Saturday, 12 July 2014

8 Registry Hacks to Tweak Your Windows PC

Registry Hacks to Tweak Windows

Microsoft Windows offers a feature-rich interface and several customization options that make it one of the most user friendly operating systems in the world. However, computer geeks would still love tohack the Windows Registry so as to add more extra features and functionalities to their operating system.

If you’re one such geek who would like to customize Windows in your own way, here is a list of 8 interesting registry hacks that you need to try:

1. Disable USB Devices:

Disabling USB ports can be a smart idea to add security to the computer. This can be really handy if the computer is on a public place where the chances of virus and other malware infection is really high. You can easily disable access to USB ports with the following registry hack:

  1. Open the Registry Editor (Start -> Run -> Type regedit and hit Enter)
  2. In the registry, navigate to the following key:
  3. In the right-side pane, double-click on “Start”.
  4. In the “Value data” field enter 4 and click on “OK”.
  5. Close the Registry Editor and reboot.

To enable USB devices, follow the same procedure as above except in the step-4 enter 3 in the “Value data” field.

Works on Windows XP, Vista and 7.

2. Disable Notification Balloons in Windows 7 and Vista:

You can now disable the annoying notification balloons that keeps popping up frequently with warning messages and reminders. Here is a step-by-step procedure to do that:

  1. Open the Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:
  2. Right-click on the right-hand pane, and create a new “DWORD”.
  3. Rename it to EnableBalloonTips, double-click on it and set the “Value data” to 0. Reboot the computer to see the changes in effect.

3. Add “Recycle Bin” to My Computer in Windows 7 and Vista:

Would you like to add the “Recycle Bin” icon to My Computer so that you need not go back to the desktop to access it when required? Well, here is how you can do that:

  1. Open the Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:
  2. Right-click on “NameSpace” and select New -> Key. Name the key with the following name:
  3. Now, open “My Computer” and hit F5 to refresh the screen. This should show up the “Recycle Bin” icon.

4. Disable the Windows Task Manager:

Need to limit access to your computer by disabling the Task Manager? Here is a simple registry hack to do this:

  1. Open the Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:
  2. Right-click on “Policies”, select New -> Key and name the key as System.
    If you are on Windows XP, you need not create the new key “System” as it is already present in it. So, you can directly navigate to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System in the Step-1 itself.
  3. Right-click on “System”, create a new “DWORD” and name it toDisableTaskMgr.
  4. Double-click on the DWORD “DisableTaskMgr” and set the “Value data” to 1 (0=Enable, 1=Disable).
  5. To enable the Task Manager, Set the “Value data” back to 0.

Works on Windows XP, Vista and 7.

5. Change the Registered Owner and Organization Name:

Here is a simple hack to change the name of the Registered owner on your computer:

  1. Open the Registry Editor and navigate to:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion
  2. On the right-side pane, find the keysRegisteredOwner andRegisteredOrganization. Double-click on them to change the names to whatever you want.
  3. To see the changes, right-click on “My Computer” and select “Properties”.

Works on Windows XP, Vista and 7.

6. Add Programs to Windows Startup:

You can now add your favorite programs to Windows Startup without the need for using the start-up folder. Here is a way to do this:

  1. Open the Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:
  2. On the right-side pane, create a new “String Value” and rename it to the name of the program that you want to add (you can give any name, it doesn’t matter).
  3. Double-click on the “String Value”, in the “Value data” field add the path of the executable program that has to execute at startup.
  4. Reboot the computer to see the changes in effect.

Works on Windows XP, Vista and 7.

7. Add “Pin to Start Menu” Option for Folders in Windows 7 and Vista:

Ever wanted to pin a folder to the start menu to gain faster access to it? Well, it is possible to add the “Pin to Start Menu” option so that you can plug your favorite folders to Start Menu. Here is a step-by-step procedure:

  1. Open the Registry Editor and navigate to:
  2. Right-click on “ContextMenuHandlers” and select New -> Key. Name the key as follows:
  3. Now, whenever you want to add a folder to Start Menu, hold down theShift key and right-click on the folder. You should see the “Pin to Start Menu” option in the context menu”.

8. Disable “Aero Shake” in Windows 7:

One of the new additions to Windows 7 is the “Aero Shake” feature using which it is possible to grab a window using its title bar and shake it. This will minimize all the other open windows if any. It is really a handy feature! However, if you ever wanted to disable this feature, here is a solution:

  1. Open the Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:
  2. Now, right-click on “Windows” key and create a new Key called Explorer.
  3. Right-click on the “Explorer” key and create a new “DWORD” calledNoWindowMinimizingShortcuts and set its value to 1.
  4. Close the Registry Editor and reboot the computer to see the changes in effect.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Try the registry hacks and share your experiences.

