Windows 8 and 8.1 are controversial because they fundamentally changed the way Windows works, and with each successive release they recede halfway. For example, Windows 8.1 allowed users to boot directly from the desktop, but you had to manually change this setting.
With the next Windows 8.1 Update 1 coming soon, any non-touch device will automatically boot to the desktop. They’re also going to add a power button to the home screen so you don’t have to go to the Charms menu anymore. Either way, this is just a big mess of two worlds and it keeps changing with every release, which is sure to confuse and annoy more people.
Anyway, if you’re using Windows 8, here are some useful registry tweaks I’ve been using for a while that have made the OS more bearable. I’ve previously written about 10 Registry Tips for Windows 8, but I find the ones below are more useful in day to day life. If you have your own registry settings that you want to share, feel free to post them in the comments! Also note that you must restart your computer after each registry edit for them to work.
Taskbar – Single clicks on stacked programs
By default, if you have a program located in the taskbar, clicking on it opens a preview window in which you can see all open windows.
In the example above, I have three explorer windows open and when I click the icon in the taskbar, it shows a preview for those three windows. Then I need to click on one of them to open that particular window. I have always considered it completely useless. Yes, this is great and all, but really not that effective.
Instead, you can make a small registry tweak that will simply switch all open windows with one click! You can still hover your mouse over the icon and view all open windows and click any one you like, but with the customization, you can just click the icon and quickly jump to the window you want without loading a preview. Here’s the setup:
Windows Registry Editor 5.00
; Changing the behavior of individual clicks on the taskbar in Windows 8
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER Software Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Explorer Advanced]
“LastActiveClick” = dword: 00000001
You can either go into the registry manually and add it there, or open Notepad and copy and paste the above code into a new file. Read my previous post on adding some options to the context menu in Windows 8 to learn how to create and run a registry file using Notepad.
Add Disk Cleanup to the context menu
I run Disk Cleanup on my computer quite often and I find it frustrating to search for it every time I want to use it. You can add a context menu option so that whenever you right click on a drive in Windows 8 / 8.1, you also get the option to clean up the drive.
Here is the code that will add the keys to the registry for this to work.
Windows Registry Editor 5.00
; Adds a Disk Cleanup option to the context menu of the disk.
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT Drive shell Disk Cleanup]
“icon” = “cleanmgr.exe”
< em> [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT Drive shell Disk cleanup command]
@ = â€cleanmgr.exe / d% 1 ?
Safe Mode context menu
Need to boot Windows 8 in Safe Mode? I wrote an entire post on this topic because getting into Safe Mode in Windows 8 is a real pain. You need to either use msconfig, press SHIFT while clicking the Restart button in the charms bar, or use a system restore drive. P>
What if you could add Safe Mode options to the right-click context menu like below:
Fortunately, the geniuses of the eight forums have written about a registry hack with some script files that add this great feature to Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. They have complete instructions for installing the scripts and you can download the reg file directly from their website. Definitely made starting in safe mode a lot more comfortable for me.
Add top-level domains to automatic search in IE
Internet Explorer 11 in Windows 8 has a great feature that allows you to suggest sites when you start typing. For example, if I type “mi”, I get the following list:
You will notice .com and .net domains in the results. By default, there are four corresponding domains: .com, .net, .org, and .edu. However, you can add more to this list if you like. Let’s say you work for the government or live in the UK or another country and want to add this to the offer list, then all you have to do is run the registry code below.
Windows Registry Editor 5.00
; == Adding additional URLs to Internet Explorer automatic URL searches ==
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE Microsoft Internet Explorer Main UrlTemplate]
“5” = “www.% S.gov”
“6” = “www.% s.mil”
” 7 “=” www.% S.co.uk “
” 8 “=” www.% S. to be “
” 9 “=” www.% s.de “
” 10 “=” www.% s.nl “ em>
You can change these values ??to whatever you want, eg .in for India, etc. You can also add as many or less as you like. Just make sure it starts at 5 and head up from there.
Remove default Windows libraries
Another tweak that I always do on my Windows 8 systems is to delete all these default library folders in File Explorer. I personally have my own folders to organize my content, so I don’t use them.
Again the guys at the Eight Forum came up with a reg file to remove all these folders from your system so you have clean Explorer windows like this:
If you like a desktop computer, it is usually found in the Favorites section, so I usually delete it even if I use it. Now, instead of a bunch of folders that I never click on, I just have a list of hard drives and external devices. Much cleaner!
So, here are a couple of quick registry tweaks for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 that will hopefully make your operating system a little more productive. If you have your own settings, please let us know in the comments. Enjoy!