Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Windows Registry is just one of those things we learn to love, and learn to hate. It's a huge, seemingly unorganized and highly sensitive mess of settings that tell Windows how to behave. As you may know, you can tweak Windows, its features, and other programs by making changes to the Windows Registry.

 1. Hide Your Computer From the Network

If file and printer sharing is enabled on a Windows computer, it by default sends announcements in the background to all the other computers. This makes the computer show up in Network or Network Neighborhood. However, with this registry hack, you can hide your computer so others can't browse to it even if you're sharing.Create or change the "Hidden" DWORD value to "1" at the following location:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesLanmanServerParameters
Then you can still access the computer and shares with the Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path in a web browser or windows explorer window: \computernamesharename
2. Display Error Statistics on the Network Connection Status Window
By default, the Network Connection Status window shows the number of packets or bytes received and sent via the network adapter. This can help when troubleshooting by letting you know if any traffic is getting in or out. However, a simple registry hack can give you another piece of information: the number of errors. This can help alert you of network issues.
Create or change the "ShowLanErrors" DWORD value to "1" at the following location:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlNetworkConnectionsStatMonShowLanErrors

3. Change the IP Address of the Wireless Hosted Network

A new feature in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 lets you create a virtual Wi-Fi router, called a Wireless Hosted Network. By default, Windows assigns this virtual interface the IP address of 192.167.137.1. However, you can change this address in Windows Registry.
Change the "ScopeAddress", "ScopeAddressBackup", and "StandaloneDHCPAddress" DWORD values at the following location:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEMCurrentControlSetservicesSharedAccessParameters

4. Change the Default IP Address of ICS

As you may know, Windows includes a very useful feature called Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) that lets you share your Internet connection. Windows gives the virtual router the IP address of 192.168.0.1 and hands out addresses via DHCP to computers. This however is the default IP of popular off-the-shelf routers like D-Link. Therefore, you might want to change the default to something else to avoid an IP conflict.
To change the IP address of ICS, modify the "ScopeAddress", "ScopeAddressBackup", and "StandaloneDhcpAddress" DWORD values at the following registry location:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMControlSetServicesSharedAccessParameters

5. Remove the Hand From Icons of Shared Resources

By default, Windows adds an image of a hand to all the icons of shared folders and printers. This makes it easy to distinguish resources that are being shared on the network. Sometimes you might not want this. Luckily, there's a quick registry hack to remove the hands.
Change the "Default" REG_SZ value from "ntshrui.dll" to blank at the following location:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTNetworkSharingHandler

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