Mastering Windows XP Registry - X

Mastering Windows XP Registry - X
Mastering Windows XP Registry
Peter Hipson
Associate Publisher: Joel Fugazzotto
Acquisitions and Developmental Editor: Ellen L. Dendy
Editor: Anamary Ehlen
Production Editor: Elizabeth Campbell
Technical Editor: Donald Fuller
Electronic Publishing Specialist: Maureen Forys, Happenstance Type-O-Rama
Proofreaders: Nanette Duffy, Emily Hsuan, Laurie O'Connell, Yariv Rabinovitch, Nancy
Riddiough
Book Designer: Maureen Forys, Happenstance Type-O-Rama
Indexer: Ted Laux
Cover Designer: Design Site
Cover Illustrator: Sergie Loobkoff
Copyright © 2002 SYBEX Inc., 1151 Marina Village Parkway, Alameda, CA 94501. World
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ISBN: 0-7821-2987-0
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performance, merchantability, fitness for any particular purpose, or any losses or damages of
any kind caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly from this book.
This book is dedicated to my students at FPC. Perhaps the hardest part of their education is
putting up with me. I expect a lot, and they give it.
Acknowledgments
An acknowledgments section is always hard to write; there are just so many people who have
helped. An author's greatest fear is forgetting someone, so I always start off by saying thanks
to everyone. If I didn't list you, please don't hate me!
Thanks go to Ellen Dendy, of course, who served as acquisitions and developmental editor for
this book. Ellen Dendy also helped greatly by providing critical direction whenever needed.
(Of course, if you don't like this book, the blame falls on me and only me!)
Thanks to the Sybex editorial staff, especially Anamary. Thanks also to Elizabeth Campbell,
production editor, for her skillful work and management; to Maureen Forys, electronic
publishing specialist, for her expert and speedy layout skills; and to Nanette Duffy, Emily
Hsuan, Laurie O'Connell, Yariv Rabinovitch, and Nancy Riddiough, proofreaders, for their
proficient proofreading of the pages.
Don Fuller served well as our technical editor. It was Don's job to make sure that I told no
lies, made no mistakes.
Jerold Schulman (JSI, Inc.) maintains the web page at http://www.jsiinc.com/reghack.htm. He
provided a lot of expert hints for this book. If you need assistance with your Windows XP
installation, check out Jerold's web pages for his tips, tricks, and registry hacks.
Special thanks to Laura Belt at Adler & Robin Books. Laura is the person who makes this a
business and not a hobby.
Thanks to Barry and Marcia Press for their input on the book's contents. Barry asked for a
number of things to be covered, and I've covered as many as I could.
Thanks to the ExpertZone (and my team members who put up with my slow responses), and
everyone at Microsoft who helped, too.
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't thank my family, especially my wife, Nang, who has
supported me through thick and thin, and the folks at CMC and MCH who made sure that I
survived the experience.
This book is dedicated to my students at FPC. Perhaps the hardest part of their education is
putting up with me. I expect a lot, and give it.
Introduction
The registry has evoked emotions from terror to mystery. Few Windows XP users consider
the registry their friend. After all, think of it: The registry is the heart and soul of the
Windows XP operating system. The registry is everything-it is the brain of the operating
system. Damage the registry, and Windows XP quickly develops brain damage and needs
major surgery.
This is it-the only book on the Windows XP registry that you will need. Now, I won't kid you;
there are a few other books on the Windows registry. Every current version of Windows uses
a similar registry structure, but we do find that there are sufficient differences between them
make it difficult for one book to cover everything well.
Will you need another book or tool besides this book? Maybe not. But I do recommend that
you get Microsoft's Windows XP Resource Kit, too; it has a lot of good utilities that you will
find invaluable. The Windows XP Resource Kit also has a lot of good non-registry stuff.
This book covers the Windows XP registry from A to Z. I've covered the standard stuff, from
things that most of us should know to things that are not documented at all and are probably
only known by a very few first-rate system administrators.
Who Is This Book For?
This book is valuable to all Windows XP users. Even users of Windows NT 4 and 2000 and
Windows 95/98/Me may find good information in this book, though it is primarily oriented
toward Windows XP.
This book is intended for:
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•
•
General users who use Windows XP at their desks and are responsible for their own
computer(s). Typically, these users don't have responsibility for other users'
computers, though they may help their friends out from time to time.
System administrators who are responsible for an organization's computers (and
perhaps thousands of Windows XP installations). Administrators will be presented
with virtually every conceivable problem over a given period of time. Whatever can
go wrong will; Murphy's Law is applied double to system administrators.
Help desk staff who support users, even if they don't usually administer the system.
Help desk staff roam throughout the organization, providing help and assistance as
needed. All help desk people are going to find this book very useful.
If you are a user who wants to get the most out of your Windows XP installation (either Home
Edition, Professional, or one of the upcoming .NET Server versions), this book is a very good
starting point. Think of it this way: If you are a system administrator, this book is one of the
tools that you will need to manage and administer your Windows XP network. Manning the
help desk? If so, having this book close at hand can save you lots of time and effort.
Overview of the Contents
This book is made up of four major sections.
Part I: Registry Basics
In Part I, "Registry Basics," I discuss ways to avoid problems, do backups, and restore the
registry, and I cover some of the tools that are used with the registry. The first chapter, "What
Is a Registry—and Why?," introduces the registry. You'll learn about the registry's major
sections, called hives. This chapter also tells you about the registry's history.
Tip The fastest way to access the registry is to use RegEdit.exe, which comes with Windows
XP. To access RegEdit.exe, simply click the Start button, then click Run. Type RegEdit
in the dialog box and press Enter. The RegEdit window will appear.
Chapter 2 is called "Readme.1st: Preventing Disaster!" It jumps right into one of the most
important topics in this book: how to avoid getting into trouble. Most Windows XP disasters
are registry related, and they are also preventable. Registry problems often arise because we
don't have a good backup of the registry, and something comes along and damages it. Once
damaged, the registry can be very difficult to recover.
Chapter 3, "Anatomy of the Registry: The Blood, Gore, and Guts," is an in-depth analysis of
what's in the registry. Each major hive is covered in detail. We'll discuss the way the hives
relate to each other, along with how Windows XP manages users in the registry.
Tools, tools, and more tools. Chapter 4, "Registry Tools and Tips: Getting the Work Done,"
takes a close look at the registry tools that are included with Windows XP. The Registry
Editor is covered, as well as the Backup utility and the registry software that is included in the
Windows XP Resource Kit.
In Chapter 5, "Policies: Good for One, Good for All," you learn all about policies in Windows
XP. Policies affect specific computers, users, and groups.
Part II: Advanced Registry Stuff
In this second part of the book, I cover OLE (Object Linking and Embedding), some history
of the win.ini and system.ini files, how to remove excess baggage from the registry, registry
programming interfaces, and the Performance Monitor entries. Getting into the advanced
stuff, we jump right into the issues of OLE, associations, and such. Chapter 6 is called
"Associations, Linkages, and OLE: How Confusing Can This Get?" It tries to clear the often
muddy water that swirls around the OLE registry components. A major part of the registry is
OLE related, with Windows XP using OLE to manage much of the user interface.
Even though the System.ini and Win.ini files have not been used for some time, we still have
them. Chapter 7 is called "Why, Oh Why, Are There System.ini and Win.ini Files?" Here we
delve into why these two files are still found under Windows and what makes them necessary.
If you want to get rid of that memo from your boss telling you that your project is due, you
toss it into the trash can. Something in the registry that is not needed can be more difficult to
get rid of. Chapter 8, "Getting Rid of the Unwanted," introduces the problem of registry
clutter and describes some very useful tools to clean up this excess.
By following the advice in Chapter 9, "Recovering from Disaster, or Making the Best of a
Bad Situation," you can make sure that disaster doesn't strike. However, sometimes disaster
just happens. Recovery, whether from backups or from manually cleaning the registry, is
vital.
My name's Peter, and I'm a programmer. Ah, there, I said it, and I feel much better. I felt even
better after writing Chapter 10, "Programming and the Registry: A Developer's Paradise?"
This is where the programming interface to the registry is unveiled. Examples in C/C++ and a
lot of information about Microsoft's MFC registry interface come to light in this chapter.
The Windows XP Performance Monitor allows analysis of the system's performance and the
development of performance-enhancement strategies. In Chapter 11, "The Performance
Monitor Meets the Registry," you begin to understand how the Windows XP Performance
Monitor interacts with the registry and how you can add performance-monitoring
technologies to your own applications.
Part III: Windows and Office Registry Entries
In Part III, I discuss the UI (user interface), networking, and internal Windows XP entries.
What we see as users is all stored in the registry. Chapter 12, "The Windows XP User
Interface: Changing How It Looks," delves into the various registry entries that control the
look and feel of Windows XP. This chapter covers both the graphical Desktop and the
Windows command windows.
Under the hood of Windows XP are entries in the registry for both networking and other
internal Windows XP components. Chapter 13, "Networking and Registry System Entries,"
digs into these less visible entries in the registry and explains them to you.
Chapter 14, "Microsoft Office Entries," covers changes that Microsoft Office has made to the
registry. Sometimes Microsoft Office components are installed and then removed. Sadly, not
all registry entries for these products are removed. How do you get them out of there? Also,
how do you create a configuration so those new users of Microsoft Office will get a
predefined configuration? Care to program the registry using Visual Basic for Applications?
(It's easy, really.) Check this chapter for the answers to these questions.
Part IV: The Registry Interface
Part IV is a reference to many of the registry entries, arranged by hive. Program associations,
OLE associations, and file-type management are all part of HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.
Chapter 15, "Introduction to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT," covers this hive's contents.
User information that is stored in HKEY_USERS and used in HKEY_CURRENT_USER is
the subject of Chapter 16, "Introduction to HKEY_CURRENT_USER and HKEY_USERS."
Windows XP keeps only the currently logged-on user and the .DEFAULT user in
HKEY_USERS; other users are saved in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE's SAM (Security
Accounts Manager) sections.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE is the hive that controls the system itself. This topic is so large
that three chapters are dedicated to it. Chapter 17, "Introduction to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE," covers the major parts of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
Information about installed software is found in Chapter 18, "Introduction to
HKEY_LOCAL_ MACHINE\Software." Virtually every installed application or component
is found in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software. The system configuration is covered in
Chapter 19, "Introduction to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System and
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG." System entries are critical to the health and welfare of
Windows XP.
Typesetting Conventions
This book is typeset so that it is readable. Otherwise the pages would all be blank.
OK, seriously. This book uses various conventions to present information. Notes, Tips, and
Warnings, shown below, appear throughout the text in order to call attention to special details.
Note This is a Note. Notes contain additional comments and information related to the
discussion.
Tip This is a Tip. Tips highlight important information that you need to know when working
with the registry.
Warning This is a Warning. Warnings call attention to trouble spots and things to watch out
for. Speaking of which, have you backed up your registry lately?
This book also takes advantage of different font styles. Bold font in the text indicates
something that the user types. A monospaced font is used for registry objects, program
strings, entries, commands, and URLs.
To Contact the Author
If you so desire, you may contact me, the author, via e-mail. My e-mail address is
[email protected] Please do not attempt to telephone, even if you find my phone number; my
schedule really doesn't allow for answering the phone!
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Part I: Registry Basics
Chapter List
Chapter 1: What Is a Registry and Why?
Chapter 2: Readme.1st: Preventing Disaster!
Chapter 3: Anatomy of the Registry–The Blood, Gore, and Guts
Chapter 4: Registry Tools and Tips–Getting the Work Done
Chapter 5: Policies–Good for One, Good for All
Part Overview
In this section, you will learn how to:
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Understand the development and organization of the registry
Prevent registry disasters before they strike
Interpret the anatomy and configuration of the registry
Use registry tools and other resources
Apply policies to individuals and groups
Chapter 1: What Is a Registry and Why?
Overview
Some users of Windows know exactly what the registry is a system designed to cause users
and administrators to lose their hair. I know this is true because I can no longer feel the wind
ruffling through my hair. Oh, I feel the wind; I just don't feel the hair.
The registry is a simple, hierarchical database of information that Windows operating systems
(and some applications) use to define the configuration of the system. Originally, in the early,
simple days of Windows (16-bit Windows versions especially), the same information that is
now stored in the registry was stored in text files. Though these text files were simple, their
organization made access to the information they contained too slow to keep up with
increasingly speedy technology.
Many applications use the registry the same way, though some applications are now moving
to separate storage locations for their data—a technique that allows the applications to easily
back up and restore their configuration data.
The Registry: Past and Present
The development of the registry, like Windows, has been evolutionary. The registry was
preceded by a pair of flat-text files, called win.ini and system.ini. While the performance with
these files left something to be desired, they formed the basis for today's registry.
In fact, these two files live on today in Windows XP, though they are virtually unchanged
from Windows NT version 4. The first registry to appear in Windows was created to solve a
number of problems: poor performance (retrieving information from the original flat-text .ini
files was cumbersome), size limitations (the .ini files could be only so large), and maintenance
problems (the .ini files were organizationally impaired!).
Today, the Windows XP system .ini files contain only a few entries used by a few
applications. (Most are legacy 16-bit applications, though a few new programs are also
placing some items in the win.ini file, too!)
These system .ini files are of no importance to us, and we may safely ignore them. For
Windows XP, it's the registry that is most important to the system, because it contains the
heart and soul of Windows XP. Without the registry, Windows XP would be nothing more
than a collection of programs, unable to perform even the basic tasks that we expect from an
operating system. Every bit of configuration information that Windows XP has is crammed
into the registry. Information about the system's hardware, preferences, security, and users—
everything that can be set is set in there.
However, times are a-changing. Microsoft now realizes that if every application stores
application-specific information in the system registry, then the system registry can grow to
an enormous size. That isn't quite what Microsoft had in mind when they created the registry
structure. Microsoft's policy now states that applications may (and should) use standalone .ini
files as needed.
Some advantages to using application-specific .ini files include these:
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Individual applications sometimes need to be restored from backup. With an
application-specific .ini file, it is not necessary to back up and restore the entire
registry to reinstall any single application. (This eliminates the attendant problem of
restoring one part of the registry only to lose another part during the restoration!)
The system registry has a practical limited size. Granted, the size is large, but some
applications have lately been adding substantial content to the registry without regard
to the fact (sad as it is) that the registry is a shared resource that everyone, including
the system, must use! Once the registry gets too large, some registry operations may
take an excessive amount of time.
Note Microsoft limits the size of any object that is stored in a registry data key to 1MB. This
limit is basically only meaningful for REG_BINARY objects, because strings and such
are unlikely to become this large. If you must store more than 1MB in a registry object,
then store the information in a file and store a pointer to the file in the registry. Without
this limitation, the registry could easily grow to be the largest file on your system.
For Windows before Windows XP
Windows 2000 and earlier versions set restrictions on registry size. If you approach your
registry limit, you'll get a message stating that you are low on registry quota. This indicates
that the registry has grown too large for the current size allocation. Unless you change it, the
registry size is set to 25 percent of the paged pool size; for most computers, the paged pool
size is approximately equal to the amount of installed RAM, up to a maximum of 192MB.
The registry can be set to 80 percent of the paged pool size (80 percent of 192MB is just
under 154MB, though good sense says to round down to 150MB).
Earlier versions of Windows adjust the registry size based on the currently installed RAM.
Several registry entries affect registry size, though most users will find that the defaults are
acceptable for their use. To create a very large registry, ensure that the amount of RAM
installed is sufficient and set the RegistrySizeLimit and PagedPoolSize entries.
Organization
The registry is organized into five major sections. These sections are called hives, which are
analogous to root directories on your hard drive. Each hive, by definition, has its own storage
location (a file) and log file. If necessary, a given hive can be restored without affecting the
other hives in the registry.
Inside a hive you find both keys (and subkeys, analogous to directories and subdirectories on
your hard disk) and values. The term value (or data value, as it is sometimes called) refers to
the information, or data, assigned to a key, making the key analogous to a file on your hard
drive as well.
A key or subkey may have zero, one, or more value entries, a default value, and from zero to
many subkeys. Each value entry has a name, data type, and a value:
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The entry's name is stored as a Unicode character string.
The entry's type is stored as an integer index. The type is returned to the querying
application, which must then map this type to the type that the application knows.
The entry's value is stored as necessary to allow efficient retrieval of the data when
needed.
Both the Windows XP operating system and applications store data in the Windows XP
registry. This is both good and bad. It is good because the registry makes an efficient,
common storage location. Here's the bad part: as I mentioned earlier, as more and more
applications and systems store information in the registry, it grows larger, and larger, and
larger.
It is most unusual for the registry to get smaller—I'm unaware of any application that does a
really complete job of cleaning up all of its own registry entries when the application is
uninstalled. Many applications leave tons of stuff in the registry when they are uninstalled,
and not many applications clean up unused entries as a routine process. The end result is that
the registry will grow, like Jack's magic beanstalk, as time goes on.
