Mapping a network drive to a VAX/VMS directory

By Kevin Cole © 1999

Here in the Research Institute, we came up with an interesting problem: Several years ago, we set up some of our machines to connect to various VAX/VMS directories, using Windows' map network drive feature. The process was pretty simple and straightforward. It worked just like connecting to a shared directory on another Windows machine.

However, on newer computers running (we thought) the same operating system, we could not make the connections work. No matter what we typed for a password, the system complained that it was the wrong one. Obviously, Windows was "munging" the password before sending it.

It turns out that in newer releases of Windows 95 and in all releases of Windows 98, the security has been enhanced. The same is true if you upgrade Windows NT 4.0 by applying Service Pack 3. The default behaviour in the older machines was to send passwords unencrypted. Newer releases encrypt the password. Unfortunately, Gallaudet's VAX/VMS system doesn't deal well with encrypted passwords. They must arrive at the machine in plain text.

So, the "solution" such as it is, is to cripple Windows security by messing in the registry. WARNING: THIS IS DANGEROUS!!! PROCEED WITH CAUTION! If you mess up your registry, you've screwed yourself royally, and may wipe out lots of valuable work. In addition, if you do everything correctly, you've opened a potential security hole in your network. But if you're careful, you should be okay.

Here's what to do. (NOTE: The instructions cover Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0. The instructions for 95 and 98 are identical. NT 4.0 is a little different.)

  1. Click the [START] button on the task bar (usually located in the bottom left corner of your screen).
  2. Choose Run...
  3. Type REGEDIT, then click OK.
  4. Click Registry on the menu at the top of the new window.
  5. Click Export Registry File... to make a backup copy of your current file. Make a note of where the file is, and what new name you've given it. (I suggest a name using the current date in numeric form. For example, if I edited on June 1, 1999, I would use a name like 990601 with year then month then day. You may prefer a name that follows the US standard date format, putting the month first, then day then year: 060199.)
  6. In the window that opens, click on the plus symbols [+] to the left of the following folder icons (for Windows 95/98):


    On NT 4.0 systems use:


  7. Click on the VNETSUP or the Parameters folder icon.
  8. At this point, for Windows NT 4.0, you will probably see only one entry on the right:
    ab (Default) (value not set)
    On Windows 95/98, you should see something like the following on the right side of the window (without the comments in red):
    ab (Default) (value not set) Required.
    ab Comment "Your Name" Optional.
    ab ComputerName "PC????" Required. Usually something like PCHB1B.
    ab FileSharing "Yes" or "No" Required.
    ab LMAnnounce "0" Dunno.
    ab MaintainServerList "2" Dunno.
    0011 NetClean 01 Dunno.
    ab PrintSharing "Yes" or "No" Required.
    0011 Start 00 Dunno.
    ab StaticVxD "vnetsup.vxd" Required.
    ab Workgroup "Department" or "WORKGROUP" If you've setup your workgroup correctly, everyone in your department will have the same name here.
  9. Click Edit on the menu at the top of the window
  10. Click New
  11. Click DWORD Value You should see a new entry on the right:
    0011 New Value #1 0x00000000 (0)
  12. While the New Value #1 is still highlighted and surrounded by a box, type EnablePlainTextPassword EXACTLY as shown. (This should replace "New Value #1" with "EnablePlainTextPassword". Your screen may only show the first several letters of the new name -- e.g. "EnablePlainTe...")
  13. Click the RIGHT mouse button on the 0011 icon next to EnablePlainTextPassword and then click Modify in the menu that appears.
  14. Change the Value data to 1 (the number one, not lower-case L).
  15. Click OK
  16. Click Registry on the menu at the top of the window.
  17. Click Exit
  18. Reboot the machine by clicking on the [START] button on the task bar and choosing Shut Down..., Restart and OK.

If you've done everything correctly, you should now be able to map to your VAX/VMS directory using a path name of \\GALLUK\username, substituting a valid VAX username in place of username (Note: The double backslash at the start is required.)