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Windows registry

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  • Difficulty Level : Expert
  • Last Updated : 31 Jul, 2021
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In this article, we will discuss the overview of the Windows registry and will see how to access registries, how to take registry backup, registry root keys, and the location of the window registry where it is actually stored. Let’s discuss it one by one.

Overview :

  • If you are an avid Windows OS user, you might be aware of the term Registry. The Registry or Windows Registry is the database that stores the low-level settings of the operating system and its applications that support registries. 
  • It contains all the information of the software and hardware installed on the system. Users can access and configure the settings of Registries by launching the Registry Editor tool of Windows OS.
  • The registries can be considered as the DNA of the Windows devices. 
  • It contains commands for the installed applications. Whenever you install a registry-supported Windows application on your system, it automatically adds a new registry entry and stores all the essential information required for running the new application in it. For example, where the files are located, which other applications can use the new program, and more.  
  • Registries are available to edit on Windows 10/8/7 and up to devices with Windows 95 operating system.

Accessing Registries in Windows 10 :

  • Registries on Windows OS are widely used for making changes in the application of OS, which you cannot perform directly. It is a quick way to perform unofficial hacks in the OS like disable Windows Startup delay, disable Windows Action bar, turn off the lock screen.
  • To access the registries of different programs installed on your device, Windows provides a graphical interface known as Registry Editor. Registry Editor is not an application that you need to install. It is one of the Windows in-built tools that can be easily accessed through the Run Command Window. 

Implementation steps :
Here are the steps for the same.

Step-1 : 
On your Windows OS system, type Run and click on its icon to launch it.  

Step-2 :  
The Run Command Box would be launched. Type the Regedit command in the space provided and hit enter to launch the registry editor.  

Step-3 : 
Look for the registries of the application that you want to change.

Note –

  • If you are a novice user, it is recommended not to perform any changes without expert help in the registries. It might make the applications unresponsive or, worst, cause system failure.
  • Even if you know how to play with the registries, it is recommended to take a backup to prepare for a worst-case scenario. 

Backup of the registries :
To take a backup of the registries, follow these steps as follows.

  1. Open the Registry Editor window
  2. Click on the File menu and select Export.
  3. Choose a safe location on your hard drive or external hard drive and save the registries there.

Registry Root Keys :
When you first launch the Registry Editor, you will notice the Root Keys, containing all different registry values. 

Table for Registry Root Keys :
Let us know what these root keys contain.

Registry Root key Descriptions
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT (HKCR) It describes the file type, its extension, and Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) information.
HKEY_CURRENT_USER (HKCU) Contains the information and the settings of the currently logged-in user.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (HKLM) This is where most registries are present and are being edited. It contains device-specific information. Every user who can log in to the computer can access HKLM.
HKEY_USERS (HKU) It contains data of all the user’s accounts of the system.
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG (HKCC) This root key contains the details of the configuration of the hardware currently attached to the device.

Location of  Registries in the Windows Device :
On the latest Windows OS such as Windows 10, 8 till XP, the registries are stored on the drive where Windows is installed. The exact location is %SystemRoot%\System32\Config\ folder. While on the older version of Windows OS, the registries are stored in the %WINDIR% folder as DAT files.

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