The hacks of yesterday become the workarounds of today when corroborated by the features of tomorrow

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/09/02 10:01 -04:00, original URI:

So the question that came in was along the following lines:

We have Windows Server 2003 installed with Turkish regional settings. I have to change it to English US.

But if we do it through the

    Control Panel -> Regional and Language Options -> Advanced Settings

option only the logged on profile and new profiles created later (Default User) are affected by the change.

Unfortunately we have to change the settings for the "Network Service" profile, as well. I was able to accomplish the change to the "Network Service" profile by importing the registry from the changed user

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\International

And copy everything under it to

    HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-20\Control Panel\International

This action looks like it solves the problem but I’m not sure if it’s a supported action.

So I would appreciate if someone can answer the following questions:

    - Is the mentioned action enough to change the Regional Settings for a profile?
    - Is it a supported way to do from PSS perspective?
    - Are there other methods to change the RLO settings for the "Network Service" and "Local Service" profiles?
    - Or do we have to reinstall the OS?

Now the setting in question, the famous "Apply all settings to the current user account and to the default user profile" has a strange and tortuous history.

In NT4 and Windows 2000, the feature did not exist.

But the operation, and more specifically the need to update the settings of

has existed for quite some time. The settings live in specific places, such as under the above mentioned S-1-5-20 subkey in the registry for NetworkService. So the instructions how to change the settings has been out there for some time.

Now starting in XP and Server 2003 the ability to have some settings applied automatically to:

happened, via a section at the bottom of the Advanced tab of Regional and Language Options:

This helped solve lots of random problems that would crop up like adding a keyboard layout but not seeing it on the login screen (ref: here), or changing the user interface language but having some services return information in the old language you thought you had switched out of.

Though there is a problem with features that are basically architected bug fixes, and that is that they aren't really features; they are bug fixes, and they often don't address the wider issues like applying changes beyond the ones that someone points to in a bug report.

Especially when they are "bolt-on" changes like updating the MUI settings of service accounts.

Now Vista actually handles this more like an actual feature and explicitly talks about copying everything to several places:

Now of course the original question is about Server 2003,

So fascinating information about the features of versions that a person does not have may be fascinating marketization opportunities in the hands of the Sales folks, but for everyone else it is somewhere between a good answer on a geek Trivial Pursuit game and a blatant marketing slime move, so let's get back to the original inquiry. :-)

Luckily, these accounts are very local to the system so the roaming profile issue is not so much to worry about. So the main question about whether it is safe to change those registry settings is kind of answred -- it is essentially the way this happens officially, so as long as it is done carefully and properly (and with all of the PSS warnings about modifying the registry in mind!), then that will be fine.

Though the fact that the product has finally been able to start doing this right is a good sign when one is looking at the future (and it really doesn't make sense to do it the registry hack way on the newer platforms since who knows what the future holds -- but stick to the older versions and you will be on pretty solid ground!).


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referenced by

2008/11/13 On reverting unexplained spontaneous alteration of language

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