The Windows Registry is where much of the information for programs, hardware, preferences, and system configuration is stored. Editing settings in the Registry can enable features and change how certain things function in Windows.
You can read about what the Registry does and check out some of the useful registry hacks in this article, and a search for "windows registry hacks" will show more useful hacks. Here are some of the things registry hacks can do:
- Speed Up Taskbar Previews and Menus
- Disable Notification Balloons
- Make Your Taskbar Buttons Always Switch to the Last Active Window:
- Customize the Context Menu (adding entries like Notepad and Command Prompt here to the Context Menu and removing unwanted entries)
- Display a Message at Sign In
- Add "Take Ownership" shortcut to the Explorer context menu
- Tidy up the "Open With" context menu
- Add "Copy To" and "Move To" context menus
- Stop Windows from adding “- Shortcut” to new shortcuts
- Change your owner and organization name
- Stop other user accounts from shutting down your PC
Before you make any changes to the Windows Registry you'll want to be able to back up and restore it in case something goes awry:
How to Back up the Windows Registry
How to Restore the Windows Registry
It's also a good idea to back up important file and folders or create a disk image before editing the Registry.
Many sites that have registry hacks also have small files you can download that will make registry changes as well as directions for making changes manually. The files (.reg files) I've used have all files that will reverse any changes they make. Make sure the site is reputable before using any of the files. I've used them from various sites for years with no trouble. I store all the registry hack files I've downloaded in a folder in case I want to undo a change I've made or I want to use them again. This article has a good overview of how the Registry operates and some useful registry hacks you can try out.
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