The Windows Registry

Oct 10, 2007


Joined Oct 10, 2007
23 0 0
AFTER Windows 3.11, all Windows were equipped with a database known as the Registry Editor. This editor is the most important and essential part of a computer. A computer performs all its functions through this database, whether it is start-up or shutdown or even controlling the speed of the system.

However, the most important task of all is browsing. We all are in continuous search of a software to optimise the performance of computers and somehow increase the speed of the internet. Often, users complain about slow performance and say that sometimes, the computer is not performing up to their expectation. All these problems are related to the registry editor.

The Windows registry editor can be accessed in two ways. Firstly, by typing Regedit in the Run bar, secondly, by opening the folder by the name of Windows in XP and double-clicking a green-coloured cube beneath where registry editor is written. After opening it, you will see five yellow folders. From here you can deal with the registry of Windows XP. The main program controls all the other sub keys in the registry, that is My Computer. "H" is an abbreviation for Hive. A short explanation of these keys is as follows:

Abbreviated as HKCR, this stores information which is related to registered applications. This hive contains all information regarding the file associations of registered applications. It also contains associates from object linking and embedding that are used to handle applications.

This stores information associated with the current user who has been logged on. If a user is logged in as administrator, then all settings are stored in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive. However, this key stores all information about applications that have been installed in the user's account other than the administrator. However, when there are restrictions on a particular system that have been laid by the administrator, then only this section is accessible.

This is the most sensitive section. Any mistake in editing could render the system unbootable. All settings made by the administrator are stored in this part of the computer. This key can be accessed by typing "%SystemRoot%\ System32\Config\system" in the Run bar. The hardware system information is stored under this key.

This is actually an extension of the HKEY_CURRENT_USER key. This key stores information pertaining to all users on a particular system.

This key contains information that is regenerated at run time. It is also abbreviated as HKCC.

Editing the registry: Editing the registry is an effective process, can yield wonderful results and is also the solution to many problems mentioned earlier. However, editing the registry by beginners can be dangerous. I started to edit the registry by a careful reading of articles from the internet. Though the registry editor contains dwords, strings, multi-strings and binary values.

There are two panels in the register editor. The left panel contains keys while the right panel contains binary values, etc. To create a key of your choice, right-click in the right panel, create a key anywhere and name it. This is just a demonstration for creating a key. Afterwards, don't forget to delete the key.

Some tricks

- Increasing the speed of loading web pages: The most common problem is the slow loading of the web page. This can be solved to some extent by accessing the registry. Expand the HKEY_CURRENT_USER. The complete address to navigate the key is: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\InternetSettings.

Click on the key by the name of Internet Settings and create a dword in the right panel by the name of "MaxConnectionsPerServer". Now double-click the key. You will see a box under the heading "edit key value". Beneath the title, a box with a number zero will be shown. As a side option, you can choose whether the value should be in decimal or hexadecimal (remember all dwords are in hexadecimal).

Now press backspace and type 10 in place of the modify box and then close it. Create another key by the name "MaxConnectionsPer1_ 0Server", modify its value and change it to 10 by the same procedure mentioned above. Ensure that the "Use HTTP 1.1" box is checked. Reboot the system for the changes to take place. The same technique is used by Google web accelerator.

- Increasing the processing speed of your system: If your network adapter has an onboard processor designed to offload network processing from the system CPU, it is disabled by default. This setting allows you to enable it and increase the processing speed of your system. To navigate HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters, click the parameter key and in the right panel create a new dword by the name "DisableTaskOffload". Then leave it as it is and don't modify it. You do not need to restart the system. You will notice an increase in the processing speed of your system.

- Optimising performance: Disk-intensive applications take most of your valuable time to start, especially on a system equipped with Windows XP. The largesized application takes a lot of time to start which results in frustration. This setting optimises the contiguous file allocation size, thus speeding up the performance of software or applications that take a lot of time.

Navigate to:HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem and create a new dword value by the name of ContigFileAllocSize. Then modify the dword and change the value from zero to 200 in hexadecimal. Reboot for the changes to take place.

- Speeding up folder view: When Windows accesses a directory on an NTFS volume, it automatically updates the last access time stamp on each directory. Therefore, if there are a large number of directories, this can affect performance. Inducing this key in the registry, thus, decreases the time to view folders. There is a delay at times when we try to open too many folders.

However, this setting speeds up the folder view. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem and you can create a key there by the name of NTFSDisableLastAccessUpdate. After that, modify the value and change it to one. Reboot for changes.

- Enabling UltraDMA66/100 to improve disk performance: There are mainly two modes for disk writing: the DMA and the PIO. To enable UDMA results in faster disk performance and faster CD writing, navigate to HKEY_ LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0000.

Now create a new DWORD by the name of "EnableUDMA66", modify the value and change it to one. Reboot for changes to take place.

- Keeping your pesky little cousins away from meddling with your computer: Use these fields to create a dialog box that will be presented to any user before logging onto the system. This is useful but you require the law to warn people that it is illegal to log on without being an authorised user. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon.

Then modify the already existing string values, LegalNotice Caption and LegalNoticeText. In the legal notice caption, which contains the heading of the warning, and the Legal Notice Text, you have to write the warning to be given. Simply double-click the keys, enter the heading and then the text in the given boxes. Exit registry editor. Now log off and before logging on, you will see the text you typed on screen. If this does not look good, simply go back to the keys and modify them.

- Disk clean up freezing while compressing old files: This is a very common error that occurs in 95 per cent of the computers. While running the disk clean up utility, it takes Windows a lot of time to gather information about compressing old files and, hence, the disk clean up seems to get stuck.

For this, simply navigate to the key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches. Expand the key and look for the sub key "compress old files". Then delete the key and exit registry editor. Now run the disk clean up utility.

- Increasing the start-up speed of your computer by deleting unnecessary start-up programs: Type HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run and click on the run key. In the right pane, you will see the list of the programs that start up when your system loads. Most common malwares and viruses load from this key by inducing them.

Only delete the values that you know and leave the rest. Repeat the same procedure, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_ USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run and delete the programs you don't want. When you log off and log on again these programs won't be there to bother you.

Although these tips do seem interesting, one must be warned that plugging in incorrect values will lead to system failure. These values mentioned above have been tested and have worked wonders for me and they are sure help you. So enjoy tweaking!

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