What is The Windows Registry?

The Windows Registry is a replacement to the INI files in the earlier versions of Windows. They contain the configuration information about the operating system, hardware, application files etc. Making changes in the registry is much easier and provide easy modification to various settings in Windows.

How to edit registry?

The registry can be modified by the following ways:

1. Go to Start > Run. Here write “Regedit” or “Regedit.exe”. This will launch the Windows Registry Editor.

2. By using third party registry editors. Most of these registry editors are free to try and are available on the Internet. I use the Registry Editor which comes with the TuneUp Utilities Software. It offers multiple Search results to be viewed at a time and also you can always undo the changes if it doesn’t yield desired results.

*Note: you will need a third-party registry editor if the Windows registry editor is disabled (yes there is a registry for that too!!).

How to change the value of a particular Registry key?

The Windows Registry has the following data types for a value:

· REG_SZ: This is the standard String Value used to display text values.

· REG_Binary: Contains Binary Data

· REG_DWORD: This value is used to toggle between various options e.g. 0(disabled) and 1(enabled).

· REG_MULTI_SZ: This value is used to store multiple strings such as lists and each entry is separated by a NULL character.


REG_EXPAND_SZ: Expandable Data String. The values are replaced by actual values by the application calling the key e.g. the value %systemroot% will be replaced by your Windows Directory when this is called by an application.

To change the value of the key just double click on the name you wish to modify on the right side of the window and give its new value.

Be careful about changing the registry values, giving a wrong value can land you up in trouble.

How to create a new Registry Key/Sub-Key or value?

To create a Registry value, navigate to the place where you want to add a key or a value and select New in the right click context menu. In New, select “Key” if you want to create a sub-key. This will create a sub-key, under currently selected key on the left side. Select a particular data type for the new value (e.g. String Value, Binary Value) if you want to create it under the currently selected key.

Back Up That Important Data!!

It is advisable to backup any important data before applying a hack to your system. If you are changing a registry value, take a backup of the original registry key so that you can always go back to the previous condition.

How to backup a registry key?

To backup a registry key open the registry editor. Navigate to the registry that you want to backup and then go the File > Export. Give the name of the registry with a .reg extension and then save to a desired location. You can backup a key or a value.

How to take backup of entire registry?

To take backup of entire registry go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Backup.

In this, click on the My Computer on the left side of the screen and select System State. This will backup the entire registry, the boot files and Com+ Class Registration Database.

How to view a .reg file?

To view a .reg file you can use standard text editors such as Notepad or Wordpad.

How to add an exported key to Windows Registry?

To add an exported key simply double click on the .reg file. Alternatively you can use the Import option in the File Menu of Registry Editor. It will ask for your confirmation to add the particular key in the Registry if you are adding the registry by double clicking on it. If the key or a value you wish to add is not present then it will be created else it will be overwritten.

To avoid accidental addition of harmful registries make a practice of keeping the registries in the compressed form (rar or zip).

One Response to “Registry Basics”

  1. Vivek Yadav Says:

    Nice , Tute for all registry related stuff ..
    Good .. Happy Blogging

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