What is the Windows Registry and how to edit it

what is windows registry and how to.
What is Windows Registry

The Windows Registry or what we usually call Regedit for short is a place where users can change Windows settings that are not exposed anywhere else. When we look for ways to change something in Windows, we often come across articles telling us to edit the registry. If we need to edit the registry, don't worry.

Making registry tweaks is very easy as long as we know what settings we are going to modify. However, we must also be careful while editing the Windows Registry because we can create unwanted problems. The following is an explanation of what is the Windows registry and how to edit it?

What is Windows Registry?

The Windows Registry is a database that stores a lot of information and settings for software programs, hardware devices, user preferences, and operating-system configurations. Almost all the configuration settings included with Windows are stored here. Third-party programs may also use the registry to store their settings, although they may also store settings in a configuration file, the choice of which depends on the individual program.

Many of the options exposed in the registry are not available elsewhere in Windows. There are various advanced settings that we cannot change without editing the registry. Some of these settings are available through Windows Group Policy, but Windows Group Policy Editor is only available for the professional version of Windows.

If you're using a non-Professional version of Windows, editing the Windows Registry is likely the only way to edit some of these settings. Windows Registry Editor is a GUI for the Windows Registry that allows us to view and edit its contents.

How to Open Windows Registry

The admin advises being very careful when editing the Windows Registry. Don't jump into the Registry Editor and start deleting whatever you want. Don't change any registry entries without knowing exactly what to edit. If you know what you're doing, make sure to be careful when editing it.

However, if you start deleting, editing, and changing registry keys, you can damage your Windows installation beyond repair. Your last option is just to reinstall the operating system. To open the Registry Editor, type regedit in your Start Menu search bar, then select Best Match.

How to Edit Windows Registry

If you know a specific value you want to change, you can navigate through the Windows Registry tree structure. Click the arrow to go to the next branch of the folder until you find what you are looking for. For example, if we wanted to edit the right-click menu option Add to VLC Playlist, we would browse to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \ Directory \ shell \ AddToPlaylistVLC, opening each folder branch until we reached the destination value.

Alternatively, we can use the Registry Editor's search function. Press CTRL + F to open Find. Then we can type the key, value, or string of data we are looking for. Registry Editor Find function does not always return what we are looking for. To edit the value, right-click the name, and select Modify. Change the Data value to whatever is appropriate and hit OK.

How to Create a New Windows Registry Value

Sometimes, you may need to create a new registry value. For example, if the value registry for the setting you want to edit doesn't exist, you can create one. For the new values ​​to work, you'll need to make sure you're in the appropriate registry folder. There is no point in placing a new registry value in any old folder, it could have a negative impact on your system or worse.

First, make sure you are in the correct Registry Editor location. Then right-click the right pane and select New > [type registry value] . Type a value name, set any required attributes, and press OK. Sounds unclear? That's because you will only be creating new registry values ​​on a case-by-case basis, and there are several different types of registry values. Generally, you will create a Value DWORD (32-bit). But that's not always the case.

If the key, or folder, you need isn't there, create the correct folder structure by creating new subkeys in each folder. For example, if you need to change the value in Foo \ Bar, create a "Foo" key if it doesn't exist, then create a "Bar" key in it.

How to Export and Import Windows Registry Files


We can create our own .reg file to back up certain registry keys. Taking a backup is a good idea if you are going to edit the registry. We can back up individual keys and values, or the entire registry.

How to right-click the registry key (in the left pane), select Export. The contents of the key will be saved to a .reg file on your computer. Although backing up the entire registry sounds time-consuming. For most people, the registry will amount to hundreds of megabytes. For example, the entire Windows Registry Admin weighs in at around 400MB, as we can see below:


Double-clicking the .reg file will add its contents to our registry. Adding a .reg file to our registry simplifies the process of performing registry hacks. Instead of creating or editing each value manually, double-clicking the .reg adds each value, placing it in our registry without error. For many hacks or registry changes, we have to restart our system before the changes take effect.

We will find the .reg file online. However, we should not download and run the old .reg file. A malicious registry file can corrupt our system settings with a single file. Before running the .reg file, right-click and select Edit.

The contents of the registry file will open in Notepad (or an alternative text editor), indicating exactly what will be installed if we double-click on it. Understandably, we won't know what each entry is for. Admin can't either. When you're not sure, complete an internet search for the registry key in question to see if it's benign.

Three Useful Registry Hacks You Can Try

1. Open Last Active Window from Taskbar

Ever clicked on an icon on our taskbar and wished it would open the last active window of that program? So we will find this registry tweak that “fixes” the problem. Open Registry Editor and navigate to:


Then right-click in the right pane, select New > DWORD Value (32-bit) Value. Name it LastActiveClick , change the Value Data to 1, and hit OK.

2. Remove OneDrive Button from File Explorer

If we don't want to use OneDrive? We can use a registry tweak to remove the button from File Explorer. Open Registry Editor and navigate to:


Double click System.IsPinnedToNameSpaceTree , set Value Data to 0 and hit OK.

3. Change Desktop Icon Spacing

Ever wanted to change the space between your desktop icons? You can use a Windows Registry tweak for that! Open Registry Editor and navigate to:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics

There are two distance measurements we need to edit. In the left pane, find the WindowMetrics key. In the left pane, find values ​​for IconSpacing and IconVerticalSpacing. The first controls the horizontal distance, while the second controls the vertical.

Is Editing the Windows Registry Easy?

Editing the Windows Registry is easy, as long as we move slowly. These means don't add random registry files without checking, don't mess with registry values ​​you don't understand, and always take backups before making any registry tweaks.


So What Is the Windows Registry? The Windows Registry is a collection of configuration settings databases for the Microsoft Windows operating system. The Windows Registry stores a lot of information and settings for software programs, hardware, user preferences, and operating-system configurations.

For example, when a new program is installed, a new set of instructions and file references can be added to the registry at a specific location for the program, and others that can interact with it, to refer to more information such as where the file is located, which options are used in the program, etc.

Hopefully, this article about What is the Windows Registry and how to edit it gives you a little insight. Also, read an article about What Is Thermal Paste And How Does It Work that you may need to know. Thank you.

Previous Post Next Post