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Mark Minasi Q&A: Tuning Windows 2000, XP and Windows Server 2003, part 2

Mark Minasi answers leftover questions on FAT directories, Web servers, RAM and more from his Jan. 9 webcast. Click here to download Minasi's PowerPoint presentation. What is SMB signing?
It's a method whereby file servers and file clients digitally sign all transmissions. That way, you know that the data wasn't corrupted or deliberately altered between the server and client. First appeared in NT 4 SP3, if I recall correctly. We are currently running Active Directory 2000 for authentication. If we upgrade AD to Windows Server 2003, will our Windows 9x clients not be able to authenticate in AD?
The 98 clients will if you put the AD client for 98 (on the Server CD) on them. The 95 clients will not be able to authenticate. Time to put 'em out to pasture.

Go on to Part 3
Go back to Part 1 What is the easiest way to configure a laptop user to switch between having a "static IP" when inside the office and "DHCP" when off the LAN? Thanks!
With XP you can use "alternate IP configuration." Very nice -- just set the static IP and then reopen the IP properties and try to go to DHCP. You'll get an extra tab where you can switch between the two. Or look into netsh -- command-line IP stack setup. I use it all the time! I've noticed after time that if you change or rename your administrator account when starting a new domain, that when you try to login with the new administrator account that the server won't let you log on locally. Is there any way around this?
That's odd, I've not seen that. But then I don't use the local administrator account much and I strongly recommend that others do not either -- it's a serious security hole. I recommend that you make yourself an account and give it the powers that it needs. Then you won't have the problem.

Mark Minasi is a best-selling author, popular technology columnist, commentator and keynote speaker. Mark is probably best known for his books Mastering Windows NT Server, Mastering Windows 2000 Server and The Complete PC Upgrade and Maintenance Guide . Mark has also authored 17 other technology books, spoken on technical topics in 20 countries, and written and performed in a dozen technical education videos. His new book in Windows Server 2003 is due out in April. When adding more RAM to Win2k, is it better to reinstall the OS to get best performance out of additional RAM?
Absolutely not. Just pop the RAM in and reboot and it'll adjust! If I have more memory than I think I'll ever really need (4GB in a server), is it necessary to set the paging file to at least 4GB? A server with 4GB of RAM can eat up a lot of disk space if the paging file is 4GB or more.
As I said in the webcast, I'd tell the system to only dump kernel memory in blue screens and then follow my suggestion on sizing page files. Using AD in a 2000 domain we find that on occasion users are logging in successfully but NOT receiving their policies. Suddenly they will have rights to the control panels we have locked. Next login policies are functioning again. Thoughts?
GPs are great but can be a pain. There is a registry entry that will turn on logging; see KB article 221833 for more info. What would cause the error message "conflicting set of credentials" when attempting to join a computer to a domain from a workgroup (when entering the password and ID of a person qualified to join domain)?
It usually means that you have an existing NET USE, which is getting in your way of being recognized under some account. Disconnect all network connections to delete existing tokens (net use * /d works to do this) and then remap the drive. Best of luck! Where can I find a description of services and processes?
Solomon and Russinovich's book Inside Windows 2000, 3rd Ed. is terrific. Is there anyway to repair an error in the FAT directory so that the check disk utility will perform properly? When the system starts, it hangs during the check disk procedure.
Ouch. If you can't get the OS running, that kind of limits what you can do. Here's what I did to fix that on a system: I just pulled the drive out of the computer and installed it on another computer as its second hard disk. It didn't need that drive to boot, so I could fix the FAT. Strong recommendation, though -- don't use FAT. NTFS is great. One more thought: go to and get a firewire enclosure. You can then install the drive in the enclosure and actually hot-plug it into another computer (with a firewire port) and then do work on it. I hope this helps. Where can one turnoff a program from starting up on boot?
As I said at the presentation, LOTS of places. Download Autoruns.exe from and you'll see everything that autoloads and where it loads from. A great free tool! How can you set permissions on default admin shares for Win2k, XP and Win2k3?
I'm not sure you CAN. I usually disable them and build the ones that I want. If you are going to bring up a new Windows Web server, what version would you use of Windows?
The latest available as we speak -- Windows 2000 Server. Once locked down and patched it is a very stable and secure Web server IMHO. Is there a software program to turn off WinXP hardware registration with Microsoft?
Don't we wish! You can do the trick of copying wpa.wdl (I think that's the right file) and restoring it when you reinstall a copy of XP -- then you needn't REactivate. Why doesn't WinXP allow one to format a HD greater than 30GB using FAT32?
Basically the answer is "just because." This was introduced in 2000, actually. It will format up to 32 GB partitions. You CAN, however, format a FAT32 partition as large as you like on a Win 98 system and then install it in an XP/2000 system and it'll still work. Use NTFS; it's the best answer.

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