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In this guide, you will learn what the Windows Registry is, how to access and configure it, and how to backup and restore it.

This guide covers the following:

What is the Windows Registry?

The Windows registry stores Windows settings, individual program settings, and other important configuration information about your PC. The registry acts like a large shared database for applications to store configuration data and to interact with other applications.

Access the Windows Registry Editor

In Windows 8, 7, and Vista, press the Start button, type regedit, and press Enter
In Windows XP, click Start > Run (Windows Key + R), type regedit and press Enter

When the registry loads you will be presented with a screen that looks like the screenshot below. The registry is made up of the following components:

  • Keys
  • Subkeys
  • Values

registry editor01 Working with the Windows Registry (Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP) [Updated]

To find out more about the root registry keys, check out this guide: What Do HKCR, HKCU, HKLM, HKU, and HKCC Mean? (Registry Root Keys)

Back up the Windows Registry

You may back up the entire registry, or a single key you are working on:

Back up the entire registry using System Restore

Windows 8 / 7 / Vista

  1. Click Start, type systempropertiesprotection in the Start Search box, and press Enter
    If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Allow
  2. Wait for Windows to search for available disks and most recent restore points. Click Create
  3. Type a name for the restore point and then click Create
  4. After the restore point has been created successfully, click OK two times

Note: If System Restore is turned off, click to select the local disk, click Apply and then click Create.

Windows XP

  1. Click Start, click Run, type %SystemRoot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe, and click OK
  2. On the Welcome to System Restore page, click Create a restore point, and then click Next
  3. On the Create a Restore Point page, type a name for the restore point and then click Create
  4. After the restore point has been created, click Close

Note: If System Restore is turned off, you receive a message that asks whether you want to turn on System Restore now. Click Yes. Then, in the System Properties dialog box, click to clear the Turn off System Restore check box, click OK, and then repeat this step.

Note: This method only provides recovery capabilities if a system restore is performed. How to perform a system restore.

Back up the Entire Registry to a File

Note: I do not recommend restoring from a file created using this method; however, you can use this method to take a snapshot of your registry. This file can be opened in any text editor and referred to for previous values and keys you may have deleted/edited. To backup the entire registry to a file:

  1. Open the registry editor
  2. Right click Computer in the left-hand column and click Export
  3. Give the backup a name and save the file

registry editor02 Working with the Windows Registry (Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP) [Updated]

Back up a Single Key

To back up a single registry key, find the key you want to back up, right click on it, and click Export

registry editor03 Working with the Windows Registry (Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP) [Updated]

Restore the Windows Registry

You may restore the entire registry, or a single key you are working on:

Restore the Entire Registry from a System Restore Point

Note: If you elected to make a restore point to backup your registry, you can use it to revert any changes you may have made. This is the safest method; however, a system restore will roll back any Windows Updates, program installations and removals etc. that were performed since the restore point was made.

Windows 8 / 7 / Vista

  1. Click Start, type systempropertiesprotection in the Start Search box, and press Enter
    If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Allow
  2. Wait for Windows to search for available disks and most recent restore points. Click System Restore
  3. Select Choose a different restore point and click Next
  4. Select the restore point that you want to use and click Next
  5. Confirm your restore point, and then click – this restores the selected Windows configuration and then restarts the computer
  6. Log on to your computer. When the System Restore confirmation page appears, click OK

Windows XP

  1. Click Start, click Run, type %SystemRoot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe, and click OK
  2. On the Welcome to System Restore page, click Restore my computer to an earlier time (if it is not already selected), and click Next
  3. On the Select a Restore Point page, click the system checkpoint. In the On this list select the restore point area, click an entry that is named “Guided Help (Registry Backup),” and click Next
    If a System Restore message appears that lists configuration changes that System Restore will make, click OK
  4. On the Confirm Restore Point Selection page, click Next
    System Restore restores the previous Windows XP configuration and then restarts the computer
  5. Log on to the computer. When the System Restore confirmation page appears, click OK

Restoring a Single Key

To restore a single key:

  1. Find the key that you previously saved
  2. Double click on the file and click Yes

registry editor04 Working with the Windows Registry (Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP) [Updated]

Add Keys or Values

In some of the tutorials on this website you will need to create a new key or value.

