Over the years, we’ve written about loads of ways to disable features, tweak things that don’t work the way you want, and remove other things entirely. Here’s the list of the 50 best ways to do just that.
Just in case you missed some of our recent roundup articles, here’s a couple of roundups of our very best articles for you to check out:
- The 50 Best Registry Hacks that Make Windows Better
- The 20 Best How-To Geek Explainer Topics for 2010
- The 20 Best Windows Tweaks that Still Work in Windows 7
- The 50 Best How-To Geek Windows Articles of 2010
- The 10 Cleverest Ways to Use Linux to Fix Your Windows PC
If you’ve already been through those, keep reading for how to disable loads of Windows features you might not want.
Disable Context Menu Items
After you start installing a bunch of software, you’ll notice your context menu starts filling up with more and more items, becoming bloated, slow, and even more annoying—it starts taking up the whole screen. Here’s how to get rid of some of those items and trim it back down to size.
- How to Clean Up Your Messy Windows Context Menu
- Disable the “Send To” Folder on the Windows Explorer Context Menu
- Remove Gadgets and Screen Resolution on Windows 7 Desktop Context Menu
- How to Clean Up Your Messy Internet Explorer Context Menu
- Remove “Troubleshoot Compatibility” from the Windows Context Menu
- Remove Programs from the Open With Menu in Explorer
- Remove ATI Catalyst Control Center from the Desktop Right-Click Menu
- Remove NVIDIA Control Panel from Desktop Right-Click Menu
You’ll probably notice that the first article is an in-depth guide to help you get rid of just about any item, whereas the rest are more specific for some of the more annoying items.
How to Disable Caps Lock Key in Windows 7 or Vista
The caps lock key is one of those remnants of another age of computers, back when people used to shout at each other more often. Unless you’re in the accounting department, it’s probably not very useful, so today we’ll learn how to disable it.
Disabling Irritating Dialogs and Popups
There’s nothing more annoying than being in the middle of working on something when the Windows Update dialog pops up and tells you to reboot right that instant, but thankfully you can disable that, and many other dialogs and popups in Windows.
- Disable Delete Confirmation Dialog in Windows 7 or Vista
- Disable Error Reporting in XP, Vista, and Windows 7
- Disable Program Compatibility Assistant in Windows 7 and Vista
- Disable Scan and Fix for Removable Drives in Windows
- Disable the Annoying “This device can perform faster” Balloon Message in Windows 7
- Temporarily Disable Windows Update’s Automatic Reboot in Win7 or Vista
- Disable the Irritating Sticky / Filter Keys Popup Dialogs
- Disable All Notification Balloons in Windows 7 or Vista
- Prevent Windows Update from Forcibly Rebooting Your Computer
You’ll probably not want to take the drastic step of disabling all notification balloons, but it’s an option.
Disabling Icons You Might Not Want
Here’s a quick list of all the icon-related articles we have that cover how to disable this or that in regards to icons. You might know how to get rid of the Recycle Bin icon, but we’ve got other things covered too—like hiding drives from your computer, or hiding desktop icon text entirely.
- Hide, Delete, or Destroy the Recycle Bin Icon in Windows 7 or Vista
- Disable Shortcut Icon Arrow Overlay in Windows 7 or Vista
- Disable Thumbnail Previews in Windows 7 or Vista Explorer
- Hide Drives from Your Computer in Windows 7 or Vista
- Hide Desktop Icon Text on Windows 7 or Vista
- Completely Disable the System Tray on Windows 7 / Vista / XP
- Remove “Shortcut” Text From New Shortcuts in Windows 7 or Vista
- Remove the Lock Icon from a Folder in Windows 7
- Remove or Hide Unwanted Items From the Control Panel in Windows 7
- Prevent Themes From Modifying Icons and Cursors in Windows 7
Yes, we included how to disable the system tray, which is probably not something you should do. Learning is fun.
Disabling Windows Aero and Such
If you’re not a fan of all the beautiful new Aero features in Windows 7, you can get rid of them, or maybe you want to get rid of the built-in shortcut keys, or just tweak the Aero Peek delay. Here’s how to do it.
- Disable Aero on Windows 7 or Vista
- Disable Aero Shake in Windows 7
- Disable Aero Snap (the Mouse Drag Window Arranging Feature in Windows 7)
- Disable Sidebar / Desktop Gadgets on Windows 7
- Disable Windows Mobility Center in Windows 7 or Vista
- Disable or Modify the “Delay Time” for Aero Peek in Windows 7
- Disable Win+X Shortcut Keys on Windows 7 or Vista
- Disable/Enable Lock Workstation Functionality (Windows + L)
Does anybody really use Mobility Center?
Disabling Built-In Services and Features
Want to get rid of User Account Control dialogs? What about Libraries, Homegroups, or Windows Defender? Here’s how to disable or delete many of the built-in services, should you want to do so.
- Disable User Account Control (UAC) the Easy Way on Win 7 or Vista
- Disable System Restore in Windows 7 or Vista
- Disable Power Management on Windows 7 or Vista
- How to Delete a Windows Service in Windows 7, Vista or XP
- How To Disable Search In Windows 7
- How to Enable or Disable the Libraries Feature in Windows 7
- Uninstall, Disable, or Delete Internet Explorer 8 from Windows 7
- Uninstall, Disable, or Remove Windows 7 Media Center
- How to Disable Access to the Registry in Windows 7
- How To Disable Control Panel in Windows 7
- How To Disable or Enable the Homegroup Feature in Windows 7
- How To Uninstall, Disable, and Remove Windows Defender. Also, How Turn it Off
- How To Delete Built-in Windows 7 Power Plans (and Why You Probably Shouldn’t)
- How to Delete a System File in Windows 7 or Vista
You should read the disclaimers carefully before you start disabling built-in services, and you definitely shouldn’t delete power plans or services unless you’re really sure what you’re doing.
Settings You Can Tweak to Disable Behavior
Sometimes you don’t want to disable something entirely, you just want to disable the way it behaves, like Windows Update hijacking the Sleep button when you don’t want it to. Here’s how to change some of the way things work by default.
- Prevent Windows Asking for a Password on Wake Up from Sleep/Standby
- Quick Tip: Disable Highlighting New Programs in Windows 7, Vista, and XP
- Stop Windows Update from Hijacking the Sleep/Shutdown Button
- Turn Off Windows Explorer Click Sounds in Windows 7 or Vista
- Beginner Geek: Customize or Disable Sound Events in Windows 7 or Vista
- Help Troubleshoot the Blue Screen of Death by Preventing Automatic Reboot
- How To Disconnect Non-Mapped UNC Path “Drives” in Windows
- How To Replace Notepad in Windows 7
- Make System Restore Use Less Drive Space in Windows 7
- Make Windows 7 or Vista Log On Automatically
- Make Your Windows 7 PC Not Shutdown when You Accidentally Hit the Power Button
- Map Any Key to Any Key on Windows 7 / XP / Vista
- Quick Tip: Turn Off Games in Windows 7
- Remove Shutdown and Restart Buttons In Windows 7
- Remove Old Drivers After Upgrading to New Hardware
- Stop Your Mouse from Waking Up Your Windows 7 Computer
Those Windows Explorer click sound are really annoying.
Disable Your Entire Computer (and Delete All Data)
You’re probably asking yourself why we included this one in the roundup. Why? Because this is the ultimate way to disable something you don’t want—if you’re going to be selling your PC or giving it away, you probably don’t want anybody getting to your data. Here’s how to wipe your drive entirely.
Programmer by day, geek by night, The Geek, also known as Lowell Heddings, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on Google+ if you'd like.
- Published 01/14/11