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How to display computername and/or username on 2008 R2 desktop

Posted on 2010-09-02
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I'm accustomed to configuring the desktop My Computer icon to rename "Computer" to My %computername% or %username% on %computername% by editing the LocalizedString value under CLSID {20D0...}. I do that to give a user (or myself via RDP) an immediate look at the name of the computer to which he or she is connected. Real helpful to me for phone support or term server shadowing when I have a bunch of windows open.

With 2008 R2, the icon is removed by default, although there is a way to get the Computer icon back (http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Server/Windows_Server_2008/Q_24911315.html?sfQueryTermInfo=1+10+2008+30+comput+icon+my)

However, I can't figure out how to change that icon name as I could in the old days. I want to display %computername% and preferably %username% as well on the desktop. Doesn't have to be via renaming the Computer icon, but that worked well in the past.

Suggestions? Thanks.
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Question by:ovidbailey
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Assisted Solution

by:athomsfere
athomsfere earned 100 total points
ID: 33593431
Have you looked into BGInfo as well?

I would much prefer that, get name, IP, hardware, local users or whatever you want at a glance on your desktop.
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Accepted Solution

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shalabhsharma earned 300 total points
ID: 33593432
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 33593433
Alternative suggestion - use BGInfo from Microsoft/Mark Russinovich/SysInternals...http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897557.aspx
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Expert Comment

by:shalabhsharma
ID: 33593438
athomsfere: you beat me a part of millisec;)
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Expert Comment

by:Nuttycomputer
ID: 33593446
I suggest actually using BGInfo as you can display a lot more information. There is instructions from Microsoft Technet here:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897557.aspx


Additionally you should still be able to do it as follows in R2 but you'll need to change the owner of HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D} to the local administrators group.

1.  Open the Registry Editor.  Start > Run, type Regedit, press <enter>.
2.  Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}.
3.  Rename the LocalizedString value to LocalizedString.old to back it up.
4.  In the right hand pane, right Click > New > Expandable String Value (REG_EXPAND_SZ), and name it LocalizedString.
5.  Give the string this value: Computer %COMPUTERNAME%
6.  Close the Registry Editor.
7.  Right click your desktop and choose Refresh to see the new name for My Computer
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Expert Comment

by:helpnet
ID: 33593488
Another vote for BGinfo from me....
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Assisted Solution

by:helpnet
helpnet earned 100 total points
ID: 33593493
BGinfo may not work if you do not show wallpaper when you RDP though...  I suppose you could always include a login script that writes a file to the desktop with the username and or computer name.
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Expert Comment

by:andoss
ID: 33593827
I'd also recommend BGInfo, we use it for all users machines also.

When helpdesk personal connect they can installing see hostname,username,servicepack level etc.
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Author Comment

by:ovidbailey
ID: 33601405
Just a comment for NuttyComputer.
I know about the {20d0...} key in CLSID, but it seems to have no effect. If I type Desktop Icons into the search pane and choose "Show or Hide Common Icons on the Desktop", then select Computer, the icon displays. But editing 20d0 and then refreshing no longer changes the label as it did in the old days. Thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 33601556
AWWWWW... all three of us posted the exact same thing at the exact same time... even consecutive comments... Seems to me a question ever deserved an equal split, this was it!
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Author Comment

by:ovidbailey
ID: 33601931
Hmmm...good point. Didn't look at the times. I'll see what I can do. Liked the second reply since it had the link, as did yours. Gave points to helpnet because she addressed the remote desktop issue of disabling wallpapers. Thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 33602169
Don't worry... just expressing a little frustration.  TECHNICALLY, the first post to post is the one who should get the points and the others should only get points if they contributed something new... if I took a few too many seconds, so be it... my misfortune.

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Author Comment

by:ovidbailey
ID: 33713323
Update to my earlier comment re not being able to display %computername% in the icon label for My Computer. It's possible, but have to manually add yourself Full Control rights to that registry key in CLSID....
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Expert Comment

by:Nuttycomputer
ID: 33714011
ovidbailey,

Yes I stated this in my earlier response

"Additionally you should still be able to do it as follows in R2 but you'll need to change the owner of HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D} to the local administrators group."
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