Engineering, PC lab, Typing - Mech Eng Computer Support
Faculty of Engineering & Design
IT Support Services (BUCS)
University of Bath
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Frequently Asked Questions


The following links are accessible by University account holders only...


Please also refer to the BUCS FAQ's pages

For Software Package related queries please try our Software Information Page.



Next Section Previous Section Top of page What PC Should I Buy?

The following is ONLY intended as a guide, as it is impossible to write about every eventuality and user requirement in one go. If you want further advice then please go to the campus ITP shop or Help Desk both of which are in the Library (Left hand side) or contact your departments local IT support staff. Please remember that local IT support staff can only give advice concerning personally owned equipment, they cannot do any work on personally owned systems. It is the responsibility of the equipment owner to ensure that anything they do with it does not harm it in anyway.

Advice for new (and existing) Undergraduates wishing to purchase a computer...

New students who may be considering the purchase of a new computer (laptop) prior to their arriving at University for use with their studies, may wish to consider waiting until they come to the University. This will allow you to get a better feel for what you may require for your course. You can also get advice from your supervisor, the local Departmental IT Support team and from the Campus IT Purchasing computer shop located in the Library. You may also be entiled to discounts etc for both hardware and software available through the Campus IT Purchasing shop. For example many software titles are available via educational license's and hardware purchased through the IT Purchasing people is usually obtained through the negotiated contract suppliers and is thus often (though not in every case) cheaper than the high street.

So, if you do not already have a computer, you would be wise not to rush off and buy something but to wait until you get to the University because you might be able to get one cheaper and with more informed advice through the University.

It should also be noted that the University has a large number of public access computers available to students both in the library and within individual departments. The Library based computers tend to have more general software installed, whilst Department based Undergraduate teaching computers tend to have more departmental specialised software installed. All have general software such as email clients (Thunderbird), Web browsers, MSOffice etc installed. So even if you do not have your own computer when you first come here, there are plenty for you to access the internet from once you have registered.

Whilst Apple Macs are perfectly good computers, if perhaps a little more expensive than Windows based systems, most systems on campus are genarally Windows based. This is equally true of infrastructures such as file storage, Printing etc and whilst available to Macs may be slightly more problematic to access. And whilst there is nothing to prevent you from buying an Apple Mac and they will work fine on the network, they do thus require a slightly higher level of 'administrator' knowledge from the user when working outside of the 'Standard Apps' environment. Additionally many specialised software titles that might be available to Students for use on their own computers in connection with the course they may be on, may only be available for Windows. However, it really depends on the software and one should check with ones supervisor if the software is both available to them as an Undergraduate and available for use on Macs.

For the purposes of the following only Windows based systems are considered. But some of the advice applies equally well to Mac users.

As regards hardware, the following should be noted for (mostly) laptops but also desktops...

  • DISPLAY: Have as large a Display screen as you can afford. For a desktop computer 19" minimum if you expect to do anything technical or graphical. Many users are now using 22" widescreen. There is little point buying Widescreen displays of 20" or less because the aspect ratio is not as good and they tend to be too narrow in height. For a laptop it is a matter of having a laptop screen size that is convenient to use yet not too large to carry around with you and at a cost you can afford. 15.4" is a typical mid range size. Smaller is fine for travelling and light usage, but larger is better for constant use but not as good for travelling.
  • SPEED: Get as fast a machine as you can afford. Laptops are normally slightly behind their desktop cousins in specification and speed, and easily become out of date. So the better the specification the longer it will last you.
  • NETWORKING: Just about all laptops come with wired (RJ45) network and wireless network capability. The University has a wired Docking / Resnet network available for connection which is approximately 100Mb/s and a Wireless network available across campus of approximately 56Mb/s.
  • MEMORY (RAM): At least 2GB of RAM. 4GB is better, especially if using Windows 7 (or Vista). Windows 32bit can only access upto 3.8GB of RAM. Windows 64 bit can access more. However, computers are at a transition between 32 bit and 64 bit operating systems and many applications are still written for 32bit. Though many of these (not all!) will run in 32 bit mode on a 64 bit system but in 32bit mode still only access 3.8GB of RAM.
  • CD/DVD Player: DVD Re/Writers can be used to install software (available on CD) and to backup the computer to. Especially a new computer which might require a number of DVD's to create a system backup of the original manufacturer installation. It can also play Video DVDs and Audio CDs and one can write data back to R/W versions of DVDs (standard format 4.8GB/DVD).