Note From time to time in this book I'll refer to hives, keys, subkeys, and values using the
generic term object. When the term object is used, assume that the item could be any
valid item in the registry!
Hives and Their Aliases
There are five main, or top level, hives in the Windows XP registry, and accepted
abbreviations _for each:
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HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, a.k.a. HKCR
HKEY_CURRENT_USER, a.k.a. HKCU
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, a.k.a. HKLM
HKEY_USERS, a.k.a. HKU
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG, a.k.a. HKCC
Note The Windows 98 and Windows Me (Millennium Edition) HKEY_DYN_DATA hive,
which has no abbreviation, does not exist in Windows XP, though Microsoft had
originally intended to include information about Plug and Play in this hive. So where is
PnP data saved if the HKEY_DYN_DATA hive is gone? Windows XP supports PnP,
and Microsoft decided to integrate PnP data with the main registry rather than use a
separate hive.
Each hive begins with HKEY_. HKEY is an abbreviation for "hive key," though the
significance of this is not terribly important in understanding the registry. The H also signifies
that the name is a "handle" for a program to interface with the registry. These handles are
defined in the file winreg.h, included with the Windows XP SDK (Software Development
Kit).
The registry contains duplication—sort of. For example, you'll notice that everything in
HKEY_CURRENT_USER is also contained in the hive HKEY_USERS. But these aren't two
different sets of the same information; rather, they're two names for the same set of
information. Microsoft needed to make some parts of the registry appear to be in two places at
one time. But they didn't want to copy these sections, because that could have created
problems with keeping each of the two sections updated. Instead, they created an alias, or
another name, for some registry components. The alias points to the original component and
is updated whenever the original is. These aliases are created solely by Windows. You, as a
user, can't create an alias in the registry no matter how hard you try!
The most common alias is the registry hive HKEY_CURRENT_USER. It is an alias to either
the .DEFAULT user or the current user in HKEY_USERS. If you take a quick peek at
HKEY_USERS, you will see several keys there: one is .DEFAULT, and the others are named
with long strings of characters. These are SIDs (security identifiers), which Windows XP uses
to identify users. One of these subkeys for the currently logged-on user consists of just the
SID, while the other consists of the SID suffixed with _Classes. For example, on one
Windows XP server, the administrator has the two subkeys HKEY__USERS\S-1-5-211004336348-842925246-1592369235-500 and HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-1004336348842925246-1592369235-500_Classes. I'll clear up what a SID is and how it is used in Chapter
17.
Note The default user, used when no user is logged on, has only one subkey, named
.DEFAULT. (How do you edit the registry when no one is logged on? Simply by using
remote registry editing, with a different computer.)
There are also other aliases in the registry. For example, the registry key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\_System\CurrentControlSet is an alias to one of the other
control sets—ControlSet001, ControlSet002, or sometimes ControlSet003. Again, this is that
same magic; only one registry object is there, it just has two names. Remember, in modifying
a specific registry key or subkey; don't be surprised when another registry key or subkey
seems to magically change also!
Data Values
A value may contain one or, in some instances, more than one data item. The only type of
multiple-item value entry that the registry editor can handle is REG_MULTI_SZ, which may
contain zero, one, or more strings.
Data is stored in a number of different formats. Generally the system uses only a few simple
formats, while applications, drivers, and so forth may use more complex types defined for a
specific purpose. For example, REG_RESOURCE_LIST is a complex registry type used
primarily by drivers. Though it would be inefficient, all registry data could be considered to
be REG_BINARY data.
Data types for value entries include:
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REG_BINARY
REG_COLOR_RGB
REG_DWORD
REG_DWORD_BIG_ENDIAN
REG_DWORD_LITTLE_ENDIAN
REG_EXPAND_SZ
REG_FILE_NAME
REG_FILE_TIME
REG_FULL_RESOURCE_DESCRIPTOR
REG_LINK
REG_MULTI_SZ
REG_NONE
REG_QWORD
REG_QWORD_LITTLE_ENDIAN
REG_RESOURCE_LIST
REG_RESOURCE_REQUIREMENTS_LIST
REG_SZ
REG_UNKNOWN
Note REG_QWORD was new to Windows 2000 and is a quad-word (64-bit) numeric entry;
REG__QWORD_LITTLE_ENDIAN is the same as REG_QWORD.
Applications may access each of these data types. Additionally, some applications store data
in formats that only they understand. Actually, a provision in the registry allows the storing
application to assign a specific type to the registry data. Any application or component that
doesn't understand the format would simply treat the data as a REG_UNKNOWN type and
read the data as binary.
Note Oops, did I say something special? Yes! Don't forget that applications can and do store data
in the registry, and that data needn't be one of the established registry data types.
How the Registry Is Used
How does Windows XP use the registry? When is the registry first opened and used?
What Is Windows XP?
Windows XP comes in a number of versions, including a Home version and a Professional
version. Windows XP Home is configured for home users. Windows XP Professional, which
is configured to work as a workstation client, is a somewhat more powerful configuration for
business users. Throughout this book, I'll point out any differences in usage between the
Home and Professional versions.
While not the focus of this book, Windows XP also comes in a number of server versions
named Windows XP .NET. Microsoft has planned several server product offerings, including
Windows XP .NET Server and Windows XP .NET Advanced Server. We don't expect that
there will be major changes in .NET's use of the registry.
The registry is a tree-based hierarchical system that offers quick access to data stored in
almost any format. Actually, the registry is a rather flexible database. Registry information
comes from a number of sources:
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From installing Windows XP
From booting Windows XP
From applications, systems, and user interaction
Every component of Windows XP uses the registry, without exception. A set of APIs allows
both Windows XP and other applications to access registry information easily and quickly.
Windows XP starts to use the registry at the very beginning stages of system bootup. The
Windows XP boot process is based on which file format is installed, though the important
parts are identical in either case. The unimportant parts are the loading of the specific drivers
to read the NTFS file system.
Note Throughout this book, I'm referring to Windows XP installed on an Intel x86 platform.
There are differences in the boot process on RISC-based systems (such as the Digital
Alpha system), though these differences are not terribly significant, considering how the
registry is used. However, it seems that non-Intel systems are becoming very unusual,
and they probably will receive little or no support from Microsoft in the future.
The Windows XP boot process consists of the following steps:
1. The system is powered up, the video is initialized, and the hardware self-tests are
performed. The BIOS performs these tests, which are called POSTs (power-on selftests). Usually, the memory test is the most visible one; its progress is shown on most
computer screens.
2. After running POST, the system initializes each adapter. If the adapter has its own
built-in BIOS, the adapter's BIOS is called to perform its own initialization. For IDE
adapters (most computers have either two or four IDE adapters), each connected drive
(there may be up to two drives for each IDE adapter, allowing for a total maximum of
eight IDE type drives) is queried for its specifications and access method.
Some adapters, such as Adaptec's SCSI adapters, display messages and allow the user
to interact. Some adapters that don't have a BIOS aren't initialized until Windows XP
loads their drivers much later in the boot-up process.
3. After all the adapters that have a BIOS have been initialized, the system boot loader
reads in the sector located at the very beginning of the first bootable disk drive and
passes commands to this code. This sector is called the boot sector, or the MBR
(Master Boot Record), and it is written by the operating system when the operating
system is installed.
4. The code in the MBR then loads the NTLDR file. (This file has no extension, though
it is an executable file.) Once loaded, the MBR passes control to the code in NTLDR.
5. NTLDR then switches into 32-bit mode. (Remember, an Intel x86 processor always
boots into 16-bit real mode.) It then loads a special copy of the necessary file system
I/O files and reads in the file boot.ini.
6. The file boot.ini has information about each operating system that can be loaded.
Remember, Windows XP supports multiboot configurations. It is trivial to create a
Windows XP installation that can boot Windows NT, Windows XP, and Windows 95
or Windows 98. The boot loader can even boot two different copies of Windows XP
with either the same or different version numbers. NTLDR then processes boot.ini,
displaying boot information that allows the user to select which operating system will
be loaded. At this point, let's assume that Windows XP will be loaded.
7. When you select Windows XP to be loaded, NTLDR loads the file ntdetect.com. This
program then collects information about the currently installed hardware and saves
this information for the registry. Most of this information is stored in the
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive.
8. Once NTDETECT has detected the hardware, control is passed back to NTLDR, and
the boot process continues. At this point, the registry has been substantially updated
with the current hardware configuration, which is stored in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Hardware.
9. The prompt to select the configuration is then presented. This prompt, "Press spacebar
now to invoke Hardware Profile/Last Known Good menu," allows you to force
Windows XP to use a specific configuration as stored in the registry hive
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
10. Following the detection of NTDETECT, NTLDR loads and initializes the Windows
NT kernel, loads the services, and then starts Windows.
11. When the kernel is loaded, the HAL is also loaded. (The HAL—Hardware Abstraction
Layer—is used to manage hardware services.) Next, the registry system subkey
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\_System is loaded into memory. Windows XP scans the
registry for all drivers with a start value of zero. This includes those drivers that
should be loaded and initialized at boot time.
12. You can see the beginning of the next stage, kernel initialization. The screen switches
to a blue background, and you see a message about the Windows XP build number
and the number of system processors. Again, the system scans the registry and finds
all drivers that must be started at the kernel initialization stage.
13. From this point, Windows XP starts various components and systems. Each
component and system reads the registry and performs various tasks and functions. In
the final stage, the program that manages the user logon, WinLogon, starts. WinLogon
allows the user to log on and use Windows XP.
Once Windows XP is booted, both the operating system and applications use the registry. The
registry is dynamic, but usage of the registry may be dynamic or static. That is, some registry
items are read one time and never reread until the system is restarted. Other items are read
every time they are referenced. There is no fixed rule as to what is read each time it is needed
and what is not, but to be on the safe side, follow these guidelines:
•
•
•
Application-related data is probably read when the application starts. If you change
application-based data, restart the application. In fact, the best path to follow is this: do
not change application-based data while the application is running.
User-interface data is sometimes dynamic, sometimes static. With user-interface data,
the way to go is to change the data and wait to see the results of the change. If the
change doesn't appear, try logging on again.
System data is usually either static or otherwise buffered. Many system-related
registry changes won't become effective until the system is restarted. Some system
data is rewritten, or created, at startup time, precluding changes by users. Many of the
items in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE may be reset at system boot time, especially
those items that are hardware related.
A Note on Terminology
The registry is made up of hives, keys, subkeys, and value entries. Well, actually, depending
on the source, you may be faced with hives and data keys, or keys and items, or just data keys,
or who knows what else.
There is some indication that Microsoft wants to drop the original term for a registry
section—the hive—and replace this term with the word key. In the Windows NT Resource
Kit, Microsoft makes the following definition:
The registry is divided into parts called hives. A hive is a discrete body of keys, subkeys, and
values rooted at the top of the registry hierarchy. Hives are distinguished from other groups of
keys in that they are permanent components of the registry; they are not created dynamically
when the system starts and deleted when it stops. Thus,
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Hardware, which is built dynamically by the Hardware
Recognizer when Windows NT starts, is not a hive.
In the Windows XP documentation, Microsoft says a hive is:
A section of the registry that appears as a file on your hard disk...
These definitions are absolute and state exactly what is a hive and what is not. However, in
the real world, no one follows this exact definition. Many authors call all holders of
information hives (or subhives) and call data objects keys. Others never refer to hives at all,
and instead call all holders keys, or subkeys, and refer to data objects as values.
Virtually every definition leaves something to be desired. To call the thing that holds data a
"value entry" sometimes makes it awkward to refer to the contents. Consider these examples:
The value entry named asdf contains the value 1234.
The value called asdf contains the value 1234.
The following example is much more readable:
The value entry asdf is a REG_DWORD with a value of 1234.
Is there a need to distinguish between what Microsoft calls a "hive" (a top-level, permanent,
registry component) and what Microsoft calls a "key"? When does a hive become a key, and
is this important? I can't think of any context in which anything is gained by making this
distinction. Referring to the top-level objects as hives certainly frees up the term key to be
used elsewhere, but why not stick to one term?
Table 1.1 compares registry terminology against the terminology used for the Windows file
system—and gives the terminology I'll be using in this book.
Context
Table 1.1: Registry Terminology Explained
Root Collections Subcollections
Disks
Root directories
Older registry terminology
Hives
Subhives
Newer registry terminology
Hives
Keys/subkeys
Registry terminology used in
this book
[*]
Hives
Keys/subkeys
[*]
Objects
Data
Files
Data
Data keys
Data
Value entry
Data
Value entry Data
Just to keep things easy to read, I'll use the term key to refer to both keys and subkeys.
Chapter 2: Readme.1st –Preventing
Disaster!
Overview
Preventing disaster is an important thing to do. No one wants a system failure or to have to
reinstall Windows XP. Not the least of your problems will be the issues with product
authorization, in that Windows XP, when reinstalled, must be reauthorized!
You are reading this chapter for your own particular reason. Perhaps, as I am recommending,
you are here because you want to do everything possible to prevent a disaster with your
Windows XP installation. Or maybe you really, really want to recover from an existing
disaster. If you are recovering from a problem, you may want to skip to the section later in
this chapter titled "Restoring the Registry." For those of you who never do anything wrong,
read on.
What's the Deal with the Registry, Anyway?
The registry has always been the one part of Windows that virtually every user neither
understands nor trusts. Just when things go well, the registry gets corrupted, and it is time to
reinstall everything.
Note Office XP (a.k.a. Office 10) saves its registration information in a file. See Chapter 14
for a bit of information about the registration data file.
The Windows XP operating system is very robust. However, many things can cause
problems. For example, a hard drive failure (even a small soft error on the system drive in the
registry files), a controller failure, or a more complex memory bit that sometimes doesn't set
correctly all can cause many problems with Windows XP and the registry.
Warning Windows XP is robust, but our hardware is not. Most Pentium systems do not have
memory parity. Though earlier PC systems used memory parity, this feature
disappeared quietly a few years back when memory prices skyrocketed and there
was a serious effort to keep computer prices to a minimum. Most of the newest
computers now do support parity for their memory (though this support may well
not be in use); many of the systems still in use do not support parity, and as a result,
routine memory errors won't be detected until it is much too late.
One of the biggest problems with the registry is that Windows uses it constantly. The entire
process of backing up and restoring the operating system is much more difficult because
Windows must have the registry files open as a restore is being done.
There are several ways to solve this problem: One solution is to use the backup program
supplied with Windows XP. Another is to use an after-market backup program. Such a
backup program has to contain the code necessary to do registry backups and restores.
Tip Oh, joy! The backup program that is included with Windows XP (and Windows 2000)
allows backing up to media other than tape drives. Now it is possible to back up to other
hard drives (a technique that I use), Zip drives, and other storage media.
However, these backup and restore techniques may not work well under your circumstances.
You may already have had a registry failure, and there may be no registry backup to rely on
for recovery. Backing up and recovering the registry without a tape backup was
excruciatingly difficult using previous versions of the backup program.
Using the ASR (Automated System Recovery) disk is easy, but you cannot simply stick in a
diskette, type restore registry, and expect it to work! Windows XP does not store any registry
information on the ASR disk (Microsoft recognized that the registry was becoming too large
to store on a typical diskette). The Windows XP ASR disk contains only three files:
autoexec.nt, config.nt, and setup.log. The directory %SystemRoot%\Repair (the same location
in which they've been stored since Windows NT 4) holds all the registry files that are backed
up.
In fact, restoring the registry from the %SystemRoot%\Repair directory requires the Windows
XP installation program. It's not that bad; you don't have to reinstall Windows, but the
installation program will restore the registry from the backup, if necessary.
The menu that is presented when you boot up Windows XP also allows you to restore parts of
the registry based on copies of the registry saved from previous sessions.
Warning Always, always make sure that you back up the registry whenever you install new
software or hardware or remove anything from your computer. If you do not back up
the registry, and you restore a previous copy from an old backup, the system will not
work as expected!
Where Exactly Is the Registry?
In order to back it up, you need to know where the registry is located. Sometimes you get to
the registry as if by magic—the standard registry editors don't tell you where the registry is;
they simply load it automatically. However, many times you need to know where to find the
registry files. They're not too difficult to find; the registry's files are in the directory
%SystemRoot%\System32\Config.
Environment Variables
Every Windows XP installation automatically has some shortcut variables installed that are
accessible to the user and the system. These variables are called environment variables. One
environment variable, %SystemRoot%, contains the drive, path, and directory name for the
directory that Windows XP was installed in.
Using these environment variables makes it easy to write batch files and to otherwise locate
components of your current Windows XP installation. For example, you might type at a
command prompt:
CD %SystemRoot%
This command would then change to the directory that Windows XP was installed in.
Using the environment variables also can be very useful when writing software that must be
run on a number of different Windows XP installations, especially when these installations
are made to different drives or directories.
The %SystemRoot%\System32\Config directory includes the following set of files, each of
which is a critical component of the registry. These files are backed up to the Repair
directory, so that they may be restored as necessary in the event of a registry failure.
autoexec.nt The file that initializes the MS-DOS environment unless a different startup file is
specified in an application's PIF.
config.nt The file that initializes the MS-DOS environment unless a different startup file is
specified in an application's PIF.
