Introduction to the Windows Registry

No doubt you’ve read the warnings, because they appear right next to just about any Registry modification or tweak that you’ve ever seen. You know the ones – “modifying the Registry may render your system unusable”. Microsoft adds a similar clause every time they mention a Registry change, and with good reason. Even the slightest wrong turn inside the Registry, and you can easily turn even the most stable system into a nightmare.

While editing the Registry is dangerous, it can also be fun. Digging through the Registry allows you to tweak and tune settings not usually exposed within the Windows interface. It truly gets you “under the hood” of your system, which is why so many users want to poke around in there in the first place. Prior to even considering making a change, however, you absolutely must get into the habit of doing a proper backup. It takes almost no time at all, and can absolutely save hours or days of pain if something does go wrong. In this mini-series we’ll explore various ways of exporting (backing up) and importing (restoring) Registry settings.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.