The Registry Editor icon.

Windows and a lot of third-party applications store their settings in the registry. There are many options (particularly, those for Windows itself) that you can only change in the registry. Let’s open the Registry Editor so you can edit these!

What Is the Registry Editor?

The Windows registry is a hierarchical database that contains all the configurations and settings Windows uses. The Registry Editor is the application you use to view, edit, or even create different values in the database. For example, if you want to disable the lock screen on Windows 10 Home, you have to open the Registry Editor to do it.

You shouldn’t use the Registry Editor unless you know what you’re doing because you could corrupt your Windows operating system. However, if you find a registry hack on a trusted website, you’ll have to open the Registry Editor to make the change.

Warning: Registry Editor is a powerful tool, and misusing it could render your system unstable, or even inoperable. If you’ve never worked with the Registry Editor before, give this a read before you get started. And definitely back up the registry and your computer before you make any changes.

RELATED: How to Backup and Restore the Windows Registry

We also recommend you create a System Restore point before you make any edits. Then, if something goes wrong, you can always rollback your system.

Open Registry Editor from the Run Box

Press Windows+R to open the Run dialog box, type “regedit” in the text field, and then press Enter.

Type "regedit" in the text field in the "Run" dialog box.

A User Account Control (UAC) dialog appears asking if you want Registry Editor admin privileges; Click “Yes” and Registry Editor opens.

The "Registry Editor" in Windows 10.

Open Registry Editor via Command Prompt or PowerShell

You can also open Registry Editor from either Command Prompt or PowerShell. The command is the same for both apps, but we’re using PowerShell.

Open PowerShell, type “regedit,” and then hit Enter.

The "regedit" command in a "Windows PowerShell" window.

Click “Yes” when the UAC dialog appears and the Registry Editor will open.

Open Registry Editor from File Explorer

If you prefer, you can also open Registry Editor from the address bar in File Explorer. To do so, just open “File Explorer,” type “regedit” in the address bar, and then press Enter.

"regedit" in the address bar of "File Explorer."

Click “Yes” in the UAC prompt, and the editor will open.

Open Registry Editor from the Start Menu Search

If you want to open Registry Editor from the Start menu, click either the Start menu or the Search icon, and then type “Registry Editor” in the text field.

Click the Search icon, and then type "Registry Editor" in the text box.

In the search results that appear, click “Registry Editor” to trigger the UAC prompt and open the editor.

Click "Registry Editor."

Click “Yes” when the prompt appears, and Registry Editor will open.

Open Registry Editor from a Shortcut

If you’d rather open Registry Editor from a shortcut, it’s easy to create one for your Desktop.

To do so, just right-click an empty spot on the Desktop. In the context menu, click New > Shortcut.

Click "New," and then select "Shortcut."

In the window that appears, type “regedit” in the text box, and then click “Next.”

Type "regedit" in the text field, and then click "Next."

Name the shortcut, and then click “Finish” to create it.

Type a name for your shortcut in the text box, and then click "Finish."

Your new shortcut for the Registry Editor will appear on the desktop. Double-click the icon and allow the app admin privileges from the UAC prompt to open it.

A Registry Editor shortcut icon on a Windows desktop.

If you want, you can bypass the UAC prompt altogether when you open Registry Editor, or any other program that requires elevated privileges.

RELATED: Create Administrator Mode Shortcuts Without UAC Prompts in Windows 10


Now that you know how to open the Registry Editor, try out some of our favorite Registry hacks!

Brady Gavin Brady Gavin
Brady Gavin has been immersed in technology for 15 years and has written over 150 detailed tutorials and explainers. He's covered everything from Windows 10 registry hacks to Chrome browser tips. Brady has a diploma in Computer Science from Camosun College in Victoria, BC.  
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