How to Access Registry Files

by Kathryn Hatter

Often over time, a personal computer begins to exhibit signs of problems when running programs or performing basic tasks. When this happens, there may be errors within the computer's registry key.

To access the registry and attempt to solve registry problems, it is first necessary to understand the registry and how it works. The registry key houses pertinent details about system updates and installations and other important information. Each important detail about operations that the computer performs is recorded in the registry key.

With time and use, the registry key can become large and unorganized. It sometimes helps enhance the operation of the computer if the registry is purged of errors and organized.

Be very careful if attempting any registry-key editing, however. Unless you are completely knowledgeable about what you are doing, you may make changes that render your computer unusable.

It is also recommended that you make a back-up copy of the registry key before making any changes to it.

Make a back-up of your registry key before proceeding if you intend to modify or edit it.

Enter "regedit" into the "Start" or "Run" command line. These instructions are basically the same for both Windows XP and Vista operating systems. There may be slight variations, however.

Give your system permission to continue, and the registry editor will pop up in a new window. The registry key contains five folders within your computer system. This constitutes the registry files of your computer. Double-clicking on any of the five files will open them. Within these files are the individual registry keys that can be modified or edited. Again, proceed carefully with any modifications!


  • close Never make random modifications to a registry key without knowing precisely what you are doing. Even the smallest mistake could create very serious operational problems for a computer system.

Items you will need

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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