inside of windows registry

Still, for most users who access the Registry every six months or so, RegEdit is more than adequate. A quick perusal of the Registry within RegEdit shows that the database is built on five top-level Keys.

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT: Dedicated to storing information about file types and OLE-aware applications. OLE stands for object linking and embedding and describes how an object--such as a document--can be created in one application and embedded in another.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER: Provides access to configuration data for the active user on the PC. The data is actually extracted from the HKEY_USERS Key--shown below--which contains user information for all accounts on the system.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE: The repository for all data about installed hardware and software.

HKEY_USERS: Contains select preferences data for all users of the computer.

HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG: Extracts data from the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE pertaining to the active hardware configuration.

By clicking the (+) sign next to a Key, you can expand the view to reveal sub-Keys. Clicking the Key itself reveals the Values for that Key in the right-hand pane. Double-click a Value icon, and you can edit the data contained within it.

Perhaps most important, RegEdit can let you make backups--from the entire Registry to a single key. Just select the Key containing the data to back up and click File, Export. Assign the backup file a name and then navigate to the folder where you want to save it. RegEdit will save the selected Key in a file with a .reg extension. Now say you perform a change to Keys or Values under the Key you backed up and the changes disable your system. You can go back to the original Registry state just by double-clicking the .reg file you created.

Needless to say, mucking around with the Registry can be highly risky business, so it's a good idea to keep a system backup handy, in case things go spectacularly wrong.

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