Windows 8 Registry Hacks

Tweaks for Your Windows 8 RegistryWindows 8 Registry

One fascinating aspect of Microsoft’s registry is that each successive Windows version brings new features to tweak.  Here are examples of interesting Windows 8 regedit hacks.  Please note these are from early beta versions, and may not be relevant to the RTM or even the customer preview version.

Windows 8 Registry Hacks



This page assumes that you have a good grounding in regedit.  Nevertheless, do remember the golden rule, at least export the branch you intend to working with before you start.

Enable The ‘Modern Windows Task Manager’

The task manager has only seen cosmetic improvements since the days of Windows 95, but here in Windows 8 is a radical redesign.  This Modern Windows 8 Task Manager not only lists which applications are running, but also which are idle.  It may be my imagination, but it now seems easier to kill programs than previously.  This is a registry hack for an early Windows 8 beta.

The Modern Windows Task Manager

Registry Instructions to Enable the Modern Windows Task Manager.


Create a new DWORD 32-bit value called "TaskUIEnabled"

Setting its value to "1" enables the ribbon.  Zero would turn off this feature.

Old Tip: If you like this tweak remember that Regedit has a ‘Favorite’ tab, just like explorer, to make it easy to find places in the registry.

Windows RibbonUI Registry Hack

This enables, or disables, the Office 2010 style top menu ribbons.  Microsoft’s ribbon idea has taken a while to evolve to a point that users accept it.  Or is it a case of people slowly adapting to new technology for navigating around Windows Explorer or Microsoft Outlook?

Windows 8 Ribbon UI

Registry Instructions to Check the New Explorer Ribbon

Note: Don’t start in HKLM, launch Regedit and navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.


Create a New, String Value under this key called: ‘AppID’

Set its value to ‘{9198DA45-C7D5-4EFF-A726-78FC547DFF53}’

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Enable the Old Start Menu in Windows 8

The scenario: You are in Windows 8 with its New UI.  Use the ‘Search’ to find the C:\Windows folder, search for Regedit.  Navigate to:


Change: RPEnabled from 1 to 0 (zero). 

Windows 8 Enable Desktop

The old start menu appears immediately in Windows 8.  However, if you change RPEnabled back to 1 I had to logoff / logon before the Metro UI returned.

The big mistake is to go to the HKLM, here you need the Current User see above screen shot.

Unlock The Windows 8 ‘Modern Reader’ (PDF Reader)

Microsoft has developed a built-in Appx application to view PDFs.  Look out for the new name for this gismo: ‘Modern Reader’.  To turn this feature on or off you can hack the Windows 8 registry; first navigate to this hive / key:


Right-click in the right hand pane, select New, String Value; label it precisely:


Copy and paste this value for CLSID:

See more new Windows 8 features.

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Task Manger Disabled?

If you suspect a virus or group policy is preventing the Windows Task Manager from launching then check this registry setting:




Check the logic 0 (zero) means the the Windows Task Manager is enabled.  Numeric 1 means Disable TskMgr.

Note 1: If you are trying to DISABLE a Windows Task Manager then you may need to create a System folder and then create the DisableTaskMgr DWORD value.

Note 2: You need to reboot for this setting to take effect.

Unleash The Windows 8 Webcam

Windows 8 contains a native webcam.exe application.  This is a clear indication that Microsoft is working to tightly integrate webcams into the new operating system.

Registry Instructions to Check the Webcam Setting

HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\GRE_Initialize\

Create a DWORD value called "RemoteFontBootCacheFlags"

Set its value to decimal 4111 (hex 0x100f )Windows 8 Registry

Spot the registry hack in GodMode.

Registry Hack to Enable Admin Shares

Starting with Vista Microsoft reversed the capability to access shares such as C$ and Admin$ that were built-in to XP.

The key point is find this folder in the registry:


Then create a new QWORD (Dword if you have 32-bit OS) called:


Set the value to 1.  Many regard this setting as opening up your machine to remote hackers, thus research this setting before you impliment.  See more about Windows 8 administrative shares.

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Getting Started with Regedit

Although I will be giving you clear instructions to help you master tweaking the registry, I still advise you to take precautions because there is no ‘Simulate’ button in regedit. 

The safest way of all to experiment with the registry is on a test machine, because in the worst case scenarion you could re-install Windows 8 if you (we!) make a terrible mistake, and there would be no data loss. Regedit Windows 8

Let us assume that your mission is to change a setting in Windows 8 by using the registry editor.

  1. From the Metro UI type:
    R e g e d i t
  2. You should see the famous icon in the results pane
  3. See screenshot right
  4. right-click the regedit app, and ‘Advanced’ should appear in the bottom left of your screen.
  5. Click and select ‘Run as administrator’.
  6. Launch Your registry editor – Regedit.

Note 1: Unlike other Windows executables, if you type just the first few letters, for example: ‘reg’, Windows 8 does not display name of this program, you have to type the full name – regedit.

Exporting a Windows 8 Registry Branch

My favorite technique for recovering from mini-disasters is to export the registry key BEFORE I change any values.   To do this, launch regedit then click on the File menu, Export, Selected Branch.  Every other registry expert will tell you to backup the System State before you begin.

Windows 8 Registry Export

See more Windows 8 .reg examples »

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Microsoft Windows 8 Registry Topics

Windows 8 Overview  • Windows 8 Change Registered Owner  • Display Windows 7 Desktop

Windows 8 Regedit  • Windows 8 Registry Hacks  • Windows 8 AutoAdminLogon Registry Setting

Win 8 Registry Examples  • Windows 8 PaintDesktopVersion  • Windows 8 ScreenSaverGracePeriod