How to Specify a Different Shell Per User

Last reviewed: November 27, 1998
Article ID: (e)000002

The information in this article applies to:

  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation version 4.0
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server version 4.0

IMPORTANT: This article contains information about editing the registry. Before you edit the registry, make sure you understand how to restore it if a problem occurs. For information about how to do this, view the "Restoring the Registry" Help topic in Regedit.exe or the "Restoring a Registry Key" Help topic in Regedt32.exe.

SUMMARY

This article explains how to specify a different shell per user under Windows NT when explorer is not necessarily the shell in question. The work-around provided is necessary due to a problem in explorer.exe as documented in (e)000001.

MORE INFORMATION

To Specify a Different Shell Per User

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. (e) cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys And Values" Help topic in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) or the "Add and Delete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" Help topics in Regedt32.exe. Note that you should back up the registry before you edit it.

  1. Start Registry Editor (Regedit.exe or Regedt32.exe).
  2. Select the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key.
  3. Navigate to the following location under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key:
  4. Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\IniFileMapping\system.ini\boot

    You see a string entry called 'Shell' which should have the following value: SYS:Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon. Select this entry.

  5. When you have the 'Shell' entry selected, edit the string value and replace the characters 'SYS:' with 'USR:Software\'. The entry should now look like this: USR:Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon.
  6. Navigate to the following location under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER key:
  7. Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
    
    Look for a string entry called 'Shell'. If it is not there, create a string entry and name it 'Shell'.
  8. Set the value of this entry to the name and location of your shell. For example: If you are using the wonderful alternative to Microsoft's shell: LiteStep, the shell entry may look like this, "C:\LiteStep\LiteStep.exe".
  9. Quit Registry Editor and restart your machine.

When your machine has restarted and you log on again, the shell that is loaded will be the one specified in the Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon section of HKEY_CURRENT_USER.


Version : WINDOWS:4.0
Platform : WINDOWS
Issue type : (e)howto
Solution Type : Info_Provided


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Last reviewed: November 27, 1998
© 1998 (e) Stuff. All rights reserved.