Simple registry hack reveals early Windows 8 features

While Microsoft is hard at work creating Windows 8, hackers are hard at work unlocking all of Windows 8's secrets.

The first build of Windows 8 leaked across the web just last week, and a number of new features have been popping up all over the web. The new advanced task manager has been unveiled, along with the ribbon UI, similar to that of the Office 2010 ribbon. There has also been a number of other small tweaks and features popping up.

As hackers dig deeper into the registry of Windows 8, some interesting applications have started to appear. First up, a native webcam.exe application has been discovered. Although the application is unfinished, it does give us clues that Microsoft is working to tightly integrate webcams into Windows 8, (Kinect + Windows 8 anyone?)

As Neowin previously revealed, Windows 8 will also come with a native PDF reader, also mentioned as "Modern Reader".

The interesting thing about all of the above features, is that they are found in Windows 8 M1 build 7850, the same build that previously leaked. Through a simple registry hack, these features can be unlocked.

To unlock webcam.exe:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\GRE_Initialize\
create a DWORD value called "RemoteFontBootCacheFlags", set its value to 0x100f (4111)

Obviously the development is still in the very early stages in Windows 8 M1.

Unlock "Modern Reader":

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Curr entVersion\Applets\Paint\Capabilities
create a string value named "CLSID", set its value to "{D3E34B21-9D75-101A-8C3D-00AA001A1652}" , then run glcnd.exe.

Unlock TaskUI:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Curr entVersion\TaskUI, and create a 32bit value "TaskUIEnabled", set its value to "1".

Unlock Ribbon UI:

create such a key in registry: HKEY_CLASS_ROOT\CLSID\{4F12FF5D-D319-4A79-8380-9CC80384DC08}

create a string value in this key called “AppID”, set its value to “{9198DA45-C7D5-4EFF-A726-78FC547DFF53}”

Now simply restart explorer and you should have the ribbon UI unlocked.

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lol Stop saying that Windows and Apple copy each other. Blame the customers! They are the ones who demand these features. I'm still waiting for Windows to put in multiple desktops that when you leave one desktop you have an option to put a password to access the other (we have our reasons). If that ever happens, folks will say Windows copied Solaris. Nooo you goon balloons!!! I am the one to blame for that, because I demanded it be put into Windows!

Izlude said,
lol Stop saying that Windows and Apple copy each other. Blame the customers! They are the ones who demand these features. I'm still waiting for Windows to put in multiple desktops that when you leave one desktop you have an option to put a password to access the other (we have our reasons). If that ever happens, folks will say Windows copied Solaris. Nooo you goon balloons!!! I am the one to blame for that, because I demanded it be put into Windows!

But Solaris was from Sun, and Sun used to be a very comunity caring company

I love the new ribbon UI and stuff, but geez, laptop screens are going to have to take a significant jump up in resolution to make up for the added bulk in the toolbars... Otherwise I don't see these cool features catching on so much...

a.mcdear said,
I love the new ribbon UI and stuff, but geez, laptop screens are going to have to take a significant jump up in resolution to make up for the added bulk in the toolbars... Otherwise I don't see these cool features catching on so much...

You can always collapse the ribbon if you don't want it taking up so much space - makes for a much nicer looking, streamlined window.

And if Apple copies any of this. Microsoft can sue Apple and we can all laugh. Will be nice to see the tables turned on Apple for once.

Mac OS X already has PDF and webcam support. Not entirely sure Apple is dying to copy that Ribbon interface which takes up half the screen.

.Neo said,
Mac OS X already has PDF and webcam support. Not entirely sure Apple is dying to copy that Ribbon interface which takes up half the screen.

Yes, Windows has webcam support as well. The webcam application (judging from the screenshot) seems like a phone application or tablet application.

TechDudeGeorge said,
And if Apple copies any of this. Microsoft can sue Apple and we can all laugh. Will be nice to see the tables turned on Apple for once.

MS and Apple are buttbuddies. If it wasnt for Apple, MS wouldnt've conquered the world with windows 3.x. And if it wasnt for MS, Apple would've gone bankrupt. They're keeping eachother alive in different (and some of the same) markets.

I'm curious how I guess I'd say the "Marketing Focus" is going to work out... With 7 I got the impression that Libraries & Search took center stage, kind of like don't worry about where anything actually is, we'll find it for you. Adding the ribbon to Explorer could just be design consistency etc., or it could mean more casual users still stuck with Explorer regardless Libraries & stuff, so they're making it easier by using an interface many are more familiar with? The way so much is hidden in Explorer on a fresh 7 install, I'm assuming those casual users are the one's Windows' visual design teams target, though could be wrong.

I've always found it amazing, these are like the most obscure things to add, yet people discover what they are. I've always wondered how they find out this kind of stuff.

firey said,
I've always found it amazing, these are like the most obscure things to add, yet people discover what they are. I've always wondered how they find out this kind of stuff.

Well, the apps have to check for the existence of those keys. And ProcMon can detect when apps access the Registry, and filter out successful operations, leaving only "Key not found" ones.

I really like the idea of the ribbon being in Explorer. It'll be great to have all of those options one usually has to open the Folder Options window close by and when you're not using it, just hide the ribbon. Clean, streamlined and easy to use.

I wonder if the "Modern Task Manager" and "Modern Reader" are actually a hint that Windows 8 will be called "Windows Modern" or something like that.

Kushan said,
I wonder if the "Modern Task Manager" and "Modern Reader" are actually a hint that Windows 8 will be called "Windows Modern" or something like that.

Thats a silly name, what happens when it stops being modern?

Kushan said,
I wonder if the "Modern Task Manager" and "Modern Reader" are actually a hint that Windows 8 will be called "Windows Modern" or something like that.

Yeah, IMHO Microsoft's marketing folks bring an entirely new meaning to bleeding edge. ;?P

Windows 9 might turn out to be kinda interesting if trying to dissect 7's success so they can repeat it, Microsoft loses track of the fact that more people were willing to move on from XP than will be willing to give up the still somewhat shiny Windows 7.

lflashl said,
how about opening up the themes so people can edit them self without having to crack the uxtheme.dll files!

I doubt this will ever happen. Microsoft doesn't give you features you actually care for

lflashl said,
how about opening up the themes so people can edit them self without having to crack the uxtheme.dll files!

would be a hell to support

lflashl said,
how about opening up the themes so people can edit them self without having to crack the uxtheme.dll files!

Do people still do this? I played around with lots of themes in the XP days, but... I never figured the Win7 could be customized beyond the color and transparency settings, or that you'd get a cooler result than Aero Glass.

Kaidiir said,

Do people still do this? I played around with lots of themes in the XP days, but... I never figured the Win7 could be customized beyond the color and transparency settings, or that you'd get a cooler result than Aero Glass.


I tweaked around in XP days a bit, even got it to look like goddamn Compiz (3d rotating desktop, wobbly windows etc. its all doable!)
but after a while, i tend to go back to basicness. In the long run it runs so much smoother, i even disabled Aero (dragging aroudn windows is a bit more laggy) but i just prefer the basic looks of it.
Besides, i dont see whats wrong with Microsoft trying to keep a uniform look over the windows systems. So anyone, anywhere can always use a windows box like they where at home.

I'm drinking a can of Monster!!! Its not good for me, but it feels like it is lol... and now my view... I say it looks ok, but its going to change more so im sure before it comes out IMO

windows95isg8 said,
I'm drinking a can of Monster!!! Its not good for me, but it feels like it is lol... and now my view... I say it looks ok, but its going to change more so im sure before it comes out IMO

+1

Exactly how I see it...
It looks crap, but I guess ribbon has potential to work for explorer.exe...
I usually like ribbon...

GS:mac

How about changing that orb, already!
What I'd really like is a minimal Windows 8 with options during the installation process "Custom" to install stuff like Windows Live Essentials and all those other stuff that come along with it.

Ishanx said,
How about changing that orb, already!
What I'd really like is a minimal Windows 8 with options during the installation process "Custom" to install stuff like Windows Live Essentials and all those other stuff that come along with it.

+1 Good idea...

GS:mac

Ishanx said,
How about changing that orb, already!
What I'd really like is a minimal Windows 8 with options during the installation process "Custom" to install stuff like Windows Live Essentials and all those other stuff that come along with it.

1) You can create this type of installation already using the advanced installation tools that are provided for OEMs and IT professionals in corporations. They are just not a part of the standard install interface. It can even be setup to fire off and install things like Live Essentials. (Do you really think Dell or HP installs all their bloatware, and their settings by hand on every setup?)

2) What weirds me out about the custom install thing for consumers is people that rip out features or applications because they think it is someone going to make Windows run faster. Windows NT does not work like Linux or even OS X, where installed applications often have lower level support that is enabled and running even when the applications are not running. The way Window's architecture works allows it to dynamically fire any needed low level support on the fly, and turn it off when the application is closed.

So, Windows can have millions of applications installed, and the only thing it costs the user, is the Hard Drive space they consume.

And with all the features of Windows that can currently be turned on and off, they take up a tiny amount of Hard Drive space, with the exception of the R5/BSD Unix subsystem, which isn't even an option most users realize is there, and is not turned on by default.


It kills me when I see people 'purposely' choose Windows Starter or Windows Home Premium for a Netbook. All versions of Windows7 run the same and are just as fast, even on low end hardware like a Netbook. So it doesn't matter if you use Home Premium or Ultimate or Enterprise even, they will use the same RAM, and benchmark the same, and provide the same level of performance.

Ironically, Windows 7 Starter is the exception, because the features it turns off, like Aero, make it run slower than the other versions. The only reason an OEM uses it on a Netbook is that it is extremely cheap.

thenetavenger said,


However, the more software/applications you have installed, and the fuller your root disk is, the slower windows boots up
But thats about it, clean up XP/Vista/7 even without reinstall, its easy to give it the same speed as it had when you first installed it. Just the exception of some boot time, but who cares for a few seconds more or less, go use a commandline interface only BSD system if someone wants absolute speed.

Don't be disappointed if some features disappear for the final Windows 8 build though. Especially alpha builds like this one can have plenty of features that are just being ideas thrown around, and certainly nothing that will definitely be in the RTM.

I'm sure this is obvious to many here who're used to delving into M1, M2 builds etc, but I feel that it has to be said. Windows 7 lost some features from Windows 7 M1, not to mention Windows Vista, haha.

Uplift said,
Don't like the look of that ribbon ui, seems way too bloated for a file explorer.

I agree, but keep in mind this is a very early version. I'm sure they're gonna slim it down and actually make it useful down the line. Who knows, maybe the current build already has a revised version!

Uplift said,
Don't like the look of that ribbon ui, seems way too bloated for a file explorer.

Which is why you can minimize the Ribbon so it auto-hides, and not have it wasking space or even have to look it, and still be ble to access it when you need it.

This truly works out for the best, and if you have a netbook or computer with a limited vertical pixel count, using any version of Office before the ribbon was added is painful, as they take up space for the menu bar, the toolbars, etc... With Office 2010 for example, you minimize the Ribbon and have a clean interface with more space for your documents/presentations/etc to edit and work with. And you still get all the benefits of the Ribbon with the contectual nature, the live feedback and previews, etc.

If I had to choose between the single toolbar in Win7 or Vista to a minimized (hidden) ribbon, I would take the ribbon concept everytime, not only for the extra features it can offer in the space, but the fact I don't have to waste screen space for it.

FoxieFoxie said,
Just enough time for apple to copy them all

I'm not sure if your being sarcastic or not, but OS X already has a bunch of these..

Northgrove said,

... or a native webcam app!

Nah, what he means is that Apple will OBVIOUSLY copy Windows' best feature - the registry! ;-)

iKenndac said,

Nah, what he means is that Apple will OBVIOUSLY copy Windows' best feature - the registry! ;-)

Now that was funny

iKenndac said,

Nah, what he means is that Apple will OBVIOUSLY copy Windows' best feature - the registry! ;-)


Indeed...
The registry is the best tech innovation ever!
Seriously, Apple, get your stuff done and ban config files! Nobody likes being able to move settings with apps and be independent from a non-FS operation!

GS:mac

FoxieFoxie said,
Just enough time for apple to copy them all

Indeed, then shamelessly claim on stage that their insane uniqueness and "difference" is being copied.

iKenndac said,

Nah, what he means is that Apple will OBVIOUSLY copy Windows' best feature - the registry! ;-)

So you think it is funny that OS X has been moving to a central database of settings, which is exactly what a registry is?

