Pre-Windows XP users had two options for editing their Windows computer registry, REGEDIT.EXE and REGEDT32.EXE. This article will explain the differences in features, structure, and interface to give users a better understanding of the two programs.
The first program, Regedit, is included with both Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4. It comes in a graphic user interface, or a GUI, and is structured similarly to the Regedit found in later iterations of Windows. However, it is not designed to function as the primary configuration editor for these operating systems, but rather as a search function. You can also use Regedit when you want to make registry changes in Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4. However, you will not be able to use it to view all of the functions and data types in the aforementioned operating systems. you will also not be able to use it to edit all of the functions or data types in Windows 2000 or Windows NT 4.
There are a few additional limitations to keep in mind. For example, you cannot use this version of Regedit to set any security levels for registry keys in the registry. Similarly, you are not allowed to search, view, or edit a few value data types, including Reg expand sz and Reg multi sz. If you try to view either Reg multi sz or Reg expand sz values, you will only see a binary data type through Regedit. Similarly, if you try to edit either Reg multi sz or Reg expand sz, the data will be saved not as the data type you started with but as Reg sz. The data type will no longer work in the way it was intended to before the attempted edit. This can have negative effects on the performance of your system files and the stability of your operating system. Additionally, when using the older version of Regedit present in Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4, you are not allowed to save or restore keys in the registry as hive files. In their support files, Microsoft recommends users only use this version of Regedit for its search capabilities when using a computer based on Windows 2000 or Windows NT 4.
The second program, Regedit32, is the default means of editing configurations on both Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4. Similar to Regedit, Regedit32 comes in a graphic user interface, or a GUI, and is structured similarly to the Regedit found in later iterations of Windows. The operating system uses Regedit32 to modify the configuration databases and registries in Windows NT and Windows 2000. Through the Regedit32 editor, you can both view and modify the registry in the aforementioned operating systems. You will see views of windows for different parts of the registry; these are known as hives. There are two sections in each window. The left section shows folders that stand for registry keys while the right side shows values that go with selected registry keys. A limitation of Regedit32 is that it does not support the export or import of .reg files.