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  The Official Vista Tweaks Guide 
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CrAsHnBuRnXp Mar 29, 2007, 06:55pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Aug 03, 2007, 02:21am EDT

Replies: 12 - Views: 25897
Here are some Windows Vista tips and tweaks.

**I take no credibility in all of these tweaks and tips as I have pulled some off of various other sites. **

This registry tweak stops vista searching for all indexed files on your system while you search for programs in your program menu, please remember to make a backup of your registry before you take any action to alter registry keys, just in case the worst case scenario happens.

1. Open Registry Editor (regedit).

2. Navigate through HKEY_CURRENT_USER, Software, Microsoft, Windows, CurrentVersion, Explorer and finally Advanced.

3. Find and right click on Start_SearchFiles and select Modify.

4. Set the Value to 0.

5. reboot your computer.

Disable the sidebar
1. Open Control Panel

2. Navigate to and open Appearance and Personalization

3. At this point open Windows Sidebar Properties, here a pop up window appears, uncheck the box which says "Start sidebar when Windows Starts"

4. If you currently have Sidebar running, right click on the Sidebar icon, situated in the taskbar and select exit

5. Reboot and you're set.

Changing the text for Earlier Versions of Windows
If you are dual booting Vista and say XP, and want XP to be the default O/S (Since XP is installed first then Vista, Vista makes itself the default system) and you will end up with

Older Operating System
Windows Vista

You can change this to Windows XP Professional SP2 by doing the following

XP used the boot.ini file to manage booting, Vista does not. It uses a Boot Manager.

Start>All Programs> Accessories>Command Prompt (supposedly the only way to get there) Also Start>Run>bcdedit will not work.

At the command prompt, in my case was d:\user\*your username*

type the following:

bcdedit <enter>

Look at where XP pro is as it says "Older Operating Systems". It was under {ntdlr} so type the following:

bcdedit /set {ntdlr} description "Windows XP Professional SP2"

That was it.

You can also change the time it displays and which one displays first.

bcdedit has taken the place of boot.ini in XP.

if you type bcdedit /? you get the help menu showing what cammands can be used
(have not confirmed if it works or not)
You can also use the same approach if you are dual booting with Windows 2000, Windows 98, etc. Just change the name in the appropriate spot accordingly.

How to disable the UAC (User Account Control)
What you do is go to Start>Control Panel>User Accounts>Turn User Account Control on or off. If it is on, selecting this option will turn it off and vice versa.

On any version of Vista, except Home Basic and Home Premium, you can disable UAC for administrator accounts by following these steps:

Step 1. Click the Start button and launch the Local Security Policy editor by entering secpol.msc in the Search box.

Step 2. Select the Local Policies item in the left panel to expand the tree, then expand Security Options under Local Policies.

Step 3. Scroll down the list in the right panel to locate User Account Control: Behavior of the elevation prompt for administrators in Admin Approval Mode. Right-click that item and choose Properties.

Step 4. Select Elevate without prompting and close the dialog.

If you use Vista Home Basic or Home Premium, the Local Security Policy editor, unfortunately, isn't included. To disable UAC for administrator accounts, you'll need to edit the Registry. Follow these steps to do that — and be extremely careful, since mistakes could render your system unusable!

Step 1. Click Start and enter regedit in the Search box to launch the Registry Editor.

Step 2. Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ System

Step 3. Double-click the ConsentPromptBehaviorAdmin item.

Step 4. Change the value to 00000000.

Step 5. Close the dialog and exit the Registry Editor.

Show Administrator on Welcome screen
start > run = " control userpasswords2 " select administrator account, click reset password (input new pass) / Ok

start > run = " regedit " create the key below

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\UserList

create "DWORD (32bit) Value"
Value Name: Administrator
Value Data: 1

Open command prompt here
Right-click on any folder on your Windows Vista while holding down the shift key. You'll see an extra context-sensitive menu item there: Open Command Prompt here.

Get rid of the shortcut arrows
You can get rid of the shortcut arrows in vista by using an old reg tweak that still works: Open up regedit and go to:


Then re-name 'IsShortcut' to 'AriochIsShortcut' in the right pane.

