How to Quickly Find a Key, Value, or Data in the Windows Registry with Regedit

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This tip is for more advanced users. It applies to Windows XP / Vista / 7

Entries in the Windows Registry can have very long paths and navigating to a particular entry with the Registry editor Regedit can be tedious.  Fortunately, Regedit has a “Find” feature that can simplify many (but not all) searches. Here is how to use it:

  1. Open the Registry Editor Regedit.
  2. Press the keyboard combination Ctrl + F.
  3. The “Find” dialog will open. (See the figure below.) Put a check by the type of entry you are looking for- keys, values, or data. If in doubt, check them all but that makes the search take longer. You can also restrict searches by checking “Match whole string only”.
  4. In the “Find what” box, enter the key, value, or data you are looking for. Do not enter the complete path. Also, the search function cannot find binary values or REG_DWORD entries. It searches key names, value names, and string data.
  5. Click “Find next”. The Registry has many entries and a search may take several minutes.
  6. Sometimes there are numerous subkeys with the same name, such as “CurrentVersion”. Pressing the key “F3” will search for additional entries.

Regedit Find function

Related article:
Learn How to Use the Windows Registry Editor (Regedit) in One Easy Lesson

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs a Windows blog called The PC Informant and also operates a computer education website.

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