The GUI makes it easier to do things interactively, but creates a gulf between this and automating such changes, and thus between "user" and "tech". It may have been harder to enter commands, but that was 80% of what you needed to know to write batch files - and from there, other programming languages beckoned.
This problem pervades end user management of Windows. What you learn about applying settings interactively, teaches you nothing about how to save and re-apply these settings to automate management.
So for every settings dialog box, I'd like to see an extra button, like this:
When the "Manage" button is clicked, it leads to this...
...which leads to this:
The types of file that can be saved include ANSI / ASCII as well as Unicode, so that such files are easier to read and paste into documentation. Permissions that restrict direct Regedit access would also apply to this interactive approach, in order to maintain consistent security for managed PCs.
I wish Microsoft would integrate this into every settings dialog - it would make life so much easier!
(C) Chris Quirke, all rights reserved; March 2005
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