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Windows 98 Index I | Windows 98 Index II | Windows Me | Windows XP | Virus Information | Updated 05/22/06

Welcome to Bo's Tweaky Clean Windows

This section of Blaisdell's Little Corner of the Web is meant for the advanced Windows 98 and XP user. If you are not experienced then this page is not for you. If however you wish to learn, then please follow tips exactly and remember.....there are only three rules

  1. Backup the System Files you edit
  2. Backup the System Files you edit
  3. Backup the System Files you edit

How do you backup the System Registry? Click here and I will tell you. Before making any changes to your system's Registry, be sure to read and understand the Warning below,
click here.

Important Notice: Some of our tweaks are done in script. If you plan on using one of our scripts for merging into the System Registry, please read and review the following article for your own protection and health of your system(s).

Merging Registry (.Reg) Files Into Your Windows Registry

Windows XP Registry Tips & Tricks
Got a problem? Maybe we can help.
click here
Got an XP Registry Tip or Trick? Why not share it with us,
click here

Got a good Registry Tweak you would like to share? Click here and we will add it to the list.

More coming soon

Windowss XP Reg Tweaks and Tricks

Quick XP Tips:

Use Windows Update Without Registration 
(Windows 98/Me/2000/XP) Popular Windows Update is a useful feature but to ensure your privacy you may not want to register your personal details before being able to use it. With this tip you can bypass the registration process.

Open your registry and find the key below for your Windows version. Be sure to back up your Registry before making any changes. Here is how:

Windows 2000 and XP 
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion]

Windows 98 and Me 

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

Check that the key 
exists, if it doesn't then create a new key.

Next time you run Windows Update it should not ask you to complete the registration process.

Note: This will not bypass Windows XP product activation which is compulsory on all consumer versions of Windows XP Home and Professional.

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

How to change your autosearch defaut site (the search page used when you write anything in the address bar)
run regedit and go to
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl]

find the string value "provider" and change the value to
If you write "yaho" instead the autosearch defaut page is changed to yahoo, "alta" to altavista, ...
nice one isn't it !.....Enjoy !

To remove, or change toolbars added by a third party

You can remove them from here: Start/Run/Regedit and navigate to this key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Toolbar

To Clear Entries from Tools

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Extensions
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Extensions

Select each subkey and look at its MenuText value in the right-hand pane.
When you locate the menu item, delete the entire subkey.

If you don't find the item, do the same search here:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Extensions

Remove Button from Tool Bar
Delete ButtonText

Most of these types of Toolbar additions are loaded with spyware. If you have recently performed an antivirus search and the virus scanner returned an error, then it could be a spyware progy. Any Internet user should have a spyware eradicator as part of their security toolbox. We like SpyBot Search & Dystroy. SS&D is more for the advanced user but if you are here, then you are assumed to be an experienced user and can handle this powerful tool. Or, even if you are just learning about the system registry, then SS&D might be for you.

If you aren't comfortable with an advanced tool such as this, then our second choice for a spyware eradicator has to go to Lavasoft's Add-Aware. Which ever one you choose, they both update themselves over the Internet and as we are promoting these programs, you have to know that they are free to download, free to use and have no functions disabled.

Be sure that you update the program you choose after it is downloaded and installed so that you will have the latest signatures for spyware. After SS&D is downloaded, installed and updated be sure to click on the Immunize function which will prevent spyware in the future from ever getting onto your machine.

CopyTo/MoveTo registry tweak to add to the right click button

To add Copy to... and Move to... context menu options

start > run > regedit and then create the following registry keys ( i just renamed the winzip key which i dont need in the right click menue and changed it to "copy to" and then added the value)

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\Copy To
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\Move To
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\Copy To
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\Move To

For the Copy To's set the default value to {C2FBB630-2971-11d1-A18C-00C04FD75D13} and for the Move To's set the default value to {C2FBB631-2971-11d1-A18C-00C04FD75D13}

Now when you right click on a file or folder, above the send to option are two new options: Copy to Folder and Move to Folder
You can copy or move files or directories to other folders with this.

Some simple registry edits to get rid of Windows XP's little annoyances

Performance boots for Windows XP that actually work.

Instructions on improving Diskcache (Note: 256MB of ram or more is recommended for optimal performance

Run regedit and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management

1. DisablePagingExecutive -double click it and in the decimal put a 1 - this allows XP to keep data in memory now instead of paging sections of ram to harddrive yeilds faster performance.

2. LargeSystemCache- double click it and change the decimal to 1 -this allows XP Kernal to Run in memory improves system performance alot

3. Create a new dword and name it IOPageLockLimit - double click it and set the value in hex - 4000 if you have 128MB of ram or set it to 10000 if you have 256MB set it to 40000 if you have more than 512MB of ram -this tweak will speed up your disckcache

Last Key Regedit-Win Me & 2000

Remove Last Accessed Key Feature in Regedit

Language: VBScript
Version: 1.0 (September 3, 2003)
Requirements: Microsoft Windows ME or 2000

The Windows 2000 and ME version of regedit includes a new feature to remember the last key that was accessed before the program was closed. This script stops regedit from remembering the last key and instead opens regedit at the top "My Computer" folder.

