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Windows 7: Registry Editing for Dummies

18 Mar 2011   #1
Hiker Guy

Windows 7 Pro 64
Registry Editing for Dummies

A few weeks ago I experienced a problem that is still not resolved, with videos on my WMP12 being impossible to view, even though audio is fine. I am still trying to figure this out. Not sure what triggered this.

Decided to deactivate WMP12 in Windows 7 for the time being, so it is not active at the moment.

Now, before anyone goes hyper on the next area, please realize that I am a "tourist" in the registry area. These are innocent questions. I really need a "Registry Editing for Dummies"....

Was poking around (and not changing anything) in the registry, and found the Media Player section, and have wondered if it would help or harm things to delete this entire section out of the registry. It is not "installed" on the computer (turned off). Wouldn't this be rebuilt when I reactivate WMP12? Or, are there particular values I should modify/remove, to get the setup back to OEM type condition? I thought perhaps there is a corrupted value in this section causing my video playback to not work correctly.

I also found, surprisingly, evidence of the xvid codec and also ffdshow, which I believe are evidences of codec pkgs installed at some time ago. (I used to have a FLV player and VLC player, both since removed). Still see a reference to VLC media player in the registry, though. Actually, I see references to other older software not on my system anymore.

I am trying to remove all traces of xvid and ffdshow from the PC, in case this is the cause of my problems. I do see a few registry entries mentioning ffdshow and xvid. When I look at my list of installed codecs, however, I only show xvid. I just can't figure out how to find it, much less remove it.

Definitely would like a higher comfort level before messing around in the registry.

So...where to start?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Mar 2011   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

You didn't say what Anti-Virus program you are using but there have been reported problems with WMP using the most recent Avast release
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Mar 2011   #3

Windows 7

Unless you pretty much know what you are doing, or are carefully following a tutorial or other trusted guide, you don't want to be messing with the registry. If you have an extra system that is expendable, you can experiment, knowing you have a good chance of trashing Windows and nedding to reinstall.

For WMP, have you tried installing Shark007 Codecs? I believe they automatically clean up your codec situation upon installation, and set you up for WMP with a couple of ticks in the Settings dialog.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

19 Mar 2011   #4

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86

If you want to clean up obsolete entries, use the reg clean feature of CCleaner.

For your WMP troubles, try this troubleshooting guide.

Windows Media Player Troubleshooting Guide
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Mar 2011   #5

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1

Another reason for creating a system image on an external drive and a recovery disk.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Mar 2011   #6
Hiker Guy

Windows 7 Pro 64

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Buddahfan View Post
You didn't say what Anti-Virus program you are using but there have been reported problems with WMP using the most recent Avast release
I am using Norton, so that should not be an issue.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
If you want to clean up obsolete entries, use the reg clean feature of CCleaner.
I forgot about CCleaner and their registry cleaning capabilities. I just ran it this morning, and it did pick up a number of items. This is good, thx.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by debugged View Post
Unless you pretty much know what you are doing, or are carefully following a tutorial or other trusted guide, you don't want to be messing with the registry.
Which is precisely why I posted here. I trust you guys, to a point. :) Re-installing everything would be painful in many ways, but doable.

Before I go installing other codecs, I am trying to solve the core issue of WMP12 not working correctly. In my mind, and without diving completely into my older thread, I am not sure what exactly caused WMP12 not to work correctly.

In my mind, this is caused by either a bad setting in WMP12 (most likely), or a bad codec already on my computer (less likely). That is why I was wondering if I could "delete" the section in the registry on WMP12, and when I "reinstall it", it would come back as a fresh installation, and no corrupted settings. I have deleted the folders in the Program files for WMP12, but that did not seem to solve the issue.

Seriously, where does one find a good tutorial on editing the registry?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Mar 2011   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


If you really want to try editing the registry...

Open start menu, type in regedit, click enter. That should get you into the registry editor (screen shot 1.)

Registry Editing for Dummies-reg1.jpg

Click on File to access drop down menu, and select Export. This will let you save a copy of the current registry to a location of your choosing (the desktop is always a good choice so you can find it again.) If you mess up the registry you should theoretically be able to open regedit again and import that saved copy.

Once you've saved your exported copy of the registry you should be back at the main registry dialog box (screen shot 1.) Click Ctrl + F (hold down the control key and click the letter F key one time.) This should open the Find dialog box (screen shot 2.)

Registry Editing for Dummies-reg2.jpg

From here you can type in "ffdshow" (without the quotes) and click Find Next button. If the search finds any reference to ffdshow the scan will stop and the reference will be highlighted in either the left or right pane. In this example (screen shot 3) I searched for MSN.

Registry Editing for Dummies-reg3.jpg

You can then use the Delete key on your keyboard to delete that specific reference if you're absolutely sure you want to delete it. You'll get a prompt "are you sure". Click yes and reference will be deleted. Click the F3 key (top row of keyboard) to resume the scan and search for any other mention of ffdshow. If another reference is found you'd follow the same steps. Click the delete key, answer yes, click F3. Once there are no other references the scan will finish. You could run it a second time just to make sure all references were found and deleted. Sometimes you'll try to delete a reference and you'll get a prompt that it cannot be deleted. Just click F3 to resume the scan. You can use the same procedure to locate references to xvid or anything else you want to find.

I cannot stress this enough. Deleting something critical from the registry could turn your computer into a large paperweight. If in doubt, don't delete. Good luck.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Registry Editing for Dummies

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