Category Archives: How to

Create custom wallpaper collections in Windows 7

Many thanks to Kristan Kenney of for this handy “How To”

Step 1: Organize your wallpapers
The first step is pretty easy. You will need to create a folder hierarchy (figure 1) to place your different wallpapers in (such as %USERPROFILE%PicturesAbstract, %USERPROFILE%PicturesNature, etc. – see figure 1), or tag your wallpaper images (figure 2) with categories (like Family Photos, Animals, etc).


(Figure 1 – A folder hierarchy containing various types of background images.)


(Figure 2 – Setting tag categories on images)

Step 2: Creating the registry entries for your wallpaper collection

  1. Click on Start, type "regedit.exe" in the Start Search field, and then press Enter.
  2. Provide consent or the appropriate credentials to User Account Control if prompted.
  3. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerWallpapersKnownFolders.
  4. Right click on the KnownFolders key, click on New, and then click on Key. Name the new sub-key 1.
  5. In the 1 sub-key, create a new String Value (REG_SZ) and change its name to GROUPBY.
  6. Double click on the GROUPBY string value (REG_SZ) and set its value according to the following guidelines:

    – If your wallpapers are in a single folder and you are using tags to sort your wallpapers, set the value to System.Keywords.
    – If you are sorting your wallpapers using a hierarchy of multiple sub-folders, set the value to System.ItemFolderNameDisplay.

  7. In the 1 sub-key, create a new String Value (REG_SZ) and change its name to NAME.
  8. Double click on the NAME string value (REG_SZ) and change it to whatever you wish, for example "Personal Wallpaper Collection" – this is the name that will be displayed in Windows Explorer.
  9. Right click on the 1 sub-key, click on New, and then click on Key. Rename the sub-key to whatever you wish, such as Personal Wallpaper Collection.
  10. Right click on the sub-key that you just created (e.g. Personal Wallpaper Collection), click on New, and then click on Key. Name the new sub-key MergeFolders.
  11. Create a new String Value (REG_SZ), and change its name to equal the path of your wallpapers directory. For example, C:\Users\Kristan Kenney\Pictures\Desktop Backgrounds\Abstract.
  12. Repeat step 11 for each additional folder of wallpapers that you wish to add to the collection.
  13. Close the Registry Editor.
  14. Log off and then log in in order for Windows Explorer to see the new wallpaper collection registry entries.


(Figure 3 – the Windows Registry Editor, showing a list of sub-folders)

Step 3: Enjoy!
Right click on the Desktop, and then click on Personalize. When the Personalization window appears, click on Desktop Background, and then click on the drop-down next to "Picture Location". Click on your wallpaper collection that you just created, and then choose as many wallpapers as you want (figure 4).


But wait, that’s not all!
In step 6, we went through the process of assigning a view method to the GROUPBY string value, such as System.Keywords (sort by Tags) or System.ItemFolderNameDisplay (sort by Folder name). There are other view methods available as part of the Windows Shell (Windows Explorer), such as System.RatingText (which will allow you to sort your images by rating). You can find many more to try in the online MSDN Library.

Please note, a lot of the System namespace shell properties are context specific, so there are a few that won’t work, or will produce weird results. For example, using System.IsIncomplete or System.FlagStatusText will not do anything useful with your wallpapers.

Installing an “E edition” of Windows 7

As Windows 7 for the European Union Economic Zone, Croatia and Switzerland will not include Internet Explorer or related technologies users will need to manually install a web browser of their own choice like Internet Explorer, Apple Safari or Mozilla Firefox or something else.

Below is the required steps from the Windows Help site detailing how to reinstall your PC with Windows 7. If your not confident with doing this on your own then seek the services of an IT Technician or a computer shop to do this for you.

Step One: Back up your files and personal data
As you need to perform a custom (clean) install, you need to generate backup copies of all personal data including documents, pictures, music and videos, this is independent of whether Windows Vista, Windows XP, or another operating system is installed on your PC. You can save your files to a USB, external hard drive or to an online storage device such as Windows Live SkyDrive.

With Windows Easy Transfer you can simply transfer user accounts and data from one Windows operating system to another. In addition you can read Windows help instructions, and watch a video on Windows Easy Transfer. You can also learn how you can restore certain files in this article. Click here for more information.

Step Two: Save your preferred browser
Go to your preferred browser of choice and instead of running the application, save it to your preferred storage device whether that is a DVD, USB or an external storage device, have that handy for when you install Windows 7 as this will be needed for you to be able to get onto the internet.

Step Three: Install Windows 7
Next, install Windows 7 by following the included instructions.

Step Four: Re-install your browser
Re-install your browser from your DVD, USB, or other external storage device.

Step Five: Re-install all your personal data
Re-install all your personal data including your files and media that you want to use on your PC.

Facebook Purity – Removes annoying quiz and application messages from your facebook homepage

This greasemonkey script removes all messages posted by applications to your homepage. It gets rid of messages about quizes etc, basically all messages from any applications created by external developers. Just leaving messages from the original facebook apps such as status updates, wall posts, links, notes, photos, etc behind.

To install this script you need to be using Firefox, then you need to install the GreaseMonkey add on.

To install the Facebook Purity script visit the following site and click on the “install” button on the top tight.

Enable Ctrl+Alt+Delete for Vista Logon Screen

In older versions of Windows, you had to use the Ctrl+Alt+Delete combination to login to the system. This was supposed to provide a higher security login, although I don’t know how. You also might be used to using that combination to login, and there’s a way to turn it back on.

Open the Advanced User Accounts panel by typing in netplwiz into the start menu search box, and hitting enter. Then click the Advanced tab, and you’ll see this:

Just check the box, and the next time you login, you’ll see the old familiar prompt.

Source: How to Geek

How To Enable Polygamy In Windows Live Messenger (9.0 RC1)

Many of you will have several WLIDs, and want to sign into Messenger with more than one of them. Until now you had to seek refuge in a patch or add-on to be able to do so. Not anymore! Microsoft’s John Weisenfeld just shared a little trick with me to enable this, which I’m going to share with you.

The trick involves registry editing, so please follow these steps very carefully:

1. Start regedit (admin)
2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows Live
3. Right click Messenger and create a new DWORD called MultipleInstances


4. Right click the newly added registry key and choose Modify
5. Set the Value data to 1


6. Close regedit

All done! Now you can launch Windows Live Messenger as many times as you want, and sign in with as many WLIDs you want, on one computer. Just don’t try to sign in with the same WLID more than once on one computer or it will throw error 80071392 at you!