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'Registry' has several meanings, all of which relate to its general meaning. A Registry is the 'thing' that holds the 'register' record of the 'ownership' of a 'thing'. For example, HM Land Registry records the proprietorship of land in the UK, Nominet UK is the registry of domain names that end in '.uk', and the 'registry' in an operating system records which hardware uses what part of the memory space and addressing.


Breeding registries

A breed registry for animals records not only the animal's ownership but also its ancestry.

Domain name registries

See domain name registry.

Registries in the context of operating systems

The registry is a database used to store settings and options for the operating system, especially for Microsoft Windows 32-bit versions. It contains information and settings for all the hardware, software, users, and preferences of the PC. Whenever a user makes changes to "Control Panel" settings, or file association s, system policies, or installed software, the changes are reflected and stored in the registry.

(Taken from

Many optimization and "hacking" tools are available to modify this portion of the Windows operating system.

On Windows 9x computers, an older installation can have a very large registry that slows down the computer's startup and can make the computer unstable.


  • DNS (Domain Name Service)
  • Regedit - a tool that comes with Windows to modify one's registry (select "run" from the Start Menu and type "regedit")
  • Regclean - an unsupported, downloadable tool from Microsoft for Windows to clear out old Registry entries.

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Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45