Hidden Wonders of Windows Registry...

Disclaimer: Modifying the registry can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. I cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of the registry can be solved. Use the information provided at your own risk.

How to get into the registry...

Click on Start/Run
Type regedit
Click on OK

How to Search for something in the registry...

Click on Edit/Find
Type the word to search for
Check Keys, Values, Data
Click on Next.

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Use Windows Update Without Registering (Windows 98)

Windows Update is a handy feature of Windows 98, having to register your personal details before being able to use it isn't as good! With this tip you can bypass the registration process.

Open your registry and find the key below.

Create a new string value called 'RegDone', or modify the exisiting value, to equal '1'.

Check that the key
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Welcome\RegWiz]
exists, if it doesn't then create a new key.

Next time you run Windows Update it shouldn't ask you to complete the registration process.

Registry Settings:
Key: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion]
Value Name: RegDone
Data Type: REG_SZ (String Value)
Data: (0 = disabled, 1 = enabled)

Disclaimer: Modifying the registry can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. I cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of the registry can be solved. Use the information provided at your own risk.

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Add an Expanding Control Panel to Start Menu (Windows 9x and NT)

Want easy access to the Control Panel options? With this tip you can add an expanding Control Panel folder to the start menu. This trick will work with most special folders too.

The first step is find the system ID of the folder you want to add, these ID's can be found under the
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID] key.
The Control Panel's key is called
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}]
and the ID is the last set of number after CLSID, in this case
'{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}'.

Once you've found the ID the hard work is done, now all you need to do is right-click on the Start button and chose open.

Now create a new folder with the name of the folder followed by a dot and the folder ID. For Control Panel create a new folder called 'Control Panel.
{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}'.
The new folder should now change into the Control Panel logo. Close the explorer window and click on the Start button, and there should now be a new expanding folder for the Control Panel.

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Creating Program Aliases in Windows (Windows 9x and NT)

A hidden feature in the Windows registry allows you to create program aliases. Allowing you to create, for example, an alias called JBLOGGS.EXE that when executed actually runs another program, e.g. NOTEPAD.EXE

  1. Open your registry and find the key below. Under it should be a number of sub-keys.
  2. To create a new alias create a sub-key, and call it the name of the alias you wish to create (e.g. 'JBLOGGS.EXE').
  3. Modify the (default) value of the sub-key to equal the fully qualified path and filename of the application you want to be launched when you execute the alias (e.g. 'c:\windows\notepad.exe').
  4. Exit Regedit, and to test use the Start | Run command type in the name of your alias (i.e. 'JBLOGGS.EXE') and the aliased program should be launched, in this case Notepad.

Registry Settings:
Key: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths]
Value Name: (Default)
Data Type: REG_SZ (String Value)
Data: Fully Qualified File Name (e.g. c:\windows\notepad.exe)

Disclaimer: Modifying the registry can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. I cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of the registry can be solved. Use the information provided at your own risk.

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Change the Position of the Desktop Wallpaper (Windows 9x and NT)

Unfortunately Windows only gives you the limited options of center or tile for the placement of the desktop wallpaper. With this setting you can move the image anyway on your desktop.

Open your registry and find the key below.

Create two new string values of 'Wallpaperoriginx' and 'Wallpaperoriginy'. If the values already exist then you simply modify them.

Set the value of 'Wallpaperoriginx' to equal the horizontal offset, and set the value of 'Wallpaperoriginy' to equal the vertical offset. Then either restart Windows, or change your background image through the Control Panel.

Note: The image is offset from the center of your desktop, so you can use positive and negative values.

For example, the setting may look like:

Wallpaperoriginx "100"
Wallpaperoriginy "300"

Registry Settings:
Key: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]
Value Name: Wallpaperoriginx, Wallpaperoriginy
Data Type: REG_SZ (String Value)
Data: Distance in Pixels

Disclaimer: Modifying the registry can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. I cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of the registry can be solved. Use the information provided at your own risk.

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Change the Recycle Bin Icons (Windows 9x and NT)

Would you like to make you Recycle Bin into something a bit more exciting? Maybe a glowing toxic waste bin? With this tweak you can change the icon to be whatever you like.

Open you registry and find the key below.

Within the key are three values: '(Default)', 'Empty' and 'Full'. Set the values to equal the icon you'd like to display for the various states of the Recycle Bin.

Note: These changes should take place immediately, you may need to refresh your desktop by clicking on a blank area and pressing F5.

For example, the setting may look like:

(Default) "c:\icons\toxic.ico"
Empty "c:\icons\toxic.ico"
Full "c:\icons\toxic_full.ico"

Registry Settings:
Key: [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}\DefaultIcon]
Value Name: (Default), Empty, Full
Data Type: REG_SZ (String Value)
Data: Path to Icon File

Disclaimer: Modifying the registry can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. I cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of the registry can be solved. Use the information provided at your own risk.

