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Windows 10 has several hidden features and settings that reside within the operating system, but can’t be accessed through any normal means. Yet, while some of these tweaks are insignificant, several of them are quite useful.

And because they’re hidden out of sight, the only way to access them is by means of the Windows registry editor What Is The Windows Registry Editor & How Do I Use It? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is The Windows Registry Editor & How Do I Use It? [MakeUseOf Explains] The Windows registry can be scary at first glance. It’s a place where power users can change a wide variety of settings that aren’t exposed elsewhere. If you’re searching for how to change something in... Read More .

For the most part, we only break out the registry editor when we need to fix various system errors How to Fix Windows Registry Errors & When Not to Bother How to Fix Windows Registry Errors & When Not to Bother In most cases, fixing our registry will do nothing. Sometimes registry errors cause havoc after all. Here we'll explore how to identify, isolate and fix registry problems – and when to not bother at all. Read More or when we want to clean out registry junk 5 Ways Overzealous Cleaning Can Break Windows 5 Ways Overzealous Cleaning Can Break Windows It's easy to go overboard with cleaning your PC. When you're cleaning your PC, be sure you know what you're getting into -- it's easy to break something. Read More — but we’ll make an exception here because these tweaks are that hard to pass up.

Warning: Back Up Your Registry!

Before you edit any part of your system registry, always make a backup of all keys that you intend to edit. You can do this in the editor by right-clicking on any key and selecting Export, which saves into a .reg file that can be run to re-apply the old value of that key.

But the easier method is to make a System Restore point How System Restore & Factory Reset Work in Windows 10 How System Restore & Factory Reset Work in Windows 10 Space wasted to a recovery partition is a thing of the past. System Restore and Factory Reset have improved in Windows 10. We show you how it works. Read More , which saves the state of your system, including a snapshot of the registry. In Windows 10, you can enable restore points. Go to Start, type restore, select Create a restore point, select a drive, click Configure…, then pick Turn on system protection, set the Max Usage space, and click OK. If something goes wrong, you can just revert to the System Restore point. And if that fails, you can always Windows Refresh Should You Refresh, Reset, Restore, or Reinstall Windows? Should You Refresh, Reset, Restore, or Reinstall Windows? Ever wanted to reset Windows 7 without losing personal data? Between a factory reset and a reinstall, it was tough. Since Windows 8, we have two new options: Refresh and Reset. Which one is right... Read More .

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As for launching the registry editor, all you have to do is open the Run prompt with Windows Key + R, then type in regedit and hit Enter. (This is just one of many useful Windows Key tricks 13 Nifty "Windows Key" Tricks You Should Know By Now 13 Nifty "Windows Key" Tricks You Should Know By Now The Windows Key can be used to do a lot of neat things. Here are the most useful shortcuts that you should already be using. Read More .)

Note: While there are other ways to access the registry 3 Tools To Monitor & Examine The Windows Registry 3 Tools To Monitor & Examine The Windows Registry The Windows registry is one of the most poorly understood parts of the Windows operating system. We show you tools that can simplify the registry and help you identify issues. Read More , we’re going to keep it simple and use the built-in Windows editor for this post.

1. Switch to the Dark Theme

Dark themes can reduce eye strain 10 Dark Windows Themes & Skins To Reduce Eye Strain 10 Dark Windows Themes & Skins To Reduce Eye Strain Do you struggle with headaches or irritated eyes? You may be dealing with eye strain. Computer screens can be glaringly bright, especially in the dark. Dark themes could be your free remedy. Read More and Windows 10 offers several ways to turn to the dark side The Dark Side of Windows 10: Set a Theme & Change Colors The Dark Side of Windows 10: Set a Theme & Change Colors Windows 10 is so bright, it can cause eyestrain. Setting a dark theme is a simple way to give your eyes a break. We show you how to theme Windows 10 and its most commonly... Read More . Although, what you actually do is to turn off the light theme.

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Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Themes in the registry. Right-click on the Themes key, select New > Key, then name the new key as Personalize.

Then right-click on the Personalize key, select New > DWORD (32-bit), which creates a new value under this key. Name the new DWORD as AppsUseLightTheme and make sure its value is set to 0.

Now, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Themes \ Personalize. (The Personalize key should already exist for this one, but if it doesn’t, just repeat the steps above.) Create another DWORD (32-bit) named AppsUseLightTheme and make sure its value is 0.

Log out of Windows and log back in to see the new theme in action.

2. Enable Balloon Notifications

In Windows 10, notifications are now shown as toasts rather than bubbles. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the toast notifications, but some users just don’t like the look of them. Plus, some notifications don’t show up as toasts when they do show up as balloons.

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So, if you’d like to go back to balloons, here’s how you do it.

Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ SOFTWARE \ Policies \ Microsoft \ Windows \ Explorer registry key. If you don’t have a Policies key, then you’ll have to create one manually, followed by the Microsoft, Windows, and Explorer keys.

Then right-click on the Explorer key, select New > DWORD (32-bit), and name the new DWORD as EnableLegacyBalloonNotifications. Right-click the EnableLegacyBalloonNotifications value, select Modify, and enter 1 as its value.

Restart your PC and you should now see balloon notifications again.

3. Disable the Action Center

A lot of people find the new Action Center to be convenient and useful, but if you’re one who finds it intrusive and unnecessary, then this quick tweak will disable it altogether.

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Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ SOFTWARE \ Policies \ Microsoft \ Windows \ Explorer registry key. If you don’t have a Policies key, then you’ll have to create one manually, followed by the Microsoft, Windows, and Explorer keys.

Then right-click on the Explorer key, select New > DWORD (32-bit), and name the new DWORD as DisableNotificationCenter. Right-click the DisableNotificationCenter value, select Modify, and enter 1 as its value.

