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prathapml's tweaks


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Unattended CD tips:

I may not be around on MSFN much for the next few days - so no questions can be answered by me.

These tips may not be for beginners.

Please do not ask newbie questions - in most cases, the tips here are easy to implement.

It is recommended that you first familiarise yourself with the official unattended winXP CD guide on MSFN, and implement it before starting out with the below things.

Let me declare that I use all these things through the XPlode tool, and in most cases, the same technique can be done through batch files or RunOnceEx method.

These are meant for WinXP SP1 and above (may also work for Win2k SP3 or higher).

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TweakNow PowerPack 2005

When you register, you get a license file created (PowerPack_Info.dat). Just put it in the "$OEM$\$$" folder on the CD. Then install the powerpack using the normal silent switches.


WinRAR 3.42

When you register, you'll receive a license file (named "rarreg.key"). Copy it to your uA CD, and set up your XPlode in such a way that the license file gets copied to the right place *JUST AFTER* winrar is installed.


Register/unlock UltraISO v7.5 so that it becomes full-mode (with no restrictions)

Do the normal registration, then export the below key (it will also have your settings). This will not require cracking it.

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\EasyBoot Systems\UltraISO\5.0]


Prevent WinAmp 5 from popping-up the first-run dialog-box

Save this text:


as winamp.ini, and copy it to your %windir% after wa5 install (replace the existing winamp.ini).

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;this is the important one - Turn off fast user switching

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]


;Easily open any file - allows you to use Notepad by simply right clicking on the icon

@="Open &With Notepad"
@="notepad.exe %1"

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Right click on CD drive to close drive tray (just like the "Eject" option but the opposite function offered in a graphical way)

First get "cdr.exe" from the link in MSFN's official uA CD guide, or from attachment here.

Then put it into "$OEM$\$$\System32" folder on your CD. Then put this registry tweak as part of your tweaks.

;Right-click any drive to close the tray of the optical drive
@="Close CD-&tray"
@="cdr.exe close ALL"

There are two shortcomings with the above:

a. It closes all optical-drives one after another

b. The option to "close tray" appears even if you right-click on your HD's partitions.

But then, something's better than nothing.

Also, I used to use Nero DriveSpeed to close CD-ROM's until now, but it has 2 disadvantages:

a. It doesn't work for older drives.

b. It's a third-party utility which comes bundled when you install a commercial app.


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Get rid of the XP "Command Prompt Here" powertoy. Instead, this tweak does the same (and what's more, works on win2k also).

;Get a command box Right-click menu option
@="Command P&rompt Here"
@="cmd.exe /k cd %1 "
@="Command P&rompt Here"
@="cmd.exe /k cd %1 "


"Open With..." becomes default for unknown file-types

;disable file association web-service - Bypassing "Browse web for program" to open unknown extension.



I like to automate updates for win2k

;Enable Auto-updating on every Tuesday at 1:00 PM
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update]

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Very useful in environments where some security is needed, or if your kids are of the curious/dangerous type.

;hide C: drive in "My Computer" or Explorer or Open/Save dialogs

Note though, that with only the above being used, you can still type "C:\" into explorer address-bar, or right-click-and-explore the Start Menu and get access. This is good actually, since in this way most casual people are dissuaded from accessing the C: drive and you can yourself access the C: drive whenever you want by typing "C:\" into "Start >> Run".

But if you want no exemptions, and need to completely restrict access (with emphasis on the word ABSOLUTE), read more info below:

How to hide hard drives and restrict access to them using the Regsitry. Dont confuse this as unhiding a drive thats hidden in the MBR, this is in windows only. So you will still need to use something such as PM8 or another disk manager to unhide that as its nothing to do with the OS.

Log in as the user you want to limit access for, and go to:


If you want to just hide a drive, create a Dword value called "NoDrives" - its value will corespond to which drive(s) need to be hidden.

If you want to leave the drive letter visible, but make it so the user cant view the content of the drive and also stop them using - Run, Map Network Drive, or DIR. Create a new Dword value called "NoViewOnDrive" and use the appropriate decimal value.

If you want to hide the drive, as well as restrict all attempts to access it, use BOTH the Dword's mentioned.

The available decimal values are:

A: 1, 
B: 2,
C: 4,
D: 8,
E: 16,
F: 32,
G: 64,
H: 128,
I: 256,
J: 512,
K: 1024,
L: 2048,
M: 4096,
N: 8192,
O: 16384,
P: 32768,
Q: 65536,
R: 131072,
S: 262144,
T: 524288,
U: 1048576,
V: 2097152,
W: 4194304,
X: 8388608,
Y: 16777216,
Z: 33554432

You can add-up these values to do the above for multiple drives. For example, to restrict drive A: and drive E: and drive J: you would add the corresponding values (1 + 16 + 4096) and use it like this:


The drives mentioned in that key can be either local volumes on hard-disks, or network-mapped drives.

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Totally pre-configure Internet Explorer options for XP unattended with your desired settings - click here


Opera 8

Use the "Help > Register" menu-item in Opera, and give your license info (username and key).

You'll see that in "%programfiles%\Opera8" folder on your HD, the file "OUsr600.dat" is modified. That is your license file.

Copy it to your uA CD, and set up your batch-file commands in such a way that the license file gets copied back to that same folder *JUST AFTER* Opera is installed.

