Who Are We?

I told you I'd report back on the results of the "Who reads this column, and what do they want to see?" impromptu survey I conducted when I took over this column a few weeks ago. So here are the results (numbers are rounded, so they add up to more than 100 percent).

  • 43 percent of respondents describe their primary interest as that of network administrator; they want to see a focus on information to help them support and deploy users and user applications. Responses are split evenly between readers who call themselves network administrators and those who make a point of identifying themselves as responsible for small networks (fewer than 50 clients, no more than three servers). A fairly common comment was, "We don't have a network administrator, but as the most knowledgeable power user, I provide support for our small network."
  • 37 percent said they are power users who want to learn more about the OS; they're looking for information to make them more productive.
  • 11 percent surprised me by saying that their primary responsibility is software and application development; their primary interests are tools and OS bug reports.
  • 6 percent of respondents are in nonsystem administration IT roles, including help desk, tech support, hardware techs, and trainers.
  • 4 percent of respondents identify themselves as Value Added Resellers (VARs), Value Added Developers (VADs), and consultants who are looking for information about Windows 2000.

Readers offered a lot of ideas about the direction that this newsletter should take, but three common themes emerged: more tips, information about bugs and fixes, and coverage of tools that make Win2K more productive. I realize that readers who respond make a self-selected group, and 400 responses from a newsletter with thousands of subscribers might not be statistically significant, but I'm comfortable enough with the results to use them as a guideline for future newsletters. If you seriously disagree with these results, well, you know where to find me.

Last week's tip generated a lot of response from readers who pointed out that you can change the print spool folder by going to Start, Settings, Printers, File, Server Properties, Advanced. For me, it's a case of not seeing the forest for the trees: I spend so much time setting up computers for testing that I've developed a number of shortcuts to help me configure systems in a common fashion. And that brings me to this week's tip: using Registry scraps.

Most configuration changes that you make to your system result in Registry changes. If you create a Registry scrap that contains the change information, you can save that scrap and use it to restore the information you want in the Registry. This lets me, for example, store the information that changes the print spool directory from the default location to the D drive in a scrap named printspool.reg on a server. When I set up a test system with that configuration, I just open the server share and double-click the Registry scrap, which imports the information in the scrap directly into the Registry. You can create these scraps for other standard settings as well; I store scraps that contain things as complex as complete IP configurations. Double-clicking the scrap is certainly simpler than navigating a series of menus and checking that all the information I want to change is entered accurately. Caution: When you double-click the Registry scrap, the data is imported into the Registry. You can't call it back, and you receive no confirmation.

To create a Registry scrap,

  1. Open Regedit.
  2. Highlight the key you want to save as a scrap.
  3. Select Registry, "Export Registry File" from the Registry Editor menu.
  4. Make sure that the Export Range is defined as "Selected Branch" and that the branch described is the one you want in the scrap.
  5. Give the scrap a descriptive name, and click Save.

You can also create scraps from many applications that support OLE drag and drop. For example, I keep a directory of boilerplate text in Microsoft Word scraps. I can click them to launch Word or just drop them into documents as necessary.

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