Browse Definitions :
Definition

registry key

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Windows 7 guide: Before, during and after migration

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

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

Thanks, this really helped me :)
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • smart contract

    A smart contract, also known as a cryptocontract, is a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies...

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

  • Health IT (health information technology)

    Health IT (health information technology) is the area of IT involving the design, development, creation, use and maintenance of ...

  • fee-for-service (FFS)

    Fee-for-service (FFS) is a payment model in which doctors, hospitals, and medical practices charge separately for each service ...

  • biomedical informatics

    Biomedical informatics is the branch of health informatics that uses data to help clinicians, researchers and scientists improve ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • risk mitigation

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

  • ransomware recovery

    Ransomware recovery is the process of resuming options following a cyberattack that demands payment in exchange for unlocking ...

  • natural disaster recovery

    Natural disaster recovery is the process of recovering data and resuming business operations following a natural disaster.

SearchStorage

  • RAID 5

    RAID 5 is a redundant array of independent disks configuration that uses disk striping with parity.

  • non-volatile storage (NVS)

    Non-volatile storage (NVS) is a broad collection of technologies and devices that do not require a continuous power supply to ...

  • petabyte

    A petabyte is a measure of memory or data storage capacity that is equal to 2 to the 50th power of bytes.

Close