Registry Editor

Registry Editor

Using Regedt32.exe and Regedit.exe

Windows 2000 provides two versions of Registry Editor: Regedt32.exe and Regedit.exe. Regedt32.exe is automatically installed in the systemroot\System32 folder. Regedit.exe is automatically installed in the systemroot folder.

You can modify the registry by using either of the Registry Editor utilities. However, if possible, you should use other utilities and tools provided with Windows 2000, such as those in Control Panel. When you modify the registry by using Registry Editor, Registry Editor does not check for syntax or other errors. In addition, one modification to the registry may cause a cascade of changes throughout the registry. The results of an incorrect edit made with Registry Editor are unpredictable and may impair or disable the Windows 2000 operating system. However, by using other tools and utilities, you can ensure that edits made to the registry are valid and manage any ensuing cascade of changes caused by an edit.

You can safely view the registry by using Regedt32.exe in read-only mode (on the Options menu, click Read Only Mode), so that you cannot inadvertently make changes.

Your ability to make changes to the registry by using Registry Editor depends on your access permissions. In general, you can make the same kinds of changes with Registry Editor as your permissions allow for other administrative tools. Users who belong to the Administrators group can view the registry of remote computers by using the Select Computer option on the Registry menu.

To open Registry Editor

  • Click Start, click Run, type regedt32 or regedit (depending on which Registry Editor you want to open), and then click OK.


  • Incorrectly editing the registry may severely damage your system. Before making changes to the registry, you should back up any valued data on the computer. Whenever possible, use tools and programs other than Registry Editor to edit the registry.
  • To open Registry Editor from a command prompt, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, click Command Prompt, type regedt32 or regedit, and then press ENTER.

Adopt Strict Policies for the Use of the Registry Editor!

In Windows 2000, system configuration information is centrally located in the registry. While this simplifies the administration of a computer or network, one incorrect edit to the registry can disable the operating system. The following list provides some best practices for using the registry and Registry Editor safely:

  • Before making changes to the registry, make a backup copy.

    You can back up the registry by using a program such as Backup. After you make changes to the registry, update your Emergency Repair Disk (ERD). For troubleshooting purposes, keep a list of the changes you make to the registry.

  • Do not replace the Windows 2000 registry with the registry of another version of the Windows or Windows NT operating systems.
  • Use tools and programs other than Registry Editor to edit the registry.

    Incorrectly editing the registry may severely damage your system. You should use tools and programs that provide safer methods for editing the registry.

  • Limit the number of people who have access to the registry.

    For example, because members of the Administrators group have full access to the registry, add only users who need such access to the Administrators group. Also, you can use Group Policy to restrict the use of Registry Editor (both Regedt32.exe and Regedit.exe) for users who do not need access to the registry, or you can simply remove Registry Editor from the computers of these users.

  • Keep Registry Editor in read-only mode.

    If you use Regedt32.exe, verify that Read Only Mode on the Options menu is checked. When you need to make changes to the registry, click Read Only Mode to turn off read-only mode, and then verify that Confirm on Delete is checked. When you are done making changes and have saved your edits, click Read Only Mode again to turn on read-only mode.

  • Never leave Registry Editor running unattended.

For more information about using Regedit and Regedit32, refer to our Windows 2000 menu.

Notice: Windows® 95, Windows® 98, Windows® NT, Windows® 2000 and
Microsoft® Office are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Microsoft Corporation.

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