Close regedit and reboot - shortcut arrows are gone.*

Go straight to the task manager
Windows XP's trusty CTRL + ALT + DEL key combination, which summonses the task manager, has a slightly different effect in Windows Vista: it brings up a selection dialog (pictured) which requires another click or keypress to lock the computer, switch user, log off, change a password, or start the task manager. To go directly to the task manager and bypass this dialog altogether, hit CTRL + SHIFT + ESC instead.

Disable driver-signing enforcement on x64 Editions
Execute from an admin-level command prompt:
bcdedit -set loadoptions DDISABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS

The old nointegritychecks option doesn't work on Vista RTM, only the Beta/RC builds. (Thanks McFly)

Quick Aero speed tip
The transparent glass in Windows Vista computer can look very nice. However, on some computers that have underpowered video adapters will see a performance hit when running the transparent glass effect. One way to speed up Windows Vista and still get the benefits of aero, such as flip 3D and taskbar thumbnails, is to disable glass transparency.

1. Click on the desktop and select Personalize.
2. Select Windows Color and Appearance.
3. Uncheck Enable Transparency.

3D Cube virtual desktop
Yod'm 3D is a virtual desktop manager that allows you to have 4 different desktops arranged on a 3D cube. Holding down CTRL+SHIFT and using the left or right arrow keys rotate the cube showing the virtual desktops. Alternatively, you can click and drag your mouse to switch desktops.

To download, click here:

Create an Account Lockout Policy
Creating an Account Lockout Policy will protect your account by limiting the number of time a remote application or attacker can try to guess your password. This works by automatically locking out your account after a designated number of incorrect passwords were entered. Your account will remain locked out for a designated period of time before it is automatically unlocked and it can be logged into again. This provides a valuable addition to your account security because it can render brute force password attacks useless. If you have your lockout threshold set to 4 bad attempts and the lockout duration to 15 minutes, an attacker can try to guess your password a maximum of 16 times per hour.

Now that you know how valuable an Account Lockout Policy is, let’s get it setup on your computer:

1. Click on the Start Button and key in Secpol.msc and hit Enter.
2. Navigate through Account Policies and Account Lockout Policy.
3. Right click on Account lockout threshold and select Properties.
4. Enter in the value you want to use and hit OK to save. I like to use 4 here.
5. Windows will set the default values for the lockout duration and Reset account lockout counter values. If you want to change these values from the defaults (30 minutes), right click on them and select Properties. After making your changes hit OK to save and exit.

Use BitLocker Drive Encryption without TPM chip
Windows Vista includes a new hard drive encryption feature called BitLocker Drive Encryption. BitLocker can be a very useful security feature for businesses and home users that have sensitive and confidential information stored on their computer. Unfortunately, BitLocker Drive Encryption by default requires a Trusted Platform Module (TPM Chip) version 1.2 or later installed in your computer. A lot of the computers and laptops on the market do not come with TPM chips installed since they are typically only found in premium model business computers. If you have Windows Vista Business, Ultimate or Enterprise but do not have a TPM chip, you can still use BitLocker Drive Encryption.

Hidden away in local group policy is a setting that will allow you to turn on the ability to use a USB storage device instead of a TPM key to store the encryption key. This is a great feature for users that don't have the latest high-end hardware because you can still use hard drive encryption. However, every time you turn on your computer, the USB storage device that has the encryption key located on it must be plugged in. Without it, your computer will not boot up. One BitLocker Drive Encryption is setup with a USB storage device, that USB storage device basically becomes the key to your computer.

Follow these steps to turn on the ability to use a USB storage device with BitLocker Drive Encryption on hardware that does not have a TPM device:

1. Click on the Start Button and key in gpedit.msc and hit Enter.
2. Navigate through: Computer Policy, Administrative Templates, Windows Components and BitLocker Drive Encryption.
3. Right click on Control Panel Setup: Enable advanced startup options and select Properties.
Check Enabled and hit OK.

Make menus appear faster or slower
Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\CONTROL PANEL\DESKTOP\ and select the MenuShowDelay. Right click the entry and select the Modify option and reduce the number to around 100. Play around with it to find a number that best suits your need. If you increase the number, it slows the menus down.