How to Rename Windows XP Start Menu Button

Rename Win XP Start Menu

Ever wondered to know how to change the look and feel of your old boring start menu? Are you bored of having the name “start”? Would you like to rename it? Well, here is an answer!

This guide will show you how to edit/rename the Windows XP start menu button so that you can give it any name of your choice. Here is a step-by-step guide:


  1. Launch “My Computer”, click on Tools -> Folder options -> View.

  2. Select show all hidden files and folders option and uncheck the option hide protected operating system files. Also uncheck the option hide extention for known file types.

  3. Go to C:\windows\system32\restore, select the file filelist.xml, right click it, go to properties and uncheck the option read-only.

  4. Open it (filelist.xml) with notepad.

  5. Add the line<rec>%systemroot%\explorer.exe</rec>as shown below and save the file:

    <rec> %windir%\system.ini</rec>
    <rec> %windir%\tasks\desktop.ini</rec>
    <rec> %windir%\win.ini</rec>
    <rec> *:\AUTOEXEC.BAT </rec>
    <rec> *:\CONFIG.SYS </rec>
  6. Go toC:\windows\system32\dllcache, you will find a backup copy ofexplorer.exe. Rename it toexplorer.bak.


  1. Using the Resource Hacker tool, open the file explorer.exe located atC:\windows.

  2. Expand string, expand 37, click on1033.

  3. On right side, rename “start” to anything you want. For ex. “Hello!” and press “compile script”.

  4. Repeat the same procedure for string381033.

  5. Save changes in file menu (if error occurs close explorer.exe and repeat sub-step 3 and 4).

  6. Restart your computer. After the restart, you can see the changes. Enjoy!

How to Activate the Hidden Boot Screen in Windows Vista

Every time I turn on my computer, I am forced to stare at the boring Windows boot screen. I must admit that I found the moving bars amusing at first, but after a few months I became bored and wanted something different. Changing the boot screen is not something that Microsoft made easy; however, it is still possible with a few cool hacks.

Activating the Hidden Boot Screen:

Over the several years that Windows Vista was in the planning stages and in development, many promises were made about new features and enhancements. One of those promises had to do with high-resolution boot screens. This was going to be a great feature replacing the ancient 256-color boot screen that has been with Windows since Windows 95. Over time, as development of Vista was slipping behind schedule and developers were plagued with hardware compatibility problems with the high-resolution boot screen code, the feature was pulled from the final product.

Although this feature never made it into the released version of Windows Vista, there appears to be some parts of it left in the system. This section shows you a cool trick that will enable a hidden boot screen that looks like it was part of the high-resolution feature, as shown in Figure 1-1. It is nothing super fancy or elegant, but it sure is better than the boring boot screen that Vista shipped with, which looks like it is missing the Vista logo.

Figure 1-1

Before we proceed, note that some users have problems with using the hidden boot screen-possibly the reason why Microsoft hid it in the first place. If you are one of those users, simply boot into Safe mode and undo the steps for enabling the boot screen. Unfortunately, it is not currently known exactly what hardware has problems with the hidden boot screen. When you are ready, follow these steps to enable this boot screen on your PC:

  1. Click the Start button, type msconfig in the Search box, and then press Enter.

  2. When the System Configuration Utility loads, click the Boot tab.

  3. Locate the No GUI boot box and select it, as shown in Figure 1-2.

  4. Figure 1-2

  5. Click OK and reboot your computer.

You should see the hidden boot screen after you reboot your PC. As I mentioned earlier, if you have problems with the hidden boot screen, just boot into Safe mode (hold down F8 when you boot up) and remove the check from the No GUI Boot box.

Customizing the Boot Screen Image:

The alternative boot screen that you just enabled in the preceding section is a great improvement compared to the boring moving progress bar that shows by default. However, this is still not good enough. With the help of a few cool tricks, you can create your own high-resolution, 24-bit boot screen without hacking any system files.

How is that possible? Thanks to the new language-independent operating system components in Windows Vista, some resources are stored in regional language files rather than the actual system components. This allows Microsoft to easily create a localized version of Windows Vista in any language by just creating new MUI (multilingual user interface) files that contain localized versions of bitmaps and text. Because MUI files are not digitally signed by Microsoft, you can make your own that has your own boot screen image in it, which allows you to customize the alternative boot screen to use any image you desire.

