Innovation in technology generates the need of installing new applications or software’s. It's really hard for a user to keep an eye on application configuration that is installed on their system. Microsoft resolved this problem by providing “Registry”. Let’s have a brief introduction of Registry.
Introduction of Registry
Registry is basically the blue print of every process that is going on with user's computer. Microsoft identifies Registry as a “Central hierarchy of database” that stores information of every hardware and software application installed on user's computer. Registry also stores information that is required to configure the system for single user or multiple users. Although previous version of windows uses configuration files in order to stock up information while in new version of Windows “Registry” replaced all these text based configuration files that are used to store the information. Configuration files that have been replaced are:
- .ini file
In Windows Registry there is a assembly of keys, sub keys or values in the registry that are configured with set of supporting files that contains all backup of data. This assembly is known as “Registry hive” group. Location of system files are:
The location for supporting files is described below in table except these two:
Location of system files for HKEY_CURRENT_USER is: %SystemRoot %\Profiles\Username folder.
But for Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Windows Vista location is different
Location of system file for HKEY_CURRENT_USER is: %SystemRoot%\System32\Config folder
Table showing registry hives and supporting folders associated with them:
Registry hive supporting files
HKEY_USERS\DEFAULT Default, Default.log, Default.sav
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM Sam, Sam.log, Sam.sav
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Security Security, Security.log, Security.sav
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software Software, Software.log, Software.sav
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System System, System.alt, System.log, System.sav
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG Sys System.alt, System.log, System.sav, Ntuser.dat,
NOTE: To be familiar with the data type user can see file extension.
For Windows 98 name of registry files are: User.dat and System.dat.
For Windows Millennium Edition names are: Classes.dat, User.dat, and System.dat.
However, sometimes there are some circumstances where user is in need of editing the registry. It may be due to change in default size of registry, configuration change of system and many more. User should keep one thing in mind before doing adjustment in the registry. They must take backup of registry because in case, if any error occurs while modifying the registry then a user has to lost all the data. To be on safe side take back up of registry.
Methods to edit the registry: There are two utilities provided by Microsoft to edit the Registry i.e. Regedit.exe and Regedt32.exe. Microsoft provides different methods to edit he registry.
- By using Registry Editor
- By Using Group Policy
- By using .reg ((Registration Entries) file
- By using Windows Host Script
- By using Console Registry tool for windows
Registry Editor: User will use Registry Editor at their own risk as it doesn't assure user to resolve his problem. Registry Editor will do following work
- To locate or add any sub tree ,
- To locate key, sub key, or value
- To change the value
- To delete or rename a sub key or a value
One more option provided by Microsoft to edit the registry is use of “Registry Editor Tool”. Tool is named as “Console Registry Tool for Windows”. File associated with this tool is reg.exe.
Windows user interface method: There is one more option to edit the registry i.e. use of “Windows User Interface”. By using this service user can change their system settings easily. Use of Windows user interface will eliminate the need of registry editor.
Group Policy method: Group policy will let user to apply policy settings to computers or users. To implement Group Policy in local group user can use Active Directory Users and Computers MMC snap-in.
Create Registration files: By using this method user can perform changes according to their need. To perform this operation user has to create a .reg file and after creating file run the .reg file on user system to get desired output. To run .reg file manually user can use “logon” script.
Windows Host Script method: User can also edit the registry by using Windows Script Host. This method allows user to run script directly in the operating system. Moreover, also there is facility of creating script by using Windows Host Script methods. User can easily perform operations like read, write of registry keys and values.
Now, there are various option provided to user to edit the registry. User can easily adopt the best method according to their convenience. I hope information provided above has been useful for you.