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Tweaking the Registryby Guy Thomas

May 2007

Tweaking the Vista registry by Guy Thomas

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ContentsContents ..................................................................................................................................................2 The Purpose of this Ebook.......................................................................................................................3 What is Tweaking the Registry? ..............................................................................................................4 Getting Started with Regedit...................................................................................................................5 Launching Regedit ...................................................................................................................................6 Guy's Five Stages of Registry Tweaking - Which stage are you at?.........................................................8 1) AutoAdminLogon ..............................................................................................................................11 2) AutoPlay - NoDriveTypeAutoRun......................................................................................................14 3) CachedLogonsCount..........................................................................................................................17 4) Change the Name of Your Computer Icon ........................................................................................19 5) Copy To ContextMenuHandlers ........................................................................................................21 6) Delete Roaming Cache ......................................................................................................................23 8) Hide Public Folder .............................................................................................................................26 9) Remove Arrows on Shortcuts............................................................................................................29 10) RegisteredOwner ............................................................................................................................33 Connect Network Registry ....................................................................................................................35 How to Create .Reg Files .......................................................................................................................40 Examples of .Reg Files ...........................................................................................................................46 Vista's Registry Structure ......................................................................................................................51 Windiff Find Settings in the Registry ..................................................................................................55 Guy's List of Vista Regedit Tips..............................................................................................................62 Best Practice for Editing the Vista Registry ...........................................................................................66 Follow-up...............................................................................................................................................66

Tweaking the Vista registry by Guy Thomas

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The Purpose of this EbookThe Purpose of this Ebook This ebook is designed to explain the workings of the registry. Studying my detailed examples offer a middle way between buying a third party program to tweak the registry, and discovering the joys of hacking the registry by trial and error. If you buy a utility, its front end masks the finer points of the registry. If you learn by trial and error, what happens when you meet error? Unlike a typo in a report, a mistake in the registry could render your computer unusable. I thoroughly enjoy tweaking the registry, and I want to distil the best of my experiences and pass them on to you. While, I have a section on troubleshooting, each page also has two or three learning points, each of which will advance your registry skills. Even if you are already moderately experienced with regedit, I still hope that you will enjoy at least one or two of my favorite registry tweaks. Registry Topics What is the Registry? Getting Started with Regedit Guy's Five Stages of registry hacking List of Registry Tweaks 1. AutoAdminLogon (Logon without password) 2. AutoRun (Control CD caddy) 3. CachedLogonsCount 4. Computer Name (Rename the Computer Icon) 5. ContextMenuHandles (Add items to shortcut menu) 6. Delete Roaming Cache 7. PaintDesktopVersion (Display the Build Number) 8. Public Folder (Control the display on the desktop) 9. Remove Shortcut Arrow 10. RegisteredOwner Advanced Registry Section Remote Registry Edit Registry Structure Create .reg files Examples of .reg files Windiff to find registry settings Regedit Tips

Tweaking the Vista registry by Guy Thomas

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What is Tweaking the Registry?There will be times when your research reveals that there is simply no GUI to configure a particular Vista setting. Consequently, the only hope of solving the problem is to edit a value in the registry. Another reason to acquire confidence at editing the registry, is so that you can repair a defective machine remotely. Officially, you edit the Vista registry by adding keys, or modifying values, colloquially, this process is called 'tweaking the registry', or 'hacking the registry'. If I have a hidden agenda it is that in general, learning should be fun, and in particular, that tweaking the registry should be satisfying. To reinforce this 'let's have fun' message, many of my examples also have amusing anecdotes. There is a serious side to editing the registry. When a computer is not working properly, there are circumstances where editing the registry is the best troubleshooting technique. My primary goal is to give you the skill, the practice, and above all, the confidence to launch regedit and change the registry settings. My secondary goal is to persuade you to take sensible precautions, for example, export at least that particular registry branch before editing any values. As usual, I have lots of worked examples, which I urge you to try on your own machine. Each registry tweak has two aims; to solve a specific problem, and to provide general learning points, which help you to master regedit. Most of the tweaks work equally well on Vista, XP and Windows Server 2003 registries, where there are differences I will explain what happens in each operating system. What is Vista's Registry? A collection of all the operating system's configurable settings. A replacement for all those ancient .ini files. A database for Group Policy settings. A no-go area for amateurs! A tool for troubleshooting operating system problems. A back-end for Control Panel's front-end. A vehicle for having fun while you tweak Vista's performance and appearance.

Tweaking the Vista registry by Guy Thomas

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Getting Started with RegeditI will be giving you clear instructions to help you master tweaking the registry. Nevertheless, do take precautions. The best defence against a mistake would be to experiment with the registry on a test machine. My favorite technique for recovering from mini-disasters is to export the registry key BEFORE I start editing values. What I do in regedit is click on the File menu, Export, Selected Branch. Every other expert will tell you to backup the System State before you begin. Registry Skills Progression Launching Vista's Regedit Launching XP or Windows Server 2003 Best Practice for Editing the Registry Registry Skills Progression To become expert at any task you need to acquire a range of skills. Because the registry is live, with no 'Simulate' button, and no safety catch, I have arranged the following techniques as a progression. Here is my sequence for mastering the registry along with examples of how to develop the corresponding technique. Launch Regedit - Simple exercise to get started with regedit 1. Find Settings, Values and Data - CachedLogonsCount 2. Add setting to 'Favorites' - (Any, and every example) 3. Export a registry key - (Before you make ANY change) 4. Change an existing value - PaintDesktopVersion, RegisteredOwner 5. Rename an existing value - Computer 6. Create a new value - AutoAdminLogon 7. Create a new key - ContextMenuHandlers, RemoveShortcut 8. Import registry settings from a .reg file - Examples 9. Remote Registry Editing - Get out of jail card

Tweaking the Vista registry by Guy Thomas

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Launching RegeditLet us assume that your mission is to change a setting in Vista by using the registry editor. 1. Click on the Vista Start Orb (Button)

2. Click in the Start Search Dialog Box 3. Type: regedit 4. Press enter (or double click Program: regedit) 5. See screenshot opposite Note 1: Unlike other Vista executables, if you type just the first few letters, 'reg' or 'reged', Vista does not auto-complete the name of the program, you have to type the full name - regedit. Note 2: Another clue that amateurs are not supposed to open the registry, is that the special editor, Regedit, does not appear on any Vista menu. Note 3: The actual executable is called regedit, but for backwards compatibility with NT 4.0, it also responds to the name of regedt32. Launching Regedit in XP or Windows Server 2003 The best executable to edit the registry is Regedit. (Rather than Regedt32) Click on the START (Button), RUN, REGEDIT (Type), Click on the OK (Button).

Note 1: In Windows 2003 and XP Regedit remembers the last place you visited which is useful.

Tweaking the Vista registry by Guy Thomas

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