RegistryKey.GetValue Method (String, Object)


The .NET API Reference documentation has a new home. Visit the .NET API Browser on to see the new experience.

Retrieves the value associated with the specified name. If the name is not found, returns the default value that you provide.

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

public object GetValue(
	string name,
	object defaultValue


Type: System.String

The name of the value to retrieve. This string is not case-sensitive.

Type: System.Object

The value to return if name does not exist.

Return Value

Type: System.Object

The value associated with name, with any embedded environment variables left unexpanded, or defaultValue if name is not found.

Exception Condition

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


The RegistryKey that contains the specified value is closed (closed keys cannot be accessed).


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


The user does not have the necessary registry rights.

Use this overload of GetValue to handle the case where a name does not exist yet — for example, the first time your application is run. Whenever you call this overload, use the defaultValue parameter to specify the value to return if name does not exist.


A registry key can have 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 null or the empty string ("") for name.

When the GetValue method retrieves expandable string values (RegistryValueKind.ExpandString), it expands environment strings using data from the local environment. To retrieve expandable string values from the registry on a remote computer, use the GetValue overload to specify that you do not want environment strings expanded.


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), the GetValue method does not expand it. You can expand such a string after it has been retrieved by calling the ExpandEnvironmentVariables method.


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

GetValue does not support reading values of type REG_NONE or REG_LINK. In both cases, the default value (null) is returned instead of the actual value.

The following code example creates a test key with a value and retrieves that value. The example then attempts to retrieve a nonexistent value from the key; in this case the GetValue method returns the specified default value.

using System;
using Microsoft.Win32;

class RegGetDef
    public static void Main()
        // Create a reference to a valid key.  In order for this code to
        // work, the indicated key must have been created previously.
        // The key name is not case-sensitive.
        RegistryKey rk = Registry.LocalMachine.OpenSubKey("Software\\myTestKey", false);
        // Get the value from the specified name/value pair in the key.

        string valueName = "myTestValue";

        Console.WriteLine("Retrieving registry value ...");
        object o = rk.GetValue(valueName);
        Console.WriteLine("Object Type = " + o.GetType().FullName);
        switch (rk.GetValueKind(valueName))
            case RegistryValueKind.String:
            case RegistryValueKind.ExpandString:
                Console.WriteLine("Value = " + o);
            case RegistryValueKind.Binary:
                foreach (byte b in (byte[])o)
                    Console.Write("{0:x2} ", b);
            case RegistryValueKind.DWord:
                Console.WriteLine("Value = " + Convert.ToString((Int32)o));
            case RegistryValueKind.QWord:
                Console.WriteLine("Value = " + Convert.ToString((Int64)o));
            case RegistryValueKind.MultiString:
                foreach (string s in (string[])o)
                    Console.Write("[{0:s}], ", s);
                Console.WriteLine("Value = (Unknown)");

        // Attempt to retrieve a value that does not exist; the specified
        // default value is returned.
        string def = (string)rk.GetValue("notavalue", "The default to return");

Retrieving registry value ...

Object Type = System.String

Value = testData

The default to return


to read from the registry. Associated enumeration: RegistryPermissionAccess.Read


to read a registry key of type REG_EXPAND_SZ. Associated enumeration: PermissionState.Unrestricted

.NET Framework
Available since 1.1
Return to top