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12 Awesome Windows 10 Registry Hacks

Windows is already a highly customizable operating system and registry editor allows you to extend that power to a next level. There are many tweaks which you can perform with registry editor to make Windows more optimised according to your needs. To help you improve your Windows 10 experience, here are a bunch of Windows 10 registry hacks worth trying.

Accessing the Windows Registry

As all the tweaks require a trip to the Windows Registry, it is important to know how to access the Registry. Press the Win + R keys and type regedit in the “Run” dialog that opens. Click “OK” and the Windows Registry will open.

Backup the Registry before you start

Obviously, before you start, make sure you perform a backup of Windows and your registry. To back up your entire Windows registry, go to the registry editor, click Computer in the pane on the left, go to “File -> Export,” then give your backup a name and save it wherever you like.  Maybe to a external souce like a USB drive just in case…

1. Customize Desktop Context Menu

Your desktop context menu is the menu which is displayed when you right click anywhere onto some open space. 

One nice registry hack is adding your own shortcuts to the desktop right-click context menu. By default, it doesn’t have much there, but if you happen to be on the desktop a lot, you can add some links to your favorite programs. Below we explain how to add the application “Notepad”

Navigate to the following key: Computer\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\Background\shell\

Now you have to add two keys under the shell key. The first one should be the name that you want to use for the shortcut and the second will be called command. Above, I created one called Notepad and then created command underneath Notepad. Finally, double-click on the Default key in the right-hand pane and change the value to notepad.exe, for example.Now when you right-click on the desktop, you’ll see Notepad and clicking on that will open Notepad! Nice!

2. Increase Taskbar Transparency Level

You may have noticed that the transparency on the taskbar is ever so slightly different, depending on whether or not you have an AMOLED or OLED display. With a simple modification you can enable this OLED transparency on any display.

Navigate to the following key:  HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

Create the following DWORD (32-bit) Value: UseOLEDTaskbarTransparency and give it a value of 1.

Once you have done th is you can restart your machine and you should notice a slight difference in the transparency level. It’s not modifiable outside of these two options, so you can’t choose how much transparency you want.

3. Desktop Icon Spacing

Thanks Microsoft for getting rid of the options to customize our desktop! What used to be so easy is now a registry hack! In order to change the desktop icon spacing (horizontal and vertical), you have to edit two values in the registry.

Navigate to the following key: HKCU\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowsMetrics\

icon spacing

4. Disable the Delay in Windows Startup

If you are facing delay in Windows startup, you can apply this registry tweak. Microsoft has added a subtle delay to help apps start with Windows. You can disable this to decrease the booting time.

Navigate to the following key: HKCU\ Software\ Microsoft\ Windows\ CurrentVersion\ Explorer. You will see a folder named Serialize there.

Right-click on Serialize and go to New>> Dword value. You have to rename the new Dword key to StartupDelayInMSec. Double click on the same and change the value to 0.

Presto! From now on, you can experience a slightly better Windows booting time.

5. Click to Last Active Window

This is probably one of my favorite little hacks for Windows 10. Have you ever had several windows of the same application open, like Word or Excel, and then had to click over to a different application like Chrome?

However, when you click on the icon in the taskbar to get back to Word or Excel, instead of taking you straight to the window you were on previously, it just shows you a small thumbnail image of all the windows. With this hack, when you click on the icon for a program with multiple instances open, it will take you straight to the last active window.

Of course, you could just press the ALT + TAB key combo, but this is useful if you always end up using the mouse rather than the keyboard.

Navigate to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

Go ahead and create a new 32-bit Dword called LastActiveClick and give it a value of 1.

6. Clear Windows Page File on Shutting Down

Windows creates a page file to use your hard disk as a virtual memory when your system doesn’t have enough physical RAM. The size of the file can be greater than that of your physical RAM. Obviously, it will decrease the space on your hard disk by a great margin.

So, you can do a simple registry tweak to automatically delete the page file on each shut down.

Navigate to the following key:  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SessionManager\MemoryManagement. Right-click on ClearPageFileAtShutDown and choose Modify from the menu and change its value to 1.

7. Confirm File Delete Dialog

Another missing feature in Windows 10 is the confirm file delete dialog we were all so familiar with. I never noticed it too much, but when I first deleted a file in Windows 10, I was shocked to see that the file just went straight to the recycle bin. I’m sure I’ll get used to it eventually, but if you really want it back, here’s how to get it back.

Navigate to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\

Go ahead and create a new key under Policies called Explorer. Then create a new DWORD value and give it a name of ConfirmFileDelete. Change the value to 1 if you want the delete file dialog and 0 if you don’t want it. Sweet!

8. Registered Owner

Even though it’s so old and useless, I still like having the ability to change the registered owner in Windows to whatever I like. Don’t ask me why, it’s just some weird geek thing from the early days of Windows. Luckily, Microsoft still has the value stored in a registry key which you can change to whatever you like.

Navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion

Under CurrentVersion, just find RegisteredOwner and change it. Also, note there is a RegisteredOrganization, you could could actually put two custom lines in the about Windows dialog. How do you even get to that dialog in Windows 10? Click on Start and type winver.

9. Paint Desktop Version

If you’re running several copies of Windows 10 on multiple computers and in virtual machines like I am, it’s nice to have the Windows version painted onto the desktop automatically. Windows 10 has a registry key that enables you to add this to your desktop automatically.

Navigate to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

Find PaintDesktopVersion under the Desktop key and change the value from 0 to 1. Next time you login, you’ll see the Windows 10 version number and build number as shown above.

10. Border Width

border width

If you don’t like the border size around all your windows while on the desktop, then you can change it by going to the following key:

Navigate to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics

Find the key called BorderWidth and change it to any value between 0 and 50. It’s defaulted to -15, which is some odd numbering scheme employed by Microsoft which I don’t really get. Luckily, you can just use 0 to 50 for this registry setting instead of the crazy negative numbers.

11. Get Windows 7 Volume Control

If you’re not a big fan of the new horizontal volume control in Windows 10, then you’ll be happy to know that you can get the vertical one again, just like in Windows 7.

Navigate to the following key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion

Create a new key under current version called MTCUVCand then create a new DWORD value inside of MTCUVC called EnableMtcUvc. Leave it with a value of 0.

12. Remove OneDrive from Explorer

Lastly, if you don’t use OneDrive for your cloud storage, then what’s the point of having it show up in Explorer all the time? Luckily, there’s a simple registry hack that will remove it from Explorer easily.

Navigate to the following key: Computer\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6}

Change the value of System.IsPinnedToNameSpaceTree to 0 and restart your computer. That’s it!

Closing

If you’re using Windows 10 and feel comfortable modifying the registry, feel free to play around with the options above and customize Windows 10 to your delight. Remember! You can undo all of these by changing the values to the opposite, or just restoring the backed up file.

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