What Is A REG File And How Can Its Contents Be Read?

REG Files Are Used To Make Specific Changes To The Windows Registry Faster. Here’s How You Can Read The Contents Of A REG File And Make Sure It’s Safe Before Running.

A reg file. Contains a list of changes to the Windows registry. These files are a quick way to make simple changes, But you should know that they can be dangerous. In the following, you will see how you can be aware of the changes that the file content will make to your system and whether it is safe before running a REG file.  

What is Windows Registry?

Before getting acquainted with REG files, it is better to know a little about the Windows registry. Windows Registry is a hierarchical database in which Windows and many applications store configuration settings. You can access the registry through the Registry Editor in Windows. 

You have probably used Registry Editor before; Because there are many useful tricks and hacks that you must change in the Windows registry to use them. The view of the files in the Registry Editor is a list of keys (files) on the left and their values ​​on the right.

 Navigating and searching the Windows registry is much like browsing a file using File Explorer. By selecting a key from the left, you can see the values ​​contained in the key on the right.

The registry consists of a complex set of keys and values ​​that number in the thousands; So random clicking on them will not help you; Unless you love to explore. 

What is a REG file?

The Windows Registry is a database in which Windows and some third-party applications store settings and other data. Many of the options in Windows 10 can only be changed in the Windows registry. It is also possible to change some options in Group Policy; But only Professional, Enterprise, and Education versions of Windows 10 can access them and make changes to these options.

You can change these settings by using the registry editor and taking a few clicks; But to speed things up, it is often recommended to use downloadable REG files that you can run to make these changes automatically.

REG files can be created in several ways. To do this, you can use the Export option in the registry editor or manually import the REG file into a text editor such as Notepad.

Why REG files can be dangerous

REG files contain a list of registry changes. When you double-click a REG file, Windows applies the changes specified in the file.

If you have received the REG file from a trusted source and there is nothing wrong with this file, you can use it without worry. You can also write your REG file to quickly make custom changes to your Windows PC.

But if you have not received the REG file from a trusted source and you are not sure how it works, you should be aware that REG files can also be used for malicious and useless tasks. Running such files can disrupt various Windows settings or delete parts of the Windows registry.

How to view the contents of a REG file

We recommend that you check its contents before running the REG file. To view the contents of a REG file, right-click on it in File Explorer and select Edit to open the file in Notepad. If you do not see the Edit option, the REG file may be in a ZIP archive. To continue, you must remove the REG file from the zip archive; You can copy and paste the file into another folder or drag and drop it into the desired folder.

If you downloaded the REG file from the web, you will see an alert notification by selecting Edit before opening the file. Because you only want to open a text file on Notepad, doing so is safe and secure; Then click on Run to continue.

Note that if you accidentally click the Merge option or double-click the file, an account control window will open after clicking Run. If you are not yet ready to add to the registry REG file content, the No button.

How to read a REG file

After the contents of the text file are displayed on the Notepad, if the file contains a simple registry hack, you should see only a few lines in the Notepad. For example, consider the following code:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

; created by me

; for 

; article: https://www.zoomit.ir/281522/how-to-make-your-taskbar-buttons-always-switch-to-the-last-active-window/

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Advanced]

“LastActiveClick” = dword: 00000001

The first line of the file, Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00, shows you what the file type is.

In this file, lines two to four with the symbol “; begin. This means that these lines are just comments and actually do nothing when the file is executed. Comments are placed in the file only for the sake of better readability of the code for humans, and their presence is not required.

The fifth and sixth lines are the main part of this special file. The fifth line tells Windows to make changes to a specific location or key in the registry.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Advanced
The sixth line tells Windows to create a DWORD value called LastActiveClick and set its value to 1.

 If this value (LastActiveClick) already exists, Windows changes its value to 1.

The following registry file can undo the above changes and revert to the previous state:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Advanced]

– = “LastActiveClick”

A minus sign (  ) tells Windows to delete the LastActiveClick value.

REG files can present many lines of changes, all of which have the same format.

How to make sure a REG file is safe

Changes that a REG file makes to the registry can also be made manually; So if you do not have a problem with time, if you do not know what the downloaded REG file will do, and especially if you do not trust the source, it is better not to run it.

If you trust the received REG file, just double-click it or right-click on it and select Merge. Windows asks if you want to allow Registry Editor to make changes to your computer. After agreeing to these changes, the contents of the registry file will be merged with your computer registry.

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