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What’s in Windows Registry?

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What’s in Windows Registry?

The registry is a system-defined database in which applications and system components store and retrieve configuration data. The data stored in the registry varies according to the version of Microsoft Windows. The kernel, device drivers, services, SAM, user interface and third-party applications can all make use of the registry.

There are five predefined root keys in Windows 8:

  1. HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT
  2. HKEY_CURRENT_USER
  3. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
  4. HKEY_USERS
  5. HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG

1.       HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT contains information about registered applications, such as file associations and OLE Object Class IDs, tying them to the applications used to handle these items. The file type subkeys in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT have the same name as the file name extension for the file type, such as .exe. File type associations are stored in the registry, but you should use Windows Explorer to change them.

2.       HKEY_CURRENT_USER

The HKEY_CURRENT_USER key is a link to the subkey of HKEY_USERS that corresponds to the user; the same information is accessible in both locations. On Windows NT-based systems, each user’s settings are stored in their own files called NTUSER.DAT and USRCLASS.DAT inside their own Documents and Settings subfolder. The mapping between HKEY_CURRENT_USER and HKEY_USERS is per process and is established the first time the process references HKEY_CURRENT_USER. The mapping is based on the security context of the first thread to reference HKEY_CURRENT_USER. If this security context does not have a registry hive loaded in HKEY_USERS, the mapping is established with HKEY_USERS\.Default.

3.       HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE

Registry entries subordinate to this key define the physical state of the computer, including data about the bus type, system memory, and installed hardware and software. It contains subkeys that hold current configuration data, including Plug and Play information, network logon preferences, network security information, software-related information, and other system information.

4.       HKEY_USERS

Registry entries subordinate to this key define the default user configuration for new users on the local computer and the user configuration for the current user.Each time a new user logs on to a computer, a new hive is created for that user with a separate file for the user profile. This is called the user profile hive. A user’s hive contains specific registry information pertaining to the user’s application settings, desktop, environment, network connections, and printers. User profile hives are located under the HKEY_USERS key.

5.       HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG

Contains information about the current hardware profile of the local computer system. The information under HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG describes only the differences between the current hardware configuration and the standard configuration.

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