Managing a mixed Windows desktop environment

Continuing from "Get Windows 9x to play nice with Windows 2000/XP," part one of this two-part series, our experts offer more advice on nixing those 9x nuisances that are all too common when working with multiple Windows versions on the desktop.

Serdar Yegulalp
James Stewart
Tony Northrup
Laura Hunter
Jerry Honeycutt
Paul Hinsberg

Continuing from "Get Windows 9x to play nice with Windows 2000/XP," part one of this two-part series, our experts offer more advice on nixing those 9x nuisances that are all too common when working with multiple Windows versions on the desktop.

SearchWin2000.com member: I have a peer-to-peer network with Windows 98, Windows ME and Windows XP systems in a LAN. I can browse all the systems from Windows XP, but when I browse an XP system from Windows ME or Windows 98, the XP system asks for a password. The message displayed is: "You must supply a password to make this connection, resource system nameIpc$, password." I never set a password, so I have no idea why I'm being prompted for one.

Jerry Honeycutt: See article 139592 in Microsoft's Knowledge Base for the solution.

SearchWin2000.com member: I am using Windows 98 SE in my LAN and I use an RJ45 cable to connect to the hub. When I double click the Network Neighborhood icon, my computer searches for the network for a very long time. I can ping every other computer and I have added every computer's IP address to the c:windowshosts.sam file, but it does not help to speed up the search for the computers in the LAN. I do not understand why.

Serdar Yegulalp: There are a couple of other things you may be able to do to speed up browsing. One is to edit the TCP Receive Window size, which speeds up TCP transfers.

To adjust the receive window size on Windows 98:

  1. Start -> Run, type regedit and click OK.
  2. Select HKEY_Local_Machine\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\VxDMSTCP.
  3. If there is no DefaultRcvWindow value, Select Edit -> Add Value, and add a value called DefaultRcvWindow of type REG_SZ. Set this value to 32120 for starters; you can experiment with higher or lower values, but values above 32120 are generally considered bad for LAN operations.

SearchWin2000.com member: I recently retired an NT4 server and installed a Win2k server. The domain name is the same. Intermittently, when Windows 98 users try to log in, they get "no domain name server available to validate." If they reboot, they can log in fine. There are 40 PCs on the network -- some have never gotten the error, some get it often but not every time. I also have three XP client machines that have never received the error. Microsoft checked my settings in the domain controller; all were correct. Currently they are stumped. Any ideas what could be wrong?

Paul Hinsberg: Well, let me run through my list of things that have caused this problem:

  1. Network cards are set to "autodetect." Manually set them to be whatever the switch or hub is. Usually, you will see other problems besides the authentication issue -- like slow transmissions, e-mail synchronization problems, etc.
  2. TCP/IP and IPX are both installed on the machine. This generally appears to be related to the binding order and the priority of the protocols. Usually, uninstalling the IPX protocol or unbinding the Microsoft Client from the IPX protocol resolves the problem.
  3. Win9x machines use WINS to resolve the names and service names to IP addresses. Check to see that the Win2k DCs are using the same WINS as the Win9x clients. Also, check the health of the WINS database. Note that finding the server name in the WINS database is not enough, there should be <1c> and <1b> records in the WINS database for the AD services.

SearchWin2000.com member: We have just completed a migration from NT4 to Windows 2000 AD /SingleForest /Single Domain (still mixed mode but without NT servers). At the moment we have not yet defined global policies in the SAM database, and there are no user-specific policies for user accounts. My problem is that Win95/98 users are being locked out randomly, for which I have to reset the account. My only guess is that somehow the PCs' registries are remembering previous policies applied under the NT4 domain. Is there any way to reset them or avoid the continuous lockouts? I have tried to deploy a policy with undefined "Account lockout threshold," but it didn't work.

Laura Hunter: There are three possible settings for NT/2000 policies: enabled (checked), undefined (greyed out) and disabled (white, no checkmark). By leaving a policy setting undefined, you are effectively telling the workstation: "Do whatever it is you usually do, this setting doesn't apply to you." If you wish to explicitly state, "Do not use any account lockout settings," uncheck the appropriate setting so that the box next to it is white, not grey. This will override any existing or conflicting settings on the workstation.

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