Reload registry changes without restarting
This I find quite handy. Its really simple. After you have made your registry changes, close any apps and programs you may have running. Bring up Task Manager, locate explorer.exe and kill the process. Once the icons and the task bar have disappeared, click on File>New Task (Run) and type in explorer.exe and everything should be back to the way it was. (except for the changes you made in the registry)

Make Windows Vista Shut Down Services Quicker
The more applications that you install into Windows, the longer the computer takes to shut down. This is especially true for applications that install a service that runs when the computer starts, and even more true for services that refuse to shut down quickly, or time out when being shut down.

To change Windows to shut down the services quicker, open the registry editor, and browse down to the following key:


You should see a key in the right-hand window called "WaitToKillServiceTimeout", with a default value of "20000", which represents 20000 milliseconds, or 20 seconds. You can change this to a value of "5000" for 5 seconds.

Quickly Enable or Disable Vista Hibernation
Hibernation is a term used for laptops and portable computers. Windows Vista (like XP before it) supports the industry standard power management technology known as the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (or ACPI).

This allows the operating system to control power to the computer's disk, monitor and peripheral devices. Hibernate saves an image of your desktop with all open files and documents to your hard disk. After it stores the information in the file it will power down your computer. When you turn on power, your files and documents will open on your desktop exactly as you left them.

Disable Security Center Notifications
The new Windows Security Center in Windows Vista can be just as annoying as the security centers in previous versions of Windows. I am an advanced of a computer user to know that I do not have anti-virus software installed. I don't need the Windows Security Center to remind me that all the time.

There is a new easy way to disable the security center messages:

1. Click on the Security Center/Windows Security Alerts logo in the system tray.
2. Click Change the way Security Center alerts me.
3. Select I do not want notification messages from Security Center.

Disable Remote Assistance In Vista
For security purposes, you may choose to disable Remote Assistance in Windows Vista. If you do, you will be unable to send requests for remote assistance to other users. You can turn of Remote Assistance in Windows Vista using the steps listed below.

1. Click Start, and select Control Panel.
2. Within the Control Panel, System and Maintenance.
3. Click System.
4. From the list of tasks, click Remote Settings.
5. Under Remote Assistance, remove the check beside the option to "Allow Remote Assistance" connections to this computer.
6. Click OK.

Game Performance Boost
Hopefully this will help some people who are getting unacceptable performance while playing games in Vista. I found it just makes the difference in BF2 between playable gameplay and unplayable gameplay.

Heres what you can try:

* Find the games .exe file in the instalation directory.
* Right click on the icon.
* Click on Properties.
* Click on the Compatibility tab.
* Check the "Disable visual themes" and "Disable desktop composition".
* Click OK.

Hopefully this helps anyone who needs a little performance boost

Also another little tip, if anyone is playing a game with Punkbuster, and are getting kicked from the server for no apparent reason, try running the game as administrator (right click, select "Run as administrator")

Add Copy To / Move To to the Windows Explorer Right Click Menu (Works in XP too)
Here's the quick registry hack to get this working. As usual, back up your registry just in case. You will want to browse down to this key:


Once you are at that key, right click and choose the New Key option:
Now you will double-click on the (Default) value and enter the following:


Click OK and continue.

If you want to enable Move To, you will repeat the same steps, except creating a new key named Move To, and using this value:


Disable driver-signing enforcement on x64 Editions Execute from an admin-level command prompt: bcdedit -set loadoptions DDISABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS The old nointegritychecks option doesn't work on Vista RTM, only the Beta/RC builds. (Thanks McFly)

Standardize Fonts in Windows Vista

Here's one that not everybody will like: It standardizes the fonts in Vista on Segoe UI, which makes the OS look even better. It also does a wonderful job of making most webpages (HWA included) look much nicer. (Thanks McFly)

More about Bitlocker
As far as BitLocker goes (which is only included in Enterprise and Ultimate editions), there are some more advanced options in the command line version, including the ability to encrypt non-system drives. The GUI version in the control panel is really bare-bones stuff -- although from what I've read, the options that are available now in the command-line script will be available in the GUI control panel come Vista SP1. To run the script: cscript c:\Windows\System32\manage-bde.wsf What I did for that was create a batch file in C:\Windows, named bde.bat, and include in it the following:
@cscript.exe //nologo c:\Windows\System32\manage-bde.wsf %*
Then you can just call bde from the command line. :_) Screenshot: (Thanks McFly)

