Windows stores its configuration information in a database called the registry (The registry editor that ships with Windows is regedit.exe.) The registry contains profiles for each user of the computer and information about system hardware, installed programs, and property settings. Windows continually references this information during its operation.
Registry editors are available that enable you to inspect and modify the registry. However, you should not need to do so. Instead, allow Windows programs to modify the system registry as needed. It is strongly recommended that you do not edit registry settings yourself.
If you do damage your system, you may be able to repair the registry or restore it to the same version you were using when you last successfully started your computer. Otherwise, you must reinstall Windows. When you reinstall your system, you may lose any changes that have been made, such as Service Pack upgrades, which you must reinstall separately. For information about restoring the registry to a previous version, click Related Topics.