Add a New Key

To add a new key, do the following:

  1. Right click on the parent key
  2. Click New > Key
  3. Follow the guide’s instructions for what key name to assign

registry editor05 Working with the Windows Registry (Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP) [Updated]

Add a New Value

To add a new value do the following:

  1. Navigate to the key that you want to add a value to
  2. Right click in the blank space of the right pane and click New > xx (Where xx is the value specified in the guide)
  3. Follow the guide’s instructions for what value to assign

registry editor06 Working with the Windows Registry (Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP) [Updated]

Examples of Modifying the Registry

Here are some example guides that involve registry modification:

For more examples, go here: /?s=regedit

Disable Access to the Registry

If you’re using a Professional or Ultimate version of Windows, you can disable access to the Registry Editor using the Group Policy Editor.



 Working with the Windows Registry (Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP) [Updated]

About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix the problems he creates.

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Comments

  • Pingback: Stop Outlook/Outlook Express Asking For Your Password Every Time | Windows Guides | mintywhite.com

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  • Andrew Drajna

    have a recurring message when using corel photo house on vista premium , message as follows “Value not set failed to update system registry , try using reg edit ”
    how does one do so without knowing the value or the key you need to place in the registry to stop this issue . The program works just annoying with this constant message after each use.

  • Andrew Drajna

    have a recurring message when using corel photo house on vista premium , message as follows “Value not set failed to update system registry , try using reg edit ”
    how does one do so without knowing the value or the key you need to place in the registry to stop this issue . The program works just annoying with this constant message after each use.

  • Andrew Drajna

    have a recurring message when using corel photo house on vista premium , message as follows “Value not set failed to update system registry , try using reg edit ”
    how does one do so without knowing the value or the key you need to place in the registry to stop this issue . The program works just annoying with this constant message after each use.

  • http://mintywhite.com/ Rich

    Andrew, have you contacted Corel customer support? I have not used Corel products before and a few Google searches didn’t help me answer your question.

  • http://mintywhite.com/ Rich

    Andrew, have you contacted Corel customer support? I have not used Corel products before and a few Google searches didn’t help me answer your question.

  • http://mintywhite.com Rich

    Andrew, have you contacted Corel customer support? I have not used Corel products before and a few Google searches didn’t help me answer your question.

  • Giorgos.

    Hi! :-)

    For some reason (probably for not violating the trial restrictions), the official regedit doesn’t do a complete registry backup.
    A better (at my opinion), freeware complete reg backup program, is ERUNT (from there: ).

    Greets!!!
    Giorgos. :-)

  • Giorgos.

    Hi! :-)

    For some reason (probably for not violating the trial restrictions), the official regedit doesn’t do a complete registry backup.
    A better (at my opinion), freeware complete reg backup program, is ERUNT (from there: ).

    Greets!!!
    Giorgos. :-)

  • Giorgos.

    Hi! :-)

    For some reason (probably for not violating the trial restrictions), the official regedit doesn’t do a complete registry backup.
    A better (at my opinion), freeware complete reg backup program, is ERUNT (from there: ).

    Greets!!!
    Giorgos. :-)

  • Justin Guy

    here are some registry tips:
    Better Overall Performance
    Go to start, run, and type in regedit in the search bar. When the regedit window opens, go through the folders

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESystemCurrentControlSetControlSession ManagerExecutive
    Set the AdditionalCriticalWorkerThreads and AdditionalDelayedWorkerThreads to a decimal between 1 and 25

    Then exit. Than restart. Your startup and performance will be faster. If your a gamer, set both keys to 5. If your a

    multi- tasker, like me( opening many IM-ing boxes), Set it around 15.

    Faster Speed and Stability

    Go to start, run, type in regedit in the search box. Than in the registry editor window, navigate through:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetContro lPriorityControl

    Change the value of Win32PrioritySeparation from 2 (default) to 38. Close regedit.
    Browse “ComputerToolsFolder OptionsView” and tick the “Launch folder windows in separate process” box. From now on, Windows will open any new window in its own memory and in separate process priority.

