BOOT CAMP ARCHIVE 2000

  

 

BOOT CAMP 127

THE WINDOWS REGISTRY part 2

This week’s Boot Camp is concerned with making changes to the Windows Registry, a critical database that controls how Windows 95 and 98 operates. If you haven’t read part 1 do so as it contains important information, especially the bit about making a backup and restoring the Registry, should something go awry. (There’s a potted version below). Whilst we’re at it, please note that by reading this sentence we’re absolved from all responsibility if anything goes wrong with your computer, in perpetuity…

In fact we’re not going to be doing anything too challenging or hazardous, just a few quick and simple tweaks that add some extra functionality and change the way several Windows 95 and 98 features look and work. It’s all very straightforward but for heaven’s sake don’t try them unless you are reasonably confident of your abilities, and be aware that Regedit will not warn you if you make a mistake, or prompt you to confirm actions when you close the registry editor! We’ll kick off with a nice easy one, changing the name of the Recycle Bin on the desktop, which a lot of people detest. 

Open Regedit and make the all-essential backup then work your way down through the following set of keys:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/CLASSES/

CLSID/ {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}. (be warned that CLSID and that long strings of numbers and letters are a long way down the list) Click on the entry and an item called Default appears the right hand pane, with the name ‘Recycle Bin’ in the Data column. Double click on the icon next to Default and the Edit String dialogue box appears with the words Recycle Bin highlighted in the Value Data field. Press backspace to delete it and type in your new name. Click OK, move the mouse pointer to an empty area of the desktop, click the left mouse button once them press F5 to refresh the desktop and the name will change.

This tweak disables the ‘Splash Screen’ that pops up every time you open Outlook Express (Version 4). Make sure OE is closed and open the following set of keys: HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/

Microsoft/Outlook Express, move the mouse pointer to the right hand pane and right-click, the word ‘New’ appears, and a drop down menu to the side, click on DWORD Value and a new icon appears with the name ‘NewValue #1’ highlighted. Backspace to delete the name and type in ‘NoSplash’, (without the inverted commas), double-click the icon and the Edit DWORD Value dialogue box appears, change Value Data from 0 to 1, click OK, close Regedit and see how quickly Outlook Express opens.

Here’s how to get rid of a Windows annoyance, the names of programs left behind in the Add/Remove Programs list, after the program has been deleted. (Actually you can also do this with Tweak UI, but this method is much more fun…). Got to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\

Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall and the full list of titles in Add/Remove Programs appears. To remove the name key of a program you’ve already deleted simply right-click on it and select Delete.

This one is for Windows 98 users who have upgraded from Windows 95 and miss the way the Start menu used to open with side-by-side columns, instead of the single scrolling list in Win 98. In Regedit navigate through the following list of keys: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\

Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\Advanced place the mouse pointer in the right hand pane and right-click, New appears and on the drop-down menu choose String Value, rename it to ‘StartMenuScrollPrograms’, double click the new icon and in the Value Data field type ‘false’, close Regedit and give it a try.

Control Panel is the probably the most frequently used Windows Utilities, yet it is buried away on the Settings menu or has to be accessed from My Computer. This next Registry hack puts the contents of Control Panel in a sub folder on the Start Menu, so you can get at anything with just one mouse click. This time there’s no need to actually go into the Registry to make the changes, instead right-click on the Start button and select Open. When the Explorer Windows opens go to New on the File menu and select Folder and a new folder icon appears, backspace to clear the name and type in the following: ‘Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}’, do not forget the dot after Control Panel, press Return and the folder’s name should now change to Control Panel. Close the Start Menu window and a new item called Control Panel appears on the Start Menu that opens to show its contents.

The brown desktop Briefcase icon is a bit dull, so why not change it for a smart metal one? Open Regedit and drill down through the keys thus: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{85BBD920-42A0-

1069-AE24-08002B30309D}\DefaultIcon. In the right hand pane you should see a Default icon, next to it in the Data column it should read ‘c:\windows\System\syncui.dll,0, if so click on the icon to open the Edit String dialogue box and change the 0 at the end to a 1, click OK and close Regedit, click onto the desktop and press the F5 key to refresh the display and hey-presto, a shiny new aluminium case. (On some machines you may have to re-boot Windows for the change to take effect).

We’ll round off with a quick and easy way to customise the title bar in Internet Explorer and (versions 4 and 5). Make sure Internet Explorer is closed and open Regedit and after the customary backup go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main

Right click into an empty area of the right hand pane and from the New drop down menu choose String Value, rename the newly created icon Window Title, double click on the icon next to it and type in your name, or the text you want to appear on the title bar, close Regedit and it’s done.

That is just a very brief taste of what the Registry can do, if you want to go any further I strongly recommend you read up on the subject, there are plenty of detailed books on the subject, including the inevitable ‘Dummies’ Guides and there’s a huge amount of information on the Internet, along with very many more hacks. A very good place to start is: http://home.aol.com/AXCEL216/reg.htm

Next week – Viruses

 

BACKING UP THE REGISTRY

Make a backup every time you open and use Regedit. Go to the Registry drop-down menu select Export Registry File. In ‘Save In’ choose a location to store the backup and in the ‘File Name’ field call it Regbak and click Save. This creates a self re-installing file called Regbak.reg; in the event of a problem double-click on Regbak.reg.

 

TOP TIP

Here’s yet another Registry tweak, this one hides all of your desktop icons from view. It can be used as a simple security measure, or just a way of getting rid of lots of untidy icons. Run Regedit make your backup and go to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\

Windows\Current Version\Policies\Explorer. Look for a Value called NoDesktop in the right hand pane. If you don’t see it right click into an empty area of the right pane, select New and DWORD Value and rename it NoDesktop. Click on the icon to open the DWORD Edit window and change Value Data from 0 to 1, reboot the PC and you should see a clean desktop. To return it to normal go back to the Registry and change the NoDesktop value back to 0.

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