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Windows XP Registry Tips

Mon 5, December 2005 7:57:02

Messing around with the Windows registry is usually not the brightest idea. But sometimes, there isn’t any other way – the Windows interface alone doesn’t allow you to do everything the operating system as to offer.
In this post I mention two ticks that I’ve used frequently. Nothing really dangerous… just fun cool stuff that sometimes comes in handy :)

Order of the Start Menu items

One of the most irritating features of Windows XP is that you can’t easily sort the program entries on the Start Menu - they just follow the order they are installed. In previous versions there was a “sorting” option, but for some strange reason, Microsoft decided to remove it. Luckily, you can still do it by editing the registry. Open the following key:

CurrentVersion\Explorer\MenuOrder\Start Menu2\Programs

(it’s possible that you can have “Start Menu” instead of “Start Menu2”)

There is a binary value called “Order” inside this key – delete it. Next, reboot your computer. Now all the items are sorted by alphabetical order.
Unfortunately, every time you install a new program, it will still go the end of the list, so you might to want to do this trick from time to time. Oh well, better than nothing…

Change the Drive Name and Icon

Most people can have quite a few drives in their Explorer – hard drives, CD-ROMs, DVD burners, external drives and even virtual drives, from applications like DAEMON Tools or similar. Some drives might have their own personalized name and icon, but most often then not they get the Windows default icon and name, like “CD-Rom drive”. It would be much nicer if they had a customized name, like “Sony DVD Burner” or “Maxtor External”. Even better, they could have their own custom icon, like the company logo. Well, you can also achieve this by a few changes to your registry. Open the following key:


If by any chance this key doesn’t yet exist, create it. Then create a key for each drive that you want to customize, giving the drive letter as a name – for instance “…\DriveIcons\G”.
If you want to define a custom icon, inside the drive letter key create another key called “DefaultIcon” and set the “(Default)” value to the location of an icon file (those tiny files with an .ico extension). You should have a bunch of them already, but you can get more on the Internet or even make your own.
If you want to specify the name, create another key within the drive letter key called “DefaultLabel” and set it’s “(Default)” value whatever text you want, like “My tiny USB stick”.
Refreshing Explorer might be enough to see the results, but you might have to reboot the computer.

2 Responses to “Windows XP Registry Tips”

chris wrote a comment on Thu 23, February 2006

Click on your start menu then go to programs. Right-click on any of the program folders and choose, “sort by name”. Voila!

you got groovy templates man-

Rui wrote a comment on Thu 13, April 2006

Right!… duh! :)
Always taking the hard road…

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