000. The installation configured Windows 2000 to use the Novell-supplied logon dialog box rather than the default Windows 2000-supplied one.

When the subscriber didn't like the new logon dialog box, he began searching for a way to change the logon back to its default. It's a simple change on Windows 9x systems because the choice is integrated in the Network Control Panel applet, but it requires a little more effort on a Windows 2000 system.

Warning
This tip involves editing your system registry. Using the Windows Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems requiring the reinstallation of your operating system and possible loss of data. TechRepublic does not and will not support problems that arise from editing your registry. Use the Registry Editor and the following directions at your own risk.

To change logon dialogs, you need to modify the registry. Open the Registry Editor and navigate to:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WinLogon

Locate the value GINADLL and change it from NWGINA.DLL to MSGINA.DLL. Then close the Registry Editor and restart the system. If you experience any problems or later want to switch back to using the Novell logon dialog, just replace the NWGINA.DLL value.

Easily resolving hosts on a remote LAN
Windows 2000 provides a handful of features that enable your computer to resolve computer names to IP addresses. For example, the client resolver used by Internet Explorer and other Internet applications can query Domain Name System (DNS) servers to resolve host names in the form "host.domain.tld" into IP addresses. The Hosts file, located in the %SystemRoot%\System32\Drivers\Etc folder, gives you a means for resolving host names to IP addresses without DNS. The Lmhosts file, located in the same folder, performs the same function for NetBIOS names, resolving those names into IP addresses.

There's another combination of features in Windows 2000 that can help you resolve DNS names to IP addresses without having to modify the Hosts file or type the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) to resolve against a DNS server. Let's assume you work from a remote location and connect to your remote LAN via a dial-up or dedicated Internet connection. If you place your workstation in the same Internet domain as your office LAN and configure a few network settings, Windows 2000 will automatically append the domain suffix to unqualified host names before attempting to resolve them. That saves you the trouble of typing the FQDN of the host and can speed up resolution. Here's how:
  1. Open the Properties for your connection to the remote network.
  2. Open the Properties for the TCP/IP protocol, click Advanced, and click the DNS tab.
  3. Select Append Primary And Connection Specific DNS Suffixes.
  4. Click in the DNS Suffix For This Connection field, type the DNS suffix (such as techrepublic.com), and close the property sheet.

Test the new configuration by attempting to ping a host on the remote LAN by its host name only.

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