What is the Windows Registry and What can you do with it?

What is the Windows Registry and What can you do with it?

Registry refers to a collection of settings used by Microsoft Windows, their applications and drivers for hardware devices in order to keep them configured.

Registry can be described as the heart of Windows. It is used by power users to enable their computer to do extraordinary things.  

Warning: Your computer could be damaged if you make changes to your Registry. Changes to the Registry should be made only if you feel comfortable Back up the Registry beforehand.

What is the windows registry (and what can you do with it)?

The Registry: A Brief History

What is the purpose of Windows’ registry? Windows 95 introduced the Registry to Windows and it has been there ever since. Prior to Windows 95, configuration data was saved in text files similar to the current.ini file.

These files were not perfect. The first was that it was simple for someone to accidentally delete text files. It wasn’t possible to repair the damage. The second reason was that these configuration files were not structured in a uniform way. These configuration files were made by various developers to suit their specific applications.

A (brief) history of the registry

It centralized configuration storage and made it easy to use standardization. The Registry made it nearly impossible for anyone to delete or alter any information. You can back it up, which we will cover later. It is also protected from malicious attacks by Windows.

Today’s Windows 10 or Windows 11 operating system has the Registry. It is sophisticated and can be repaired and maintained, but not impenetrable.

The basic registry structure

Registry is a hierarchical data base. Your computer is at the top of this hierarchy. Below that are the main branches known as “hives”. Within them you will find Registry keys. Sub-keys as well as Registry values can be included in keys.

Three types of key value are available: Binary, String and DWORD. String is one line of text. Binary values are just like they sound, a binary value being a number expressed in ones or zeroes. A DWORD can be described as a 4-byte number. They are used for storing boolean value, and a 1 or 0, respectively, could signify “enabled” or “disabled”

The basic registry structure

Each of the five major branches offers a distinct class of setting:

  • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT: Also called “HKCR”, this area contains Windows interface settings like shortcuts and file associations. It also supports drag-and-drop functionality.
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER: Also known by “HKCU,” these are the settings available to the current logged-in Windows user. They include login names, Start Menu and custom desktop settings.
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE: This is also known as “HKLM”, and it stores settings for software and hardware, along with Group Policy settings.
  • HKEY_USERS: This contains settings that can be used by all PC users. Every user is assigned a subkey.
  • HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG: : The link to this section of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE is for current hardware configuration settings.

Knowing the differences between the main branches of the Registry can help you to reduce the time it takes you to find what you are looking for.

Register Editing with Regedit

The Registry has been designed to resist accidental and deliberate tampering. Windows includes an app which allows you to explore the Registry and make changes. The Windows Registry Editor, or simply Regedit, is an app that allows you to view and edit the Registry structure.

Registry editing with regedit

It’s easy to open a key or change a value. Simply expand the Registry tree until the value that you are looking for is found, then double-click the value that you wish to modify.

The Registry Editor can be opened by pressing the Windows key + R Click here to launch the Run Dialog Box Enter the required information regedit or regedit.exe Use the press Enter. Start Menu Please click here Registry Editor Once the result has been achieved.

Are You able to edit the Registry?

If you don’t have an explicit reason, it is best not to edit the Registry. This reason must be greater than stability and the possibility of losing data or time.

Should you edit the registry?

Follow an online tutorial to modify your Registry to achieve a particular outcome. Check the comments for feedback to find out how others have done it. You can also use the information you have learned here about Registry structure to determine if the guide makes sense. Your computer could crash upon restart if you make an error in the editing process. This is because your system settings have been corrupted.

Before making any changes to the Registry, it is important that you back it up.

Protecting Your Registry

The Registry can be backed up and restored in many different ways.  

You can back up the Registry by performing a complete backup of your drive using either the Windows Backup Tool or another third-party utility. This is great for many reasons. You’ll have to make a backup of the Registry in order to recover any data you created between your backups.

The System Restore utility creates a restore points. You also backup the Registry. Restoring from a restorepoint doesn’t mean you lose files or other data that you have created since your last restore point.

To create an individual backup, you can also use the Registry Editor. Select the appropriate option File > Export Choose a location to save.

Backing up your registry

This Registry file can then be stored in the cloud and on physical backup media. Also, it is a smart idea to export Registry before you make any modifications to it. This way you will be able to import it immediately using your saved REG file File > Import.

Note: Since too many factors may have changed on your PC, we don’t recommend that you restore a Registry backup older than one day. This can cause a Registry to be even less suitable than the one that is being replaced.

Our website is available here A detailed guide on backing up the Registry You can rest assured that your Registry is always up-to-date.

How things go wrong with the Registry

Your Registry can be affected by many things. It all depends on what happened, and how the effects have been on your computer. You may be able repair it if you don’t have a recent Registry backup. Or it might turn out to not be an issue at all.

Orphaned Registry Entries

If you remove software, orphaned entries refer to keys and value that were left behind. This is due to sloppy software uninstallation. Although these aren’t dangerous, Registry cleaning apps can cause Registry problems. Registry cleanup programs are sold on the idea that “clogging up” Registry will slow down performance and instability. Registry cleaners are far less beneficial than their benefits, so we recommend that you avoid them.

Duplicate Keys

Things go wrong with the registry

Duplicate keys can be caused by software upgrades or reinstallations. They are also harmless so you don’t need to worry or listen to Registry cleaners on the matter.

Registry “Fragmentation”

Registry hives can become voids when values or keys are deleted. This Registry error is not a problem. It doesn’t affect anything, so you don’t have to compact, repair or defragment your Registry.

Registry Corruption

Any part of your computer’s hard drive can be affected by data corruption. Your computer may refuse to start or display strange behaviors if it makes your Registry files unreadable. It is important to determine the root cause of corruption, particularly in cases of corruption of data hardware.

Destructive Editing

Things go wrong with the registry

If someone accidentally uses the Registry Editor and deletes or modifies value in such a manner that Windows or other applications are unusable, this is called a registry editor error. The primary remedy is to restore a previous Registry backup.


Malware could modify your Registry and give you permissions or access to data that you don’t want. Malware authors often hide this kind of registry damage, making it difficult for users to identify. It is possible that Registry damage will remain after the malware has been deleted.

Things go wrong with the registry

Registry damage can cause serious problems How do you fix a broken registry item? and How to Repair Registry Errors This also covers Command Prompt repairs if the problem is so severe that it’s impossible to access Windows graphical user Interface.

It’s possible to hack your registry

This is the time when you might be wary of messing around with your Registry. That’s a good sign that we have done our work. Editing your Registry should not be done lightly.  

If you are careful, and you use reliable sources, Windows can be greatly enhanced and customized in ways no app or utility can.

For example, you can:

  • Modify the context menu for Desktop
  • Change the icon spacing on your desktop
  • You can disable User Account Control (UAC), but you shouldn’t unless it is absolutely necessary

This is just a small selection of the many examples available 10 Amazing Windows 10 Registry Hacks That You May Not Be Using, These simple but effective hacks will be explained to you.

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