Unlock hidden features on Windows 10 using Mach2 and Registry

Unlock hidden features on Windows 10 using Mach2 and Registry

How to enable hidden features on Windows 10 using Mach2

Updated on July 13

Windows 10 builds, especially those belonging to the Windows Insider program, contain a lot of hidden features that Microsoft uses to test or develop new features that have not been officially released. To enable these features, you will need to use a special method.

Windows 10 has many interesting hidden features

Besides the method of using the Registry that you can refer to below, in this section we will introduce you to a new method. Specifically, we will be using a tool called Mach2, developed by Windows expert Rafael Rivera.

Initially, you will have to compile the program and scan the debug icons to find hidden features in Windows 10 builds. But for now, you can download Mach2 and consult Rivera’s GitHub repository in the link below Below to see which new Windows 10 builds have interesting hidden features.

https://github.com/riverar/mach2/tree/master/features

According to Rafael, these hidden features are located in the Feature Control section, a system used to hide new and unfinished features from user curiosity. Each feature will have its own product code.

Using Mach2, you can manage the Feature Store, a feature of Feature Control, to find, disable / enable hidden features.

Below, we will show you how to download Mach2 and use it to enable hidden features in Windows 10 builds.

How to use Mach2

Before starting, Rafael warns that turning on hidden features can cause problems with your Windows 10. Therefore, you should back up your data before you do it or use a virtual machine to dabble.

First, you need to download Mach2 from Rafael’s GitHub repository:

https://github.com/riverar/mach2/releases

After downloading, extract the file and launch the Command Prompt on Windows 10.

At the command prompt, use the command “cd” to navigate to the directory where you extracted Mach2, for example “cd C: Users user Downloads mach2_0.3.0.0_x64” . Enter “mach2.exe -help” to see the software’s instructions.

Mach2 manuals

To see what features are active in Windows 10, enter “mach2 display” . If you have never enabled or disabled any of the features before, the list will be empty.

If you have the feature turned on / off or the system turns it on / off on its own, they will show you in the form of a serial number of the internal product code. In the photo below, you can see the enabled features including 6395189, 23877894, 21004556. Disabled features include 23878859, 18299130 …

See the features enabled / disabled on your Windows 10

Every time a Windows 10 Insider build is released, Rafael generates a text file comparing its features to the old version. As a result, he will discover new features and host it on GitHub for all users to know. You can see a list of hidden Windows 10 features by Rafael summarized in the link we provided above.

However, these features are often not described in detail. You will have to test them yourself to see if anything interesting or not.

Hidden features in Windows 10 Insider 20161

Example: In the latest Windows 10 Insider build 20161, Rafael lists some new features (shown in green in the image). One of these features is named “LivePreviewForTabs” and has an ID of 25478404. This is an experiment of changing the Alt + Tabs screen to show tabs in Microsoft Edge.

To enable this feature, you need to type “mach2 enable 25478404” then press Enter .

To disable, you need to enter “mach2 disable 25478404” then press Enter .

List of hidden features of Windows 10 Insider 20161:

https://github.com/riverar/mach2/blob/master/features/20152_20161_diff.patch

When you enable or disable a feature, you will need to restart your computer to complete the task.

Now that you know how to find, display, enable and disable hidden features on Windows 10, I wish you all a good time.

Here are some notable hidden features on Windows 10 Insider 20161:

Redirect System Control Panel (RedirectSystemControlPanel – Code: 25175482)

Windows 10 is being tested with the System Control Panel removed

Microsoft is currently trying to remove the System Control Panel on Windows 10 and redirect users to a more modern info site. If you are installing Windows 10 Insider 20161 you can use Mach2 to enable this feature.

New Start Menu (ThemeAwareAndFluentTiles – Code: 24615618)

New Start Menu interface

The new Start Menu on Windows 10 has a nicer design and is more airy.

Microsoft Edge tag visible in screen Alt + Tab (LivePreviewForTabs – Code: 25478404)

New Alt + Tabs screen

As mentioned above, this is an experiment to change the screen Alt + Tabs to show tabs in Microsoft Edge.