    However, whilst a perfectly logical choice for a desktop computer, having one in a laptop does add size and wieght to the laptop and therefore needs to be considered more carefully, cost, wieght and size versus convenience. One can however purchase a USB pluggable DVD Re/Writer but this might need to be carried about in any case.
  • USB CONNECTIONS: Make sure that the computer/laptop has at least two USB connections, if not more (3-4)
  • MEMORY STICK: A Memory stick is a very useful device to purchase. They are available in the Students Union shop and IT Purchasing at minimal cost. 2GB is about the smallest to buy and you can get upto 32GB. But remember that these are small devices and easily lost and the bigger they are the more information and files you stand to lose should you happen to misplace it.

    Always remember to remove a memory stick from a any computer that you may use it with. Many are left behind in general access computers and sadly many go missing this way. Also ensure that important files such as are connected with your University work are also stored on your campus available H: drive. DO NOT store important and personal information on a memory stick, such as bank or password details. If it is lost then someone else will be able to read the information on it!!!! To help reclaim a lost memory stick you would be advised to create a Dummy Folder or File on it and name it something like; 'Belongs to abc123' and where 'abc123' is your campus computer username. Otherwise if it is found, no one will know who it belongs to.

  • MICE: Laptop touchpads are all very well and useful on the train but at other times an optical, rollerwheel mouse can be a lot easier to use, especially for your hand and wrist.
  • EXTERNAL HARD DISK DRIVES: An external USB hard drive can be very useful for backing up the main computer hard drive and synchronising data to. External USB Hard Disk Drives can be as little as £50 for 160GB and you can leave them in your room and just connect to it every once in a while to synchronise data or backup. It is a personal choice based upon cost mainly. But be careful not to lose it as you could lose a lot of important information, some possibly of a critical and personal nature.
  • CARRY BAG: If buying a laptop, make sure that it comes with a decent carrying bag that will protect the computer. Alsways attach some identity to the computer/bag. Make it impersonal though, such as the University's name and your campus username.
  • WARRANTY: If you can, seriously consider a three year warranty, some will do 'on site'. This will keep the computer covered during your degree course. If you buy one through the campus IT shop and be unfortunate enough for it to go wrong, then they might be able to arrange for its return to the supplier for relevant repairs and it can then be delivered back to the University for your collection. Some University laptop suppliers will come to the University to fix them but you will need to go into the Library and to the IT Purchasing counter for further advice.
  • OPERATING SYSTEM: Most computers will come with Windows 7 these days. Ideally, if you can, get the Professional or Ultimate versions because the Home Premium is a little more limited. Especially with regard to Security Settings.

    Currently the campus is moving from XP Profesional (SP2/3) to Windows 7 Enterprise for its desktop fleet. The Library and most departmental general purpose computers have been upgraded to Windows 7.

  • MICROSOFT OFFICE: The University is moving towards MSOffice 2010. However, some systems still have MSOffice 2003 installed. The compatibility pack can be added to Office 2003 installation.. The Library systems are now using 2010, as will many of the Department UG Teaching systems. One may purchase Office 2010 from the ITP shop at an educational discount.


As regards software...

The University runs a large number of site licensed software titles. However, which ones you may want to access, and indeed have a right to access, will very much depend upon your course. However, there are so many titles and each with their own peculiar licensing terms and conditions that it is impossible to cover them all here. But by in large...

  • You may purchase various software titles, including Microsoft Office, as Educational Licenses and therefore at educational prices, which are generally much cheaper than commercial prices. See ITP for this.
  • Some University site licensed titles allow free use by students, for example the Sophos Anti Virus software and a number of titles used on courses, but NOT all. These are covered on the University's main Software web site.
  • Some software can only operate by accessing a University network based license server. I.E. the computer must be connected to the University network in order to run the software.
  • Some titles are available as Student editions, for example, Matlab.

