Overview of the Windows 2000 Registry Editors

Microsoft® Windows 2000 Knowledge Center

The Windows 2000 Registry Editors

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Overview of the Registry Editor (Regedit)

The Registry Editor is an advanced tool that you can use for changing settings in your system registry, which contains information about how your computer runs. Windows 2000 stores its configuration information in a database (the registry) that is organized in a tree format. Although the Registry Editor will enable you to perform such tasks as inspect and modify the Windows registry, in most cases you do not need to do so unless you are repairing a specific problem that cannot be resolved in another way, or you are doing other specific tasks such as apply user-specific security changes. Although you do not need to be an advanced user to edit the Windows Registry, you should be thoroughly familiar with the methods necessary to backup and restore the registry. This familiarity will allow you to safely use Registry Editor for such tasks as eliminating duplicate entries or deleting entries for programs that have been uninstalled or deleted.

Folders represent keys in the registry and are shown in the navigation (Left) pane. In the topic (Right) pane, the value entries in a key are displayed. When you double-click a value entry, it opens an editing dialog box.

Again, you should edit your registry entries only if it is absolutely necessary. If there is an error in your registry and your computer ceases to function properly, you can restore the registry to its last known good state (that state it was in before the changes) when you last successfully started your computer.

Registry Editor Keys

The Registry Editor displays windows, each of which represents a predefined key on the local computer.

Note: When accessing the registry of a remote computer, only two predefined keys, HKEY_USERS and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, appear.

Window/predefined key Description
HKEY_CURRENT_USER Contains the root of the configuration information for the user who is currently logged on. The user’s folders, screen colors, and Control Panel settings are stored here. This information is referred to as a user’s profile.
HKEY_USERS Contains the root of all user profiles on the computer. HKEY_CURRENT_USER is a subkey of HKEY_USERS.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE Contains configuration information particular to the computer (for any user).
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT Is a subkey of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \Software. The information stored here ensures that the correct program opens when you open a file by using Windows Explorer.
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG Contains information about the hardware profile used by the local computer at system startup.

Within Registry Editor, you can assign value entries to new keys or you can alter the value entries assigned to a currently selected key. Value entries appear in the registry as strings that consist of three components separated by colons. For example,

RefCount : REG_DWORD : 0x1

corresponds to the values:

Entry name RefCount
Entry type REG_DWORD
Entry value 0x1

Managing the Windows Registry with Regedit

To Start Regedit

  • To start Registry Editor, click Start, click Run, and then type regedit.
  • To safely use Registry Editor for such tasks as eliminating duplicate entries or deleting entries for programs that have been uninstalled or deleted, you should be prepared to both edit and restore the registry.

To find a string, value, or key

  1. On the Edit menu, click Find.
  2. In Find what, type the string, value, or key you want to find.
  3. Select the Keys, Values, Data, and Match whole string only check boxes to match the type of search you want, and then click Find Next.

    Note: You can speed up the search by looking through only one type of information; for example, if you know that you are looking for a value entry, you can clear the Keys and Data check boxes, so that you will not search through those objects.

    To repeat the search, press F3.

To add a registry key to Favorites

  1. Select the registry key you want to add to Favorites.
  2. On the Favorites menu, click Add to Favorites.
  3. In the Add to Favorites dialog box, accept the default registry key name or type a new one.

    The registry key is added to the Favorites list. You can then return to this list by simply selecting it from the Favorites menu.

    Note: You can create a list of favorite/frequently visited registry keys.

    To remove a registry key from the Favorites list, on the Favorites menu, click Remove Favorite, and you can select one or more registry keys to remove from the Favorites list.

To add a key

  1. Double-click the registry list to which you want to add a new key, and then click the key above the location you want for the new key.
  2. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click Key.
  3. Type a name for the new key, and then press ENTER.

    Note: If you make a mistake that results in your computer not starting properly, you may need to restore the registry.

To add a key value

  1. Click the registry key or value entry where you want to add the new value.
  2. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click the type of value you want to add: String Value, Binary Value, or DWORD Value.
  3. Type a name for the new value, then press ENTER.

    Note: When you add a value, the value name and data type are saved with a default value.

To change a key value

  1. Select the value you want to change.
  2. On the Edit menu, click Modify.
  3. In Value data, type the new data for the value, and then click OK.

To delete a key or value

  1. Click the registry key or value entry you want to delete.
  2. On the Edit menu, click Delete.

    Note: You can delete keys and values from your registry. However, you cannot delete a predefined key (such as HKEY_CURRENT_USER) or change the name of a predefined key.

To rename a key or value

  1. Click the registry key or value entry you want to rename.
  2. On the Edit menu, click Rename.
  3. Type the new name, and then press ENTER.Note: You cannot rename the root keys or the default value of a key.

To connect to a registry over a network

  1. On the Registry menu, click Connect Network Registry.
  2. In the Connect Network Registry dialog box, type the name of the computer to whose registry you want to connect.Note: You must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group on both your computer and on the remote computer before you can make any changes to the remote computer’s registry. Network policy settings may also prevent you from completing this procedure.

To disconnect from a network registry

  1. On the Registry menu, click Disconnect Network Registry.
  2. In the Disconnect Network Registry dialog box, click the the name of the computer from whose registry you want to disconnect.

To copy a registry key name

  1. In the registry tree (left pane), click a registry key.
  2. On the Edit menu, click Copy Key Name.
  3. Paste the name of the registry key into another program or document.

To export all or part of the registry to a text file

  1. On the Registry menu, click Export Registry File.
  2. In File name, enter a name for the registry file.
  3. Under Export range, do one of the following:
    • To back up the entire registry, click All.
    • To back up only a particular branch of the registry tree, click Selected branch and enter the name of the branch you want to export.
  4. Click Save.

    Note: You can use any text editor to work with the registry files you create by exporting. Registry files are saved with .reg extensions.

To import some or all of the registry

  1. On the Registry menu, click Import Registry File.
  2. Find the file you want to import, click the file to select it, then click Open.

To print all or part of the registry

  1. Click the computer or top-level key of the registry area you want to print.
  2. On the Registry menu, click Print.
  3. You can print the entire registry by clicking All or only part of the registry by clicking Selected Branch and typing the desired branch in the text box, and then click OK.

To restore the registry

  1. Click Options, and then click Print to print these instructions. They will not be available after you shut down your computer in step 2.
  2. Click Start, and then click Shut Down.
  3. Click Restart, and then click OK.
  4. When you see the message Please select the operating system to start, press F8.
  5. Use the arrow keys to highlight Last Known Good Configuration, and then press ENTER.

    NUM LOCK must be off before the arrow keys on the numeric keypad will function.

  6. Use the arrow keys to highlight an operating system, and then press ENTER.

    Note: Choosing Last Known Good Configuration provides a way to recover from problems such as a newly added driver that may be incorrect for your hardware. It does not solve problems caused by corrupted or missing drivers or files.

    When you choose Last Known Good Configuration, Windows 2000 restores information in registry key HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet only. Any changes you have made in other registry keys remain.

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