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Windows 2000 - Local User Account Setup

Posted on 2004-04-03
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Last Modified: 2010-04-13
Lets see here.....

I'll be simple.

I'm an online gamer. I have a ton of applications I run in the background, for normal computer use. Ofcourse, when I want to game, all these applications aren't my best friend, as they do tend to take up valuable resources, which can ofcourse affect the gaming experience. (processor usage, etc)

So basically what i'd like to have, is some sort of "game mode", that uses the absolute minimal resources needed, that I can log into. Basically, a "safe mode" if you will, but ofcourse a mode that will allow gameplay, with just no un-necessary applications in the background, no startup files (firewall, email checker, icq, etc), simple desktop, with just the game shortcuts etc. This way, I wont have to close applications one by one. Ofcourse, all this WITHOUT affecting the administrator account, for when I log back in.

I'm wondering exactly how I could do this, with Windows 2000, and the user accounts option. I am ofcourse administrator, so I can setup everything that is needed.

Thanks
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Question by:techempire
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Assisted Solution

by:Debsyl99
Debsyl99 earned 250 total points
ID: 10748978
Hi
 You should be able to create another account in users and passwords from control panel called gaming etc, also with admin rights. Log in to this and then use the utility below to disable all but the necessary start-up items. This should be "remembered" in your gaming profile and enable you to get on with having fun without having to amend the system first.

Description of Msconfig
http://netsquirrel.com/msconfig/

Download MSConfig (At bottom of page)
http://www.thetechguide.com/downloads.html

Deb :))
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Author Comment

by:techempire
ID: 10749054
well see, thats the problem.

When I create the gaming account with full admin rights, log into it, and change the startup settings in msconfig, it ALSO affects my "MAIN" adminstrator account, which I dont want.  So if I say, disable icq on startup for user "gamer", when I log into the main admin account, its also is disabled.
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by:
The_Master_Chief earned 250 total points
ID: 10749080
go to command prompt and type "net start"

it will list a lot of services that are running that you may not need.
create a batch file with entries such as

net stop "service name"
net stop "service name"
net stop "service name"
exit

do that for all of the services that you wan to stop and that will free up some resources.
They wil all be back when you reboot.

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by:The_Master_Chief
ID: 10749096
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Author Comment

by:techempire
ID: 10749194
I really just want to prevent these 10 or so applications from starting up, and to avoid stopping system services. Surely there's a simple config file I can alter that applies to only that "gaming" user account and that is fully automated on log in.

I find it hard to believe that windows provides user accounts, but doesnt have any simple startup configuration for each user.
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Expert Comment

by:The_Master_Chief
ID: 10749256
Newsflash:
Windows isn't custom tailored for gamers.  

There proably is an application that does that for you.  I haven't seen it yet, so if you know anything about programming, you could probably write your own program that does just that.  If you don't know anything about programming, you might want to create a workaround.  One would be that batch file.  It is not hard to stop system services nor is it a pain in the butt.  Create a simple batch file, save it to your desktop, you can even create a batch file that restarts those stopped services I.E net start "service name"  save bnoth batch files to your desktop and when you want to play a game, run the batch file corresponding to the net stops and when you are done, simply run the other batch file.  It doesn't get much easier than that.

The other sugestion "msconfig" is also a very simple tool to use and it's not like you can't undo the changes.
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Author Comment

by:techempire
ID: 10749357
oh c'mon, the usefulness for this feature would go far beyond any use to gamers. Its not just about removing programs, but more importantly the reverse, adding programs. Allowing all users with admin rights  to use their own personalized setup.  User A needs progam Z to run at all times, User B, always needs program Y to run at all times. Having to manually select them for each login is just, well, too amateur for an OS with such capabilities. I just find it hard to believe its not automated and implemented in windows.

I know there's scripts out the yinyang that customize to this, I just can't swallow the fact microsoft didn't implement this feature into the os, and that users have to take a deeper route to achieve it.
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Expert Comment

by:The_Master_Chief
ID: 10749402
You can create mandatory profiles and you can also control users via GPO but are you running a server/Domain?  Or are you running a standalone Win 2K pro box?
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Author Comment

by:techempire
ID: 10749421
standalone box
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by:The_Master_Chief
ID: 10749430
What you could try is go into computer management>Users>go to the properties of the user you want to lock down.  Then go to profile and type in a profile path for this user.  Log in as this user and customize it the way you want.  when you log off, it should save you profile settings to that location.  Next time you log in with that account it will pull the profile from that location.  That may help a bit.  It would be a lot easier with GPO though.
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by:The_Master_Chief
ID: 10749441
This may also help, though I don't know if you can customize it per user.

http://1000files.com/Utilities/Launchers/Absolute_StartUp_3270_Review.html
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by:The_Master_Chief
ID: 10749445
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by:techempire
ID: 10749561
well, the profile settings is just like documents and settings, just a diff location, and unfortunately didnt save the bootup configs. I am looking at the login script feature, which I beleive would do the job, but not too important.

i tell you waht, if you can help me find an application that allows me to easily shutdown/disable a selected list of running applications all at once, that would be of great help. Kind of like taskmanager.
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by:The_Master_Chief
ID: 10749629
I think I have one
let me check it out real quick and get back to you
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Expert Comment

by:Debsyl99
ID: 10749635
Hi techempire

Have a look at what you have in here:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

You could remove the contents to a separate folder for backup (apart from the desktop.ini), and add them to the non-gaming profiles equivalent folder. This way they won't apply to all users, just the ones that you want (ie the ones you put them in)

P.s I've tested this in XP without mishap but as they are only shortcuts there shouldn't be a problem. This should help with at least some of your startup programs.

