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Last Updated May 21, 2007
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Never make changes to your Windows Registry
without first backing it up.

  • In Windows 95, I recommend backing up using the utility ERU (Emergency Recovery Utility), from your Win95 CD. Back up the Registry and other start files to a folder on your hard drive for easy recovery in the event of a problem.
  • In Windows 98, I also recommend using ERU if you have a copy from a Windows 95 CD (ERU isn’t on the Win98 CD). Otherwise, use the native Win98 utility ScanReg (launch from a Run box: click Start, click Run, type ScanReg, click OK).
  • In Windows Millennium Edition (ME), ERU won’t work right, due to ME’s new Registry structure, so the native ScanReg tool or System Restore should be used.
  • For Windows XP: Only use patches marked as “WinXP-safe”, or specifically marked for Windows XP use. Windows XP has a significantly different Registry structure than 9x versions of Windows. If, despite this warning, you wish to test whether they work, please be especially careful to backup the Registry using System Restore: Reboot the computer freshly, then create a manual Restore Point immediately before applying any of these patches. If your Win XP system becomes unbootable, press F8 during startup and select the option to restore the last good configuration.
  • For Windows Vista: Only use patches marked as “Vista-safe”, or specifically marked for Windows Vista use. AS OF TODAY, NONE OF THESE HAVE BEEN EVALUATED FOR VISTA SUITABILITY. Vista’s Registry has is quite different from all previous versions. If, despite this warning, you wish to test a patch, please be especially careful to backup the Registry using System Restore: Restart Windows, then create a manual Restore Point immediately before applying any of these patches. If your Windows system becomes unbootable, press F8 during startup and select “Last Known Good Configuration.”

    NOTE ON “WinXP-Safe” & “Vista-Safe”: Patches marked “WinXP-safe” or “Vista-safe” have been tested ONLY to make sure they will do no outright damage on the specified system. They may or may not have any practical value, but at least they only generate Registry code consistent with what is natively found in a healthy Win XP or Vista system.

Below are Registry patches that can be downloaded and used for the purposes indicated. Each is in a zip file to prevent accidental launching. No guarantee is made of the overall effect — only my assurance that these have worked for me and for many others, and that I do not personally know of any problems they cause unless stated below. Running them is your own responsibility. If problems result, restore your prior Registry from the backup you made.

Change Default Action of REG Files to “Edit.” (Works in Windows XP also. However, if you have any problems in XP after you apply it, use the EditRegXP patch instead.) DOWNLOAD THIS ONE FIRST. (It’s also included with each of the others below, along with extra instructions.) I recommend you change the default action of Registry files to Edit rather than Merge, so that when you click them they will open in Notepad instead of merging immediately into your Registry. This protects you better. To merge them, right click on the REG file and select Merge from the context menu. Several Microsoft MVPs were sitting around discussing this, and Frank Saunders threw this simple beauty together. If you want to undo EditReg or EditRegXP, use UnEditReg.

Control Panel Restore. Win 9x TweakUI has a box to show Control Panel on Start Menu | Settings. If you uncheck this box, it removes the Control Panel entry. Unfortunately, this removes all routes to the Control Panel and its applets. Since TweakUI is on the Control Panel, you can’t use the same utility to get it back! This Registry Patch switches it back on. Thanks to MS-MVP Alex Nichol for the code. “Win-XP safe”
Drag & Drop Fix. Win98 Repairs some cases of lost drag-and-drop ability. This fix was first passed to me by MS-MVP Bert Kinney.
Drag & Drop Fix. Win 2000, Win XP Has repaired the very few cases of lost drag-and-drop ability we’ve encountered so far in Windows XP, and has also worked in Windows 2000. Don’t confuse this with the Win9x version — there are small differences in the Registry structures involved.
“Send to X” Fix. Win98 Repairs the loss of “Send to Desktop” functionality that sometimes occurs when installing the “Send to X” PowerToy in Windows 98. (You can use this patch on Windows ME also; but reports of “Send to X” causing problems in Millennium are so rare as to be almost nonexistent. Set a restore point first!)

“Send to X” Fix for Windowx XP. A version of the above patch specially created for Windows XP by Pia Holm.
IconCache Fix. Win 9x Having trouble with icon refresh and display? Maybe your icon cache is too small. This popular patch will expand it. HINT: It’s also been known to solve the common problem of slow Windows Explorer browsing. Edit the numbers to suit yourself — the values in the patch will work for most people. (Original concept by MS-MVP Tom Koch. This expanded version provided by Andreas Kaestner.)
ADVISORY: This should not be used in WinXP. See the WinXP version below.