Default The default registry file.
SAM The SAM (Security Accounts Manager) registry file.
Security The security registry file.
setup.log The file that contains a record of all files that were installed with Windows XP.
Service packs and other components of Windows XP use the information in this file to update
the operating system.
Software The application software registry file.
System The system registry file.
Two additional files are used to reconfigure security when the registry must be repaired.
These are contained only in the Repair directory and not in the
%SystemRoot%\System32\Config directory:
SecDC.inf The default security settings that have been updated for domain controllers.
SecSetup.inf The out-of-the-box default security settings.
In a typical Windows XP installation, the %SystemRoot%\System32\Config directory
contains these files:
AppEvent.evt The application(s) event log file.
DEF$$$$$.del The default registry recovery file.
Default The default registry file.
Default.sav A backup copy of the information contained in the default registry file.
DnsEvent.evt The DNS server event log.
File Rep.evt One of two File Replication Service event log files.
Netlogon.dnb A NetLogon support file.
Netlogon.dns A NetLogon support file.
NTDS.evt The Windows XP directory service event log.
NtFrs.evt The second of two File Replication Service event log files.
SAM The Security Accounts Manager registry file.
SecEvent.evt The security event log.
Security The security registry file.
SOF$$$$$.del The software registry recovery file.
Software The application software registry file.
Software.sav A backup copy of the information contained in the software registry file.
SYS$$$$$.del The system registry recovery file.
SysEvent.evt The system events log.
System The system registry file.
System.alt A copy of the information contained in the system registry file.
System.sav A backup copy of the information contained in the system registry file.
Userdiff The file that migrates preexisting user profiles from previous versions of Windows
NT to Windows XP.
In the registry, the most important files are those with no extensions—these are the current
registry files. Another important file is System.alt, a duplicate of the System registry file.
Side Trip: Restoring Windows XP
Restoring a copy of Windows XP from a backup can be a difficult process. First, without a
working copy of Windows XP, you can't run the backup and restore programs. This means
you have to install a new copy of the operating system to be able to run the restore program.
You'd then use this copy of Windows XP to restore the original system from the backup.
Some users will reformat the drive, reinstall Windows XP into the same directory that the
original installation was made to, and restore on top of this new installation. There's nothing
wrong with doing this, as long as you remember one critical point: If you installed any
Windows XP service packs on your original installation, these service packs must also be
installed on the new installation being used to run the restoration program. If you don't install
the service packs, Windows XP restores system files from the original installation (with the
service pack) on top of the new files (without the service pack); the files will be out of version
sync with the existing operating system files and the registry. This will usually cause the
restore to crash without much of a warning as to what happened.
To perform a full restore of Windows XP (and everything else on the drive), do the following:
1. Reformat the drive. Remember that you're doing a full restore here, and nothing that
was on the drive is considered valuable at this point.
2. Install Windows XP, using your original distribution CD-ROM.
3. Install the service packs that were installed with the version of Windows that is being
restored. Remember that the service packs are cumulative, so you need only reinstall
the last service pack. For example, if Service Pack 3 was installed, it will not be
necessary to install Service Packs 1 and 2. You only need to reinstall Service Pack 3.
4. Reinstall your backup/restore program, if necessary, and begin your restoration
process.
The files in the %SystemRoot%\System32\Config directory that have the extensions .log or
.sav contain a history that may be viewed with the Event Viewer program. For example, files
with the extension .sav are saved using the Last Known Good booting process. Files with the
.log extension are records of changes made to the registry when registry auditing is turned on.
Though the .log and .sav files are not strictly necessary to have a working Windows XP
installation, it is best to consider each of these files a member of a complete set.
Warning Be careful not to replace one file in the registry without replacing all the others. It is
simply too easy to get one file out of sync with the remaining registry files, and this
would spell disaster.
Are Two Copies Better Than One?
Generally, two of anything is better than one. It's easier to ride a bicycle than a unicycle.
However, it is even easier to drive a car—you don't even have to keep your balance. Where
the registry is concerned, keeping at least two copies of it is a good idea. I'd recommend that
you keep at least four:
•
•
•
•
The copy created by the Windows XP backup program, which is stored in
%SystemRoot%\Repair. The Windows XP Setup program is able to use this copy to
restore the registry.
A backup copy of the registry files found in %SystemRoot%\Repair, saved in a safe
and convenient location. Consider a Zip drive or some other type of removable storage
media for this copy.
One (or more) backup copies, created using a backup technique on a type of media
that is compatible with the backup and restore program of your choice. (I'll discuss
backup methods to use in the next section.)
A copy of the registry files contained in %SystemRoot%\System32\Config stored on
separate media, such as a different drive, diskettes, a Zip drive, CD-RW, or some other
easily accessible, writeable media. Try to avoid media requiring special drivers and
such, because these drivers may not work when you need to restore that pesky
registry. This copy may only be made by dual-booting into another copy of Windows
XP (or Windows 95/98/Me if the drive is FAT compatible).
Note In Windows NT 4, keep the special copy created by the RDisk utility that is stored in the
Windows NT directory %SystemRoot%\Repair. This copy of the registry can only be
used by the Windows NT Setup program to repair an existing copy of Windows NT.
Also keep the copy created by the RDisk utility that is stored on the Windows NT ERD.
Again, this copy of the registry can only be used by the Windows NT Setup program to
repair an existing copy of Windows NT. Windows XP doesn't support RDisk. Instead,
the registry backup and ASR disk-creation functionality is incorporated into the finallyuseful-for-everyone Backup program.
Be absolutely sure you keep these copies secure. Lock 'em up, stash 'em away. Oh, and by the
way, that lock on your desk drawer is not good enough; use a good fireproof safe or strong
box.
Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!
Throughout this chapter and this book we talk about backing up the registry to diskettes, other
drives, and tapes. That's all well and good. However, you must remember that the registry
contains sensitive information, especially if it is for a Windows XP server.
The registry is the heart and soul of the Windows XP operating system. It contains
information critical to both the operation and security of Windows XP. There are many ways
that someone could use your backup registry files to breach your system's security, perhaps
costing you money or (gasp!) your job.
Be absolutely sure you maintain the highest levels of security for any copies of the registry
that you make. If saved to external media (diskettes, tapes, or Zip drives, for example), make
sure these copies are securely locked up. Why? Someone could, with little effort, completely
subvert system security and then use the backup copies of the registry to hide their actions.
I recommend you use a quality fireproof safe or a strong box for storing your registry backup
copies. Me, I use a fireproof, locked strong box inside a federal government–rated Mosler
safe—and I don't think I'm being overly protective, either.
Backup Techniques
You can choose from several methods to back up your registry, and you can store your
backed-up version on a variety of media. Whether you use the Windows XP Backup program
or similar utilities, DOS commands, or the Registry Editor, you should first understand what
type of file systems your computer network uses.
Windows XP supports two different file systems. The first file system, called FAT (File
Allocation Table), is identical to the file system used with both DOS and Windows 95/98/Me.
The FAT file system is not secure and offers no resistance to hackers and others who want to
access files improperly. There are several flavors of the FAT file system: FAT12, FAT16, and
FAT32. Windows XP fully supports FAT32 and FAT16. This support allows compatibility
with Windows 98's large disk support.
Note Windows NT 4 does not support FAT32 except in a very limited, read-only manner.
You cannot install Windows NT 4 onto a FAT32 drive. FAT12 is antiquated and is
unlikely to be found on Windows NT systems.
The second file system, NTFS (NT File System), is unique to Windows XP. Though it is
possible to read an NTFS drive from DOS or Windows 95 using shareware utilities, it is
generally not possible to write to an NTFS drive unless you are using Windows XP. However,
System Internals (see their Internet site at www.sysinternals.com) has two utilities that allow
you to write to an NTFS volume from DOS or Windows 95/98/Me.
Backup Utility—Backing Up to Tape or Other Media
The Windows XP backup program, Backup (NTBackup.exe), is one of a whole slew of
compatible backup programs that allow backing up the system registry to tape, diskettes, other
hard drives, CD-R, CD-RW, or for that matter, any other Windows XP–supported writeable
media. The process is straightforward and can be done as part of a regular backup cycle, or
whenever desired. Just check System State in the backup tree to back up using Backup
(Figure 2.1) or use the Automated System Recovery Wizard on Backup's Welcome tab (See
Figure 2.2).
Figure 2.1: Windows XP's Backup utility: System State is selected.
Figure 2.2: Use the Automated System Recovery Wizard(ASR) to select System State.
With ASR selected, the wizard creates three backup sets:
•
•
•
A full backup of the system drive. This backup contains everything that is on the
drive. These files are backed up prior to Backup saving the registry to the
%SystemRoot%\Repair folder.
A backup of the %SystemRoot%\Repair folder, after Backup has removed the original
backed-up registry components. The only two files contained in this folder are asr.sif
and asrpnp.sif.
A copy of the System State. When Backup stores the System State, it saves the
following three items:
o Boot files: the files used to boot Windows XP
o COM+ Class Registration database: the COM+ classes' registration
o Registry: the set of files that comprise the configuration of Windows XP
Note In Windows 2000, to create an ERD, you use the Backup program. In the Tools menu,
simply select Create an Emergency Repair Disk. Backup will prompt for diskettes as
needed. Windows XP does not allow separate creation of the ASR disk.
Using Backup is simple if you are familiar with creating and restoring tape backups.
However, you may encounter a few difficulties in using backups of the registry. First, to keep
the System State backup easily accessible, it would be wise to place the System State backup
on its own media. If the media is inexpensive, this is a viable practice, but if you are paying
an arm and a leg for media, this can be costly. Each System State backup includes a full disk
backup as part of the backup process.
Second, System State and registry backups must be kept secure, perhaps more secure than
standard backups. Everyone's situation is different; just realize that unrestricted access to the
registry allows unrestricted, unaudited access to everything else as well. Hacking a backup
copy of the registry can reveal information that might seriously compromise your system's
security!
Finally, tape backups are sometimes slow. Stick the tape in the drive and the first thing that
happens is that the tape gets rewound (to re-tension it). This process alone can take some
time—time that is not available when you are working on getting a server up and running.
Consider instead backing up the registry to a local hard drive (a drive other than the system
drive, however). Backups to networked drives should be approached with caution: unless
running a fast network, such a backup might seriously compromise the network performance
for an extended period of time. As an example, on a 10BaseT network, backing up 1GB of
data would take over 16 minutes!
Backing Up Using copy or xcopy
It is not possible to copy back the current registry while Windows XP is using the registry.
Period. Therefore, to restore the registry using either copy or xcopy, it is necessary to shut
down Windows XP and start another operating system, such as DOS, Windows 95/98/Me, or
a second copy of Windows XP. Which operating system you use depends on which file
system is being used on the computer. If the file system is FAT, you should start DOS or
Windows 95/98/Me. If the file system is NTFS, you should start a second copy of Windows
XP.
Note Microsoft recommends that Windows XP be installed on NTFS partitions. This
recommendation is for both performance and security reasons. You can install multiple
copies of Windows XP on the same computer, and these installations do not have to be
the same "type" (Server and Workstation). As long as the operating system installed has
a user with sufficient privilege, you can access files (including the registry) from any of
the Windows XP installations.
Backing up the registry with copy or xcopy is easier than using Backup:
1. Run the Backup program and create an ASR disk (if you do not have a current ASR
disk).
2. Copy the backup of the registry found in the %SystemRoot%\Repair directory to
another location.
3. Then (this step is optional, but can't hurt), xcopy the current registry files in the
%SystemRoot%\System32\Config directory. Use the /c option to tell xcopy to ignore
errors. (This is necessary because the current registry is in use. The xcopy command
cannot copy files that are open and will generate an error without the /c option.)
Backing Up If You're Using FAT
Those Windows XP users who are using the FAT file system can simply boot a DOS, or
Windows 95/98/Me (if FAT32 is used), diskette formatted with the /sys option. This will give
you a DOS command prompt allowing you to read from and write to the hard drive quite
easily (of course, accessing output media requires DOS or Windows 95/98/Me support).
To create a bootable FAT-compatible disk, simply use the Windows 95/98/Me or DOS
FORMAT command with the /s system option. Then copy xcopy's files (xcopy*.*) to the
diskette, too. This disk may then be booted in the Windows XP computer, allowing
unrestricted accesses to all FAT-formatted drives installed on the computer. When using Zip,
CD-R, or CD-RW drives, it may be necessary to add DOS drivers for these drives to your
boot diskette.
Note If the system is already configured for dual-booting, you probably can use the second
operating system instead of using a boot diskette. It probably won't matter which
alternate operating system is installed (DOS, Windows 95/98/Me, or even variations of
Windows NT); all will work fine for the purpose of backing up the registry. There is no
need for boot diskettes in this situation.
After booting into a command prompt, it is a simple task to copy the registry files to a safe
location, such as another hard drive, a set of diskettes (the registry won't fit on a single
diskette), a Zip drive, a CD-R/CD-RW drive, or other supported media.
Note Some computers allow booting from the CD-ROM drive. If this is the case for your
computer, then it is also possible, if you have a CD-R/CD-RW drive, to create a
bootable CD.
Backing Up If You're Using NTFS
Users with NTFS are presented with a much more difficult problem. The NTFS file system is
a secure file system that may not be easily accessed using other operating systems not
compatible with NTFS, such as DOS or Windows 95/98/Me. Files on an NTFS drive may
only be written by Windows XP and not by other operating systems. Sure, some utilities
allow NTFS to be accessed from Windows 95/98/Me. However, the mode of access is
typically read-only; there is no chance of a restore that way. Some utilities or drivers do offer
write access to NTFS file systems, however I don't recommend using them except as a last
resort, because they may not be compatible with future versions of NTFS.
To be able to access the registry files on an NTFS drive, you must install a second copy of
Windows XP.
Tip Actually, everyone should have at least two installations of Windows XP: the working
copy and an emergency installation to use if the working copy of Windows XP is unable
to boot.
Windows XP supports multiple boot configurations quite effectively. To create a multiple
boot installation of Windows XP, simply follow these steps:
1. Ensure that you have sufficient space on your hard drive for a second copy of
Windows XP. Your second copy of Windows XP only needs to be the basic operating
system—only a minimal amount of hard disk space is required. Figure 200MB to 1GB
of hard disk space for this backup installation, depending on how much additional
software and features you install. (Some users want two virtually identical
installations, though this type of installation may consume substantially more disk
space than a minimal installation of Windows XP.)
2. Using the Windows XP installation boot diskettes, begin your installation. When
prompted for a destination, simply specify a new, different directory than the working
installation of Windows XP. If you are farsighted enough, and are doing this before
disaster has struck, you can install directly from the distribution CD without using the
boot diskettes. To do so, run the Windows XP Setup program to begin the installation
process. (You can also install directly from the distribution CD if the hardware
supports a boot from the CD drive.)
Warning Don't install to the same directory that your current working installation of
Windows XP is installed into. That won't create a second copy of Windows
XP.
3. The Windows XP Setup program will configure the Boot Manager (creating new
entries in the boot menu) so that you are able to choose which copy of Windows XP
you want to boot.
Customizing the Boot Menu
Once you install a second copy of Windows XP, your boot menu will list both copies of
Windows XP. This can be confusing since the descriptions will be almost identical.
There is a solution: the boot menu can be customized. The boot drive's root directory contains
a file called boot.ini. This file includes the boot options for each copy of Windows XP that is
installed.
Edit boot.ini by following these steps:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Open the Windows XP Control Panel in Classic view.
Open System Properties.
Click the Advanced tab.
In the Startup and Recovery section, click Settings. The Startup and Recovery window
opens.
5. In the System Startup section of the Startup and Recovery window, click the Edit
button. This launches Notepad, loading the boot.ini file.
6. Edit boot.ini and save the file once you have completed your edits.
7. Close the Startup and Recovery and System Properties windows. (Closing these
windows after saving boot.ini ensures that the correct file attributes for boot.ini are
preserved.)
When manually editing boot.ini, you need to remove the system, read-only, and hidden
attributes by going to a command prompt and typing C:\> attrib C:\boot.ini –r –s –h. Don't
forget to restore these attributes after you have completed your editing.
The boot.ini file includes quoted text strings that describe the installation:
type boot.ini
[boot loader]
timeout=30
default= disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINXP
[operating systems]
signature Disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINXP="Microsoft Windows XP Server"
/fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINXPBU="Windows NT Server"
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINXPBU="Windows NT Server" /basevideo
/sos
You can modify anything in the quoted strings. I suggest calling your backup installation of
Windows XP just that—"Windows XP B/U." For example:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINXPBU="Windows XP Server Registry
B/U"
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINXPBU="Windows XP Server Registry B/U
[VGA
mode]" /basevideo /sos
Don't forget to use the Control Panel's System applet to change the default boot to the version
of Windows XP that normally will be booted by default. After Windows XP is (re)installed,
the latest installation is made the default operating system by the installation (Setup) program.
