Perform Registry Edit to Tweak Your XP PC

The registry is a central hierarchal database repository that stores all hardware and software configuration data of Windows XP operating systems. Although almost all required configuration settings are there in the registry by default, you can tweak the registry keys to make the OS behave a certain way. You can do this by using Registry Editor.

You can open Registry Editor by running the regedit.exe command. The registry consists of five root keys- HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, HKEY-CURRENT_USER, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, HKEY_USERS, and HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG. All file associations, preferences and settings for the current user, and hardware, software and operating system settings are saved in these five root keys. You can also perform registry edit using DOS or command line utility reg.exe.

In this article, you will learn how to perform a registry edit to change the behavior of your XP system. Before making any changes to the registry, remember to create a registry backup using the Export feature included in Registry Editor or by using a registry cleaner program.

Launch applications at startup without adding them to the Startup folder on the Start menu.

To configure this, navigate to the following location in the Registry Editor:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVe rsion\Run

Next, right-click on the right pane, select ‘New’, and then select ‘String Value’ to add a new key. Add the program executable file as the ‘Value Name’. Next, double click the value and add the path to the program executable file in the ‘Value Data’ field.

Configure your Windows XP Pro PC to automatically logon to the system by specifying the username and password in the registry.

To specify this setting navigate to the following key in the Registry Editor:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Here, add or modify the following keys:

Data Type Value Name Value Data
String Value DefaultUserName Your_Username
String Value DefaultPassword Your_Password
String Value AutoAdminLogon 1

Note: Value of 1 enables the AutoAdminLogon option and 0 disables the AutoAdminLogon option.

Although convenient, this method can pose security risks on your PC, especially if it is shared by other users or is accessible through remote access. T

Automatically turn off the power of your PC at shutdown and stop the prompt informing you that it is safe to turn off the power of your system from displaying.

To configure this, navigate to the following key in the registry:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Here, add or modify the following keys:

Data Type Value Name Value Data
REG_DWORD PowerdownAfterShutdown 1

Note: Value of 1 enables the PowerdownAfterShutdown option and 0 disables the PowerdownAfterShutdown option.

Disable the CD AutoRun feature universally for all CDs and prevent CDs from loading and running automatically.

To disable CD AutoRun navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\C drom

Here, create or modify the following keys:

Data Type Value Name Value Data
REG_DWORD AutoRun 0

Note: Value of 1 enables AutoRun and 0 disables AutoRun.

Display hidden operating system files that do not display even after you configure Windows explorer to display hidden files.

To display these super hidden files navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVe rsion\Explorer\Advanced

Now, add or change the following key:

Data Type Value Name Value Data
REG_DWORD ShowSuperHidden 1

Note: Value of 1 enables you to display super hidden files and 0 disables the feature to display super hidden files.

Note: After performing each registry edit, restart your PC to implement the change.

The registry is an important part of Windows XP Home and Pro systems. You can customize the behavior of your XP system by performing simple registry edits. However, prior to going ahead with a registry edit, remember to create a backup of your registry. This is important because all registry changes are permanent and there is no undo. The only way you can restore your registry to last known good configuration is by restoring the settings from a backup taken prior to performing a change.