Tag Archives: Windows Tweaks

How To Use Regedit

reg-icon Windows stores its configuration settings in a database called the registry. These settings are constantly modified by the many different programs running in Windows. Users can also make changes to the registry by using the Windows registry editor, regedit. Making changes to the registry is a common way to correct problems and change the way Windows looks and acts.

However, making the wrong registry changes can cripple your Windows system. So before you start hacking away with regedit, you should learn a little about it. This tutorial will explain some of the features in regedit and tell you how to use it safely.

Backing up the registry

Back up the registry before you make changes. One convenient way to do this is to use Windows System Restore. Here’s how to use System Restore. Another method for backing up the Windows registry is using a free utility named ERUNT, and here is how ERUNT works. Make sure you understand one of these methods before going any further.

Launching regedit

Unlike most other system tools, regedit will not appear in any of your menus when you click the Start button. That means you’ll have to launch it some other way. I’ll tell you how to start it using the Run dialog.

To bring up the Run dialog, hold down the Windows key and tap the R key.

winkey r

Now type regedit into the command entry box and click OK.

start-run-regedit

Using Regedit

Once launched, regedit will pop up pretty quickly. Here’s what it looks like:

regedit-hives-displayed

First, I’ll mention that you can see a Helpmenu in regedit and you’ll find plenty of information in it that I won’t cover in this tutorial.

The navigation pane (on the left) is showing the 5 main hivekeys, which always start with the word HKEY. To navigate deeper into the registry, you need to click on the plus (+) signs next to a hive key. The same applies the further into registry you go. Once you click on a plus, it will display all the sub-keys under that key and the plus will change into a minus (-) sign. Clicking on the minus sign will collapse the structure back to the way it was.

In the view below, you can see that I’ve located the key for a piece of software that I had installed.

regedit-delete-key

At the bottom of the window you can see the registry path to this key. Right clicking on a key will bring up a menu showing several actions.

  • New, will create a new key under the key I have selected.
  • Delete- If this was a program that was no longer installed on my PC, I could safely delete this key.
  • The Copy Key Nameaction places the full path to the key in your Windows Clipboard, and it can be pasted as text into other applications, such as email or a web browser.
  • Exportaction allows you to save the information under a registry key, and this information can be restored later if it’s needed. It’s a good idea to export a key before you make changes to it. I’ll talk more about exported keys later.

Here you can see that I’ve navigated down into the Current User hive to take a look at my mapped network drives.

regedit-add-new-key

In this view, I have the Zkey open. In the right pane (data pane), you can see the entries for the data values under this key. Each piece of data under a key has a name, type and value. The data name can be almost any string of letters as long as it doesn’t contain a space. There are several types of data, as shown above, and you can learn more about them in the regedit help file.

Right clicking into an empty area in the data pane will bring up the Newmenu, as shown above, which allows you to add new data entries. Right clicking on one of the data entries, as shown below, will allow you to modify its value or delete it entirely.

regedit-modify-data

Importing data into the registry

Above I mentioned that you can export a key to save all the sub-keys and data under it. When you export a key, you will see that it wants to save as a REG file.

regedit-export-a-key

A .reg file is actually a plain text file and you can open it up in Notepad to see what’s inside of it. Here’s a look inside of one:

regedit-exported-reg-file

That’s good to know, because you will often find registry tweaks published online in plain text as shown in the image above. All you need to do is to copy the text, paste it into Notepad and then save it as a .REG file.

reg-file-merge

Once you have a REG file that you want to restore or add to the registry, all you need to do is double click on it, or right click on it and Mergeit into the registry. When you do this, you’ll get a message asking you to confirm this action.

reg-file-merge-dialog

After you confirm, you’ll get a message telling you that the information was entered.

reg-file-merge-dialog-confirmed

Notes:
  • If you’ve made changes to the registry, you won’t always see an immediate change (if it’s one you can see). Many times you will have to log out of Windows and log back in before you see any changes.
  • Some free tools make it easy to change your registry without using regedit. These programs are often called tweakor system enhancement tools, such as TweakUI (from Microsoft).
  • Here are some sites with lots of registry tweaks you can apply to Windows.
  • Here are some tutorials on how to use the registry and REG files.
  • Here is a list of free registry tools.
Summary

I’ve told you what the registry is, how to back it up, make changes to it, and finally, how to add to the registry using REG files. Now you have enough information to safely make registry changes, and you can learn even more about these topics in the regedit help file and other places online.

