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:
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]