SPECIAL WIN95 VERSION: Consider this simpler version of the Icon Cache fix, especially if you are using Win95 AND have no version of Internet Explorer running on your computer.
XP Icon Repair. Win XP Some users (very few) have reported that installation and use of XP PowerToys causes desktop icons to revert to older (pre-XP) forms. When this occurs, the cause is corruption of Registry keys which this patch repairs.
Restore Attrib column to Explorer. Win98 SE, Win ME In a clean install of Windows 98 Second Edition, the Attrib column is lost in Windows Explorer’s “Details” view. This REG file restores it. (Reported NOT to work on Win ME when the problem is carried forward.)
ADVISORY: Do not use in Windows XP. In XP, right-click on column headings in Explorer to select columns displayed.
Restore cascading Start Menu menus. IE5 Restores cascading menus (from the original version of Win95) in the Start Menu’s Programs section. This ability is lost in Internet Explorer 4 or later. This REG file by Matt Scarborough restores it. Requires Internet Explorer 5 for it to work.
WARNING: Do not use in Win ME or Win XP: this option is already user configurable.
UNDO Cascading Menu Restore. Here is the UNDO Registry file, to reverse the cascading menu restore (above).
WARNING: I do not believe this should be used in Win ME or Win XP. It may break something, because it changes native code.
Restore NEW Command. Win 9x If the NEW command disappears in Windows Explorer, or in the Desktop’s context (right-click) menu, run this patch to fix it. “Win-XP safe”
IMPORTANT NOTE Oct 2004: There is a new epidemic of these problems on Win ME machines that (per MS-MVP Mike Maltby) have been traced to installing a new nVidia driver. The driver isn’t a problem, but the nVidia install program deletes the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Directory key in the Registry. (This removes both the NEW command and the Thumbnails option in Windows Explorer’s View menu.) I am investigating whether the fix is generic enough to incorporate into the Registry patch. In the meantime, roll back to an earlier Registry version from just before the nVidia driver was installed, using SCANREG /RESTORE from a Run box.
Disable CD AutoRun.
Enable CD AutoRun.
This is the fastest way to turn AutoRun on or off if the usual methods aren’t working for you. Useful for solving a variety of woes. “Win-XP safe”
NOTE: Microsoft has an AutoPlay Repair Wizard for Windows XP and Wndows Server 2003 to resolve more complex issues.
Download More Files.
Win 2000/XP
IE 5.x for Windows 2000 and IE 6.0 for Windows XP only permit (by default) two files to be downloaded at the same time. Though MS was conforming to current standards in this, many users want it changed. This Registry patch changes the default to 10. Edit the hex value to any number you wish. Microsoft does not recommend this change.

Restore JPEG Preview capability in Explorer. JPEG preview capability is sometimes lost. This file stands a good chance of restoring it in Win 95/98. (It has worked in WinME & Win 2000 too.) “Win-XP safe”
WARNING: This patch resets the JPEG program association to the Windows default, wiping out any custom associations. This has been the most successful JPEG Preview patch for many people, but does have this side-effect. Edit the file in Notepad to see instructions on removing this characteristic.
Restore WinME Explorer GIF Preview capability. GIF preview capability is sometimes lost. This file stands a good chance of restoring it in Windows Millennium. “Win-XP safe”
Restore Explorer Thumbnail Preview capability. Win 9x This is the general fix to restore Windows Explorer’s thumbnail preview capability for a dozen different image types. Based on the original work of Alex Nichol, Doug Knox & other MS-MVPs.
WARNING: Do not use in Win XP.

