What Is Regedit?

By Cameron Easey

Regedit is a file that runs the Registry Editor on computers that run the Microsoft Windows operating system. The Registry Editor stores settings and values for the computer's operating system, hardware, software and users. The file regedit.exe is located in the Windows directory on the hard disk (C:) when viewing the contents of "My Computer." Regedit allows a user to view registry entries as well as edit and make changes to various registry values.


The easiest way to run regedit is to create a shortcut on the desktop. Find regedit.exe in the Windows folder and then right-click the mouse. Select "Send To" and then click "Desktop (create Shortcut)" to create a shortcut icon on the desktop.

Using Regedit

When regedit has been opened to display the Registry Editor, there is a tree with various folders displayed on the left side. Click on the plus next to each folder to expand and display additional folders. The right side contains the contents, or registry values, for each folder that is selected or highlighted.

Import and Export

The Registry Editor, or regedit, provides the ability to import and export registry settings to and from a standard text file. When registry settings are exported from regedit, they are stored in a text file with the extension .reg. A backup of the Windows registry can also be imported to restore the system to a previous configuration.


Values or keys can be changed in regedit by double-clicking on the "Name" column to display the Edit String dialog box. The data column can be modified by entering or changing the value in the "Value Data" field. The value data is usually indicated by a number that can range from 0 to 2 or 3 depending on what the value is indicating.

Adding Entries

Entries and values can be added to the registry by using the "New" option from the "Edit" drop-down menu. The options that are available are string binary value, dword value, multiple string value and expandable value. Each of these values has a different effect on the entry for which it is being used.


Making changes to the Windows registry by modifying or deleting values and keys can cause major problems that may require reinstalling specific programs, including the operating system. Always make a backup copy of the registry (see Resources) before making any changes, and do not make changes unless you are sure of what you are doing.