    NOTICE:This will increase stability and speed but use much more RAM than before.

    Improve Performance

    Go to start, run, regedit, and in the regedit window, go to:
    HKLMsystemCurrentControlSetControlSessionManagerMemoryManagementDisablePagingExecutive

    Set the value to 1. Restart.

    Making this value to 1 is good when debugging drivers, because all of the code and data are always memory resident. It also improves performance on machines with a lot of RAM, AKA memory, because it prevents disk reads to get code or data.

    Increase Startup and Item opening time

    Go to start, run, regedit, and in the regedit window, go to:
    HKLMsystemCurrentControlSetControlSessionManagerMemoryManagementLargeSystemCache

    Set it to 1. Restart. Your PC should be faster. But, It MAY take up more space on your hard drive. :]

    Increase NTFS Format Drives, Flash Drives, Hard Drives, External etc.

    Go to start, run, regedit, and in the regedit window, go to:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlFilesystem

    Look for NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate and set it to 1, NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation = 1,
    NtfsMftZoneReservation = 1. If you don’t have it, right click anywhere, click new,
    Dword, and name it NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate and set it to 1. Restart.

    FROM: http://www.ultimatetweakers.webs.com ( my site)

  • Justin Guy

    here are some registry tips:
    Better Overall Performance
    Go to start, run, and type in regedit in the search bar. When the regedit window opens, go through the folders

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESystemCurrentControlSetControlSession ManagerExecutive
    Set the AdditionalCriticalWorkerThreads and AdditionalDelayedWorkerThreads to a decimal between 1 and 25

    Then exit. Than restart. Your startup and performance will be faster. If your a gamer, set both keys to 5. If your a

    multi- tasker, like me( opening many IM-ing boxes), Set it around 15.

    Faster Speed and Stability

    Go to start, run, type in regedit in the search box. Than in the registry editor window, navigate through:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetContro lPriorityControl

    Change the value of Win32PrioritySeparation from 2 (default) to 38. Close regedit.
    Browse “ComputerToolsFolder OptionsView” and tick the “Launch folder windows in separate process” box. From now on, Windows will open any new window in its own memory and in separate process priority.

    NOTICE:This will increase stability and speed but use much more RAM than before.

    Improve Performance

    Go to start, run, regedit, and in the regedit window, go to:
    HKLMsystemCurrentControlSetControlSessionManagerMemoryManagementDisablePagingExecutive

    Set the value to 1. Restart.

    Making this value to 1 is good when debugging drivers, because all of the code and data are always memory resident. It also improves performance on machines with a lot of RAM, AKA memory, because it prevents disk reads to get code or data.

    Increase Startup and Item opening time

    Go to start, run, regedit, and in the regedit window, go to:
    HKLMsystemCurrentControlSetControlSessionManagerMemoryManagementLargeSystemCache

    Set it to 1. Restart. Your PC should be faster. But, It MAY take up more space on your hard drive. :]

    Increase NTFS Format Drives, Flash Drives, Hard Drives, External etc.

    Go to start, run, regedit, and in the regedit window, go to:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlFilesystem

    Look for NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate and set it to 1, NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation = 1,
    NtfsMftZoneReservation = 1. If you don’t have it, right click anywhere, click new,
    Dword, and name it NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate and set it to 1. Restart.

    FROM: http://www.ultimatetweakers.webs.com ( my site)

  • Justin Guy

    here are some registry tips:
    Better Overall Performance
    Go to start, run, and type in regedit in the search bar. When the regedit window opens, go through the folders

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESystemCurrentControlSetControlSession ManagerExecutive
    Set the AdditionalCriticalWorkerThreads and AdditionalDelayedWorkerThreads to a decimal between 1 and 25

    Then exit. Than restart. Your startup and performance will be faster. If your a gamer, set both keys to 5. If your a

    multi- tasker, like me( opening many IM-ing boxes), Set it around 15.

