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How To Search The Windows Registry For A Key, Value, Or Data

In Windows 10, if you have the path to a key in the Windows Registry, you can simply paste it in the address bar at the top, and tap Enter. The registry will jump straight to the address you’ve entered. It’s much easier than manually going to the location. As great as this feature is, it only works if you have the path to a key. If the only thing you have is the name of a key, you won’t be able to get to it from the address bar. Fortunately, you can search the Windows Registry with a built-in search feature.

The search feature is labelled somewhat poorly; it’s called ‘Find’ and resembles the feature of the same name in Notepad. Still, that is the search feature. To search the Windows Registry, go to Edit>Find.

The Find dialog box lets you narrow your search to a key, a value, or data. You can match the entire string, or just a part of it.

Searching the registry takes a little time so be patient. If it finds the key or value or data that you entered, it will automatically jump to the location and highlight it for you.

This search feature works in all versions of Windows from Windows 7 to Windows 10. The address bar in the registry is exclusive to Windows 10 Creators Update which means it’s possible not everyone on a Windows 10 system has it. The search feature is a great alternative way to get to a particular key or value.

A key or  value may occur more than once within the registry. You can move to the next key or value that matches your search by tapping the F3 key. You won’t have to enter your search words again. It will remember the previous search criteria and continue the search.

Search Within Key

The main search can differentiate between key, value, and data however you cannot use it to restrict search within a particular area. For example, when you search for the key ControlPanel, it will search both HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT and HKEY_CURRENT_USER as well as all other root key locations.

To search within a key, right-click it and select Find from the context menu. Enter what you want to search for, limit the search to a key, value, or data, and restrict it to an exact string match, and tap Enter. The key/value/data the Windows Registry finds through this method will restrict it to the key you right-clicked on.

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