I wish you all the fun and do share with us if you find something interesting.

Please refer to how to enable hidden features on Windows by Registry in the section below.


How to enable hidden features of Windows 10 using Registry

On Windows 10 there are some hidden features that users cannot access these hidden features in the normal way. The only way to access these features is to use Registry Editor.

Note:

Before proceeding, you must back up the current system state. The easiest way is to create a System Restore point.

On Windows 10 you can enable a system restore point by typing Restore in the Search box on Start, then selecting Create a restore point , selecting a drive, and then selecting Configure . Next select Turn on system protection => Max Usage => OK.

How to open the Windows Registry

Since all modifications require using the Windows Registry, you need to know how to access the Registry. Perform press Windows key + R and type registry in the Run dialog box and click OK to open the Windows Registry.

  • How to open Registry Editor on Windows

1. Switch to Dark Theme interface

Dark Theme interface helps users protect eyes, not tired eyes. Windows 10 offers users many ways to activate the Dark Theme theme. One of the ways is by using the Registry.

First, open the Registry. Press the Windows + X key combination to open the Run command window, then type regedit and press Enter.

Alternatively, enter the Regedit command in the Search box on the Start Menu. Select Yes when asked to confirm permissions.

On the Registry Editor window, navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE  SOFTWARE  Microsoft  Windows  CurrentVersion  Themes

Next right click on Themes, select New => Key and name the key Personalize.

In the next step, right-click Personalize and choose New => DWORD (32-bit) . Name this DWORD AppsUseLightTheme and set the AppsUseLightTheme value in the Value Data box to 0.

Repeat the above steps but navigate to the key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER  SOFTWARE  Microsoft  Windows  CurrentVersion  Themes  Personalize

Next, create a new DWORD (32-bit), name it AppsUseLightTheme and set the value in the Value Data box to 0.

Finally log out and proceed to log back in Windows 10 to check.

2. Speed up the process of opening Windows 10 computer

If it’s slow to open your Windows 10 computer, there are steps you can take to speed it up.

To do this, first open the Registry by pressing Windows + X to open the Run command prompt, then type regedit and press Enter .

Alternatively, enter the Regedit command in the Search box on the Start Menu. Select Yes when asked to confirm permissions.

On the Registry window, navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER  Software  Microsoft  Windows  CurrentVersion  Explorer  Serialize

Next, create a new DWORD value and name this value StartupDelayInMSec and set the value to 0.

If you want to go back to the original settings, just delete the Serialize key and you’re done.

3. Disable login image

Every time you log in on Windows 10, the login screen always shows a default image created by Microsoft.

Suppose if you do not like displaying that image you can proceed to disable it.

To do this, follow the steps below:

On the Registry window, navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE  SOFTWARE  Policies  Microsoft  Windows  System

Next, create a new DWORD value, name this value DisableLogonBackgroundImage and set the value to 1.

4. Hide Onedrive in File Explorer

If you do not want to use Onedrive, you can proceed to hide Onedrive in File Explorer go.

To hide Onedrive in File Explorer, on the Registry window, navigate by key:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT  CLSID  {018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6}

Next, find “System.IsPinnedToNameSpaceTree” and double-click on this option, set the value in the Value data box to 0 to hide the Onedrive icon in File Explorer.

5. Increase the number of Taskbar Transparency

To do this, on the Registry window, navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE  SOFTWARE  Microsoft  Windows  CurrentVersion  Explorer  Advanced 

Next create a DWORD value and name this value UseOLEDTaskbarTransparency , set the value for UseOLEDTaskbarTransparency to 1 .

In case if you want to revert to the original default settings, you just need to delete the DWORD value.

6. Enable Balloon notification

On Windows 10, the notification window has been redesigned to a simpler and more modern flat-tile style with a “Balloon” notification like in older versions of Windows.