Up the TCP Connection Limit in Vista
Here's a gem that I've been waiting for ... In Windows XP, the outgoing half-open TCP connection limit was set to 10 per second (I think). There was a great patch to up that limit (find it here:, but it doesn't work with Windows Vista (although it does work with XP x64 Edition). In Vista, the limit is 2/sec for Home Basic, and scales up to 25/sec for Ultimate. For BitTorrent users especially, that's not enough, and can cause your torrents to take longer to build up steam, and in the meantime not let you create any new connections, which can hinder even general web use. Now there's a patch for Vista: Windows Vista tcpip.sys Connection Limit Patch [...] Scroll down and you'll find a batch file with everything you need included. I always recommend checking the batch file and registry files first before applying them. The Vista patch works with Vista x64 Editions as well. ;) I installed it and it's working great. :_) (Thanks McFly)

Disable Caps Lock Key in Windows Vista
I am just going to link this one because the website bolds some things in different colors so you know what the hell they are talking about. We here at HWA can only bold in one color (black). So enjoy!

If anyone else has anything to add either PM me with the details and Ill add it in, or you can add it yourself. :) I will add more as I find them.

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CrAsHnBuRnXp Dec 19, 2007, 01:59pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: The Official Vista Tweak Guide
Here are more tweaks:

Fix Vista's Bloated Window Borders
Right click on the desktop and choose Personalize. Then click on Window Color and Appearance. If you have Aero enabled, you’ll have to click on “Open classic appearance properties for more color options”. Click the Advanced button, and then change the dropdown to Border Padding. The default will be set to 4. I changed mine down to zero. Click apply and keep your eye on the window border and watch it shrink!

Enable "Ubuntu Style" Logons in Windows Vista
Its not an exact look a-like for Ubuntu but pretty damn close.

Open regedit.exe through the start menu search box and navigate to the following key, which you might have to create: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System

Create these two new 32-bit DWORD values, giving them both a value of 1:

* DisableCAD
* DontDisplayLastUserName

To remove this tweak just delete the two keys.

Note: It's not a requirement to use the DisableCAD key. What this does is prevent the "Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete" screen, which is really quite ugly in Vista. If you'd rather use CAD you can omit that key.

Or you can use this already made registry patch:

Enable The Run Command in Vista
right-clicking on the Start Button, selecting Properties, and then clicking Customize on the ensuing dialog window. You'll be taken to the Customize Start Menu screen. Check the "Run command" checkbox in the list, and you should now be in business.

You can also get to the Run command by pressing the Windows button + R, or by clicking on the Vista Start button and in the search box type "Run" without the quotes. You can even get to msconfig, regedit, and launch many other programs doing the same.

View Hidden 3D Benchmarks in Windows Vista
This one is pretty cool and kinda useless.

There's really nothing useful about this tip, but it's still pretty cool. There's a utility built into Windows Vista used for benchmarking your system called the System Assessment Tool. What most people don't know is that you can call this utility from the command line and view some cool 3D benchmarks.

You should be able to use a regular command prompt, but you'd have best luck using an administrator mode command prompt. (right-click and choose Run as Administrator). You should also note that it will temporarily disable Aero before running the test, but don't worry, it will re-enable it after.
Type these into a command prompt. Each line is its own benchmark.

winsat aurora

winsat d3d -texshader -totalobj 15

winsat d3d -objs C(20) -texshader -totalobj 50

winsat d3d -totalobj 20 -objs C(20) -totaltex 10 -texpobj C(1) -alushader -noalpha -v -time 10

winsat d3d -totalobj 20 -objs C(20) -totaltex 10 -texpobj C(10) -alushader -v -time 10

You can adjust the commands on the prompt if you want to try to get different combinations.

Add Encrypt / Decrypt Options to Windows Vista Right-Click Menu (Works only in Vista Ultimate and XP Pro)
Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search box, and then find the following registry key:


In the right-hand pane, create a new 32-bit DWORD value called EncryptionContextMenu and give it a value of 1.

Now when you right-click on a file, you'll see a new option called Encrypt.

When you want to decrypt a file, just right click the encrypted file and choose "decrypt."

~Vel May 06, 2008, 01:38am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: The Official Vista Tweak Guide
Check and resize disk usage for system restore

Finding how much storage space is currently allocated.