Restart your PC and the Action Center should no longer bother you. Do note, however, that this also disables notifications in general, so you’ll need to factor that into whether or not you go through with this tweak.

4. Hide Folders From This PC

The This PC location has been a part of Windows since 8.1, but the annoying thing is that there’s no easy way to remove the default folders — Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos. For people who don’t use these folders, this is an unnecessary inconvenience.

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To disable these, you’ll have to navigate to six different registry keys, each one corresponding to one of the six folders in This PC. The locations are at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ FolderDescriptions \ <FOLDER-GUID> \ PropertyBag.

Substitute the <FOLDER-GUID> above with one of these:

  • Desktop: {B4BFCC3A-DB2C-424C-B029-7FE99A87C641}
  • Documents: {f42ee2d3-909f-4907-8871-4c22fc0bf756}
  • Downloads: {7d83ee9b-2244-4e70-b1f5-5393042af1e4}
  • Music: {a0c69a99-21c8-4671-8703-7934162fcf1d}
  • Pictures: {0ddd015d-b06c-45d5-8c4c-f59713854639}
  • Videos: {35286a68-3c57-41a1-bbb1-0eae73d76c95}

Under each one’s PropertyBag key, you’ll see a string value named ThisPCPolicy. (The Desktop folder is the only one that doesn’t have this value by default, so you’ll need to create it manually.)

If ThisPCPolicy is set to Show, then the folder is visible. If you change it to Hide, then the folder will be invisible. That’s all!

5. Boost Security of Virtual Memory

When your computer doesn’t have enough physical RAM, it uses a portion of your hard drive as virtual memory Is Your Virtual Memory Too Low? Here's How to Fix It! Is Your Virtual Memory Too Low? Here's How to Fix It! The curse of Windows is its slowing down over time. Often, low memory is to blame. Here is one more way to virtually unburden your RAM. Read More in the form of a pagefile. The thing is, this pagefile still remains on your hard drive after you shut down, and that leaves it prone to tampering.

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It’s possible to set Windows to delete the pagefile whenever the system shuts down, but this can increase the time it takes to shut down by several minutes, depending on how big your pagefile actually is (anywhere from 2 GB to 16 GB). Only you can decide if the security trade-off is worth it.

But here’s how you can enable this setting.

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ Session Manager \ Memory Management in the registry and make sure you have the Memory Management key selected. Right-click on the ClearPageFileAtShutDown value, select Modify, and set its value to 1.

Restart your PC and now Windows will wipe the pagefile every time you shut down.

Registry Tweaks Are Risky but Effective

Windows has always been full of these small-but-neat tricks 9 Simple Tricks You Didn't Know Were Possible in Windows 9 Simple Tricks You Didn't Know Were Possible in Windows Windows has many simple tricks up its sleeve that are easily overlooked. Everything we show you here is native to Windows, no gimmicks. How many of these do you know? Read More , and Windows 10 brings several more to the table. For example, you’ve got the updated File Explorer address bar File Explorer's Address Bar Has a Cool Feature in Windows 10 File Explorer's Address Bar Has a Cool Feature in Windows 10 The address bar in Windows 10's File Explorer can now do something that'll make your life more convenient. Read More , the secret navigator in the taskbar Use Windows 10's Secret Taskbar to Navigate Like a Pro Use Windows 10's Secret Taskbar to Navigate Like a Pro Finding files and folders on Windows 10 can be a nuisance, so here's a quick way to find them without any navigational headaches. Read More , and an improved Start Menu 6 Ways to Hack & Customize the Windows 10 Start Menu 6 Ways to Hack & Customize the Windows 10 Start Menu The Windows 10 Start Menu combines classic elements with modern tiles. Tiles can add a lot of creative freedom. We'll give you tips and reveal tricks for customizing the entire Start Menu to your preferences. Read More .

It’s just a shame that the settings in this post are stuck behind the scary-but-not-really registry editor. A few registry tweaks is all it takes to solve a lot of small inconveniences.

Got any registry tweaks of your own to share? What’s the best tip you know that’ll improve Windows 10 for anyone? Share with us in the comments below!

Image Credit: red cubes by nomadFra via Shutterstock, Hard Disk Drive by Elya Vatel via Shutterstock

  1. Amine
    July 15, 2016 at 4:42 am

    Hi is there's possible to disable task manager using registry?

  2. alsen
    April 6, 2016 at 1:50 am

    I never use registry tools to improve my pc, I always use Gilisoft RAMDisk to boost the computer performance

  3. jpeni
    February 25, 2016 at 7:10 am

    I have been using RegBak from http://www.acelogix.com/freeware.html to backup my registry.

  4. Nick
    January 5, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Leiderhosen, ERUNT uses an older Windows 2000 API for registry hive backup that hasn't been supported since... the deal with those an 'unsupported' API means they might be removed or maybe not, but more than likely it just might not work properly in future versions, because anything new they throw in won't consider the old API for backwards compatibility.

    The Microsoft recommended way is by using the Volume Shadow Service to copy the running hives from their volume shadow copies. I wrote a utility RegBackup to do this, but it isn't released outside of our d7 line of products. The original d7 is now free from http://www.foolishit.com/getd7 but I don't recommend using that without a lot of tech experience. It may be time for a new stand-alone release of RegBackup...

  5. Leiderhosen
    November 29, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Does anyone know if the free Registry backup tool/app "ERUNT" from larshederer works with Windows 10? I've been using it for years and it has saved me a couple times (I've learned to be very conservative about registry changes and just regular True Image backups have saved me more often - but ERUNT is great to have too for quick reversals). Thanks.

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