Reinstalling Win2K from an Upgrade-Only CD-ROM

I received a call this week from a friend who was in town visiting his family for the holidays. He had been installing game software on his Windows 2000 Professional-equipped notebook, and something he did had completely hosed the computer. The computer would do the POST, but wouldn't even try to boot. So he called, hoping I could help.

I grabbed a few CD-ROMs and headed across town to his hotel. (There's nothing like a 45-mile drive in traffic to put you in the right mind-frame to help someone who's fouled up his computer.) A cursory examination of his system led me to believe that the simplest remedy would be to reinstall Win2K Pro. So I pulled out my Win2K Pro CD-ROM and proceeded with the installation. Much to my chagrin, I realized I had grabbed the Win2K Pro Upgrade version rather than the full installation version. To add insult to injury, the installation routine couldn't find the previous OS. Rather than let this stop me, I sent my friend to his parent's home to get their old Windows 95 OS CD-ROM.

The Win2K Pro Upgrade installer cares only that you can prove you have a qualifying upgradeable product. For Win2K Pro, any of the following work: Windows NT Workstation 4.0 or 3.51, Windows 98/98SE, or Windows 95.

If you run into this problem with Win2K Server, any previous version of NT 4.0 Server will work, as well as NT 3.51 Server. If your new OS is the upgrade version of Win2K Advanced Server, the only qualifying product is NT 4.0 Server, Enterprise Edition.

A pair of short tips this week:

Tip 1.
Did you know that Windows 2000 has the same desktop Themes applet that is in Windows 9x? For some reason, the applet isn't in any menu, but access to it is simple.

  1. Go to the Start, Run menu.
  2. In the dialog box, type themes.
  3. Click OK.

That's it. You should now be looking at the Themes applet.

Tip 2.
I've given you many tips that involve editing the registry, so you've probably noticed that when you reopen the registry, you're back where you last edited. If you want to jump back to the top level, use Shift and the Left Arrow key, which collapses the left pane back to the top entry (My Computer). If you want the editor to always default to the top level, perform the following steps:

  1. Open Regedt32.
  2. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Applets\Regedit.
  3. Open the LastKey entry in the right pane.
  4. Clear the string.
  5. Select the Regedit key.
  6. Select Security, Permissions.
  7. Deny Full Control to any user or group that you want (and that you're a member of).
  8. Exit Regedt32.

That shouldn't affect anything but the single key.

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