However, if you want to enable “Balloon” notification type on Windows 10, follow the steps below:

On the Registry Editor, navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER  SOFTWARE  Policies  Microsoft  Windows  Explorer

If you can’t find the Policies key, Microsoft, Windows and Explorer, you can create them yourself by right-clicking the Key before choosing New => Key and naming the keys Policies, Microsoft, Windows and Explorer respectively.

Next right-click on the Explorer key and select New => DWORD (32-bit) and name this new DWORD as EnableLegacyBalloonNotifications.

Right-click on EnableLegacyBalloonNotifications, choose Modify, and set the value in Value Data to 1 .

Finally, reboot your computer.

7. Disable Action Center

On the Registry Editor, navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER  SOFTWARE  Policies  Microsoft  Windows  Explorer

If you can’t find the Policies key, Microsoft, Windows and Explorer, you can create them yourself by right-clicking the Key before choosing New => Key and naming the keys Policies, Microsoft, Windows and Explorer respectively.

Next right-click the Explorer key, select New => DWORD (32-bit) and name this DWORD as DisableNotificationCenter . Right-click on DisableNotificationCenter, choose Modify and set the value in Value Data to 1.

Finally restart your computer. Now the Action Center has been disabled.

See also: 4 simple ways to disable (disable) Action Center in Windows 10

8. Hide any folder in This PC

This PC was part of File Explorer which was retained from Windows 8.1, but the annoying thing is that there’s no way to get rid of default folders like Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos displayed in This PC .

However, if you want, you can still hide any folders in ThisPC.

To hide any folder in This PC, on the Registry Editor, navigate to the following path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE  SOFTWARE  Microsoft  Windows  CurrentVersion  Explorer  FolderDescriptions  <FOLDER-GUID>  PropertyBag

Replace <FOLDER-GUID> with one of the following folders:

  • Desktop: {B4BFCC3A-DB2C-424C-B029-7FE99A87C641}
  • Documents: {f42ee2d3-909f-4907-8871-4c22fc0bf756}
  • Downloads: {7d83ee9b-2244-4e70-b1f5-5393042af1e4}
  • Music: {a0c69a99-21c8-4671-8703-7934162fcf1d}
  • Pictures: {0ddd015d-b06c-45d5-8c4c-f59713854639}
  • Videos: {35286a68-3c57-41a1-bbb1-0eae73d76c95}

Under each PropertyBag key, you will see a value string named ThisPCPolicy.

By default the ThisPCPolicy string is set to Show , double-click on it and choose Hide to hide any folder in ThisPC.

9. Enhance virtual memory security (Virtual Memory)

When the computer uses up RAM, Windows will use part of the hard drive’s memory to convert into virtual RAM. When you shut down Windows, this virtual memory remains on your hard drive.

If your computer is illegally hacked by a stranger, the virtual memory will cause immeasurable dangers.

However, you can tell Windows to delete this file whenever you shut down Windows. However, this will prolong shutdown time of Windows, depending on the size of the pagefile.sys file.

On the Registry Editor, navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE  SYSTEM  CurrentControlSet  Control  Session Manager  Memory Management

Right-click ClearPageFileAtShutDown, choose Modify and set the value to 1.

Finally, reboot your computer.

10. Disable the shake to zoom out feature

“Aero Shake” is a feature introduced in Windows 7 that allows you to minimize a window by grabbing a window and shaking it. If you want to disable this feature, you need to go to the Registry and navigate to:

Computer  HKEY_CURRENT_USER  Software  Microsoft  Windows  Current  Version  Explorer  Advanced

Here, right-click an empty space on the right panel and choose New -> DWORD (32-bit) then name it DisallowShaking .

Double-click the newly created entry, then change the number in the Value box to 1 and click OK . Now the shake to zoom feature is gone.

  • 50 Registry Tricks To Make You A True Windows 7 / Vista Hacker (Part 2)

11. Add the application to the context menu

The context menu is useful but to really control it, you need to create a registry key to add a specific application. We’ll add Notepad to the context menu, here’s how:

Step 1: Navigate to:

Computer  HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT  Directory  Background  shell

Step 2: In the shell folder, right-click and create a new key called Notepad , then in the Notepad folder, create a key called command . In the key command folder, right-click the Default string, then in the Value box type notepad.exe .

