Problems with the computer itself will usually occur because of invalid or missing keys in the Windows registry. Some signs of trouble include computer system crashes, stalls, or even a noticeably slower operating speed. Of course knowing what causes errors in your system registry can go a long way to avoiding registry problems in the future. In most cases, problems with your registry occur from user actions mainly involving the installation or removal of software and hardware on your computer.

While damaged configuration files can have the same result to other operating systems, the damage can be more easily repaired by booting to another operating system, and using a text editor. The user-specific HKEY_CURRENT_USER user registry hive is stored in Ntuser.dat inside the user profile. nwnp32.dll On Windows- NT based systems, each user’s settings are stored in their own files called NTUSER.DAT and USRCLASS.DAT inside their own Documents and Settings subfolder (or their own Users subfolder in Windows Vista).

Modify Values & Data In A
Registry Key

This centralized database contains environmental settings for various Windows programs. It also contains registration information that details which types of filename extensions are associated with which applications.

How Is The Registry Structured?

If this happens, you can restore the registry to the state it was in when you last started the computer successfully. Editing a registry can be a difficult task and you should read through the help files for your specific Windows operating system before giving any further thought to editing the registry yourself. Users can experience computer problems caused by system registry errors for several reasons.

  • Right click on the key name, and open the "New" submenu.
  • If you want to download the Registry tools listed below in one zip file, click here.
  • RegFromAppRegFromApp monitors the Registry changes made by the application that you selected, and creates a standard RegEdit registration file (.reg) that contains all the Registry changes made by the application.
  • You can use the generated .reg file to import these changes with RegEdit when it’s needed.

This is usually a less specific approach, but often results in interesting findings that I can incorporate into other, future analysis. There have also been times where I’ve discovered information about other Registry keys and values that were unrelated to the case at hand but may be useful during future analysis. Editing the Windows Registry is easy—so long as you move slowly.

only that, but there are also a number of keys and values, as we’ll discuss later in this book, in which information persists beyond that deletion or removal of applications and files. That’s right…if a user accesses a file or installs and runs an application, the indications of these actions (and others) will remain long after the file or application has been removed and is no longer available.

This is due to the fact that much of the “tracking” that occurs on Windows systems is a function of the operating system, of the environment, or ecosystem in which the application or user functions. As such, much of this activity occurs without the express knowledge of the user or application…it just happens. Understanding this, as well as understanding its limitations, can open up new vistas (no pun intended) of data to an analyst. I’ve also used WRR to browse through a hive file after other analysis processes have completed, looking for data that may be of use.

To repair, copy or restore Windows registry files you can use a program allowing automated registry saving, for example, Handy Backup. This program will automatically detect any Windows registry location and access to any data stored in it to back up or restore these data.

Backup, Add, Modify And Delete
Registry Keys And Values

So, when you double-click a file in Windows Explorer, the associated application runs and opens the file you double-clicked. You can edit the Registry directly by using the Registry Editor provided with the operating system. However you must take great care because causing errors in the Registry could disable your computer. You should not edit registry data that does not belong to your application unless it is absolutely necessary. If there is an error in the registry, your system may not function properly.