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Windows Registry - Data types

Data types for the Windows Operating System Registry, it can be useful to know these...
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Notice for the series of registry tutorials

From the help file for regedit about Data-types -

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Data type Description
REG_BINARY Raw binary data. Most hardware component information is stored as binary data and is displayed in Registry Editor in hexadecimal format.
REG_DWORD Data represented by a number that is 4 bytes long. Many parameters for device drivers and services are this type and are displayed in Registry Editor in binary, hexadecimal, or decimal format.
REG_EXPAND_SZ A variable-length data string. This data type includes variables that are resolved when a program or service uses the data.
REG_MULTI_SZ A multiple string. Values that contain lists or multiple values in a form that people can read are usually this type. Entries are separated by spaces, commas, or other marks.
REG_SZ A fixed-length text string.
REG_FULL_RESOURCE_DESCRIPTOR A series of nested arrays designed to store a resource list for a hardware component or driver.

Normally you will deal with data types BINARY and the DWORD when modifying the registry.

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BINARY can be as long as needed to describe the data, how ever it is displayed in hex notation.

DWORD  can be up to four bytes long.

Sample of how to change a color bar of a displayed window:

If you know the name of the key you can just go down the left hand column until you reach it.

If you don't know where the key is but know the name you can search for it.

Once you find it you can then modify or delete it. In this case we will modify it.

In the left column is the key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Appearance\New Schemes\0\Sizes\0

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regedit - screen shot

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER - is the hive
  • Control Panel - is the main label of the key
  • Appearance - is the first sub section
  • New Schemes - is the second sub section
  • 0 - is the is the third sub section
  • Sizes - is the fourth sub section
  • 0 - is the data key

In the right column is the data for the key such as:  Color #0 REG_DWORD 2d2e0e1

  • Name -is the data name
  • Type - is how the data is read
  • Data - is the value of the data

Suppose you want to change the color of part of a window but the choice isn't in the color schema that you selected from the display properties.

  • You search for the key and find the one above, you think or know that the color you want to change is the # 0 and you also know the hex number of the color you want to be displayed when the window is open.
  • You would go to the right column and double click on the name of the data Color #0, a window will open with the data 2d2e0e1 (this is a hex notation) on the right side of the window is a radio button that will convert the base form hex to decimal ie 47374561.
  • You can type or paste your new selection in the box and click ok, then check your work, is the color the one you want?
  • This may or may not require a restart, some changes will require a restart.

This very simple file is extremely powerful in that it controls the functions of all the devices, services, and most programs.

Once you become familiar with the structure and what the different classifications of the data there are a lot of nice customization tweaks you can do to your OS to make it work and look the way you want.

There are a lot of modifications on the internet for your OS, just search for them with the term "reg" in the search box.

I will caution you about getting "registry mods" from the internet - read everything about the mod, copy the name of the mod and do a search on the name. If someone is writing destructive mods there will be some comments about the mod and the person that wrote it.

Normally I get registry mods from popular forums such as Windows 7 forums or the Overclockers forum.

Last word: Back IT UP before you change anything!

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