I also pre-configure Opera during unattended setup by auto-executing Opera-conf.exe (in the zip file - attachment).


Set the default sticky app on XP Start_Menu for "Internet" to Opera (previously it was IE).

;Set the Start Menu sticky apps
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\Opera.exe]
@="C:\\Program Files\\Opera8\\Opera.exe"
"Path"="C:\\Program Files\\Opera8"

@="C:\\Program Files\\Opera8\\opera.exe,0"
@="C:\\Program Files\\Opera8\\opera.exe"

You can also pre-configure the sticky-app on Start Menu for E-mail.

The limitation to the registry method of pre-configuring sticky apps is that it uses absolute paths (whereas using system variables is the recommended way). This limitation does not exist if you use an INF to do it - instructions with example.


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If you want the HKCU registry tweaks (above) to apply to all users, apply them through cmdlines or svcpack method (at the 12 or "13-minutes left" stage of setup).


The Windows XP ZIP is cr*p - its the first thing I switch off when I install a new PC.

To switch it off open the Run box and type REGSVR32 /U ZIPFLDR.DLL

----OR---- automate the same through batch-files.


I'd recommend using the "cdimagegui" tool to create optimised ISO9660 images of your uA CDs (just do a search on google to download).

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about logging from command-line

Are you still experimenting with your CD?

Carrying out some de-bugging on it?

Or you want to use batch files, and want to see the output later-on (or don't want the person sitting during the uA install to see all the 'dirty' cmd.exe windows) ?

This command will log (as text to the specified file) whatever output is received.

Note that you won't see anything, except a blank screen (which can be hidden using cmdow.exe). For example, your [GuiRunOnce] section starts a batch file, which in turn runs the below command

ECHO Please wait while important apps are installed (will take upto 10 minutes)
ECHO ......
start /b /wait %systemdrive%\install\base\postIns.cmd >> %systemroot%\temp\instTime.log


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Pre-configure/automate your page file

If you still use .cmd files (batch files) to run your unattended install, you are in luck - you can do something that the others can't.

On WinXP Pro, run this command from a batch file:

start /wait cscript //nologo //B //T:600 %systemroot%\system32\pagefileconfig.vbs /change /I 256 /M 256 /VO *

To set the min. and max. of the page-file to 256 MB on the default (*) drive (i.e., on C:\).


Check out what else you can do - open a cmd window, and run "cscript %systemroot%\system32\pagefileconfig.vbs /?" (without the quotes, of course).

For the others among us, who are stuck with XP home, or win2k pro, don't lose hope - here's what you have to do.

a. From a WinXP Pro SP2 CD, copy the files "pagefile.vb_" and "cmdlib.ws_" and extract the files using winzip/winrar (they are cabinet files, so rename the files on the CD to ---.cab to extract).

b. Put "cmdlib.wsc" to your system32 folder, and register it with:

RegSvr32 /s %SYSTEMROOT%\system32\cmdlib.wsc

c. Rename the VBScript file you extracted to "pagefileconfig.vbs" and put that also into your system32 folder. And then, you too can use the above command to set you page-file.

If you don't have access to the 2 files mentioned here, it is attached in zipped format here. Just extract it, and put to your uA CD in the location "$OEM$\$$\System32".

Even though other scripts run happily, this script decidedly needs to be run either manually from the command prompt, or through your batch file. Running it from XPlode/RunOnceEx or calling a batch file from them does not work.

YOU HAVE TO DO THIS ONLY IN YOUR MAIN BATCH FILE - the other option is to copy and paste the command manually into a command prompt (and why would anyone do that, when they can configure the same graphically ?).

NOTE: Pagefile setting cannot be done before first-logon, so you can't do this at T-12. You have to do it from GUIrunOnce, or anytime after that.


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If there's any app that uses the MSI as installer, substitute the "/QN" silent switch with "/QB-!"

In the above,

Q = quiet install

N = no UI shown during install

B = show a progress bar

- = don't pop-up any modals (modals=message/error boxes)

! = don't show the "Cancel" button in the progress window


It looks nicer now, and is id***-proof too.

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The direct-copy to new install method

In some cases, you see programs which use non-standard or un-automatable installers.

In such cases, just install it first, and clean out the junk (like uninstaller) from the installed folder. Then configure the app's settings to how you want.

Then, just make a winrar SFX archive of that folder (which silently extracts to %programfiles%) and enjoy.

For example, I do the above, by enabling the "SFX" check-box, and pasting the below into the "Comments" tab in winrar

;The comment below contains SFX script commands


Then put shortcuts to the app at:

$OEM$\$Docs\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\YOURAPPFOLDER

A sampling of the programs for which I use the above method:



TuxRacer (game)


MyIE2/Maxthon web-browser

Mozilla Firefox/ThunderBird

Reget Deluxe (download manager)


AIDA-32 (today its renamed to Everest)

Advanced File Organiser (cd-cataloguing)

Resource Hacker



The icing on the cake is that the RAR format gives better compression than it otherwise would be, and it still is better than the previous installer. This kind of packaging is useful for mostly small packages that do not keep any important information in registry.

Edited by prathapml
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  • 9 months later...

To everybody out there:

Thanks for your attention.

Let's not have junk/flame/congratulatory/newbie posts on this topic, because the page gets cluttered up.

Updated all posts above to be in tune with year 2005. :D If you find your post missing, it has been moved to this topic - link.

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