But again, the best advise is to wait and see what you will need as regards software specific to your course. Though without doubt you will need a copy of Microsoft Office, which you can get through the campus IT purchasing shop.

So having purchased a computer and arranged for its connection to the Universities network (Resnet, Docking or Wireless), go straight to the Microsoft Windows Update site and update your system to the lastest patches. Note that to access this site properly you must be running a Microsoft (Internet Explorer) browser, it will not work via Firefox etc. The Microsoft web site will update the system almost automatically for you, though depending on which patches are recommended, you may need to reboot your PC a number of times. There are three basic categories...

    1. Essential Security Patches (Install all of these)
    2. Software Updates. If there are any, then read the information about them before making a decision to update. Many you will probably not need.
    3. Hardware Driver Updates. Only install if you are experiencing any hardware driver problems, then only if you are certain of what you are doing. Otherwise get advice. Normally Network or Graphics cards driver updates, which can be quite useful, will install fine from this area.

SECURITY: NEVER EVER use your computer on a network with an account that has administrator rights unless you absolutely need to. DO NOT give your own account administrator rights. This is because should you access something 'unsavory' on the internet, it will run on your machine with administrator rights and could destroy your computer. Always, for general use, use your computer with a 'limited' account and only transfer to Administrator if you absolutely need to. Yes, even so, something malicious could still take out your personal account, but at least the rest of the computer may be left intact because it could not run with administrator rights.

However, as regards admin rights, there are times when you need to be able to do something as the administrator but don't want to go to the bother of having to logout, then backin as the administrator to perform the desired task, then logout again and back in again as the user. So setting up an Administrator shortcut as per the following (For XP Users only. Windows 7 has a more intergrated administrator access setup), may be of some use to you. Note that steps 1 to 3 are essential, but that steps 4 to 8 configure the shortcuts esthetics...

  1. Right click on the desktop and select New / Shortcut
  2. In the 'Type the location of the item' dialogue box; Enter the text: runas /user:administrator "%ProgramFiles%\Internet Explorer\Iexplore.exe C:" (including the quotes ""), then click Next
  3. In the 'Type a name for this shortcut' dialogue box; Enter the text: Runas Admin then click Finish
  4. Right click on the new shortcut and select Properties
  5. If not already selected, select the Shortcut Tab. Click on the Change Icon button. You will get a messages saying that Runas does not contain any icons, simply click on OK and select an icon from those presented then click on OK. It does not matter which icon you choose just so long as it suggests to you that this is a special shortcut. I would make it big and red signifying DANGER!!
  6. Now select the Layout Tab and set the Window Size to be 80 x 4 (Width x Height)
  7. Now select the Colors Tab and set the Screen Background to dark blue and Screen text to Yellow
  8. Click OK to close the properties window.

    Now double click on the new shortcut. This will present a narrow window (if you carried out steps 4 to 8) in which you must enter the administrator password. Assuming that the admin password was correct you will see Internet Explorer which will be showing you the contents of Drive C: Remeber that IE can be used for virtually anything not just browsing but also FTP and as a Filesystem explorer to name but two. Click on the Folders button and now you will see just about everything to do with your computer, including the Control Panel and with it Add remove software, Add remove Printers etc. The important thing to remember here is that ANYTHING run from within this copy Internet Explorer (including any programs you directly run through the window by double clicking on them) will run as the administrator and with full admin rights. Everything OUTSIDE the window runs as you the user. Thus you can carry out virtually any admin task without having to logout, login as admin and logout etc. But all the same BE CAREFUL that you keep an eye on what is running as admin and what is running as a normal user.

LASTLY and very importantly MARK THE COMPUTER AND OTHER ITEMS WITH YOUR UNIVERSITY USERNAME!!! That is if you want to stand any chance of getting it back should you misplace it! You can also register your computer, mobile phone or any other valuable equipment with the Mobile Equipment National Database.

