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The Registry is a single location in the Windows operating systems that keeps information such as hardware data, system options, computer memory, and system startup sequences. The Registry is similar to and a replacement for the simpler INI (initialization) and configuration files from earlier Windows systems.
The Registry stores system configuration preferences and user profile information such as wallpaper, color schemes, and desktop arrangements in a file called user.dat. It also stores hardware and software details, such as device management and file extension associations, in a file called system.dat.