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
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
when 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.
4. Right-clicking the start menu
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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