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!
Use classic login:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon] "LogonType"=dword:00000000
Remove Windows Tour popup:
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Applets\Tour] "RunCount"=dword:00000000[/br][HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Applets\Tour] "RunCount"=dword:00000000
Disable search assistant:
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\CabinetState] "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:
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] "FolderType"="NotSpecified"
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:
An illustrated guide available here: Fixing Folder Type problems in Windows Vista
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:
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).
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.
No more "Disk space is running low on drive X" annoying tooltips (tested for Windows XP):
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer] "NoLowDiskSpaceChecks"=dword:00000001 [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer] "NoLowDiskSpaceChecks"=dword:00000001