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How to open the Registry Editor on Windows 10

The Windows Registry is where some of Windows most critical settings are stored. They’re not in an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand format. Most end-users that would look at it may not know what they’re looking at and for good reason. It’s not something you want to tamper with if you don’t know what you’re doing. That said, the registry lets you change core settings on Windows 10 that are not available from its GUI. Here’s how you can open the Registry Editor on Windows 10 to make these changes.

Making changes will always require administrative rights. If you have decided to make changes to the registry, familiarize yourself with how to back it up, and how to enter Windows safe mode before you dive in, just in case something goes wrong. Last, don’t make changes unless you know what a change does.

Run box

You can open the registry editor from the Run box. Use the Win+R keyboard shortcut and enter the following. If you’re signed in with the admin account, it will automatically open with admin rights. If not, use Ctrl+Shift+Enter to open it with admin rights.

regedit

Windows Search

You can search for the registry editor in Windows search. Right-click the search result and select the Run as Administrator option. You can search for the registry editor by entering Windows registry, registry editor, or regedit.

File Explorer

Open a File Explorer window and enter the following in the location bar.  Tap enter. If you’re not signed in with the admin user, this will open the registry editor with normal user rights.

regedit

You can also open it from the following location. Right-click the file named regedt32.exe and select the option to run it with admin rights.

C:\Windows\System32

Command Prompt and PowerShell

Open a Command Prompt or PowerShell window and enter the following. Tap enter. You will be prompted to enter the admin username and password. Once you do, the registry editor will open.

regedit

If something goes wrong after a registry change, either revert it back to its original setting or restore the key from the back up that you took. Registry keys don’t have a built-in reset option, and there is no way to reset the entire registry back to its default state. If something goes terribly wrong, your only recourse will be to reset Windows 10.

In addition to being careful with making changes to the registry, you should likewise be just as careful with REG files that you merge to it. They also constitute a change to the registry and may damage the OS.

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