Basic Differences Between Regedit.exe And Regedit32

Have you ever faced the problem with registry while using the Windows operating system? If yes, then I am sure you might have searched for online help in order to troubleshoot the problem.

There are many online help resources available with which you can and solve this kind of problem. Some may prompt towards the running the Register Editor by using either the ‘Regedit’ or ‘Regedt32’.

When you look at the technical aspects both the commands run the Registry Editor in Windows operating system.

What exactly is the difference between the two commands?

Which one should be used for better solution?

Read this bit of info to get the answer. Basically both the Regedit and Regedt32 commands are .exe files that are used for editing the system registry, and these are included in the Windows NT based operating system.

If you are using the higher versions of windows i.e. Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 etc. both the commands work in the similar fashion. According to studies it has been observed that in the Windows operating systems released prior to the Windows 2000, Regedit had some limitations, and it wasn’t considered as great as Regedt32.

When you consider the Regedt32.exe, it has the capabilities of full ACL modification on all registry entries and it has REG_MULTI_SZ registry data support. In case of Regedit it is essentially used for search purpose. You can find an article written and published by Microsoft which clearly explains the difference between the two exe commands.

Here are some of the basic differences between Regedit.exe and Regedt32.exe when you use different Windows based operating systems.

Windows NT 3.X

Regedit.exe – this is basically a 16-bit registration editor to be used with 16-bit Windows, it is included in the Windows NT which is compatible with earlier 16-bit applications. The main purpose of this command is to modify the Windows registration database. You can locate the database in the Windows directory by name Reg.dat. The database essentially contains all the info regarding the 16-bit applications and this is used by the file manager for opening and printing the files.

Regedt32.exe – this is basically a configuration editor for Windows NT. You can use this command to alter the Windows NT registry or configuration database of Windows NT. With the help of this command you can view or modify the Windows NT registry. This editor gives you a clear view of Windows which is the sections of the registry.

When you see the Windows page there are two columns on the left you will find folders which are the registry keys and on the right hand side you will find values that are linked to the registry keys. You need to be very cautious while you use the command to change the registry, as any incorrect entry or modification can lead to severe damage to the Windows NT installation.

Windows NT 4.0 And Windows 2000

Regedit.exe – this command is included in the Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000. In these operation systems the command is primarily used for searching purpose. The command has the capability of changing the Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 registry. There are certain disadvantages associated with the Regedit.exe such as:

There is no provision for setting the security for registry keys. The command does not allow you to view, search or edit the data type values such as REG_EXPAND_SZ and REG_MULTI_SZ. If at all you try to view the values, the Regedit.exe displays the values as binary.
The command does not allow you to save or restore keys as hive files.

Regedt32.exe – this is a configuration editor for the above said operating systems. This command is used normally to alter the configuration database of Windows NT or the registry. With this you can even view or modify the system registry.


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