Video Transcript

Hi, this is Greg Shields and I am going to show you how you can control the behavior of your applications by controlling their registry settings. You can see here I have a Windows computer and on this computer I have installed the WinZip application. This WinZip application is here to serve as any old application that you might have in your environment. You probably have some problems with your applications, maybe certain settings if they get configured the application does not work well, or maybe there are other settings that the users have to configure before they can use the application at first use. Maybe you are tired of actually sending out those 'how to' documents that your users never really figure out how to use.

You can actually control the behavior of your applications by controlling their registry settings. The hard part is figuring out where those registry settings are. With WinZip you will see that WinZip can operate in one of two modes. In this case I am working with the classic mode; there is also the wizard mode. If I flip back here to WinZip classic and go up under Options and Configuration, you will see that under the startup box I have a check box for Next time start with the wizard interface. What this is is a setting that instructs WinZip to next time, do not bring up the classic mode, bring up the wizard interface mode. That is really the setting that I want for my users.

If I flip back here to the Registry Editor and I go to Computer/HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Nico Mak Computing/WinZip/WinZip again, you will see that I have a list of various different settings that WinZip populates into the registry. Down at the bottom I have this one called Wizard and it is a string value where the value itself is set to zero. A lot of times with these registry values a zero or one are commonly used to determine a yes or a no answer. I am guessing at this point that if I set this wizard to a one that probably assumes that the WinZip application will start the next time in Wizard mode. I can test this out by going back to this configuration screen, checking the check box, clicking OK, and then refreshing the Registry Editor. I hit F5 you will see that the wizard is now set to one. I now know that this wizard setting here, the value of one versus the value of zero, will determine whether or not WinZip loads up in the wizard mode or the classic mode.

I can do the same thing inside of the Command Prompt inside of PowerShell. There are some command line tools that can assist with this that I can use against remote computers to find out what their registry settings are. In the case of the command line here, the command is reg query \\computername\hklm\software. If I run this command you can see well there are all the entries below the software node, and if I took it all the way out to Niko Mak Computing, WinZip, and WinZip again I can find the values that are found in that registry location.

PowerShell has a similar command too. What I am looking for here is dir and again the HKLM and then the software node here. What you will see I am doing here is Invoke-Command to remote the computer \\dc to ultimately get the same information back out. So, I can use either Windows PowerShell or the regular shell to help me find at the command prompt, what sorts of values may exist in the registry that I may want to modify so that I can control my applications.

Once again what I am looking for here is again this WinZip Wizard equal to, in my case, one. What I want to do is control this through the use of a Group Policy Preference. If I go down here and I pull up a sample Group Policy, you will see here I brought open User Configuration/Preferences/Windows Settings/Registry. What I am going to do is use a Group Policy Preference in this case, a user configuration one, to actually enforce this setting of this wizard value of one. Let me go ahead and create a new one. I will right click and chose New Registry Item and that brings up the New Registry Properties screen. You will notice that the hive is set to HKEY_CURRENT_USER because this is a user configuration policy.

What I need to do is go find the key path, HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Nico Mak Computing/WinZip/WinZip. If I come down here, at the bottom, you will see all the different values that I saw back up in Registry Editor. If I click on Wizard and select, it gives me the option to choose, do I want to set this to one or set this to zero as part of my Group Policy? In my case, because I want to control the WinZip application so that it runs in Wizard mode, I am going to set it to one. I click OK, apply the preference to the policy and the policy to an organizational unit. Now I have brought this setting, associated with WinZip under control.'