Create a shortcut on your desktop to this script and double-click on it to launch regedit without the last key memory.

To copy the script copy and paste the following code into a text document (Notepad is a good choice) and name it regedit.vbs

' Begin code for regedit.vbs
' http://www.uninets.net/~blaisdel/RegTweaks.htm
' Version: 1.0 (
September 3, 200

Dim WSHShell
Set WSHShell=Wscript.CreateObject("Wscript.Shell")
WSHShell.RegDelete "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Applets\Regedit\LastKey"

' End code

Disclaimer: This information is provided on an "as is" basis and all risk is with you. BLCOW makes no warranties, express, implied or statutory, as to any matter whatsoever.

Default Icon for HTML documents refuses to change with Folder Options | Change Icon

John writes:

Questions: I reinstalled XP Home version and now all html files have only a default icon instead of the "html document" icon as seen in url.dll. The system also will not recognize any icon selected via the "change icon" operation from folder options.

Answer: I am going to assume that this applies only to the icon you describe or is it for all program association icons?

Be sure you have permissions set to administrator to make these changes.

If you have the proper permissions, open the Registry Editor and;

  1. Navigate to
  2. In the right hand pane double click on the default and be sure the value is:
  3. Do likewise for HTM, HTT, and HTW if you use that extention,

If under any of these extention types there is a prehandler for an IconCache or ShellIconCace, delete those values after backing up the registry string.

Next navigate in the system registry to:

  1. HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\htmlfile\DefaultIcon
  2. Be sure to backup the this registry string
  3. Place the Default Icon file in the right hand pane as:
  4. Close the Registry Editor and reboot the system.
  5. The default icon should now be what it is supposed to be.
  6. If it isn't, open the registry editor and increase the increment from 0 to 1 as below:

Increase speed by tweaking prefetcher settings [Windows XP]

This is an unique technique for XP, which could improve the performance significantly by tweaking the prefetcher. Recommended hardware: PIII 800 or higher, 512M RAM or more.

1. run "regedit";
2. goto [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters\EnablePrefetcher];
3. Set the value to either 0-Disable, 1-App launch prefetch, 2-Boot Prefetch, 3-Both ("3" is recommended).
4. reboot.

It will decrease the boot time but double and increase the performance of your XP. Try it!

Clicking AVI Files on explorer casuing 100% CPU Usage [Windows XP]

Well windows seem to have a REALLY big problem when it comes to reading AVI files. It seems that when you click on an AVI file in explorer, it'll try to read the entire AVI file to determine the width,height, etc. of the AVI file (this is displayed in the Properties window). Now the problem with Windows is that if you have a broken/not fully downloaded AVI file that doesnt contain this info, Windows will scan the entire AVI file trying to figure out all these properties which in the process will probably cause 100% CPU usage and heavy memory usage.

To solve this problem all you have to do is the following:

1. Open up regedit
2. Goto HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\.avi\shellex\PropertyHandler
3. Delete the "Default" value which should be "{87D62D94-71B3-4b9a-9489-5FE6850DC73E}"

Voila! Please not that this will no longer provide you with the windows properties displaying the AVI file information such as width, height, bitrate etc. But its a small price to pay for saving you resources.

Modify auto-reboot setting [Windows XP]

Since Microsoft has worked so hard to make this version "the most stable ever," then this tweak is not needed.  However, I am fairly sure that they have not perfected millions of lines of code in less than a year.  Below you will discover how to turn the auto reboot feature on and off.  This allows your computer to instantly reboot upon a system fault.  (The blue screen of death)

  1. Start Regedit.  If you are unfamiliar with regedit please refer to our FAQ on how to get started.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\CrashControl
  3. Select AutoReboot from the list on the right.
  4. Right on it and select Modify.
  5. Change the value to 0 to disable and 1 to enable.
  6. Reboot your computer.

Enable or disable boot defrag [Windows XP]

A great new feature in Microsoft Windows XP is the ability to do a boot defragment.  This places all boot files next to each other on the disk to allow for faster booting.  By default this option in enabled but on some builds it is not so below is how to turn it on.

  1. Start Regedit.  If you are unfamiliar with regedit please refer to our FAQ on how to get started.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Dfrg\BootOptimizeFunction
  3. Select Enable from the list on the right.
  4. Right on it and select Modify.
  5. Change the value to Y to enable and N to disable.
  6. Reboot your computer.

Improove Performance of IRQ sets [Windows XP]

This tweak can increase the priority given to any IRQ number,  improving the performance of that component. The most common component this tweak is used for is the System CMOS/real time clock, which improves performance across the board

go to : HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\PriorityControl

in the right hand pane create a new DWORD

name it IRQ8Priority  double click it and and put   a 1 in the decimal box

will look like this >

 IRQ8Priority  REG_DWORD  0x00000001 (1)

reboot for it to take affect .

