The Windows Registry, usually referred to as the registry, is a collection of databases of configuration settings in Microsoft Windows operating systems.
The Windows Registry is sometimes incorrectly spelled as the registery or theregestry.
What is the Windows Registry Used For?
The Windows Registry is used to store much of the information and settings for software programs, hardware devices, user preferences, operating system configurations, and much more.
In many ways, the registry can be thought of as a kind of DNA for the Windows operating system. (It is unique for every windows user/pc)
How To Access the Windows Registry
The Windows Registry is accessed and configured using the Registry Editor program, a free registry editing utility included with every version of Microsoft Windows.
Registry Editor can be accessed by executing regedit from the Command Prompt or from the search or run box from the Start menu.
Registry Editor is the face of the registry, and is the way to view and make changes to the registry directly, but it’s not the registry itself. Technically, the registry is the collective name for various database files located within the Windows installation directory.
How To Use the Windows Registry
The registry contains registry values, located within registry keys, all within one of several registry hives. Making changes to these values and keys using Registry Editor will change the configuration that a particular value controls.
Here a few examples where making changes to registry values solves a problem, answers a question, or alters a program in some way:
- How To Prevent Programs From Stealing Focus in Windows
- How To Change the Windows XP Product Key
- How To Delete the UpperFilters and LowerFilters Registry Values
- How To Fake a Blue Screen of Death
- How to Auto Login to Windows 7 in a Domain Scenario
The registry is constantly being referenced by Windows and other programs. When you make changes to nearly any setting, changes are also made to the appropriate areas in the registry. Considering how important the Windows Registry is, backing up the parts of it you’re changing, before you change them, is very important.
Windows Registry Availability
The Windows Registry and the Microsoft Registry Editor program are available in nearly every Microsoft Windows version including Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows 98, Windows 95, and older.
Note: Even though the registry is available in almost every Windows version, some very small differences do exist between them. The Windows Registry has replaced autoexec.bat, config.sys, and nearly all of the INI files that contained configuration information in MS-DOS and in very earlist versions of Windows.