Using RUNAS command to gain Admin access when logged on as limited user

You can temporarily logon as an Administrator without having to logoff or switch user.

From command prompt use the following command:

C:WINDOWSsystem32runas.exe /user:yourdomainyouradminuser “cmd.exe /k cd C: && color 0e && title ***** Admin console ***** && CLS”

I like to put this in a batch file and then create a shortcut to it on my desktop.

Once run you will be prompted for the admin users password.

Once entered you will get a Yellow C: prompt – you now have admin privileges and can run programmes as an admin user e.g. type Explorer to run Windows Explorer.

Of course you can create batch files to open specific programmes:

runas /user:yourdomainyouradminuser “regedit”

Would prompt you for password and then open the registry editor as admin user.

You may find that this appears to work but you still do not have admin rights. In this case edit the registry as follows:

HK_CLASSES_ROOTAppID{CDCBCFCA-3CDC-436f-A4E2-0E02075250C2}RunAs

to

HK_CLASSES_ROOTAppID{CDCBCFCA-3CDC-436f-A4E2-0E02075250C2}_RunAs

You will need to be properly logged on as admin user to achieve this registry change.

Cisco VPN Client with Windows 7 and 3g datacards – WWAN support

When we upgraded to Windows 7 we found that our laptops would not connect to our VPN over 3G Datacards using the Cisco VPN Client.

This is due to the Cisco VPN Client software not supporting WWAN devices. Initially we were stunned to learn that the latest VPN Client wasn’ compatible with Windows 7! Subsequently they did release a version – we currently use version: 5.0.07.0440. But at the same time they announced that the VPN Client was end of life and that you should be using the AnyConnect client instead (that’s a whole different story see: http://www.islandearth.com/articles/2013/5/2/cisco-asa-anyconnect-vpn-per-device-ipsecv2-tunnels-using-ce.html)

This meant that WWAN was never going to be supported in the Cisco VPN Client and we could not upgrade to AnyConnect VPN due to our reliance on IPSECv1 VPN Tunnels (see article above).

After much searching we managed to find a solution:

http://community.spiceworks.com/topic/143383-solved-problem-using-cisco-vpn-client-when-connected-over-3g

The problem is apparently to do with a limit on Citrix DNE instrumentation measuring! Quite how this makes the VPN Client work with WWAN cards is beyond me but it does!

Keyboard shortcuts for dual monitor setups

We recently changed over to using 2 monitors on most of our desktops.

This is a really useful feature which allows you view a window on one monitor whilst viewing another window on another monitor e.g. Word document on 1st monitor, internet explorer on the other.

Moving from one monitor to the other is simple – just drag your mouse pointer between monitors or drag and drop a window. It effectively extends you desktop over 2 monitors – or more if you have graphics cards that support it (you need a graphics card with dual monitor capability and/or a cable splitter offering 2 monitor connections).

Here are some keyboard shortcuts we picked up whilst using the 2 monitor setup:

  • To resize a window to go to half size on the right or left of the monitor (same as dragging window all the way to the left or right of monitor), you can use Windows Key + Left/Right Arrow. (Windows key is one between Ctrl & Alt).
  • To Maximise a window, Windows Key + Up arrow and to return window back to size it was before (or to minimise from a non-full screen window), Windows Key + Down arrow.
  •  To move your active window to the other monitor, you can use Windows Key + Shift + Left/Right arrow. 
  • Also, less likely to be useful but if for any reason you want to temporarily switch back to one monitor, or duplicate your main monitor onto the second monitor, you can use Windows Key + P.  This toggles between:

 

Computer Only – Uses main monitor only

Duplicate – Duplicates main monitor onto both monitors

Extend – Extends desktop across both monitors (normal operating mode)

Projector Only – Uses second monitor only

 

 

Turning off Thumbnail caching in Windows

I have become increasingly annoyed by the Thumbnail caching in Windows particularly when using network drives.

This default function of windows supposedly makes viewing thumbnails (small pictures of a larger picture) faster – if you change your view settings to view hidden files you will notice ‘thumbs.db’ files dotted around your folders. This file contains a cache of the thumbnails so that they do not need to be created everytime you view a folder full of photos.

If, like me, you hardly use the thumbnail view – being an oldie I prefer details view instead – you find the thumbs.db file stops you from renaming and deleting folders you just created on network drives. This is because the Windows Explorer process locks the thumbs.db file continuously.

You can turn off this functionality by editing the local group policy:

  • Click the Start orb
  • Enter gpedit.msc in the search box and hit Enter.
  • Expand User Configuration – Administrative Templates – Windows Components.
  • Click on Windows Explorer.
  • Right-click the entry “Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files” and choose Edit.
  • Enable the setting.

 

Setting documents folder to network location in Windows 7

I believe changing your My Documents folder from the default system drive location to a network drive location is possible when the remote location is a Windows server file share. However, trying to connect to a NAS drive that might be based on Linux does cause problems.

We needed to connect our My Documents to a Linux based NAS device (Netgear NAS) and were thwarted when trying to do so in Windows 7. In order to change the location you need to right click on the documents folder and choose properties, you can then add a new location by selecting the include a folder.. button:

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Unfortunately, at this point you receive the following error:

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We don’t want to index the location (add as an Offline folder) and we probably couldn’t anyway due to the Linux incompatibility problems.

The workaround is to edit the registry. You need to run the Regedit.exe programme and then navigate to and change the following keys:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell \FoldersPersonal

and

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell \FoldersPersonal

My network location is on a mapped network drive Z:\documents and settings\admin\my documents

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Double click and enter your network location path:

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Do the same for the User Shell Folders (User Shell Folders is queried at login first, and uses the %USERPROFILE% variable, Shell folders ar just an expanded form of this – you need to be explicit in both to make sure the network location is used):

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Your remote folder can be any path of course – I just like ‘Documents and Settings’ from the XP days 🙂

You now need to logoff, logon to reset the locations. When you now go to the documents properties you will see:

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Your My Documents has disappeared. Now just hit the Restore Defaults button which will restore the My Documents according to the registry entries:

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Windows RDP Keyboard Shortcuts

Just pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del when in an RDP session sends the keystrokes to your local desktop – how do you do Ctrl+Alt+Del in a remote desktop session? Here is how to do it and some other useful keyboard shortcuts:

Ctrl+Alt+End – Equivalent of Ctrl-Alt-Del – Security dialog box is opened where you can lock, log off, change password etc.

Ctrl+Alt+Break – Toggles between full screen and window mode.

Alt+Page Up – Equivalent of Alt+Tab – switches between application windows.

Alt+Home – Equivalent of pressing start menu – opens the start menu.

Ctrl+Alt+plus sign (+) – Equivalent of Print Screen button – copies just the RDP session window not your whole screen.

Ctrl+Alt+minus sign (-) – Equivalent of Alt-Print Screen button – copies just the window that has focus within your RDP session.

Tight VNC and Windows XP Fast User Switching

We use TightVNC for connecting into home workers machines when troubleshooting and came across a problem with one particular user – occasionally we could not connect.

We discovered that their machine was using Fast User Switching – husband and wife who had separate accounts.

When both are logged on e.g. the wife logged on early morning and then our worker logged on later in the day TightVNC was not connecting but when only one of them was logged on it did connect.

What is happening is that the user you’re logging on as is getting assigned a “session” other than session zero, and the TightVNC server is then restoring session zero to the console because that’s the session it’s capable of remoting.

You should be able to fix things by logging off all of the users from the XP system and then re-connecting via TightVNC. We came across no other way around this problem.