Registry Editor

October 29, 2010 (updated 10 years ago) by Chemtable Software

Although it is not recommended to edit the registry manually, there are situations when a registry editor is absolutely necessary. For this, you can use various programs (Regedit.exe or Regedt32.exe), group and system policies, registry files, or special scripts (for example, scripts written in VisualBasic).

The most popular tool for editing the registry is Registry Editor which comes prebuilt in all versions of Windows OS (path to the utility is %windir%\regedit.exe). The utility has a small size: 133 Kb in Windows XP, 131 Kb in Vista. The interface of the editor is a standard window with a title and menu bar (File, Edit, View, Favorites, Help).

The editor is divided into two areas:

  • Left-side tree view that lists all hives, keys and subkeys;
  • Right-side list of values for a selected registry key.

Registry Editor can be used to perform the following tasks:

  • Search for keys, subkeys, and values;
  • Add subkeys or values;
  • Edit value data;
  • Delete subkeys or values;
  • Rename subkeys or values.

The peculiarity of the program is that the user can view only two standard hives on a remote computer: HKEY_USERS and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.

To modify the registry, you can create a REG file (registry file, .reg) and execute it on the desired computer. A REG file can be executed manually or automatically using an entry script. The Windows Script Host allows executing scripts in VBScript or Jscript right in the operating system. To delete, read and write registry keys and values, these scripts use methods of the Windows Script Host.

Besides standard tools, there is a great variety of other programs for editing the registry. They are:

Reg Organizer

This is a full-featured suite that can be used to edit the registry, clean it automatically, and edit INI files. The program offers the most complete set of tools for maintaining the registry on the lowest level.

In the follow-up articles we shall cover in details the following topics:

• Editing the registry;
• Creating REG files in the registry editor;
• Cleaning the registry manually and automatically;
• Uninstalling software completely with Reg Organizer;
• Creating and comparing registry snapshots.


Key features:

• Hierarchical bookmark support;
• Jump to a key by command line parameter or by typing it into dialog (instead of browsing);
• Edit DWord values with parallel hex/decimal/binary display;
• Support for QWord (64-bit integer);
• View .reg files without import;
• Low-level display of security settings with a possibility for export.

WWR (Work with Registry)

Key features:

• Scan selected hives of the registry;
• Search for errors in keys and values;
• Fix found errors;
• Open errors in the registry editor;
• Fix errors manually;
• Create rollback files;
• Use a list of exceptions;
• Automatic mode.

Registry Medic

The program detects and fixes errors that contribute to system performance loss. This includes invalid location of a file, invalid application data and invalid file extensions. Using an up-to-date search algorithm, the program detects problems of the registry and fixes them completely. Besides, Registry Medic allows you to set up a regular automatic examination and cleaning of the registry. The latest versions of the program introduced a registry firewall, options for detecting and blocking spyware and other undesirable and dangerous software.