Windows Registry Watcher

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 20, 2009
Updated • Feb 24, 2016
Windows, Windows software

Windows Registry Watcher is a free portable software program for the Windows operating system that monitors and protects important Registry keys.

The Windows Registry is one of the major attack locations for malicious software and it may therefore be wise to use security software to protect important locations of the Registry from being changed without user interaction.

One prime example is the addition of new startup items to the Windows operating system which may not always be malicious in nature but may instead be privacy-invasive or annoying. The Windows Registry contains several locations where those new files can be placed in to have programs loaded during system start.

Windows Registry Watcher Review

Windows Registry Watcher is resource friendly portable software program for the Windows operating system that monitors thousands of values and Registry keys but also files and directory with the option to add, delete or edit any of the monitored locations easily.

The program will update the information every 30 seconds by default but you may adjust the interval between 0 and 9999 seconds. This can be useful if you want real-time protection, or notice that the software's monitoring is taxing the system.

The software can be started right away in Windows XP while you may need to run it with elevated privileges on Vista or newer versions of the operating system. To do so, right-click the executable and select run as administrator from the context menu.

One interesting option that it displays besides the information that it lists after its cans is the option to configure custom or pre-defined security settings that range from light to highest security. The security settings define for example the frequency in which the Registry keys are checked for changes.

The software program can be used to backup and quarantine files as well which can be useful, for instance if you notice that a new file got added to the startup that you do not want loaded with Windows.

It supports audio notifications but can also be configured to send email notifications. The software may also be started from the command line using various parameters like starting the application with a specific security setting. Windows Registry Watcher is probably not the easiest to understand if you do not know what you are looking for or how to configure the alert process.

A good start for first time users is the help file which you can access directly from the application's interface. It describes the core functionality of the program which should help you find your way around it more easily.

It is also important to note that it offers three modes of operation. The default is prompt, which means that you will receive prompts when monitored key values get changed, added or deleted. The two other modes are accept and reject. Accept allows changes to go through automatically, while reject will block any change made to monitored keys.

So, if you want to be in full control, select prompt as you will receive prompts whenever changes are detected.

MJ Registry Watcher is using less than  Megabytes of computer memory when running minimized in the Windows system tray.

Update: The most recent version of the application ships with an option to run the monitoring app as a Windows Service. Options are somewhat limited when you run the program as a service, the prompt action is not available for instance when running the program as a service. Other new features include DDL injection detection

Closing Words

Registry Watcher is a useful albeit slightly complicated monitoring application for Windows to monitor Registry keys and their data, and local folders for changes.

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Author Rating
4.5 based on 2 votes
Software Name
MJ RegWatcher
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  1. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 1:52 pm

    Does it come back after every “moment” update?

  2. Baloney said on March 9, 2023 at 2:23 pm

    Yeah right.. Like this is going to stop defender from running =) This is comedy gold right here.

  3. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    no ‘about the author’ paragraph?

  4. Gregory said on March 9, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    For permanent disable defender is if removed complete from system no just change permission folder.

    Just this is joke.

  5. moi said on March 9, 2023 at 5:57 pm

    simpler, load Autoruns (SysInternals)
    – filter “Defender”
    – untag all entries
    – reboot
    nothing has changed since my 1st modification years ago

  6. John G. said on March 9, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    I wouldn’t disable Defender imho, it has too many hidden roots inside Windows itself. One time I tried to uninstall it using brute force scripts and then the Onedrive feature stopped working definitely. A reinstallation was needed and since those times I prefer to maintain Defender untouched. It’s a better method to install another antivirus and it will disable Defender in a safer and easier mode (e.g., Avast is the best in this way, and also Panda Cloud Free is good too).

    1. Tweakmaster said on September 29, 2023 at 9:57 am

      U are just * [Editor: removed] thats the problem ;p first of all u shall always debloat windows u shall have max 65 services with your drivers for pc and windows own servs. You didnt know what that script did

  7. boris said on March 10, 2023 at 12:19 am

    You can not stop defender from running in background or remove it without some penalty. All you can do is to limit telemetry.

    1. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:52 pm


      It’s probably Smartscreen which is preventing WD from being disabled. Get rid of that and the problem should be solved:

  8. hoho said on March 10, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    Remove Windows and go for Linux.

    1. basingstoke said on March 10, 2023 at 2:51 pm

      Linux sucks dude. Besides it’s not comparable to Windows, these OSes are in different classes entirely.

      1. Derp said on March 10, 2023 at 4:36 pm

        I use Linux as my daily driver. It’s far more stable than Windows. When’s the last time you used Linux, 2010?

      2. Bromosexual said on March 11, 2023 at 2:04 am


        You’re right, dude. Bro, linux is just a bunch of code that starts before the OS, dude. Brobrodude, that shit ain’t even got emojis, dudebrodudeman! Dudebro, it’s no way near as cool as Windows with its hardcoded abilities to make money off the user, bro. Yo brodude man, you’re the coolest dude ever man, bro. Dude.

      3. basingstoke said on August 16, 2023 at 7:20 pm

        Lol what? Windows 7 doesn’t come with any Emojis

  9. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:46 pm

    Download Autoruns and remove the checkmark from Windows Defender. It doesn’t remove it, but it will never run.

  10. Simon said on March 10, 2023 at 8:37 pm

    Just use “Defender Control”:

    Per this video,
    it also works on Windows 11 too…

  11. Someone said on March 10, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    Win Defender, is completly the most succesful free-built in antivirus of Microsoft. Really nice product. Saved my ass a lot of times. Has updated malware database, completly strong defence
    from whatever smart screen disables. Or if you want better and more upgrated (paid) program,
    you can go further. But defender is always on your side.

  12. CalixtoWVR1 said on March 10, 2023 at 10:03 pm

    Why would one disable Windows (or Microsoft) Defender in the first place?. I consider this to be playing with fire big time. Everybody knows that if one is using another A-V, Defender will be disabled on its own and won’t be in one’s way.

  13. Ed D said on March 10, 2023 at 11:09 pm

    Why would I want to disable Windows Defender in the first place? It’s a great anti virus in my opinion. Been using it since Windows 8 and and never had a problem or a virus. Why mess with a good thing, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  14. owl said on August 17, 2023 at 1:57 am

    How a ridiculous article!
    I am thoroughly stunned.

    Why Should You Disable First-Party Windows Defender?
    I can only think that it is “malice or perversely intention (want you to buy a third-party AV where you can expect a back margin)” to guide invalidation without showing the premise.
    No sane company will use third-party closed source programs (such as AV).

    As I thought, “Ghacks Technology News” seems to be coming to downfall.

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