by March 1, 2000 0 comments

I know there are hundreds of freeware and shareware programs that customize the registry with the click of a mouse. This article is for those who’d like to tinker with the registry and discover the mystery inside. So, power users get prepared to delve into the mucky waters of the Windows registry.

Before starting off, make sure that you back up your registry. This can be done in many ways.
You can copy the files–user.dat, system.dat–to a floppy diskette. Or, start up the Registry Editor by executing regedit. Select the Export Registry File menu by clicking on the “Registry” tab, and export your registry to a *.reg file, which when double-clicked will restore your registry to its previous state. You could also use registry backup software, such as Microsoft Registry Backup, RegBackup, etc, to back up your registry.

Here are some of the things you can do by tweaking your registry.

Change username and organization information
Locate the registry key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
Look for the entries RegisteredOrgani sation and RegisteredOwner
in the right-window pane. By double-clicking these, you can edit both the properties, and change user information.

Remove the arrow from shortcuts
Open the registry keys
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\lnkfile
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\piffile
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Classes\lnkfile
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Classes\piffile
Under each of these, delete the entry IsShortcut.

Remove unwanted icons from your desktop
Open the registry key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Explorer\Desktop\Namespace
Click on any of the various binary ID numbers that are sub-keys of this key.

The corresponding item for the selected binary ID will then be displayed. 

For example, selecting {450d8fba-ad25-11d0-98a8-0800361b1103} will display “My Documents”.
Delete the binary ID sub-key for all the icons that you want to remove from your desktop.

Removing the Add/Remove Programs entries
If you’ve uninstalled some software, but it still has its entry in the Add/Remove Programs menu, you can remove it by deleting the appropriate sub-key under the entry
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall

Preventing modem inactivity timeouts
Open the registry key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\ CurrentControlSet\Services\Class\Modem\0000\Settings
Change the number in the InactivityTimeout value to the time you want (in minutes).

Adding “DOS Prompt Here” to the Right-click menu
Open the registry key
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell
and create a new sub-key titled CommandPrompt. Change the value of Default from “value not set” to “&Dos Prompt Here”. Create another sub-key under the CommandPrompt key, and name it Command. Change the value of its Default from “value not set” to
command.com /k cd “%1”.

Prevent “Shortcut to…” from being prefixed to a
shortcut you create

Open the registry key
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
Change the value of the link property to “00 00 00 00”.
To restore it, change the value to 
“10 00 00 00”.

Using the Windows Update feature without registering
Open the registry key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
and set the value of the entry RegDone to 1. This applies to Win 98 only.

Speeding up the Start menu
Open the registry key
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
Change the value of the entry MenuShowDelay from anything between 0 to 999. This represents the delay time in milliseconds, so 0 is the fastest. 

If the entry MenuShowDelay is not there in your registry, create a new string value by the name MenuShowDelay in the sub-key
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
You can create a new string value by right-clicking on the appropriate key and selecting “New…”. 

Creating aliases
Creating aliases in Unix or Linux is pretty easy, you use the “alias” command and you have an alias up and running. However, creating an alias in Windows requires some registry tweaking.
Open the registry key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths
Add a new sub-key to the list, and name it as the alias you want to create, with a file extension of EXE. Then, change the Default entry from “value not set” to the path of the application for which you want to create the alias.

For example, to create an alias for Notepad called kalam, create a new sub-key called kalam.exe. Change its default value to c:\windows\notepad. exe.

Now, use the Run command from the Start menu to test your alias.

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