Odd blank dialog box immediately after hitting Ctrl+Alt+Del to login

Posted on 2002-07-29
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-13
Before one even has a chance to enter user name and password, an blank dialog box pops up.  You can get rid of it by pressing OK, but it is annoying, takes a second, and is completely unnecessary.

I'm using Windows 2000 Pro, SP 2.  I've been catching up on a bunch of maintenance/upgrades that I've been putting off and been living with the problem for about a week. So I'm afraid any number of things could have caused it, and I'm not sure what could have caused it.  One thing I might mention, I did restore a backup of the registry, but I'm not sure if that was before the box started showing up. I know that it was stupid but I would appreciate any advice you could give me.

Question by:MadMark
  • 8
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Expert Comment

ID: 7185000
check in the registry under hkey local machine --> software --> microsoft --> windows --> current version --> run

also check key runonce if this shows things that should not be started.

if you see it happens before you login.
check the event viewer, it may list problems occured whilst starting the services.
there may be a faulty service somewhere.


LVL 63

Expert Comment

ID: 7185575
also, as an  alternative :

I would run the Start-windows update to make sure that you have the newest updates.

In addition Cleanup the startup stuff. For  NT or win2k,
Download the Startup COP a free pcmag utility from
 Run it and it will show you everything that is listed in all the possible startup
 places, and allow you to disable things one at a time until the problem is eliminated.
 A lot of probelms are caused by excess old baggage - programs that have not been properly  un-installed. Startup Cop will eliminate leftovers and un-wanted programs that you no longer want.
Older Antivirus programs and Norton Utilities have been known to cause problems
try disabling them also !

Update and run 2 good, updated antivirus program- Norton, McAffee etc.
 Then run SFC /scannow from a DOS Window.

I hope this helps !

Expert Comment

ID: 7186912
Also run a Virus Checker and firewall program.

http://www.grisift.com - Free antivirus software

http://www.zonelabs.com - Free Firewall software

Both are excellent packages and free!
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Expert Comment

ID: 7186914
Oops! I mispelled that!

http://www.grisoft.com - Free antivirus software

Expert Comment

ID: 7187390
there may be spyware on your system also.
possibly from file sharing programs.

try and check with Ad-Aware:

Author Comment

ID: 7191731
I've tried most of the advice and NOTHING HAS HELPED.
So far I've:

1. manually looked at some common problems in the registry.

2. tried StartupCop, and went back to Startup Conrol Panel, either way it's the same info. Nothing out of the ordinary.

3. constantly run NAV, but did a full system scan just to be sure.

4. installed and run AdWare, which gave me some a suprising number of things to get rid of, but didn't solve this particular problem.

5. looked through the event log.

None of this solved my problem.  I appreciate the advice so far, and would be very grateful to anyone with new ideas, thanks.

Expert Comment

ID: 7191780
and the mentioned sfc /scannow did you try that also?

try to run msconfig and browse through to check for strange programs.

you may want to disable what you don't need to check if the problem is solved.

Expert Comment

ID: 7191803
sorry, msconfig doesn't exist in 2000 unfortunately, please disregard...

Expert Comment

ID: 7191838
He tried the Windows 2000 Version of MSCONFIG which is Startup Cop. A favorite here at EE. If you haven't used it yet, I suggest you try it!

Try probing your ports here to see if there is a Trojanb IRC Bot or something that is resident and hidden..


Expert Comment

ID: 7191852

but a good alternative to msconfig:
startup control panel

and they say you can use msconfig from xp or 98.
download here:

Accepted Solution

CyberWizard earned 400 total points
ID: 7191861
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article - Q101063
How to Enable a Warning Message During Windows Logon Welcome
The information in this article applies to:
Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional
Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.1
Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.1
Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server
Microsoft Windows 98
Microsoft Windows 95

IMPORTANT: This article contains information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For information about how to back up, restore, and edit the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Q256986 Description of the Microsoft Windows Registry
The logon dialog box that is displayed can be interpreted as an invitation to breach system security. The "Welcome" caption on the dialog box cannot be changed. However, you can enable a warning message dialog box to be displayed.
More Information
WARNING: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

Windows NT and Later
To enable a warning message to be displayed, make the following changes to the registry:
Start Registry Editor.
From the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE subtree, go to the following subkey:
SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
Add or modify the following values:
      Name                 Data Type   Value
      LegalNoticeCaption   REG_SZ      Dialog Caption
      LegalNoticeText      REG_SZ      Dialog Message
NOTE: This dialog box is presented to the user after they press CTRL+ALT+DEL and before the logon dialog box is presented.
Windows 95 and Windows 98
To enable a warning message, modify the following registry key:
The string values will appear on the logon banner.

"LegalNoticeCaption"="Important Notice:"
"LegalNoticeText"="No Unauthorized access allowed"
First Published: Jul 4 1993 12:00AM
Keywords: kbenv kbinfo 3.50 3.51 4.00 prodnt win98 legalnoticecaption  

Expert Comment

ID: 7191908
That I think will not go away until after you click OK...

Expert Comment

ID: 7191920
Before one even has a chance to enter user name and password, an blank dialog box pops up.  You can get rid of it by pressing OK, but it is annoying, takes a second, and is completely unnecessary.

so it sounds like this can be the problem...

Expert Comment

ID: 7191936
OH! I didn't even see that! There is a good possibility that IS it! Nice catch!

Expert Comment

ID: 7191944
hey, to be honest, I only checked the problem description when you mentioned the OK button :-)

Author Comment

ID: 7195428
Thanks for the Knowledgebase article CyberWizard, it seems like we're in the right area.  I appreciate the problem specific advice.

Now here's the problem:  the Knowledgebase article explains "How to Enable a Warning Message During Windows Logon Welcome", unfortunately I want to remove it.  Since both the dialog box and the registry keys were blank, I just deleted them, problem solved, right?  And... nothing! The problem is the same as before.  It really seems like this is the right area, but I don't see any other keys that say anything about the legal notice.

I'm not sure what to do now, but I'm so close I can taste it!  Sadly, I know next to nothing about editing the registry.  Ideas on what to try next would be great, whether or not they follow this line of thinking.  Any thoughts on how this might have happened? Maybe that will stir someone’s memory.

BTW, I just wanted to mention two things, if you had read my most recent comment (item #2), you'd notice that I already use Startup Control Panel and tried Startup Cop.  Also, I’m using Win2K, not XP.  I'm not trying to be a pain or anything; I just want to keep everyone up-to-date on what I've tried and what I haven't.

Thanks again, and good luck to all!

Expert Comment

ID: 8045755
There are 2 things that can cause the warning message to pop up.

A Local Security policy and the Winlogon.

If a local security policy is defined, it takes precedence over the WinLogon.

If you go to Local Security Policies and look under Local Policies\Security Options. The keys are called.

"Message text for users attempting to log on"
"Message title for users attempting to log on"

You can clear out the entry there or you can go to the following registry keys.


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