Beware of the MiniNT registry key

As of Windows 10 Version 1511, ReFS isn’t available by default as an option when formatting drives that aren’t part of a Storage Space. It’s easy, however, to enable this functionality by adding a DWORD named AllowRefsFormatOverNonmirrorVolume under the Registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\MiniNT (an example guide can be found here).

Unfortunately, the presence of MiniNT Registry key causes various Windows components to think they’re running in the Windows Preinstallation Environment. Significantly, the presence of the key breaks the Event Viewer – attempt to open any log and you’ll be greeted with the following very unhelpful error message:

Event Viewer cannot open the event log or custom view. Verify that Event Log service is running or query is too long. The request is not supported (50)

If this weren’t enough, apparently Windows PowerShell remoting will stop working, too.

TL;DR: Delete HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\MiniNT as soon as you’re done formatting your drive with ReFS.

Fix Visual Studio 2013 Start Menu shortcuts

Click here to see this bug on Connect.

Visual Studio 2013 configures Start Menu shortcuts differently to earlier versions. Specifically, it adds a shortcut to ‘Visual Studio Tools’ (%PROGRAMFILES(X86)%\Microsoft Visual Studio 12.0\Common7\Tools\Shortcuts), where Visual Studio 2012 added a directory called ‘Visual Studio Tools’ and added copies of the shortcuts. This is all a bit confusing, but the end result is that searching in the Start Menu/Screen won’t bring up results for useful things like the Developer Command Prompt or Spy++.

This annoyed me sufficiently that I wrote a PowerShell script (run it as administrator) to restore the shortcut directory:

The Visual Studio Shortcuts directory doesn’t contain shortcuts to Spy++ (and a number of other programs). Here’s another script to restore shortcuts to Spy++: