The 10 Best Registry Hacks for Windows 10

The Registry Editor, or RegEdit, icon on the Windows 10 desktop.

Windows 10 registry contains useful hidden parameters that you won’t find anywhere else in Windows. From classic registry hacks that worked on Windows 7 to brand new hacks for Windows 10, here are our favorites.

Change Windows with one click on the taskbar

Open window thumbnails on Windows 10 taskbar

Like Windows 7 before it, Windows 10 combines multiple windows of running applications with a single button on your taskbar. When you click on the button, you see thumbnails of your open windows and you can click on the one you want.

But what if you could just click the button on an application’s taskbar to open the last window you actively used? What if you could keep clicking the button to browse your open windows? You can switch between windows much faster.

This is what the “LastActiveClick” parameter does. You can also just press and hold the Ctrl key when you click on a taskbar button to achieve this behavior, but LastActiveClick makes it the default behavior when you click on a taskbar button – none no key press is required. You have to activate LastActiveClick with a registry hack.

It was one of our favorite registry settings on Windows 7, and it’s just as useful on Windows 10.

RELATED: How to make your taskbar buttons always go to the last active window

Add applications to the context menu of the desktop

A custom shortcut added to the Windows 10 desktop context menu.

Applications often add shortcuts to your Windows context menus and you can remove them if you want. If you want to add your own shortcuts, visit the registry.

You can add a shortcut for any application to the context menu of the Windows desktop, giving you the ability to launch your most frequently used applications with a quick right click on the desktop. Whether it’s Notepad or a web browser, you can hack anything you want from this menu via the registry.

RELATED: How to add an application to the Windows desktop context menu

Display seconds in the taskbar clock

Windows 10 taskbar clock showing seconds

Windows 10 lets you add seconds to your taskbar clock so you can see the precise time at a glance. Most people won’t need it, but this clarification is invaluable. After all, Windows automatically synchronizes your PC clock with network time servers so that it is accurate to the second.

This was not possible on Windows 7 without a third-party utility that changes the taskbar clock. In fact, Microsoft first tested this feature in the 90s. This caused performance issues on PCs at the time, so it was removed before the release of Windows 95. Now 25 years later, you can finally get seconds on your taskbar by adding the value “ShowSecondsInSystemClock” to your registry.

RELATED: How to display seconds in Windows 10 taskbar clock

Delete 3D objects (and other files) from this PC

The 3D Objects folder in File Explorer

The “This PC” view in Windows 10 File Explorer includes a number of folders that you will never be able to use, such as “3D Objects”. C’mon, Microsoft: How many Windows users really need a folder for 3D models in the foreground in their file managers?

Although Windows does not offer an obvious way to remove them from this PC view, you can do so in the registry. You can delete the 3D Objects folder from File Explorer by modifying the registry. You can also delete other folders such as Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures and Videos, if you want.

RELATED: How to delete “3D objects” from this PC in Windows 10

Hide OneDrive in File Explorer

The OneDrive sidebar folder in File Explorer

OneDrive is built into Windows 10, but what if you don’t want to use it? You can uninstall OneDrive, of course. But even if you do, you will see a “OneDrive” option in the sidebar of File Explorer.

To get rid of OneDrive and eliminate clutter in File Explorer, you will need to get rid of OneDrive sidebar entry in registry.

RELATED: How to disable OneDrive and remove it from File Explorer on Windows 10

Drop the lock screen

Windows 10 lock screen

Windows 10 includes a lock screen with beautiful images thanks to Windows Projector. He has even widgets so you can see information from “universal” apps like Windows 10 email and calendar apps on your lock screen.

But let’s be honest, the lock screen was originally designed for Windows 8 tablets. If you’re using a desktop or laptop computer, the lock screen is just another screen you need to tap Space to bypass before typing your PIN or password. It’s nice if you activate Windows Spotlight, and we haven’t seen Microsoft abuse Spotlight by insertion of advertisements in a moment, so it’s not that bad

To get rid of the lock screen, you can edit your registry and add the value “NoLockScreen”. Windows will go directly to the login prompt each time you start, wake up or lock your PC.

RELATED: How to disable the lock screen on Windows 8 or 10 (without using Group Policy)

Remove Bing Search from the Start menu

Bing search showing information about tigers in the Windows 10 Start menu.

When you type a search in your Start menu, Windows normally searches the web using Bing.

That’s fine if you want it, but what if you just want local search? Well, Microsoft doesn’t offer a simple way to turn it off.

Fortunately, you can still disable Bing with a registry hack. Disable “BingSearchEnabled” and the Windows taskbar will simply search for your local files. Your searches will not be sent to Microsoft’s servers, and you will not see Bing results when you only search for local files.

RELATED: How to turn off Bing in the Windows 10 Start menu

Get rid of Cortana

Cortana in the Windows 10 taskbar.

Cortana is also tightly integrated with the Windows 10 taskbar experience. You can completely disable Cortana, but only by modifying the registry. Turn off the “AllowCortana” value and Microsoft’s voice assistant will not appear as an option in the taskbar or in your Start menu.

RELATED: How to disable Cortana in Windows 10

Disable Shake to minimize

Click on the title bar of a window on Windows 10.

Did you know that you can shake a window to minimize all of your other windows? Many people only come across this feature by accident when they start moving a window by dragging its title bar and quickly moving their mouse.

It is easy to see how this feature can work. To avoid accidentally triggering this feature if you never use it – and really, how many people do it? – you have to activate “DisallowShaking” in the registry.

RELATED: How To Prevent Aero Shake From Minimizing Your Windows

Use Windows Photo Viewer instead of the Photos app

The classic Windows photo viewer activated on Windows 10

Okay, let’s be honest: Windows 10’s included Photos app is a bit slow. Each time you double-click an image in File Explorer and wait for Photos to load and display it, you have a fraction of a second to ask yourself “Weren’t the image viewers faster ten years ago?”.

The Photos app isn’t the only game in town, and you can still install third-party apps for a different and faster image viewing experience. The old watch IrfanView is still there and is faster than ever.

But, if you miss the Windows Photo Viewer app in Windows 7, you can get it back. It’s still included on Windows 10, but Microsoft has removed registry settings that allow you to open image files and set it as the default image viewer. They are not present on a new PC with Windows 10 or an old PC with a new installation of Windows 10, but they are present if you have upgraded your PC from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

It doesn’t matter, because you can use a registry hack to import necessary registry settings to any Windows 10 PC. After adding the necessary parameters to your registry, the Windows photo viewer will appear as an option in the “Open with” menu and you can even set it as the default application for all types of images, replacing the Photos application. Windows 10.

RELATED: How to make Windows Photo Viewer your default image viewer on Windows 10

All of these registry hacks have been tested on Windows 10 November 10 Update end of April 2020.

Many of these options can also be changed Group Policy Editor instead of RegEdit, the registry editor. However, you can only change Group Policy if you have Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise, or Education. Registry hacks will work on all versions of Windows 10, including Windows 10 Home.

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