For people wishing to purchase a computer using University based funds, please consult with your local IT support team.


Next Section Previous Section Top of page Large File Upload (LFU) Service

The University used to have a Large File Upload (LFU) service but have now removed this service. The following statement was issued to Campus IT Supporters by BUCS...

"Our current view is that this functionality is amply covered by the LMF and various off-site free services such as...

...and plenty more here:,128154-page,11-c,stepbystep/article.html

We (BUCS) intend to update the BUCS pages to reference these, and pension off the existing service, but haven't managed to do this yet."



Next Section Previous Section Top of page Installing from CD Produces Error 1311

Installing from CD Produces - Error 1311, Source files not found:

This error can occur when installing software from a CDROM, especially for the local Administrator on Active Directory systems. Note that the name used above is only shown as an example. This can be overcome in one of two ways...

  1. By copying all of the files from the CD to a temporary hard disk folder and run the installation from there. However, for some 'protected' CD's this is not possible. Whilst the files may copy, the installation routine may not run correctly because it detects that it is not running from the correct CD source.
  2. For AD systems the following registry key is set by default across campus to '1' to limit access to the CD player to the currently logged on user, which then allows that user to Write to a CD-Writer. Otherwise they would be unable to write to the CD-Writer. However, it can also cause access problems to the CD for software installation purposes by the Administrator. Thus, when installing from a CD, especially where step 1 above will not work, the following registry key should be set to '0'...
  3. HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\allocatecdroms

    Note that the key type is REG_SZ and, as mentioned above, is by default set to '1', set this to '0' to install from the CD. But set it back to '1' to allow other users to write to the CD-Re-Writer.



Next Section Previous Section Top of page XP/SP2 Printer Popup Message
How do I get rid of the XP/SP2 printer pop up message "This document was sent to the printer"
  1. Run 'Printers and Faxes' from the Start Menu (or Control Panel).
  2. Right click on the main panel and select Server Properties
  3. Select the Advanced Tab and Uncheck the box marked 'Show informational notifications for network printers'


Next Section Previous Section Top of page I Have Exceeded My Profile Space
I cannot logout because the computer tells me that I have exceeded my Profile space:

If this happens then carry out the following steps...

  1. Goto the System Tray (Normally bottom right of the screen in the toolbar) and Double click on the Profile icon
  2. This will run up the Profile Storage Space window. In here you will note your Current Profile Size and the Maximum Profile Size. The Current size must be less than the maximum. If it is not then this is your problem. Look into the list of files. Which because they may be different for different people it is not possible to give you an accurate list but it should, if there is not a problem, look something like the following...

    Please note that since the above image was taken the Maximum Profile space has been increased to 30,000KB and so you will see 30000 KB and not 15000 KB

    There can be any number of reasons why the profile space has been exceeded, almost always because there is one or more large files stored in the C:\Documents and Settings\your-username area (where your-username is your BUCS username such as ensabc or ab123 etc). Thus you must look for unusually large files or large numbers of files. Active Directory users MUST NOT store files within the C:\Documents and Settings\your-username area and also note that ANY files stored directly to C: will be lost if the PC has to be rebuilt (RISed) or if the hard disk drive fails. Users should ONLY store files in 'My Documents' which is redirected to H:\Dos or Drive X: if they have a Project space assigned to them or, if absolutely necessary, within a secure folder on a second hard disk drive. See AD-Info (this link is only available to Internal users)

    However, one fairly common reason seems to be that there may be a number of NTUSER.### files (where ### may be 000, 001, 002 etc, 00A, 00B etc. Though there will ALWAYS be an NTUSER.DAT file and this must NEVER be deleted. Though it should be noted that sadly you cannot actually delete any files via this Profile Storage Space window and must therefore use Windows Explorer to locate the file using the path shown in the Available Profile Space window.