To copy or to xcopy, That Is the Question
Users of FAT file systems can access the registry with a DOS boot disk, and users of either
FAT or NTFS may gain access with a second copy of Windows XP as described earlier. Once
a method to access the registry has been established, it is a simple task to completely back up
the registry.
Typically, I'll use a command window (a "DOS box," or command prompt), because I use
NTFS and have a second copy of Windows XP installed. I'll now describe how I back up the
registry on my Windows XP server.
Using the md (make directory) or mkdir command, I create a new directory called \RegBU on
another drive (my system has at least five hard drives):
md D:\RegBu
I then use the xcopy command (or copy) to copy the registry files in
C:\Winnt\System32\Config directory to the RegBU directory. The Winnt directory is where
my main copy of Windows XP is installed.
xcopy C:\Winnt\System32\Config\*.* D:\RegBu\*.* /s
This example saves a backup to a subdirectory on the D: drive. This is a good solution if the
system (C:) drive becomes unreadable, because the backup copy will still be accessible on the
other drive. Other alternatives include backing up to a removable (Zip) drive, CD-R/CD-RW
drive, or a network drive on a different computer.
If things are going well, I may also use WinZip to back up the registry files to a set of
diskettes. In my system, the files in my Config directory are just over 16MB in size. Am I
typical? No. I only have a few users in my user database, so my registry is smaller than most.
WinZip is able to compress the files down to only two or three diskettes, which is a
reasonable number. Of course, if I used a Zip or CD-R/CD-RW drive, I could put these files
on a single disk, but in my case that might be a waste of space.
Once you've copied your registry files to a safe location, simply remove the boot diskette (if
used) and reboot the computer. This will give you a copy of the registry that is restorable later
using an almost identical technique: boot to DOS and restore the files.
Tip What the heck is a safe location? A safe location typically might be another hard drive, a
Zip drive, or perhaps even diskettes. Diskettes present a small problem in that the registry
files are typically going to be a total of 10 to 20MB in size. Using a utility such as
WinZip allows you to write these large files to a number of diskettes while at the same
time compressing them, reducing the number of diskettes required to a minimum. (We
won't get into the issues of using off-site backup storage!)
What's on My ASR Disk?
The files found on a typical Windows XP ASR disk include the following:
asr.sif Not part of the registry, this file is saved on the ASR disk. A SIF file is a file that
contains state information (SIF is an acronym for state information file). The asr.sif file
contains information about Windows XP and the computer hardware.
asrpnp.sif Not part of the registry, this file is saved on the ASR disk. This SIF file contains
information about the computer's Plug and Play hardware.
setup.log This file contains information about the initial setup of Windows XP.
All of these files are critical when restoring the registry or system using the Setup program's
repair function.
Using RegEdit to Back Up the Registry
Using the Windows Registry Editor, you can make an additional copy of the registry and
restore it by double-clicking a single icon. The Windows Registry Editor, RegEdit, is included
with Windows XP.
Note New! RegEdt32 and RegEdit have been "combined" into a single program. Actually,
the original RegEdit program was removed from Windows XP, and RegEdt32 has
replaced it. (You can start the Registry Editor with either RegEdit or RegEdt32 with the
same result.)
If you follow the steps outlined shortly, you can create a copy of the system registry that
includes everything except the Security and SAM registry keys. When backing up a Windows
XP workstation on a network, RegEdit will usually use this technique to save everything
needed. There are other methods to back up the security database, though those methods are
awkward and somewhat difficult to manage: it is easier to use the techniques described earlier
in the chapter to do a complete registry backup.
Note If you are a system administrator and you have Windows 95/98/Me systems, the
technique described below will work for these computers as well. Actually, they work
better with Windows 95/98/Me than with Windows XP, but we'll keep that our carefully
guarded secret.
Because the Security and SAM keys are not backed up, this is not a complete backup
technique. Rather, this is an interesting technique for backing up the other major parts of the
registry—one that is very easy and quick to do.
To use RegEdit to back up the registry:
1. Run RegEdit. Either go to a command window and type the command RegEdit, or
choose Start → Run to open the Run dialog box, type RegEdit in the Open input area,
and click the OK button.
2. After RegEdit starts, note that My Computer is highlighted. If My Computer is not
highlighted, click it to highlight it. This ensures that the entire registry, not just part of
it, is backed up.
3. Select the Registry menu item Export Registry File.
4. RegEdit displays the Export Registry File dialog box. Using the dialog box's toolbar,
navigate to the Desktop (or some other location that is convenient for you) and type a
name for the file (for example, RegistrySave) and click Save.
5. Exit RegEdit.
Notice that the RegEdit version that is supplied with Windows XP writes the registry file out
in Unicode format (each character is two bytes long). Editors and utilities that do not
understand Unicode character sets will have difficulty working with this file. To convert a
Unicode text file to one-byte text format, use the type command, with the output redirected to
a new file. For example:
type "file in unicode.reg" >"file in text.txt"
The new file created will be (within a byte or two) half the size of the original registry file that
you saved.
This method of saving the registry is easy and almost painless. Using this technique to back
up the registry immediately after installation allows you to restore the system to a known state
very easily and quickly.
To restore the registry with the file created with RegEdit, simply double-click the file you
created in step 4 above, and this file will be reloaded as the current registry.
Note The saved registry file may be placed anywhere you desire. In some cases, placing a
registry restore capability on a user's Desktop is tantamount to courting disaster. Some users
will click it just to see what will happen. One solution is to hide the file (that is, set the file's
hidden attribute) or save it to an offline or other safe storage location.
Restoring the Registry
To restore the registry, you must consider how the registry was saved. There are four ways to
save a registry, each of which differs in just how much of the registry was saved and where
the registry was saved:
•
•
•
•
You can use a backup program (such as the one included with Windows XP) to copy
the registry to a tape or other online or offline location. The backup program will then
restore the registry backup to its original location.
You can copy the registry (as described earlier), creating identical copies of the
registry that can then be recopied back to the original registry locations. This requires
that you use a second operating system (such as a second copy of Windows XP) to
copy the files back.
The Windows XP Backup program (also) saves the registry to the
%SystemRoot%\Repair directory. You can then use the Windows XP Setup program
to restore these files.
You can use RegEdit to save the registry in a text file with an extension of .reg.
Windows XP knows that this is a registry file (because the .reg file type is a registered
extension) and will reload the file automatically into the registry if the file is doubleclicked in Explorer or from the Desktop. From a command prompt, enter the
command start filename.reg, where filename is the name of the registry backup file.
Restoring from Tape
Restoring a tape backup is a simple, though time-consuming, process. When you use a backup
and restore program compatible with Windows XP, make sure that you select the option to
restore the local registry. You will have to make the decision about restoring other files at this
time based upon your circumstances. If you suspect that other system files may be corrupted,
or if you are simply not sure of the state of the system, then I would recommend repairing
Windows XP (using the Windows XP Setup program), or restoring the entire operating
system and the registry at the same time. If you know that the registry is the only damaged
component, simply restoring the registry and not other system files may save some time.
Restoring from Other Media Supported by Backup
Restoring backups saved on other media (such as disks, diskettes, Zip drives, CD-R/CD-RW
drives, and so forth) is a simple and usually fast process. Use the Windows XP Backup
program and select System State from the list of backed up items to restore. System State will
contain three items: Boot Files, COM+ Class Registry, and Registry.
Note It is not possible to restore only part of the System State data; you must restore it all!
Your ASR backup includes other files in addition to the System State (including a full backup
of the system drive), and you may restore those files at any time. You will have to make the
decision about restoring these other files based on your circumstances. If you suspect that
other system files may be corrupted, or if you are simply not sure of the state of the system,
then I would recommend repairing Windows XP or restoring the entire operating system and
the registry at the same time. If you know that the registry is the only damaged component,
simply restoring the System State and not other system files may save a certain amount of
time.
When Active Directory is running, it is not possible to restore the System State. This
limitation requires that you stop the Active Directory services by doing the following: Reboot
Windows XP and during the boot process select the advanced startup option Directory
Services Restore Mode. Once the system has completed the boot, restore the System State.
After restoring the System State, perform a normal Windows XP reboot.
If you're using another backup program, then simply follow the instructions provided with the
program. The same general cautions about which files to restore (only the System State or the
entire operating system) still apply regardless of which restore program you use. The main
difference between most backup and restore programs is the user interface and media
compatibility. Never forget that tapes usually must be restored using the same program used
to create the tape!
Note When restoring, be especially cautious that you do not restore the wrong, or out-of-date,
version of the System State. Generally, you want to make sure that you restore the most
current working version of the registry for the system.
Recovering a Copied Registry
A registry that has been backed up using copy or xcopy is restored in the opposite manner
from which it was backed up. For example, if you have the NTFS file system, then you have
to restart the system using your backup copy of Windows XP.
FAT and NTFS
When restoring a registry on a FAT-based file system running Windows XP, it's necessary to
boot DOS, Windows 95/98/Me, or a second copy of Windows XP. If you have a dual-boot
installed (either DOS or Windows 95/98/Me), you can use the dual-boot to get to the other
operating system.
If you are restoring the registry on an NTFS system, then dual-boot into the backup copy of
Windows XP that you installed to back up the registry. Avoid dual-booting into a previous
version of Windows, as there may be incompatibilities in NTFS support offered by earlier
versions of Windows.
Warning Once running the alternate operating system, find your latest working copy of the
registry before you lose it in the restore process, and back up the current registry to
another, safe, location. Take this precaution just in case the current registry is not the
problem (it happens), and the backup copy is actually not quite as good as you
thought it was.
You can follow these steps to restore your registry from a backup you have created:
1. Boot to another operating system: Windows XP/NT, DOS, or Windows 95/98/Me for
FAT; use Windows XP/NT for NTFS.
2. Save the current registry to a safe location just in case the registry is not the problem
after all.
3. Copy your saved registry (from wherever it was stored) to the correct registry location.
4. Boot the problematic version of Windows XP and test to see if the restore worked. If it
didn't, keep reading; more golden tips are coming up soon.
The ASR Disk Strikes Again: Using Setup to Recover
If you have no other acceptable backup copies of the original registry, then you'll have to fall
back on the ASR disk and the copy of the registry that is saved in the Repair directory. This
technique is fraught with peril, including the fact that the registry saved with ASR may not
have all the necessary information or be up-to-date.
Properly restoring the system registry from the Repair directory and the ASR disk requires
running the Windows XP Setup program. When it first starts, Setup examines the hard drive
and looks for already-installed copies of Windows XP and their Repair directories. Once the
examination is complete, Setup gives you some choices, including Press F2 to Run
Automated System Recovery (ASR).
Warning Running ASR with Setup will, repeat, will cause Setup to reformat the system hard
drive, without further warning! If your backup is on the system drive or a networked
drive, be aware that you will either lose the backup or you will probably be unable
to access it! This will result in having to do a complete reinstall of the system, and
the loss of all user data on the drive. Don't ask how I found this small issue...
At a later point, if you didn't run ASR, the Windows XP's Setup program gives you three
choices:
•
•
•
To set up Windows XP now, press Enter.
To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R.
To quit Setup without installing Windows XP, press F3.
Now, you know that you are in trouble at this point—the only choice is whether it might be
possible to recover from your problems without doing a complete reinstallation of Windows
XP.
Let's say that you are going to try to repair. First, select the repair option by pressing R. At
this stage, the Setup program switches to repair mode and continues. The next screen displays
four choices. You may choose any combination or all of them:
Inspect registry files. This choice allows the repair program to check and repair the registry
files. This is the option that most of us will select. The repair program will need either an
ASR disk or the files stored in the %SystemRoot%\Repair directory.
Inspect startup environment. The startup environment is the Boot Manager, which is called
by the program contained in the boot sector. There are also other supporting files—including
boot.ini, ntdetect.com, and others—that must be validated. The repair program repairs or
replaces these files as best as it can, but be prepared for some items to be restored to the state
they were in when you installed Windows XP.
Verify Windows XP system files. Verifying the system files is a process where the repair
program will go through the root directory and all the system directories (such as the
Windows and System directories) and verify that each and every file is valid. This process is
used when a hard disk error (especially on an NTFS volume) has made one or more system
files invalid. Careful! You will lose all service packs installed to this repair process. Reinstall
your service packs immediately after choosing this option.
Inspect boot sector. There are several reasons to inspect (and repair) the boot sector. For
example, if you inadvertently install another operating system with boot sector virus
infections, this could damage the boot sector, especially with the FAT file system.
All four of these selections are selected by default. You can use the selector bar (use the arrow
keys) to highlight and deselect any option that is not desired; use the Enter key to select or
clear an option.
Once you have elected to continue, Setup does a device check. This is the same check that is
done prior to an installation of Windows XP.
The next stage is to determine where the registry repair information will be coming from.
Remember, you can use either the ASR disk or the copy stored in the Repair directory. If you
have multiple installations of Windows XP, be sure to choose the correct Repair directory to
repair from.
Tip The ASR disk tells Setup which copy of Windows XP you are attempting to repair. You
cannot use the ASR disk from one installation of Windows XP to repair another
installation of Windows XP. It just won't work.
If you don't have an ASR disk (or you don't want to use it), then Setup searches your drive for
Windows XP. You may have multiple installations of Windows XP; this is common,
considering how many times I've recommended installing at least two copies. If this is the
case, Setup lists each installation of the operating system that it finds. Select the version of
Windows XP you want to repair and press Enter to repair the selected installation.
Warning Careful! Make sure you repair the right Windows XP installation if you have more
than one copy of the operating system installed. Nothing is worse than successfully
repairing a copy of Windows XP that wasn't broken in the first place; that'll break it
for sure.
Next, Setup does a drive check. The message indicates that drives are being checked, and the
status indicator at the bottom of the screen shows the progress. Actually, Setup only checks
the boot (C:) drive, but that's probably all that is needed right now.
The next prompt, which is displayed when you have elected to have the registry repaired, is to
determine which key or keys are to be repaired:
•
•
•
•
•
•
System
Software
Default
ntuser.dat
Security
SAM
Replacing some hives and not others might result in some problems if items in the registry
have been updated since the registry was last saved. Typically, it is best to replace all files if
possible to avoid any problems with different versions.
Once the registry has been updated, the Setup program prompts you to remove any diskettes
from the drives and reboot the computer. If all went well, the computer will reboot and run.
Loading a .reg file
Any .reg file created by RegEdit (discussed earlier) is usually loaded by simply doubleclicking the .reg file in Windows Explorer or on the Desktop.
You can also go into RegEdit to load the .reg file. From the RegEdit main menu, select
Registry → Import Registry File. Actually, when you double-click a .reg file, Windows XP
starts RegEdit to do the registry file load. The main advantage of loading a registry file from
the RegEdit menu is that you're able to see the effect of the registry load in RegEdit.
A .reg file, being a text file, may be carefully edited. Did I emphasize carefully enough?
Realize you are making a registry change if you modify the .reg file and then reload it. And
make certain that the editor you use understands Unicode. Notepad works fine, just remember
not to use Notepad's default .txt file extension when saving the file.
Realize that you will not be able to use this technique if you are unable to boot or run
Windows. This is another good reason to have multiple backups of the registry in different
formats.
Note When restoring the registry, several errors may be displayed. Some errors will state
"System Process - Licensing Violation" and advise the user that the system has detected
tampering with the product registration component of the registry. Click OK when these
messages appear and also when another error stating that it was not possible to write to
the registry shows up. This final error is actually an artifact of the licensing violation
errors and does not indicate a failure of the entire process.
Using the Restored Registry
To make the restored registry active, you must restart Windows XP. (Windows XP caches
most of the registry while it is running.) There is no prompt to restart. However, some
changes to the registry will not be reloaded until the system is restarted. Select Shut Down
from the Start menu and then select Restart the Computer in the Shutdown dialog box.
Note It is not uncommon for applications to update the registry using a .reg file during program
installation time. This is one method used by software developers. Why? One simple reason
is that this allows the registry to be repaired, restoring the application's default values
without having to reinstall the entire program.
The Recovery Console
The Windows XP Recovery Console is a tool that allows recovery from a number of failures.
Previously, all you could do was boot another copy of Windows XP and hack your way
around, replacing files, even registry components, in the blind hope that you would somehow
fix the problem.
With Windows XP, you have two tools to use: the Recovery Console and the Safe Mode
feature. The Recovery Console is a powerful, simple (no, that's not an oxymoron!) feature that
is supplied with Windows XP, but it is not installed by default. The Windows XP Safe Mode
works in the same manner as the Safe Mode found in other versions of Windows. You can
modify a number of system settings using Safe Mode (such as video modes).
Installing the Recovery Console after the system has failed is quite like locking the barn door
after the horse has been stolen—it really won't work that well.
Installing the Recovery Console
The Recovery Console must be installed before disaster strikes. It will be difficult (maybe
even impossible) to install it after a disaster has reared its ugly head. So, let's install the
Recovery Console right now.
