Windows XP registry tweaks

Most settings can be done easily within Windows. However, for some setting you need to dive into the registry or use one of the many registry tweak utilities (like the Windows XP powertool TWEAKUI). On this page (and other pages), I have described some interesting registry tweaks which you can do yourself, using the registry editor.

NOTE: Be careful editing the registry. Worst case scenario: Windows won't boot anymore. If you are not sure, leave things unchanged! My advise: create a system image before making major changes!

Speed up browsing AVI files (audio/video)

By default, opening folders containing AVI files (audio/video) can be very slow because Windows is trying to extract non important information. This can be solved, by deleting the following key:

Automatically expanding folder trees

The folder view on the left in Windows Explorer automatically expands if you click on a folder containing sub-folders. You can disable this function with a registry tweak: change the DWORD-value FriendlyTree to 0 (instead of 1) in the following key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
Automatically expanding folders will be disabled, expanding a folder is now done by double clicking the folder.

Windows search optimization

Within Windows XP you are able to search your computer for files (Start, Search), but takes some clicking to get what you want! To optimize the search function, you have to make some registry changes. To make changes, navigate to the following key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
where you will find some important DWORD-values. Change these values to optimize your Windows search:

=1 (if you have a tape drive, else: 0)

Remove shared folders My Computer

To remove the shared folders in the My Computer view, delete the value {59031a47-3f72-44a7-89c5-5595fe6b30ee} in the following key (export to a reg-file first, to have a backup):
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\My Computer\NameSpace\DelegateFolders

Saving Notepad settings

If you are a heavy user of Notepad, you probably like saving the Notepad settings on exit. To make sure your settings are saved, add/Change the DWORD-value fSavePageSettings=1 and fSaveWindowsPositions=1 in the following key:

Disable the balloon tips

Already irritated by the information balloons, covering the important buttons in the Start Menu? Start the registry editor and navigate to the following key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
change or add the DWORD-values EnableBalloonTips and ShowInfoTip, both with value 0.

Disable the useless Security Center warnings

If your Windows is not provided with one of the well known virus scan and/or firewall software, the Security Center will come with useless repeating reminders. The reminders can be disabled by changing the values AntiVirusDisableNotify and FirewallDisableNotify to the DWORD-value 1 in the following registry key:

Remove the low disk space warning

Probably you have seen the irritating 'low on disk space'-warning before, if your hard disk reaches full capacity. This warning message can be turned off by adding the DWORD-value NoLowDiskSpaceChecks with value 1 in the following key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\MicroSoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

Disabling wrapping icon/shortcut labels

Probably your desktop contains icons (shortcuts) with long names, which aren't shown completely (the are wrapped......). With a registry tweak you can disable the title wrapping, create a String value IconTitleWrap with value 0 in the following registry key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics

Disabling the blocking of pop-ups from secured sites

By default Internet Explorer blocks the pop-ups because they are mostly used for irritating advertising purposes. For secured pages (e.g. the login to a bank account), this behavior is not wished. The URL of a secured page is preceded by HTTPS instead of HTTP. The blocking of pop-ups for these HTTPS-pages can be disabled by changing the DWORD-value Allow HTTPS to 1 in the following registry key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\New Windows

Command Console tweak

If you are a frequent user of the Command Console (the MS-DOS screen, Start, Run, command CMD), the following tweak will be valuable. To change folders is difficult, using the Command Console. By changing the DWORD-value CompletionChar to 9 in the following registry key
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor
With the command CD followed with the first letters of the folder name, you are able to select the folder with the TAB-key (also works with other commands).

Activated NUM-LOCK

To automatically switch on the NUM-LOCK, change the value InitialKeyboardIndicators to 2 in the following key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Keyboard

Automatically defrag system files

To defrag the system files automatically at every boot (to optimize you system), change the value Enable to Y in the following registry key:

A faster Windows shutdown

Shutting down Windows can take a long time. You can speed this up (at your own risk) with the following tweaks in the registry key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
Change the following String values:

(the last registry value is also present in HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control)

Fix for shutting down your computer automatically

In most cases, automatically shutting down can be fixed by installing the motherboard drivers (if not done already). If your computer still doesn't shut down correctly, try this registry tweak. Change the value PowerdownAfterShutdown to 1 in the following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Fix for shutting down Windows slowly (or not at all)

If shutting down Windows takes a long time (or doesn't shut down at all), change the value PowerOffActive to 1 in the following registry key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

Finding out the reason of a Windows crash

If you would like to know the reason why there was a sudden crash of Windows, change the DWORD-value ShutdownReasonUI temporarily to 1 in the following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Reliability
After a reboot you will find the reason why your Windows shuts down suddenly in the log files (Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Logfiles). If you are finished analyzing, change the value ShutdownReasonUI back to 0.

A faster NTFS file system

You probably use the NTFS file system (see the properties of your C: partition). You can improve performance by making some changes in the following registry key:
Change the following registry values, as you wish:
DisableNTFSLastAccessUpdate = 1 (last file access is no longer registered).
NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation = 1 (no more double filenames: long names and the old 8.3 variant (the 8.3 file notation is used for the older Windows versions).
NtfsMftZoneReservation = 2 (if there are many files on a partition, the master file table (MFT) can get fragmented, with this tweak there will be no more fragmenting of the file master file table (default value = 1, range 1-4).

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