Windows XP and 2000 Tips & Tricks UPDATE, March 3, 2003

Windows XP and 2000 Tips & Tricks UPDATE—brought to you by the Windows & .NET Magazine Network and the Windows 2000 FAQ site
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March 3, 2003—In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY

2. FAQS

  • Q. How can I add or modify Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) command shortcuts?
  • Q. Why do I hear hissing through my USB speakers when I play sounds at high volume on my laptop computer?
  • Q. How does the site-costing feature differ between Windows Server 2003 Dfs and Windows 2000 Dfs?
  • Q. Why does the "The password is not valid" error message appear when I log on to Windows XP's Recovery Console (RC), even though I enter the correct password?
  • Q. How can I configure the keep-alive timeout registry setting for Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE)?

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS

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4. CONTACT US

  • See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

1. COMMENTARY
(contributed by John Savill, FAQ Editor, [email protected])

This week, I explain how to add or modify Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) command shortcuts, why you might hear hissing when you play sound at high volume through your USB speakers, and how the site-costing feature works in Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000. I also describe why you might receive an error when you log on to Windows XP's Recovery Console (RC) and how to configure the keep-alive timeout registry setting for IE.

Around the industry this week, Windows 2003 build 3771, which might be the final build, was recently leaked to the Web. Also, I've heard some recent rumblings that Windows Update passes back to Microsoft information about all the software on your machine, but I've yet to substantiate this claim, so stay tuned. Speaking of Microsoft, the company has launched a new Web site called "the Desktop Center." The Web site targets systems administrators tasked with rolling out Windows and Microsoft Office XP on the desktop. Finally, Roxio has released Easy CD & DVD Creator 6, the newest version of the popular CD-burning software.


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2. FAQS

Q. How can I add or modify Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) command shortcuts?

A. IE 5.5 lets you search the Microsoft Knowledge Base for a specific Microsoft article by typing the article number at the IE address bar. For example, to display the contents of the Microsoft article "BUG: MSCDEX May Not Detect Disk Change", you'd type

MSKB Q123456

In the address bar. Microsoft removed this functionality in IE 6.0, but you can reenable this feature as well as add your own shortcuts by performing the following steps:

  1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
  2. Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl registry subkey.
  3. From the Edit menu, select New, Key.
  4. Enter the name that you want to use as the shortcut command (e.g., MSKB), then press Enter.
  5. Select the new key, then double-click the Default value in the right-hand pane.
  6. Set the value to be the Web address you want to use and append "%s" (without the quotes) to the end of the URL that the shortcut points to. For example, type
    http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=%s
    to enable the Microsoft Knowledge Base functionality.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Close the registry editor.

The change will take effect immediately. The table below presents other popular shortcuts.

Key name Default value
AV (Altavista) http://www.altavista.com/sites/search/web?q=%s
GGL (Google) http://www.google.com/search?q=%s
WINFAQ (Windows FAQ) http://search.winnetmag.com/query.html?col=faq&qt=%s

After you create a shortcut, you simply type the shortcut, followed by your search terms, in IE's address bar. For example, type

WINFAQ active directory

to search the Windows 2000 FAQ for the term "active directory." To save time, you can paste the following information into a reg file to automate the addition of the shortcuts I've mentioned:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

\[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\AV\]
@="http://www.altavista.com/sites/search/web?q=%s" \[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\Ggl\]
@="http://www.google.com/search?q=%s" \[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\MSKB\]
@="http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=%s" \[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\WINFAQ\]
@="http://search.winnetmag.com/query.html?col=faq&qt=%s"

Q. Why do I hear hissing through my USB speakers when I play sounds at high volume on my laptop computer?

A. This is a known problem that occurs when your Intel Mobile Pentium III Processor uses Intel SpeedStep technology. Intel SpeedStep requires that the processor restart and have its attributes modified several times a second. For good playback, the USB sound system relies on a data stream that reaches coders-decoders (codecs) at a steady rate. The problem occurs because the two processes conflict, disrupting the data stream. This disruption causes audio distortion, such as a popping or crackling noise.

To resolve the hissing problem, disable the Intel SpeedStep functionality as follows:

  1. Start the Control Panel Power Options applet (go to Start, Settings, Control Panel, and select Power Options).
  2. Select the Power Schemes tab.
  3. Under "Power schemes" select Always On.

Q. How does the site-costing feature differ between Windows Server 2003 Dfs and Windows 2000 Dfs?

A. To begin, let's define site costing. A client that accesses a DFS namespace begins by connecting DFS root targets and the client site's own link targets. If all the client site targets are unavailable, the client attempts to randomly connect to the rest of the DFS root targets. Giving preference to the client site's link targets is part of a process called site costing and it exists in Windows 2003 Dfs and Win2K Dfs. This functionality is always enabled.

Microsoft added to Windows 2003 Dfs a new feature called closest site selection that's very similar to site costing. With closest site selection mode enabled, a client that accesses a DFS namespace begins by trying to connect DFS root targets and the client site's own link targets. However, if all client site targets are unavailable, the client attempts to randomly connect to targets in the next closest site, and so on. For closest site selection to work on link targets, Intersite Topology Generator (ISTG) must be running on Windows 2003, and for closest site selection to work on link and root targets, all domain controllers (DCs) must be running Windows 2003.

To enable closest site selection in Windows 2003, you must use the version of the Dfsutil.exe command-line tool that will ship with Windows 2003. To enable closest site selection, type

Dfsutil /Root: /SiteCosting /Enable

To enable closest site selection for SYSVOL, you must create a registry key on all DCs. To create the key, perform the following steps:

  1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
  2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Dfs\Parameters registry subkey.
  3. From the Edit menu, select New, DWORD Value.
  4. Enter the name SiteCostedReferrals, then press Enter.
  5. Double-click the new value, set it to 1 to enable closest site selection, then click OK.
  6. Close the registry editor.
  7. Reboot the machine for the change to take effect.

If you move a Win2K DFS server to a new site, the Win2K server won't automatically refresh its site-related information. You can prevent this problem by removing the DFS server from the original site as a root target, then adding it to the new site as a root target. Windows 2003 can migrate from one site to another without experiencing the same problem because the OS can discover site information dynamically. Thanks to reader Atul for providing this information.

Q. Why does the "The password is not valid" error message appear when I log on to Windows XP's Recovery Console (RC), even though I enter the correct password?

A. This error message might appear if you originally installed XP from a Sysprep image or if you ran Sysprep 2.0 on the computer at one time. Sysprep.exe changes the way the registry stores password keys. As a result, these changes aren't compatible with the XP RC logon routine. To resolve this problem, follow the instructions in the Microsoft article "'The Password Is Not Valid' Error Message Appears When You Log On to Recovery Console in Windows XP" ( http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=308402 ).

Q. How can I configure the keep-alive timeout setting for Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE)?

A. By default, IE will reuse an HTTP connection unless it's been idle for longer than 1 minute. You can adjust this keep-alive timeout setting by performing the following steps:

  1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
  2. Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings registry subkey.
  3. From the Edit menu, select New, DWORD Value.
  4. Enter the name KeepAliveTimeout, then press Enter.
  5. Double-click the new value, set it to the number of milliseconds in the new timeout, then click OK.
  6. Close the registry editor.
  7. Restart the computer for the changes to take effect.

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