Netgear WG111 Disables Fast User Switching (aka the RtlGina2.dll issue)

One of my users dropped off a WinXP desktop on my desk today, telling me that all his user accounts are gone and, the welcome screen is missing. Bit perplexed I hooked it up to a nearby monitor half expecting to face some odd registry corruption issue. Luckily I do have a Knoppix SDT with that nifty windows password blanking script in my bag. What I found however was even weirder. I was greeted with the “classic” windows logon (ie. the one where you actually have to type in the username and password).

I was able to successfully log in using the correct username and password which ruled out some registry hiccup. So I went straight to Control Panel, determined to switch on the fast user switching and the welcome screen via the Users applet. Unfortunately as soon as I clicked on the right option I got the following message:

A recently installed program has disabled the welcome screen and fast user switching. To restore these features you must uninstall the program. The following filename might help you identify the program that made the change: RtlGina2.dll.

Trojan? No, not really. Apparently RtlGina2.dll belongs to the Netgear WG111 network card driver installation package. For some unknown reason it replaces the default windows graphical logon MSGINA.dll with it’s own implementation, effectively disabling the nice logon features of windows XP.

Excuse me Netgear, but what the fuck are you doing? How the hell do you justify modifying the way user’s system logs in when all you are doing is installing networking drivers? Actually, fuck that. I don’t want to know. It’s unacceptable. There is no way in hell you could justify this sort of invasive bullshit to me. I’m going to advise all my users against your shitty products from now on.

How to fix this mess? It’s relatively simple. You just need to dive into registry and remove the references to RtlGina2.dll – most importantly from:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER/SOFTWARE/MICROSOFT/WINDOWSNT/WINLOGON

Or, if you are lazy you can grab a tool designed especially for this problem. It was written by Doug Knox who is an MVP, and a Microsoft Expert Zone Associate Expert (oh, hey, redundant redundancy!). Apparently he is to busy writing registry hacks to actually update his circa 1991 website layout and design, which initially made me suspicious of his legitimacy. But his credentials do check out and the tool works (I tested it), so feel free to use it. All you need to do is download it, and run it and it does the rest.

[tags]netgear wg111, netgear, windows logon, winlogon, rtlgina2.dll, msgina.dll, mvp, microsoft expert zone, windows xp, winxp[/tags]

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11 Responses to Netgear WG111 Disables Fast User Switching (aka the RtlGina2.dll issue)

  1. Zack Sloane UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    wow…that’s impressive. Sounds like that could spawn a lawsuit for Netgear. That’s pretty much beyond stupid…

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  2. Adam Dempsey UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    That seem’s ridiulous! Why would networking drivers even need to touch that file?

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  3. Jenn UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Apparently he is to busy writing registry hacks to actually update his circa 1991 website layout and design…

    BURN!!

    Reply  |  Quote
  4. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    What in hell?! That’s disgraceful.. shameful.. downright evil!

    I’m referring of course to the “circa-1991″ design :P

    (The Netgear thing is even worse)

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  5. Dax UNITED STATES Opera Windows says:

    This “bug” is a total pain in the ass. I ran into the exact same thing when I did a clean install on my computer a few months ago.

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  6. Jake UNITED STATES Konqueror Linux says:

    Well, to Netgear’s credit, the WG111 works better in ndiswrapper than any other network card I’ve tried… in fact it’s on a commonly used machine around the house. No problems.

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  7. vacri AUSTRALIA Mozilla Firefox Debian GNU/Linux says:

    Wouldn’t it be more to Netgear’s credit if the WG111 didn’t need ndiswrapper?

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  8. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I might be wrong, but I think if you only install the driver (when prompted by the Add New Hardware wizard) you won’t encounter this issue. I think it happens when you install their wireless manager suite.

    But yeah, it’s sad when a card works better with ndiswrapper than under winxp. It’s even sadder than the card requires nidiswrapper at all, but which one doesn’t these days.

    Sigh… You can make 3 lists of Wifi cards: those which work natively under linux, those which work with ndiswrapper, and those which do not work at all. The first list is sadly the shortest one. :(

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  9. Jake UNITED STATES Konqueror Linux says:

    @vacri: Just pointing out that the card seems to work better in ndiswrapper than XP, as Luke said.

    @Luke: Actually, most of the cards in my house have drivers. Three computers have drivers included with Ubuntu that work out of the box (a Netgear PC Card, Atheros, and Linksis). Mine is a Broadcom that has to be downloaded via ethernet with the restricted device manager, but that’s no big deal. None of these cards were purchased for Linux compatibility either. :)

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  10. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    @Jake – heh, maybe it’s just me then. Most cards I own require ndiswrapper to some degree. :(

    Reply  |  Quote
  11. ValetGuy UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Thanks for the post. It saved my life.

    Reply  |  Quote

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