Windows Tips

Available software for self-managed Windows machines

Users who have administrative and/or manage their Windows machines may find our local share of Departmentally used softare helpful. For licensing reasons, the share does not include all the software we use.


\\windfs\dfs\winsoft


if you have not setup DNS so you don't have to fully qualify host names, use

\\winsoft.cs.brown.edu\src


http://software.brown.edu is CIS' software share, which includes installers for much of the software we use.

You can also use the instructions below on how to setup DNS.

Setup DNS so I don't have to fully qualify host names

When you are connected to either an outside internet service provider or our untrusted network, your machine's default domain name will be something other than cs.brown.edu. As such, you will need to fully qualify all CS hosts you are trying to access, e.g. maytag.cs.brown.edu. If you would like to avoid having to fully qualify hostnames, you can set your DNS search order. To do so:

1. Right click on "My Network Places" and select "properties". Depending on the version of windows you are running, this should either be on the desktop or in your start menu.

2. Right click on the network adapter you use to connect to the department and select "properties". If you are going to connect to the department via VPN, select properties for the VPN connection.

3. Highlight the "Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)" entry and select properties.

4. Click on the "Advanced" button.

5. Select the "DNS" tab.

6. Select the "Append these DNS suffixes (in order)" radio button and then add cs.brown.edu.

Windows domain login

When you log to the CS.BROWN.EDU from a domain member Windows workstation, here is what happens:

1. Your user name and password is authenticated with the domain controller.

2. Your windows profile \\cifs.cs.brown.edu\profiles\<username>.V2 is downloaded if it's newer than the local copy.

   The size of the user profile will affect the speed.  The bigger the profile the slower the logon process. 

3. Domain user and computer policies are applied to the system.

4. The logon processes the login scripts from \\cifs.cs.brown.edu\netlogon\login.cmd

   The login.cmd calls the following scripts from the netlogon share:
   \\cifs.cs.brown.edu\netlogon\mapdrives.vbs - maps the Y: and Z: network drives
   \\cifs.cs.brown.edu\netlogon\redirect.bat - redirect Documents, Desktop, AppData, My Music, My Pictures, My Video folders to user folders on the
    file server.
   \\cifs.cs.brown.edu\netlogon\set-printers.bat - maps network printers for user

5. Windows explorer starts and applies user desktop settings.

Determining your IP address on Windows

If you are asked to determine your machine's IP address you should be able to do the following:

Depending on how many network interfaces your machine has, you may well see multiple entries returned. Typically, only one of them will have an IP address assigned. If you are connected to the CS department networks, you will see one of the following address types:


128.148.31.XYZ

128.148.33.XYZ

128.148.37.XYZ

128.148.38.XYZ

192.168.2.XYZ


Where XYZ is one to three numbers in the range of 1 - 254. This number is your machine's IP address.

Viewing hidden files in Windows

By default, Windows will hide, what it deems to be, important or system files from the user. Often times, it is useful to see these files in the browser. To view hidden files:

DropBox causes Windows 7 system hangs

The free file sharing/syncing software dropbox can cause Windows7 domain member workstation to hang. The main reason for this is due to the fact that the AppData of domain users is redirected to the cifs.cs.brown.edu\appdata\<domain username>. The installation process of the software does not allow you to choose a destination folder. Instead, the software uses the %appdata% variable for the default folder it installs to. For the CS domain users who had their AppData redirected back to the C:\ drive, this will not be a problem. For the rest of the normal domain users, the Dropbox software is basically running off a network share on the cifs.cs.brown.edu server. This causes slow performance problem for the software. You can change this manually but it involves user registry hacking and copying over the Dropbox folder from %appdata%\Dropbox to the local c:\ drive. The following steps are involved to move the Dropbox software from the %appdata%\Dropbox to the c:\ drive:

1. Make sure Dropbox isn't running by exiting out of the program or using task manager to kill it.  Open Windows explorer, type %appdata% in the
   location bar. 
2. Drag the Dropbox folder located on the cifs server to the c:\ drive.
3. Open a cmd shell through Start-Run or Search programs and files and type cmd.
4. In the cmd shell, type: reg add HKCU\software\Dropbox /v InstallPath /t REG_SZ /d "c:\Dropbox\bin" /f
5. Modify the shortcuts for Dropbox software in the Start menu especially the one in the Startup folder.
6. Go to Start-All Programs-Startup and right-click on the Dropbox icon.  Choose Properties from the pop-up menu.  Change the Target:
   to c:\Dropbox\bin\Dropbox.exe.  Change the Start in: c:\Dropbox\bin.
7. Go to Start-All Programs-Dropbox and right-click on the Dropbox icon.  Choose Properties from the pop-up menu.  Change the Target:
   to c:\Dropbox\bin\Dropbox.exe.  Change the Start in: c:\Dropbox\bin.
8. Go to Start-All Programs-Dropbox and right-click on the Uninstall icon.  Choose Properties from the pop-up menu.  Change the Target:
   to c:\Dropbox\bin\Uninstall.exe.  Change the Start in: c:\Dropbox\bin.   

A second way that the software can cause machine sluggish if the shared DropBox folder is located on a network share i.e. the z:\ drive. This is configured during the first run of the software. When you registered an account with dropbox, make sure you set the Dropbox file sync location to use the c:\ drive instead of the the z:\ drive.

A third way the software slows down Windows7 machine is when it needs to sync changes to the server. The software seems to hog all the network bandwidth. This can be remedy by setting a bandwidth limit on the software. The dropbox icon is located at the bottom right hand corner of the Start menu bar. Right-click on the icon and choose Preferences. Click on the Bandwidth icon.