First, you must use the Windows XP distribution CD (or share containing the appropriate
files, if installing from a network device). The Recovery Console is installed using the
winnt32.exe program. The winnt32.exe program is the same program that is used to install
Windows XP; however, by selecting the correct option, you are able to tell winnt32.exe to not
install Windows XP, but to install the Recovery Console instead.
Note It is not possible to install the Recovery Console at the same time as Windows XP. You
must first install Windows XP, then install the Recovery Console. If you have multiple
copies of Windows XP installed, it is only necessary to install the Recovery Console
one time—the Recovery Console will work with as many copies of Windows XP as are
installed.
Follow these steps to install the Recovery Console from the Windows XP distribution CD:
1. Insert the distribution CD and change into the i386 directory.
2. Run winnt32.exe using the /cmdcons option. Typically, no other options are needed,
though some users may wish to specify source options, especially if installing from a
network share rather than a hard drive.
3. The installation program contacts Microsoft to check for updates to this Windows XP
component (see Figure 2.3).
Figure 2.3: Windows XP's Dynamic Update uses the Internet to retrieve the latest files
directly from Microsoft.
4. The winnt32.exe program opens the dialog box shown in Figure 2.4. This dialog box
allows you to cancel the installation if you need to. Note that multiple installations of
the Recovery Console will simply overwrite previous installations; in such cases, no
error is generated.
Figure 2.4: Setting up the Recovery Console using winnt32/cmdcons by passes all
other setup options.
5. If there are no errors, the dialog box shown in Figure 2.5 is displayed. The Recovery
Console is ready for use at this point.
Figure 2.5: The Recovery console has been successfully installed.
What's in the Recovery Console?
The Recovery Console consists of a minor modification to the boot.ini file, and the addition of
a hidden directory on the boot drive. The added directory's name is cmdcons. The change to
the boot.ini file is simply the addition of another line providing for a new boot option:
C:\cmdcons\bootsect.dat="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons
This option consists of a fully qualified file name (C:\cmdcons\bootsect.dat), a text
description (Microsoft Windows Recovery Console), and a boot option (/cmdcons).
As everyone should be well aware, the Windows XP Boot Manager is able to boot virtually
any operating system (assuming that the operating system is compatible with the currently
installed file system).
How Windows XP Supports Booting other Operating Systems
Windows XP can be told to "boot" any directory or file location. For example, the Recovery
Console is saved in the cmdcons directory. In the cmdcons directory is a 512-byte file named
bootsect.dat.
Windows XP will treat a file named bootsect.dat exactly as if it were a hard disk's boot sector.
In fact, one could, theoretically, copy the bootsect.dat file to a drive's boot sector location and
cause that operating system to be booted directly.
One use for this technology is in a multiple-boot configuration where the other operating
system or systems are not compatible with Windows NT (such as Windows 95/98/Me).
The Recovery Console does qualify as an operating system, though it is very simple—and
limited.
A major question will always be this: is the Recovery Console secure? In most situations, the
Recovery Console is actually quite secure. The user, at startup of the Recovery Console, is
prompted for two pieces of information:
•
•
Which Windows XP installation is to be repaired (assuming that there is more than
one Windows XP installation!).
The Administrator's password for that installation. The Recovery Console then uses
the installation's SAM to validate this password to ensure the user has the necessary
permission to use the system.
A situation comes to mind: if the Administrator's password is lost or otherwise compromised,
not only may it be impossible to use the Recovery Console, but anyone with access to the
compromised password could modify the system with the Recovery Console. This is not
really an issue, though. If the Administrator's password is lost, that's life. It will be difficult, if
not impossible, to recover the password. If the security of the Administrator's password is
compromised, then it will be necessary to repair the damage—changing the password is
mandatory in this case. In either case, the Recovery Console is no less secure than Windows
XP is.
The cmdcons directory holds over 100 files. Most of these files are compressed and are
uncompressed by the Recovery Console when needed. Here's a list of the uncompressed files
found in this directory:
C:\cmdcons\autochk.exe
C:\cmdcons\autofmt.exe
C:\cmdcons\biosinfo.inf
C:\cmdcons\bootsect.dat
C:\cmdcons\disk101
C:\cmdcons\disk102
C:\cmdcons\disk103
C:\cmdcons\disk104
C:\cmdcons\drvmain.sdb
C:\cmdcons\KBDAL.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDBE.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDBLR.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDBR.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDBU.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDCA.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDCR.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDCZ.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDCZ1.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDDA.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDDV.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDES.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDEST.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDFC.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDFI.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDFR.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDGKL.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDGR.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDGR1.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDHE.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDHE220.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDHE319.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDHELA2.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDHELA3.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDHU.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDHU1.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDIC.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDIR.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDIT.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDIT142.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDLA.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDLT.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDLV.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDLV1.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDNE.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDNO.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDPL.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDPL1.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDPO.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDRO.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDRU.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDRU1.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDSF.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDSG.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDSL.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDSL1.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDSP.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDSW.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDTUF.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDTUQ.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDUK.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDUR.dll
C:\cmdcons\kbdus.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDUSL.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDUSR.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDUSX.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDYCC.dll
C:\cmdcons\KBDYCL.dll
C:\cmdcons\ksecdd.sys
C:\cmdcons\migrate.inf
C:\cmdcons\ntdetect.com
C:\cmdcons\ntfs.sys
C:\cmdcons\setupldr.bin
C:\cmdcons\setupreg.hiv
C:\cmdcons\spcmdcon.sys
C:\cmdcons\System32
C:\cmdcons\txtsetup.sif
C:\cmdcons\winnt.sif
C:\cmdcons\System32\ntdll.dll
C:\cmdcons\System32\smss.exe
The files disk101, disk102, disk103, and disk104 are disk image identifier files, and they
contain nothing but a single space and a carriage return/line feed. The bootsect.dat file is the
bootable boot sector image file. The migrate.inf file contains information used to update the
registry if needed. The setupreg.hiv file is used to update the registry; however, this file is in a
special format usable only with certain applications. The cmdcons directory also contains the
subdirectory System32. This subdirectory contains two files, ntdll.dll and smss.exe (the
Windows XP session manager).
Using the Recovery Console
Once the Recovery Console is installed, it appears in the Start menu as the last item in the list,
named "Microsoft Windows Recovery Console."
Warning It is strongly recommend that the Recovery Console not be invoked unless
absolutely necessary! The commands available in the Recovery Console are
powerful, and if used improperly, they can destroy a Windows XP installation.
To use the Recovery Console, follow these steps:
1. Boot the system.
2. When the startup screen displays, select Microsoft Windows Recovery Console.
3. Select the installation to be repaired if there are multiple Windows XP installations.
(The first installation is number 1. Enter 1.)
4. Enter the correct Administrator password for the installation to be repaired. (This
password is a local or SAM password and not an Active Directory password.)
5. Use any Recovery Console commands (see the later section "Recovery Console
Commands and Options") needed to do the repair.
When you're done repairing the installation, simply enter the exit command to restart the
computer.
Starting the Recovery Console from the Installation CD-ROM
Follow these steps to start the Recovery Console for computers that either do not have the
Recovery Console installed or cannot be booted (perhaps due to errors in the partition table,
or MBR):
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Boot the system, using the CD-ROM (or diskettes) as appropriate.
When the initial setup text screen is displayed, select Repair by pressing the R key.
At the prompt, select Recovery Console by pressing C.
Select the installation to be repaired if there are multiple Windows XP installations.
Enter the correct Administrator password for the installation to be repaired.
Use any Recovery Console commands (see the next section) needed to do the repair.
When you're done repairing the installation, enter the exit command to restart the computer.
Recovery Console Commands and Options
New! When the computer is started in the Recovery Console mode, a prompt similar to a
command prompt is the only interface available to the user. The Recovery Console's
functionality is limited, and there is only support for the commands listed in Table 2.1
(Bootcfg and Net Use are new to Windows XP):
Command
Table 2.1: Recovery Console Commands and Options
Function
attrib
Changes file attributes. The read, hidden, and system attributes may be
either set or cleared as desired.
batch
Allows execution of a set of Recovery Console commands that have been
saved in a text file. Both the filename and extension must be specified for
the batch command to work. This command allows specifying an output
file as well.
bootcfg
Activates the boot file (boot.ini) configuration and recovery command
utility.
chdir (cd)
Works identically to the command session's cd command, changing the
current working directory to the directory specified or, if no directory is
specified, displaying the current working directory.
chkdsk
Works similarly to a command session's chkdsk command. Two options
are available: /p specifies that the drive is to be checked regardless of
whether the dirty flag is set; /r specifies that chkdsk should repair any bad
sectors found.
cls
Works identically to the command session's cls command—clears the
screen.
copy
Copies a file from a source location to a destination location. The file, if
compressed, is uncompressed when copied. No wildcards are permitted
with the copy command. There are no options to this command.
delete (del)
Works much like a command session's delete command. This command
deletes the specified file or files. It only works in the system directories of
the installation being repaired, in hard drive root directories, and with
local installation source files.
dir
Works similarly to a command session's dir command. This command
displays the names of files and subdirectories in the location specified.
The dir command has no options, listing file sizes, modification dates, and
attributes.
disable
Disables a service or device driver. The service or device driver to be
disabled is marked as SERVICE_DISABLED to prevent it from being
started when the system is subsequently restarted.
diskpart
Manages partitions on disk devices. This command is able to add or delete
partitions as desired. When adding a partition, a command parameter
specifies the size of the partition in megabytes.
enable
Enables a service or device driver. The service or device driver to be
enabled is marked with the user specified service type:
SERVICE_AUTO_START, SERVICE_DISABLED,
SERVICE_DEMAND_START, SERVICE_BOOT-START, or
SERVICE_SYSTEM_START.
exit
Ends the Recovery Console session and reboots the computer.
expand
Works similarly to a command session's expand command. This command
allows expanding files from a source CAB file. Two options are available:
/d displays the contents of the CAB file; /y suppresses any overwrite
Command
Table 2.1: Recovery Console Commands and Options
Function
warnings that may be given.
fixboot
Repairs or replaces the (optional) specified drive's boot sector.
fixmbr
Repairs or replaces the (optional) specified drive's master boot record.
format
Works similarly to a command session's format command. This command
allows formatting disks using FAT, FAT32, and NTFS. One option, /q,
allows quick formatting without a scan when the drive is known to be
good.
help
Lists the available Recovery Console commands.
listsvc
Displays a list of services and drivers that are currently available on the
computer.
logon
Logs on to an installation of Windows NT 4 or Windows XP. This
command is run automatically when the Recovery Console first starts.
map
Displays a list of all drive mappings. This command's output is very useful
for the fixboot, fixmbr, and fdisk commands.
mkdir (md)
Works similarly to the command session's md (mkdir) command. This
command allows creating directories within the system directories of the
currently logged-on installation, removable disks, root directories of hard
disk partitions, and local installation sources.
more
Works like the command session's type command. Displays the file's
contents on the screen. There are no parameters for the more command.
net use
Associates a drive letter to an available shared network drive.
rename (ren)
Allows the user to rename a file. This command does not support wildcard
specifications.
rmdir (rd)
Works similarly to the command session's rd (rmdir) command. This
command allows deleting directories within the system directories of the
currently logged-on installation, removable disks, root directories of hard
disk partitions, and local installation sources.
set
Sets Recovery Console environment variables. The Recovery Console
supports a limited set of environment variables. These variables affect
Recovery Console commands only.
systemroot
Changes to the current installation's %SystemRoot% directory.
Functionally equivalent to cd %SystemRoot% in a normal command
session.
type
Works like the command session's type command. This command displays
the file's contents on the screen. There are no parameters for the type
command.
The Recovery Console may be installed permanently so that whenever the system is booted,
there is an option to select the Recovery Console. This works well for installations that will
still boot to the Start menu (where one selects the installation or operating system to be
booted). The Recovery Console is placed into the cmdcons directory, located on the boot
drive.
Note The cmdcons directory is always located on the boot drive, not on the system drive, unless
the boot drive is also the system drive.
Other Backup and Restore Programs
There are other registry backup and restoration programs. One excellent source for them is the
Windows XP Resource Kit's REG program, which has backup and restore functionality. Take
a look at Chapter 4 for a listing of the registry tools found in the Windows XP Resource Kit.
Chapter 3: Anatomy of the Registry–The
Blood, Gore, and Guts
Overview
In Chapter 1, we talked a little about what the registry is and the terminology used for its
various components. In Chapter 2, we covered backing up and restoring the registry. In this
chapter, we will get into more of the details of what actually is in the registry. If you're only
interested in how to use (or recover) the registry, but not what the registry is, it's possible to
skip this chapter. However, if you're unsure about this, I'd recommend reading it anyway.
The Registry Structure
Now humor me for just a moment; I think I'm going to back up my registry. In fact, it is a
good time for you to do a backup as well, since it is entirely possible that at any time you
might have some kind of problem (or disaster) with the registry and really need that backup
copy to restore it. Start Backup, select the System State option in the Backup tab, and back up
to a safe location. Alternatively in the Welcome tab, select Automated System Recovery
Wizard.
Next, let some time pass by...
Note When doing a System State backup to a networked location, realize that the selected
network location may not be available when attempting to restore! It may be possible
(and necessary) to install a minimal Windows XP installation so that you can access the
backup location, however.
Ah, that feels better. I've got a fresh backup copy of my registry (and everything else on the
drive) just in case I do something stupid, and so do you—not that we ever do anything stupid,
right?
The registry is subdivided into the following five clearly defined sections, called hives:
•
•
•
•
•
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT
HKEY_CURRENT_USER
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
HKEY_USERS
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG
Some registry objects are less important than others. For example, a damaged Security
Accounts Manager key (SAM), can probably be recovered easily without serious, permanent
problems—you could restore the SAM without much difficulty. You could possibly lose the
entire user database, so no users would be able to log on to the server. However, as long as
you can log on as Administrator, the worst case is that you would have to enter the other user
information again (just hope that there are not thousands of users on your network!) The
default SAM registry will contain at least the initial Administrator user ID and password,
which you would have to know.
However, say you lose the system component of the registry without adequate backup. In that
case, it is unlikely that you'll be able to recover without reinstalling Windows XP, and that
would be a painful experience at best.
Of Hives and Bees—A Registry Overview
As we discussed in Chapter 1, the Windows XP/NT registry is arranged into logical units
called hives. Though I can't vouch for its truth, legend has it that some unnamed programmer
at Microsoft seemed to see a logical relationship between the various keys in the registry and
the structure of a beehive. Now me, I just don't see this, so let's consider the two following
alternative analogies that make much more sense:
•
•
The registry is arranged just like the directories, folders, and files contained on your
hard drive. Hives are analogous to root directories, and keys are like subdirectories
and files. In fact, this relationship is almost 100 percent parallel: hives are usually
shown separated by backslashes (just like directories on the drive) from keys, and keys
typically (but not always) have values, or they can be like directories and contain
subkeys. Remember, just as a file may be empty, a key may well contain no value.
The registry is arranged as a hierarchical database, nothing more, and nothing less. If
you are a database person, this view of the registry might make more sense to you. In
truth, the database arrangement is more like the registry's actual, physical,
construction.
Specific data is assigned to a key. As I've mentioned, some registry keys don't have a value
set; this is also acceptable.
Warning Be careful not to delete empty keys just because they are empty. Even though they
don't have a value, their presence in the registry may be necessary for the health and
well being of Windows XP, or other applications. Never, ever delete a key unless
you know that there will be no adverse side effects, and keep a backup of what you
delete so that it may be restored when adverse side effects develop.
The Registry Hives
The Windows XP registry is divided into five hives, each named using the prefix HKEY_.
Each hive embodies a major section of the registry that has a specific functionality. Each hive
is separate from the other hives and is typically stored as a file in the directory
%SystemRoot%\System32\Config. Hive storage files have no extension or file type, making
them easier to find. These hives are discussed next.
Hives, Keys, and Values
In this book, I use terminology similar to that used when referring to disk drives, directories,
subdirectories, files, and the contents of files. Often Microsoft confuses the issue somewhat. I
will try to keep it clear:
Hive A hive is similar to a root directory on a drive. A hive contains keys (like files and
subdirectories). A hive is the highest level; a hive can not be a subhive inside another hive. An
example of a hive in the registry is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
Key A key is similar to a subdirectory or a file and is found inside a hive. Inside a key there
may be other keys (like files) that contain values or other keys (like subdirectories) that
contain both keys and values. A key will have either a hive or key as a parent above it, and
zero or more keys contained within it. Sometimes Microsoft refers to a key as a subhive. An
example of a key in the registry is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM.
Value A value is similar to a file's data. Each key will have one value (though the value may
consist of many parts) or no value set at all. There is also something called the default value
(sometimes called the unnamed value), an object that may be assigned a value, or not. It is up
to the using application (or the system, if the value is being used by the system) to properly
interpret the value's meaning. When a value is requested, the registry simply provides raw
data.
