About the Windows Registry
Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2
Windows operating systems cannot function without a registry. Nearly every action the computer performs requires the operating system to examine data stored in the registry to determine details like what resource to use, where to write a result, or how to display activity for the user. A registry with erroneous data can cause the computer to perform poorly, incorrectly, or not at all. Erroneous data in the registry can be caused by something as simple as a typing error made while editing the registry, or as serious as a physical disk error. Because of the central role played by the registry, it is essential that you back it up regularly and before making any modifications.
For more information, see the following topics: