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Windows Registry is the central database used to store all the settings, application settings and other vital information in Windows operating system. When Windows is running it is continuously referring to Registry to sort data out. So because of this a corrupt Registry might stop Windows from booting.

Since all the information is saved in the Registry and there is a dedicated Registry Editor in Windows, users manually edit the Registry manually to make necessary changes.


The built-in Registry Editor allows users create of a specific key or value so that users can easily revert changes made to the Registry. After selecting a Registry key or value, one can click the File and then click Export button to back up the selected key or value. The backup file of Registry is saved with .REG extension, and you can double-click on the .REG file to restore the information back into the Registry.

Where are the Registry files stored?

If you are troubleshooting an unbootable computer or want to backup all Registry hives before formatting the drive so that you can easily restore your settings on your new Windows install.

Registry hives are located in Windows\System32\Config folder. That is, for instance, if Windows is installed on drive “C”, you can find Registry hives by navigating to C:\Windows\System32\Config folder.


When opening Config folder for the first time you will see a message that “You don’t currently have permission to view this folder”. This is a one-time thing and once you click continue to access the folder you won’t see the message again.

As you can see in the picture above, the Registry is not a single file. Each Registry Hive has a couple of supporting files and all supporting files except for HKEY_CURRENT_USER are saved in the Config folder. Supporting files for HKEY_CURRENT_USER are stored in your profile folder.

To know which file supports which hive, refer the table below.

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How to open Registry files located in Config folder?

The Registry hives located in Config folder of Windows operating system can be opened using the built-in Registry Editor or any other third-party Registry Editing software.


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Nooruddin Ahmed

The author Nooruddin Ahmed

An avid football fan. Lives for the weekend game.Aviation enthusiast. Believes in letting bygones be bygones.

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