Windows Registry

The Windows Registry files are an important part of the Windows boot process. These files are recognized by their distinctive names, which begin with HKEY_, as shown in the figure, followed by the name of the portion of the OS under their control. Every setting in Windows, from the background of the desktop and the color of the screen buttons, to the licensing of applications, is stored in the Registry. When a user makes changes to the Control Panel settings, file associations, system policies, or installed software, the changes are stored in the Registry.

Each user account has a unique section of the Registry. The Windows login process pulls system settings from the Registry to reconfigure the system for each individual user account.

The Registry is also responsible for recording the location of Dynamic Link Library (DLL) files. A DLL file consists of program code that can be used by different programs to perform common functions. As a result, DLL files are very important to the functionality of an operating system and any application users may install.

To ensure that a DLL can be located by the operating system or a program, it must be registered. It is typically registered automatically during the installation process. A user may need to manually register a DLL file when a problem is encountered. Registering a DLL maps the path to the file, making it easier for programs to locate necessary files. To register a DLL file in Windows using the command-line tool, use the following path:

Start > Type cmd in the Search Programs and Files bar > Type regsvr32 filename.dll