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While I am busy compiling some more Registry tweaks for you, I realised that there are some tweaks you can make to your PC without ever having to touch the Registry at all. So here’s some off the top of my head.

1. Tweak your trash bin

trashicon.jpg If you right-click on your trash bin and choose “properties”, you can tweak a few trash features. For example, you can turn off the eternally annoying “are you sure you want to delete this?” dialogue (I love being rid of this stupid feature). You can also reduce the space in your trash bin (to prevent it from filling up too much) and you can even disable the trash bin so that anything you delete bypasses the trash and gets deleted off the system immediately (I would use this one with caution though).

2. Turn off the stupid boot up and log off music

When you turn your computer on and off, Windows gives you a stupid tune. You can easily disable this music (as well as other sound effects) by going to your system set-up (in your start menu) and choosing the sounds & audio devices option. Clicking on the “sounds” tab, you can see a list of all the sound effects and you can either change them or disable them. Now you can have a silent boot up in the morning!

3. Delete hidden “thumbs.db” files

thumbsdb.jpgwhen you have pictures on your hard drive, Windows makes a cache to make the picture load faster next time. The cache is called “thumbs.db” and is normally cloaked so you have no idea it is there. But these “thumbs.db” files build up and up and it takes up a lot of hard-drive space.

To reveal them and delete them, go to your Windows Explorer and choose Tools, Folder Options, and make sure that Show common tasks in folders (in XP) is selected under the General tab. This will give you a Windows warning that doing this may potentially hurt your system but in my opinion, it’s safe enough. This will then reveal the hidden system files, including the “thumbs.db” caches in each folder. Deleting them will free up some disk space and some folder clutter. But when you load the pictures again, the “thumbs.db” cache will return so you need to keep on top of this and delete them on a regular basis.

If you’d rather not change anything in your Windows Explorer, you can also view and delete the hidden files by viewing each folder in a FTP client such as FileZilla Transfer Files by FTP with FileZilla Transfer Files by FTP with FileZilla Read More .

4. Right-clicking the start menu

startbutton.gif If you right-click on your start menu button and choose “properties” and then “task list”, you can change a few irritating features. For example, XP normally hides “inactive program icons” in the system tray. You can easily disable that irritating feature so they ALL show up. You can also remove the clock if you don’t need it.

5. Have Windows Explorer show the information YOU want


When you open a folder in Explorer, in the right hand pane, you have headers such as “name”, “size”, “type”, etc. If you right-click on one of these headers, you can untick what you don’t need and Explorer remembers for next time.

6. Change the folder icons

Tired of the same icons in your Windows Explorer or desktop? Then right-click on the icon, choose properties and then the “customize” tab. You can choose from one of Windows pre-set icons or you can download your own.


This only really works for hard-drive folders and self-made desktop shortcuts. I’ve yet to see a software program that allows you to change their default icon. I’ll be writing about more XP tweaks, both registry and non-registry, soon! Meanwhile, do you have any good tweaks to share? Tell us in the comments!

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  1. Tweaks 4 PC
    June 28, 2009 at 6:37 am

    A good collection of non-registry tweaks you've put together here. Gave a a couple of good ideas to try. Cheers! :)

  2. Susan Reed
    May 7, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Thanks a lot for the registry tips. I completely screwed my registry one time and now I learned from my mistake. I back-up before making the tweaks/changes.

    I suggest to everyone to backup your reg before attempting any of the above.

    Great write-up!

    • Mark O'Neill
      May 7, 2008 at 1:38 pm

      not necessary to back up the registry first, since these tips don't involve touching the registry at all!

      Remember, the article is called "Non-Registry Windows Tweaks"! :-)

  3. Tank
    October 17, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    In reference to the clearing the "thumbs.db":
    "windows explorer">tools>folder options>"view" tab> will have an option in the first set to modify whether or not you want to cache thumbnails. even easier.......

  4. TechMalaya
    September 13, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    you can even change the folder's color using a freeware called "Mark Folder".

  5. Brainiac
    September 11, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    Thanks for the tips. I knew couple of them but other were new.