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Custom Startup Help Tips
Windows NT and 95 provides the user with a tip of the day window when they logon. These help tips maybe useful to the very new user but most people switch them off after the first few logons.

As developers and IT professionals we can make use of this feature to provide improved tips, system messages and corporate information to the users.

The default messages provided by NT and 95 are stored in the registry, as are the controls for whether the tips should be displayed and which tip should be displayed.

We can use this feature by running a non visual process at startup time and altering the registry values to make the tips work to our advantage.

The tip textual values are store under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ Software\ Microsoft\ Windows\ CurrentVersion\ Explorer\ Tips. The values are stored as a sequence of numbers, each number relating to the tip sequence. These text strings can be altered to say what ever you want to say.

The control for the tips at startup is located under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ Software\ Microsoft\ Windows\ CurrentVersion\ Explorer\ Tips. There are three values of interest to use. The first DisplayInitialTipWindow controls whether the user has seen the tip window for the first time. This is useful because the first time the user sees the tips window they do not get the option to switch it off. Next up is the Next value, this tells the tip window which tips should be displayed next. Lastly the Show value controls weather the tip should be shown to the user when they logon, change the first byte to 01 to make the tip window display.

As we can see we can take over complete control of the tip system and use it for our own corporate purposes.


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Ken Howe 2011