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  1. #1
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    [Article] - Microsoft Windows Registry v1.2

    About this paper:

    This paper is an introduction to the Microsoft Windows registry. It is intended for two main target audiences, administrators, and power users. Administrators may be system administrators, or network administrators, since mass changes to the registry can be propagated via Active Directory to all computers. Power users will mostly want to take note of local use of the registry, and maybe remote functions to control how other pc’s on their networks react. For example, remotely locking down Internet Explorer on your kid’s computer.

    Introduction:

    The Windows registry is often a topic most people shy away from. They view the registry as some black box that you can not tamper with, or seem to think that it's written in some language no mortal could ever understand. In truth, the registry is very simple. While it may be hard or even impossible to figure out what some keys mean, the registry in it's self is very simple. It is not a mess of configurations with no order. Most settings are placed in a logical location. If you know how the registry works, you can quickly find what you want.

  2. #2

    [Article] - Microsoft Windows Registry v1.2

    Pre-requirements:

    To use this paper, all that you will need is a Windows-based OS, and a tool to edit the registry. Regedit and\or Regedt32 ship with all major versions of Windows. To use local security policy, you need to be on an NT based system, including 2000, XP, or 2K3. To use Active Directory to deploy administrative templates, you must be running an Active Directory domain.

    What programs do I use to edit the registry?

    Windows comes with one to three different registry editing tools for you to use:
    RegEdit
    Regedt32
    Reg
    Another tool you may wish to have is RegEditX, a free tool from DC Software (http://www.dcsoft.com) RegEditX adds extensions to RegEdit. It does not replace RegEdit, and is not a standalone program.

  3. #3
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    [Article] - Microsoft Windows Registry v1.2

    What is the registry?

    The registry is nothing more then a central place to store all settings on the computer. While a program doesn't have to store any data in the registry, it's free to if it likes. It's like the configuration files for Linux and Unix, but rather then being stored in folders, it's stored in hives, a folder-like structure.

    Tech Note: It should be noted, the registry is implemented by the Configuration Manager part of the Windows Kernel. As such, it supports all security associated with the kernel such as running within ring 0 within the processor.

    What are the registry keys?

    When opening the registry in RegEdit, you are presented with 5 keys, or hives. The five keys are:

    HKey_Classes_Root (HKCR)
    HKey_Current_User (HKCU)
    HKey_Local_Machine (HKLM)
    HKey_Users (HKU)
    HKey_Current_Config (HKCC)
    HKEY_DYN_DATA (HKDD) (Win9x Only)

    Of the five, three are actually subtrees of other keys. HKey_Users and HKey_Local_Machine are the two "full" keys. The other keys are sub keys of these two, or combinations of two or more keys. HKey_Users holds all "Per User" settings in the registry. If you make a change to a program that records to the registry, and another user is not effect by it, then it must be in this section. You can also use this key to edit .default, the key that is used to make the default keys for all new users. When a new user is made, .default is copied into the new hive, using their SID to tell them apart.

    HKey_Current_User is the HKey_Users key for the user running regedit. It is a shortcut to the current users settings, so you don't have to find out what one of the HKey_Users you need to edit.

    HKey_Current_Config is the current hardware profile listed in HKey_Local_Machine\System\ControllSet001\Hardware Profiles. HKCC is nothing more then a pointer to this key.

    HKey_Classes_Root is a combo of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes and HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes keys. The data is a merged, so if there's no data listed for the current user, then the one for the local machine is used.

  4. #4
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    [Article] - Microsoft Windows Registry v1.2

    What are Keys? Hives? Values?

    When most people say hives, they normally mean the five (5) main keys, but sometimes they talk about sub-keys. Keys are the ones that look like small folders in regedit. Values for each of the keys can be binary, string, dword, multi-string ,expandable string, and a few others. In general, you do not need to know what these values mean when editing them , since you have to use the type that value needs. You can not use a string when a dword is called for. Strings and dwords are the most common. On windows 2K, regedit only supports string, dword and binary. You will have to use regedt32 to edit multi and expandable strings.

    The types of values in the registry are listed on by Microsoft as the following: (Note: This is taken directly from Microsoft’s site)

    REG_BINARY
    REG_DWORD
    REG_EXPAND_SZ
    REG_MULTI_SZ
    REG_SZ
    REG_RESOURCE_LIST
    REG_RESOURCE_REQUIREMENTS_LIST
    REG_FULL_RESOURCE_DESCRIPTOR
    REG_NONE
    REG_LINK
    REG_QWORD

    REG_BINARY Raw binary data. Most hardware component information is stored as binary data and is displayed in Registry Editor in hexadecimal format.

    REG_DWORD Data represented by a number that is 4 bytes long (a 32-bit integer). Many parameters for device drivers and services are this type and are displayed in Registry Editor in binary, hexadecimal, or decimal format. Related values are DWORD_LITTLE_ENDIAN (least significant byte is at the lowest address) and REG_DWORD_BIG_ENDIAN (least significant byte is at the highest address).

    REG_EXPAND_SZ A variable-length data string. This data type includes variables that are resolved when a program or service uses the data.

    REG_MULTI_SZ A multiple string. Values that contain lists or multiple values in a form that people can read are generally this type. Entries are separated by spaces, commas, or other marks.

    REG_SZ A fixed-length text string.

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