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How to Edit a Computer's Registry

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A computer registry is a sensitive area of the machine that contains information linked to the behaviors of nearly every application on the system. From time to time, the computer’s registry can become bloated with too many entries, some of which may need to be removed. There are a couple of different manners in which one can edit a computer registry. Some users rely upon a registry cleaner, which a tool developed specifically for the task of cleaning up the registry and removing unnecessary entries. The registry can also be edited using tools included with the Windows operating system.

  1. Preparing to Edit the Registry. Before any edits are made to the computer’s registry, it is always a good idea to back up this database. This provides the user with some sort of recourse if the editing processing were to potentially damage the machine. This backup can be done using the same tool that will later be used to edit the registry itself, the Registry Editor. Simply navigate to the Registry Editor by clicking Start and then Search, where you will enter RegEdit. Here, simply navigate to File and then Export to save the registry entries.
  2. Editing the Registry. Once you have made it to the registry itself, you are ready to begin editing the entries that appear in this area of the machine. Each particular item’s properties and information can be accessed by right-clicking the name. This is also how you will need to modify, delete, or rename the entry. Simply make the changes you wish to make to the registry, and follow up your actions by saving the database changes. Voila!
  3. Restoring the Registry. If necessary, you may need to revert to a previous version of the registry. This can be achieved by using the registry copy you made before you begin to edit entries. On some versions of Windows, you may be able to also restore by using the System Restore tool. Those who have a newer version of Windows, such as Vista or XP, can instead access previous registry hives by visiting the C:\Windows\System32\Config folder. Once there, previous versions of the hive can be pulled up by right-clicking, selecting properties, and looking for the previous versions tab.

Careful maintenance of the system’s registry will guarantee that the computer stays in working condition. Remember, it is important to be extremely cautious whenever making additions or changes to the registry. This is because failure to do so properly could potentially have devastating consequences for the machine. This is why it is so essential to make a back-up of files before beginning.


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