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Running NAL app as Secure System User or Unsecure System User on Windows XP

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Roger Nelson

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Posted: 21 Mar 2003

Unlike Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000, Windows XP does not seem to "inherit" the logged-in user's drive mappings. It prefers to use UNC pointers to install folder(s) on the server. This is problematic, at best, in a LAN/WAN environment: the goal is to keep our users traffic local to their closest server and not traverse slow links.

Creating multiple versions of the same application with different UNCs is also not an option since it quickly increases the number of NAL apps we are already managing (900+).

SOLUTION: Add two system environment variables to every Windows NT/2K/XP system that contain the server name and volume of the user's closest application installl server. In NAL application, choose Run as Secure System User or Run as Unsecure System User. Use the following convention for path to application install:

Path to executable

Working directory

When a user clicks on a NAL application that utilizes Run as Secure System User or Run as Unsecure System User, the system user reads the APPSRV and APPVOL from the system environment in registry and substitutes these values for %APPSRV% and %APPVOL%, respectively.

EXAMPLE: Create NAL applications that push two Windows NT/2K/XP environment variables as string values to HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\SessionManager\Environment


Associate each NAL object as Force Run, Run Once application with the corresponding User container or group. The registry change will be forced down the next time NAL is refreshed. If the user switches contexts, the NAL object associated with his/her new context will run once and distribute the new registry values.

If you have any questions you may contact Roger at

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