Instead of using regedit.exe you can compose text files to make modifications to the registry. This method is safer, and you can download fixes from reputable websites rather than making changes by the seat of your pants.
Here is the format of a *.reg file:
RegistryEditorVersion Blank line [RegistryPath1] "DataItemName1"="DataType1:DataValue1" "DataItemName2"="DataType2:DataValue2" Blank line [RegistryPath2] "DataItemName3"="DataType3:DataValue3"
Lines in the *.reg file are added to or modified in the registry. If you put a minus sign on the beginning of a line, it means remove that entry. Everything after a ; on a line is a comment.
The *.reg file must be stored, not in UTF-8, but UTF-16LE with a BOM (Byte Order Mark).
Using regedit.exe you can back up parts of the registry with File, Export. It is a good idea to back up the part of the registry you are planning to patch.
To merge your *.reg file into the registry, run under administrator, right click on it, and click merge.
Here is a typical *.reg patch, one that fixes explorer if it loses the ability to handle double clicks on directory names:
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