Windows 95/98

Windows Support Menu


Windows 9X Registry

Windows Registry Editor

Getting Started with Registry Editor

Registry Editor is a tool for displaying and editing the registry database. Registry Editor (regedit.exe) is copied to the \Windows directory automatically when Windows is installed.


Making a mistake in editing the registry can cause your system to become unstable and/or unusable.

Whenever possible, use the administrative tools, such as Control Panel or System Policy Editor, to make configuration changes, rather than editing the registry. This is to ensure values are stored properly in the registry when changing the configuration.

If you use Registry Editor to change values, you will not be warned if any entry is incorrect. Editing the registry directly by using Registry Editor can cause errors in loading hardware and software, and can prevent users from being able to start the computer.

To run Registry Editor

  • On the Start menu, click Run and type regedit. Click OK.

Both mouse and keyboard commands can be used to navigate in Registry Editor.

To find specific data in the registry

In the Registry Editor window, double-click any folder icon for a registry key to display the contents of that key


From the Edit menu, click Find. Then type all or part of the text string you want to find, and click options to specify whether you want to find a key name, a value name, or data.

After Registry Editor finds the first instance of the text string, you can press F3 to search for the next instance.

The values of the active key appear in the right pane of the Registry Editor window. Each key contains at least one value with the name Default. Each additional value for a key must have both a name and a data value.

Valid characters to include in a name are A through Z, 0 through 9, blank, and underscore (_). The values appear under Data. In Windows 98, the size of the subkey is unlimited. For better efficiency, use a file to store large amounts of data (subkeys over 64 KB), and then maintain a pointer to this file in the subkey. Individual values within a subkey are restricted to 16 KB of data.


Before modifying registry values, always back up your system.

Dell Computer Corporation does not support editing the registry. Do not edit the registry without consulting a Technical Support Mentor and without taking into account the level of experience of the end user (customer).

To change any value

  1. Click the key in the left pane of the Registry Editor window to display its values in the right pane.
  2. Double-click the value. The Registry Editor displays one of three types of dialog boxes, depending on the type of value you are changing.
Value Type
Text value \The Edit String dialog box appears. Type a new value into the Value Data box. Text values are automatically displayed in quotation marks ("") and the new value is stored immediately in the registry.
Binary value The Edit Binary Value dialog box appears with the value data in hexadecimal format. Select a value to type a new value. When you click OK, the value is stored in the registry.
DWORD The Edit DWORD Value dialog box appears. Select a Base DWORD and enter the value into the Value Data box. A DWORD can never exceed 32 bits.

To add a new value

  1. Click a key, and then right-click in the right pane of the Registry Editor windows to display the context menu.
  2. Select New and then select the value type.

A new entry called New Key #1 is inserted into the registry. New Value #1 represents the value type you chose in step two.

To delete any entry

  • Select the entry, and then select Delete from the shortcut menu


Registry Editor does not have an Undo function. All changes are written directly to the disk. If you want to remove an item from the registry, consider renaming it as opposed to deleting it. However, use caution when renaming because this can affect system functionality.

To rename an entry

  • Select the entry, and then select Rename from the shortcut menu.

Accessing the Registry in Real Mode

Registry Editor runs in MS-DOS real mode. If you can boot your computer to MS-DOS mode, you can access Registry Editor. The file Regedit.exe is on the Windows startup disk and in the \Windows folder. For more information about using Regedit, type Regedit with no command line option at the command prompt, and a help screen appears advising you how to use this tool.

Imports and exports registry files to and from the registry.

REGEDIT [/L:system] [/R:user] filename1
REGEDIT [/L:system] [/R:user] /C filename2
REGEDIT [/L:system] [/R:user] /E filename3 [regpath]
REGEDIT [/L:system] [/R:user] /D regpath2

Specifies the location of the SYSTEM.DAT file.
/R:user Specifies the location of the USER.DAT file
Filename1 Specifies the file(s) to import into the registry
/C filename2 Specifies the file to create the registry from.
/E filename3 Specifies the file to export the registry to.
Regpath1 Specifies the starting registry key to export from.(Defaults to exporting the entire registry)
/D regpath2 Specifies the registry key to delete

To import a registry file into the registry in MS-DOS Registry Editor

  1. On the Start menu, click Shut Down.
  2. Select Restart in MS-DOS mode, and click OK.
  3. At the MS-DOS command prompt, type:

REGEDIT /L:system /R:user filename

For example, the following command will import the contents of Global.reg into User.dat and System.dat:

REGEDIT /L:C:\Windows\/R:C:\Windows\Profiles\A:\Global.reg