If you’ve ever viewed Windows registry then you’ve seen how it’s structured. For those who haven’t it stores configuration settings in a hierarchical structure (a tree) called keys.
It contains two basic elements: keys (containers) housing folders and subfolers called values. The registry controls how the computer runs / operates or if it functions at all. You can access the registry using the editor, but we’ll get to that a little later.
Now, I’ve edited the registry on a few occasions and I’ve made my mistakes. For instance, I clicked on a program (can’t remember which) one day and the system prompted me that it could not start the program due to a missing .DLL (Dynamic Link Library) link.
I remembered I recently uninstalled / deleted a few programs to free up space on the hard drive. Well, one of them must have had a .DLL file which this program was a dependent. Mind you, I didn’t know that .DLL’s were shared among other programs.
So, at this point I’d never had a reason to access the registry, but thought I could handle it. Surprisingly the software was still listed in the registry’s HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\. However, the .DLL link was missing, but left remnants / broken files I learned.
So, I went ahead and deleted it. Job well done, right? Wrong! Next thing I knew I couldn’t open other applications. I was heated to say the least. So, what do I do now? There is no UNDO button in the registry. Unfortunately, I contacted a professional and who charged me an arm and a leg. This situation is one of the reasons I wanted to became a tech.
Windows Registry Keys contain computer files, such as values, folders, subfolders, file property settings, port configurations, applications preferences, and user profiles. Just to reiterate. Yeah, I know it even sounds complicated; it is.
It manages each user’s account created on the computer, such as the applications accessed by that specific user, desktop configurations (backgrounds, screen savers, icon placement, etc), and network configurations. In a nut shell it’s where all your environment and preference settings are saved.
How to Access Windows Registry – Hive
Left click “start”, click “run”, type “regedit, click ” Ok.” If the User Account Control window displays click “Yes.” (if applicable).
Click “OK” and the system displays the Registry Editor and HKEYS a/k/a the Hive.
Each Subkey’s Responsibility
|HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT||Holds files associations and links to files. It initiates the correct application to start when double clicking a filename in Explorer or My Computer, but the file extension must be registered.|
|HKEY_CURRENT_USER||Stores and loads the account for each user’s system configuration, such as software settings, desktop appearance, and retrieves folders created by the user.|
|HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE||Holds hardware configurations, such as printers, scanners, monitors, etc. and their drivers / settings installed or connected to the computer. This is applied to all users.|
|HKEY_USERS||Stores and tracks each user’s unique account and their preferences. This hive relates to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER.|
|HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG||Stores and holds information about the hardware profile which is initiated when the computer boots.|
|HKEY_DYN_DATA||Contains Plug-and-Play data and it changes as devices are added and removed. Used with Win98/ME.|
Caution:The purpose of the registry editor is to allow you to view and change configurations or settings. The Windows Registry Keys should only be edited by advanced users. If edited incorrectly it will impact your computer’s performance, so research reputable registry repair programs and follow instructions.
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