Then close Registry Editor, right-click the desktop, and you’ll see Notepad appear right in the context menu.

  • Add any application to the context menu in Vista

12. Change the distance between the icons (Icon Spacing) on the desktop

In Windows 10, there is no easy way to adjust the spacing of icons on the desktop like in Windows 7. Now on Windows 10, if you want to change the setting Icon Spacing (Horizontal) or Icon Spacing (Vertical) ) you have to edit the registry.

Note: You need to log off and back in again after changing the values in the registry for the changes to take effect.

Open Registry Editor and navigate to the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER  Control PanelDesktopWindowMetrics

You should see two values here: IconSpacing and IconVerticalSpacing . By default the old value is -1125 . You can adjust the horizontal spacing by changing the IconSpacing value with a value range of -480 to -2730. Closer to -480 value, less horizontal spacing, and closer to -2750, the wider the horizontal distance.

Note, this is not actually the spacing between desktop icons, this is the spacing of the box surrounding the desktop icon.

As seen above, the IconSpacing value is changed to -2000, so the width of the box surrounding each icon will increase but the actual distance between icons plus box is very small. If you reduce this value to -500, the text will be cut off.

For some reason, vertical spacing works slightly differently. It doesn’t actually increase the size of the box surrounding the icon, but it does increase the actual space between the icons.

As you can see, the boxes surrounding the icon are very small but the actual distance between the icon increases when changing the value to -2000 in IconVerticalSpacing.

13. Click on the last active window

In case you open multiple windows of Excel or Word application together with another application such as Chrome, when you return to work with Word or Excel, click its icon on taskbar, you will see a thumbnail image of all active application windows. With this tip, when you click on a program’s icon with multiple windows open, it goes directly to the last active window.

Of course, you can press Alt + Tab but this is useful if you prefer to use a mouse over a keyboard. The way to do it is to navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER  SOFTWARE  Microsoft  Windows  CurrentVersion  Explorer  Advanced

Then create a 32-bit Dword called LastActiveClick and set the value to 1.

14. Disable User Account Control

You can’t completely disable User Account Control through the traditional GUI interface. To actually turn it off, you have to go into the registry or edit the local security policy. However, when you disable User Account Control you will not be able to run apps from the Windows Store (Universal app). Instead, you’ll get the message ” This app can’t open. App can’t open while User Account Control is turned off “.

If you still want to remove this feature, you will need to change the value in the registry. To do this, navigate to the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE  SOFTWARE  Microsoft  Windows  CurrentVersion  Policies  System

Find the EnableLUA key and change the value to 0. You will then receive a message from the Action Center asking to restart your computer to disable User Account Control.

15. Get back the file deletion confirmation dialog

One feature missing in Windows 10 is the file deletion confirmation dialog that we are familiar with in previous versions. To get back this dialog box, navigate to the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER  Software  Microsoft  Windows  CurrentVersion  Policies 

Create a new key under Policies called Explorer , then create a DWORD value and name it ConfirmFileDelete . Change the value to 1, if you don’t need this dialog anymore you can change it to 0.

16. Change Registered Owner

Although this is obsolete and useless, many people still prefer the ability to change the Registered owner in Windows to whatever they want. Fortunately, Microsoft still has a value stored in the registry key that helps you change this.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE  SOFTWARE  Microsoft  Windows NT  CurrentVersion

Under CurrentVersion , just find RegisteredOwner and change it.

17. Display the Windows version on the desktop

If you are running several copies of Windows 10 on multiple computers and virtual machines, you should enable automatic display of the Windows version on the desktop. Windows 10 has a registry key that is used to add the version to the desktop automatically. Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER  Control Panel  Desktop

Find PaintDesktopVersion in the Desktop key and change the value from 0 to 1. The next time you log in you will see the Windows 10 version number and build number as shown above.

