PC Tip of the month

Control RegEdit's Key Memory:
I've been enjoying your column in PC Magazine for a number of years. I always look forward to reading your informative articles. Much of your advice deals with tweaking the Registry using RegEdit. I've found this very helpful and use RegEdit quite often, but it annoys me that whenever I open RegEdit the tree of Registry keys is always open just as it was when I last used it. So, I always try to remember to collapse the tree manually before I close RegEdit. Is there an automatic or easier way to do this?

Fred Goldberg

The feature that permits RegEdit to remember the last-used key was added with the advent of Windows XP, along with the ability to save often-used keys as Favorites. The only way to disable this feature is to block RegEdit from saving the last-used key information. Launch RegEdit from the Start menu's Run dialog and open the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Applets\Regedit.

Now double-click the LastKey value in the right-hand pane and delete its data. With the Regedit key still selected, choose Edit | Permissions from the menu. Select yourself in the user list, check the Deny box next to Full control, and then click OK. You'll be asked to confirm overriding default permissions—answer Yes. That's it. RegEdit can no longer save the last-used key.

However, this heavy-handed change also wipes out access to the Favorites menu in RegEdit, which is unfortunate. You may prefer an alternate solution that is less drastic—a fast way to collapse the menu tree. Just press down the Left Arrow key on the keyboard and hold it until only the My Computer entry is visible, and then tap the Right Arrow once to bring back the five root keys.

There are other ways to navigate RegEdit using the keyboard. The Right Arrow opens the selected key, and you can select a subkey by typing as much as necessary from the beginning of its name.

For example, to open the key described in the first paragraph above, you might type Down Arrow, Down Arrow, Right Arrow, S, O, Right Arrow, M, I, Right Arrow, W, Right Arrow, C, Right Arrow, A, P, Right Arrow, R. (Note that on a different computer you might have to type more letters of the individual names.) This style won't appeal to everyone, of course, but if you use RegEdit a lot, it's worth a try.