Reset Application Timeouts [Windows XP]

The operating system has a set amount of time that a program must be frozen before it is timed out.  Often this number is set too high.  But in some circumstances it is set too low.  Depending on if the program is doing, for example allot of calculations in the background, the computer may think that it is timed out. To prevent this increase the value of the timeout in the registry.

  1. Start Regedit. 
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
  3. Select HungAppTimeout from the list on the right.
  4. Right on it and select Modify.
  5. Change the value to the new timeout value.
  6. Reboot your computer

Ram Drive XP [Windows XP]

Remember good old ramdisk. Implementing it in a 9x kernel box is easy. But what about in an XP box? Or more importantly, why the heck would you? Well, if your a paranoid internet surfer that does not want your surfing habits left on your machine. You can redirect your temp cache to the ramdrive. Any sensitive files/folders (Those wonderful ~*.tmp that Office creates) that you want washed away on reboot. I'm sure there are other uses.


Get the software from here:


Install the software as a new hardware device (Add New Hardware) using the advanced install wizard to point to the .inf

Change these registry keys


DiskSize change to 01F00000 (32505856)


Start change from 4(disabled) to 1(system)


The only limitation is that the drive can only be 32MB in size.

Want to free Up Some Memory? Unload the DLL's [Windows XP]

Windows Explorer caches DLLs (Dynamic-Link Libraries) in memory for a period of time after the application using them has been closed. This can be an inefficient use of memory.

1. Find the key [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer].
2. Create a new DWORD sub-key named 'AlwaysUnloadDLL' and set the default value to equal '1' to disable Windows caching the DLL in memory.
3. Restart Windows for the change to take effect.

Memory Performance Tweak [Windows XP]

These Settings will fine tune your systems memory

management -atleast 256MB of ram recccomended

go to start\run\regedit -and then to the following key

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management

1.DisablePagingExecutive -double click it and in the decimal put a 1 - this allows XP to keep data in memory now instead of paging sections of ram to harddrive yeilds faster performance.

2.LargeSystemCache- double click it and change the decimal to 1 -this allows XP Kernal to Run in memory improves system performance alot

3.create a new dword and name it IOPageLockLimit  - double click it and set the value in hex - 4000 if you have 128MB of ram or set it to 10000 if you have 256MB set it to 40000 if you have more than 512MB of ram -this tweak will speed up your disckcache

Reboot and watch your system fly

Breath New Life into NTFS systems [Windows XP]

NTFS is a great filesystem, but its feature-set comes at a slight cost in performance. You can negate this a little with the following tips:

* By default NTFS will automatically update timestamps whenver a directory is traversed. This isn't a necessary feature, and it slows down large volumes.

Disable it by pointing regedit to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem and set 'DisableNTFSLastAccessUpdate' to 1.

* NTFS uses disparate master file control tables to store filesystem information about your drives. Over time these core MFT files grow and become fragmented, slowing down all accesses to the drive. By setting aside a little space, MFT's can grow without becoming fragmented. In the same key where you disabled the last access feature creat a new DWORD value called 'NtfsMftZoneReservation' and set it to 2.

Improve NTFS Performance
While we are here, there is more you can do

The NTFS file system is the recommended file system because of its advantages in terms of reliability and security and because it is required for large drive sizes. However, these advantages come with some overhead. You can modify some functionality to improve NTFS performance as follows:

1. Disable creation of short names. By default, NTFS generates the style of file name that consists of eight characters, followed by a period and a three-character extension for compatibility with MS-DOS and Microsoft® Windows® 3.x clients. If you are not supporting these types of clients, you can turn off this setting by changing the default value of the NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation registry entry (in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Filesystem) to 1.

2. Disable last access update. By default NTFS updates the date and time stamp of the last access on directories whenever it traverses the directory. For a large NTFS volume, this update process can slow performance. To disable automatic updating, change the value of the NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate registry entry (in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentContolSet\Control\Filesystem) to 1. If the entry is not already present in the registry, add it before setting the value. (Add it as a REG_DWORD)

3. Reserve appropriate space for the master file table. Add the NtfsMftZoneReservation entry to the registry as a REG_DWORD in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem. When you add this entry to the registry, the system reserves space on the volume for the master file table. Reserving space in this manner allows the master file table to grow optimally. If your NTFS volumes generally contain relatively few files that are typically large, set value of this registry entry to 1 (the default). Typically you can use a value of 2 or 3 for moderate numbers of files, and 4 (the maximum) if your volumes tend to contain a relatively large number of files. However, be sure to test any settings greater than 2 because these higher values cause the system to reserve a much larger portion of the disk for the master file table.

Reboot after making changes.

