Friday, July 19, 2024

What happens if you set every Windows 10 registry key to zero? Let’s find out…

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The Windows Registry is obviously a critical component of the Windows operating system, serving as a hierarchical database that stores low-level settings for the OS and applications. It contains configurations for system hardware, installed software, user preferences, and the OS itself.

You can add new functionality to Windows and change how existing features work by creating new registry keys or altering existing ones, typically changing their binary values from 0 to 1 or vice versa. But have you ever wondered what would happen to Windows if — in a moment of madness — you set every registry key to 0? Basically setting them to ‘disabled’ or ‘off’?

Tech site Come on Windows decided to do exactly that in Windows 10 and you can see the results of the experiment in the video below. It should come as no surprise that essential system services and drivers fail to start, and Windows basically becomes unusable.

Wisely the test was performed in VMware, rather than done for real on actual hardware. Had they tried to set every registry value to 0 on a working PC then the results would probably have been even more catastrophic than they actually were, necessitating a complete system reinstall.

It’s a fun little project, but it also underscores the importance of the registry in maintaining system stability and the need for cautious, informed modifications when using registry editors.

Photo credit:  Luis Molinero /Shutterstock

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