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Hiding the GUID Appended to Folder Names without Affecting Other Files

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip
By Roger Sanders

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Posted: 29 Dec 2005
 

PROBLEM: As outlined in TID 10070115, when using ZENworks Application Explorer in Windows XP with "Hide protected operating system files" turned off in Explorer, folders created by ZENworks Application Explorer in the start menu will appear with a GUID appended to the folder name. A folder which is supposed to appear as "Utilities," for example, may appear as "Utilities.{763370C4-268E-4308-A60C-D8DA0342BE32}".

Novell asserts in TID 10070115 that this behaviour cannot be corrected by any change in Application Explorer, and the only way to correct it is to disable the "Hide protected operating system files" option. However, this solution may not be suitable for users who want other files affected by this change to remain visible.

There is, in fact, a simple and elegant solution to this problem, that will allow the GUID appended to the folder names to remain hidden, without relying on external changes that affect the visibility of other files. This change can be incorporated into future versions of ZENworks Desktop Management. In the interim, the issue can be corrected by a simple registry modification, which is described in the solution section below. The following technical section is provided for the benefit of those who may wish to know more about the cause of this problem.

Technical:

A GUID has always been appended to the name of folders created by ZENworks Application Explorer, however in previous versions of Windows, this component of the name was always hidden from the user. This trailing data is a CLSID (Class Identifier), and refers to an entry in the registry under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID. This entry defines a Shell Extension Handler for Windows, which extends the behaviour of Explorer to allow NAL folders to display links to NAL apps and for custom actions to be performed. The use of this identifier as an extension on folders created by Application Explorer is the means by which a given folder is linked to the custom content provided through ZENworks. As such, it must remain a part of the file name. ZENworks Desktop Management had been relying on the implied hiding of these extensions from the user, however XP no longer hides these extensions from the user under all circumstances. The solution is to tell Windows explicitly to always hide this perticular file extension.

Windows allows certain file extensions to be hidden from the user at all times, even with all provided options set to show hidden files and file extensions. The best example of this is shortcut files, which have an "lnk" extension. These extensions are hidden by the addition of an empty string with the name "NeverShowExt" under the file class in the registry. The same method can be used to hide the CLSID extension on folders that Application Explorer creates.

Solution:

The solution to this problem involves adding a single registry entry, which tells Windows to always hide the extension of folders created by ZENworks Application Explorer. The required key differs between ZfD 4 and ZfD 6.5. They are as follows:

ZENworks for Desktops 4:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{763370C4-268E-4308-A60C-D8DA0342BE32}

ZENworks Desktop Management Agent 6.5:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{CF8EF420-3DF3-11d0-AC35-00C04FD9338A}

There may be other variations with older or newer versions. Confirm the GUID in the path matches that which is appearing at the end of your folder names. Under this location, create a new empty string (REG_SZ) value with the name "NeverShowExt". This will prevent the extension from appearing. You'll have to restart Windows (or terminate and re-launch explorer.exe) for this setting to take effect.

EXAMPLE: The following example is the contents of a registry import file (.reg) that hides the extension on folder names created by ZENworks Application Explorer versions 4 and 6.5.

REGEDIT4

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{763370C4-268E-4308-A60C-D8DA0342BE32}]
"NeverShowExt"=""

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{CF8EF420-3DF3-11d0-AC35-00C04FD9338A}]
"NeverShowExt"=""

If you have any questions you may contact Roger at sanders_roger@hotmail.com


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