  3. To locate rogue NTUSER.000 type files, use Windows Explorer to navigate to C:\Documents and Settings\your-username Note that for obvious reasons, you will be unable to access or edit anyone elses.
  4. If the problem seems to be related to multiple NTUSER files, then delete all NTUSER.000, NTUSER.001... NTUSER.00A, NTUSER.00F etc etc files and any associated LOG files owned by you. Even though the LOG files are normally of zero length. BUT DO NOT DELETE THE NTUSER.DAT OR IT'S ASSOCIATED LOG FILE.
  5. However, if it is caused by other files then you must locate and move the culprits as indicated by the Available Profile Space window into your normal 'My Documents' (H:\Dos) area or possibly to CD.
  6. With the Profile Storage Space window still open, you should see the effects of the file deletetions, which hopefully should take your Current Size to below that of your Maximum Size.
  7. Once you have reduced your usage of the Available Profile Space, you should be able to logout normally.

Please note the following...

  • The NTUSER.DAT file contains information relating to your profile and it held on the central Profile server and downloaded to each Active Directory PC you login to. However, we are uncertain as to the specific mechanism that creates these other NTUSER.### files and are currently working on a way of overcoming this problem.
  • The Profile space is NOT part of your H: drive space. Going over quota in your H: drive will not effect you being able to logout, though it could effect to updating of certain profile items such as Desktop, Favorites, My Documents etc.
  • The Profile space pointed to by the Profile Storage Space window is on a seperate server and this space is set by BUCS at a fixed value. This value is the same for every user on campus.
  • Neither does any of the above effect email space, which is an entirely different server again and has its own quotas set.

Please contact MECS via RT if you have a problem relating to this or have any further information that might help the problem.



Next Section Previous Section Top of page Problems Accessing Secure (HTTPS) Sites
Problems accessing secure web sites (https) both off and on campus, such as webmail etc:

We have had a number people with various complaints of this nature lately and in almost all cases it has been necessary for the user to clear their Temporary Internet files or Cookies or even the browser History or indeed all three to overcome the problem accessing secure sites.

It is quite likely that if one were to login to another AD machine that one had perhaps not ever logged into before, then access to this and other secure sites would be regained. It seems that the temporary browser files are stored locally and not in ones campus profile, and hence do not move with the user from one AD machine to another, and thus it is these local files that often need to be cleared to regain access. Though it is not understood as to exactly which file(s) it is that causes the problem. It might be any number in fact, depending on the particular secure web site being accessed.

If this does not cure your problem then (for Mech Eng Staff and PG's etc) please raise an RT ticket to MECS but please advise if you have carried out this procedure from within your browser and indeed which browser it is that you are using.

You might also like to look at the following site(s)...;en-us;813444



Next Section Previous Section Top of page PrimoPDF

Some users have experienced an Adobe 'Internal Error' message when creating PDF files using PrimoPDF. Although the PDF file is correctly created and can be subsequently opened using Adobe Acrobat Reader, during the PDF creation phase PrimoPDF calls Adobe to display what it has just created and it is at this point that this error is generated.

The following URL discusses this:

To overcome this error, the following has been found to work...

  1. Login to the computer as the Administrator
  2. Navigate to C:\Documents and Settings\
  3. Highlight the LocalService folder and select to see its properties
  4. Click on the Security Tab and allow EVERYONE Modify permission on the folder.

Interestingly this fix has also been noticed by at least one user, to have cured a Windows Media Player problem, whereby they could not access Mini-mode (Right click desktop Taskbar, Toolbars \ Windows Media Player), as it simply was not in the taskbar toolbars section. Following this fix for PrimoPDF they then noticed that it was possible to access this.



Next Section Previous Section Top of page Connecting to the JANET Network

Who can connect to the Internet (JANET) via the University's Network?

Not everyone is entitled to access the Internet, which for the University is achieved via the JANET network. The following URL gives advice to institutions as to who may or may not access the Internet via JANET from the institutions network...

( Guest and Public Network Access


Next Section Previous Section Top of page Notes on using the University WIKI pages

The University uses the Confluence version of WIKI.


BUCS - IT Training: Getting Started with the University wiki

University Wiki - Main 'dashboard' page This lists various topics and allows you to Log in.

