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Backup Your Windows Registry

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 posted by CSch

Before you make any changes in your Windows Registry where you're not completely sure of what you are doing, it might be a good idea to make a backup of your current registry settings. You can either do that by creating a System Restore Point or do a backup of only the registry itself. To do the latter, enter it by typing regedit into a Run... prompt. Right-click on Computer on the left frame (the root directory of the keys) and select Export:

Choose a directory where to save the backup and hit Save. The file that is created that way is a *.reg file and can be merged (in this case it replaces the whole registry) on double-click.
This way you create a backup of the whole registry. It is a good idea to have a full working registry backed up, but you can also back-up smaller parts by exporting sub-keys of Computer.

Change default installation path in Windows 7

Monday, March 25, 2013 posted by CSch

By default Windows installs all programs into the C:\Program Files and C:\Program Files (x86) directories. If the hard drive you have the operating system installed on is running out of space though, or you just want to have the OS on a separate SSD, you might want to consider changing these default installation paths.

Be warned before you go on though! Microsoft does not officially support changing installation directories (see here). You are responsible for all consequences.

Furthermore, since we are going to edit the Windows registry for our causes, you should have that backed up first in case something goes wrong. Here's how:

Now that you have been warned, let's get started: Open a Run... prompt and enter regedit. I will be referring to our new installation path as E:\Program Files and E:\Program Files (x86), so replace these paths with the ones you want to have (you can choose other names as well). Now browse the left registry pane for the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion key. Click on that key once to show its contents and locate the ProgramFilesDir and ProgramFilesDir (x86):

Screenshot (10)

Double click those values and change C:\Program Files to E:\Program Files as well as C:\Program Files (x86) to E:\Program Files (x86). Furthermore it might be safe to change all other paths directing to the old directories to point at the new ones as well. That's it if you are on a 32bit system, close the registry and reboot your computer.

64bit users have one more step to go. Close the registry and open another Run... prompt. This time, enter %systemroot%\sysWOW64\regedit. Another registry windows will open. Repeat the exact same steps here that you have done before. Afterwards, close the registry and reboot your computer.

By default Windows 8's new start screen allows that many tile rows that fit onto your screen on a certain resolution - however, you can change that value by using the Windows registry.


To get to the registry, point your cursor to the bottom left corner of the screen and right-click it once - a feature-rich menu should appear. Select Run here. In the opened Run-prompt, enter regedit and press Enter to get access.

Warning! Meddling with the registry without knowing what exactly you are doing can cause damage to your machine. To be safe, back up your registry as described here.

Within the registry, use the left navigation panel to get to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ImmersiveShell\Grid key. Select it and look on the right pane afterwards - if there is no value called Layout_MaximumRowCount, create one by right-clicking some free space on the right pane and selecting New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name it as shown above and give it the value you want to reduce the number of rows to (the value defines the maximum tile row - you can force it down to a number, but cannot force the screen to use one higher than it would use normally).

Afterwards quit the registry and log out or restart your machine. The metro start screen should now reduce the number of tile rows to the number you entered: