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From the Tips Box: Enabling NumLock by Default, Ad-Free iOS Apps, and Stereo-Powered Party Lights

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Once a week we round up some of the great tips readers have sent into the tip box. This week we’re looking at how to enable the NumLock by default, stripping ads from iOS apps, and turning Christmas lights into audio-responsive party lights.

Enable the NumLock Key On Boot Via Registry Hack

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Parthiv writes in with a handy little registry hack to enable the NumLock key on boot:
I’d been Googling around for years, ever since I was still on Windows XP, for a way to get my keyboard to turn on the NumLock key by default. I could never find an option for it in the BIOS, which most sites suggested. I finally found the answer: you need a  registry tweak! You need to change change all the data titled “InitialKeyboardIndicators” to a value of 2, but only the ones in which it was some sort of number to begin with, since some of the values were directories.

It took a while to find all of the data pieces in the registry, so I wrote up a .reg file to automate the process , which I’ve attached in a 7z file. I also included a file to undo the change, which sets those values to 0 instead.

Nice work Parthiv! We always appreciate it when readers write in with solutions like this instead of keeping it to themselves—now when someone performs a Google search in the future, looking for the same solution you were looking for, they’ll find your solution right here. We’re attaching the .REG files you shared here and, for readers who would prefer to review the text first and then execute it, here’s the contents of the NumLockOnBoot.reg file:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Keyboard]
“InitialKeyboardIndicators”=”2″

[HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Keyboard]
“InitialKeyboardIndicators”=”2″

[HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-18\Control Panel\Keyboard]
“InitialKeyboardIndicators”=”2″

[HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-19\Control Panel\Keyboard]
“InitialKeyboardIndicators”=”2″

[HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-20\Control Panel\Keyboard]
“InitialKeyboardIndicators”=”2″

[HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-51780718-2047605258-340133435-1000\Control Panel\Keyboard]
“InitialKeyboardIndicators”=”2″

[HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-51780718-2047605258-340133435-1001\Control Panel\Keyboard]
“InitialKeyboardIndicators”=”2″


Disable In-App Adds On iOS

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Nicole writes in with the following hack for disabling ads in iOS:

Normally I’m all about allowing ads in my web browser and apps to support a developer, but something finally drove me to hack the ads out of my iPhone. I’m totally happy to pay a few bucks to buy an app I like (to upgrade from the free to the pro version to get the ads to go away) but there are a couple apps I use that don’t have a pro version. The only version is the free version with ad support. The problem is… the ads get in the way and the interface of the app leads to me constantly hitting the stupid ad banner. I’d rather just give the developer some money to get rid of the ads but there is no option to even do so!

The solution I stumbled upon is Disable iAds for iOS. You need a jail broken phone and you need to add the Kokoabim repository (http://apt.kokoabim.com/ios) because the app isn’t in the main repositories like BigBoss. All you do is search for it, install it, and the ads vanish. It’s that simple.

We’re all about supporting developers too, Nicole, but we totally understand where you’re coming from. We’ve played a few games and used a few apps over the years where the ads and interface interacted in such a way that it made it very frustrating to use the app. If you can’t easily upgrade to a pro version to ditch the ad bar it often makes the interface unusable. Nice tip!

Hack Christmas Lights into Stereo Powered Party Lights

Mark writes in with a fun post-Christmas hack:

This one is an oldie-but-goodie, but I figured I’d send it in anyway. Now is a great time to score dirty cheap Christmas lights (my local big-box store has them at 70% off). Christmas lights are so easy to hack into new projects. One of my favorite Christmas light projects involves wiring your lights into your stereo so that the pulses of electricity flowing to the speakers actually modulate the brightness of the Christmas light strand. It’s a fun way to add some visual punch to your stereo. I’ve included a link to the YouTube video where I first learned how to do it.

One of the things on our to-do list is to finish wiring the surround sound system for the basement theater. This seems like the kind of hack that would be perfect for the times we’re turning on the Party Mode. Thanks for sharing!


Have a clever computer, electronics, or DIY tip to share? Shoot us an email at tips@howtogeek.com and look for your tip on the front page.

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/29/11

Comments (10)

  1. Two Replies

    Nicole’s reason for disabling ads doesn’t seem right, IMO. Even if there isn’t a pro version, you shouldn’t disable the free version’s ads just because you tap them.

    But there ARE apps that this would be TOTALLY good for.
    Like geoFighter. A Geometry Wars clone that you have to pay for.
    Initially the paid app didn’t have ads, but then they released an “update” that threw ads in the app.
    Other paid games also have bullshit ads, like PocketGod and Press Your Luck.

    Seriously. If you’re making your customers PAY for an app, don’t be greedy and also force ad content on them.

  2. Two Replies

    Um…. for the stereo lights tip… you’ve better throw in an appropriately sized fuse, otherwise you’re looking at a fire-hazard.

  3. dg27

    I agree–this isn’t something to play around with.

  4. UltimatePSV

    Just as a note, the registry tweak for NumLock mentioned above was tested on a PC running Windows 7 Home Premium x64. However, searching and changing the values in the registry manually should work for everyone from Windows XP up.

  5. webfoot

    Appropriate size fuse or fire hazard? The lights themselves will fuse before the wiring. But you could series a fuse to protect just the lights if you value them.

  6. 7zQuestion

    What program can open .7z files? Is it 7zip? where can i get the program that opens it?

  7. superpants

    @7zQuestion Yes, it is 7-zip.
    http://www.7-zip.org/

  8. UltimatePSV

    Yes, 7-zip and PeaZip are both great for 7z files. If you want something simple use 7-zip. For something more feature-rich you can use PeaZip but it has a somewhat confusing interface.
    7-Zip: http://www.7-zip.org/download.html
    PeaZip: http://peazip.org/

  9. Gabriel Castro

    Too bad that the Disable iOS ads only works in iOS <5.0.

  10. sid

    Use 7Zip [www.7-zip.org] to open .7z files.Its free & the best one.

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