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Thread: Set All Options

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    Set All Options

    Hi All,

    The other day I was teaching a Windows class (98 actually but problem may be general). I was demonstrating how to click on a folder inside of a folder and the contents of the window would be replaced by the new folder. Of course, all but 1 PC worked this way. The one PC took the alternate behavior of opening a new window for the folder.

    For the life of me, I couldn't think of where the option was to change this. (But have discovered it since.)

    In another part of the class, I was demonstrating the Address Bar in Windows Explorer. Of course, someone's PC had the Address Bar unchecked.

    In both cases, it stops the natural flow of the class while you try to help the "exception" student. I try to make the "exception" a point of discussion to indicate that here's a PC that's set up to use an option differently than everyone else's. However, I would really prefer not having to do that unless I think the option is useful. My choice - not subject to someone who was playing around with the PC in the prior class.

    Is there some software (even commercial) that would allow one to go thru all of the Windows options for how things are displayed and set them. Once having done that, I would like to be able to record those settings and load them onto each computer. I would imagine the program would interact with the registry but I don't want to have to do that myself nor do I know all the settings in the registry that govern these viewable options.

    Same question would apply to various Office programs (Word, Excel, etc) but that's for another forum. Still, if anyone knows the answer or if the Windows answer applies...

    Thanks in advance.

    Fred

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    Re: Set All Options

    I think "All the Options" is a daunting task. There are too many of them. You could certainly Export entire sections of the registry that control these types of things, and then lump them together in one big .reg file. Running that .reg file on all the computers would set them all the same.

    However, I think using the 'exceptions' as a teaching point is an excellent concept...

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    Re: Set All Options

    To control the configuration of ALL machine, look in to DeepFreeze at http://www.deepfreezeusa.com/

    We use it at the SeniorNet of Puget Sound Class rooms and at the KEGS.org computer lab, works great. Every time the machines are restarted they are set back to the configuration you have defined and Froze.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

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    Re: Set All Options

    R2,

    Thks for the quick response.

    >I think "All the Options" is a daunting task. There are too many of them. You could certainly Export entire sections of the registry that control these types of >things, and then lump them together in one big .reg file. Running that .reg file on all the computers would set them all the same.

    OK, not all but some or many. I would prefer not to work directly with the registry. In Word, there is a macro that I got from somewhere that presents (some Word) registry options in a clear(er) way than what the registry may actually contain (which may include some bit masks). Further, I don't need to know the (cryptic) registry name of the option. What I'm looking for is something like that for Windows.

    >However, I think using the 'exceptions' as a teaching point is an excellent concept...

    Yes but I'd prefer for these to come up when I want them to, not based on someone playing around with the menus in the class before. Even being able to set all options to defaults would be better so all PCs would work the same way, even if it wasn't "my" way.

    Fred

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    Re: Set All Options

    Dave,

    Thks for the pointer. I looked at the web site and I'm not sure if this gets down to the type of options I would like to "freeze" per the examples in my original posting. However, I will look a little more. They also had WinSelect which may be more appropriate. I can't really tell from the descriptions on the web site.

    Fred

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    Re: Set All Options

    Tools > Options >
    (This is in XP but may be the same.)
    Attached Images Attached Images
    • File Type: gif x.gif (8.3 KB, 0 views)

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    Re: Set All Options

    Fred,
    You can check out Drive Image or Ghost. These allow you to make an image of a PC and restore it in a few minutes (depending on the size of the HD).

    Joe
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    Re: Set All Options

    Leif,

    I did find the answer. For Win 98, which is what the school is running, it is View | Folder Options and the Settings button. Gives a screen similar to what you showed for Win XP.

    Fred

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    Re: Set All Options

    Joe,

    I guess that's another avenue but not one I wish to go down. For one thing, the school PC's are set up with 1 HD and no mass storage device that I can write to other than the HD itself. Also, this doesn't allow me to choose the windows options I want unless I set up everything ahead of time through the normal way (and I'd probably forget some options until a student had a problem). But then I'd have to do this on each PC unless I wanted to have the exact same image on each PC. While I believe there is a lot of merit to that, I don't think I can enforce that on the school. But something to think about. Thanks for the thoughts.