ServicesEditor Makes Tweaking and Restoring Windows Services Easy

It is common knowledge that Windows has many built-in services that a common user doesn’t require. Disabling these services can reduce boot times and enhance system performance. In the past, we have covered utilities like Vista Services Optimizer which optimize Windows services for better performance.

Services-EditorMost users tweak services using the Windows Services Editor (services.msc). The trouble with this approach is that every time you reinstall Windows, you will have to edit the properties of every service one by one. ServicesEditor is an online Service Manager which supports Windows XP, Vista and 7. Once you have selected an operating system you will be presented with the list of services for that system including their default startup type. You can change the startup type for any services. Once you are done, ServicesEditor.com will generate a registry file which can be merged with the registry to apply the changes.

Techie Buzz Verdict

ServicesEditor is a robust service which is excellent for tweaking as well as restoring the original configuration of Windows services. The best thing about ServicesEditor is that it saves your configuration as a compact registry file. Not only does this allow you to save your configuration for future use, it also enables you to share your tweaked configuration with friends and family. My only complaint with ServicesEditor is that it doesn’t provide any information what so ever about individual services. Hence, you would need to refer to Black Viper’s services list (or other similar resources).

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

[ Visit ServicesEditor.com ]

Tweak Windows Seven With EnhanceMySe7en

Windows Seven is a great operating system. It’s truly a step forward in terms of usability and performance. That doesn’t mean that it can’t do better. EnhanceMySe7en is a free utility for optimising and tweaking Windows Seven.

EnhanceMySe7en utilizes the Ribbon interface pioneered by Microsoft Office 2007. All the options are divided into five sections:

  • Tools: Tools tab provides you access to System Information, Process Monitor, Service Monitor, Hard Disk Health Monitor (S.M.A.R.T.), Registry Cleaner, Defragmenter, DiskCleaner and Startup Items Manager. The process manager bundled with EnhanceMySe7en is excellent and deserves a special mention.
  • Most Used Tweaks: This section houses some of the most commonly used Performance, Security and Network related tweaks.
  • System: System tab contains most of the system related tweaks and also provides quick access to File, Network and Security Tools.
  • Optimizations: Performance related tweaks like Memory Cache settings, Hard Disk settings, Unnecessary Services applet and Visual Effects tweaker can be found here. Another interesting option present in this section is System Repair which allows you to repair damaged system and reset font settings. You can also reset the “Show Hidden Folders” setting if it has been disabled by some malware.
  • Customizations: This section provides a plethora of tweaks for your Start Menu, Desktop, Taskbar, Media Player, Error Reporting, Internet Explorer, Context Menu and Windows Explorer. The context menu editor is a handy tool which allows you to get rid of all the junk options which accumulates over time in the right click context menu.

Tweak Windows Seven With EnhanceMySe7en

Ribbon interface is definitely a huge plus for EnhanceMySe7en. Unfortunately, the arrangement of various tweaks doesn’t always make sense and can be slightly confusing. For example, why isn’t File and Network Security Tools in the Tools tab? Or why are there two separate sections for Security related tweaks?

There are plenty of Windows Seven tweaking software available in the market. EnhanceMySe7en can’t compete with professional software like Totalidea’s Tweak-7, but it is one of the best free Windows Seven customization tools available. Go ahead and give it a try if you love playing with your operating system. And keep reading Techie-Buzz as we will feature some of our other favourite Windows Seven tweaking software in the future.

[ Download EnhanceMySe7ven ]

Fine Tune Your PC With TweakNow PowerPack 2009

TweakNow PowerPack is a fully-integrated suite of utilities that let you fine-tune every aspect of your computer ´s operating system and Web browser.

The RAM Idle program manages the free memory that is available to run Windows programs. It prevents performance from degrading as you swap files and programs in and out of memory.

TweakNow Power Pack

The AutoShutdown program lets you suspend, hibernate, or shut down your computer after a specified period of time. In addition to saving resources, this program keeps your system more secure by making it unavailable to unauthorized people. The CD AutoRun is an extension of Windows ´ CD and DVD autorun features, giving you additional options for starting programs or listening to music.

The Virtual Desktop program lets you run as many as four custom-designed desktop configurations simultaneously, allowing you to tailor your computer screen to your mood and your work requirements. The suite gives you a complete picture of all aspects of your computer ´s hardware, including detailed information about your motherboard, processor, video card, memory, hard disk and network.

To keep your computer always at top performance, we recommend to clean your registry at least once a month. For Windows tweaking lovers, the suite provides more than 100 hidden Windows settings in the Windows Secret section. Using modules included in this section, you can easily customize your Windows like geeks do.

[ Download TweakNow PowerPack 2009 ]