Customizing Windows

More Than 200 Hacks,Tweaks,Moods,and Customizations.

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Customizing The Logon Screen - Chapter 3

Global logon/Welcome settings
A few hacks can modify the system logon for users of both the Welcome screen and the classic logon interface. These features can improve the quality of the screens, turn on different keylocks, and fine-tune other settings such as the screensaver.

Turn on clear type
Users of flat-panel LCD monitors as well as users of laptops can take advantage of a cool new feature in Windows XP called ClearType. This new technology is an advanced version of the font-smoothing technologies that existed in previous Windows versions.When this new font-smoothing technology is turned on, the entire screen will look significantly better.

Normally, this feature is only available after a user logs into the computer, but with the help of a cool registry hack, you can enable this feature to start up before a user logs in. Follow these
steps to get started:

1. Start up the Registry Editor by clicking the Start menu and selecting Run. Then type regedit in the box and click OK.

2. Once Registry Editor starts up, navigate through HKEY_USERS, .DEFAULT, Control Panel, and Desktop.

3. Locate the ForegroundFlashCount entry and right-click it and select Modify. There are three different options for the value of this property. 0 indicates that font smoothing will be disabled, 1 indicates to use standard font smoothing, and 2 indicates to use ClearType font smoothing.

4. Replace the value of the property with 2 to enable ClearType and then click OK to save the change.

That’s it—you are finished. You will notice that your logon screen is now much smoother than before. Some users do not like this new smooth look, so if you are one of those that miss the extra-crispy look, repeat the preceding instructions but replace the 2 with a 1 to set it back to the default settings.

Users of CRT monitors (the once-standard cathode ray tube-based monitors) can attempt to use this tweak, but ClearType was designed especially for LCD monitors, so if you are using a CRT monitor, you will not see much improvement, if any. But it doesn’t hurt to try!

Working with the screensaver
If you do not sign on to your computer after a specific amount of time, it will turn on the screensaver. Changing the screensaver and modifying its settings is not as easy as changing the screensaver that is displayed when you are already logged on. You can not change the screensaver of the Logon/Welcome screen from within Display properties as you would normally change a screensaver. The only way to edit these settings is through registry hacks. Follow these steps to change the screensaver as well as the inactivity time before the screensaver is activated:

1. First, you will need to start up the Registry Editor. Click the Start button and select Run. Then type regedit in the box and click OK.

2. Once the Registry Editor starts up, navigate through HKEY_USERS, .DEFAULT, Control Panel, and Desktop.

3. First, change the amount of time the system waits after the last activity detected before starting the screensaver.To do this, right-click the ScreenSaveTimeOut entry and select Modify. The amount of time to wait is stored in seconds. By default, the system will wait 600 seconds (10 minutes) before starting up the screensaver. If you want to change this value to something shorter, such as 1 minute, then just enter in a new value, which for one minute would be 60. Next, click OK to save your changes.

4. Next, change the screensaver that is displayed. By default, the boring flat Windows XP logo screensaver is displayed.Try something a little more exciting, such as the 3D flying Windows logo.To change the screensaver that is displayed, you will want to modify the SCRNSAVE.EXE entry. Right-click this entry and select Modify. You will want to change the value of logon.scr to reflect the name of the file for the screensaver that you want to use that is located in the C:\Windows\System32 directory. Because I did not know the name of the file for the 3D Windows XP screensaver, I had to do a search for all of the files on my computer that had a .scr extension by using the search feature in the Start menu and searching for *.scr. The name of the .scr files are usually very descriptive, so you will have no problem finding the right file. If for some reason you do, just double-click each file to launch a preview of the screensaver. After the search, I identified that the file for the 3D Windows screensaver was named 3D Windows XP.scr. One you have the name of the screensaver that you want to use, just replace logon.scr from the value window with the name of the file you want to use, such as 3D Windows XP.scr.

5. Click OK to save your changes, and the next time that your computer boots up, your new screensaver will be shown.

You can also use other screensavers that you have downloaded from the Internet. If the .scr file for the screensaver is not located in the Windows or Windows\System32 directory, you will have to enter in the whole path to the screensaver file instead of just the name.

Enable Num Lock to be turned on by default
If you have a password that has both numbers and letters and you frequently use the number pad to enter in part of your password, this hack is for you. I cannot count the number of times that I started to type in my password and then was faced with a logon error screen telling me that my password was not correct. I would sit there staring at the screen for a second before I realized that my Num Lock on my keyboard was not on.

This is a great hack for every desktop computer with a full-size keyboard with a separate number pad.Turning on the Num Lock by default on a laptop may not be a very good idea, because usually most laptops do not have a separate number pad. Enabling this feature on a laptop will result in almost half of your keyboard to function as the number pad and you would just be much better off using the numbers above the letters.

1. Start up Registry Editor by clicking the Start menu and selecting Run. Then type regedit in the text box and click OK.

2. Once Registry Editor loads, navigate through HKEY_USERS, .DEFAULT, Control Panel, and Keyboard.

3. Next, locate the InitialKeyboardIndicators entry, right-click it, and select Modify. You can enter various codes into this property, but all of them except for the code for Num Lock are pointless. For example, would you want your computer to start up caps-lock, which is code 1? Of course not.To enable Num Lock, you will want to enter 2 into the box.

4. Then click OK to save the changes, and that’s it!

If you are on a laptop and you attempted to enable Num Lock even though I told you not to and need to fix your system, repeat the above directions but replace the value of InitialKeyboardIndicators to 0 to disable the feature.


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