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Modifying Windows Error Reporting

If you need to configure how Windows systems behave when reporting errors, various Group Policy settings would allow you to modify the default behaviour. For instance, you can disable the display of error messages during critical errors.

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Disabling Windows Control Panel

Say, you don’t want other users to fiddle around with your system settings and would like to completely disable access to Control Panel for all users then you can achieve this by simply adding a new registry entry.

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How to Modify the Default IP Address of a Wireless Hosted Network

The default IP address of Windows 7 (and Windows Server 2008 R2) virtual Wi-Fi Access Point (AP) feature called Wireless Hosted Network is 192.168.137.1. Although, this address is highly unlikely to conflict with other addresses that you may have configured on your network still, you may wish to change it to another value.  In order to be able to change this default IP address you need to modify a Registry setting as follows:

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How to change the Registered Owner in Windows 7

Most third-party applications pick registration details from the system and such details were inputted during the installation of Windows 7. The owner name and organization details stored in Windows can be displayed using the winver.exe application but cannot be modified through the GUI. What if, you need to change the registered owner or organization name? Say, you have bought a used computer or exchanged your computer with a co-worker and there’s no need to re-install the whole thing from scratch! You can directly change these details from the registry editor.

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InPrivate Filtering Hack

InPrivate Filtering helps prevent website content providers from collecting information about sites you visit. The InPrivate Filtering feature is present in Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) while, the feature in IE9 is called Tracking Protection. Content providers or third-party websites could develop a profile of your browsing preferences which can be used in a variety of ways, including for analysis and serving targeted advertisements. Do not confuse InPrivate Filtering with InPrivate Browsing. For more information about InPrivate Browsing go here.

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Memory Dump Tweak

A memory dump during a crash of Windows 7 will fail if your system drive (%SystemRoot%) has less than 25GB of free space! Memory dumps help you diagnose crash issues and it is always recommended to allow enough free space on your system drive for debugging information to be logged and for better overall performance. You can set the dump file to be stored on a different local drive with ample storage space or disable this feature, but in cases where this is not possible and regardless of free space, you can force Windows 7 to create a dump file using the following new registry entry:

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Changing the default Windows Shell in Windows 7

The default Windows shell in Windows 7 is the Windows Explorer, however you can replace it with other shells such as, the command prompt, Windows PowerShell or custom built shells. This may become handy when computers are running specific tasks and you want to restrict their usage or free up resources taken by the default shell. However, remember that if for example you set the command prompt as the default shell, users can still load the default shell and other hidden applications.

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Hiding Drives in Windows 7

This simple registry hack allows you to hide drives from appearing in the Windows Explorer shell. Users will not be able to select or see the drive in the applications’ open and save dialogs, My Computer and Windows Explorer but it remains visible from other shells such as, the command prompt. Therefore, applications can still access the hidden drive, even though it is invisible to end users! A hidden drive may be useful when backing files to a network or local drive and you would like to restrict that drive just for backup purposes. The risk of filling up that drive with unrelated data is limited by making it invisible to users including you, while it remains available to the backup application. Obviously, first set the backup destination drive from the backup application and then hide the drive as explained below.

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Administrative Shares

The good old administrative share for Windows system drives (the dollar sign such as C$) is not accessible anymore in Windows 7 or Vista. These administrative shares provided a means of connecting remotely to user computers and allowed admins to perform file management tasks. Almost every system administrator used to find this feature very useful and there were many third-party applications that used the administrative share to retrieve system information. However, such feature projected a high security risk as malicious code could take advantage of the share to propagate itself or manipulate remote systems.

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