In terms of the rest of the running programs that this doesn't catch, as has been said, you could just use a batch file on the desktop that you can double click in order to stop these processes. All we need to do is identify them so we can write a batch file to stop them.

Deb :))

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by:The_Master_Chief
ID: 10749658
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by:The_Master_Chief
ID: 10749674
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by:The_Master_Chief
ID: 10749678
Whoops!

disregard that last post unless you are runnin OS/2
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by:Debsyl99
ID: 10749687
lol ;-) we've all done it!
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Author Comment

by:techempire
ID: 10749730
:)

whew, im googl'ed out.

Chief, thanks for the links.

Is it possible to write a batch file that can close applications running in the taskbar, and not just services?
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by:The_Master_Chief
ID: 10749776
Probably, but I don't know how to do that yet...
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Expert Comment

by:Debsyl99
ID: 10749927
Hi
Yes it is possible, we just need to identify them - you'll need to identify the services that are running when you have a non-gaming config, as opposed to a gaming config. Start up as normal (but have a go at what I suggested earlier to remove some of the startup programs). Then click on control panel - admin tools - services. Note the service names that are'nt running any longer in the gamin config, that WERE started in the non-gaming config. Double clicking gives the path to the executable and it's the name of the executable that we need to write our batch file. Post the results and we can tell you how to write the batch file to stop them.

Deb :))
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Author Comment

by:techempire
ID: 10750236
alright, well here's some good input

I had some shortcuts in the "All Users" /startup folder that were launching several appz for ALL accounts. I removed all of em, and moved them to ONLY my main account. That cleared up the appz loading in my "gaming" acct. Some appz we're set to run in msconfig. So I just opened the appz, set "do not start with windows", and actually just created a shortcut in the mainacct/startup folder.

Anyway that being said, I no longer have any applications running in taskbar under the "gaming acct". So thats good. Now I ofcourse just have the few "hidden appz" that you can see in task manager. One for example is norton.

Now if I can get a batch file to just stop the unnecessary services, as well as a the select 5 or so appz running in the background, I think i'll be good to go!

Below is the path to two services id like to terminate by batch file. There are ofcourse more.

C:\Program Files\Norton AntiVirus\navapsvc.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\spoolsv.exe
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by:The_Master_Chief
ID: 10750595
This is a great link for you.  this will tell you what is safe to stop and exactly how to create the batch files that you want.

http://www.tweakxp.com/tweak1927.aspx

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Author Comment

by:techempire
ID: 10750602
alright

well, after lots of playing around I finally got it all setup just nice.

With stopping services, total free ram is abou 60MB.
With stopping just applications, total free ram is about 25MB

Totalling 85MB and could get a bit more. This ofcourse, doesnt include the benefits of free'd up processor usage.

Gaming has always ran fair on the MAIN acct. But its real nice to know there are no real appz in the background to use up the processor in the "gaming" acct and that I still have more options such as net stop to clean things up even more.

I decided to split the points since both of you did provide info which let me to this point. (though I know Chief put a little more work into it cuz he found links/apps I couldnt find :) ) Nonetheless, both informative and helpful!

I appreciate all the help! Thanks again.
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by:The_Master_Chief
ID: 10750605
I also do a bit of gaming myself.  You should also download a RAM cleaner.  run it right before you start playing, then when you stop your services just kill that program also.  That way you will start playing with your RAM as optimized as possible.

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Author Comment

by:techempire
ID: 10750608
heh, yeah chief thats the exact link i used to setup the batch file.

Unfortunately the connection does drop after stopping, and I added/removed services one by one, and still havent pinpointed which one is causing the drop!
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Author Comment

by:techempire
ID: 10750610
yeah I think im going to setup some "ram/processer" stats on the desktop as well for the "gaming" acct
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Expert Comment

by:The_Master_Chief
ID: 10750612
If you want to play online, do NOT end these processes:

DHCP Client
DNS Client
Network Connections
Remote Access Connection Manager
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Expert Comment

by:The_Master_Chief
ID: 10750625
You can stop more services than that page tells about.  You may have more services running than the author of that article did.  

just go to a command promt
start>run>type "cmd"

type "net start" then hit enter and it will list services that are running on your machine.

each of them can be stopped by the net stop command.
Choose which ones can be stopped and add them to the batch files.

Or if you have queations, tell us what services are running and we will tell you if they are safe to stop.
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Author Comment

by:techempire
ID: 10750711
"Remote Access Connection Manager" was the culprit, thanks for that.

I added a couple other services to be removed that I know I didnt need. Compared to the main acct, 29MB gained without the batch, 49 with the batch. Not too bad. Thats without a ram optimizer.

EItherway, it should be sufficient. Like i said its all, already sufficient on the main acct, should be a bit nicer though on the gaming acct.

Now if I could just find the trick to switch between user accts, without having to actually login ;)
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Expert Comment

by:The_Master_Chief
ID: 10750763
you could enable fast user switching but that would defeat your purpose as you would have 2 sessions logged on at the same time, eating up system resources.
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