HOW-TO: Install XP Powertoys on Windows Server 2003

For years I’ve used Windows Server 2003 and for years, I’ve been missing some of my favorite features from Windows Powertoys. The Image Resizer Powertoy is definitely one that came in really handy when I used XP. Unfortunately, anytime I tried to run it under 2k3, I would receive the message

The powertoys require Windows XP or a service pack. They will not function on a version of WIndows ealrier or later than Windows XP

Recently, when trying to extract MacBook drivers, I learned about InstallShield’s “/V /a” switch and I decided to try it on ImageResizerPowertoySetup.exe. I downloaded the file from the Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP webpage and saved it to my D: drive. I then ran D:\ImageResizerPowertoySetup.exe /V /a and extracted the contents to D:\temp. I saw that a folder called “system32” was created. I then moved the file phototoys.dll to C:\windows\system32 then went to Start -> Run -> regsvr32 phototoys.dll. Voila! “Resize Pictures” appeared in my right-click menu.

I assume that this technique will work for all or most other XP PowerToys.

Chrissy is a PowerShell MVP who has worked in IT for nearly 20 years, and currently serves as a Sr. Database Engineer in Belgium. Always an avid scripter, she attended the Monad session at Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles back in 2005 and has worked and played with PowerShell ever since. Chrissy is currently pursuing an MS in Systems Engineering at Regis University and helps maintain in her spare time. She holds a number of certifications, including those relating to SQL Server, SuSE Linux, SharePoint and network security. She recently became co-lead of the SQL PASS PowerShell Virtual Chapter. You can follow her on Twitter at @cl.

Posted in Windows
34 comments on “HOW-TO: Install XP Powertoys on Windows Server 2003
  1. Corey says:

    I use a trick with Compatibility mode.

    I just had a case where I needed to install etrust antivirus (corporate) on Vista and it was failing during the setup.

    You don’t have the option to change the compatibility mode on a MSI file directly, so what I do is just create a batch file that just contains “etrust antivirus.msi” and that’s it. You can then right click the batch file, go to properties and change the compatibly mode there, and the msi gets launched with the properties of the calling batch file.

    I use Win2003 at home too (so my girlfriend can use the machine during the day and I can remote in from work and work simultaneously) and I think I did something like this when I was installing powertoys and other desktop-y type stuff.

  2. Pierre says:

    It worked like charm….thanks for the tip

  3. Zack says:

    Amazing its works! for me too.

  4. Richard says:

    Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately none of these approaches work for me for installing the Command Prompt Here Powertoy (cmdhere.dll). The /V /a approach works initially, but the DLL register step fails (I believe the shell hooks are wrong). Using the batch file compatibility setting doesn’t have any effect–you still get the XP version warning.

    The only method I’ve found to install this powertoy under Windows Server 2003 is to go back and use the version from the Windows 95 Powertoys (DOSHERE.INF). Amazingly, this still works and is more or less available (Microsoft moves it occasionally) if you Google “Windows 95 Powertoys.”

  5. John says:

    Good stuff, I’ll be trying it with the other powertoys.

    Keep fighting the good fight… err, something.

  6. John says:

    Oh ya, and nice pirate flag. :P

  7. Dan says:

    Why don’t you just download the Windows Server 2003 resource kit from Microsoft? It contains the Command Here utility and installs without any issues in Server 2003.

  8. I tried this in Vista and though it said the DLL registered, the resize picture stuff didn’t show up. :( Anybody got a hack for Vista?

    As somewhat of an aside, if Vista sales continue to be less than stellar, maybe we’ll see some opening up of code. IE goes open perhaps? That won’t help with this issue, but I think Microsoft is feeling some pressure and it’s going to have to give soon. I think it’ll happen sooner rather than later if they’re smart! I know at work we aren’t planning to go to Vista for another year. I’ve been the only one using it at work and got feed up with it and made a Ghost image. I can a nice, new Gigabit card though, that I’m going to play with before going back to XP though.

