Applies to Windows 7.
Requires a Vogonian environment of red tape and bureaucracy.

This is an article to describe an alternative method then "right-clicking on the desktop", "selecting Personalize", "clicking on Desktop Background", "browsing to the Picture Location". The problem happens when browsing to the picture location and it doesn't seem to remember which folder you selected. At home, this would be a breeze, but that's because I don't implement group policies at home.

We get problems with this because none of our staff are full administrators of their local workstation. As IT staff we have elevated privileges but not absolute rights to configuring our computer. And we still need to re-login for every change. About a zillion group policies control our every deviation from the standard staff image and so we spend more time on "how do you make it like it was in XP?" situations.

Who doesn't want to change their desktop background wallpaper? Using Windows 7, who doesn't want it to be a slideshow as well?

Applies to:
- Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise
- User with Local Administrator Privileges (required for setup)

Our work has group policies and two of our programs, Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate (VS2010) and Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS), require elevated or administator rights/privileges when run. This is so that these programs can write back and forth to our C drive. If we don't run them as local administrators on the workstation, they error incessantly and never manage to do what you want them to do.

I want to create a desktop shortcut that I can double-click and it will run the above programs in administrator mode without confirmation by the Windows operating system. At home this may not be a problem but this is intended for those in an office environment and we get prompted to login (with the same account as we're currently logged-in with???) instead of being able to just click on "Yes".

The gist is that we're going to create a scheduled task (that won't be scheduled) and a shortcut to that task:

Applies to:

  • Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
Looking at ways of displaying different drives per user on a single computer. This one is by modifying the system registry, so if you aren't familiar with the system registry in MS Windows, you may need to find someone who is.

As a proof of concept, let's see how to hide a specific drive. Note that this section applies to the currently logged-in user. To restrict other users, see the example after this one:
  1. Open the Start Menu, then type regedit in the search box and press Enter.
  2. In regedit, expand to the following key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
  3. In the right pane of Explorer, right click on a empty area, click on New > DWORD (32-bit) Value > type NoDrives > Enter.
  4. Right click on the DWORD you just created and click on Modify.
  5. Type in the drive option hex or decimal number from the list below you want to set as restricted, and click on OK.
    -- Restrict multiple drives by adding the values together
    -- For Example: To Restrict B & C, enter 6 decimal
    --              "      "    E & G, enter 80 decimal or 50 hexadecimal
    Drive Letter    Decimal         Hex
    A               1               1
    B               2               2
    C               4               4
    D               8               8
    E               16              10
    F               32              20
    G               64              40
    H               128             80
    I               256             100
    J               512             200
    K               1024            400
    L               2048            800
    M               4096            1000
    N               8192            2000
    O               16384           4000
    P               32768           8000
    Q               65536           10000
    R               131072          20000
    S               262144          40000
    T               524288          80000
    U               1048576         100000
    V               2097152         200000
    W               4194304         400000
    X               8388608         800000
    Y               16777216        1000000
    Z               33554432        2000000
    All Drives      67108863        3ffffff
  6. Log off and log on, or restart the computer to apply changes.
Important! The above only applies to the user you are running Regedit as! (So if logged in as Admin, this hides it from the Admin, but not from the Guest account)

To only restrict Guest or a Specific User:
So undo the above if you didn't want this applied to the current logged-in user (delete the NoDrives DWORD). The concept of creating the NoDrives registry entry is what you need to remember. In the example below, we are applying the same principle to a specific user account (the Guest account):
  • Open the registry editor with administrative privileges
  • Select HKEY_USERS
  • Go to the menu File and select Load Hive
  • Navigate to that user's profile folder, usually C:\users\username in this case Users > Guest
  • Enter NTUSER.DAT in the File name box. (This file is a system-hidden file, so it won't show up in the file selection window. You have to type it in. Be sure not to select ntuser.dat.log by accident.)
  • Click ok, then enter a name for the key. We'll call it Foo.
  • Go to HKEY_USERS\Foo\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies
  • If it does not already exist, create a key called Explorer
  • Create a new 32-bit DWORD value inside the Explorer key/folder and name it NoDrives (or NoViewOnDrive).
  • The value you enter for NoDrives depends on the drive(s) you want to restrict (Refer to the list above)
  • CRITICAL STEP: Once you've saved this value, navigate back up to HKEY_USERS, select the Foo key you loaded, and then click File > Unload Hive > Yes (prompt).
  • Close the registry editor, then restart the computer.

  • Guest account will not see the drive in Windows Explorer but can still access it using the command prompt.
  • All users can access the drive using the command prompt.
  • To hide from specific users, you need to repeat the above for each user.
  • If your disk drive uses the NTFS file system: Modify the Security settings for the drive to restrict access via the Command Prompt.
  • If your disk drive uses the FAT32 file system, then you will have no security tab/setting.