The main registry keys

April 2018


The Windows Registry is a database which stores settings and options for Microsoft OS It contains information and settings for hardware, operating system software, other system software, and theuser settings. It also provides a window into the operation of the kernel, displaying runtime information such as performance counters and the active hardware.

Accessing the Registry

To access the registry, go to Start menu > Run and type "regedit".

Warning! Only users can edit the registry! /!See How to save the registry.
  • The different keys:
    • HKEY_CURRENT_ROOT also found under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE Software contains links between the different types of files and applications matching (eg "*. doc = Win word", "*. xls = Excel" ...).
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER registers all the key parameters for the current user, such as wallpaper, screen savers, etc.. below are listed other important keys:
  • AppEvents (associations of sounds to system events)
  • Control Panel (Control Panel items specific to the user)
  • Environment (variables such as the user TEMP and TMP)
  • Network (network configuration and network drives)
  • Keyboard Layout (local/regional settings of the keyboard)
  • Printers (printers configuration)
  • RemoteAccess (Remote network access)
  • Software (configuration and software options installed)
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE includes all the important parameters of the system and configurations needed for optimal fluidity of Windows XP. This key regroups configurations software (programs) and computer hardware like the parameters for graphics card and the network card.
    • HKEY_USERS includes all the key parameters of all users. HKEY_CURRENT_USER is part of it.
    • HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG contains information about the hardware profile used.

Note that

The registry can be modify manually using regedit.exe or regedt32.exe in the Windows directory. However, note that editing the registry can cause irreversible damage. So perform backups of the registry before editing it.
Published by deri58. Latest update on September 21, 2010 at 12:15 PM by deri58.
This document, titled "The main registry keys," is available under the Creative Commons license. Any copy, reuse, or modification of the content should be sufficiently credited to CCM (
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