What is the Windows Registry?

The Windows Registry is a fundamental piece for the operation of the operating system. Basically it is a database that is stored in a specific location on our hard drive with the purpose of storing in it all the parameters of the applications that we use daily, as well as those of Windows itself. Windows Registry Tutorial windows registry key windows registry command regedit command line windows 10

The Windows Registry also has the purpose of storing the settings of the device drivers, the hardware that makes up our PC, our personal user configuration and much more data that otherwise should be stored in a different way, causing all kinds of problems. Windows Registry Tutorial windows registry key

The Windows Registry could be defined as a kind of “Central settings”, in which all the data necessary for the operating system and applications to function properly are stored. Windows Registry Tutorial windows registry key

Many years ago, before Microsoft developers implemented this Windows Registry, all the programs that we installed on the PC, as well as the operating system itself, saved their settings and data in files with an “ini” extension, thereby creating endless compatibility and instability issues. Windows Registry Tutorial

When the Registry was introduced, the storage location for all this data was unified, thus eliminating most of the hardware and software problems caused by the dispersion and incompatibility of these files. windows registry key

Another advantage that the Windows Registry added was that the possibility of managing application configurations much more complex than before, which allowed, for example, that users could have a personal configuration for each program they used, something extremely useful in shared teams, a very common scenario in companies and SMEs. Windows Registry Tutorial

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How to access the Windows Registry

Accessing the Windows Registry is quite simple, all we have to do is click on “Start” and enter “regedit” in the search box. After this action, we will find an application that will present us with a separate window in two panels.

In the left panel we will see a hierarchical tree, which we will have to expand until we reach the option that we want to modify. In the right panel, we can see the registry keys, which will ultimately be the elements that we must modify to change the behavior of Windows. windows registry key

We also have a key finder, a very useful tool to be able to easily and quickly search for any registry key , without having to go through the hundreds of thousands of entries in the registry. windows registry key

As we can see, the Windows Registry is very easy to use, however, it must be used with extreme caution, since a simple modification in the wrong place can render the operating system or one of our applications useless. And if we can’t remember what we did, or we can’t reverse it, the only hope we have left is to format Windows, with all the problems and waste of time that that entails.

Despite the fact that through the Windows Registry we can corrupt the operating system, when we modify it unknowingly or incorrectly, the Windows Registry is the best tool available to us to modify some aspects of the system or its applications that bother us. If only we could learn to use it correctly and to its fullest potential. We wouldn’t need any of those magic Windows repair apps of which there are so many on the market. windows registry tutorial

Tips and tricks to take care of the Windows Registry

The Internet is an inexhaustible source of answers, and it will not be impossible to find a blog or site that advises, in the  face of a problem related to the Windows Registry, to  dive deep into it to repair a problem in its gut.

However, this can do much more harm than good. The Windows Registry is a tool that responds very badly to mistakes, and any mistake can ruin our day. In these cases, the ideal is to learn about its characteristics and how the other programs that we run, install or uninstall can damage it, which will avoid us having to eventually repair it due to problems related to poorly designed software, the main enemy of the Registry, in addition from our own hands. windows registry command windows registry tutorial

Something that we must learn as a first step  is that some registry problems such as orphan entries, duplicate keys and other anomalies,  which although they may sound important, are not so important unless these problems are very numerous. This means that constant maintenance cleaning is not necessary. windows registry command

a) The software we use is the key

Another rule that we must learn  is to use only well-designed software,  or that is properly documented that works well and does not give problems. There are literally millions of free software offers, and curiosity can play tricks on us. windows registry command regedit command line windows 10

If we want to avoid this, it is always preferable to use proven software, and therefore reliable, which is easy to verify by looking for references of these programs on the Internet. windows registry command regedit command line windows 10

An unknown program many times means problems because it may be developed in a careless way, which can cause, for example,  that when uninstalled it leaves traces that can be potentially dangerous for our security. regedit command line windows 10

b) Correctly deleting a program can be the difference

Another important point to keep the Windows registry healthy is to correctly uninstall the software when we no longer use it. In this sense, the best we can do is use the tools provided by the operating system itself to achieve this. regedit command line windows 10

To properly uninstall a program, all we have to do is access the Control Panel,  “Programs”  and then  “Uninstall a program.”

It is also a good idea to discard the use of uninstallers and registry cleaning programs external to Windows,  which in their effort to uninstall programs tend to cause more problems than they avoid or solve . Another important point to keep in mind is to avoid shutting down the computer abruptly,  as this causes errors in the registry that are later difficult to solve. windows registry tutorial

Important tips for modifying the registry

In the case that we are  users who are not afraid of the Windows Registry, and we make our own modifications to the system manually,  it is still worth knowing some indications that can be very useful.

The first one is related to spelling errors. As everyone knows,  a typographical error in Word or LibreOffice is easily corrected, it  is even the text editor itself that marks the problem for us windows registry tutorial.

Now with the Windows Registry things are very different.  There is no place here to get a letter wrong, not even one point. These are errors that can cost us that the system no longer boots. So the recommendation is to check several times if what we write or modify in the Registry is correct. windows registry tutorial

As many of you know, one of the ways to deal with viruses and malware is by deleting certain registry keys. However, this can quickly turn into a disaster, since  viruses, malware and others have been developed with the aim of being protected from view with relative invisibility , which means that they have been hidden well within the system, perhaps “stuck “To real and really important registry keys for it.

So at the time of deleting any registry key,  we must be completely and absolutely sure that we are not deleting something necessary for the proper functioning of the system.

Fundamental: Registry Backup

As we have seen throughout this post, or have suffered firsthand, it  is easy to have problems with the Windows Registry . However, we can deal with the consequences of these problems with a simple but extremely effective solution:  Create a registry backup. windows registry tutorial

This task is quite simple to perform, and it is only necessary to run the Windows Registry, which we can do by typing  “regedit”  in the  “Search Windows” box.

windows registry key
windows registry key

Once the  Windows Registry Editor is running,  we move to the application menu and click on the “File” item   and then on  “Export”.
Once in the export window, we create an understandable name for the file and select the location where we want to export it.

After that, we copy this backup copy of the registry to a pendrive, with which we will already be covered  in case we have problems with access to the computer’s hard drive.

Windows Registry Backup and Restore

As mentioned above, the Registry is a central hierarchical database used in Microsoft Windows to store the information necessary to configure the PC , its applications, and hardware devices.

The Registry contains information that Windows continually searches  for during operations such as creating user profiles, details and specifications about the applications installed on the computer and the types of documents that an application can open or create, as well as extensive information about the entire existing hardware in the system, and much other important information. windows registry tutorial

.For all this it is more than important, every time we are going to modify the Windows Registry, or even before installing an application, make a backup copy of said registry.

In this sense, Regbak is an excellent free alternative that will allow us to make a backup and restore the Windows Registry in a few seconds. A fantastic utility that is easy to use, portable and totally free. windows registry tutorial

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