Speed up menu display in Windows XP [Windows XP]

Note: Some of our readers have complained that the original menu rendering below, is to fast. Here is an alternative that will not cause any, or fewer, problems::

1. Click Start | Run and type or copy and paste the following then click OK:


2. Navigate to 

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop 

3. Select MenuShowDelay from the list on the right.hand pane

4. Right on it and select Modify (Same as double clicking on the key). 

5. Change the value to only 


its the perfect speed setting so menus appear quick, but not to quick so that the un-wanted ones appear. 

6. Close Registry Editor and Reboot your computer.

This little toggle will make a big difference and cause less agony

Original Tweak:

When using the start menu the you will notice a delay between different tiers of the menu hierarchy.  For the fastest computer experience possible I recommend changing this value to zero.  This will allow the different tiers to appear instantly.

  1. Start Regedit.  If you are unfamiliar with regedit please refer to our FAQ on how to get started.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
  3. Select MenuShowDelay from the list on the right.
  4. Right on it and select Modify.
  5. Change the value to 0.
  6. Reboot your computer.

Collapse the Registry Tree Quickly

When working with the Windows 98 to XP Registry Editor, Regedit.exe, you sometimes find that you have to drill down many levels to find a certain key. This can be a pain, because, in the left-hand side of the Regedit Window, you are sometimes left with a very elongated tree of folders, meaning lots of scrolling to get back to the top. There are two ways to clean this mess up quickly. The first way is to scroll all the way to the top (or press and hold the Page Up key or Ctrl+Home), right-click on the open hive (HKEY_ etc.), and choose "Collapse" from the menu that appears.

However, the next time you expand that hive, all of the subkeys that were expanded previously will still be expanded. So a different method to use is to start at the point to which you had drilled down, and press and hold <Shift>+<Left Arrow>. The subkeys will then all collapse themselves all the way to the top.

Clear Pagefile on Shutdown

When NT shuts down, it leaves the pagefile intact on the hard drive. Some programs may store sensitive information in clear text format in memory (which in turn may be paged out to disk). You may wish to empty this file for security reasons, or to help speed a boot time defrag, or because you dual boot, and you don't want to share the file, or just as part of troubleshooting a problem. Making the following registry change (or create the following entry) will clear your page file when rebooting.

Key: SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management
Name: ClearPageFileAtShutdown
Data Type: REG_DWORD
Value: 1

Change Internet Explorer Title

By default, when you start Internet Explorer, you will see the title of the page you are viewing, followed by "- Microsoft Internet Explorer." If you have a custom version of IE, there may be other wording there, such as "Provided by America Online." You can change the title to any text you prefer, however, using the following Registry value:

Key: Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main
Name: Window Title
Data Type: REG_SZ
Value: Text

Whatever text you enter in for the value will appear in the title of the IE Window.

Dump the pop-up balloons that can become annoying in Windows XP

A surprising number of folks love the sugary new Windows XP interface, with it's colorful windows and menus. One of these features that's new to XP is the pop-up balloons to let you know that a tour, or hotfix, or network connection (etc.) is available. If you find these simply annoying, you can add the following Registry entry to kill them off for good or at least until you change your mind.

Key: Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
Name: EnableBalloonTips
Data Type: REG_DWORD
Value: 0

If you later decide that you want the balloons back, you can delete the entry, or set its value to 1. As always, please use caution and frequent backups when editing the Registry.

Disable registry editing

Q: How do I disable users other than the Administrator from entering, editing, or make any changes to the registry?

A: In the System Registry, go to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System. Right-click in the right pane and select New, DWord value. Name the new value DisableRegistryTools. Double-click the value you just created and set the value to 1.

You can also temporarily elevate the user to an Administrator, log in on their account and make the change yourself (under HKEY_CURRENT_USER), then change the account back to Limited.

By Default, Limited users cannot make changes to the Registry, although they can run REGEDIT.

Make cursor snap to default messagebox button
I have gotten several emails on this one. So folks, here is the fix:

In the Windows NT family, you can make the mouse "snap" to the default button in every messagebox. That way it's easy to click the default button. This tweak will enable the snap-to-default behavior.

Note that some notification windows look like message boxes but aren't created by the Windows "MessageBox" function - these will not be affected.

Platforms: 95, 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP

In Registry key
HKCU\Control Panel\Mouse,
add or change the value named SnapToDefaultButton, changing its current data of (none) to 1 if checked, 0 if not.

Faster refresh
When a program changes the files or folders that are displayed in Windows Explorer, it can take a little time to react. To make it react faster, try this registry tweak. Make a note of it and if after you restart Windows you notice no change, simply come back and undo this tweak.

Platforms: 95, 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP

In Registry key
add or change the value named UpdateMode, changing its current data of 01 to 00.

Remove camouflage from dangerous attachments
Microsoft invented the "scrap object" as a wrapper for OLE data. Launching one invokes any program defined in the object's properties. The scrap object icon is almost identical to the text document icon, and the .SHS extension is, by default, hidden. Hackers could send an attachment with a double extension like report.txt.shs. Launching it would launch the scrap object, which could execute ANY command. For security, you can force Windows Explorer to display the .shs extension, so the scrap objects can't hide.

