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August 26, 1996

Secret, silent RegEdit switches smooth Registry merge process

This week is a good time to go over some Windows 95 tricks that have been sent to me by readers. Some are in response to a previous column and some are new, but all are intriguing in their own way.

The silent type

I wrote in my Aug. 12 column that you can place a .REG file in your StartUp folder and Windows 95 will automatically merge the contents into the Registry. (See "Write any lines into the Registry upon start-up: reader enhancements".) This is useful if you want to change a default value that Windows 95 automatically resets upon start-up.

When you do this, you must click OK to close a dialog box saying "the merge was successful." Actually, there's a free and easy way around this. The trick is an undocumented switch to RegEdit that J. T. Anderson, in Los Angeles, was kind enough to point out to me.

RegEdit supports an /s switch, which stands for "silent." When you add this to a RegEdit command line, the switch suppresses the usual "merge was successful" dialog box that you would otherwise have to respond to.

Therefore, if you have a reason to create a shortcut to a .REG file that you commonly want to merge into the Registry, use the /s switch on the command line. Instead of creating a shortcut to Filename.reg, for example, you would use the following command line as the shortcut:

regedit.exe /s filename.reg

If you like the way this eliminates the annoying "merge is successful" dialog box, you don't have to be limited to eradicating it for a single shortcut. You can suppress this dialog box every time you run RegEdit by editing the default action for RegEdit:

(1) In the Explorer, click View, Options, File Types.

(2) In the Registered File Types listing, select Registration Entries, then click the Edit button.

(3) In the Actions listing, select Merge, then click Edit.

(4) In the Application Used To Perform Action box, change "regedit.exe" to "regedit.exe /s" (without the quotes). Click three OK buttons to exit.

This changes the default command line for RegEdit. Of course, changing the command line globally in this way does mean you see no confirmation box when you merge a .REG file. For this reason, you might want to stick with editing only those shortcuts where you really need the silent treatment.

Shiftless in Seattle

My April 8 column described some little-known ways to use your Shift key in Windows 95. (See "Three new uses for your keyboard's lowly Shift key".) Mike McGlynn, in Dallas, discovered another one. Say you're in a My Computer folder or an Explorer window. You can select contiguous objects (such as files) by dragging your mouse to "lasso" them. You can also select noncontiguous objects by holding down the Ctrl key while you click the objects. Right-clicking the selected objects, then clicking Open, opens windows for the objects you selected.

McGlynn finds it faster to hold down Shift-Ctrl and double-click one of the objects. This opens separate windows for them all.

Start me up

Ronald Beekelaar in the Netherlands sends in a useless but fun tip to amuse your friends with Press Ctrl-Esc. This activates the Start button. Press Esc. Then press Alt-Hyphen-M. Now press the right-arrow key, the down-arrow key, etc. The Start button slides around like it's a window all its own (which it is, in a way). Press Esc and everything's back to normal.

Brian Livingston is the coauthor of the new Windows 95 Secrets and author of three other Windows books (IDG Books). Send tips to or fax: (206) 282-1248.

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Copyright © 1996 by InfoWorld Publishing Company


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