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Beginners Guides: The Registry: Backups, Repairs, and Protection

Beginners Guides: The Registry: Backups, Repairs, and Protection - PCSTATS
Abstract: The Registry is crucial to Windows, but if you know how to edit it, you can customize your system in places you never thought possible.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCstats Aug 09 2004   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCstats

Starter Registry Hacks

Now go to the 'advanced' tab and scroll down until you find the 'enable install on demand (other)' entry. Uncheck this. Disable remote registry access. This will prevent malicious users who have gained access to a valid administrator account from changing the registry remotely.

Right click on 'my computer' and select 'manage.' Expand 'services and applications' and highlight 'services.' In the right hand pane, locate the 'remote registry' service. Right click it and select properties. Shut down and disable the service. Remove the .reg file association

By default, .reg files containing registry information are automatically opened and added to the registry (after a prompt) when you open them. This means that malicious .reg files on websites or in email attachments have a potentially direct path to your registry if you make the mistake of allowing them.

To avoid this troubling possibility, you can remove the direct association between the .reg file type and the registry, so that the only way to use .reg files is with REGEDIT.

To do this: Go to 'start\control panel\appearances and themes\folder options.' Click the 'file types' tab. Scroll down until you find the REG entry. Highlight it and click 'change.' Hit the 'I will select the program from a list' option if necessary and locate 'notepad' in the list that follows. Hit 'ok.' All .reg files will now open harmlessly in notepad by default.

Please note that while the above methods will help safeguard your registry, and thus your system from malicious attacks, they do not protect you from other possible vectors. See our '10 steps to a secure PC' article for a solid grounding in PC security.

Registry editing for fun and profit

We've gone through what the registry is and does, and how to protect and restore it, so let's get to the fun stuff. Included below are a few simple and desirable registry tweaks to get you started on editing. Once you've got through these, see PCstats 101 Tips and 99 Performance Tweaks guides for a whole lot more. You can also try finding your own, provided you back up regularly.

Speeding up the Start Menu

The Windows XP start menu has a built in delay time between your pointer landing on a menu and that menu being displayed. Using the registry, you can reduce the time it takes the start menu to unfold its menus:

Open REGEDIT and Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\
Edit the MenuShowDelay value. The default is 400; lower values will speed up the start menu.

I would not recommend using 0, but experiment to find your favourite setting.

Opening a Command Prompt to a Particular Directory from Explorer

One thing that we've become used to with all Windows operating systems is that sometimes there are things that are only possible with the command prompt. However, any time you drop to the command prompt, you will have to navigate to the directory you need manually, instead of being able to drop into any folder you want from the desktop interface. Change that with this registry edit.

Start REGEDIT. Navigate to 'HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \ Directory \ shell'. Create a new key called 'Command.'

Edit the default REG_SZ value for this new key with the text you wish to see when you right click a folder to open the command prompt window. Assign it a name that's appropriate, for example: 'open command prompt in this folder' or something similar. Under the new 'command' key, create another key called 'command.'

Give the default value in this key the value of 'cmd.exe /k "cd %L"'

After you restart your computer, you will be able to right click on any folder and select your new command to instantly open a command prompt window to that specific folder.

Find out about this and many other reviews by joining the Weekly PCstats.com Newsletter today!

- Firewall Setup and Configuration
-Eliminating Spyware and Hijacker Software
- Diagnosing Bad Memory
- 101 Tips and Tweaks for WindowsXP
- Burning CDs and DVDs
- Optical Drives & Recording Formats
- Securing Your Wireless Network
- Little Known Features of WindowsXP
- Ergonomics & Computers
- Annual PC Checkup
- Installing WindowsXP
- Encryption and Online Privacy
- Home Networking and File Sharing
- Forgotten Passwords & Recovery Methods
- Preventing Data Theft from a Stolen Laptop
- Creating a Weblog / Blog
- Installing RAID on Desktop PCs
- RAM, Memory and Upgrading
- Ten Steps to a Secure PC
- Flashing A Motherboard BIOS
- Diagnosing Bad Hard Drives
- Decrypting Document & Zipped File Passwords
- Spyware protection and Removal
- Wireless home networking
- Internet Connection Sharing
- Remote Access to Computers
- Hard Drive Data Recovery
- Firewalls and Internet Security
- Back up and Restore Data in WinXP
- Assembling Your Own PC
- VPNs and Internet Connection Security
- Legally Copying Software and Music
- Setting up a FTP Server in WinXP
- Creating MP3 Music Files
- Stopping Spam
- Cloning WindowsXP
- Browser Hijacking and How to Stop It
- Printer Sharing on a Home Network
- Converting Videotape Into Video Files

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Contents of Article: PCstats
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: The Registry: Backups, Repairs, and Protection
 Pg 2.  A deeper look at the XP registry
 Pg 3.  Other Registry Values
 Pg 4.  Backing up Windows Registry Manually
 Pg 5.  Using WindowsXP Backup
 Pg 6.  Enabling System Restore
 Pg 7.  Restoring the Registry
 Pg 8.  Safe Registry Procedures
 Pg 9.  — Starter Registry Hacks

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