How to Update the Registry Key

By Craig Witt

i Hemera Technologies/ Images

Windows Registry is a database that holds information about your operating system's configuration. Generally speaking, users should avoid modifying values in the Registry, because unintended changes can sometimes occur. These changes may be difficult to undo and may require you to completely re-install your operating systems. In some cases, however, correcting system problems through the Registry database is the only option. Understanding how to navigate through the Registry is an important part of performing these corrections safely.

Step 1

Start the Windows Registry Editor. Click \"Start\" and select \"Run.\" This is normally the second option from the bottom of the menu, just above \"Shut Down.\" Type \"Regedit\" (without the quotation marks) in the dialog box that pops up and click \"OK.\"

Step 2

Create a back-up copy of the Registry. Changes made to the Registry can seriously impact the operation of your computer. As a best practice, always generate a back-up of the Registry before making changes. That way, if anything unexpected happens, you can roll back to a previous version that works properly. To create a backup, select \"File\" from the menu at the top of the screen, then choose \"Export.\" Give the backup copy a name. Find the area at the bottom of the dialog box labeled \"Export range\" and make sure the \"All\" button is checked. Click \"Save.\"

Step 3

Determine which Registry key you want to modify. The Registry Editor gives you access to tens of thousands of keys, but in most cases you will already have a specific key to find. In this example, assume that you want to change a key value associated with the program called CHKDSK, and that you have been told it exists at the following location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\BootExecute

Step 4

Find the specific Registry key. In the panel on the left-hand side of the Registry Editor, find the top-level folder named HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Double-click this folder, then double-click \"SYSTEM\" and then click \"CurrentControlSet.\" Next, double-click on the folder labeled Control, and then on the Session Manager folder. If you look in the panel on the right-hand side of the screen you will see the second item from the top is named BootExecute. This is the key you want to modify.

Step 5

Update the Registry key value. Double-click a Registry key to open the editing dialog box. After making your desired changes, click \"OK.\"

Step 6

Close the Registry Editor. Select \"File\" from the menu at the top of the screen, then choose \"Exit.\" You have successfully updated your Windows Registry key.