Customizing Windows 7 Using The Windows Registry  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

According to the Engineering Windows 7 blog:

Only 15% of the beta users kept the default theme. 77% of the beta users created a custom theme by changing one or more elements of the inbox themes.

This means that the majority of people want to customize their computers to suite them… (Nothing new!)

This guide shows some ways to customize Windows 7 using the Windows Registry Editor by modifying settings that can’t be changed from the “Personalization” window. Since these tweaks modify the Windows Registry, it is advisable to perform a backup of your registry using ERUNT (or any other means you use).

To open the Windows Registry Editor:

  • Click on the Start
  • Type “regedit” in the search bar
  • Choose “Yes” if a “User Account Control┝ message appears

To go to a specific key in the windows registry:

  • Click on the arrow sign next to the key’s name to expand it.
  • For example if you want to open “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software”: Click on the arrow next to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER” then click on “Software”

To create a new value:

  • Right-click anywhere on the right side in the Registry Editor
  • Choose “New”
  • Click on the type of value that you want to insert

To modify a value:

  • Right-click the value
  • Choose “Modify…”

The following tables contain information about the values that need to be added/modified to apply the tweaks:

Windows 7 Task Switcher

The task switcher allows users to switch between open windows using the keyboard shortcut: ALT+Tab

Cool Switch (32-bit)

Cool Switch (32-bit)


Go to : HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

Value Type What it does affects Data
String Sets the number of columns of the cool switch NUMBER
Default= 7
CoolSwitchRows String Sets the maximum number of rows in the cool switch


Default = 3

Windows 7 Desktop Slideshow (64-bit)

The desktop slideshow automatically changes the wallpaper after a set time interval. The user selects the images he/she wants to use in the slide show, the time interval and whether or not to shuffle their order. All this can be modified through the “Desktop Background” window, however the following can’t:

AnimationDuration – In 64-bit versions of Windows 7, there is a ‘fade’ animation that occurs as a transition between the images. This animation takes about 1 second.

Go to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Personalization\Desktop Slideshow

Value Type
What it does affects Data
AnimationDuration DWORD (32-bit)
Sets the time taken by the animation in milliseconds
NUMBERRemember: 1000 gives 1 second

There’s another DWORD (32-bit) value called “Interval” that sets the time at which the images change, however it seems to only work when data entered is the same as those available in the “Personalization” window. If a value given is “1000″ for example, which means the desktop background has to change every second (crazy! I know), it still takes 10s to change. I think this is deliberately done by Microsoft, because if people were able to set the time interval to a very short period of time (below 10 seconds), it would overload the computer’s memory. (full Story)

This entry was posted on Jun 21, 2009 at 9:28 AM and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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