The Registry Editor isn't the secret trove of treasures you might thing, but it's a useful place to go for changing some settings that cannot otherwise be made.
- [Narrator] Great excitement surrounded the registry when it was introduced with Windows 95. People were thrilled because the registry offered a centralized location for internal settings and controls the hackers went nuts, for a while. It turns out, the registry is obscure and cryptic. It was designed that way deliberately. So while the registry does contain useful treasures, and it can help resolve some windows issues, it's not the friendliest thing to use and sadly it's not bursting with secret features and tricks.
To examine and modify the registry, you use the registry editor program. Tap the Windows key and type regedit R-E-G-E-D-I-T. Choose the registry editor command from the list. Now if you seen the user account control warning, click Yes. The registry editor displays the registry's contents in a specific structure, like folders on a hard drive. If they're expanded like this, go ahead and collapse them. Click the arrow next to the top level, registry hive.
At this top level you will see five hives. HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT is used by programs for file association and sharing. HKEY_CURRENT_USER contains settings for the current user, that's you. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE contains settings for all users. HKEY_USERS contains the original user settings. Items from this hive are copied into the current user hive. HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG contains hardware information about the PC.
The purpose of all these hives and their contents is to retain system wide settings in a central location. Programs and the Windows operating system access registry information, and you can make changes as well, though you do so by using Windows normally. It's rare that you need to go spelunking in the registry to fix something, though it does happen. For example, you may need to use the registry editor in safe mode to remove malware or to reset a program option that you otherwise can't do in Windows normally.
Now before you do anything in the registry, and especially if you just plan on goofing off, though I thinking they call it hacking, backup the registry. Choose file export, use the default directory documents and type a name for the backup. Such as registry backup. And I'm going to follow it by the date. Click save. At this point you can make changes as directed by whatever source you're using as a reference. As an example, suppose you want to modify Windows so that it doesn't append the text shortcut to file shortcuts you create.
Here on the desktop, you see a shortcut to my account folder, and yes the text shortcut was appended automatically by Windows. One way to disable that feature is to edit the registry. In the registry editor, you open the current user hive, HKEY_CURRENT_USER. Choose software Microsoft and I will adjust the window size, Windows current version click to select explore.
You see the various keys on the right side of the window. These items are cryptic, and without any documentation, they're useless to you. The item that controls shortcut text is called link. To edit that key, double click. Replace the initial value with zero. So, I press the delete key to delete the 16, and then I type zero. Click okay and the key is updated. That's it.
The registry is now updated so you can close the window. In this case, to make the specific change take effect, I need to restart the file explorer program this operation is tricky. So I'm going to press Control + Shift + ESC to summon the Task Manager. Locate the Windows Explorer in the list. I'll sort it by name and find Windows Explorer. There, click to select the program then click the restart button.
Now I'm going to create a shortcut on the desktop. And you see that the shortcut lacks the name shortcut. The operation was a success. Now, had I screwed up, I could restore the old registry backup. Restart the registry editor. Choose file import. And choose the backup program. Click open to restore it, which I don't need to do here because the operation was a success.
Again, I'm reminding you, The registry isn't a place to mess around. The shortcut file example is one of those rare instances where you can only solve a puzzle by editing the registry directly. Otherwise, ensure that you backup the registry before you preform any random experimentation.
- Diagnosing the causes of PC issues
- Troubleshooting hardware and software
- Performing startup and system restore steps
- Accessing the Task Manager
- Using the Registry Editor
- Fixing Windows
- Maintaining storage drives
- Restoring network connectivity