18. Change the border width around the window

If you don’t like the size of the borders around all windows while on your desktop, you can change it by navigating to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER  Control Panel  Desktop  WindowMetrics

Find the key named BorderWidth and change it to anything between 0 and 50.

19. Use the volume control as in Windows 7

If you don’t like the new horizontal volume control in Windows 10, you can get the vertical volume control back as in Windows 7. To do this, navigate to the following key:

HKLM  SOFTWARE  Microsoft  Windows NT  CurrentVersion

Create a new key in current version called MTCUVC and then create a new DWORD value inside MTCUVC called EnableMtcUvc , setting it to 0.

  • How to manage and improve sound quality in Windows 10

20. Disable Bing Search in Windows Search

Windows Search has built-in Bing search engine and it allows you to search for content on Bing when the local search engine cannot find information on the machine.

If you don’t like using Bing, you can disable it through the Registry by accessing the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionSearch

Here, right-click the Search folder icon, then choose New> DWORD (32-bit) Value . Enter BingSearchEnabled as the name for the item just created. Next, double-click on BingSearchEnabled and set the value to 0 and hit the OK button.

Then you need to find CortanaConsent below. Double-click it and change the value to 0 and press the OK button. Close Registry and restart Windows Explorer or Windows 10 to apply the changes.

21. Disable Windows 10’s lock screen

The Windows 10 lock screen may not be necessary if you are not using a device with a touch screen. Besides tweaking or improving your experience, you can also remove the lock screen on Windows 10 by editing the Registry.

To do this you need to open the Registry and access the key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindows

Here, right-click on the Windows folder and then create a new key called Personalization . Right-click the Personalization key you from creating, choose New> DWORD (32-bit) Value .

Name this item NoLockScreen . Double-click NoLockScreen and change the value to 1 . After the reboot you will see the lock screen is disabled.

22. Add option “Open command window here” in the File Explorer context menu

By editing the Registry, you can add to the File Explorer context menu the option to open a Command Prompt window like in the image below:

To do this, you need to open the Registry and access the key:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTDirectoryBackgroundshellcmd

Right-click the cmd key, select Permissions and then choose Advanced . In the ” Advanced Security Settingssettings , click Change next to TrustedInstaller.

In the new window that appears, enter your account, click Check Names to confirm the account and then click OK . Enable the Replace owner on subcontainers and objects option then click Apply and select OK . Go back to Permissions and select the Administrators group, choose Allow in Full Control option then click Apply and choose OK .

Go back to cmd folder and right-click HideBasedOnVelocityId . Rename the entry to ShowBasedOnVelocityId then Enter and reboot the computer.

23. Display seconds in the clock on the taskbar

By default, the clock on the Windows 10 taskbar only shows hours and minutes, not seconds. However, you can edit the Registry to show the number of seconds if you want.

First, access the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvanced

Right-click on the Advanced folder then choose New> DWORD (32-bit) Value . Name the new item ShowSecondsInSystemClock , double-click the newly created item, and then change the value to 1 . Click OK to confirm the changes and then restart the computer.

24. Enable Verbose mode in Windows 10

Verbose mode in Windows 10 provides insights and is especially helpful in case you are looking for operating system errors or problems. In this mode, all specific steps when the computer is booting and shutting down are displayed so you can easily identify which step the problem lies in.

However, you should only activate Verbose if you have a little knowledge about finding and fixing errors on Windows 10. To enable you to access the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesSystem

Then right-click on the System folder, choose New> DWORD (32-bit) Value . Name the new item VerboseStatus , click on the newly created item then change the value to 1 , press OK to confirm. Reboot your computer and you should now see the steps for the boot and shutdown process displayed on the screen.

Refer to some more articles below:

  • Outlook fails to send mail after Windows 10 upgrade, here’s how to fix it
  • How to recover data from hard drive “Ghost” (or image) error / mistake
  • How to enable / disable USB drive / port on Windows 7/8/10?

Good luck!

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