How to edit Registry files with PowerToys on Windows 11

Registry Preview is a new PowerToys addon to manage files and apply Registry changes, and here's how to use it on Windows 11.

PowerToys Registry Preview
PowerToys Registry Preview

PowerToys (version 0.69) has a new “Registry Preview” app that makes it easier to preview and edit the Registry on Windows 11 (or 10). The Registry Preview is an app that uses the same modern design language as the operating system with rounded corners and mica material, and it has been created to work with Registry files.

The app doesn’t replace the legacy Registry Editor. However, it allows you to create, edit, and preview them before applying them to the system or saving them on a “.reg” file.

Registry Preview will come in handy to preview files before applying modification to the Registry, and it can be a tool to create Registry files.

This guide will teach you the steps to get started using the PowerToys’ Registry Preview app on Windows 11.

Edit Registry files with PowerToys on Windows 11

If you don’t have PowerToys, you first need to install the application from the Microsoft Store, or you can also use the winget install --id Microsoft.PowerToys command to install the app from Command Prompt.

To use the Registry Preview app to review and edit files and apply changes to the Registry on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open PowerToys on Windows 11.

  2. Click on Registry Preview.

  3. Turn on the “Enable Registry Preview” toggle switch.

    Enable Registry Preview

  4. Click the “Launch Registry Preview” option.

    Quick note: You can also click the “PowerToys” icons in the System Tray and then select the “Registry Preview” option to open the app since it won’t be available from the Start menu.
  5. The Registry Preview interface is divided into four areas, including the toolbar with options to manage files and write changes to the Registry. An editor section on the left side and on the right side, you have a virtual tree view that shows you the path of the Registry setting with the Strings and DWORDs with respective values at the bottom.

    Registry Preview interface

  6. To open a file, you can use the “Open file” button, or you can right-click the “.reg” file, click on “Show more options,” and choose the “Preview” option.

    File Explore Registry Preview context menu

    Quick note: The “Edit file” option opens the Registry file with the default text editor on your computer.
  7. You can also write settings and preview them before applying them to Windows 11 Registry. You only need to follow the format, including stating the “Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00” as the first line, enclose the path in brackets “[]” followed by the setting and its value.

    Create Registry setting

  8. Once you’re done editing the file, you can click the “Save file” or “Save file as” buttons. 

  9. The “Reload from file” option comes in handy if you add changes to the open file using another text editor.

  10. The “Write to Registry” option saves the changes directly into the Registry on your computer. As you click the button, you will need to confirm the changes before committing.

    Write to Registry

  11. The “Open Registry Editor” option will open the legacy Registry Editor on Windows 11.

The Registry Preview app available with PowerToys is a great tool not only to create, edit, or preview “.reg” files but you can also use it to make changes to the Registry. Although you can preview the settings, you can’t preview how changes will affect the system. If the new settings were not written correctly, you could still break the installation.

The app was designed for Windows 11, but it should also work on Windows 10.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].