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Article ID: 141377 - Last Review: January 19, 2007 - Revision: 8.4

This article was previously published under Q141377

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SUMMARY

Windows NT-based operating systems include two utilities for editing the registry, Regedit.exe and Regedt32.exe. This article describes the differences between the two utilities for each Windows NT-based operating system.

MORE INFORMATION

Windows NT 3.x

Regedit.exe

Regedit.exe is the registration editor for 16-bit Windows. It is used to modify the Windows registration database. The database is located in the Windows directory as Reg.dat. The database contains information about 16-bit applications, and is used by File Manager for opening and printing files. It is also used by applications that support Object Linking and Embedding (OLE). Reg.dat is used and maintained by Windows on Windows (WOW) and 16-bit Windows applications. The WOW layer resides on top of theVirtual DOS Machine (VDM).

Regedit.exe is a 16-bit application that is included in Windows NT for compatibility with previous 16-bit applications. Regedit provides a method for examining Reg.dat under Windows NT. You can migrate the Reg.dat database file to the Windows NT registry during the first logon to aninitial installation of Windows NT.

Regedt32.exe

Regedt32.exe is the configuration editor for Windows NT. It is used to modify the Windows NT configuration database, or the Windows NT registry. This editor allows you to view or modify the Windows NT registry.The editor provides views of windows that represent sections of the registry, named hives. Each window displays two sections. On the left side, there are folders that represent registry keys. On the right side, there are the values associated with the selected registry key. Regedt32 is a powerful tool. You must use extreme caution when you use it to change registry values. Missing or incorrect values in the registry can make the Windows NT installation unusable.

Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000

Regedit.exe

Regedit.exe is included with Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 primarily for its search capability. You can use Regedit.exe to make changes in the Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 registry, but you cannot use it to view or edit all functions or data types on Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000.

The following limitations exist in the Regedit.exe version that is included with Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000:
  • You cannot set the security for registry keys.
  • You cannot view, edit, or search the value data types REG_EXPAND_SZ and REG_MULTI_SZ. If you try to view a REG_EXPAND_SZ value, Regedit.exe displays it as a binary data type. If you try to edit either of these data types, Regedit.exe saves it as REG_SZ, and the data type no longer performs its intended function.
  • You cannot save or restore keys as hive files.
Microsoft recommends that you use Regedit.exe only for its search capabilities on a Windows NT 4.0-based or Windows 2000-based computer.

Regedt32.exe

Regedt32.exe is the configuration editor for Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000. Regedt32.exe is used tomodify the Windows NT configuration database, or the Windows NTregistry. This editor allows you to view or modify the Windows NT registry.The editor provides views of windows that represent sections of theregistry, named hives. Each window displays two sections. On the leftside, there are folders that represent registry keys. On the right side,there are the values associated with the selected registry key. Regedt32 isa powerful tool, and you must use it with extreme caution when you changeregistry values. Missing or incorrect values in the registry can make theWindows installation unusable.

Note Unlike Regedit.exe, Regedt32.exe does not support importing and exporting registration entries (.reg) files.

Windows XP and Windows Server 2003

Regedit.exe

Regedit.exe is the configuration editor for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Regedit.exe is used tomodify the Windows NT configuration database, or the Windows NT registry. This editor allows you to view or modify the Windows NT registry. It supports setting security on registry keys, viewing and editing REG_EXPAND_SZ and REG_MULTI_SZ, and saving and restoring hive files. On the left side, there are folders that represent registry keys. On the right side, there are the values associated with the selected registry key. Regedit is a powerful tool. You must use extreme caution when you use it to change registry values. Missing or incorrect values in the registry can make theWindows installation unusable.

Regedt32.exe

In Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, Regedt32.exe is a small program that just runs Regedit.exe.

REFERENCES

For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
256986  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/256986/ ) Description of the Microsoft Windows Registry
For additional information on Regedit and Regedt32, seeHelp for these utilities or Resource Kit Tools Overview Help in theWindows NT Resource Kit.

APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, 64-Bit Datacenter Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
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