People that think the concept of a central database or 'registry' as being bad are stuck in the days of Windows95 and Windows98 when FAT32 and the x86 based OS did let registry corruption and other problems occur. (It was an NT concept that did not work well without the OS technology to keep it safe.)

NT based operating systems, like Windows today, do not have problems with the registry, and the way NTFS works, even powering the computer on and off during massive read and writes to the registry would not cause any harm, which cannot be said of OS X sadly.

OS X does have a mix of both, as there are traditional UNIX style 'config' files scattered throughout the File System for settings, but has a user and system settings store location - just like Windows' registry does.

This is especially true of the upper layers of OS X where the majority of settings are stored in the OS X 'registry' locations.

(Funny how Apple doesn't call their registry a registry uh? Maybe it is a game of marketing, that seems to work, as people still think it is a bad thing, as they use it more and more in OS X.)

Geesh...

Corris said,

I'm not sure if your being sarcastic or not, but OS X already has a bunch of these..

Well, actually yes and no... If it is about these features specifically, then ya an argument could be made, just like I could make an argument that Windows also has had these features in previous versions.

PDF Reader, Win95 could preview PDF and other file types using QuickView
WebCam, Win9x and the NT based Windows, going back to Win2K/WinXP had a full Web Cam application interface that still exists in Windows today.

The PDF reader functionality was removed as Microsoft focused on their own page display technologies. However, it is still there in some forms, just not exposed to the user as it was a conflict with Adobe.

The webcam features are still in Windows, so this Application that is being exposed in Win8 is either just a new interface or a test application.

Windows has had inherent web cam support since the first web cams were introduced. In WindowsXP a full imagining driver model was created for web cams and other forms of imaging input devices. This model was revamped in Vista (making some older scanners need new drivers).

Using a web cam on Windows just works, and there are several inherent ways to access it, as well as a robust program interface framework for application to access web cams and any type of imaging device.

So I'm not sure if people think Windows doesn't have support for Web Cams or what, but since most laptops for a long time have had web cams, and right now Microsoft is the leading hardware maker of HD Web Cams, I think people are getting their wires crossed.

Win8 is adding support facial recognition login, and Kinect like recognition and imaging by using a Web Cam, in addition to dedicated infrared cameras like the kinect uses.

(And I don't see OS X having these features yet but I do hope they eventually copy them.)

PS Web Cam based facial recognition logon has been available on Windows for nearly 10 years, it just isn't a standard feature provided by Microsoft. Go look at old or even current Toshiba Laptops, just your face allows you to log in.

----

Of course OS X has inherent PDF abilities, as the entire UI is still using a variation of PDF, closer to traditional Display Postscript than PDF though, to draw what is seen on the screen.

If this was 1990, then OS X's ties to PDF would be a cool feature to tout, as it was on NeXT, but in 2000 and even 2011, it is a pretty sad thing that OS X is still limited to this 25 year old technology for display rendering.

As for the taskmanager changes and the Ribbon features, OS X doesn't have anything like this, and Apple rejects any of the newer UI concepts, which is why Windows has removed Menu bars from virtually everything, yet OS X forces a system menu bar and still won't give up the concept as better true GUI based ideas have replaced Menu Bars. (Even in the Linux world, they are going away.)

It is strange that Apple has held on to the Menu Bar so hard and for nearly 30 years, as it was a design concept to implement a lot of commands into a GUI, when there wasn't better ways or the processing power to offer the commands without a Menu Bar.

(A Menu is just a list of words, which is not a true GUI interface concept, as it can be implemented in textual intefaces just as easily. It is also no longer needed, and I hope Apple does eventually copy Microsoft, and get rid of them.)

----

As for Apple copying Microsoft, yes they do, and Microsoft also copies Apple. Microsoft is one of the few companies with an agreement with Apple that is supposed to prevent either one of them from suing each other for mimicking features or how things look and work.

So I hope Apple copies whatever they can to make OS X better, and vise versa.

thenetavenger said,

So you think it is funny that OS X has been moving to a central database of settings, which is exactly what a registry is?

People that think the concept of a central database or 'registry' as being bad are stuck in the days of Windows95 and Windows98 when FAT32 and the x86 based OS did let registry corruption and other problems occur. (It was an NT concept that did not work well without the OS technology to keep it safe.)

