This documentation is archived and is not being maintained.

Registry::GetValue Method

Retrieves the value associated with the specified name, in the specified registry key. If the name is not found in the specified key, returns a default value that you provide, or nullptr if the specified key does not exist.

Namespace:  Microsoft.Win32
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)

static Object^ GetValue(
	String^ keyName, 
	String^ valueName, 
	Object^ defaultValue


Type: System::String

The full registry path of the key, beginning with a valid registry root, such as "HKEY_CURRENT_USER".

Type: System::String

The name of the name/value pair.

Type: System::Object

The value to return if valueName does not exist.

Return Value

Type: System::Object
nullptr if the subkey specified by keyName does not exist; otherwise, the value associated with valueName, or defaultValue if valueName is not found.


The user does not have the permissions required to read from the registry key.


The RegistryKey that contains the specified value has been marked for deletion.


keyName does not begin with a valid registry root.

The string valueName is not case-sensitive.


A registry key can contain one value that is not associated with any name. When this unnamed value is displayed in the registry editor, the string "(Default)" appears instead of a name. To retrieve this unnamed value, specify either nullptr or the empty string ("") for valuName.

Valid root names are HKEY_CURRENT_USER, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, HKEY_USERS, HKEY_PERFORMANCE_DATA, HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG, and HKEY_DYN_DATA. For example, in Visual Basic the string "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\MyTestKey" accesses key/value pairs for the subkey "MyTestKey" in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER root.

When the GetValue method retrieves expandable string values (RegistryValueKind::ExpandString), it expands environment strings using data from the local environment. If a value containing expandable references to environment variables has been stored as a string (RegistryValueKind::String), rather than as an expandable string (RegistryValueKind::ExpandString), GetValue does not expand it. You can expand such a string after it has been retrieved by calling the Environment::ExpandEnvironmentVariables method.


The recommended way to retrieve data from HKEY_PERFORMANCE_DATA is to use the PerformanceCounter class rather than the RegistryKey::GetValue method.

The GetValue and SetValue methods open and close registry keys each time they are used, so they do not perform as well as the methods of the RegistryKey class if you access a large number of values.

RegistryKey also provides methods that allow you to add an access control list (ACL) to a registry key, to test the data type of a value before retrieving it, and to delete keys.

The following code example stores values of several data types in an example key, creating the key as it does so, and then retrieves and displays the values. The example demonstrates storing and retrieving the default (nameless) name/value pair, and the use of defaultValue when a name/value pair does not exist.

using namespace System;
using namespace Microsoft::Win32;

int main()
    // The name of the key must include a valid root.
    String^ userRoot = "HKEY_CURRENT_USER";
    String^ subKey = "RegistrySetValueExample2";
    String^ keyName = String::Concat(userRoot, "\\", subKey);

    // An int value can be stored without specifying the 
    // registry data type, but Int64 values will be stored 
    // as strings unless you specify the type. Note that 
    // the int is stored in the default name/value 
    // pair.
    Registry::SetValue(keyName, "", 5280);
    Registry::SetValue(keyName, "TestInt64", 12345678901234, 

    // Strings with expandable environment variables are 
    // stored as ordinary strings unless you specify the 
    // data type.
    Registry::SetValue(keyName, "TestExpand", "My path: %path%");
    Registry::SetValue(keyName, "TestExpand2", "My path: %path%", 

    // Arrays of strings are stored automatically as  
    // MultiString. Similarly, arrays of Byte are stored 
    // automatically as Binary. 
    array<String^>^ strings  = {"One", "Two", "Three"};
    Registry::SetValue(keyName, "TestArray", strings);

    // Your default value is returned if the name/value pair 
    // does not exist.
    String^ noSuch = (String^)Registry::GetValue(keyName, 
        "Return this default if NoSuchName does not exist.");
    Console::WriteLine("\r\nNoSuchName: {0}", noSuch);

    // Retrieve the int and Int64 values, specifying  
    // numeric default values in case the name/value pairs 
    // do not exist. The int value is retrieved from the 
    // default (nameless) name/value pair for the key. 
    int testInteger = (int)Registry::GetValue(keyName, "", -1);
    Console::WriteLine("(Default): {0}", testInteger);
    long long testInt64 = (long long)Registry::GetValue(keyName, 
        "TestInt64", System::Int64::MinValue);
    Console::WriteLine("TestInt64: {0}", testInt64);

    // When retrieving a MultiString value, you can specify 
    // an array for the default return value.  
    array<String^>^ testArray = (array<String^>^)Registry::GetValue(
        keyName, "TestArray", 
        gcnew array<String^> {"Default if TestArray does not exist."});
    for (int i = 0; i < testArray->Length; i++)
        Console::WriteLine("TestArray({0}): {1}", i, testArray[i]);

    // A string with embedded environment variables is not 
    // expanded if it was stored as an ordinary string.
    String^ testExpand = (String^)Registry::GetValue(keyName, 
        "TestExpand", "Default if TestExpand does not exist.");
    Console::WriteLine("TestExpand: {0}", testExpand);

    // A string stored as ExpandString is expanded.
    String^ testExpand2 = (String^)Registry::GetValue(keyName, 
        "TestExpand2", "Default if TestExpand2 does not exist.");
        "TestExpand2: {0}...", testExpand2->Substring(0, 40));
        "\r\nUse the registry editor to examine the key.");
    Console::WriteLine("Press the Enter key to delete the key.");
// This code example produces output similar to the following: 
// NoSuchName: Return this default if NoSuchName does not exist. 
// (Default): 5280 
// TestInt64: 12345678901234 
// TestArray(0): One 
// TestArray(1): Two 
// TestArray(2): Three 
// TestExpand: My path: %path% 
// TestExpand2: My path: D:\Program Files\Microsoft.NET\... 
// Use the registry editor to examine the key. 
// Press the Enter key to delete the key.

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP Starter Edition, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2000 SP4, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 98, Windows CE, Windows Mobile for Smartphone, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC

The .NET Framework and .NET Compact Framework do not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 3.0, 2.0

.NET Compact Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 2.0