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a howtocook guide by digsby wyscher.

A Selection of XP Registry Tweaks.

With an emphasis on creating a versatile multi-user system, this document outlines a number of simple registry tweaks, covering three specific areas:

	1.	Performance Enhancements.
	2.	Restricting Access on Multi-user Machines.
	  i.	   Explorer and System Management Entries.
	  ii.	   Desktop Management Entries.
	3.	"Beautification".
	  i.	   Photoshop ShellNew entries.
	  ii.	   Low Disk Space Notification.
	  iii.	   Balloon Tips.

1.	Performance Enhancements.
To free up memory, you can automatically unload unused dlls when they are not required by creating the following key:
and change the default data value to 1.

To change the maximum number of connections available for IE to download files (usually set at three if I remember correctly) create or modify the following:
	[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings]
To remove the welcome screen at bootup, in theory speeding up boot times:

Note that while the first entry should do the trick, the current_user entry ensures that this is the case.

To reduce menu speeds and application start up and shutdown times, the following entries can be modified thus:
	[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\desktop]
	"AutoEndTasks"="1"		(closes running apps on shutdown - default value is 0)
	"HungAppTimeout"="500"		(default value is about 10 times this)
	"MenuShowDelay"="50"		(menu popup delay - default value is about 10 times this)
	"WaitToKillAppTimeout"="2000"	(waittime before windows shuts down - default value is about 10 times this)

NB - please see also the section on wallpapers under user restrictions for other entries relating to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\desktop].

2.	Restricting Access on Multi-user Machines.

Setting up multiple-user machines often requires that the end-users are restricted in their ability to roam the system, preventing them from making changes willy-nilly, deleting files and generally making a nuisance of themselves. Multiple-user systems can be an administrative nightmare, but a few simple steps can severely impede your users from destroying the system you have lovingly built for them.

Firstly, create a dummy user with administrative privileges.
Log on as this dummy user.
Open up the registry using regedit.

There are two areas of the registry that are of relevance here:

ii.	Desktop Management Entries.

Remember, you should still be logged on as the dummy user (with administrative priviliges) when performing 
the following registry changes.

Power Profiles.

To prevent your users from altering the power profile you have created, in the following registry key:


Display Settings.
If you want to preserve your functioning desktop, you can prevent your users from making any changes (right clicking the desktop and selecting "properties" from the context menu) by adding the following to the same registry key as before:
Employing all four of the above DWORD entries will effectively remove all the standard tabs from the desktop properties window.


Once you have hidden the display settings screen (as described above), it is essential that you adjust the following registry key:
	[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\desktop]

Finally, back in tweakui, remove all unnecessary components from the control panel, including tweakui itself.
Entries suitable for removal are:

	appwiz.cpl	-	add / remove programs applet.
	desk.cpl	-	desktop control panel window.
	hdwwiz.cpl	-	add new hardware applet.
	main.cpl	-	mouse and keyboard applets.
	mmsys.cpl	-	sound and audio setup applet.
	nusrmgr.cpl	-	user accounts.
	powercfg.cpl	-	power options.
	sysdm.cpl	-	system applet.
	tweakui.cpl	-	tweak.

Now, log off and log on again as administrator.
Change dummy user's privileges to limited. Logon and logoff dummy user once more, logon as administrator then copy the dummy user profile into the default user profile in documents and settings using:
	control panel
				user profiles - click on settings
					select dummy, then "copy to"
						select default user under documents and settings
						and press OK.
Finally, to ensure that the default desktop wallpaper is being used, copy the contents of:
	C:\Documents and Settings\[dummy]\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft
to:- 	C:\Documents and Settings\Default User\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft

Now, all new users you set up will have the same initial setup, desktop and restrictions as your dummy user.

3.	"Beautification."
   i.	Adobe Photoshop ShellNew Entries.

If, like me, you hope to run a clean machine, you may be inclined to reduce the number of superfluous features available during the everyday operation of your XP system. One feature I personally find rather unnecessary is the unwanted addition of new files types to the shellnew menu (the various file-types you can create by right clicking on the desktop or in a folder, then selecting 'new') that occurs whenever I install a new application. Fortunately, by using tweakui or one of its counterparts, it is possible to control your shellnew entries. However, if you deselect adobe photoshop (.PSD) inside tweakui, you will soon discover that, although the entry is temporarily removed from the right-click new file list (even after rebooting), as soon as you run photoshop again, the entry reappears on the list, and again has to be removed via tweakui. Even removing the following entries in the registry:

makes no difference - as soon as you run the application, back they come again, like the veritable bad penny.
However, there is a way of beating this annoying feature of photoshop.
Firstly, as an administrator, create in notepad a simple registry file called say, photoshopfix.reg, and place within it the following entries:
	Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

Then, create a batchfile called say photoshopfix.bat and place within it the line:
	regedit /s photoshopfix.reg
Place both photoshopfix.reg and photoshopfix.bat in the following directory:
Finally, from the run menu, type gpedit.msc to open up the group policy editor and select:-
	local computer policy
		computer configuration
			windows settings
				scripts (startup/shutdown) and select shutdown in the right hand window
					click on add, then click on "browse"
					goto C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\GroupPolicy\Machine\Scripts\Shutdown 
					if you are not there already and select photoshopfix.bat
Now, every time you reboot your machine, any changes made by photoshop to the shellnew menu will be automatically removed.

   ii.	Low Disk Space Notification.

I am a big fan of using custom-sized paging (swap) files, and providing them with their own disk space. Whenever you set up a new computer, create a separate logical drive the same size as the required swapfile (about one and half to two times the size of available system RAM) and then, after installing windows, select via system options in the control panel the following:-

				virtual memory.

Now, prevent windows from controlling the paging file and instead create and set a custom paging file on the drive you have setup specifically for this purpose, setting both the minimum and maximum values of the paging file to the total size of the drive.

However, doing this creates a new problem. Once you have assigned the entire drive space of the logical "swap" drive to this newly created paging file, windows becomes determined to constantly remind you that you are running out of disk space on this drive. Under older versions of windows, it was possible to control this feature using the following registry entry:

The DWORD values for this registry entry are documented here, and here.
In this case 32 refers to the hex value for drive F: where my paging file resides (see above).

However, this does not appear to work very well under xp.
You can disable ALL broadcasts relating to low disk space by using the following entry:
Unfortunately, if you have other drives where you need to know if you are running out of space, then this is not a viable alternative.

Another option is to change the system-wide broadcast level, which is usually set at 10%, to a much lower value, say 1%.
To do this, under:

	add the following registry entry:
		(NB if default = 10%


then reduce the size of your paging file to slightly less than 99% of the total size of your swap drive, and you will no longer receive "out of disk space" messages for this drive, while any other drives dropping below this 1% limit will continue to generate low disk space broadcast messages.

iii. Balloon Tips.

Once you've grown used to windows, it's unlikely to hold many surprises for you. If you no longer want to experience the often irritating balloon tips that appear whenever something "of importance" happens on your system, modify the following registry entries.


There are obviously a myriad other little tweaks that you can perform to control your system but, in general, I find that the above setup provides for a fast, secure multi-user machine.

For a more comprehensive list of registry tweaks available for Windows XP, please refer to

dw - oct mmvi

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