What is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE? This post introduces the definition and location of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, as well as how to open and view the registry keys under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE Windows Registry tree. If you need a free data recovery software, hard drive partition management software, system backup and restore software, MiniTool software has all of them.


HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, also known as HKLM, is one of the Windows Registry root keys.

Windows Registry is a database that contains Windows operating system configuration settings. Windows Registry is categorized into different trees. If you open Windows Registry Editor, you can find several different root keys. Each registry root key includes different information of a specific Windows function.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE root registry tree contains many local computer settings and configurations. It contains five main registry subkeys: SOFTWARE, SYSTEM, SECURITY, SAM, and HARDWARE.

HKLM registry hive contains the majority of the configuration information of Windows OS, installed software, Windows services, device and hardware drivers. It also includes the boot configuration of your Windows 10/8/7/Vista computer.


As for the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE location on Windows 10, you can easily access HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE on Windows computer by following the steps below.

Step 1. You can press Windows + R to open Windows Run dialog, type regedit in Run box, and press Enter button to open Windows Registry.

Step 2. Find HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE in the left panel of Registry Editor. Click the arrow icon next to it to expand HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.


Tip: If you’ve opened and used Registry Editor before, you may need to collapse the opened registry keys to find HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE root key.

Registry Subkeys in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE

After you expand HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, you can check the registry subkeys under it. Generally it includes the subkeys below.


But the subkeys under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE may be different in different computers and Windows OS versions. Some newer computers may not have the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\COMPONENTS key.

The SOFTWARE subkey may be the registry key that users access most commonly. It stores configuration information of various programs installed on the computer. When you installed a program, it will write data to the SOFTWARE registry key to store the application settings. Next time you open the application, its specific settings will be automatically loaded into the computer memory. In this way, you don’t have to configure the program when you use the program each time.

The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion key contains configuration settings of various components of your Windows computer.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE Windows registry key

The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services key includes configuration settings of various Windows services.

The HARWARE key contains configurations of BIOS, hardware devices, processors, etc. For instance, you can easily check BIOS version on your Windows computer.

Bottom Line

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE doesn’t actually exist on the computer, it is just a container holding various registry data. If you need to edit any registry key under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and change its value data, you can access HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE by opening Registry Editor.

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