Windows Registry

Five Handy (and Free) Windows Tools for Gamers

Windows is the home of PC gaming, but that doesn’t mean it can’t use a little bit of remodeling. Here are some handy tools to make your gaming life a little easier.

SharpKeys

Most games have a built-in way to assign keys to a command. If you’d like a more permanent way to alter not just key assignments but Windows’ basic controls, SharpKeys is a program that will remap keyboard commands and write them directly to the Windows registry, making the change permanent and applicable to all menus, applications, and games. It’s especially handy for modifying keys that can mess with games, like disabling or re-assigning the Caps Lock and left Windows key, or giving your keyboard dedicated volume keys. It’s a great tool if you don’t have a gaming keyboard with its own dedicated software. Check out our guide for more info on how to use it.

SoundSwitch

If your gaming computer has both standard speakers and headphones (or a full headset), you’re probably tired of manually switching the sound output from one to the other whenever you’re ready to play a game. SoundSwitch gets around that problem: it’s a little application that lives in your system tray and switches from one sound output to the other with a keyboard hotkey. Users can selectively include outputs from the command list (handy for graphics cards that often have HDMI sound no one uses), and there’s a separate command for microphone inputs, which is very handy if you have a headset mic and webcam and a dedicated full…

How to See Which Group Policies Are Applied to Your PC and User Account

We have shown you a lot of tips and tricks over the years that involve modifying Local Group Policy. If you would ever like to see all the Group Policy settings in effect on your PC, here’s how to do it.

In the Windows world, Group Policy provides a way for network administrators to assign specific settings to groups of users or computers. Those settings then get applied whenever a user in the group logs in to a networked PC or whenever a PC in the group is started. Local Group Policy is a slightly more limited version that applies settings only to a local computer or users—or even a group of local users. We’ve featured a number of tricks here in the past that use Local Group Policy to change settings that you can’t change anywhere else—except by editing the Windows Registry. If you’re in the habit of changing Local Group Policy settings, you might find it useful to see all the changes you’ve made in one place, rather than digging through the Local Group Policy Editor.

Note: Local Group Policy is only available in the Professional and Enterprise versions of Windows. If you’re using a Home edition, you won’t have access to the Local Group Policy Editor.

View Applied Policies with the Resultant Set of Policy Tool

The easiest way to see all the Group Policy settings you’ve applied to your PC or user account is by using the Resultant Set of Policy tool. It doesn’t show every last policy applied to your PC—for that you’ll need to use the Command Prompt, as we describe in the next section. However, it does show pretty much all the policies you will have set for regular use. And it provides a simple, graphical interface for browsing through the…

How to Disable OneDrive and Remove It From File Explorer on Windows 10

Windows 10 includes OneDrive, but if you’d rather not see it, there are several ways to disable OneDrive and remove it from File Explorer on Windows 10.

Home Users: Uninstall OneDrive Normally

Starting in Windows 10’s Creators Update, you can now easily uninstall OneDrive like you would any other desktop program. Only Windows 10 Home users should do this. If you’re using Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise, or Education, skip this step and use the below Group Policy Editor method instead.

Head to either Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall a Program or Settings > Apps > Apps & features. You’ll see a “Microsoft OneDrive” program appear in the list of installed software. Click it and click the “Uninstall” button.

Windows will immediately uninstall OneDrive, and the OneDrive icon will disappear from the notification area.

(If you ever want to reinstall OneDrive in the future, you’ll need to run the OneDrive installer buried in the Windows system folder. Just head to the C:\Windows\SysWOW64\ folder on a 64-bit version of Windows 10 or the C:\Windows\System32 folder on a 32-bit version of Windows 10. Double-click the “OneDriveSetup.exe” file here and Windows will reinstall OneDrive.)

There’s one problem with uninstalling OneDrive this way: The empty OneDrive folder will still appear in File Explorer’s sidebar. If you’re fine with that, you can stop now. OneDrive has been removed and is no longer doing anything. However, if the empty OneDrive folder bothers you, you’ll need to use the below tricks.

Home Users: Remove the OneDrive Folder From File Explorer by Editing the Registry

If you have Windows 10 Home, you will have to edit the Windows Registry to remove the OneDrive folder from the File Explorer’s left sidebar. You can also do it this way on Windows Pro or Enterprise, but the Group Policy Editor method is a better solution for cleanly disabling OneDrive.

Standard warning: Registry Editor is a powerful tool and misusing it can render your system unstable or even inoperable. This is a pretty simple hack and as long as you stick to the instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems. That said, if you’ve never worked with it before, consider reading about how to use the Registry Editor before you get started. And definitely back up the Registry (and your computer!) before making changes.

To get started, open the Registry Editor by hitting Start and typing “regedit”. Press Enter to open Registry Editor and give it permission to make changes to your PC.

In the Registry Editor, use the left sidebar to navigate to the following key. In the Creators Update, you can…