BUCS - Wiki Tutorials : Wiki Workshop Handout

About the Computing Services website

Confluence Documentation Home


The following lists some general information...

Create a space

All content in Confluence is organised into spaces. You can create a personal space to keep your own pages and news.

You can also create a space for projects, your department, student coursework or any other purpose.

Give access to a space

To allow users to start contributing and viewing content in the space you created, you will need to configure permissions on the space. This is done under Browse Space > Space Admin > Permissions.

Edit home page

The space home page is the first page users will see. To view this page, either click on the name of the space or on the home icon. Then, click the Edit tab.

Get help

There is a link to the full help in the top-right of every page. You can also email any questions or problems you might have to "


Next Section Previous Section Top of page How do I Create ICON's using Microsoft Paint?
  1. Click Start, Programs, Accessories, and select to run Paint.
  2. In the Paint window, choose Image, Attributes. Make the Height and Width 32 pixels, and click OK.
  3. Click View, Zoom, and then Show Grid.
  4. Click View, Zoom, and Custom. Choose 800% and click OK.
  5. Create your new icon. Save it as a bitmap (.bmp) file. You can change its extension later to .ico, if you like.
  6. You can now treat this file as a regular icon file.
When you replace a Desktop icon with one you made yourself, you don't need to refer to it by anything other than it's filename.


Next Section Previous Section Top of page Using Hibernation

For laptops etc Hibernation can be a good way to shutdown the computer yet retain the exact position within your work that your were at, rather than shutting everything down. This can be very handy for quickly getting back to where you were before shutting down. For Active Directory PC's, whilst useful on occassions, it is not recommended to use this as a regular method of shutting down the computer. This is because AD machines rely upon being shutdown properly and restarted in order to pickup various changes, security and anti virus updates etc.

However, there is a very big snag with using Hibernation, which is that if you have Word 2002 or Word 2003 open then the computer will not Hibernate. See the Microsoft Help and Support page at:

If you are using a wireless laptop and have various network connections open, such as mapped drives etc, causing the laptop to Hibernate then move the laptop to a different location, whereby it needs to pickup on another wireless access point (and this include moving about the campus) then this can cause problems with the laptops network connections. You may well have to close them down and re open them (remap).


Next Section Previous Section Top of page Lost Default .BAT File Actions/Options

I have lost the default file actions for my .BAT files

If you have accidently or otherwise lost the default actions for your .BAT files, such as Open, Edit and Print, shown when you right click on the file, then unlike most other file extensions, it is not possible to reconfigure them using the normal File Types extension management system. Instead you will need to edit the Registry or run a trusted registry cleaner program. This is also the same for other extensions such as .com, .exe etc.

To re-instate the default options for files with a .BAT extension....

  1. Login as the Administrator
  2. Open Regedit (Start Menu / Run / regedit)
  3. Navigate to: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.bat and ensure that it shows...
          Name: (default)       Type: REG_SZ       Data: batfile
  4. Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes\.bat and also ensure that it shows...
          Name: (default)       Type: REG_SZ       Data: batfile
  5. Navigate to...
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts and, if it exists, remove any .bat folder. Each user may need to check this for themselves as the HKEY_CURRENT_USER is only relevant to the user currently logged in.
  6. Close Regedit and right click on a .BAT file and you should now see Open, Edit and Print shown in the menu.

As an aside...

If you would like to be able to call up a different editor rather than just NotePad when right clicking on a .BAT file, then the following might be of some use to you.

To create an additional Right click drop down menu entry. In this case to add 'Edit file with NoteTab' to call NoteTab in addition to the existing Open, Edit (NotePad) and Print...

