Jun 29 2009

Removing Windows Media Player Icons

Category: WindowsTeknovis @ 19:21

I spent a lot of time over the weekend trying to resolve some very small, but very annoying, issues with my home computers. After many hours I resolved my issues, so I will document them here!

First let my briefly describe my setup. I have a Windows 2000 Server that I also log into locally to use as a workstation. I also have several Windows 2000 Workstations (some are desktops and some are laptops). All of these computers are setup identically, and I use roaming profiles to minimise my administration! It all works very well!

However, something that really annoyed me was that if I logged in and out of a workstation, and I subsequently logged in locally to the server, I would have Windows Media Player icons added to my desktop and my start menu. So what was causing these icons to constantly reappear?

The first thing I checked was the Add/Remove Programs setting in the Control Panel of each computer. These were not configured to show any icons on my desktops.

Next I checked to see if there was something in my Startup folder. Specifically, I checked the following two locations:

  • C:\Documents and Settings\Teknovis\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
  • C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

There was nothing unusual there, so next I checked the Registry. Usual disclaimer: Do not manipulate the Registry unless you are certain of what you are doing! In this case the following locations need to be checked:

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Runonce
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Runonce

There was nothing unusual in these either :(

In fairness, all of that was the easy part, and I did not expect it to yield any useful results. I thought it must be significant that the icons only reappeared when I logged in locally to the server. I searched the Internet extensively, but I could not find any solutions :(

So next I started searching for information about other Registry locations that cause applications to be executed when a user logs in to the computer. I found two such locations:

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components

Windows compares the contents of both of these to determine if it needs to install any additional software when a user logs in. This is described in detail in Active Setup and how to implement it and Active Setup and how to implement it. I then looked for references to Windows Media Player. The location HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components\>{22d6f312-b0f6-11d0-94ab-0080c74c7e95} caught my attention!

On my workstation it contained the following keys and values:

  • ComponentID="Windows Media Player"
  • Locale="*"
  • DontAsk=dword:00000002
  • Version="9,0,0,2980"
  • IsInstalled=dword:00000001
  • Stubpath="C:\WINNT\inf\unregmp2.exe /HideWMP"

On my server it contained the following keys and values:

  • DontAsk=dword:00000002
  • Version="9,0,0,2980"
  • IsInstalled=dword:00000000
  • Stubpath="C:\WINNT\inf\unregmp2.exe /ShowWMP"

So it was the last key and value that were causing my icons to reappear! I finally found the cause of the problem!

There are numerous solutions to resolve this, and some of these are described in the documents referenced above. However, the option I chose was to change the value of the IsInstalled key to dword:00000001. I can confirm that this solution works :)