NT based operating systems, like Windows today, do not have problems with the registry, and the way NTFS works, even powering the computer on and off during massive read and writes to the registry would not cause any harm, which cannot be said of OS X sadly.

OS X does have a mix of both, as there are traditional UNIX style 'config' files scattered throughout the File System for settings, but has a user and system settings store location - just like Windows' registry does.

This is especially true of the upper layers of OS X where the majority of settings are stored in the OS X 'registry' locations.

(Funny how Apple doesn't call their registry a registry uh? Maybe it is a game of marketing, that seems to work, as people still think it is a bad thing, as they use it more and more in OS X.)

Geesh...

I think the main problem with the registry is portability and this is where Unix gets it's right. The settings for each application are simply a set of files. The registry is a set of database files which are a lot harder to migrate or backup. The registry is a fine idea if all developers kept to agreed standards but alas this is the real world and a lot don't so the registry is not properly cleaned with some apps after an uninstall, creating a bigger and bigger registry. Yes NTFS and other OS systems help to keep the Registry going, but these feel more like bandaids around the problem.

Each application having it's own config file makes it a lot easier to edit settings and to move/backup applications.

If you referring to the Library as a copy of the registry, it only similarity is that it's a central place for settings, that's where the similarities stop, as again the library is simply a bunch of files and folders.

Just because the Windows registry is more robust these days doesn't mean it isn't a bad design.

The Mac OS X "registry locations" are mostly just folders on disk that store settings files. If one gets bad data in it for whatever reason (and NTFS can't protect you from everything), just delete the bad file(s) and get on with your life. No registry repair needed.

Also, if you decide you want to move an application on your drive, Mac OS X will deal with it just fine, but because the Windows registry has hard-coded paths for everything (like file associations) you can't do that without reinstalling your app.

Yes, these are rare cases. However, Mac OS X's way of storing settings, file associations and other data like that is much more flexible, which makes it much easier to work with than Windows' registry.

TL:DR of my above post: "Central location for settings" is fine. Windows' particular implementation of it is pretty bad, though.

thenetavenger said,
People that think the concept of a central database or 'registry' as being bad are stuck in the days of Windows95 and Windows98 when FAT32 and the x86 based OS did let registry corruption and other problems occur. (It was an NT concept that did not work well without the OS technology to keep it safe.)

NT based operating systems, like Windows today, do not have problems with the registry, and the way NTFS works, even powering the computer on and off during massive read and writes to the registry would not cause any harm, which cannot be said of OS X sadly.
Geesh...

You're right -- there's absolutely nothing wrong with Windows' registry as long as you don't do anything silly like install any software or Windows updates etc... ;-)

Of course if you do either of those things you stand a chance of getting hosed. The registry in a nutshell is like a black hole in the respect that everything goes in, & nothing comes out -- when installation adds bad registry entries &/or software, many times restoring a backup is the only cure... that's not always a great solution when/if you're not immediately aware of the problem(s) so the needed backup is not current. Yes you can always edit the registry, but when you're talking about getting rid of 1k+ entries that's not entirely realistic.

As far as the registry itself being bulletproof, dream on... it's stored in files like anything else & just as susceptible to errors/damage. At least in 95, 98, & 98 SE it was easy to restore another copy -- XP is a little worse but in win7 that critical data is spread across several files/locations, making damage a bit more likely & backup/restoration of just the registry much more problematic.

Now against that backdrop, what benefits does having the registry add? Instead of adding/editing/deleting individual files with configuration data, you've got an unwieldy, overlarge structure that takes special editors, often very long searches, where an error while working on/with one app can break Windows itself.

When all is said & done it's just the same old cycle -- manufacturers make more powerful hardware, & new software uses every bit of increased performance putting you back to square one. The *only* area where anyone tries to do more with less when it comes to Windows & Windows' apps is support!

Glassed Silver said,

Indeed...
The registry is the best tech innovation ever!
Seriously, Apple, get your stuff done and ban config files! Nobody likes being able to move settings with apps and be independent from a non-FS operation!

GS:mac


As much as I hate Apple, you have a point

To be fair though, nobody's putting a gun to an app developer's head forcing them to use the registry, they can use ye olde config files and plop them in the user's appdata directory if they want.