  1. Login (or use runas) as the Administrator and run REGEDIT
  2. Navigate to and highlight the key HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell
  3. Select New - Key and set the folder name as, in this example, 'editnt' (do not include the single quotes)
  4. Double click the Default entry within the new editnt folder and set the name to be displayed on the context menu to something like: 'Edit file with NoteTab', Then click OK
  5. Highlight the editnt folder and select New - Key setting the folder name as 'command' (do not include the single quotes)
  6. Double click the Default entry within the new command folder and set the command name (for this example): C:\Program Files\NoteTab Light\NoteTab.exe %1 Click OK

    Note that it is not necessary to surround the command line in quotes and that using %ProgramFiles% gave one a 'Permission denied' error when trying to open the file for edit using the 'Edit file with NoteTab' option!!

    These changes apply with immediate effect and you should now have two Edit options when you right click on a batch file, Edit and Edit file with NoteTab

    As these changes have immediate effect, even without exiting from REGEDIT, you can run Windows Explorer in another window and immediately see the effect of your changes, e.g. Right Click on a .BAT file and see and test the new menu additions.

  7. Finally close REGEDIT

Note that within a CMD prompt window, you may also use the DOS 'assoc' command to change file extension definitions. Run help assoc for further info. You can use this information to determine where in the registry the handler for this extension is. For example assoc .txt will show: .txt=txtfile So now run REGEDIT and navigate to: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\txtfile\shell


Next Section Previous Section Top of page Changing the Thumbnail Size/Quality

If you wish to change the Picture file Thumbnail size and or Quality as displayed by Windows Explorer then the following will show you how you can do this for your own thumbnail settings.

Note that whilst there are proprietry utilities available to allow you to do this with less work, such as TweakUI, most of them are not able to be used within our Active Directory environment.

The first thing to say is that this procedure should NOT be attempted by the faint-hearted or those unfamilier with the workings of the system registry because this procedure involves you editing your own part of the registry and if you mess it up it can cause serious problems to your login profile. Be warned! Also note that this prodedure will only effect how YOU see the thumbnails. It will not effect anyones else's view.

Thumbnails can have their size changed from between 32 and 256 and their Quaility settings changed from 32 to 100. However, do note that a 256 by 256 image has over seven times as many pixels as a 96 by 96 image. The lower the Quality setting the less you will expend by way of disk space caching those extra-large thumbnails. After you've made the change, you'll see larger thumbnails in both thumbnail view and filmstrip view.


  • To set a new Thumbnail Size...
  1. Log into the Computer (Active Directory or otherwise) as a normal user and run the REGEDIT command.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
    be ABSOLUTELY certain that you have navigated to the correct area!!!
  3. In the right hand window right click the mouse and select New... DWORD. Naming this as 'ThumbnailSize'. Without the 'quotes' of course.
  4. Right click on the new key and select Modify.
  5. Click the Decimal Base selection and enter a value of between 32 to 256. For example a value of 200 is a pretty large thumbnail.
  6. Click OK to close the Edit DWORD Value dialogue box.
  7. Close REGEDIT
  8. There is no need to reboot or logout. Simply either close down any existing Windows Explorer windows and or open up a new one. Then navigate to some pictures and select to view as thumbnails to see the change.


  • To set a new Thumbnail Quality...

  1. Log into the Computer (Active Directory or otherwise) as a normal user and run the REGEDIT command.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
    be ABSOLUTELY certain that you have navigated to the correct area!!!
  3. In the right hand window right click the mouse and select New... DWORD. Naming this as 'ThumbnailQuality'. Without the 'quotes' of course.
  4. Right click on the new key and select Modify.
  5. Click the Decimal Base selection and enter a value of between 32 to 100.
  6. Click OK to close the Edit DWORD Value dialogue box.
  7. Close REGEDIT
  8. There is no need to reboot or logout. Simply either close down any existing Windows Explorer windows and or open up a new one. Then navigate to some pictures and select to view as thumbnails to see the change.

Next Section Previous Section Top of page On-Line Viewer for PDF, PS and Word Files

Whilst, for Mech Eng users, PDF files can be viewed using Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on all AD computers and similarly Word files using MSOffice, there is currently no default 'built-in' PostScript viewer installed on the departments AD computers. Ghostview is sometimes used by LaTeX users and there are a number of PostScript viewers available for download and local install. However, there is currently an on-line web based viewer available that allows either web based PDF, PS and Word files to be viwed and/or such files that reside on ones computer or a mapped drive thereof. Whilst there is little point using it for PDF or Word files, it is useful for PostScript files. Go to...





