How to use the registry safely

Posted by: Jennifer Cefai (1 year, 12 months ago)

The Windows registry is the central database for any information related to your PC, and is therefore core to the way it works. As you install and uninstall new programs, new registry entries are logged or removed. The problems start because the registry is incapable of cleaning up after itself – often, even when a program is uninstalled, remnants of it still remain in the registry, thereby creating an invalid registry entry. You can access the registry yourself easily – just tread carefully once you are in there.


Accessing the registry:

  1. Go to Start
  2. Click Run
  3. In the window that opens up, type regedit.
  4. Click OK. At that, the registry editor should open up.


Before making any changes to the registry, make sure you back it up. To back up a portion of the registry, follow these steps:

  1. Select the key you want to back up.
  2. From the Registry menu, choose Export Registry File.
  3. In the Save In list, select the folder where you want to save the backup copy.
  4. Type in a name for your backup file.
  5. In the Export Range box, make sure that Selected branch is checked.
  6. Click Save. The file would be saved with a .reg extension.


How to remove registry keys

On the left of the registry editor you will find individual folders, called “keys”. The keys contain “subkeys”, and a combination of keys and subkeys make for a “hive”. You can navigate through a hive by expanding the keys and subkeys, which will open up the value pane to the right. Each pane is made of values belonging to configuration options for your hardware and software.

You can modify values through the Edit dialog by double-clicking the value in question. Do not modify any unfamiliar values. You can search for specific values through the Find function – just press the “Ctrl” and “F” buttons at the same time to launch the dialog. Please proceed with caution or you may cause irreparable damage to your PC.




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