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Get IT Done: Make supporting Windows 2000 Pro easier with these handy registry tips

Make support easier with tips for editing the registry file in Windows 2000 Professional


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked end users through finding their computer name or Windows version. If only there were a simple way to display this information on the desktop. But, wait, there is! Using a few quick registry hacks, you can show both pieces of critical system information on the desktop. Here’s how.

Before we begin
Warning: The following article 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.

Add the computer name to “My computer”
When you deal with one computer, you probably have little problem remembering your computer name (unless you accepted the cryptic name Setup offered for your computer when you installed Windows 2000). If you have to deal with several computers, however, it can be a real pain to open the properties for My Computer every time you want to figure out the name of a given box. This can be particularly painful when you're doing remote support and asking the user to find the computer name.

To give you quicker access to the computer name, consider changing the label under the My Computer icon on the desktop to include the actual computer name. That way, you can tell the user to simply read what's under the My Computer icon to find the computer name.

It takes a registry tweak to include the computer name under the My Computer icon. Here's how to do it:
  1. Open Regedt32 and expand the registry branch HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D} (see Figure A).

Figure A

  1. Make a backup copy of the registry key by choosing Registry | Save Subtree As and specifying a name.
  2. In the right pane, double-click the Localized String value to open the String Editor dialog box.
  3. Press [Ctrl]C or right-click the value and choose Copy to copy the value to the Clipboard.
  4. Click Cancel and delete the Localized String value, and then create a new Localized String value as a REG_EXPAND_SZ value (see Figure B).

Figure B
Be sure to select REG_EXPAND_SZ and not REG_SZ.

  1. Press [Ctrl]V or choose Edit | Paste to paste the previously saved value.
  2. Move the cursor to the end of the string and add a space, followed by %computername%

Close Regedt32, right-click on your desktop somewhere, and click Refresh. Figure C shows the results.

Figure C
The computer name is displayed after My Computer.


Display the Windows version on your desktop
Displaying the version of your Windows 2000 operating system in the bottom right corner of the desktop can be useful if you work with several systems and you want to be able to tell at a glance if you're working on a Professional or Server system, what the build number is, and so on.

To configure this behavior, perform this quick registry tweak.
  1. Open the Registry Editor and expand the branch HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ControlPanel\Desktop (see Figure D).

Figure D

  1. Double-click the value PaintDesktopVersion
  2. Set the value to 1 as shown in Figure E.

Figure E
Make sure PaintDesktopVersion is a REG_DWORD value and not a REG_SZ value. If it is a REG_SZ value, delete the value, re-create it as a REG_DWORD, and then set it to 1.


Once you restart your computer, you'll be able to notice the change (see Figure F).

Figure F


Have Windows 2000 Pro tips like these sent directly to your inbox
If you would like to read more tips, sign up for the Windows 2000 Professional TechMail. Let us know what you think about this article and the Windows 2000 Professional TechMail by posting a comment below or by sending us a note.

 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked end users through finding their computer name or Windows version. If only there were a simple way to display this information on the desktop. But, wait, there is! Using a few quick registry hacks, you can show both pieces of critical system information on the desktop. Here’s how.

Before we begin
Warning: The following article 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.

Add the computer name to “My computer”
When you deal with one computer, you probably have little problem remembering your computer name (unless you accepted the cryptic name Setup offered for your computer when you installed Windows 2000). If you have to deal with several computers, however, it can be a real pain to open the properties for My Computer every time you want to figure out the name of a given box. This can be particularly painful when you're doing remote support and asking the user to find the computer name.

To give you quicker access to the computer name, consider changing the label under the My Computer icon on the desktop to include the actual computer name. That way, you can tell the user to simply read what's under the My Computer icon to find the computer name.

It takes a registry tweak to include the computer name under the My Computer icon. Here's how to do it:
  1. Open Regedt32 and expand the registry branch HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D} (see Figure A).

Figure A

  1. Make a backup copy of the registry key by choosing Registry | Save Subtree As and specifying a name.
  2. In the right pane, double-click the Localized String value to open the String Editor dialog box.
  3. Press [Ctrl]C or right-click the value and choose Copy to copy the value to the Clipboard.
  4. Click Cancel and delete the Localized String value, and then create a new Localized String value as a REG_EXPAND_SZ value (see Figure B).

Figure B
Be sure to select REG_EXPAND_SZ and not REG_SZ.

  1. Press [Ctrl]V or choose Edit | Paste to paste the previously saved value.
  2. Move the cursor to the end of the string and add a space, followed by %computername%

Close Regedt32, right-click on your desktop somewhere, and click Refresh. Figure C shows the results.

Figure C
The computer name is displayed after My Computer.


Display the Windows version on your desktop
Displaying the version of your Windows 2000 operating system in the bottom right corner of the desktop can be useful if you work with several systems and you want to be able to tell at a glance if you're working on a Professional or Server system, what the build number is, and so on.

To configure this behavior, perform this quick registry tweak.
  1. Open the Registry Editor and expand the branch HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ControlPanel\Desktop (see Figure D).

Figure D

  1. Double-click the value PaintDesktopVersion
  2. Set the value to 1 as shown in Figure E.

Figure E
Make sure PaintDesktopVersion is a REG_DWORD value and not a REG_SZ value. If it is a REG_SZ value, delete the value, re-create it as a REG_DWORD, and then set it to 1.


Once you restart your computer, you'll be able to notice the change (see Figure F).

Figure F


Have Windows 2000 Pro tips like these sent directly to your inbox
If you would like to read more tips, sign up for the Windows 2000 Professional TechMail. Let us know what you think about this article and the Windows 2000 Professional TechMail by posting a comment below or by sending us a note.

 

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

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