  9. Mark Wilson says:

    Thank YOU!

  10. P.N. says:

    The options /V /a are not accepted by my Windows Server 2003 SP2 machine.

  11. J.C. says:

    I tried all the above methods on the Virtual Desktop Manager Powertoy as well to no avail. It extracts to an MSI, which I then called from a bat file which had the compatability mode changed to Windows XP. I still got the error message. There is some similar freeware out there but I would rather it be the same across machines if possible as I usually dual-quad boot everything depending on the purpose of the environment I setup. Any other ideas?

  12. Matt says:

    Thanks, the powertoy I missed the most was the Alt-Tab replacement. Using the /V /a it unpacks in the same way but leaves you with a .exe, which you just run. Brilliant!! Thanks again.

  13. Justin says:

    I tried this, appeared to work just fine, no errors or anything (extracting the system 32 file etc). The resize option appears when I right click, but nothing happens, no error or anything… I am going to try rebooting…

  14. NetworksIP says:

    Works Perfect for me, thank you

  15. Mark says:

    I installed the server resource kit but the command line here functionality is still missing. Do I have to manually install the .inf file? If so, where is it stored?

  16. romans says:

    Worked wonderfully! No more mstsc to an XP box to resize peoples 11 Megapixal images of after hour drinking.

  17. Emmuel says:

    That works of Virtual Desktop~ THX for share

  18. rexhunt says:

    you need to right click on cmdhere.inf file nad select install. Now ju will have “CMD Here” option on right click menu :-)

  19. John says:

    Thanks.It works.

  20. peter says:

    Has anyone tried this on Windows Server 2008 yet??

  21. Prabodh says:

    Thanks for the wonderful tip … :) It worked.

  22. Gurl, you rock, i’ve been trying to use toys on 2k3 fr a long time.
    you deserve a real good kiss on the cheek*

  23. Eric Nguyen says:

    Peter, I’ve tried this on Server 2008 and it does not work, unfortunately :(

  24. ScottyS says:

    Just worked great on the latest W2K3. Awesome, master Curly!

  25. Geoffroy says:

    Thanks Chrissy! And thanks to all the comment contributors! That was really helpful!

  26. MAQ Khan says:

    Worked for me toooo… This is a gr8 post

    I installed the Alt-Tab Replacement utility, however it didn’t yield any dll, rather an exe that i ran and it worked just fine. However after restart it was gone, so i have to run the exe every for every ew session :D

  27. isaak says:

    awesome, thank you very much for sharing it (it works for me resizepictures)

  28. clayton says:

    great work . worked well
    and btw your are hot in your little tie .

  29. Sam Prince says:

    Thanks for this tip!

    After extracting the DLL file I copied it to a network share along with a batch file containing the following:

    copy “%~dp0phototoys.dll” “%windir%\system32\phototoys.dll”
    regsvr32 “%windir%\system32\phototoys.dll”

    Now I can install the image resizer on any PC with just a double-click! Woo!

  30. Hi5 Paval says:

    Easy 3 step registry trick for CMD here… works on almost all windows:

    1. copy and paste the following into notepad & save it as “cmd-here.reg”

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    @=”C:\\WINDOWS\\system32\\cmd.exe /K cd \”%1\””

    2. run regedit and import “cmd-here.reg”

    3. right click any folder and click CMD here… to open cmd prompt.

    for XP try changing the version from 5.00 to 4.00

  31. Austin says:

    Awesome, you rock!

  32. Costin says:

    OMG, it really worked. (win 2k3 R2 Sp2). Thanks very much for this trick. I just happend to need this powertool, downloaded the XP version and it didn’t work. But with your help everything is ok now :D

  33. Micelf Atwork says:

    Wish that there were TweakUI and/or other GUI responses to tweak the Windows 2008 servers

  34. Andree says:

    great man, i was looking for this

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