In this lesson, we'll take a look at something a little more advanced; registry editor. This will be the first lesson in something that can really help your computer. On the flipside, if you are unsure about something and make a mistake, it can also totally crash your system. We will likely have more lessons more in depth on this topic, but it's good to get aquainted at some point. The windows registry is basically a database that stores all your windows settings; it also stores all the settings for any software you install, as well as information about all of your computer's hardware. As you can see, it's a pretty integral part of your computer working properly. All too often, people dive in there, start deleting things, and cause their entire computer to crash. There are several sections, areas, and functions you might want to get familiar with.
At this point, it's important to mention that there is almost no reason at all you should ever be in there, unless you are perhaps troubleshooting something. In our 10 plus years of computer repair, we have really only used it to fully remove software or remove manual virus entries. The registry on your computer can get pretty bloated when you add and remove software, because most software removal processes don’t include removing entries from the registry. If there is an issue with the software, and you want to do a full delete, it's best to remove them. We realize we kind of just went in to a little information on how to use i,t but wanted to give you a praticle example of how it is used.
To run registry editor, you need only go to Start, then choose Run. You'd then type “regedit”, followed by the enter key. Registry editor will open up in what appears to be a folder; to get back to the top, you will need to scroll up a little. Without getting into too much technical detail, most changes you will need to make will be in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE folder.
Backing Up Your Registry:
This is the only task we are going to go through in-depth in this lesson, because it needs to be done every single time you make any change to the windows registry. Before you delete, change, or add any entries to the windows registry, you will want to make a backup just in case something goes wrong. This process is very easy. You first need to choose “file”, then "export". Below, you will see an option where you can choose the export range - make sure you select "all". Once that's done, you will have sucessfully backed up your computer registry. In the event something goes wrong, you will follow the same steps, except this time choose "import". Remember, when you are creating a backup, you will want to name it something usefull to tell you when it was made. In addition to that, make sure you store it somewhere on your computer where you are able to find it at a later point - preferably in its own folder somewhere on your c: drive.
Your computer registry is a very delicate thing. There are a lot of troubleshooting tasks that can be done with its help, but it can also be very dangerous to go in there and start deleting things. Often times, there are relationships that exist between files and entries. If you delete one thing, you might not know what else it will affect. It is important to always make backups ,and be totally sure before you make any changes at all.
If you have any questions at all, shoot on over to our forum and ask away.