Editing the Windows Registry

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 28, 2020)

1

The Registry is perhaps the most dynamic area of Windows. Because it contains all of the system settings and configuration information for your system, it makes sense that the Registry would be busy. In most cases, the Registry is updated automatically by Windows, in the course of using your system.

For instance, you may add a new hardware device that Windows automatically detects. In such a case, the drivers are loaded automatically, and settings are changed. The information about these drivers, the device, and any settings is stored automatically in the Registry.

Some Registry changes, however, require some interaction on your part. Typically, you change the Registry by using the various tools made available through the Control Panel. As you make changes to your system settings, the changes are saved in the Registry. Other changes are introduced by using system tools.

Windows also allows you to make changes directly to the Registry, manually. While this is not as easy as making changes using the Control Panel (or other tools), the effect is the same. This is because you are changing system settings, and those are used to control how Windows functions.

To change the Registry manually, you use the Registry Editor. This program is not available from any of the regular Windows menus, probably due to the potential adverse consequences of misuse. Instead, you need to start the program in this manner:

  1. Using the search capabilities of Windows, type regedit in the search box and press Enter.
  2. The Registry Editor is displayed by Windows. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Registry Editor

Understand that the Registry Editor is an extremely powerful tool—it allows you to make changes directly to the database that controls how Windows and the programs on your system function. Because of this, if you make a mistake in your editing, you can really mess things up. It is a good idea to make sure you know what you are changing before you make the changes.

 This tip (10954) applies to Windows 7 and 10.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Jumping to the Start or End of a Document

When creating macros, it is often necessary to move the insertion point around the document so that text can be processed ...

Discover More

Pointing PivotTables to Different Data

Changing the data source PivotTables go to can be a bit tricky. This tip explains what can happen when you re-point your ...

Discover More

Storing Sorting Criteria

Need to do the same sorting operation over and over again? Excel doesn't provide a way to save your sorting criteria, but ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

How the Registry is Organized

There may come a time when you need to view or even modify the registry. In such a case, it's good to know how the ...

Discover More

Editing Registry Values

The Registry is the central depository of configuration information used by Windows and by programs running on your ...

Discover More

Exporting a Portion of the Registry

Windows wouldn't function if it weren't for the Registry, and many system tweaks involve editing it. Before making such ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 9 + 8?

2020-12-28 08:14:42

Janice Clement

I have added Properties to a folder in Excel, is there a way to print the list of files in the folder having those Properties print?


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.