Other Registry Tools
I've said that, although most Windows functions are controlled by Registry entries, most of these settings are made using Control Panel applets, Computer Management tools, and application preferences
Making these changes used to require you to directly edit the Registry. Now, however, you'll find a raft of third-party add-on tools to make these changes more safely via a nice graphical
Microsoft produced a tool called TweakUI. If you don't geek-speak, its
Using TweakUI, you can adjust mouse sensitivity, window movement, animation effects, the appearance of icons in the Explorer views, the visibility of desktop icons such as Internet Explorer, the visibility of local and network
X-Setup Pro, by Xteq, is like TweakUI on steroids. This shareware program offers nearly 1,700 settings and tweaks using a slick graphical Explorer-like interface. It includes wizards for some of the more complex
Registry Toolkit is a shareware Registry Editor made by Funduc software with a nifty
Resplendent Registrar is a powerful Registry editing tool produced by Resplendence Software Projects (www.resplendence.com) with a drag and drop interface. Other features include a Registry defragmentation tool, a Registry compare tool, support for volatile Registry keys, and the option to edit Registry hive files on disk, allowing power users and administrators to edit Registry images of broken Windows installations. It's also shareware ($44.95), and there's a free "lite" version.
Tweak-XP Pro, available from www.totalidea.com combines tweaking tools with additional enhancements and optimizing tools such as a RAM-disk, pop-up ad blocker, RAM reorganizer, file shredder, and so on. The cost is $39.95 for one computer, with multiple-license
Registry-Hacker Web Sites
Not surprisingly, whole Web sites have sprung up to share Windows Registry tips and tricks. If you're interested, you might check out these two sites that I've found to be occasionally useful:
But to be honest, I don't find all of the listed tips to be helpful, and the TweakUI program I discussed earlier provides an easier way to many of the more useful things.
As for so many things, when it comes to demystifying the Registry, Google is your best friend. If you're looking for the purpose and valid settings of a particular registry key, search Google for the full key name. It's easy: Right-click the key name in the Registry Editor, select Copy Key Name, and paste the name into the Google search field. If you don't get an answer, pare the name down section by section, starting at the left side:
You can also try searching the microsoft.com Web site using Microsoft's search function, but frankly, Google does a much better job of indexing Microsoft's site than Microsoft does.