Personally though, I prefer the registry. Find it so much easier to deal with than dealing with a bajillion config files scattered all over the file system. Backups are easy, just back up a user's hive and done. Potential errors? Sure, a mistake in the registry can be fatal. Just as fatal as borking rc.conf on a BSD system. Go back to win.ini and system.ini? Oh hellllll no. Can stay dead and buried with Windows 95.

Jen Smith said,
To be fair though, nobody's putting a gun to an app developer's head forcing them to use the registry, they can use ye olde config files and plop them in the user's appdata directory if they want.

Personally though, I prefer the registry. Find it so much easier to deal with than dealing with a bajillion config files scattered all over the file system. Backups are easy, just back up a user's hive and done. Potential errors? Sure, a mistake in the registry can be fatal. Just as fatal as borking rc.conf on a BSD system. Go back to win.ini and system.ini? Oh hellllll no. Can stay dead and buried with Windows 95.


Exactly. Apps don't need to use the registry...

thenetavenger said,
As for the taskmanager changes and the Ribbon features, OS X doesn't have anything like this, and Apple rejects any of the newer UI concepts, which is why Windows has removed Menu bars from virtually everything, yet OS X forces a system menu bar and still won't give up the concept as better true GUI based ideas have replaced Menu Bars. (Even in the Linux world, they are going away.)

It is strange that Apple has held on to the Menu Bar so hard and for nearly 30 years, as it was a design concept to implement a lot of commands into a GUI, when there wasn't better ways or the processing power to offer the commands without a Menu Bar.

(A Menu is just a list of words, which is not a true GUI interface concept, as it can be implemented in textual intefaces just as easily. It is also no longer needed, and I hope Apple does eventually copy Microsoft, and get rid of them.)

The menu bar has its advantages. It lends itself well to a mouse-based interface, as to get to it all you have to do is flick the mouse up towards the edge of the screen. Likewise, the ribbon has an edge over the menu bar for touch screens with its big buttons, and considering there's no Macs with a touchscreen yet, I can see why Apple aren't fussed about removing the menu bar.

thenetavenger said,

*text*

To be honest, I wasn't really looking at the whole picture just at what was said.
OSX has 2 of the 4 features in this article, so it doesn't need to copy them, it doesn't matter what either Apple or MS have done in the past or what they are doing specifically, I was just talking about what this article had mentioned and nothing more.

Tech companies copy each other all the time, personally I don't care either way if we all end up with better features in the end, lol.

Northgrove said,

... or a native webcam app!

Which both XP AND OSX have - only, not under the awesomness that is Metro. & BTW, I don't know about OSX's, but XP's built into Explorer.

mikiem said,

You're right -- there's absolutely nothing wrong with Windows' registry as long as you don't do anything silly like install any software or Windows updates etc... ;-)

Of course if you do either of those things you stand a chance of getting hosed. The registry in a nutshell is like a black hole in the respect that everything goes in, & nothing comes out -- when installation adds bad registry entries &/or software, many times restoring a backup is the only cure... that's not always a great solution when/if you're not immediately aware of the problem(s) so the needed backup is not current. Yes you can always edit the registry, but when you're talking about getting rid of 1k+ entries that's not entirely realistic.

As far as the registry itself being bulletproof, dream on... it's stored in files like anything else & just as susceptible to errors/damage. At least in 95, 98, & 98 SE it was easy to restore another copy -- XP is a little worse but in win7 that critical data is spread across several files/locations, making damage a bit more likely & backup/restoration of just the registry much more problematic.

Now against that backdrop, what benefits does having the registry add? Instead of adding/editing/deleting individual files with configuration data, you've got an unwieldy, overlarge structure that takes special editors, often very long searches, where an error while working on/with one app can break Windows itself.

When all is said & done it's just the same old cycle -- manufacturers make more powerful hardware, & new software uses every bit of increased performance putting you back to square one. The *only* area where anyone tries to do more with less when it comes to Windows & Windows' apps is support!

This is why there are 3rd party programs that not only allow manual backups of the registry, it cleans them of the gunk as well. CCleaner does a pretty good job for a FREE application. Norton also has a registry scanner that can clan the registry. There is also another paid registry progrm I forgot the name that works very well.

And of course you can click Start > Run > Regedit open the regestry and make manual backups yourself.