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Windows 10 Registry Tweaks

The Windows Registry can be a scary place to visit if you don't understand how things work. It is true that there are often simpler ways to action some of the changes shown below but understanding the inner workings of your Windows 10 PC is key to understanding how to accomplish more with your screen time.

What is the Registry?

The Windows Registry is a hierarchical database that stores low-level settings for the Microsoft Windows operating system and for applications that opt to use the Registry. The kernel, device drivers, services, Security Accounts Manager (SAM) and user interface can all use the Registry. The Registry also allows access to counters for profiling system performance. Prior to the Windows Registry .INI files stored each program's settings as a text file, often located in a shared location that did not provide user specific settings in a multi-user scenario. By contrast the Windows Registry stores all application settings in one logical repository, a number of discrete files, and in a standardised form.

Backing Up Your Registry

Before you edit any part of your system registry, it is always a good idea to make a backup of all keys that you intend to edit. Here we will look at the simple and quick method of backing up Windows Registry keys.

  1. You can back up any of the keys in the registry by right-clicking on any of them in the editor and then selecting Export. This will save into a .reg file that can be run to reapply the old value of that key ata later date. This is the minimum backup step you should take before editing.
  2. An easier backup method is to make a System Restore point that includes a snapshot of the registry. Go to Start, type restore, select Create a restore point, select a drive and click Configure.....: then pick Turn on system protection, set the Max Usage space and click on.

Registry Tweaks

So let's get down to tweaking some registry keys. Registry keys always start with HKEY, followed by the location in the file system. Once you find and select the HKEY you want, you will see that further options are available.

  1. Access the Editor
    To open the registry editor, all you have to do is open the Run prompt with Windows Key + R, then type in regedit and hit Enter. If you know a certain value you want to change, you can navigate through the registry to find it by clicking the + sign next to each registry key.
  2. Increase Taskbar Transparency
    In Registry Editor, go to following key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
    In the right side pane, create new DWORD UseOLEDTaskbarTransparency and set its value to 1.
  3. Prevent Windows Update from Automatically Restarting
    In Registry Editor, go to following key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\ Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AUkey
    Right-click in the right pane and create a new 32-bit DWORD value named: NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers. Set its value to 1.
  4. Disable System Tray Notification Balloon Pop-ups
    In Registry Editor, go to following key:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Softwore\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
    Create a new DWORD value, name it EnableBalloonTips and set its value to O.disable Wi-Fi Sense and Application Telemetry.
  5. Hide Folders from This PC
    In Registry Editor, go to following Key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Explorer\

    Substitute the <FOLDER-GUID> above with one of these:

    Desktop: {B4BFCC3A-DB2C-424C-B029-7FE99A87C641}
    Documents: {f42ee2d3-909f-4907-8871-4c22fc0bf756}
    Downloads: {7d83ee9b-2244-4e70-blf5-5393042afle4}
    Music: {a0c69a99-21c8-4671-8703-7934162fcfld}
    Pictures: {0ddd015d-b06c-45d5-8c4c-f59713854639}
    Videos: {35286a68-3c57-41al-bbbl-0eae73d76c95}

    If ThisPCPolicy is set to Show, then the folder is visible. If you change it to Hide, then the folder will be invisible.