    Fred

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    Re: Set All Options

    In response to your folder settings query, why not use the first minutes of each class to have the students themselves input the settings that you want them to have on their computers.
    It takes very little time to pull up Explorer/ tools/ folder options /general /custom settings.
    That could be their first task, each day, even before you begin the lesson.
    Perhaps you might consider giving them a handout sheet which they could paste in their notebooks. On the sheet, have the settings you want them to have when the class begins.
    You could even give them a different handout with different settings on different days. This would be a great way of being sure that all the students have the same settings and it would also teach them something without them realizing it. Learning by doing so to speak.
    Good luck.
    Jack
    Jack

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    Re: Set All Options

    Fred,
    Just to clarify. One HD is OK. All you need do is create a 2nd partition - assuming that the HD is big enough to have a parition to hold the image and still be functional otherwise. I understand it is a lot of work initially. Good luck with whatever solution you try.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Set All Options

    Jack,

    thks for the idea. I might use it for other classes but not this one. In this class setting, I only have 2 hrs in each of 3 sessions to teach an introductory Windows class. I think most people don't practice between the weekly sessions. So not sure if this would go over well. I know we'd be answering questions like how do I get to Explorer every week. I know another teacher at this facility who is teaching MS Publisher. The school said that a test was supposed to be given to ensure that students had the necessary pre-req of Windows skills. But the test was never given. So the teacher is teaching Windows as part of publisher. Another teacher there who teaches Windows didn't even know how to create a new folder.

    Fred

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    Re: Set All Options

    I wonder whether it is possible/convenient to create a generic user ("All Users"?) in the Registry, then regenerate a number of identically configured "training IDs" and use a new one for each class?

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    Re: Set All Options

    Are you asking "is it possible to do this under Windows (98 is run in the school)" or are you asking "is it allowable to do this in the school"? In either case, I don't know but if the answer to the 1st question is No, then it doesn't pay to ask the 2nd question.

    Even if both are "yes", I was hoping for a non-Registry interface that would allow me to look at the options. For example, just looking at the attached (a screen capture of the registry from RegEdit), I have no idea where to begin to go to set options like "display a new folder inside existing window". I explored some more in the registry and didn't see anything that would help the environment be consistent across the PC's.

    As I see it, the problem breaks down to the following steps:
    - create 1 definition of how I want the PC's to look: this could be done thru the registry directly (although I don't know how) or thru some friendly interface (although I don't know of any)
    - capture the definition to a file (depends on how it was created)
    - port the file to other PC's (easy - hopefully it will fit on a floppy although I think the PC's are networked)
    - activate the definition (presumably thru some complimentary process of step 1)

    Would appreciate any further thinking. Thanks.

    Fred
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    Re: Set All Options

    Hi Jefferson,

    I tried an experiment.

    I exported a copy of the registry branch dealing with [HKEY_USERS]. I assumed this would be where the changes would be that I would make next (given that there's a sub-branch called [HKEY_USERS.DEFAULT]. Lucky guess. Maybe the changes affected other parts of the registry but I won't know. Call this file "reg-before.reg".

    I made 2 changes:
    - turned off the address bar in the Windows Explorer
    - set sub folders to open in a new window.

    Exported again and called file "reg-after.reg".

    Next, I opened "reg-before.reg" in Word. No problem. Then I did a compare for changes with the "reg-after.reg" file in Word and had it highlight the changes. The resulting file is only 750 pages long (bedtime reading; War and Peace-watch out). I checked where some of the changes are just from those 2 above items.

    Here are some examples:
    [HKEY_USERS.DEFAULTSoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerToolbarExplorer]
    BEFORE="ITBarLayout"=hex:11,00,00,00,4c,00,00,00,0 0,00,00,00,30,00,00,00,19,00,00,00,
    40,00,00,00,01,00,00,00,a0,06,00,00,a0,0f,00,00,05 ,00,00,00,22,04,00,00,26,
    00,00,00,02,00,00,00,a1,06,00,00,a0,0f,00,00,04,00 ,00,00,a9,00,00,00,a0,0f,
    AFTER="ITBarLayout"=hex:11,00,00,00,4c,00,00,00,00 ,00,00,00,30,00,00,00,1b,00,00,00,
    58,00,00,00,01,00,00,00,a0,06,00,00,a0,0f,00,00,05 ,00,00,00,22,04,00,00,26,
    00,00,00,02,00,00,00,a1,06,00,00,a0,0f,00,00,04,00 ,00,00,a1,00,00,00,a0,0f,

    [HKEY_USERS.DEFAULTSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentV ersionExplorer]
    BEFORE="ShellState"=hex:1c,00,00,00,a3,0c,00,00,00 ,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,
    AFTER="ShellState"=hex:1c,00,00,00,23,0c,00,00,00, 00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,

    [HKEY_USERS.DEFAULTSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentV ersionExplorerStreams]
    "Settings"=hex:01,00,00,00,04,00,00,00,00,00,00,00 ,e0,ff,84,59,d4,28,cf,11,ae,
    BEFORE=66,08,00,2b,2e,12,62,03,00,00,00,0a,00,00,0 0
    AFTER= 66,08,00,2b,2e,12,62,03,00,00,00,08,00,00,00

    Plus about another dozen or so assorted changes. I don't even know what these keys are used for. I wouldn't have guessed there would be a change to Internet Explorer (see first change above). No way I can do this thru the registry.

    By the way, the file size of "reg-before.reg" is 1.8MB. So much for a floppy. Same for "reg-after.reg".

    Other suggestions?

    Fred

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