Know How the Windows Registry works

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The Registry has information used by Windows. The Registry assists the operating system manage the computer, it assists programs make use of the computer’s resources, and it gives a location for keeping custom settings you form in both Windows and your programs.

For instance, when you change the Windows desktop, the changes are kept in the Registry. When you observe a list of recently opened files, that list is kept in the Registry. And, changes you create to the status bar in Word — yep, they are kept in the Registry, also.

The Registry is basically a database. Its information is kept on disk for the most part, though dynamic information also exists in the computer’s memory. All the information is planned by a structure comparable to folders in the file storage system.

The top level of the Registry has hives, each of which begins with the curious word HKEY.

Beneath the hives are folders, or keys. Keys can also come with subkeys. The name of the game is organization.

Keys has values. Every value comes with a name and data. Unlike the previous ini files, the data may be rather other than text, with numeric values and binary information. You can find several values in a single key, or a key can be bare or comprise only subkeys.

As with files and folders, values kept in the Registry are found by following a pathname that avails the location of a specific key. For example, the following pathname to the key avails the location where Adobe Acrobat Reader 8.0 is set up on the computer:

HKCU\Software\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\8.0\InstallPath

HKCU about HKEY_CURRENT_USER is used in the previous line. This is followed by the subkeys Software, Adobe, Acrobat Reader, 8.0, and, lastly, InstallPath. In the InstallPath, key is a value that comes with data in appearance of text. The text appears as the pathname for the storage system location where Acrobat Reader 8.0 is set up.

Keyscan get long. Occasionally, a key name that is too long to fit on a single line must be wrapped, such as:


This key has a binary value that regulates whether Windows shows a shadow on the mouse pointer. The line is too long to fit on the page, so it wraps.

Parenthetically, the CursorShadow key assists toprove a point that earns emphasis: You can simply turn the mouse pointer shadow on or off by Pointers tab in the Mouse Properties dialog box. You do not have to explore the Registry, nor is there any assistance to doing accordingly.

  • To observe or modify the Registry, the Registry Editor program is utilized.
  • Some keys can be blank, though they still have a Default value. So all keys must have a subkey.

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