Saturday, May 31, 2014

Modern.IE Tester VM Update

It’s been almost a year since I posted information about the free Internet Explorer | modern.IE VMs.

I’ve found them very helpful to have around.  The latest versions are updated through April 2014 so less patching to bring up to state if you refresh them.

Anyway, here are some new observations I’ve made recently.

A new Win 8.1 version is available.

The Win 8.1 version cannot be rearmed…however it is good for the same previous timeframe (in total) as you used to get original state + 2 rearms under Win 7; 90 days. Also, it actually provides a countdown indicator on the desktop letting you know how many days are remaining…so you can plan accordingly. That is a nice touch.

They are still offering a Windows XP version; even though the mainstream OS is “retired”.

Per my previous post and other documentation on the web, (for Win 7) you would simply open a command prompt (with admin-level privileges) and then type in “slmgr –rearm”.

Only when I tried that on a system, it kept tossing errors about it not being valid.

After a lot of trial and error I had to type it in as “slmgr /rearm” and then it took with the argument variable needing a “/” rather than a “-“.

I confess I’m stumped a bit as when I tried it on a different VM from the same build set, it worked just fine with the “-“.

This Technet guide Slmgr.vbs Options for Volume Activation does show usage with a “/” so the mystery remains. So if you have trouble with the “-rearm” working, try the “/rearm” pattern instead.

Also, my earlier post mentioned that if you want to use a “custom” user account, you can. Again, you just need to disable the “auto-login” feature for the accounts. Again, I’m sure all my dear readers know how to do that but if not…Tip: Auto-Login Your Windows 7 User Account | Cool Stuff | Channel 9 except in this case after first running “control userpasswords2”, for step 4 you want to “Check the option “User must enter a user name and password to use this computer.”

One other thing I noticed is that Microsoft is using the great Sysinternals tool BgInfo to generate system information and customize the wallpaper. You can manually personalize the wallpaper setting but once you reboot it is back to BgInfo.

I thought that running “Autoruns” would point out where the call was coming from at startup so I could disable it, but alas it didn’t quickly help.

It took a bit more exploring but here is the solution if you want to easily disable that behavior…at least in the Win 7 VM.

  • Go to C: and look for the “Wallpaper” folder.
  • Open it up and then find the “autologon” batch file.
  • Right click and select “Edit”.
  • You should see a single line there.
  • Add “REM: ” to the front of the existing line. That will keep it from executing when the batch file is called.
  • Save the file.
  • Now any custom wallpaper settings you make will be kept…at least until you have to rearm the temporary activation period. In that case you will get a black wallpaper, but you won’t have to redo the steps above again…just reset your wallpaper personalization settings.

If you really want to know where the actual “autorun” file call to the c:\wallpaper\autologon.bat file is coming from at boot, here you go.

It is in the Registry under the following location:

“HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Group Policy\Scripts\Logon\0\0”

Look for a key in that location called “Script” that has a value of “C:\Wallpaper\autologon.bat”

I suppose you could remove the string value as well in this Registry location as an alternative solution…REM’ing out the BAT file line seemed less dramatic and worked so I just went that solution.


--Claus Valca

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