Automatic Knowledge Base articles in Address Bar.
Adds the capability to the Address Bar in Internet Explorer (or on the Windows desktop) to type the letters “KB” followed by an MSKB article’s number and have the article launch. For example, to type KB 237954 and have MSKB article 237954 automatically open. Can be adapted to other purposes as you see fit, as well. (Tip from MS-MVP Diane Poremsky.) “Win-XP safe”
NOTE: Do not type the Q in front of this. That nomenclature has been dropped by MS. This new version of the patch uses the syntax MS has just implemented and is different from previous versions of the patch.
Disable Prefetch.
The “prefetcher” is part of Win XP’s memory management at startup. This patch disables it. You may want that, for example, when troubleshooting a stubborn startup problem. However, there is no direct un-do patch — the value this patch removes from the Registry is unique to your Windows installation. Therefore, it is even more important than usual that you back up the Registry before applying this!
Gives Win XP a helpful behavior found natively only in Win ME: Once you use this patch, Windows will execute any commands in the CMDINIT.BAT file in C:\Windows\ each time you open a Command Prompt window. Sorry, it doesn’t work in Windows 2000. (Tip from MS-MVP Kelly Theriot.)
Force Application Closure at Shutdown.
Win XP
If applications routinely hang during Windows shutdown, this patch will force them to close.
Repair Disk Cleanup.
On some computers, Disk Cleanup in Windows XP hangs during the “compress old files” phase, locking up the computer. This patch, based on a manual solution solution by MS-MVP David Candy, usually fixes that problem.
Disk Cleanup Optimize Win XP, Vista Disk Cleanup doesn’t work very well! That’s the main reason we usually recommend other tools. But you can make Disk Cleaner work better with a simple fix: By design, it skips any files less than 7 days old — and they’re usually the cause of the problem! This patch tweaks Disk Cleanup to clean all temp files you select regardless of date.
Restore Missing CD Drive.
The popular CDGONE patch. CD drives may vanish in Windows Explorer, Device Manager, etc. if a third-party CD-burning package has been uninstalled and Registry references for some code modules aren’t removed successfully. This patch and a reboot usually will restore the missing drives. Any third party package still required will then have to be re-installed. For more information on this and other possible causes, see the “Problems” section of Alex Nichol’s Burning CDs in Windows XP article.
Remove Outlook Express ACCOUNTS Option. Win 9x, Win XP Remove the ACCOUNTS option from the TOOLS menu in Outlook Express, effectively preventing the creation, deletion, or modification of email or newsgroup accounts.
Restore Outlook Express ACCOUNTS Option. Win 9x, Win XP This is the UNDO for the above patch.
Stop Office 2000 Clipboard Toolbar from Appearing Some people love the pop-up multi-clipboard feature of Office 2000. Some people find it just gets in their way! If you are in the second group, this patch will disable it (you can still access it from the View menu). The ZIP file also include the undo patch which turns this feature back on.
Activate System Crash Logging Win 9x This patch activates the logging of Windows system crashes. Click here for the companion patch that deactivates this. (The ZIP version at right contain both errlog1 which activates this feature, and errlog0 which turns it off.)
No FastShutdown Win 9x If you have applied the Win 98 SE Shutdown Patch, you lose the MSCONFIG setting to disable FastShutdown. That’s usually OK, because The Patch is supposed to disable it for you. But sometimes it doesn’t. In that case, this file will fix it.
WARNING: Do not use in Windows XP.
ShutMeDown Win ME Based on a principle originally identified in MSKB 155177 for Windows NT 4, this patch was found helpful with some powerdown problems in Windows ME (for which I named it). It isn’t the solution for everybody, though. Read about it here before using it.
ShutNtDown Win NT 4, Win 2000, Win XP This is the NT-family variation of the preceeding patch. This patch has been found helpful with some powerdown and Windows shutdown problems in Windows 2000 and XP. It isn’t the solution for everybody, though. Read about it here before using it.
Disable FastReboot Win ME Another Registry fix that resolves some Windows ME shutdown problems. The default enabling of the FastReboot Registry key can interfere with Win ME shutdown. This patch simply turns that off. Before using it, read more about Win ME shutdown problems in general here.
WARNING: Do not use in Windows XP.
Remove NOIDE Flag Win 9x The MS KB article MS-DOS Compatibility Mode Problems with PCI IDE Controllers describes a particular error scenario, and provides, as a solution, deleting a Registry entry. This patch does that job for you. Please, though, read the article first — this Registry entry was originally put there for a reason!
WARNING: Do not use in Windows XP.
Disable Screensaver During Defrag Win 9x Does the screen saver pop up during your Defrag operations and keep forcing it to restart the process? This little tweak will stop that on many computers.
ADVISORY: Irrelevant in Windows XP. I suggest not trying it.

Windows Registry Guide. Formerly Regedit.com. An excellent resource for a number of Registry tricks, tweaks, & hacks for optimizing, enhancing, & securing the Windows operating system.
John Woram’s Home Page. This man wrote the book on the Windows Registry! Literally! (At least two of them, in fact.) Much of value — including John’s incisive and delightful wit.
Doug Knox’s Registry Tweaks. In his Security section are several tweaks and hacks specifically aimed at childproofing your computer, and other levels of heightened security that are rarely seen outside of Windows NT. Take a look!
Ron Badour’s Reg Files. Several very useful Registry tweaks, especially for repairing various things that have gone wrong with the Windows user interface.

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