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT
The HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT hive contains information about both OLE and various file
associations. The purpose of HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT is to provide for compatibility with
the existing Windows 3.x registry.
The information contained in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT is identical to information found in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software.
Note You'll use the Windows XP utility Notepad to print the contents of many files. Notepad
supports two command line options for printing: /p, which directs the printout to the
default printer, and /pt <printer>, which directs the printout to the specified printer.
HKEY_CURRENT_USER
The HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive is used to manage specific information about the user
who is currently logged on. This information includes:
•
•
•
The user's Desktop and the appearance and behavior of Windows XP to the user.
All connections to network devices, such as printers and shared disk resources.
Desktop program items, application preferences, screen colors, and other personal
preferences and security rights. They are stored for later retrieval by the system when
the user logs on.
All other environment settings are retained for future use.
By accessing the roaming user profile, Windows XP is able to make any workstation that the
user logs on to appear the same to the user. Domain users need not worry about having to set
up or customize each workstation that they will be using.
The information contained in HKEY_CURRENT_USER is updated as users make changes to
their environments.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive contains information about the computer that is
running Windows XP. This information includes applications, drivers, and hardware. There
are five separate keys contained within HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE:
Hardware The key used to save information about the computer's hardware. So that new
hardware can be added easily, the Hardware key is always re-created when the system is
booted. Changes to this key are not meaningful. Contained within the Hardware key are the
following four subkeys:
Description Contains information about the system, including the CPU, FPU, and the system
bus. Under the system bus is information about I/O, storage, and other devices.
DeviceMap Contains information about devices (keyboards, printer ports, pointers, and so
on).
ResourceMap Contains information about the HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer).
Remember, as we have passed the year 2001, HAL is not a talking computer on a spaceship,
HAL is the hardware. Also contained are I/O devices, drivers, SCSI adapters, system
resources, and video resources.
ACPI Contains information about the ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface).
SAM The Security Accounts Manager stores information about users and domains in the
SAM key. This information is not accessible using any of the resource editors. Rather, this
information is better managed using the administrator's User Manager program.
Security Contains information about local security and user rights. A copy of the SAM key is
found in the Security key. As with SAM, the Security key is not accessible using the resource
editors, and the information is best modified using the administrator's tools.
Software Contains information about installed system and user software, including
descriptions. There are generally subkeys for each installed product in which the products
store information—including preferences, configurations, MRU (most recently used files)
lists, and other application-modifiable items.
System Contains information about the system startup, device drivers, services, and the
Windows XP configuration.
HKEY_USERS
The HKEY_USERS hive contains information about each active user who has a user profile.
In Windows XP, two subkeys in HKEY_USERS key are .DEFAULT and the information for
the currently logged-on user.
Note The SID (security identifier) for the currently logged-on user begins with S-1-5-21. The
value 21 indicates active users.
The purpose of the .DEFAULT key is to provide information for users who log on without a
profile. Information for the current user is stored under the user's SID.
With the Windows Server, you may find more user identifiers that the system uses to create
new user accounts.
Personal profiles are contained in either the %SystemRoot%\Profiles folder or the
%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\Default User folder, unless roaming profiles are
used, in which case a copy is stored in one of these folders, but the original resides on a
server.
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG
The HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG hive contains information about the system's current
configuration. This information is typically derived from
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System and HKEY_LOCAL_ MACHINE\Software, though
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG does not contain all the information that is contained in the
source keys.
Note Users migrating from Windows 95/98/Me take note: As I noted in Chapter 1, the
HKEY_DYN_DATA hive no longer exists in Windows XP. In Windows NT 4, this
hive was intended to contain information about the system's Plug and Play status.
However, since Windows NT 4 does not support Plug and Play, this key was empty.
Windows XP does not have this hive.
Registry Key Data Types
The keys within hives can contain values that can be edited using the Registry Editor. These
values have different data types:
REG_BINARY Represents binary values. They may be edited or entered as hexadecimal or
binary numbers. Figure 3.1 shows the Registry Editor's Edit Binary Value window.
Figure 3.1: The Edit Binary Value window for the Registry Editor.
REG_SZ Used for registry keys containing strings. Editing is easy; just type in the new
string. Case is preserved, but realize that the string is initially selected, so be careful not to
inadvertently delete it. Strings are of fixed length and are defined when the key is created.
Figure 3.2 shows a string being edited in the Edit String window. A string key may be made
longer by adding more characters to the string; it will be reallocated if this happens.
Figure 3.2: The Edit String window for the Registry Editor.
REG_EXPAND_SZ Used if the key is to contain an environment variable that must be
expanded prior to its use. Some keys need to contain values that reference environment
variables, much like a batch file—for example, if a string contains the field
%SystemRoot%\System32, and it is necessary to replace the %SystemRoot% part of the
string with the value that is assigned to it in the environment. To do this substitution, this
string must be defined as a REG_EXPAND_ SZ type string. The result of the expansion is
then passed to the requestor. %SystemRoot% is a standard environment variable containing
the location, drive, and directory where Windows XP has been installed. The Registry Editor
uses the same window as is used for REG_SZ for entering a REG_EXPAND_SZ key, as
shown in Figure 3.3.
Figure 3.3: The Edit String window, where you can use an expanded environment variable in
the string.
Note Any environment variable, created by either the system or the user, may be used in a
REG_EXPAND_SZ key.
REG_DWORD A 32-bit value, entered as decimal or hexadecimal. The Edit DWORD Value
window, as Figure 3.4 shows, allows you to enter only valid numeric data to save you from
sloppy typing.
Figure 3.4: You can enter only numeric data in the Edit DWORD Value window.
REG_MULTI_SZ Used to store multiple strings in a single registry key. Normally, a string
resource in the registry can contain only one line. However, the multistring type allows a
string resource in the registry to hold multiple strings as needed. Figure 3.5 shows multiple
strings being edited, with four lines of value data.
Figure 3.5: The Edit Multi-String window lets you add multiple values to a string resource.
REG_FULL_RESOURCE_DESCRIPTOR Used to manage information for hardware
resources. No one should edit the items that appear in the Resources window fields. Figure
3.6 shows a resource object displayed in the Registry Editor. However, these objects are
never, ever changed manually.
Figure 3.6: A disk resource shown in the Resources window.
REG_NONE An identifier used when no data is stored in the key. It doesn't take a rocket
scientist to figure out that there is no editor for the REG_NONE type.
REG_UNKNOWN Used when the key's data type cannot be determined.
Other registry data types not fully supported by the Registry Editor include:
REG_DWORD_BIG_ENDIAN Like REG_DWORD, but specifies the big endian format,
where the four bytes of the DWORD are arranged in opposite order than little endian format
(little endian format is the native mode for Intel processors, while noncompatible processors
from other companies, such as Apple's Macintosh computers, use big endian).
REG_LINK Used for a symbolic link between a registry value and either Windows or an
application's data. Entries in REG_LINK are in Unicode text.
REG_QWORD A 64-bit integer number.
REG_RESOURCE_LIST Contains entries used by device drivers, including information
about the hardware's configuration.
REG_RESOURCE_REQUIREMENTS_LIST Contains a list of resources required by a
driver.
In addition to the above types of registry data, applications also have the ability to create
custom registry data types as needed. This flexibility allows the application to both save and
load the registry data without having to perform complex conversions and translations. Now,
let's move on to the various major hives that make up the registry.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE: The Machine's Configuration
The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive contains information about the current hardware
configuration of the local computer. The information stored in this hive is updated using a
variety of processes, including the Control Panel, hardware and software installation
programs, and administrative tools, and is sometimes automatically updated by Windows XP.
It is important not to make unintended changes to the HKEY_LOCAL_ MACHINE hive. A
change here could quite possibly render the entire system unstable.
Note All the settings in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive are recomputed at boot time. If
a change has been made, and the change is causing problems, first try rebooting the
system. The Windows XP Boot Manager should rebuild the
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive at reboot time, discarding any changes made.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Hardware: The Installed Hardware Key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Hardware contains information about the hardware
configuration of the local machine. Everything hardware related (and I do mean everything) is
found in this hive.
In Windows XP, the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Hardware key is subdivided into four
subkeys:
Description Contains descriptive information about each device, including a general
description, information about basic configurations, and so on.
DeviceMap Contains information about devices, including the location in the registry where a
device's full configuration is saved.
ResourceMap Contains translation information about each major component that is installed
in the system. Most keys contain a set value entries named .Raw and .Translated.
ACPI Contains information about the ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface).
The ACPI key is only found on systems that support ACPI. Potential ACPI subkeys include
the following:
RSDP Root System Description Pointer
DSDT Differentiated System Description Table
FADT Fixed ACPI Description Table
FACS Firmware ACPI Control Structure
PSDT Persistent System Description Table
RSDT Root System Description Table
SSDT Secondary System Description Table
Note In Windows NT 4, the Hardware key contains another subkey, OWNERMAP, which
contains information about removable PCI-type devices. These are devices plugged into
the system's PCI bus but generally not permanently installed on the system's
motherboard. However, not all PCI-type devices are listed in OWNERMAP.
Description
Within HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\Description is a wealth of information
about the installed hardware. The only subkey, System, fully describes the CPU and I/O.
Items in the Description key are always redetected at boot time.
The System subkey contains the following subkeys:
CentralProcessor Contains information about the CPU. This includes speed, which is an
identifier that contains the CPU's model, family, and Stepping. This subkey also contains
vendor information; for example, a "real" Intel CPU has the VendorIdentifier string
"GenuineIntel", while a CPU from AMD contains the string "AuthenticAMD".
FloatingPointProcessor Describes the system's FPU (floating point unit) in a set of entries
similar to that of the CPU. The fact that the typical CPU has an integral FPU is not considered
here; the FPU is listed separately, regardless.
MultiFunctionAdapter Describes the system's bus (PCI), any PnP BIOS installed, and other
devices, including the controllers for disk drives, keyboards, parallel and serial ports, and the
mouse. For a mouse that is connected to a serial port, the mouse is found under the serial port,
while a mouse that is connected to a PS/2 mouse port is shown connected to a pointer
controller as a separate device.
ScsiAdapter Describes the system's IDE interfaces, if there are any. Windows XP lists these
as SCSI interfaces, and they include the controllers for IDE disk drives, IDE CD-ROM drives,
and other supported IDE devices. This key may not be found in all installations. Windows XP
does not use this information, though it may be found in legacy installations that have been
updated from earlier versions of Windows.
Note ScsiAdapter lists only the devices attached to the IDE controller. The IDE controller
itself is described in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Hardware\DeviceMap.
Typically, the Description key can be used to determine what hardware is installed (and being
used) and how the installed hardware is connected. However, some devices, such as storage
devices (non-IDE hard drives, SCSI devices, non-IDE CD-ROM drives, video, and network
interface cards), are not listed in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Hardware\Description. Instead,
they are listed in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Hardware\DeviceMap. Why? Because these
devices are not detected at the bootup stage; instead, they are detected when they are installed.
DeviceMap
The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Hardware\DeviceMap subkey contains information about
devices, arranged in a similar fashion to the
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\Description subkey discussed earlier. Windows
XP does not have any changes in the DeviceMap, when compared to earlier versions of
Windows. The DeviceMap subkey contains the following subkeys:
KeyboardClass Contains the address of the subkey that manages information about the
keyboard.
PARALLEL PORTS Contains the address of the subkey that manages information about the
parallel printer ports.
PointerClass Contains the address of the subkey that manages information about the system
mouse.
Scsi A complex subkey that contains information about each SCSI interface found on the
computer. A note about what is considered a SCSI port is in order. Actually, Windows XP
pretends that IDE devices, as well as many CD-ROM devices that are connected to special
interface cards, are SCSI devices. This is a management issue. Windows XP is not converting
these devices to SCSI, nor is it using SCSI drivers; rather, Windows XP is simply classifying
all these devices under a common heading of SCSI.
SERIALCOMM Contains the address of the subkeys that manage information about the
available serial ports. In Windows NT 4, if the system mouse is connected to a serial port and
not to a PS/2 mouse port, that port is not listed in the SERIALCOMM subkey.
VIDEO Contains the address of the subkey that manages the video devices. Two devices are
typically defined in VIDEO: one is the currently used adapter, and the second is a backup
consisting of the previously installed (usually the generic VGA) adapter's settings to use as a
backup in the event of a problem with the video system.
Note For those of you still working with, or migrating from, NT 4, it's important to note that
DeviceMap in NT 4 includes two additional subkeys which do not appear in Windows
XP. KeyboardPort contains the address of the subkey that manages information about
the keyboard interface unit, often called the 8042 after the original chip that served as
the keyboard controller in the original PC. PointerPort contains the address of the
subkey that manages information about the port that the system mouse is connected to.
These two additional subkeys do not appear in later versions of Windows.
ResourceMap
All the various hardware device drivers use the ResourceMap subkey to map resources that
they will use. Each ResourceMap entry contains the following usage information:
•
•
•
•
•
•
I/O ports
I/O memory addresses
Interrupts
DMA (direct memory access) channels
Physical memory installed
Reserved memory
The ResourceMap subkey is divided into subkeys for each class of device (such as Hardware
Abstraction Layer), and under these subkeys lie subkeys for different devices.
Windows XP and Windows 2000 include a new key in ResourceMap called PnPManager.
This key contains Plug and Play information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM: The Security Access Manager
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM contains information used by all versions of Windows
2000 and Windows XP. It also contains user information (permissions, passwords, and the
like). The SAM key is mirrored in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Security\SAM; making
changes to one changes the other.
Note Can't see the SAM or Security key? Use the Registry Editor to select the subkey you
cannot see and then select Edit → Permissions from the main menu. Next, change the
Type of Access from Special Access to Full Control.
In Windows, this information is set using the Microsoft Management Console (MMC), Local
Users and Groups branch. If the Windows system is a domain controller, the SAM is not used
(we have the Active Directory services now). The SAM subkeys (both in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM\SAM and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Security\SAM)
should only be modified using the MMC in Windows or the User Manager administrative
programs in Windows NT 4.0 and earlier. However, attempts to modify information that is in
the SAM subkeys typically result in problems. For example, users will be unable to log on,
wrong permissions will be assigned, and so on.
Warning Don't attempt to modify the SAM or Security key unless you have made a full
backup of your registry, including the SAM and Security keys, as described in
Chapter 2.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Security: The Windows Security Manager
The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Security key contains information relevant to the security
of the local machine. This information includes:
•
•
•
User rights
Password policy
Membership of local groups
In Windows XP, you'll set this information using the Active Directory Users and Computers
program.
Note For those of you migrating from NT 4, or still working with NT 4 machines, it's
important to note that under Windows NT 4, the Security subkeys should only be
modified using the User Manager or the User Manager for Domains. With all versions
of Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional, only the Active Directory
administrative programs (Active Directory Users and Computers) should be used.
Attempts to modify information in the Security key typically result in problems. For
example, users are unable to log on, wrong permissions are assigned, and so on. The XP
Home edition cannot join a domain and therefore has no access to Active Directory.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software: The Installed Software Information
Manager
The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software registry key is the storage location for all
software installed on the computer. The information contained in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software is available to all users and consists of a number of
standard subkeys as well as a few subkeys that may be unique to each computer.
One computer on my network, using a beta version of Windows .NET Server (this also
applies to Windows XP), has the following subkeys in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software. These subkeys correspond to items that I have
installed on my computer:
Adobe Contains information about the copy of Adobe's Acrobat program that was recently
installed.
Federal Express Contains information about the FedEx online access and support I have on
my computer. All of my FedEx airbills are produced by computer, making shipments much
easier.
INTEL Contains information about the Intel 3D Scalability Toolkit that I installed at some
point. I don't remember when or why, but it's there.
Intuit Contains information specific to the financial software that is Intuit's specialty.
Qualcomm Contains information specific to the Eudora e-mail program. The nice thing about
Eudora is that there is a free version for private use.
The following are system subkeys probably installed on your computer; however, some of
these subkeys, such as ODBC and Clients, may not be present on some minimal installations:
Classes Contains two types of items. First are file-type association items. For example, a
typical association entry might have the name DIB, with a string that associates this name
with the application Paint Shop Pro. Second are COM (Common Object Model) associations.
For example, the extension .doc is associated with Microsoft Word for Windows or with
WordPad, the default viewer for .doc files. Both WordPad and Word may be embedded in
other applications. For instance, Outlook, Microsoft's upscale e-mail system, can use Wordformatted documents and embed either Word for Windows or WordPad to display and edit
these documents.
Clients Contains client-server relationships. For example, Microsoft Outlook is a
multipurpose program with e-mail, a calendar, contact lists, news, and other features. Each of
these parts of Outlook has a complex series of calling protocols that are defined in the Clients
subkey.
Gemplus Stores information for use with GemSAFE Smart Cards. These cards are used for
security in Windows XP.
Microsoft Stores a number of items that pertain to Microsoft products or parts of Windows
XP. As few as 20 or as many as 100 entries can be in the Microsoft subkey.
