Windows Registry is one of the key components of the Windows operating system. This hierarchical database contains windows settings, application settings, device driver info and user passwords. When an application is installed, some part of the software is stored in the Registry file, i.e. RegEdit.exe. This article walks you through creating and editing the Windows 10 Registry file.
Before making any changes to the registry file, it is important to back up the entire registry database. This way if anything goes wrong, you will be able to import original settings from this file.
How To Back Up Your Registry Database
To access the registry editor in Windows 10, type regedit in the Cortana search bar. Right click on the regedit option and choose, "Open as administrator."
Alternately, you can press on the Windows key + R key, which opens the Run Dialog box. You can type regedit in this box and press Ok.
Next, click on File --> Export. Type a file name and save the Registry file. You can save the entire database or choose a selected range. Exported registry files automatically get the .reg extension by default.
How To Create A New Registry File
A registry file is a simple text file that is renamed to .reg extension. When the file is properly configured, you can simply click it and make changes to your Windows registry. Here is an example on how to create a new registry file.
First, open notepad and type in the following syntax:
Save the text tile to your computer then right click on it and rename it with a .reg extension. Now when you double-click this file, it will make changes to the registry.
Here is another example that will allow you to automatically start DNS Service. Create a .reg file with the following syntax:
Note: To manually start the service, change the data value to 00000003. To disable it, change the data value to 00000004.
How To Edit The Registry
With the Registry Editor, you can make changes to your current registry file. Here is an example that allows you to change the homepage of your browser (this is especially useful in case malware has hijacked your browser's homepage).
First, open the Registry Editor by typing in Regedit in the Cortana search bar and agreeing to the UAC dialog box (or use the Windows key + R key method). Click the + sign next to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER, then click onSoftware à Microsoft à Internet Explorer.
Next, right click on Main and choose Export then save the file to your computer. Finally, right click on the file, choose "open with" and select Notepad.
When you open the file, it will look like this:
The first line "Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00" tells the OS that this file is a registry file. The second portion is the configuration details, which tell the OS what to add and change in the registry.
To change the homepage to a specific website, such as Microsoft, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER --> Software --> Microsoft --> Internet Explorer --> Main. Check for the Start Page option on the right side pane then double click on Start Page. Under Value Data, type the name of the website (www.microsoft.com) and click Ok.
If you mess anything up while making this change, simply double click the exported file to reset the changes you made.
How To Delete A Specific Registry Entry
When you uninstall a program, there are chances that some registry settings don't get deleted. To completely uninstall the program, you will need to delete the program's entry from the registry.
To do so open the Registry Editor and click the + sign beside the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Next click on Software and identify the program that needs to be deleted. Right click on the correct entry and click delete.
Finally, click the + sign beside HKEY_CURRENT_USER, go to Software, identify the program that needs to be deleted and right click on the entry and click on delete.