Platforms: 95, 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP

Here is how:

In Registry key HKCR\ShellScrap, delete the value named NeverShowExt.

In Registry key HKCR\DocShortcut, delete the value named NeverShowExt.

Removing Individual Items from the Internet Explorer Address List

How do you backup the System Registry? Click here and I will tell you. Before making any changes to your system's Registry, be sure to read and understand the Warning below, click here.

What do you do if you only need to remove one item from the Internet Explorer Address bar drop-down menu? Simple, go into the Registry and find your way to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Internet Explorer \ TypedURLs. In the right-hand pane, you'll be able to select and delete any incriminating URLs.

To delete the site and it's contents from the Internet Explorer History, Click on View, Explorer Bar, History to bring up the History panel. Then right-click on the site's domain, and select the "Delete" option.

Critical Update Notification Delay

Ok, so you've installed the Windows Critical Update Notification feature, but find that it's driving you nuts with the prompting... am I right? I don't always want to install the updates right away, but I don't want to uninstall the feature either. You can change the delay interval between bothersome prompts (normally 1 day - 86,400 seconds) by changing the value of the following registry value:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ WindowsUpdate \ Critical Update

Value Name: CurrentDelayInterval
Data Type: REG_DWORD
Data: Specified in seconds - default is 86,400 (24 hours)

Remove Add/Remove Entries
Windows 95/98

You know those annoying entries in the Add/Remove Programs list? Get rid of them. From the Start button, choose Run, enter regedit, and press OK. Hit these boxes: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Uninstall. This will give you a list of all the programs in your Add/Remove programs list. Highlight any file you want removed, and select Delete.
Return to index

Restart the Taskbar
Windows 95/98

To restart the Taskbar, press Ctrl-Alt-Delete, and double-click Explorer. When the Shutdown dialog pops up, choose No. When the End Task confirmation pops up, click End Task. The Taskbar will shut down and automatically restart.
Return to index

New Windows order

When you first install Windows 98, it lists your Start menu Program folders in alphabetical order followed by individual programs. Newly installed applications are added to the bottom of the list, which often ends up in three sections: the original folders, individual programs, and new folders. You can reorder them manually (by right-clicking any file and selecting Sort by Name from the pop-up menu), but then you'll have to do it again the next time you add a program to the list. You can also make the change for this menu within the Registry. Here's how:

  1. Select Start • Run, then type regedit and hit OK to open the Registry Editor.
  2. Browse to the subfolder: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows \CurrentVersion\Explorer\MenuOrder\StartMenu.
  3. Click the Menu folder, then right-click Order in the right pane and select Delete from the pop-up menu. You can do the same for your Favorites, located in the same StartMenu folder.

After you close Regedit and reboot your system, the Windows Start menus will always appear in alphabetical order.

Note: if you have folders within folders, you'll have to delete Order for the subfolders as well.
Return to index

Correct the case

Some versions of Windows will change the case of the letters in the name of a saved file or folder against your will, turning TEST.doc into Test.doc as soon as you turn your back, for example. Make a minor Registry change to turn off this case-changing and keep your filenames as you entered them:

  1. Select Start • Run, then type regedit and hit OK to open the Registry Editor.
  2. Browse to the subfolder: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft \Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced.
  3. Right-click the value called DontPrettyPath in the right pane and select Modify.
  4. In the Edit window, enter 1 as the Value Data (0 is the default) and click OK.

    After a reboot, Windows won't mess with your file and folder names anymore.
    Return to index

Resize the icons

Some versions of Windows allow you to change the size of your Desktop icons within Display Properties (using the Appearance tab in the Item pull-down menu). You can make the same changes in all versions of Windows just by modifying the Registry:

  1. Select Start • Run, then type regedit and hit OK to open the Registry Editor.
  2. Browse to the subfolder: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics.
  3. If there isn't a value in the right pane called Shell Icon Size, then create one by right-clicking on a blank spot in the right pane and selecting New • String Value.
  4. Right-click Shell Icon Size and select Modify.
  5. Enter a new Value Data. (32 is the default; a lower number results in smaller icons and a higher number in larger icons.)

After rebooting, your icons will be resized
Return to index

Customize the Windows 98 AutoSearch feature

The AutoSearch feature enables you to conduct a search directly from the Address box in Internet Explorer or the Address toolbar in Windows 98 and Windows 2000 by typing "go," "find," or "?" (without quotation marks), followed by the topic you want. For example, typing "? mountain bikes" (without quotation marks) automatically searches the Internet for information about mountain bikes.

By default, Windows uses a random search engine to perform your search. If you want to specify a particular search engine, you can do so by using the IEAK or by editing the registry.

