Computer Performance, Windows Vista Registry

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Vista Registry Tweak - PaintDesktopVersion

Registry Tweak to Display the Windows Vista (TM) Build 6000PaintDesktopVersion Display Windows Vista Build 6000

During the Vista Beta program it was important to display the correct Build number, that way you could see which version you were testing.  Many 'techies' were disappointed because the final production version of Vista did not display its badge of honour - 'Build 6000', or 6001 after apply SP1.  This omission prompted me to do a little exploring in the Vista registry, and I came up with a value called PaintDesktopVersion.

Topics for PaintDesktopVersion

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Instructions for PaintDesktopVersion Windows Vista Regedit and AutoAdminLogon

  1. Launch Regedit See more details on starting regedit
    Navigate to this key:
  2. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
  3. Scroll down and find the existing entry called PaintDesktopVersion.  Double click and change its value to numeric one.  Please note that there is no need to create this DWORD, as it's already there.
  4. Check you now see: PaintDesktopVersion = 1
  5. The default is PaintDesktopVersion = 0 meaning do not display the build number.  Incidentally, this DWORD is also found in XP and Windows Server 2003.

Key Learning Points

  • A simple registry tweak to change a value from zero (setting disabled) to one (setting enabled)
  • Do you find the PaintDesktopVersion value in HKCU** or HKLM? 
    Answer: HKCU
  • Should you add a value, or modify an existing setting? 
    Answer: Modify 0 --> 1
  • Is PaintDesktopVersion a String Value or a DWORD? 
    Answer: DWORD.
  • Do you need to Restart, or merely Log Off / On? 
    Answer: Log Off --> Log On and view embedded in the desktop, just above the clock: Build 6000 (or 6002 after applying SP2).
  • Tip: Add this Value, PaintDesktopVersion to Regedit's Favorites menu
  • Tip: To find the value that controls the build number quickly; launch regedit, click on the Edit menu, Find, type PaintDesktopVersion.

Follow-up

This trivial registry hack may spur you to research the family of build numbers.  What you find is that registry stores data about the version and build numbers here:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion.  This knowledge of CSDBuildNumber and BuildLabEx is valuable when you research which patches have been applied to the operating system.  In addition you can apply this principle to the SQL and Exchange areas of the registry.

Creating a .Reg File

This page explains how to create, and then edit .reg files for your computer.  As it's easy to import the contents of a .reg file into the registry, do take extra care with procedures.  Example Build Number PaintDesktopVersion  .reg file.

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MenuShowDelay - You always learn more when something goes wrong

By rights I should remove this section because it just does not work in Vista.  The reason that I am leaving it here, is as an example of a registry settings that works in XP, but not in Vista.  I thank RBL for alerting me to this difference in behavior.

As far as I can see the Aero Graphics by-passes the MenuShowDelay setting.  To tell the whole story, MenuShowDelay works in Vista, but only if you Personalize the Theme, and change the appearance from Windows Vista to say, Windows Classic.  However, in my opinion, disabling the Aero graphics would be a sacrilege. 

While you are at **HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop, have some fun with a cheeky little registry entry called MenuShowDelay.  When you click on the Start menu or the 'All Programs' and select an item with an arrow, there is a fractional delay before the submenu pops out.  The default delay is 400 milliseconds, before the submenu appears.  Here is where you could have some fun:

Set the value for MenuShowDelay to 50, and claim to impressionable friends that you have a faster edition of XP called: 'XP SuperDo'.

Alternatively, you could set the value to 4000 and con non-technical managers that you need a faster machine!  Show them how slowly the Vista menus open.

Instructions for MenuShowDelay

  1. Launch Regedit and navigate to this key:
  2. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
  3. Scroll down and find the existing entry called MenuShowDelay.  Double click and change its value to 50 (fast) or 4000 (slow).  Please note that there is no need to create this REG_SZ, as it's already there.
  4. The default is MenuShowDelay = 400 meaning do not display the submenu for 4/10 of a second. 

Key Learning Points

  • Do you find the MenuShowDelay value in HKCU** or HKLM? 
    Answer: HKCU
  • Should you add a value, or modify an existing setting? 
    Answer: Modify 4000 --> 40
  • Is MenuShowDelay a String Value or a DWORD? 
    Answer: REG_SZ.
  • Do you need to Restart, or merely Log Off / On? 
    Answer: Log Off --> Log On and test the Start submenus
  • Tip: Add this Value, MenuShowDelay to Regedit's Favorites menu

** HKLM is an abbreviation of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, and HKCU is shorthand for HKEY_CURRENT_USER.  These acronyms are so well-known that you can even use them in .reg files, Vista will understand and obey the registry instruction.

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