    Faster Speed and Stability

    Go to start, run, type in regedit in the search box. Than in the registry editor window, navigate through:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetContro lPriorityControl

    Change the value of Win32PrioritySeparation from 2 (default) to 38. Close regedit.
    Browse “ComputerToolsFolder OptionsView” and tick the “Launch folder windows in separate process” box. From now on, Windows will open any new window in its own memory and in separate process priority.

    NOTICE:This will increase stability and speed but use much more RAM than before.

    Improve Performance

    Go to start, run, regedit, and in the regedit window, go to:
    HKLMsystemCurrentControlSetControlSessionManagerMemoryManagementDisablePagingExecutive

    Set the value to 1. Restart.

    Making this value to 1 is good when debugging drivers, because all of the code and data are always memory resident. It also improves performance on machines with a lot of RAM, AKA memory, because it prevents disk reads to get code or data.

    Increase Startup and Item opening time

    Go to start, run, regedit, and in the regedit window, go to:
    HKLMsystemCurrentControlSetControlSessionManagerMemoryManagementLargeSystemCache

    Set it to 1. Restart. Your PC should be faster. But, It MAY take up more space on your hard drive. :]

    Increase NTFS Format Drives, Flash Drives, Hard Drives, External etc.

    Go to start, run, regedit, and in the regedit window, go to:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlFilesystem

    Look for NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate and set it to 1, NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation = 1,
    NtfsMftZoneReservation = 1. If you don’t have it, right click anywhere, click new,
    Dword, and name it NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate and set it to 1. Restart.

    FROM: http://www.ultimatetweakers.webs.com ( my site)

  • Justin Guy

    here are some registry tips:
    Better Overall Performance
    Go to start, run, and type in regedit in the search bar. When the regedit window opens, go through the folders

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESystemCurrentControlSetControlSession ManagerExecutive
    Set the AdditionalCriticalWorkerThreads and AdditionalDelayedWorkerThreads to a decimal between 1 and 25

    Then exit. Than restart. Your startup and performance will be faster. If your a gamer, set both keys to 5. If your a

    multi- tasker, like me( opening many IM-ing boxes), Set it around 15.

    Faster Speed and Stability

    Go to start, run, type in regedit in the search box. Than in the registry editor window, navigate through:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetContro lPriorityControl

    Change the value of Win32PrioritySeparation from 2 (default) to 38. Close regedit.
    Browse “ComputerToolsFolder OptionsView” and tick the “Launch folder windows in separate process” box. From now on, Windows will open any new window in its own memory and in separate process priority.

    NOTICE:This will increase stability and speed but use much more RAM than before.

    Improve Performance

    Go to start, run, regedit, and in the regedit window, go to:
    HKLMsystemCurrentControlSetControlSessionManagerMemoryManagementDisablePagingExecutive

    Set the value to 1. Restart.

    Making this value to 1 is good when debugging drivers, because all of the code and data are always memory resident. It also improves performance on machines with a lot of RAM, AKA memory, because it prevents disk reads to get code or data.

    Increase Startup and Item opening time

    Go to start, run, regedit, and in the regedit window, go to:
    HKLMsystemCurrentControlSetControlSessionManagerMemoryManagementLargeSystemCache

    Set it to 1. Restart. Your PC should be faster. But, It MAY take up more space on your hard drive. :]

    Increase NTFS Format Drives, Flash Drives, Hard Drives, External etc.

    Go to start, run, regedit, and in the regedit window, go to:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlFilesystem

    Look for NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate and set it to 1, NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation = 1,
    NtfsMftZoneReservation = 1. If you don’t have it, right click anywhere, click new,
    Dword, and name it NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate and set it to 1. Restart.

    FROM: http://www.ultimatetweakers.webs.com ( my site)

  • Justin Guy

    Faster shutdown registry tweak:

    Go to start, type in run on the search bar when you see run
    under the programs section, click it and on the box, type in
    regedit. On the next box that opens, navigate to the folder:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control

    and look for or make the key named

    WaitToKillServiceTimeout=0500

    than go to: HKEY_CURRENT_USERControl PanelDesktop

    and set string values or make:

    AutoEndTasks=1
    HungAppTimeout=0500 or 0
    WaitToKillAppTimeout=0500 or 0
    WaitToKillServiceTimeout=0500 or 0

    PowerOffActive= 1

    Restart computer.

