Handling Basic the Windows Registry

The objective of this tutorial is to show some basic concepts for the manipulation of the Windows Registry. From now on the DigoPaul makes it clear that it is necessary to caution. Any precipitation can make your Windows stop working. Therefore, carefully follow the guidelines and not follow the steps in this tutorial if you do not feel safe to explore the Windows Registry. Although this tutorial has been tested on more than one computer, there is nothing to prevent the errors to occur. Thus, to use this tutorial, you agree that, under hypothesis some, the DigoPaul be liable for any damages.

What is the Windows Registry

The Windows Registry is a kind of database, where are stored the information about all the installed programs, structure of directories, information user, drivers, anyway. It exists since version Windows 3.x, but went on to be used as a standard, from of Windows 95.

The Registry, in a comparison of coarse, it can be understood as “the blood of the Windows because all of the activities in the system operating depend on its existence. A very simple example, is that is through the Registry that the system can know where the programs are stored and which files relate to them. That is why a simple corruption of the Registry Windows causes the system to stop. If this occurs, it will not be possible find programs, drivers and settings.

The Regedit program

For being a critical part of Windows, Microsoft chose not to provide easy access to the Windows Registry. This is because users are not prepared they could easily cause damage to the system, trying to make repairs or wanting to know what are the extraneous lines from the Registry. Even so, it is possible to access the Registry of Windows. This is accomplished through the Regedit program. For use it, go on Iniciar / Executar and type regedit.

It is through this program look simple you can have direct access to the Windows Registry. Through it can erase lines (useful for take manually tracks virus, for example), change settings, and if you are an expert on the subject, to correct errors.

Backing up the Registry

As a precaution, the first step of this tutorial is to make a backup (backup) of the Windows Registry.There is more than one way to do this, but as we are already in Regedit, let’s do it for him. Being in the program, click the button right mouse click My Computer and select Export. Then, choose a folder and give a name to the copy. To restore this backup in the Regedit click File / Import and locate the copy. Windows, by itself, creates backup copies, but it is always good to have a backup.

The structure of the Windows Registry

As can be seen in the above window, when you access the Regedit, appears a structure containing the 6 keys. This is the basic structure of the Windows Registry. Each one has a purpose:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT – this key is, in fact, is not a very important principle. This is a shortcut to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes and its purpose is to keep compatibility with older programs, running at 16-bit;

HKEY_CURRENT_USER – this key is a shortcut for the key HKEY_USERS\digopaul, where digopaul must be the name of the user Windows. It shows only the user information the current system, such as custom settings;

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE – this is the most important key of the The registry, since it is that are the information about programs and hardware. To get a sense of the important this key, your data is saved in a file called system.dat. By clicking on the plus sign next to this key, it appears as a structure that indicates where the data is.

Notice as well that the information is organized by type. In HARDWARE are information concerning the hardware of the computer, such as doors parelelas, interfaces SCSI, etc. In SECURITY are information of security, and so forth. To serve as an example, figure below shows the location of information the processor of the computer used to create this tutorial.

The path followed to find this information was HARDWARE / DESCRIPTION / System / CentralProcessor / 0. This example shows the best way to understand the Windows Registry is to explore your hierarchy. You can do this safely, simply by not to change anything. To orient yourself, note the names of the keys. As already that said, in the example above they have searched for information about the processor, or is, information from a hardware. Soon, was the key HARDWARE. The next step was click DESCRIPTION that , as indicates the name serves to describe/show details of each hardware.

One of the keys to the most interesting, however, is the SOFTWARE.

Note that as for the software, the information is written agreement with the developer. So, if you have installed in your Windows the programs Dreamweaver and Flash, for example, they should appear within key Macromedia, name of the developer of these softwares. In our example, we click on the key SOFTWARE and then in the key Apple Computer, Inc. Within this key, there is another, called QuickTime, that is the name of a program for viewing video of Apple. Inside the key QuickTime there is all information relating to the program, such as associated file types, user preferences, plugins, etc. Search for the key SOFTWARE about a program that is installed on your computer. Virtually all appear, including games. So, if you need to change something for the software already knows where to find it in the Windows Registry.

There are still other divisions within HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Explore them and certainly you will discover for that serve.

HKEY_USERS – in Windows it is possible to have multiple users on a single computer. The function of this the key is to save information of each one of them. When the system is configured only for one user (very common in Windows 95/98), this key has only one entry, name default or default. All of the limitations of users, as well as all of your settings can be manipulated here.

HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG is a shortcut that contains settings the current user of the computer-related hardware. This shortcut it is useful when it is necessary to search for information of the user who is logged in, since all of your information they appear in this key.

Changing the Registry

It is common, even in articles of DigoPaul, have to change some information in the Registry of Windows to run a setup in particular. When you access a key, and then, any entry, it is possible to change it by double-clicking on top it with the mouse or by clicking with the mouse right click under the entry and choosing Modify. If you choose this last method will still be possible to change the binary value of the input (which should be complex will not be explained here) or delete the entry (only do if you know what you are doing). Note in the image below that there are entries with the letters “ab” and entries with a series of numbers ones and zeros. The first type allows changes written (such as, for example, to change the name of a parameter of a software), and binary changes (that is, only it is possible to configure by typing 0 or 1). The second type allows only binary changes. In the example of the image, we are changing the name of the processor. Note that it is just an example. There is no reason for you to change the processor name of your computer, even because there can be the risk of problems.

The steps in this example were the following: to access the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, then HARDWARE, DESCRIPTION and change the entry ProcessorNameString, that tells you the name of the processor. In the box that appears, the name is changed so that the button OKis fired.

Basically, all the changes can be made in this way. However, we will see an example of more practical. Is common to find on specialized websites, tips on how to change the name that appears in the title bar of Internet Explorer. Usually this the name is “Microsoft Internet Explorer”. You can put the sentence you want. For this, it is necessary to a change in the Windows Registry. Go HKEY_CURRENT_USER / Software / Microsoft / Internet Explorer / Main. On the right side Regedit, click with right button of the mouse over an area in white. Apacerá a menu name New. Choose String value and give her name Window Title. Now open this key and type the textro desired.


The Windows Registry grows with the passing of time. Most of the programs, when you uninstall, does not remove the entries from the Registry, what causes keys to be stored without the need. So,it is important to “clean” the Registry once in a while. A good program for this is EasyCleaner, which eliminates invalid entries, however there are many other good software for this. There are including, programs that are more effective than the Regedit to manipulate the Windows Registry, but that are geared for users with a certain experience. If you are a user Windows 95/98 and Me, the information presented here may be different as the names and location of keys. This occurs due to the changes that Microsoft implements in each new version of Windows (this text was written using the WindowsXP). However, the operation of the Registry remains the same, which causes this article to be valid for all versions Windows. This tutorial will introduce basic ways to manipulate the Registry of Windows. It is a mechanism very complex, the the entire understanding of the Registry is time-consuming and requires large commitment technical. But if you are not a programmer advanced, it is not necessary to have extensive knowledge this part is so crucial Windows.

Handling Basic the Windows Registry 1

Handling Basic the Windows Registry
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