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Location Of Registry Files In Windows 7/8/10

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Since almost every information is saved in the Registry and there is a dedicated Registry Editor in Windows operating system, many users often manually edit the Registry to make necessary changes to the operating system.

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The built-in Registry Editor allows users create backup 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 menu and then click Export button to backup 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?

May be you are troubleshooting an unbootable computer or want to backup all Registry hives before formatting the drive so that you can easily restore your personalization 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.

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And when opening Config folder for the first time, you will get a dialog with “You don’t currently have permission to access this folder” message. You just need to click the Continue button to get access to the folder. This is a one-time prompt, and Windows will not display the prompt the next time you try to access the Config folder.

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, check out the following table.

Registry Hives Supporting files
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software Software, Software.log, and Software.sav
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System System, System.alt, System.log, and System.sav
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM Sam, Sam.log, and Sam.sav
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Security Security, Security.log, and Security.sav
HKEY_USERS\DEFAULT Default, Default.log, and Default.sav
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG System, System.alt, System.log, System.sav, Ntuser.dat, and Ntuser.dat.log

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.

We recommend you visit this page of Microsoft for in-depth information of Windows Registry.

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