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Please discuss this issue on the article’s talk page. The registry is a hierarchical database that stores low-level settings for the Microsoft Windows operating system and for applications that opt to use the registry. The registry also allows access to counters for profiling system performance.
In simple terms, the registry or Windows Registry contains information, settings, options, and other values for programs and hardware installed on all versions of Microsoft Windows operating systems. For example, when a program is installed, a new subkey containing settings like a program’s location, its version, and how to start the program, are all added to the Windows Registry.
When introduced with Windows 3. 1, the Windows Registry primarily stored configuration information for COM-based components.
Windows 95 and Windows NT extended its use to rationalise and centralise the information in the profusion of INI files, which held the configurations for individual programs, and were stored at various locations. It is not a requirement for Windows applications to use the Windows Registry. NET Framework applications use XML files for configuration, while portable applications usually keep their configuration files with their executables.
Prior to the Windows Registry, . INI files stored each program’s settings as a text file, often located in a shared location that did not provide user-specific settings in a multi-user scenario. According to Microsoft, this offers several advantages over .
Since file parsing is done much more efficiently with a binary format, it may be read from or written to more quickly than an INI file. As well, strongly typed data can be stored in the registry, as opposed to the text information stored in . This is a benefit when editing keys manually using regedit.