To change the AutoSearch search page to a specific search page, follow these steps:

  1. Quit Internet Explorer.

  2. Using Registry Editor, change the default value of the following registry key

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl

    to one of the following values:

  3. Quit Registry Editor, and then start Internet Explorer.

For information about how to restore the default AutoSearch search page, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

Q179402 How to Restore the Default AutoSearch Search Page

Control Startup Programs

Do you have some programs on your startup which are either misbehaving or that do not have a shutdown option in their properties or configuration menus? Though you can easily enter the Microsoft Configuration utility (Select Start | Run and type msconfig) they still remain in the startup folder. Use the Configuration utility to shut them down to be certain that your system is going to have no adverse effects by doing so. Once you are sure open the registry editor (Start | Run type regedit hit enter or click okay) and delete the key values that are associated with that program as follows:

  1. Click Start | Run type regedit hit enter

Look in each of the above keys for your program and delete it...after backing up the registry of course.

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How to backup your System Registry:

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Blaisdell's Little Corner of the Web, Bohunky0, nor any of it's affiliates can guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys and Values" Help topic in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) or the "Add and Delete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" Help topics in Regedt32.exe. Note that you should back up the registry before you edit it. If you are running Windows NT or Windows 2000, you should also update your Emergency Repair Disk (ERD).

The system registry:
What you need to know.

Registry Backup
Windows 95/98/Me/XP
For W2K or NT use RegEdit32

Method I
Before editing the Registry, back it up, just in case something goes wrong. Open the Registry Editor (Start/Run, and type regedit in W2K or NT type RegEdit32), and pull down the Registry menu. Choose Export Registry File. Decide where you want to store the backup file, type a name for the file, select All under Export range, and click Save. Your Registry file is now backed up.

Method II

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. Navigate to C:\Windows\
  3. Right click on C:\Windows
  4. Select Find from the context menu
  5. Type, or copy and paste the following into the Find What box:
  6. Highlight and copy these two files into a neutral folder.
  7. If once you reboot your system and it starts acting a little flaky, simply go to the folder in which you stored these two files and copy them back to the:
  8. Be sure to choose "Overwrite" if prompted.
  9. If you were sent to this point from an email, read this:

    I have read and understand the instruction set to backing up the Windows System Registry and all System files. I have also read and understood the Warning about using the system registry editor and I agree to be bound by it. Please click the I agree button..

How the Registry is stored
What is the System Registry anyway?

* In Windows 95, 98, and Me, the Registry is contained in two hidden files in your Windows directory, called USER.DAT and SYSTEM.DAT.
* In Windows 2000 and Windows XP, the Registry is stored in several Hives, located in the \windows\system32\config and \Documents and Settings\{username} folders.

Structure of the Registry
The Registry has a hierarchal structure, like the directories on your hard disk. Each branch (denoted by a folder icon in the Registry Editor, see below) is called a Key. Each key can contain other keys, as well as Values. Each value contains the actual information stored in the Registry. There are three types of values; String, Binary, and DWORD - the use of these depends upon the context.

There are six main branches (five in Windows 2000 and Windows XP), each containing a specific portion of the information stored in the Registry. They are as follows:

* HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT - this branch contains all of your file types as well as OLE information for all your OLE-aware applications.
* HKEY_CURRENT_USER - this branch points to the part of HKEY_USERS appropriate for the current user.
* HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE - this branch contains information about all of the hardware and software installed on your computer. Since you can specify multiple hardware configurations, the current hardware configuration is specified in HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG.
* HKEY_USERS - this branch contains certain preferences (such as colors and control panel settings) for each of the users of the computer. In Windows 95/98/Me, the default branch here contains the currently-logged in user. In Windows 2000/XP, the default branch here contains a template to be used for newly-added users.
* HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG - this branch points to the part of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE appropriate for the current hardware configuration.
* HKEY_DYN_DATA (Windows 95/98/Me only) - this branch points to the part of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, for use with Windows' Plug-&-Play subsystem.

Using the Registry Editor
The Registry Editor (regedit.exe) is included with Windows to enable you to view and edit the contents of the Registry. When you open the Registry Editor, you'll see a window divided into two panes. The left side shows a tree with folders (see Structure of the Registry above), and the right side shows the contents (values) of the currently selected folder (key).

To expand a certain branch, click on the little plus sign [+] to the left of any folder, or just double-click on the folder. To display the contents of a key (folder), just click the desired key, and look at the values listed on the right side. You can add a new key or value by selecting New from the Edit menu. You can rename any value and almost any key with the same method used to rename files; right-click on an object and click rename, or click on it twice (slowly), or just press F2 on the keyboard. Lastly, you can delete a key or value by clicking on it, and pressing Delete on the keyboard, or by right-clicking on it, and choosing Delete.