Next Section Previous Section Top of page I can no longer security lock my AD Computer Screen

In Mechanical Engineering all Active Directory users are able to security lock the screens on their Active Directory computers. This can be done either using the Windows Key plus the 'L' key or pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del and selecting to lock the screen.

However, the computer rooms (2.32, 2.32a and 2.39) have this feature disabled at the computer level in order to prevent users from locking screens and thus making them unusable to others especially when there is a class on.

Some general use systems, not in Mech Eng, employ the same policy but seem to apply the policy at a User level. Which sadly means that from then on this also disables Screen Lock when logged into any AD computer, including of course ones own.

The registry keys of interest are...

Policy (Key) applied at the Computer level...


Policy (Key) applied at the User level...





The Registry key details are...

Value Name DisableLockWorkStation
Data Type REG_DWORD (DWORD Value)
Value Data 0 = Disable the key (Allow Lock Screen)
1 = Enable the key (Disallow Lock Screen)

If the key does not exist at all then the value is essentially '0' or disabled. I.E. the use of Lock screen is allowed.

So... If you suddenly find that you can no longer lock the screen of your own AD computer then the chances are that the HKCU DisableLockWorkstation key has been installed and set to '1'. You need thus to either delete the key or change the value to 0.

To change the value to 0 and if you have local administrator rights and know what you are doing, otherwise if you do not have local admin rights, seek help from an IT support member of staff...

  1. As the local Administrator, temporarily add the username of the user with the problem to the local administrators group (Note administrators NOT Administrator). Do this via...

    Manage \ Local Users and Groups \ Groups \ Administrators

  2. Now login as the user who the problem.
  3. Run REGEDIT and navigate to...


    Where you will find the DisableLockWorkstation key

  4. Modify the value to show DisableLockWorkstation as '0'
  5. Close REGEDIT, which will save the value.
  6. Still logged in as the user, remove the username from the administrators group
  7. Logout then back in again as the user. This will remove the user from the administrators group and you will find that the user can again lock the screen.



Next Section Previous Section Top of page How can I see Linux Ext2 volumes from Windows?

If you have a dual boot (Windows/Linux) system and wish to view Ext2 filesystems from within the Windows environment then there is a driver available that claims to do the following (extracted from their web page...

"It (FS-Driver) installs a pure kernel mode file system driver Ext2fs.sys, which actually extends the Windows operating system to include the Ext2 file system. Since it is executed on the same software layer at the Windows NT operating system core like all of the native file system drivers of Windows (for instance NTFS, FASTFAT, or CDFS for Joliet/ISO CD-ROMs), all applications can access directly to Ext2 volumes. Ext2 volumes get drive letters (for instance O:). Files, and directories of an Ext2 volume appear in file dialogs of all applications. There is no need to copy files from or to Ext2 volumes in order to work with them. "

It is claimed that it will also read Ext2 floppy disks

For more information take a look at;





Next Section Previous Section Top of page Unable to connect to University via VPN when using Virgin Media

Since an upgrade to the Virgin Media router (Aug 2012) it is no longer possible to VPN into the University and I receive an 800 Error after hanging on "checking username / password".

This seems to have been caused because the VPN connection was being blocked by the Router.

It has been reported that the following procedure fixed this problem...

Follow these steps (carried out through a web browser page) to unblock the VPN connection:

  1. Open Internet Explorer (or equivelkent web browser)
  2. In the address bar, Type (This is the IP address of the Router)
  3. Enter the Username/Password for the Router. Phone Virgin Media (150) if you don't know what it is.
  4. Goto Advanced Settings (at the bottom of the page)
  5. Goto (Security) "Port Forwarding"
  6. Select "PPTP(TCP:1723)" in Service
  7. Click "Add Rule" followed by Apply
  8. Goto (Security) "Firewall"
  9. Uncheck all boxes except "PPTP Pass-Through"
  10. Click Apply









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