Information on Windows Registry

Almost all of us have come across this term “Windows Registry” and many of us have even done some changes in it but without knowing what it is and what it does. Also many posts of mine include registry editing but none tells you what actually a registry is.

Windows Registry

The Windows Registry is the most important component of a computer and is responsible for its proper working. It is a directory that stores settings and other things for Microsoft’s Windows operating systems. This directory contains all the information and settings used by all the hardware and software installed in the system. In short, the registry is what that stores all the important information about the computer’s operating system and other software and hardware.

Registry Hive

A registry hive is a group of keys, sub keys and values in the registry that has a set of supporting files storing data. While Registry Keys are similar to folders that can contain many other subfolders, Registry Values are the data stored inside those keys.

The hives are abbreviated to a three or four letter name starting with “HK” like HKCU or HKLM. There are five major types of them, each having its individual functionality.


HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT also referred to as HKCR stores information about registered applications such as file associations. The information that is stored here makes sure that the correct program opens when you open a file by using Windows Explorer.


HKEY_CURRENT_USER (HKCU) also referred to as HKCU stores settings and info that are specific to the currently logged-in user of the system. The user’s folders, screen colors, and Control Panel settings are stored here and the key is a link to the sub key of HKEY_USERS.


HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (HKLM) also referred to as HKLM stores settings and info that are common to all users of the computer. It stores information particular to the computer for any user.


HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG also referred to as HKCC stores information gathered at runtime and the hardware profile generated by the local computer at system startup.


HKEY_USERS also referred to as HKU stores actively loaded user profiles on the computer and contains the key HKCU as its sub key.

Registry Editing

Registry can be edited by using the Windows default registry editor, however incorrect editing may lead to the improper functioning of the system. To run registry editor, type regedit in the Run dialog.

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