Windows Windows 10

Working With the Windows Registry Editor

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. In the article below you will learn working with the windows registry editor to examine and modify the registry, you use the registry editor program.

Working With the Windows Registry Editor

Tap the Windows key and type regedit. Choose the registry editor command from the list. Now if you see 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. At this top level you will see five hives:

Registry Editor
Registry Editor
  1. HKEY_CLASSES ROOT

This hive is used by programs for file association and sharing.

  1. HKEY_CURRENT_USER

This hive contains settings for current user, that is you.

  1. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE

This hive contains settings for all users.

  1. HKEY_USERS

This hive contains the original user settings. Items from this hive are copied into the current user hives.

  1. HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG

This hive contains the hardware information about the PC.

The purpose of all these hives and their contains 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 to go in windows registry to fix something. For example, you may need to use the registry editor in safe mode to remove malware or to reset other programs options, otherwise you can’t do in windows normally.

How to backup the registry

Before you do anything in registry make sure to back up the registry.  To back up the registry go to file and choose file, export and save your backup in safe place, then you may make changes to registry.

Backing up the registry
Backing up the registry

For instance, suppose you want to modify windows so that it doesn’t append the text shortcut to file shortcuts you create. Here on the picture below you see a file shortcut to my account folder, and yes the file shortcut was automatically appended by the windows. One way to disable that feature is to edit the registry.

In the registry, open the current user hive, choose software, Microsoft, windows, current version and click to select explore. You see various keys on the right side of the window as shown in the picture below. This items are cryptic and without any documentation they are useless to you. The item that controls shortcut text is called link, to edit that key double click.

Removing shortcut
Removing shortcut

Replace the initial value with 0 and the click OK, then the key is updated. The registry is now updated so now you can close its window.

Edit Binary Value
Edit Binary Value

To make the specific changes take affect you need to restart the file explorer program, this operation is tricky. So, here I open the task manager and locate the windows explorer in the list and select the program and click the restart button, it restarts the windows explorer.

Restarting Windows Explorer
Restarting Windows Explorer

Now create any shortcut on your desktop, then you will see the shortcut lack the name shortcut, as you can see on my desktop.

Shortcut
Shortcut

How to restore the old registry backup

Any changes that you have made and don’t want to affect you PC, you can restore the old registry backup. To backup it open the registry, choose file, import and choose the backup programs and click open to restore it.

Restoring registry
Restoring registry

Conclusion:

The registry isn’t a place to mass around. The shortcut program is one of the rare instances where you can solve a puzzle by editing the registry directly, otherwise, insure that you backed up the registry before you bring any changes to the registry.

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