If used carefully, the Windows Registry can be a powerful tool for making changes to Windows on your computer.But it's not the easiest thing to navigate, and looking for individual entries in Registry Editor can be confusing.
Thankfully, there is an easier and more powerful way to search the Windows registry.
What is the Windows Registry?
The Windows Registry is a database of settings and configurations for many parts of the Windows operating system.It was introduced in Windows 3.1 and has been an integral part of the operating system ever since.
When a new program is installed, a new entry named Key is added to the registry. Inside the Key is the value, kind of like a file in a folder.Values can contain the program's location, version number, settings configuration, and more.
Modifications to the registry are not recommended if you are not confident in what you are doing.Incorrect changes to an important key or value can cause your computer to crash or stop working entirely.More likely, it will break software associated with that value.
Download and set upRegScanner
One of the biggest headaches when working in a registry is finding the keys and values you want to edit.You can use the lookup function, but it doesn't always work if you don't know the exact value name.
RegScanneris a small, lightweight tool that lets you search for keys and values using several variables.You can search by value type, such as DWORD or SZ, or even by the date the value was modified.You can download it from NirSoft websiteRegScanner.There are several different versions, including an x64 version.
Download the version you want and unzip the folder.RegScanneris a portable tool.It doesn't need to be installed before you can use it.Just double-click on the RegScanner executable to get started.
When RegScanner is open, the Scanning Options pane opens.This might be confusing at first, but it's not as difficult to use as it first seems.
Search the Windows Registry with RegScanner
RegScanner gives you several ways to search the registry for keys and values.You can search for specific values or share values of specific qualities, such as data length.
Search by name
Searching by the exact name of the value is the easiest way to find registry keys.When searching for the name of a value, the results should usually contain only one item.
1. Open RegScanner, and if the Scan Options pane does not open automatically, click the New Scan button.
2. In the Lookup String field, enter the name of the value you are looking for.For example, "StuckRects3".
3. Change the Match field to Exact match or Registry entry contains one or more words.
4. If you are not sure if it is the name of a value or a key, leave all options in the View field checked.
5. Near the bottom of the scan options, select the underlying key (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, etc.) where you think the value is located.If you are not sure, you can choose all.
6. Click Scan and wait for the results to appear in the main pane.In the case of an exact name search, there should be only one result.You can double-click it to open it in Registry Editor.
You can easily search by other data types, such as DWORD values, or even by a full string.Just change the match field to the data type you use.
Search by modified date
If you know when a value or key was last modified, perhaps when you installed some software, you can refine your search by date.
1. In the scan options, if you have a search term, enter your search term.If not and you just want to search for all values modified within a date range, leave blank.
2. There are two time modifiers to choose from in the Time Filter field.Show only the most recent and only show within the specified range.
3. Select the time filter that suits your needs and set the time range or date range as required.Then click the Scan button.
4. When you find the value or key you are looking for, you can double-click it to open it in Registry Editor.
Note that even looking for keys or values that have been modified in the past few minutes, there could still be hundreds of results, especially if you've been using your computer during that time.Entering even a small amount of information in the lookup field reduces the number of results.
Export registry values as REG file
When you scan and find the registry value you want, you can easily export it as a REG file.You can use this REG file later, share it, or copy it to another computer.When the REG file is run, it will overwrite the corresponding value in the registry.
1. In RegScanner, search for and find the value you want to export as a REG file.
2. Select the value and click the "Export Selected Items" button or "File > Export Selected Items".You can also use the shortcut Ctrl + E.
3. Select the export location and enter a filename that you will remember.
You can also save keys and values as a text file.However, this is just a record or to see the data it contains - you can't use a text file in the same way as a REG file.
Using Find in Registry Editor
A limited search tool is built into the Registry Editor.It only allows you to search by value, data or key name.It also doesn't return a list of results like RegScanner does.If it doesn't find the exact value you entered, it won't return any results.
1. To use the Find feature, open Registry Editor and click Edit.
2. Select Find from the menu and enter a search term in the field.
3. You can choose from key, value, and data, or you can search for all three.
If several values have the same name, if the first result is not what you want, you can press F3 to find the next value.
A Better Way to Search the Windows Registry
The Windows Registry can be a powerful tool as long as you are careful and aware of the changes you make.You can use it to make modifications to applications and features in Windows that might not be available in the standard setup.Finding keys and values isn't always easy, but with RegScanner, searching the registry is less frustrating.
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