    Lower time system moves applictaions in foreground

    Go to start, run, regedit, and in the regedit window, go to:

    HKCUControl PanelDesktop

    set ForegroundLockTimeout to 0.

    Faster start up tweak

    We are going to tweak the prefetch on the registry editor.

    Go to start, type in run on the search bar when you see run
    under the programs section, click it and on the box, type in
    regedit. On the next box that opens, navigate to the registry folder:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSession ManagerMemory ManagementPrefetchParameters
    Look for the key named EnablePrefetcher.
    It has 4 different values.
    0- Disable
    1- Cache application
    2- Cache Boot system files
    3- All, Caches everything.
    A cache is a temporary storage area where frequently accessed data can be stored for rapid access.
    We are going to set this value to 2, so it accesses the boot files only.
    Restart.
    Restart again.
    The second time it restarts, your computer booting time will be somewhat to a lot faster. This does not always work.

    UAC(User Account Control) Registry tweak.

    Click start>type in the search box regedit or if you have run type regedit>then navigate to the key named HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesSystemEnableLUA

    Double click the key and set it to 0.

    Exit the registry editor, reboot and your settings should take effect.

    If you like UAC, do the same thing except set the value to 1.

    ————————————-
    Menu Show Delay Tweak

    Menu show delay registry tweak.

    Start>Run type in regedit or type in regedit on the search box> click it.

    In regedit navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USERControl PanelDesktop.

    Double click on the key called MenuShowDelay and set it to however many milliseconds you want to wait bfore a menu shows. Turning it to 0 turns the delay off. Warning, it will get a little bit harder to navigate through menus by turning the delay off.

  • Justin Guy

    Faster shutdown registry tweak:

    Go to start, type in run on the search bar when you see run
    under the programs section, click it and on the box, type in
    regedit. On the next box that opens, navigate to the folder:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control

    and look for or make the key named

    WaitToKillServiceTimeout=0500

    than go to: HKEY_CURRENT_USERControl PanelDesktop

    and set string values or make:

    AutoEndTasks=1
    HungAppTimeout=0500 or 0
    WaitToKillAppTimeout=0500 or 0
    WaitToKillServiceTimeout=0500 or 0

    PowerOffActive= 1

    Restart computer.

    Lower time system moves applictaions in foreground

    Go to start, run, regedit, and in the regedit window, go to:

    HKCUControl PanelDesktop

    set ForegroundLockTimeout to 0.

    Faster start up tweak

    We are going to tweak the prefetch on the registry editor.

    Go to start, type in run on the search bar when you see run
    under the programs section, click it and on the box, type in
    regedit. On the next box that opens, navigate to the registry folder:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSession ManagerMemory ManagementPrefetchParameters
    Look for the key named EnablePrefetcher.
    It has 4 different values.
    0- Disable
    1- Cache application
    2- Cache Boot system files
    3- All, Caches everything.
    A cache is a temporary storage area where frequently accessed data can be stored for rapid access.
    We are going to set this value to 2, so it accesses the boot files only.
    Restart.
    Restart again.
    The second time it restarts, your computer booting time will be somewhat to a lot faster. This does not always work.

    UAC(User Account Control) Registry tweak.

    Click start>type in the search box regedit or if you have run type regedit>then navigate to the key named HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesSystemEnableLUA

    Double click the key and set it to 0.

    Exit the registry editor, reboot and your settings should take effect.

    If you like UAC, do the same thing except set the value to 1.

    ————————————-
    Menu Show Delay Tweak

    Menu show delay registry tweak.

    Start>Run type in regedit or type in regedit on the search box> click it.

    In regedit navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USERControl PanelDesktop.

    Double click on the key called MenuShowDelay and set it to however many milliseconds you want to wait bfore a menu shows. Turning it to 0 turns the delay off. Warning, it will get a little bit harder to navigate through menus by turning the delay off.

  • http://richr.org/ Rich

    By purchasing it :)

  • Mr Allenu

    Thanks a lot for this very useful tip!

  • diab

    Good info, and well presented.  Surprised not more likes and comments


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