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Definition: A central hierarchical database in Windows 9x, Windows CE, Windows NT, and Windows 2000 used to store information necessary to configure the system for one or more users, applications, and hardware devices. The Registry contains information that Windows continually references during operation, such as profiles for each user, the applications installed on the computer and the types of documents each can create, property sheet settings for folders and application icons, what hardware exists on the system, and which ports are being used. The Registry replaces most of the text-based .ini files used in Windows 3. x and MS-DOS configuration files, such as AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS. Although the Registry is common to the several Windows platforms, there are some differences among them.
Source: Microsoft Computer Dictionary. 5th ed. Redmond, Wash. : Microsoft Press, 2002. Print.