This new feature in Windows Vista provides a great enhancement and alternative to the traditional method of hacking system files as you had to do in previous versions of Windows to do things such as changing the boot screen. In addition, there is a great tool developed by Dan Smith called the Vista Boot Logo Generator that will automatically compile the boot images you select into an MUI file. This makes the overall process simple compared to trying to change boot screens, as you did in the past.

To get started, you need two images, one 800 × 600 and one 1024 × 768 image, both saved as 24-bit bitmap images. When you have those images picked out, resized, and saved, you are ready to follow these steps:

  1. Download the latest copy of the Vista Boot Logo Generator and install it.

  2. Click the Start button, type vista boot logo, and press Enter.

  3. After the boot logo is downloaded, click the Browse for Images button in the 800 × 600 section and select your 800 × 600 24-bit bitmap image. Do the same for the 1024 × 768 section.

  4. After you have both images selected, click File and select Save Boot Screen file as to save your MUI file. Save it to your desktop.

  5. Next you need to replace the winload.exe.mui file located in c:\windows\system32\en-us with the file you just created. However, it is not as easy as a simple copy and paste because the Windows system files are protected.

    First, I recommend making a backup of the existing winload.exe.mui file so that you can copy it back if you have problems later. To get around the file protections, you need to take ownership of all the files in the en-us folder. Right-click the en-us folder and select Properties.

  6. Select the Security tab and then click the Advanced button at the bottom of the window.

  7. Select the Owner tab, and then click the Edit button.

  8. Select your account from the Account list and check Replace owner on subcontainers and objects. Click OK to apply your changes.

  9. Click OK to exit all the open Properties windows. You need to go back into the folder properties to change the file permissions. This time you will have more rights because you are now the folder owner. Right-click en-us and select Properties again.

  10. Click the Security tab, and this time click Edit.

  11. Click the Add button. Type in your username and click OK. Your account name should now appear on the Permissions list.

  12. Select your account, and then select the Allow column for Full control, as shown in Figure 1-3.

Figure 1-3

Click OK to save your changes and OK once more to close the Properties screen. You will now be able to copy the winload.exe.mui file you made and saved to your desktop toc:\windows\system32\en-us. After you copy the file and reboot, you should see your new boot screen.

If you do not see your new boot screen and instead see the progress bar, make sure that you turned on the alternative boot screen as shown in the previous section. If you have any problems with your new boot screen MUI file, you can always boot using your Windows Vista install CD into a command prompt and can copy back the old winload.exe.mui file.

How to Change the Logon Screen Background in Windows 7

How would you like to change the logon screen background in Windows 7 so as to give your Windows a customized look and feel? With a small tweak it is possible to change the Windows 7 logon screen and set your own picture/wallpaper as the background.

Customizing the logon screen background in Windows 7 is as simple as changing your desktop wallpaper. Well, here is a step-by-step instruction to change the logon screen background:

  1. The image you need to set as the logon screen background should be a.jpg file and its size should not exceed245KB.

  2. The image resolution can be anything of your choice. However I prefer 1440 x 900 or 1024 x 768. You can use any of the photo editing software such as Photoshop to compress and set the resolution for your image. Once you’re done, save this image asbackgroundDefault.jpg.

  3. You will need to copy this image to the following location:


    You will need to create that path if it does not already exist on your computer.

  4. Now, open the Registry Editor (Start -> Run -> Type regedit) and navigate to the following key:


    If the key Background does not exist, then right-click on LogonUI, selectNew -> Key, and then name it as Background.

    Now locate OEMBackground (listed on the right side). If it does not exist, right-click Background and select New-> DWORD and name itOEMBackground.

  5. Double-click on OEMBackground and set the Value Data to 1.

  6. Now log-off to see the new logon screen background. If you would like to revert back to the default background, just set the Value Data back to 0.

Using a Tool to Change the Logon Screen Background:

The above steps will give you a detailed instruction on how to change the logon screen background manually. However, there is a nice tool to completely automate the above steps so that you can do everything with just a few mouse clicks!

The tool is called Windows 7 Logon Background Changer from This small tool is very easy to use and contains a set of preloaded images to choose from or you can set your own desired image as the logon screen background.

I hope you love this post! Pass your comments. Cheers :)