How to Open Windows Registry: A Comprehensive Guide

By Puja Chatterjee on May 14, 2023

You may edit, make some changes in the features, or fix errors in the Windows Registry, provided you know how to open it and what exactly you are doing.

This article will take care of the former and describe the ways in which you can open THE Windows Registry, more commonly referred to as THE Registry Editor.


Why Do You Need to Open the Windows Registry?

You will need to open the Windows registry to create or delete registry keys and values. You may also need to edit or fix errors in the registry and therefore need to open it.

Advanced users also need to open and use the Windows Registry to:

Now that you know the reason to open the Windows Registry, here is how you can do it.

A word of caution:

If you do not have adequate knowledge of the files stored in the registry, you should not open the registry and make any changes in them.

Ways to Open the Windows Registry Editor

How to Open Windows Registry

Perhaps the easiest way to open the Windows Registry Editor is from the Windows Search, by typing registry and hitting Enter. Alternatively, using a desktop shortcut or keyboard shortcut keys are also a couple of easy and quick ways to do it.

There are also other ways to open the registry editor, such as:

You will find all of these methods described below, along with the steps to follow. So, continue reading.

Method 1: From the Windows Search Bar

One of the easiest ways to open the Windows Registry is from the Windows search bar.

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Type regedit

This will take you to the Windows Registry Editor window with the folders, as shown in the image below, which you can navigate to make the necessary changes.

Windows Registry Editor

Method 2: Use the Command Prompt, PowerShell or Run Command

You can also access the Windows Registry by running commands in the Command Prompt, PowerShell, or Run box.

Though these are three different approaches, the process to follow is almost the same.


Right-click on Command Prompt

(You can also click on Run as administrator written on the right side of the window, as indicated by a red arrow in the above image.)

In the Command Prompt, type regedit

This will open the Windows Registry.

Select Windows PowerShell

Windows Powershell type regedit

Type regedit in Run Command

Method 3: From Regedt32

A somewhat roundabout way to open the Windows Registry is via the Regedt32 file as well.

For that, first you will need to access the System32 folder from the File Explorer and open the file to go to the Windows Registry.


Local Disk

Now, double-click on it to open the registry editor window.

Method 4: Create a Desktop Shortcut

If you want to access the Windows Registry window quickly, you can create a desktop shortcut for it as well.



This will create a shortcut on the desktop. Now, double-click on the icon on the desktop to open the Windows Registry quickly.

Alternatively, you can also create a desktop shortcut in the following way:

Right-click on a blank space on the desktop to Create Shortcut

This will open the Create Shortcut window.

Type regedit in the box under Type the location of the item

(This is however optional, and you may leave it as regedit if you want).

Type a name for this shortcut: such as Registry Editor

This will create a shortcut to the registry with its official logo.

If the version of Windows operating system on your PC allows you to, you can even drag the icon of this newly created shortcut to the Windows Registry and release it on the taskbar to pin it there, as shown in the image below:

Windows Registry on task bar

You can also right-click on the desktop shortcut and select the Pin to taskbar option from the drop-down menu, marked by a red box in the image below, for the same.

select the Pin to taskbar option

Additionally, you can also click on Pin to Start, marked by an arrow in the image above, to pin the Windows Registry to the Start Menu.

It will now feature in the tiles sections of the Start menu as well as within the Windows Administrative Tools, as shown in the image below.

Windows Administrative Tools

This will offer you even quicker access.

Method 5: Using Shortcut Keys

You can even create shortcut keys to access the Windows Registry now that the desktop shortcut for it has been created.


Windows Registry Properties

This will open the regedt32 – Shortcut Properties window.

regedt32 - Shortcut Properties window

Now you can use the shortcut keys Ctrl + Alt + E at the same time from your keyboard to open the Windows Registry quickly.

Method 6: From the Windows Administrative Tools

Once again, from the File Explorer, you can also access the Windows Administrative Tools and open the Windows Registry.


From the File Explorer, go to This PC > Local Disk (C:) > ProgramData > Microsoft > Windows > Start Menu > Programs > Windows Administrative Tools > Registry Editor.

This PC > Local Disk

Method 7: From the Task Manager

Though not many users are aware of it, you can also open the Windows Registry from the Task Manager.


Task Manager more details

Run new task

Method 8: From the Control Panel

If you did not know already, please be informed that there is also an applet called Registry Editor in the Control Panel. You can therefore use that to access the registry.

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System and Security category

Administrative Tools

Look for Registry Editor in the following window

Now you can either double-click on it to open it normally or select it, right-click on it and select Run as administrator to open it with administrative privileges and rights, as shown in the image above.

Method 9: From the Desktop Context Menu Shortcut

Normally, you will not find the Registry Editor option in the desktop context menu. However, you can add this app to it in the following way and then click on it to access it anytime you want to.


In the registry, either double-click on the following folders or click on the small arrow beside each of them to expand them:

When you reach there, right-click on the Shell folder.


Default string of the command key


In the context menu, you will see the Registry Editor key added.

In the context menu Registry Editor key added

Depending on the version of Windows operating system installed on your computer, you may additionally have to go to and click on Show more options from the drop-down menu to see it.

Now click on the context menu shortcut for the Windows Registry to open it.


So, all these times, if you thought that you could open the Windows Registry by making a number of clicks on different files and folders in the File Explorer, after reading this article, you now know how wrong you were.

Now you can follow different methods to your liking to open the registry and get on with your work.