1. Click the start menu
2. Click on All Programs, and then Accessories
3. From the accessories menu, right click on Command Prompt and select "run as administrator"
4. Type "vssadmin list shadowstorage" into the command prompt
5. The results should tell you the amount of storage used and the maximum amount alloted

Changing amount of space used.

1. Repeat steps 1-3 to get bring up the Command Prompt
2. Type "vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=[your hard disk]: /On=[your hard disk]: /MaxSize=[how much space you want to allocate]"
3. For example: "vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=C: /MaxSize=3GB"
4. You should get a message saying Successfully resized the shadow copy storage association, and you should have more free space on your hard drive.

Greg M Aug 12, 2008, 12:44pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: The Official Vista Tweak Guide
Quick tip:

To run any single command prompt command as an administrator, or to quickly bring up an administrator command prompt, simply type your command in the start search area (or CMD for the command prompt) and press ctrl+alt+enter.

I have found this is much more convenient than going through the menus.

FX-55, 2x 1GB GSkill, X1800XT (512MB), 2x250GB RAID-0, DFI SLI-D <-My 'project' <-Web games!
Jan 19, 2009, 07:33pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Jan 19, 2009, 07:33pm EST

>> Re: The Official Vista Tweak Guide
This thread died. :(

Here's one for the VMware users. You can remove the VMnet adapters from the Network/Sharing Center with the following PowerShell script: :_)

Feb 23, 2009, 11:38am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Mar 23, 2009, 02:43pm EDT

>> Re: The Official Vista Tweak Guide
Here's one I didn't know about, but I like:

Takes you right to Select a program from a list of installed programs dialog for unknown filetypes.

CrAsHnBuRnXp Feb 23, 2009, 04:27pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: The Official Vista Tweak Guide
McFly said:
Here's one I didn't know about, but I like:

Takes you right to Select a program from a list of installed programs dialog for unknown filetypes.

Nice find. Ill definitely put that on all my computers in the house.

Mar 23, 2009, 03:47am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Mar 23, 2009, 03:49am EDT

>> Re: The Official Vista Tweak Guide
I don't know about you guys, but I f'ing hate these toolbars:

Everytime I drag a folder icon too close to the edge of the desktop, they get created. Drives me bonkers. To disable them altogether:
> gpedit.msc > Administrative Templates > Desktop > Policy: Prevent adding, dragging, dropping and closing the Taskbar's toolbars : Enabled

If your Vista version doesn't sport the Group Policy editor, you can just do a direct registry change:

BoT Mar 23, 2009, 11:30am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: The Official Vista Tweak Guide
this will change the boot screen to one similar to the one when you come back from standby or hibernate

start -> run -> typ: msconfig -> click on boot tab ->
in the center of the window are boxes, the top most should say" no GUI boot"
click it and done

You can either be part of the problem or be part of the solution.
Codisha -
Reviews -
Mar 27, 2009, 12:28am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: The Official Vista Tweak Guide
Photoshop thumbnails for x64! Finally! Works great on Vista, too. :D

Does Targa images, too. :)

May 15, 2009, 01:34pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: May 15, 2009, 01:36pm EDT

>> Re: The Official Vista Tweak Guide
This isn't really a "Vista" tweak, but I figured I would post it here. I was getting tired of the Firefox icon, so I found this Tango ( -based one here:,+Thun...tent=36589

Fixed it up and made it into an icon:

Icon uploaded here:

Image sizes range from 16x16 to 256x256. 64x64 and up are PNG compressed. You can make Firefox use this icon for its windows by renaming it to main-window.ico and putting it in %ProgramFiles%\Mozilla Firefox\chrome\icons\default\

May 22, 2009, 05:49pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: The Official Vista Tweak Guide
Throwing some more icons out there:

Used the "generic docucment" Tango icon as a base, added purdy colorz. Perfect for the multitude of web-documents. Sized from 16x16 to 128x128. I'll upload to fileden tonight.

Jun 01, 2009, 07:08pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Jun 02, 2009, 02:02pm EDT

>> Re: The Official Vista Tweaks Guide
I love the DMZ cursors:

And wanted them in Vista (with the animated Aero loading spinner), so I combined them:

The animation on the loading spinners does work. :)


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