What the Registry Does

Without the Registry, Windows does not have enough information to run. It certainly doesn't have enough information to control devices, to run, and to control applications, or to respond to user input. The Registry essentially performs the following functions:

□ Hardware and device driver information: For the operating system to access a hardware device, it gets the location and settings of the driver from the Registry, even if the device is a basic input/output system (BIOS)-supported device. Drivers are independent of the operating system, but Windows still needs to know where to find them and how to use them. So information such as their filename, location, version, and configuration details must be accessed; otherwise they would be unusable.

□ Application information: When you launch an application, the Registry supplies all the information the operating system needs in order to run it and manage it.

The Registry also contains information such as file locations, menus and toolbars, window status, and other details. The operating system also stores file information in the Registry, such as installation date, the user who installed it, version number, add-ins, and so on.

Often, applications store temporary or runtime information in the Registry, such as the current position of a window, the last document opened by a user, or the value of a Don't display this check box.

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