In all Windows versions, there is a database called the Windows Registry, in which the operating system stores its configuration information. The Windows Registry is made of keys and values that allow Windows to know what settings to use for its tools, features, hardware devices and even some third-party apps. The Windows Registry can be useful and help you in many situations, but before being able to work with it, you must first know how to open it. In this tutorial, we show you seven different ways to launch the Registry Editor, in Windows 10, Windows 7, and Windows 8.1. Let's start:
A few things you should know before going further
This guide covers Windows 10, Windows 7, and Windows 8.1. All the methods work in all three versions of Windows. If you want to learn more about what the Windows Registry is and does, read this article: Simple questions: What is the Windows Registry and what does it do?.
Furthermore, you should also know that the Registry Editor is a tool that allows you to change complex settings regarding the way Windows works. Thus, you cannot run the Registry Editor as a simple standard user, on a standard Windows installation. The Registry Editor always asks for administrative permissions and can only be run as an administrator. You should NOT mess around with the Registry Editor unless you KNOW what you are doing.
1. Open the Registry Editor by using search (all Windows versions)
In Windows 10, probably the fastest way to launch Registry Editor is to use search. Type the word "regedit" in the search box on your taskbar, and then click or tap regedit.
If you are using Windows 7, type "regedit" in the Start Menu search box and click the regedit search result.
In Windows 8.1, switch to the Start Screen and start writing "regedit". Then, click or tap the "regedit" search result.
You get a UAC prompt, and you need to provide the admin password or if you are an administrator, press Yes.
2. Open the Registry Editor by using the Run window (all Windows versions)
Regardless of the Windows version or edition that you have, you can also use the Run window to launch the Registry Editor. Press the Windows + R keys on your keyboard to open Run, and type regedit in the Open field. Then, click or tap OK, or press Enter on your keyboard.
When you see the UAC prompt, press Yes so that the Registry Editor is run.
3. Open the Registry Editor by creating a shortcut for it, anywhere you want (all Windows versions)
If you prefer having shortcuts to all the important things on your Windows PC, you might want to have one for the Registry Editor. When creating the shortcut, the target should be regedit. Then, you can double-click or double-tap on the shortcut, and the Registry Editor opens.
If you do not know how to create shortcuts in Windows, this guide explains the entire process: How to create shortcuts for apps, files, folders and web pages in Windows.
4. Open the Registry Editor by using the Command Prompt or PowerShell (all Windows versions)
Some people prefer the command line instead of graphical interfaces. If you are one of them, you should know that you can also launch the Registry Editor from the Command Prompt or PowerShell. In any of these apps, type the command regedit and press Enter on your keyboard. The Registry Editor should open immediately.
5. Open the Registry Editor by using the Task Manager (all Windows versions)
You can open the Registry Editor using the Task Manager too. Press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys on your keyboard to launch the Task Manager. If you use a Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 PC, the Task Manager might open compact mode. If it does, click or tap "More details." Then, open the File menu, click or tap "Run new task," and type the command regedit in the "Create new task" window. Press Enter on your keyboard or click or tap OK.
6. Open the Registry Editor by using File Explorer (in Windows 10 & 8.1) or Windows Explorer (in Windows 7)
An alternative and relatively fast way to open the Registry Editor is to use the File Explorer or Windows Explorer. Open the file manager from your Windows device and, in its address bar, type "regedit." Press Enter on your keyboard, and the Registry Editor opens immediately.
7. Open the Registry Editor by running its executable file (all Windows versions)
The Registry Editor is an executable file called regedit.exe, which you can find in the Windows folder. Navigate to this location and double-click or double-tap on regedit.exe and the Registry Editor is launched immediately.
Did you ever need to use the Registry Editor on your Windows computer?
Now you know how to open the Registry Editor in Windows, regardless of the version of the operating system. Did you ever need to use the Registry Editor to change advanced settings on your devices? Alternatively, did you want to open it just because of your curiosity to see what it is inside? We would love to hear from you, in the comments section below.