Editing the Registry

After researching a software problem, you might find that the solution involves a “Registry hack,” also known as editing the Windows Registry. This is serious business with little margin for error. Never attempt to fix a problem by guessing at a Registry hack. When you do get specific instructions on making a registry change, make sure you make exactly the change indicated in the message. Even the slightest typographical error can cause a world of problems. If you’re not a technical person and don’t want to risk creating a really big mess you can’t rectify, consider hiring a professional to resolve the problem.

Before you launch into Registry hacking, you need to understand what you’re doing. First, be aware that the Registry is a database where Windows and other programs store data that they need to operate properly on your computer. The average computer user typically doesn’t need to know that the Registry exists. In fact, we’re sure most do not. There is absolutely nothing that’s user friendly about the Registry. In fact, it’s probably just about as user hostile as you can get. Microsoft provides the Registry Editor described in this chapter because programmers and other IT professionals occasionally need to view or modify registry entries.

The Windows Registry is not a safe place to mess around. Pay attention to all cautions in this chapter!

How registry data is organized

The Windows Registry comprises several hives, each of which holds ...

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