Importing, Exporting, and Applying Registry Patches
Although you can edit the Registry with the Registry Editor (see above), you can also make changes by using Registry patches. A Registry patch is a simple text file with the .REG extension that contains one or more keys or values. If you double-click on a .REG file, the patch is applied to the registry. This is a good way to share or back up small portions of the registry for use on your own computer, or someone else's, because (among other reasons) it's much simpler and less dangerous than manually editing the Registry.

You can create a Registry patch by opening the Registry Editor, selecting a branch, and choosing Export from the File menu. Then, specify a filename, and press OK. You can then view the Registry patch file by opening it in Notepad (right-click on it and select Edit). Again, just double-click on a Registry patch file (or use Import in the Registry Editor's File menu) to apply it to the registry.

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Icons Randomly Change to Different Icons

  1. Use Windows Explorer to delete the ShellIconCache file from the Windows folder. To do so, right-click the ShellIconCache file, and then click Delete.

    NOTE: You need to be able to view hidden files to see the ShellIconCache file. To view hidden files in Windows 95, click Options on the View menu in Windows Explorer, click Show All Files, and then click OK. To view hidden files in Windows 98, click Folder Options on the View menu in Windows Explorer, click the View tab, click Show All Files, and then click OK.
  2. Restart your computer

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Remove some/all of the Microsoft Internet Explorer Options tabs

In Windows XP, the Internet Options tabs are controlled by a registry entry at the
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Control Panel key. Each Value Name is a REG_DWORD data type. A data value of 1 causes the tab to be removed. A data value of 0, or a missing Value Name, causes the tab to be displayed.

The Value Names are:


NOTE: If you remove all the tabs, the user will receive a Operation cancelled due to restrictions message when they press Internet Options.

You might want to copy/paste the following to a IEOptions.reg file. You can change the data value to 00000000 for the tabs you wish to display:  This batch file will disable all tabs in Internet Explorer Tools | Internet Options. to make the permissions accessable, change the DWord value to all 0's. (Example: "AdvancedTab"=dword:00000000)


[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Control Panel]

RegEdit Switches and Batch file promotions

This Registry solution provided by reader Jess - Thanks Jess

Regedit Command Line Options
Regedit has a number of command line options to help automate it's use in either batch files or from the command prompt. Listed below are some of the options, please note that some of the functions are operating system specific.

regedit.exe [options] [filename]

filename Import .reg file into the registry
/s Silent, i.e. hide confirmation box when importing files
/e    Export registry file
e.g. regedit /e file.reg HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT
/L:system Specify the location of the system.dat to use
/R:user Specify the location of the user.dat to use
/C Compress [filename] (Windows 98).

For these functions, start your computer in a true DOS environment (Not a Windows DOS box) and at the command prompt C:\> type,
                Regedit /?
and hit the enter key for these switches.

For more information, Jess recommends this reference site:


The link above has registry info for sale as well as free stuff that is a couple of months old.
Return to index                                                                                                                                Jess

Lock in your homepage,

Your homepage will now be locked in and cannot be changed unless you reverse the process because now the following buttons will be greyed out:

Use Current
Use Default
Use Blank

Any website that attempts to change your homepage will also not be able to change this value.

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Changing the right-click context menu

A reader asks:

Try this easy one for you I hope.When I left mouse click on a file it starts a Search in that file. When I right click and highlight the file the top option in that window is to Search... then below it is Open then below that is Explore. How do I change the preference to Open Explore Search in this order. Every file I click on starts a search instead of Opening its contents----L

Simple? Well, not quite, unless you are a programmer tutored in Visual Basic? Or maybe C++?

Some of the instruction below deals with editing the system registry. This is not for the novice. The system registry controls almost everything that is happening on or should I say in, your computer. Editing this incorrectly can result in loss of data or halting the normal bootup processes of your GUI (General User Interface=Windows). If you are used to making registry edits then this shouldn't be a problem for you. However, if you are new to editing system files, then I must advise you to take a look at Bo's Tweaky Clean Windows. This page explains how to, not only backup the system registry, but on the best ways to use the registry editor.

Some (but not all) versions of Windows come with a built-in utility that lets you control parts of the context menu. It allows you to do this for particular filetypes (e.g., text files), or for drives, folders, etc. The tool is available via the Windows Explorer "folder options" in Windows XP, or, under View | Options in the 9.x kernels; which can be reached via several paths, depending on your version of Windows and/or IE.

Try "Folder Options" (or just "Options") in the View menu of Windows Explorer (In Windows XP it is called Tools | Folder Options and can also be found in the control Panel); if not there, try it under the Tools menu; also, try "Folder Options" in the
Control Panel. Then click on the "file types" tab. Select the filetype you want, and click edit.

