Edit registry to fix IE content advisory password woes.

Question: I have inherited a computer from a friend that runs Windows 95. The problem that I am having is with Explorer Version 4. The content advisory was enabled by my friend because she had children using this computer. I would like to disable the content advisory, but do not have the password to do so, and my friend no longer remembers what the password was. I have uninstalled Explorer and reinstalled it, without any luck. Where is the password? Which .ini, .cpl, or dll file is the password hiding in? –B.L.

Answer: It’s time once again to go registry diving. The Windows registry is a feature in Windows 95/98 that that acts like a filing cabinet and keeps track of all the settings in Windows and other installed programs.

The tool used to edit the registry is called regedit.exe. It’s hidden from everyday use (so it’s not on the Desktop anywhere), but can be launched by typing regedit.exe into the Run box off the Start menu.

When you start it, you’ll notice a series of what look like file folders in the left-hand window, with pluses (+) next to them. Clicking on a + symbol will open the entry and cascade its contents which, at the top level, are other entries. As you go deeper, you’ll see data entries called keys displayed in the right-hand pane of the Registry Editor window. Before you do anything else, be sure to back up the registry. Instructions are below.

Once that’s done, it’s time to override the content rating system. To do this, you’ll need to remove the key value contained in the following registry path:
When you drill down to it, click on the value in the right panel and delete it.

According to my Microsoft contact, you might also need to remove the Ratings.pol file in the C:/Windows/System folder. Once these tasks are finished, restart your computer.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Back up your registry files before you do any work with the registry. An error could cause you to lose data and might force a reinstall of Windows.
Now that you know you have to do it, here’s how to back up the registry in Windows 95:

  1. Select the Registry menu in your Registry Editor and select Export Registry File…. The Export Registry File dialog box will appear.
  2. Select the All radio button in the Export range: group.
  3. Type a name and click the Save button.
  4. Use the Import function to restore the registry file if you need to at a later date.

A note for Windows 98 users: If you ever make a mistake and corrupt or damage your registry, there is a new quick way to restore the registry to its original healthy self. To do this:

  1. Click Start, and then click Shut Down.
  2. Click Restart in MS-DOS mode, and then click Yes.
  3. At the MS-DOS prompt, type scanreg /restore and restart your computer. The registry will be restored to the state when you last successfully started your computer.

Windows 95 users face a more arduous set of tasks. If you’re interested in how to do this, see the article called Restore Windows registry.

If you’d like to read more about the Windows registry and how to use it to optimize Windows, I recommend three books. The first two are Windows Annoyances, and Windows 98 Annoyances, both by David Karp. They contain ways to modify Windows to get it to do what you want to do. They also offer tips on making several Windows “gotchas” go away, including registry tips. The third book, called Optimizing the Windows Registry, by Kathy Ivens, is about the registry specific to Windows 95 and NT 4.0.

If you would like to have a program optimize the complete registry for you, I recommend RegistryBooster 2, which is a trialware title listed in the TechnologyTips Software Library.