I’m trying to register a software program. The company sent me a regkey.reg
file that when clicked on creates a registry item that tells the program that
it’s a registered application.
When I click on the regkey.reg file, it doesn’t run, instead the file opens
How do I get my software registered.
There are a few ways to accomplish this, including making the “.reg”
extension do the right thing. (Though we may elect not to, for security reasons
as we’ll see in a minute.)
I also want to clear up a confusion that some readers may have – software
registration and “the registry” are two different things.
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“The registry” is just a database of information that Windows keeps. I’m
sure you’ve heard it mentioned a time or two already. Applications can keep all
sorts of information in the system registry – everything from where the
application components live, to what your most recently viewed documents have
been, to what color scheme you like to use.
Like I said, it’s a general purpose data storage location.
“Registering” your software is something else. This type of registration is
simply contacting the manufacturer of the software and letting them know that
you have their software. In many cases they then respond with some kind of
information that legitimizes your installation of their software – often
enabling features, or turning off “trial” mode.
Things get confusing because of how this is remembered: it’s placed in the
system database of information. Yes, your software registration information can
be kept in the system registry. The fact that the two words are similar is
One way that information can be placed into the registry is through text
files formatted a particular way, ending with the extension “.reg”. (This
“.reg” stands for “registry”, as in the system registry.) On most machines when
you double click on a “.reg” file, the information in it is entered into the
system registry, usually after asking if that’s what you want to do.
It’s also one unsophisticated way for hackers to mess up your system. You
might well see spam with “.reg” files attached. If you were to double click on
one of those, you would be letting the spammer put things into your system
registry – most definitely not a good idea.
files, so I can explicitly see what’s in them…”
The safe way to install a “.reg” file is as follows:
Click on Start and then Run…
Type in regedit, and then press OK
In regedit, click on File, and then
Enter the filename or otherwise locate the “.reg” file you want to enter,
and press OK
The contents of that “.reg” file will be entered into the registry.
Personally, I kind of like having notepad open up .reg files, so I can
explicitly see what’s in them, and decide whether or not I want to install
them. If I decide I do, then the above steps work well.
If you’d rather make the double click action work to actually directly
install the “.reg” file:
Right click on the “.reg” file in Windows Explorer
Click on Open With…
Click on Registry Editor, if it’s in the list, or use the
Browse button to locate regedit.exe (typically in
Make sure that Always use the selected program to open this kind of
file is checked
Now, if you double click on your “.reg” file, you’ll be prompted to confirm
that you want to add the information in it into the registry. Click
OK on that, and you’re done.