ODBC Stores items that pertain to Open Database Connectivity, which allows applications to
retrieve data from a number of different data sources. Many users install ODBC, either
intentionally or as a side effect of installing another product.
Policies This subkey contains entries for policy enforcement, a feature that has been added to
Windows XP Professional. Policies are not used in XP Home.
Program Groups This subkey contains one value entry, ConvertedToLinks, which is used to
indicate whether the program groups were converted. A value of one (0x1) shows that the
conversion is complete. Even a system installed on a new computer that didn't require
conversion will have this value.
Schlumberger This subkey contains entries used with Windows XP security management.
This group includes both smart cards and terminals.
Secure If you say so. The Secure subkey is the location in which any application may store
"secure" configuration information. Only an Administrator may modify this subkey, so mere
mortal users can't change secure configuration information. Not many, if any, applications use
the Secure subkey.
Windows 3.1 Migration Status Used to indicate if the computer was upgraded from
Windows 3.x to later versions of Windows NT and Windows XP. Though at one time there
were many upgrades, more users today are likely to be doing clean installations—virtually all
existing Windows 3.x systems have already been upgraded. This key contains two subkeys:
IniFiles and reg.dat. These values show whether the .ini and reg.dat files have been migrated
successfully to later formats.
Note For those of you migrating from NT 4, or still working with NT 4 machines, it's
important to note that NT 4 has a Description subkey that contains names and version
numbers for software installed on the local computer. Though any vendor may use this
subkey, the author can only see one entry, which is entered during installation of
Windows XP. Microsoft RPC (Remote Procedure Call) has several entries in this
subkey.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System: The System Information Manager
The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System subkey holds startup information used by Windows
XP when booting. This subkey contains all the data that is stored and not recomputed at boot
time.
Note A full copy of the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System information is kept in the
system.alt file, found in the %SystemRoot%\System32\Config directory in versions of
Windows prior to Windows XP.
The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System key (a.k.a. the System key) is organized into
control sets (such as ControlSet001, ControlSet002, and CurrentControlSet) containing
parameters for devices and services. (The Clone key, present in prior versions of Windows
NT, is not found in Windows XP.)
The main control sets are as follows:
ControlSet001 The current and the default control set used to boot Windows XP normally.
Mapped to CurrentControlSet at boot time, ControlSet001 is the most critical component in
the registry in the normal bootup process.
ControlSet002 A backup control set from the Last Known Good boot that is used to boot
when the default control set (ControlSet001) fails or is unusable for some reason.
ControlSet003 ControlSet003 (and ControlSet00n, where n is greater than 3) is a backup
control set from the Last Known Good boot that may be used to boot from when the default
control set (ControlSet001) fails or is unusable for some reason.
CurrentControlSet The control set Windows XP has booted from. It is usually mapped to
ControlSet001.
Note For those of you migrating from NT 4, or still working with NT 4 machines, it's
important to note that the Clone control set found in NT 4 is the volatile copy of the
control set (usually ControlSet001) that was used to boot the system. Created by the
system kernel during initialization, this key is not accessible from the Registry Editor.
Windows XP uses the CurrentControlSet and previous control sets; it does not use the
Clone control set at all.
The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System key contains three or four other items:
MountedDevices Contains items for each locally attached storage device that is available to
the system.
DISK Found in some systems that have been upgraded from earlier versions of Windows, this
subkey contains items for each mapped CD-ROM drive. For example, I map my CD-ROM
drives to drive letters after S:—I have three entries in this subkey mapping each CD-ROM
drive to a different drive letter. This subkey is updated by the Disk Administrator tool.
Select Contains four subkeys. It also has information on which control set was booted and
which subkey is the Last Known Good set. Also, if there is a "failed" control set, the failed
control set's identity will be found in the Select subkey.
Setup Contains information used by Setup to configure Windows XP. This information
includes locations of drives and directories, the setup command line, and a flag telling if setup
is currently in progress.
The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System key is critical both to the boot process and to the
operation of the system. Microsoft has created a number of tools and processes that help
protect the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System key information. These include the Last
Known Good boot process, which allows mapping in a known (or so we hope) copy of the
control set, which in turn allows the system to boot if the original control set is too damaged
to be booted.
Warning Do not, I repeat, do not, boot using the Last Known Good control set unless it is
necessary! Any changes made to the system during the previous session will be lost,
gone, forever and ever!
When modifying the control sets, be aware of the process of booting and creating the control
sets. Generally, modifying a backup control set won't affect the system.
When Is the Current Control Set the Last Known Good Control Set?
At some point in the boot process, the current control set is copied into the Last Known Good
control set. In Windows XP, the process of replacing the Last Known Good control set is
done after the initial logon is performed. This allows the system to catch any problems related
to the logon process.
HKEY_USERS: Settings for Users
Let's take a closer look at SIDs. No, despite what you may think, SID is not the kid down the
street; SID is short for Security Identifier. The SID, which Windows XP uses to identify a
user, contains information about user rights and privileges, settings, and any other information
that is specific to that particular user.
The Anatomy of a SID
A SID always begins with the letter S, which denotes that this object is a SID, followed by
long number separated with hyphens. The number consists of three to seven groups of
numerals expressed in hexadecimal. For example, a valid SID might be this:
S-1-5-21-1234567890-1234567890-1234567890-123
This SID consists of eight separate parts separated by hyphens. After the S, the next three
parts are the version number, authority, and subauthority values. The following three identify
the specific installation—each Windows installation has different installation identifiers. The
final part indicates the type of SID.
As mentioned, the number immediately following the S is a revision (or version) number.
Windows XP (and all previous versions of Windows that used SIDs) have a number 1 in this
position. Perhaps some day in the future, a version of Windows will have a version number
that is not 1; however, it seems that the version number, and SIDs in general, are very stable
objects.
The SID Identifier Authority
The field immediately following the S-1 in a SID is the Identifier Authority. The meaning of
the Identifier Authority varies somewhat on the following fields (the subauthority values).
Table 3.1 shows some typical Identifier Authority values and their modifiers.
Table 3.1: SID Identifier Authority Values and Modifiers
Authority - Subauthority Authority Name
Description
0
Null
The basic Identifier Authority.
0-0
Nobody
Used when there is no security.
1
World
The basic Identifier Authority.
Table 3.1: SID Identifier Authority Values and Modifiers
Authority - Subauthority Authority Name
Description
1-0
Everyone
Everyone: all users, guest, and
anonymous users.
2
Local
The basic Identifier Authority.
3
Creator
The basic Identifier Authority.
3-0
Creator/Owner
The owner of an object.
3-1
Creator/Group
The primary group of the owner.
3-2
Creator/Owner
Server
Not used after Windows NT 4.
3-3
Creator/Group Server Not used after Windows NT 4.
4
Non-unique
The basic Identifier Authority.
5
NT
The basic Identifier Authority. Most
work with Windows XP users will be in
the NT authority (that is, the SID will
begin with S-1-5).
5-0
(undefined)
Not used in Windows XP.
5 -1
Dialup
Used for users who are logged on to the
system using a dial-up connection.
5-2
Network
Used for users who are logged on to the
system using a LAN connection.
5-3
Batch
Used for users who are logged on to the
system in a batch queue facility.
5-4
Interactive
Used for users who are logged on to the
system interactively (a locally logged on
user).
5-5-X-Y
Logon Session
Used for users who are logging on to the
system. The X and Y values identify the
logon session.
5-6
Service
Used for a Windows XP service.
5-7
Anonymous
Used for users who are logged on
anonymously to the system.
5-8
Proxy
Not used after Windows NT 4.
5-9
Enterprise
Controllers
Used to identify Active Directory domain
controllers.
5 - 10
(undefined)
Undefined in Windows XP.
5 - 11
Authenticated Users
Used for users who have been
authenticated by the system and are
logged on.
5 - 12
Restricted Code
Unknown in Windows XP.
5 - 13
Terminal Server User Used for users who are logged on to the
system using Microsoft Terminal Server.
Table 3.1: SID Identifier Authority Values and Modifiers
Authority - Subauthority Authority Name
Description
5 - 18
Local System
The local computer's system account.
This subauthority is new to Windows
XP.
5 - 19
Local Service
The local computer's service account.
This subauthority is new to Windows
XP.
5 - 20
Network Service
The computer's network service account.
5 - 21
Non-Unique
A non-unique value to identify specific
users.
5 - 32
Domain
Used with domains to identify users. See
Table 3.3.
New! SID Authority values greater than 5 are undefined in Windows XP. Subauthority
values greater than 32 are not documented. Note that both Local Service and Network Service
Authorities are new to Windows XP.
SIDs Used by Windows XP
Current user configurations are saved in HKEY_USERS, which contains at least three keys.
These keys are SIDs. The first key, .DEFAULT, is the default user profile. This profile is used
when no user is currently logged on. Once a user logs on, their profile is loaded and stored as
the second and third keys found in HKEY_USERS.
The second key, the user profile for the user who is currently logged on, appears as something
like this:
S-1-5-21-45749729-16073390-2133884337-500
This key is a specific user's profile—either the user's own profile or copied from the default
user profile (found in %SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\All Users) if the user has not
established his or her own profile.
The third key looks something like this:
S-1-5-21-45749729-16073390-2133884337-500_Classes
This key contains information about the various classes specifically registered for the current
user.
In these keys, or SIDs, the ending three- or four-digit number identifies both the user, and for
some users, the type of user. Table 3.2 lists a number of general user types that might be
assigned. In this book, the most commonly seen value is 500, which is assigned to me, the
system Administrator account.
Table 3.2: Common SID Values
User Group
SID
DOMAINNAME\ADMINISTRATOR S-1-5-21-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-500
DOMAINNAME\GUEST
S-1-5-21-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-501
DOMAINNAME\DOMAIN ADMINS S-1-5-21-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-512
DOMAINNAME\DOMAIN USERS
S-1-5-21-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-513
DOMAINNAME\DOMAIN GUESTS
S-1-5-21-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-514
General users might be assigned SIDs ending in four-digit numbers starting at 1000. My
domain has a user called Pixel, whose SID ends in 1003, and another user, Long, whose SID
ends in 1006. Get the picture?
There are also a number of built-in and special groups of SIDs, as shown in Tables 3.3 and
3.4.
Built-in Local Group
Table 3.3: The Built-in Local Groups
SID
BUILTIN\ADMINISTRATORS
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-544
BUILTIN\USERS
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-545
BUILTIN\GUESTS
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-546
BUILTIN\POWER USERS
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-547
BUILTIN\ACCOUNT OPERATORS
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-548
BUILTIN\SERVER OPERATORS
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-549
BUILTIN\PRINT OPERATORS
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-550
BUILTIN\BACKUP OPERATORS
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-551
BUILTIN\REPLICATOR
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-552
Special Group
Table 3.4: The Special Groups
SID
\CREATOR OWNER
S-1-1-0x-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxx
\EVERYONE
S-1-1-0x-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxx
NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK
S-1-1-2x-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxx
NT AUTHORITY\INTERACTIVE
S-1-1-4x-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxx
NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM
S-1-1-18-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxx
NT AUTHORITY\LOCALSERVICE
S-1-1-19-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxx
NT AUTHORITY\NETWORKSERVICE
S-1-1-20-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxx
Naturally, there are many more SID codes and definitions. Tables 3.2 through 3.4 simply
show a few of the more commonly used SIDs.
Note Remember to differentiate between the HKEY_USERS hive and the
HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive. HKEY_CURRENT_USER contains a pointer that
references the current user in HKEY_USERS.
The content of a user's profile, as it is found in the HKEY_USERS hive, is interesting. For
example, the following keys are present in a typical user's profile (usually, there is nothing to
guarantee that they will all be present, or that others might not be added):
AppEvents Contains information about events (an event is an action like closing, minimizing,
restoring, or maximizing) in a key called EventLabels. This information includes a text label
for the event, such as the label "Close program" for the event close. These labels are used for
a number of purposes, but one that most of us see is in the Control Panel's Sounds applet. A
second section in AppEvents is Schemes, which lists labels for each application that uses
specific sounds for its own events.
Console Contains the default command-prompt configuration. This configuration may be
customized for each command prompt individually, or it is possible in this key to change the
global default, which would be used for all new command prompts that are created. For an
example of command-prompt customization, open a command window and select Properties
from the System menu. There are more settings that may be configured in the registry than are
found in the Properties dialog box.
Control Panel Contains information saved by many of the Control Panel's applets. Typically,
these are default, or standard, values that are saved here, not user settings, which are stored
elsewhere.
Environment Contains the user environment variables for a user. Generally, the System
Properties applet, Environment tab, is used to set user and system environment values.
EUDC Not implemented in Windows XP. Windows 2000 has the EUDC key, which contains
the definitions and other information about End User Defined Characters (EUDC). The
program eudcedit.exe lets users edit/design characters that are specific to their needs.
Identities Contains the information to link users and software configurations. Most
configurations are Microsoft based, such as Outlook Express.
Keyboard Layout Contains the keyboard configuration. Most users, at least those in the U.S.,
will have few or no substitutions. However, users who are using special keyboards or non–
U.S. English keyboards will have some substitutions for special characters found in their
languages.
Network Contains mappings for each network drive connected to the computer. Information
about the connections includes the host (server), remote path, and username used for the
connection. The Network key is not typically found in the .DEFAULT key because users with
no user profile are not automatically connected to a remote drive.
Printers Contains mappings for each remote (network) printer connected to the computer.
Information about the printer connection includes the host (server) and the DLL file used to
manage the connection. The Printers key is typically not found in the .DEFAULT key because
users with no user profile are not automatically connected to a remote printer.
RemoteAccess Contains the various remote access configurations. The connections are
managed using the Control Panel's Network and Dial-up Connections applet.
New! SessionInformation New to Windows XP, the SessionInformation subkey,
ProgramCount, indicates the number of Windows applications that are loaded and running.
This count does not include command prompt windows.
Software Contains information about software installed, including components such as
Schedule, Notepad, and so on. Also included in Software is Windows XP itself, with
configuration information specific to the currently logged-on user.
System Contains information about items such as backup configurations and files that are not
to be backed up.
UNICODE Program Groups Contains information about program groups that use Unicode.
More commonly found on computers configured for languages other than English, Unicode is
the scheme for displaying characters from both English and non-English alphabets on
computers.
Volatile Environment Contains information about the logon server that will be placed in the
environment. One typical item is the logonserver environment variable. All items in Volatile
Environment are dynamic; that is, they are created each time a user logs on. Other dynamic
environment information might be contained in this key as well.
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG: The Current Configuration Settings
The registry hive HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG is created from two registry keys,
HKEY_LOCAL_ MACHINE\System and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software. As it is
created dynamically, there is little value in modifying any of the objects found in the
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG hive.
The HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG hive is composed of two major subkeys:
Software Contains current configurations for some software components. A typical
configuration might have keys under Software for Microsoft Internet Explorer, for example.
System Contains information about hardware. The most common device found in this key is
the video display adapter (found in virtually all configurations) and sometimes information
about the default video modes as well. The video mode settings contained here are typical for
any video system: resolution, panning, refresh rates (didn't you wonder where refresh rates
were saved?), and BitsPerPel (color depth).
Generally, you would modify the source settings for a hardware device in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ System\ControlSet001\Hardware
Profiles\Current\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\ <device>\Device0, where <device> is
the device being modified. For example, my Matrox Millennium is listed under the device
name MGA64.
Tip For more information about the source for HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG, take a look at
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, described earlier in this chapter.
HKEY_PERFORMANCE_DATA: The Performance Monitor Settings
Ever wonder where the Windows XP Performance Monitor information is contained? There is
a final "hidden" registry hive, named HKEY_PERFORMANCE_DATA. This hive, which is
simply not accessible except to applications written specifically to access performance data, is
primarily dynamic in nature. To find the answer to this question, check out Chapter 11.
NTUSER: The New User Profile
Windows XP's installation process creates a default user profile and configuration. This
information is located in %SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\Default User. Whenever a
new user logs on to a workstation or domain, this default user profile is copied to the user's
profile. After that, the user modifies their profile to their own requirements and needs.
Note Windows XP's Default User folder has the hidden attribute set, making it invisible
unless the View All Files option is turned on.
As an example, Windows XP's default language is typically U.S. English. (There are other
language editions of Windows XP; for this example, I'm assuming the U.S. English version.)
Whenever a new user logs on, the user will have U.S. English as his or her language, even if
the system administrator has selected a different, non-English locale.
The default user profile is saved in the disk directory at \Documents and Settings\Default User
[WINNT], where WINNT is the directory that Windows XP is installed. (In Windows NT 4,
the default user information was stored in %SystemRoot%\Profiles\Default User.) User
information is always saved in a file named ntuser.dat. There is an entire configuration for
new users in this directory—check out the Start menu, Desktop, and other directories, too.
You will find that interesting modifications can be made that enable new users to become
proficient quickly without spending too much time customizing their computers.
