Browse Definitions :
Definition

registry key

In the Windows 98, CE, NT, and 2000 operating systems, a registry key is an organizational unit in the Windows registry, an internal database the computer uses to store configuration information. The registry in Windows stores data in binary format, keeping the configuration data for the machine and its users in separate files. This allows the system and its applications to load global and individual configurations upon startup and login. 

When an administrator runs the command regedit, pre-defined keys called root keys, high-level keys or HKEYS display in the left pane of the Registry Editor window. To a lay person, a registry key looks just like any other Windows folder. A pre-defined key and its nested subkeys are collectively called a hive.

An application must open a key before it can add data to the registry, so having pre-defined keys that are always open helps an application navigate the registry. Although pre-defined keys cannot be changed, subkeys can be modified or deleted as long as the user has permission to do so and the subkey is not located directly under a high-level key.

Before making any changes to registry keys, however, Microsoft strongly recommends the registry be backed up and that the end user only change values in the registry that they understand or have been told to change by a trusted advisor. Keys and subkeys are referred to with a syntax that's similar to Windows' path names, using backslashes to indicate levels in the hierarchy. Edits to the registry that cause syntax errors can make the computer inoperable.

This was last updated in September 2012

Continue Reading About registry key

SearchCompliance

  • compliance risk

    Compliance risk is an organization's potential exposure to legal penalties, financial forfeiture and material loss, resulting ...

  • information governance

    Information governance is a holistic approach to managing corporate information by implementing processes, roles, controls and ...

  • enterprise document management (EDM)

    Enterprise document management (EDM) is a strategy for overseeing an organization's paper and electronic documents so they can be...

SearchSecurity

  • information security (infosec)

    Information security, often shortened to infosec, is the practice, policies and principles to protect data and other kinds of ...

  • denial-of-service attack

    A denial-of-service (DoS) attack is a security event that occurs when an attacker makes it impossible for legitimate users to ...

  • user authentication

    User authentication verifies the identity of a user attempting to gain access to a network or computing resource by authorizing a...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • risk mitigation

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

  • call tree

    A call tree is a layered hierarchical communication model that is used to notify specific individuals of an event and coordinate ...

  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

    Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party to provide ...

SearchStorage

  • cloud storage

    Cloud storage is a service model in which data is transmitted and stored on remote storage systems, where it is maintained, ...

  • cloud testing

    Cloud testing is the process of using the cloud computing resources of a third-party service provider to test software ...

  • storage virtualization

    Storage virtualization is the pooling of physical storage from multiple storage devices into what appears to be a single storage ...

Close