Friday, June 19, 2009

Some quick windows tips and hacks

Allowing Network Access with Blank Passwords (XP and Vista)

Although you can log in locally without a password, by default, WindowsXP Pro does not allow network users to access the computer without a password. Typically you will receive an Unknown error 31 if this is the case.

To change this setting:

Run gpedit.msc

Go to Computer Configuration / Windows Settings / Security Settings / Local Policies / Security Options

Double click on Accounts: Limit local account use of blank passwords to console login only

Disable this option

Disabling the F3 Search Key

If you want to disable the ability to use the F3 key from either the Windows Explorer or Internet Explorer

Start Regedit

Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Restrictions

Create a Dword value called NoFindFiles

Give it a value of 1


Preventing Changes to File Associations

You can prevent users from changing associations via Windows Explorer’s Tools / Folder Options / File Types tab.

Start Regedit

Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ Explore

Create REG_DWORD data type NoFileAssociate

Give it a value of 1

Locking File Associations

If you have your file associations the way you want for a particular file type, you can remove it from the list that gets displayed in the Folder Options / File Types screen

Start Regedit


Scroll to the file association you want to lock.

In the right panel, create a new Binary value

Call it EditFlags

Give it a value of 01 00 00 00

Now when you go to the Folder Options / File Types screen, you won’t see that file type listed.

Turning off System Beeps

If you want to turn off all system beeps (like the ones that go through your computers’ internal speaker):

Start Regedit

Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Sound

Edit the key Beep and give it a value of No

Download reg file

Changing the Location Of Special Folders

You can modify the registry to change the location of special folders like:
My Documents
My Pictures

Start Regedit

Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

Double click on any locations you want to change and alter the path

Logoff or restart for the changes to go into effect

Note: TweakUI from Microsoft will allow you to make these changes from a dialog box as well

Setting the Recycle Bin to Always Delete

You can set the recycle bin to always delete items (like holding down the shift key when dragging files to the recycle bin)

Start Regedit

Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ BitBucket

Set the key NukeOnDelete to 1

Download reg file

Setting the Internet Explorer Home Page

If you want to set the home page used by Internet Explorer through the registry

Start Regedit

Go to HKey_Current_User \ Software \ Microsoft \ Internet Explorer \ Main

Give the Start Page key the string value you wish set as homepage

Preparing to Move Hard Drive to Another Computer

To remove the devices from device manager when taking a HD from one computer to another,simply:

Run Regedit

Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ and delete the Enum section

This removes all of the hardware specific settings

Comparing Registries

While working with changes to your system, you might want to see what is changing in your Registry.Since you can export it to a text file, the steps are fairly easy

Start Regedit

With the very top level select – My Computer, on the Toolbar select Registry / Export Registry File

I usually save it to the root of the C: drive with the name before (you don’t need to add an extension)

Make the change to your system

Go back to Regedit

Press F5 to update it

Export the Registry like step 2

Name the file after and have it go in the same directory

Open up a DOS window

Go to the directory where the two exported files are

Enter FC before.reg after.reg > diff.txt

Then you can edit diff.txt with your favorite text editor.

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