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I used to work at Best Buy tech bench (pre Geek Squad, either way glad to be done there) and we had a great little batch file which tweaked registry entries for all new computers. I have lost this batch file, and am trying to compile a list to make another. Please help!


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If you're tweaking for security, the Microsoft Security, NSA, and DISA guides have a mess of registry entries to change. Just be sure you know what they do before you change them. –  romandas Sep 1 '09 at 14:01
Do you have a link to these registry entries? –  Mark Norgren Oct 18 '10 at 15:46

12 Answers 12

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Use classic login:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]

Remove Windows Tour popup:


Disable autorun:


Disable search assistant:

"Use Search Asst"="no"

Set Google as IE homepage:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]
"Start Page"="www.google.com"

Put volume icon in the tray:


Remove Windows Messenger from startup:

Can you seperate those into single entries, so that we can upvote a single item please? –  Sebastian Hoitz Apr 30 '09 at 20:46
you disable that stupid search dog!? Wish I had know that 3 years ago... –  Nathan Reed May 1 '09 at 5:33
Hmm wouldn't it be better to use DEFAULT (user) instead - so these settings are applied to all new user accounts? –  Oskar Duveborn May 3 '09 at 11:47
I simply don't get it. All of these options can easily be set via GUI (control panel, dialog boxes and checkboxes). What's the point of editing the corresponding registry key, where I can accidentally mess up with something entirely different? –  pestaa May 13 '09 at 20:36
@pestaa Because you have to manually click things yet with a registry entry you could batch insert them upon a computer installation. –  Adam Gibbins May 13 '09 at 23:02

Show file extensions:


Classic control panel:


Disable Desktop Cleanup Wizard


Turns on verbose logging for all Windows MSI installations

Logging = voicewarmup

Windows Vista:

This sets the default folder customization to NotSpecified (which pretty much means the "All Items" template as seen in the customization dialog), otherwise Vista's erroneous guesses at how to display your files can be quite irritating (an mp3 may switch it to a Music folder, or a gif from Details to Thumbnails in its switch to Pictures & Video).

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\AllFolders\Shell]

You may then globally change the appearance of the "All Items" template by tweaking an "All Items" folder and going to Tools->Folder Options->View->Apply to Folders (works similarly for the other templates).

If you want to reset all existing folders to "All Items" then remove the entire Bags key first:

[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags]

An illustrated guide available here: Fixing Folder Type problems in Windows Vista


Make the Start menu faster:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]
"MenuShowDelay"=20 (default is 400)

I've been adding this to every Windows I've ever installed since Win95. Makes world of difference!

one of the first tweaks I always do as well :) –  John T May 3 '09 at 7:30

Working for a corporation and keeping security in mind:

Setting minimum password length (where MinPwdLen must be manually created as a binary value):


Disabling the registry from other people's sticky fingers:

Um, shouldn't the password policy be managed by a Group Policy instead? –  Frode Lillerud May 3 '09 at 21:11
Yes and the question asked which registry entries should be changed, not how they have to be changed. Most sane people would use the gp editor for this you are correct. –  John T May 4 '09 at 20:11

Windows XP, autoplay (autorun)

Not a registry fix. Much better. Kills autoplay (autorun) for all removable media, including USB memory sticks.

Group Policy (gpedit.msc) > Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Turn off Autoplay

The Group Policy Editor makes all appropriate registry changes - not sure this is possible in XP Home (tip: boot safe mode and search for gpedit.msc).


Windows Vista:

This disables UAC's use of the Secure Desktop, which is essentially that dimming of the screen you get with elevation prompts. It's designed to prevent their spoofing, with several examples given in that article.

However I frequently find the Secure Desktop to be cumbersomely slow loading, more so on a system I've yet to update the display drivers on or am maintaining (considering the repetition), but even somewhat after, so I disable this (I keep UAC enabled).

In my opinion it's somewhat more important that Microsoft made this the default to discourage spoofing than it is for an individual machine to leave it enabled.


Display the full path in the title bar

"Settings"=hex:0c,00,02,00,0b,01,f8,75,60,00,00,00  ; bit 1 of the '0b' byte mirrors the     above setting

No more "Disk space is running low on drive X" annoying tooltips (tested for Windows XP):


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