Configure IT Quick: Change your Windows 2000 registration and customize the welcome screen

Find out how to change the Windows registration and create a custom welcome screen.

It's a mastery of the little tweaks that often denotes a true Windows 2000 guru. Here are two tweaks that are not only practical but are sure to impress your end users. Find out how to change the Windows registration and create a custom welcome screen.

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Change Windows 2000 registration
You're probably aware that Setup brands an installation with a user name and company name when you install Windows 2000. Many applications use the same information when installed. In most cases, you probably won't need to change the registration information. If you're giving your computer to someone else in the office, selling a personal computer, or simply want to change the information for some other reason, you can do so easily through the registry.

This article involves editing your system registry. Using the Windows Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems requiring the reinstallation of your operating system and can cause a 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.

Open the Registry Editor and expand the registry branch HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion. You'll see two settings, RegisteredOrganization and RegisteredOwner, which specify your installation's OS registration. You can simply double-click each value and change it as needed. You'll see the change reflected in the properties for My Computer as well as when you install new applications.

Another setting you might need to change is the ProductID setting, located in the same key. If you previously registered Windows 2000 under a particular key and then reinstalled the OS, the product ID will be different. If you have the old key or have obtained it from Microsoft support, simply double-click the ProductID value and specify the correct one.

Create a custom welcome screen
Windows 2000 systems by default display a Getting Started window the first time a user logs on to a system. The Getting Started application actually resides in the %systemroot% folder as Welcome.exe. It gives the user easy access to the registration wizard, the Windows 2000 tutorial, and the Internet connection wizard.

While you probably turned off the Welcome application long ago, you might be interested to know that you can replace it with your own application, giving you another way to launch an application at logon or present customized help and other information to new users.

You can develop your own custom application or use an existing application. The only requirement is that it be named Welcome.exe and reside in the %systemroot% folder (\WINNT by default).

Because of the way Windows 2000 treats system files, you might have a hard time replacing the file. If you delete the existing file, Windows 2000 replaces it immediately. So create the application (or rename the existing application you want to use) in another folder. Make a backup copy of the existing Welcome.exe file and then drag the new Welcome.exe file to the %systemroot% folder. Windows 2000 will also change the copy in the %systemroot%\System32\Dllcache folder. If you ever need to restore the original Welcome.exe file, just drag it to the %systemroot% folder.

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