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Where is the Windows Registry Files stored?

I want to know where is registry stored in windows 7? I don't want to open it with regedit. I want the actual files and way to open them(because most of the time file formats are strange).

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Dec 23 '10 at 21:43

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

marked as duplicate by Mehper C. Palavuzlar, nhinkle, Sathya, Diago Dec 24 '10 at 15:17

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
You really really shouldn't be opening Registry hives with anything other than the registry editor, regedit.exe. Anything else is liable to break your entire system beyond any hope of repair. –  nhinkle Dec 23 '10 at 22:02
    
I don't understand why this was migrated from StackOverflow, since it seems not only the locations but the formats are desired, and the format is definitely a programming question. –  Mark Ransom Dec 23 '10 at 22:10
    
Second part of the question is related to programming. I also can't understand why they migrated it here. –  narayanpatra Dec 25 '10 at 18:46

1 Answer 1

up vote 13 down vote accepted

They are called registry hive files. They are (mostly) located in the %SystemRoot%\System32\Config directory. Much more info available in the MSDN.

Note: I would not touch these files with an infinitely long pole.

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I predict a question sometime soon along the lines of, "Help... I've corrupted my registry and now Windows won't start!" :p –  Andrew Barber Dec 23 '10 at 21:41
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HKCU is stored in %Userprofile%\NTUser.dat, though –  Joey Dec 23 '10 at 21:46
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I second this motion "Note: I would not touch these files with an infinitely long pole." –  brandon927 Dec 23 '10 at 21:54
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No problem touching them, as long as it's read-only. –  Mark Ransom Dec 23 '10 at 22:10
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@grawity, HKCU\Software\Classes registry hive is stored in %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\UsrClass.dat. Windows 7 and 8 both, I believe. –  Baodad May 16 at 14:31

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