How to Sort the Registry Editor Favorites Menu?

Regedit favorites

The Favorites menu in the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) is very useful especially if you’re someone who loves playing with the Registry Editor all the time. If you’ve noticed that the favorites menu in Regedit doesn’t have an option to sort the entries alphabetically. If you have many entries in the favorites menu, finding an item from the unsorted listing is a minor inconvenience.

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How to Take Ownership of Registry Keys and Assign Full Permissions?

Certain areas of the Windows Registry cannot be accessed due to the Permissions assigned (or lack thereof) for those keys. There are legitimate cases where you need to access a registry key to modify or retrieve a setting, and receive Access is Denied or similar errors when doing so. Some of the errors you may encounter are:

Error Creating Key

<key name> cannot be opened. An error is preventing this key from being opened.
Details: Access is denied.

Cannot create key: You do not have the requisite permissions to create a new key under <key name>.

To get access to a registry key, you’ll need to change or take ownership and then assign full control (or the required) permissions for your user account. Here are the instructions to do the same in Windows.

(The screen shots are from a Windows 10 computer, but the steps are exactly the same in Windows 8 and 8.1. In Windows Vista & 7, there is a slight change in the permission dialog boxes, where ownership can be set by clicking the Owner tab in the Advanced Security dialog. Owner tab has been removed in Windows 8 and higher.)

Take Ownership of a Registry Key

1. In the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) window, navigate to the branch for which you want to modify the permissions. Right-click on the key, and choose Properties.

2. Click the Advanced button.

3. In the Advanced Security Settings dialog, note down the owner. If it displays the message Unable to display current owner, or if your account isn’t the current owner, click Change

4. Type your user account name and click OK.

5. Your user account is showing up as the owner, but the change wouldn’t not applied until you click Apply.

If you also want to take ownership of the sub keys under the selected branch, click Replace owner on subcontainers and objects, and then click Apply. Don’t close the dialog yet.

(If using Windows Vista or 7, click the Permissions tab in the Advanced Security Settings dialog, and follow rest of the instructions. The dialog boxes would be different in Windows Vista & 7 after Step 7, but it’s not that difficult to follow.)

Assigning Full Control Permissions for your User Account

6. You’ve just change the ownership of the key, but that’s not enough. You’ll need to assign necessary Permissions (usually, Full Control) to the specific branch in order to write to it.

7. Click the Add button in the Advanced Security settings dialog.

8. Click Select a principal

9. Type in your user account name, and click OK.

10. Click Full Control checkbox to enable it.

You’re now added your user account Full Control permissions.

That’s it. Add as many entries as you need, such as for Administrators, SYSTEM etc. as required.

How to Fix Missing Shell Icons in Various Places in the Windows User Interface?

There are several third-party programs available that can customize or change the various icons in the shell, such as for folders, Recycle Bin etc. The default icons are overridden by adding necessary entries to the registry.

How do Programs Replace the Shell Icons?

For each shell icon that has to be replaced with a custom icon, a REG_SZ value has to be created with the same name as the icon index. For example, to change the Recycle Bin icons, the user has to add two REG_SZ values namely 31 and 32 to override the "empty" and "full" Recycle Bin icons. The following image shows some of the icons in the Shell32.dll, with the icon index. The index starts from 0 (vertical/downwards), and icons 31 & 32 are for the Recycle Bin.

Some problems (such as missing icons, or icon placeholders showing up) may manifest after the user uninstalls the third-party icon customization program.

Missing Recycle Bin icon in the Delete File confirmation dialog

Folders showing up with "unknown" icons in Open/Save As dialog boxes

This article explains how to restore the original shell icons by clearing out the remnant icon override entries in the Windows registry.

How to Restore the Original Shell Icons?

Click Start, type Regedit.exe and press {ENTER}

Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Shell Icons

Click File, choose Export and save the key to a REG file.

Delete all the values in the right pane of the above key.

Exit the Registry Editor.

Logoff and login back for the changes to take effect.

How to Find Which Program Is Making Sounds in the Background?


Every now and then my PC located in the bedroom emanated a sound at random intervals, probably caused by an application playing a short media file. And I noticed it twice when entering the bedroom which I thought was a mere coincidence. But it wasn’t actually! Guess what’s the relevance here?

Control Panels – Sounds was the first place where I checked. It was not the Sound Scheme as it was already set to "No Sounds".

With almost a dozen applications running and I didn’t want to disturb them, I fired up the excellent Process Monitor right away, configured the filters so that any entry with ".wav" in the Path is captured. It may not necessarily be a .wav file, but I had a suspicion that it could be, in this case. So I included ".wav", to start with.

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