What is the Windows registry how to create partitions and settings
The Windows registry is one of the most mysterious parts of Windows operating system which allows you to customize and modify almost all aspects of Windows. Some work with the registry all the time, but most people have only a poor idea and not quite sure how to create custom sections and settings. So, let’s try to understand what is the Windows registry.
What is the Windows registry
The Windows registry is not that other, as the totality of the various configurations and settings related to operating system, programs and users. It can be viewed as a database that stores virtually all the important information. This information includes all that is connected with the system hardware, application settings, installed programs, user profiles, etc. Windows accesses the registry constantly, because, as already mentioned, it contains all the important information, and operating system much faster and easier to manage everything from one place than to mess around with separate configuration files, located in different places.
The components of Windows registry
The Windows registry consists of three main components – key root-level keys and values.
The keys at the root level contain topics that have their own set of parameters.
There are five different keys at the root level, and they all have their own specific purpose in the registry. Here is their essence:
- HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT (HKCR): this key is used for linking and embedding objects (Object Linking and Embedding, OLE) and the Association of file types. This is the key where Windows associates files with their respective programs so that the user could access and interact with them.
- HKEY_END_USER (HKCU): this section of the Windows registry stores all the data, settings at the user level and the configuration associated with the logged-in user. Not only Windows, but other programs store data related to the current user.
- HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (HKLM): regardless of the status of the user, this key contains all system partitions, including any hardware configuration, software settings, etc., Because the HKLM contains most of the entire system information, it is one of the most open root key, Windows registry.
- HKEY_USERS (HKU): as the name implies, this root key contains settings for all users, including walking in and out of the system, so do not confuse this key with HKCU.
- HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG (HKCC): simply put, this is a pseudo root key because it is a direct link to the current settings in a hardware profile in the root key HKLM.
Each of these root keys has its own partitions, and each partition has its own parameters. In each section you can create 6 different types of settings, and these settings depend entirely on the target program and/or configuration requirements.
In General, there are four main types of data used in the Windows registry editor:
- A string value consists of simple readable text and is one of the most commonly used settings in the Windows registry.
- Binary option: as the name suggests, this parameter contains only binary data (0, 1). Often used to enable or disable certain functions.
- The parameter DWORD (32-bit): similar to the binary option but is capable of storing any integer in the range of 32 bits. Designed to work with 32-bit systems, but is also used in 64-bit systems in order to ensure backward compatibility.
- Parameter QWORD (64-bit): this option is almost as DWORD, but is able to carry any integer in the range of 64 bits. We can say that QWORD is designed to work with 64-bit systems.
How to open registry editor
This method will work regardless of your version of Windows:
Press key + R to open the Run window. Enter regedit or regedit.exe and press Enter or OK. If prompted by user account control (UAC), click Yes.
The primary executable is registry editor located in the directory C:Windows. So open this folder and run the file regedit.exe directly, or you can just create a shortcut regedit.exe in a convenient location.
Registry editor: for 64-bit and 32-bit Windows
The registry in 64-bit Windows has 32-bit and 64-bit sections. Many of 32-bit keys have the same names as their 64-bit counterparts, and Vice versa.
The 64-bit version (default) (regedit.exe) displays both 64-bit and 32-bit sections. In a 64-bit version of registry editor, 32-bit keys are displayed in the following registry key:
To view and edit 64-bit and 32-bit keys and values by using a 64-bit version of registry editor. To view or edit 64-bit keys you must use a 64-bit version of registry editor (regedit.exe). Edit and view 32-bit keys and values you can also use the 32-bit version of registry editor (%systemroot%Syswow64). To open the 32-bit version of registry editor, follow these steps:
- Open the Run dialog.
- Enter %systemroot%syswow64regedit and click OK.
Note: Before opening the 32-bit version you need to close the 64-bit version of registry editor (and Vice versa). However, you can open a second instance of registry editor. For example, if a 64-bit version of registry editor is already running, type %systemroot%syswow64regedit -mto run the 32-bit version of the editor.
Creating new keys and values
To create partitions and settings are very simple. But before you do anything, please create a backup of the Windows registry, since any improper settings or deleting important elements can cause critical errors.
To create a backup copy of the registry editor window, click «File -> Export», enter a file name and save it in a safe place.
To create a new partition, right-click the mouse on the key’s root level and select «New -> Key». The new section will look like a folder, and by default it will be called something like «New key #1». Of course, it can always be renamed. The same procedure is used whenever you need to create a new subsection.
To create a new parameter, click the right mouse button in a blank area of the right pane of the registry editor and select an option. Created option, you must assign a name; the name is fully depends on the specific requirements.
To assign a parameter value, double-click on it and enter a value. Again, the value depends on the program or specific settings.
Access rights to registry keys
By analogy with the rights and permissions on specific objects in the NTFS file system, the same protection provided for sections of the registry.
Windows Vista large number of OS-specific registry keys to store the settings Windows are protected by Windows Resource Protection so you can’t just remove or change them. You will not be able to do this without becoming their owner and not setting the permissions (access rights) on them. Fortunately, the operating system allows that, but manual method is too tedious, therefore it is better to use a simple utility RegOwnershipEx that automatiseret this whole process.
That’s it! I hope written above has helped you better understand the Windows registry and its components. Share your views and experiences in the comments below!