The Windows registry commonly referred to as registry which stores Windows settings, individual program settings, and the other information and settings for all the hardware, software, users, and preferences of the PC. The registry acts as a large database of configuration settings. It is a hierarchical database that stores settings for virtually everything on a Windows PC.
What is the Windows Registry Used For?
Windows Registry is so essential, to the functioning of a Windows PC, that anyone who uses a PC regularly, should have at least a general idea of what registry does. 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. For example, when a new program is installed on your PC, a new set of instructions and file references is added to the registry at a specific location for the respective program. Whenever, a user make any changes to a Control Panel settings, or File Associations, System Policies, or any installed software, the changes are reflected and stored in the registry.
How to Access the Windows Registry
The Windows Registry is accessed and configured by using the Registry Editor program, which is a registry editing utility included in every version of the 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.
To open the Windows Registry, have a look at the steps below:
- Click Start button or press Windows key, to open the Start menu.
- Select Run option in the Start menu, to open the Run dialog box.
- Alternatively, press Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
- Type ‘regedit’ in the Run dialog box, and click on OK or hit Enter.
Click Yes, if prompted by (User Account Control) UAC message box, to open Registry Editor.
Registry Editor is the face of the registry and it is the way to view and make changes to the registry, but it’s not the registry itself. Technically, the registry is the collective name for the various database files that is within the Windows installation directory.
In general terms, the registry can be thought of as a kind of DNA for the Windows operating system.
Also Read: What are Registry Root Keys?