Get rid of useless Windows restrictions

Sometimes you have to accomplish work on a windows PC where you do not have administrator privileges. This can be quite frustrating if you are a power user and you are used to your shortcuts and tools. Here are some tips to get rid of useless limitations some system administrators may have configured to your workstation.

To adapt the system to your needs you have to use two tools:

  1. The group policy editor. To open it run gpedit.msc from the command line.

  2. The Registry editor which may be started by executing regedit from the command line. If you get the message that you are not allowed to change registry keys you first have to use the Group Policy editor to set the value of "Prevent access to registry editing tools" under User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> System to Disabled.

Most of the following changes can be done by using the Group Policy editor or the registry editor, choose your preferred method.

  • No “Run…” entry in your start menu - I do not ask myself why this should be disabled but all you have to do is to open the registry and go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer. There change the value of NoRun to ``. In the group policy editor you have to set "Remove Run menu from Start Menu" under User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Start Menu and Taskbar to Disabled.

  • One of my favorite keyboard shortcut is Windows-Key + E to launch the Windows Explorer. I found out that it not work if the Control Panel is not shown in the Start Menu. To enable the shortcut go to User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Control Panel in the Group Policy editor and disable "Prohibit access to the Control Panel"

  • To allow you to configure the Internet Explorer if you need it for testing web applications you can enable the Internet Options dialog under User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windwos Components -> Internet Explorer -> Internet Control Panel