Microsoft KB Archive/103865

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Article ID: 103865

Article Last Modified on 11/1/2006


  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.1

This article was previously published under Q103865

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious, system-wide problems that may require you to reinstall Windows NT to correct them. Microsoft cannot guarantee that any problems resulting from the use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use this tool at your own risk.


When a shell other than Program Manager (PROGMAN.EXE) is being used, the run and load entries in the registry might be ignored.


A common way to run or load applications at startup in Windows 3.x is to add the filename to the load= or run= line in the WIN.INI file. Windows NT translates these entries to the following registry key and values:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows
  load: REG_SZ
  run: REG_SZ

They operate exactly the same as in Windows 3.0 and 3.1 as long as Program Manager is used as the shell; however, if a replacement for Program Manager is specified in

   \CurrentVersion\Winlogon - Shell

any programs set to load automatically (through the load value, run value, or the Startup group) when Windows NT is started, it will not load unless the third-party shell is written to search for such values.

Steps to Reproduce Problem

  1. Start Registry Editor, REGEDT32.EXE.
  2. Select HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT \CurrentVersion\Windows.
  3. In the Value window, double-click Load to open String Editor.
  4. Type the following and then press ENTER:


    Choose OK.
  5. Quit Registry Editor and log off from Windows NT.
  6. Log on as the same user and notice that Clock appears in the lower-left corner.
  7. Start Registry Editor again.
  8. Select HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\ CurrentVersion\Winlogon.
  9. In the Value window, double-click Shell to open String Editor.
  10. Type the following and then press ENTER:


    Choose OK.
  11. Quit Registry Editor and log off from Windows NT.

Logon as the same user and notice that File Manager comes up as the shell, but Clock does not appear.

To return the system to its previous state, repeat steps 1-4 and 8-11, removing "clock" on step 4 and entering "progman,wowexec" in step 10.

Additional query words: prodnt third party 3rdparty

Keywords: kb3rdparty KB103865