First things first: What’s a “Registry”?
Regardless if you’re
talking about Desktop, Notebook or Pocket PCs running a certain version of
Microsoft Windows Operating System, they all have a registry, which basically
is a database of settings and options. According to Wikipedia, “It contains information and settings for
hardware, operating system software, most non-operating system software, and
per-user settings. The registry also provides a window into the operation of
the kernel, exposing runtime information such as performance counters and
currently active hardware.”
A deeper look: What’s a “Registry” made of?
Registries are made of two
components: keys and values and are structured in logical
components called hives. Look at
registry keys like they were folders,
each key having the ability of containing one or several other
“subkeys” and so on. Values on
the other hand are name/data pairs which are stored inside keys.
Short examples might be consisting of the following:
String values usually are paths to applications or
executables. A String value example might be:
DWord values usually define the enabled/disabled,
existing/inexistent, etc. state of the value. A DWord example could be: "Enabled"=dword:00000001
structures of a Registry and, in a typical Windows Mobile environment; you will
have the following hives:
stores information about registered
stores settings that are specific to the
stores settings that are specific to the
contains subkeys corresponding to the
Editing your registry basically comes down to a few
operations you need to understand: adding, deleting and modifying plus registry
import and export.
Most of the times, all editing is done on the values, as
they are the ones that have a finality but there are times though when you need
to create keys
Adding to the registry is done by creating either one or
more values and/or one or more keys. You need to create a value or a key when
the specific value or key is not in your device’s registry. You create
values and keys using the same method: tap and hold on an empty space, tap on
“New” and select “Key” if you want to create a new Key
or select one of the “DWord”, “String”, “Multi
string” or “Binary” in case you want to create a value,
depending on the type of your value to be created. Example!
Deleting from the registry means that you will physically
remove something from the registry, so that the reference is no longer to be
found. You might be required to do so in cases you want to revert to defaults
or undo changes made.
You modify the values of a Registry when you want to
alter behavior related to that exact value. Typical scenarios are:
enable/disable, path settings, and value settings. Example!
Import and Export functionality is important in a
Registry Editor application as it allows you to import a registry patch (which
consists of several registry keys and values) rather than doing some huge edits
yourself, or to Export existing Registry keys and values for several reasons:
backing up, moving to other device, etc.
direct on-device registry editing
The easiest way to edit your registry is to do it
directly, on your device. The advantages are that you can do this any time, any
place without the need of wires, connections or a PC. The applications used to
edit the Registry this way access the Registry on the device directly and so
they save the changes too. These applications are Device applications which
install and run on your Device.
remote registry editing
Heavy Registry editing, in cases you need to undertake
several changes in the Registry, might require you to use, for ease of work
reasons, applications that edit your registry remotely. What does this mean? It
means that you will have your device connected via a wire/Bluetooth to a PC
through ActiveSync or Windows Mobile Device Center, and the application used to
edit the registry will access the Registry from your PC on your device through
the connection. These applications usually are PC applications which install
and run on your PC.
Ok – I understand – how can I find registry edits?
We have a whole section in our wiki devoted to Registry Edits. Check it out!
applications (just some of them, really)
Registry Editor – Popular Stand-alone Windows Mobile Registry Editor
for Windows Mobile
CeRegEditor / CeRegEditor – Popular Remote Windows Mobile Registry Editor for Desktop
TaskManager – A Free Task Manager Containing a Registry Editor
Commander – The Popular File Explorer Alternative With a Registry
Word of Warning!
Registry editing can
be harmful for your device! Be very careful when editing your registry and
always make sure you have a full backup handy just in case!