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Changing the Registered Owner and Organisation (Windows 9x and NT)

If you entered the wrong regististration information when you installed Windows you can change it and other miscellaneous settings such as ProductID and ProductName.

Using Regedit, open the key appropriate for your operating system:

Windows 9x:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion]

Windows NT:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion]

Then modify the values of 'RegisteredOwner' and 'RegisteredOrganization'.

Registry Settings:
Value Name: RegisteredOwner, RegisteredOrganization
Data Type: REG_SZ (String Value)

Disclaimer: Modifying the registry can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. I cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of the registry can be solved. Use the information provided at your own risk.

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Change the Wallpaper Shown Prior to Logon (Windows 9x and NT)

This key lets you change the wallpaper that appears prior to anyone logging in to the system.

  1. Using Regedit, open the key below.
  2. Modify 'Wallpaper' to equal the BMP you want to use as the background (e.g. 'c:\windows\mylogo.bmp').
  3. Reboot your PC for the changes to take affect.

Note: In the same key, you should also be aware of, and possibly set: "Pattern"="(None)" "TileWallpaper"="0"

Registry Settings:
Key: [HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop]
Value Name: Wallpaper
Data Type: REG_SZ (String Value)

Disclaimer: Modifying the registry can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. I cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of the registry can be solved. Use the information provided at your own risk.

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Removing Programs listed in the Add/Remove Programs Box (Windows 9x and NT)

All Windows 9x or NT compatible programs must include an Uninstall program, sometimes though the program may get removed but entry in Add/Remove programs doesn't, from this key you can remove those orphaned entries.

Using Regedit open the key below. Under this key will be a number of sub-keys, each representing an installed application.

To see which application each sub-key represents, open it and there should be at least two values 'DisplayName' and 'UninstallString'. 'DisplayName' is the name used in the Add/Remove programs list, and 'UninstallString' is the program used to uninstall the application.

To remove a program from the list you can simple delete the sub-key representing that program.

Registry Settings:
Key: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall]

Disclaimer: Modifying the registry can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. I cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of the registry can be solved. Use the information provided at your own risk.

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How can I clean out old data from the Registry?

Although it's possible to manually go through the Registry and delete unwanted entries, Microsoft provides a tool to automate the process, the program is called RegClean. RegClean analyzes Windows Registry keys stored in a common location in the Windows Registry. It finds keys that contain erroneous values, it removes them from the Windows Registry after having recording those entries in the Undo.Reg file.

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Hide Drives from My Computer

  1. Open Regedit and find the key: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer]
  2. Now find the value NoDrives and change the value to the corresponding number below. (ex. if you want to hide c: change the value to 4).
  3. The values are: A: 1, B: 2, C: 4, D: 8, E: 16, F: 32, G: 64, H: 128, I: 256, J: 512, K: 1024, L: 2048, M: 4096, N: 8192, O: 16384, P: 32768, Q: 65536, R: 131072, S: 262144, T: 524288, U: 1048576, V: 2097152, W: 4194304, X: 8388608, Y: 16777216, Z: 33554432, ALL: 67108863

Disclaimer: Modifying the registry can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. I cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of the registry can be solved. Use the information provided at your own risk.

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Disable the Shut Down Command

  1. Open Regedit and find the key: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer]
  2. Find the Value Name NoClose and change its data
  3. If you want to enable shutdown change the key value to 0 if you want to disable it change it to 1.

Disclaimer: Modifying the registry can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. I cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of the registry can be solved. Use the information provided at your own risk.

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Hide all Items on Desktop

  1. Open Regeditn and find the key: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer]
  2. Find the value NoDesktop
  3. Change the value to 0 to enable it. Change the value to 1 to disable it.

Disclaimer: Modifying the registry can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. I cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of the registry can be solved. Use the information provided at your own risk.

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Remove Favorites Folders from the Start Menu

  1. Open Regedit and find the key [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer]
  2. Find the Value NoFavoritesMenu
  3. Change the value to 1 to enable it. Change the value to 0 to disable it.

Disclaimer: Modifying the registry can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. I cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of the registry can be solved. Use the information provided at your own risk.

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Hide all Items on Desktop

  1. Open Regedit and find the key: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer]
  2. Find the value NoDesktop
  3. Change the value to 0 to enable it. Change the value to 1 to disable it.

Disclaimer: Modifying the registry can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. I cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of the registry can be solved. Use the information provided at your own risk.

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Remove Find command in Start Menu

  1. Open Regedit and find the key [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion]
  2. Find the Value Run or RunOnce
  3. To start a program automatically just create a new entry. Or to stop the program from starting delete the entry.
  4. There may be other keys starting programs automatically to find them just go to Edit Find and type 'Run' there you may find other values

Disclaimer: Modifying the registry can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. I cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of the registry can be solved. Use the information provided at your own risk.

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