Items listed in the "Actions" box are context menu items that you can edit or delete. You can also add new ones and change which one is the default action when you double-click. It's pretty self-explanatory, except for the "Application required to perform action" part. You need to know the correct syntax for exactly what you want to do. For example, if you want to add a context menu to .JPG files that allows you to choose a different photo editor than the default one, you need to know the path and name of the second editor's .EXE (easy enough) as well as how to tell the .EXE to open this particular file that you're clicking on. Often but not always, the abbreviation "%L" or "%1" (that's a number 1, not a small L) stands for the
particular file; for example something like "c:\program files\adobe\photoshop\photoshop.exe %L" (I'm just making that up - it may not be exactly correct, but it illustrates the point) may start photoshop with the particular file you clicked on. If you leave out the "%L" part (or whatever the exact syntax is for Photoshop), photoshop will open but there will be no picture. You may need to experiment or do some research to get the command line just right to do what you want.

If your version of Windows doesn't have this Folder Options function, you can still get the job done by going directly into the registry. The context menu items that are easiest to work with are in folders (technically, called "keys" in the registry, but I'll call them folders) named "shell" buried within the main HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT folder (abbreviated HCR). Folders called "shellex" also contain context menu items, but these involve specialized code written for particular purposes -- I wouldn't touch them.

But for the regular "shell" items, here's how it works:  For each filetype on your computer there is a folder under HCR named for the filetype's extension (.TXT for text files, .XLS for Excel spreadsheets, etc.). If you click on the extension's folder, you'll see in the right-hand pane of the registry editor an item whose name ends with "file" -- for example, on my PC
the .JPG extension has an item called "JPEGFILE". (btw, that's how it often works:  the word "file" is appended onto the extension, as in .EXEs are "exefile", .BATs are "batfile", .TXTs are "txtfile", etc.) .Scroll further down to find the folder with that name (e.g., JPEGFILE), then click on the + sign next to it. Among others, there is a folder called "shell". Click on
that + sign. All child folders under the parent "shell" folder are items on the context menu for that particular file type. By default, there is always one child folder called "open", and there may be others also. For each child folder, there is a folder within called "command" that specifies what happens when that context menu item is selected.

Here's where you can add, delete, and edit.

To add another context menu item, just add another folder below the parent "shell" folder (to do this, select, the "shell" folder, then go to the Edit menu, select "New" and then select "Key"), and then type in a descriptive folder name - this is what will appear in the context menu in most cases (**exceptions noted below, under "editing"**). At this point, you already
have another item in the context menu (check and see for yourself), but it's useless until you associate an action with it. To do so, add another new folder within the one you just made, and name it "command". Then select the command folder and double-click on the word "default" on the right-hand side of the window. A small window called "edit string" will open, and here you type in the command you want to run. As described above, you may need to experiment or do some research to get the command line just right to do what you want.

To delete a context menu item (Which I do not advise you do), just delete the desired child folder within the "shell" folder. BUT BE CAREFUL -- there is no Undo feature in the registry!! Don't delete unless you're positive it's safe to do so. Hence the need to backup the registry before you make any changes to it. That goes without saying, which is why I'm saying.

To edit a context menu item , you can either edit the command line (as above, select the command folder and double-click on the word "default" on the right-hand side to get the "edit string" dialog box), or you can edit the name of the item as it
appears on the context menu. You have two choices: change the name of the child folder (as noted above, this is usually the name that appears on the context menu), or select the child folder and double-click on the word "default" on the right-hand side of the window. Whatever you type in the "edit string" box will override the folder name.

Why would you want to override the folder name? For two main reasons:  1) to change the order of items as they appear in the context menu, and 2) to underline one of the menu items letters to allow for easier keyboard selection (see for yourself - many context menu items have an underlined letter, just like regular window menu items).

    1) Changing the menu order.  The default context menu action is always the first item on the context menu, which is nearly always the item in the child folder called "open" under the parent "shell" folder in the registry. If you want to keep the current "open" menu item as an option but would like to make something else the default (e.g., changing which photo editor opens .JPG files), you need to change the "open" folder's name (e.g., change it to "Open with photo editor #2"), then create a new child folder as described above, name it "open" so it is now the default, create a "command" sub-folder, and then add the desired command line. If you want the default context menu item to say "open", then you don't need to override the folder name. But if you want it to say something different (e.g., "Open with photo editor #1"), you need to override the folder name as described above.

       2) Underlining a letter.  To under line a letter in the context menu text, you need to override the folder name as described above and then put a "&" before the desired letter. This is useful only for people who prefer to use the keyboard to do things rather than the mouse. When there is an underlined letter, you can select that context menu item by pressing that key. If you always use the mouse, then don't worry about underlining any letters.

I think that's everything -- adding and deleting context menu items, associating actions with them, and changing the names and/or placement of context menu items. That about covers it.

Correct Missing Status Bar in Microsoft Internet Explorer:

Make sure that this option is selected - right-click the top Toolbar and select: Status Bar. If you are still having problems verify the below Registry entries exist and are correct:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Dial Up Settings" button is greyed out in Internet Explorer

Check the following registry keys are set as follows:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings (EnableAutodial should be set to 01 00 00 00)

HKEY_USERS\.Default\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings (EnableAutodial should be set to 01 00 00 00)


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