Warning This technique is an advanced use of the Registry Editor, and you must exercise care
not to inadvertently modify the wrong registry or the wrong keys. Back up the
registry before doing the following.
First, to make this new user profile accessible to remote users (that is, all users other than
those who log on locally), you must copy the Default User directory to the share named
Netlogon. This share is typically located in the directory at
%SystemRoot%\SysVol\SysVol\in Windows Server, in a directory that is named for the
server. (For Windows NT 4 users, look in %SystemRoot%\System32\Repl\Import.) One way
to copy these files is to create a new custom profile and copy the new custom profile using the
User Profiles tab in the Control Panel's System applet.
If there are BDCs (Backup Domain Controllers), you would actually edit the file in the Export
directory (same initial path) because this directory is locally replicated to the Import directory
and to the other BDC Import directories, although it might be located elsewhere. The
NetLogon share can be located quickly by typing the following command:
net share
at a command prompt. The computer's shares will be displayed.
Follow these steps to modify the default new user profile in your new Default User directory
(remember to create a new Default User directory, saving the current Default User directory
as a backup):
1. Start the Registry Editor using either a command prompt or the Start menu's Run
command.
2. Click the title bar of the HKEY_USERS on Local Machine window to make the
window active.
3. Choose File → Load Hive from the Registry Editor menu.
4. Open the hive found in %SystemRoot%\Profiles\Default User or
%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\Default User. This hive has the filename
ntuser.dat.
5. The Registry Editor prompts you for a new key name. Type the name NTUSER.
6. Change whatever keys in NTUSER need to be modified. There will be a slew of
changeable items in the new profile, including AppEvents, Console, Control Panel,
Environment, Keyboard Layout, Software, and Unicode Program Groups. When
adding new keys, do be careful to ensure that all users have at least read access to the
new keys. No read access means that the key won't be accessible to the user.
Tip To set the permissions for a key, select the key, and then select Edit →
Permissions from the Registry Editor menu. Ensure that the group Everyone has
at least read access. Resist the urge to give everyone more than read access to this
key, too. Too much power can be a dangerous thing!
7. After making all modifications to NTUSER, choose File → Unload Hive from the
Registry Editor menu.
8. Exit the Registry Editor.
Once this profile is saved in the NetLogon share location, new users will get this new profile
each time they log on.
Chapter 4: Registry Tools and Tips–Getting
the Work Done
Overview
Windows XP uses only one registry editor. Gone are the separate RegEdit and RegEdt32
editors that existed in Windows 2000. No matter which command you enter in Windows XP,
RegEdt32 or RegEdit, the same program (RegEdit, which is called the Registry Editor) will
run.
Windows XP also has a utility called REG that is included as part of the system installation—
no more needing to install a separate Resource Kit. This tool is run at the command prompt.
REG allows flexible manipulation of the registry, replacing earlier versions of a number of the
other Resource Kit components.
In this chapter, I'll first discuss the registry tools specific to Windows XP. In the second half
of the chapter, I'll review the many useful tools available in earlier versions of Windows.
Using the Registry Editor
If you have used Windows 2000's RegEdt32, you'll notice some differences in Windows XP's
Registry Editor. While RegEdt32 has much more power, the Registry Editor is easier to use.
RegEdt32 is an MDI (multiple document interface) application, and it displays each of the
main hives in the registry in its own window. RegEdt32 has powerful administrative tools that
the Registry Editor doesn't support, including read-only mode (note the following Warning)
and a security configuration, which allows you to restrict access to some registry hives, keys,
and subkeys.
Using the Registry Editor is as simple as starting it. From a command prompt, type regedit to
start the program. You can also select Start → Run, type RegEdit, and click the OK button to
start the Registry Editor. In either case, typing RegEdt32 will have exactly the same effect in
Windows XP.
Warning Registry Changes Are Permanent! All changes made with the Registry Editor are
immediate and, for all intents, permanent! Though you can go back and manually
undo a change made with the Registry Editor, everything that you change with the
Registry Editor affects the current registry. Unlike Windows 2000's RegEdt32, XP's
Registry Editor does not have a read-only mode. There is no safety net and nothing
to catch your bloopers and booboos, and generally you'll have to clean up your own
mess. In other words, you are editing the real, working, live, honest-to-goodness
registry—not a copy. There is no Save command in the Registry Editor; you type in
a change, and it is saved right then and there. So, make sure you have a backup of
the registry files before fiddling with registry.
Once started, the Registry Editor displays the current registry (see Figure 4.1). By default, this
is the local registry. However, you can open a registry on a remote computer by selecting File
→ Connect Network Registry and entering the name of the computer (see Figure 4.2) whose
registry you want to open. If you cannot remember the exact name of the desired computer,
the Select Computer window (Figure 4.3) displays a list of all computers found in the domain
directory.
Figure 4.1: The Registry Editor automatically opens the current, local registry.
Figure 4.2: Use the Registry Editor's standard Select Computer window for remote registry
editing.
Figure 4.3: The Registry Editor's advanced Select Computer windows lets you select the name
of the computer whose registry you want to edit.
Figure 4.4 shows a remote registry opened in the Registry Editor. Only HKEY_USERS and
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE may be edited remotely in Windows XP.
Figure 4.4: A remote registry is open and ready for editing in the Registry Editor.
The Registry Editor has a straightforward set of menus. The Edit menu allows you to save and
load text-based .reg (registry) files, connect to and disconnect from a network registry, and
print the current branch or the entire registry.
Making the Registry Editor Do What It Used to Do!
Since Windows 2000, the Registry Editor displays the last open key from the previous editing
session. Some users like this feature; others do not. There is no easy way to disable this
functionality, though perhaps Microsoft will give us the option to do so at a later time. Until
that time, try this to disable the feature:
1. Using the Registry Editor, open
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\
CurrentVersion\Applets\Regedit
2. Edit the LastKey value, and change its contents to an empty string. (If you want to
always start in a specified location, you can put that location in this key's value.)
3. Select the RegEdit key.
4. Select Edit → Permissions.
5. Uncheck the Full Control permission for every user in the list.
This prevents the Registry Editor from saving a value in this key. (Note that this also prevents
the Registry Editor from saving any defaults or favorites.)
New! You use the Edit menu to create a new key or value entry. Data types in the Registry
Editor are restricted to string, binary, multistring, expandable string, and DWORD. Generally,
these types are the only registry data types that you would want to edit. New to the Registry
Editor's Edit menu is the Permissions option. Prior versions of the Registry Editor did not
allow you to set permissions, but this limitation has been fixed as of Windows XP.
The Edit menu also lets you delete an object, rename a key or subkey, and copy a key name to
a new name. At the bottom of the Edit menu are the Find and Find Next options.
Windows 2000 added improvements to the Registry Editor that continue in Windows XP.
One improvement is the addition of the Type column in the right-hand display of values and
data, which lists each value's type. Although the Registry Editor displays the names of all the
data types available to Windows, the user is still restricted to editing the data types listed
above.
Another 2000 improvement is the addition of the Favorites menu. This feature lets you place
your most commonly accessed subkeys into a list of favorites so you can quickly navigate to a
subkey.
Note If you have disabled the Registry Editor's last open key functionality (as described
above), then you have essentially disabled the Favorites options as well. You can't have
one without the other...
Importing and Exporting Registry Hives and Keys
The ability to export a registry hive or key (or the entire registry, if necessary) is a powerful
feature of the Registry Editor. Once a registry is open, select a hive or key (or My Computer
to export the entire registry) and choose File → Export to open the Export Registry File
window (see Figure 4.5).
Figure 4.5: Exporting the currently selected hive or key is easy!
Note The typical Windows registry is several thousand to hundreds of thousands of lines
long. The registry on my server has over 130,000 lines. At 66 lines per page, the printed
report would be at least 2,000 pages. At least, you say? Yes, many registry lines require
more than one line to print, so the printout would actually be much more than 2,000
pages.
A hive is exported into a Unicode text-based file. This file has no comments; some of the
Resource Kit registry tools do comment exported sections of the registry. However, the file
may be opened with most any text editor (such as Notepad), searched, and even (carefully)
modified. Any changes made to the exported text file may be incorporated into the registry by
simply importing the modified file.
Importing a file that the Registry Editor had previously exported is as simple as selecting
Registry → Import Registry File and entering the name of the registry file to import.
What Is an Exported Registry File?
A registry file exported by the Registry Editor starts with the line: "Windows Registry Editor
Version 5.00." The following line is the first hive exported in a hierarchical format:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Hardware]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\Description]
Generally, a full export of a registry starts with an export of the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
hive, as the above example shows.
The contents of an exported registry are arranged in the file as a hive and key combination
(fully qualified, enclosed in brackets), with the data key name in quotes and its value
following the equal sign. The following example shows the three value entries that the
FloatingPointProcessor contains:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\DESCRIPTION\System\FloatingPointProcessor\0]
"Component Information"=hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,01,00,00,00
"Identifier"="x86 Family 5 Model 4 Stepping 3"
"Configuration Data"=hex(9):ff,ff,ff,ff,ff,ff,ff,ff,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00
Why export the registry? First, the search capabilities in the Registry Editor are not optimal.
(Well, that's my opinion!) Loading an exported registry file into an editor (such as Word, or
even Notepad) allows you to quickly search for strings using the editor's search capability.
Another benefit is that it is easy to export the registry before installing an application or
system extension. After an installation, it is also a good idea to export the registry. Then,
using one of the system comparison tools (such as FC or, if you have it, WinDiff), you can
compare the two versions of the registry and see what the installation has changed. Bingo—a
quick way to see what's happening to the registry on installations.
Printing the Registry
Printing a registry hive or key is possible in the Registry Editor. As mentioned previously,
printing an entire registry is not a swell idea—you'd have to make a major investment in paper
and printer supplies. Typically, a registry would require thousands of pages to print.
Printing sections of a registry hive can be very useful if a paper record is needed, or if you
need something to take to a meeting, or if you want to jot down some quick notes. The limit
of a printed registry hive or key is that searching it might be difficult.
Printing is easily done if you select the hive or subkey to print, then select File → Print from
the Registry Editor's main menu. The Print dialog box, shown in Figure 4.6, allows you to edit
the branch to be printed (with the currently selected object as the default). The results of
printing a registry report are almost identical to exporting, with the exception that a printed
report lacks the initial header line that's found in an exported registry file.
Figure 4.6: The Registry Editor's Print dialog box is set to print a small part of the hive
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
Tip Is the registry file readable? Generally, the Registry Editor in Windows XP creates a
better report than previous versions did. The Registry Editor print facility is basic and
simply wraps lines at 80 characters. Any line more than 80 characters wraps and is
difficult to read. Complex registry data types (such as
REG_FULL_RESOURCE_DESCRIPTOR) are well formatted. Another solution is to
print the registry to a file, load the file into a word processor, format it to be readable, and
print it from the word processor. To do this, you must define a generic text printer device.
Creating, Renaming, and Deleting Entries
The Registry Editor allows you to quickly create, delete, or rename an entry. Entries may
consist of keys, subkeys, or value entries.
Creating a New Key
You can quickly create a new key by following these steps:
1. Select the hive or key in which the new key is to be created. Either right-click the
object or select Edit → New, and then select the type of object to create.
2. The Registry Editor creates the new subkey, giving it a default name of New Key #n
where n is a number beginning with 1. Edit the new subkey's name. Give the subkey a
meaningful name or the name that is expected for this subkey. (If you neglect to edit
the key's name at this time, you can rename it later.)
Once the new subkey has been created, you can populate it with additional subkeys and value
entries.
Note A hive, key, or subkey may contain both value entries and other subkeys at the same
time.
Why Can't I Create a Key Here?
New! Prior to Windows XP, not all hives allowed you to create keys directly under the hive
itself. For example, it was not possible to create a key under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE,
though you could create a key under HKEY_CURRENT_USER. Now you can create keys
virtually anywhere. However...
Why not create an object in those locations? Simply put, the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
hive is not "saved" when Windows shuts down. Rather it is re-created anew each time
Windows boots—therefore, any key or subkey created is lost at the next boot-up time.
Creating a Value Entry, Then Renaming It
You can quickly create a new value entry by following these steps:
1. Select the hive or key in which the new value entry is to be created.
2. Select Edit → New and then select either String Value, Binary Value, DWORD
Value, Multi-String Value, or Expandable String Value, depending on the type of data
that this value entry will have.
3. The Registry Editor creates the new value entry, giving it a default name of New
Value #n where n is a number beginning with 1. Edit the new value entry's name. Give
it a meaningful name or the name that is expected for it. Press the Enter key to save
the new name.
Tip At any point, you may rename a key or value entry by right-clicking the item to be
renamed and selecting Rename from the context menu.
4. To enter data into the new entry, double-click the entry. The correct edit box is
displayed, allowing you to edit the data. If you right-click, you can choose to edit the
object using the binary format (see Figure 4.7).
Figure 4.7: The Registry Editor after right-clicking on
REG_FULL_RESOURCE_DESCRIPTOR, showing the Modify Binary Data selection in the
context menu
Once you've created the new value entry, you can enter data as necessary.
Note A key need not have a data value entered. A key is valid without any data, though nodata defaults vary depending on the type of data the key contains: String values have a
zero-length string as their default. Binary values have a zero-length binary value (which
is different from having a value of zero). DWORD values have a value of zero.
Figure 4.8 shows the Registry Editor with a new subkey containing another subkey, a string
value, a binary value, a DWORD value, a multistring value, and an expandable string value,
exactly as created by the Registry Editor. Note that I've named the initial subkey Test Key.
Figure 4.8: The Registry Editor after creating the subkey called Test Key and a further subkey
called Test sub-key
In the example, I gave each of the new value entries a name to match the type of data it stores.
I created each value using the Edit → New selection in the menu, as shown in Figure 4.9. You
can edit value entries at any time, either in their native format or in a raw, binary format. To
change the name, select the key or value entry and choose Edit → Rename. To change the
value entry's contents, select the value entry and choose Edit → Modify. To change the value
entry's contents in binary format, select the value entry and choose Edit → Modify Binary
Data. You can also double-click the value entry or right-click (also known as a context-click)
the item and choose Modify to change the value.
Figure 4.9: You create new value entries using the Registry Editor's Edit menu.
Deleting the Unwanted
Getting rid of the unwanted is easy. Select the object, either a key, subkey, or value entry, to
be deleted and then either select Edit → Delete or just press the Delete key. The Registry
Editor prompts you to confirm that the object is to be deleted, if the Confirm on Delete option
is selected.
Warning Once deleted, 'tis gone forever! Be careful not to delete anything that you will want
later. Prior to deleting, it's appropriate to back up the registry. It also might be a
good idea to rename the object, just in case you need to restore it at a later time.
Copying Key Names
Is this as simple as it seems? A long, convoluted name without having to type it? Yes, it is!
Copy Key Name, found in the Registry Editor's Edit menu (and from the key's context menu
if you right-click the key and select Copy Key Name), copies the key's name to the Clipboard.
The information is copied in text format and may then be pasted into other applications or
word processors as needed. For example, when I copy the new key created in Figure 4.8, the
following text is placed into the Clipboard:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Hardware\Description\System\Test Key\Test sub-key
This means it is not necessary to manually type in long registry keys into other applications
and documents. This feature, for example, was a great help when writing this book.
Tip Sadly, we can't copy either value names or their contents in this manner! To copy a key's
data, you must edit it and select and copy from the editor.
Searching: Find and Find Next
Searching a registry is one of the most important tasks you'll have to undertake. Before you
make a modification, do debugging, or start browsing, it is usually necessary to search for
something.
Now, as I've mentioned previously, the Registry Editor's search capabilities are a bit limited.
Tip The Registry Editor searches downward only. If what you are searching for is located
above the current selection, you'll be in for a long wait, as the search will have to scan to
the end of the registry and then restart at the beginning to find it. When in doubt, start at
My Computer, and you can be assured that the search will include the entire registry. Oh,
the Registry Editor's search is deathly slow—a long search, in a large registry, is a sure
sign that it's time for a coffee break.
Searching allows you to look at keys, data value names, and data value contents. You may
choose to search any or all of these (see Figure 4.10), and you can limit the search to whole
strings only, which applies to searching text strings exclusively.
Figure 4.10: You can search for any combination of keys, values, and data.
Note The Registry Editor's search is not case specific, so you can enter strings to be searched
in lowercase if desired. This is nice, since the case of many registry entries is rather
mixed.
Once the search finds the item searched for, it stops on the word(s) found. Use F3 to continue
the search or to find subsequent matches.
If the Registry Editor's search is unable to find the string entered, you will see an error dialog
box.
Loading and Unloading Hives
The Registry Editor allows a hive to be loaded into the current registry. This hive may be
modified and later unloaded. Why?
There are several reasons for loading and unloading hives into the Registry Editor. The
following example, configuring a modified new user profile, concerns the file ntuser.dat. In
ntuser.dat is the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive. Within this hive are settings, such as
internationalization, colors, schemes, and other items. Windows XP's installation process
creates a default user profile—nothing spectacular, a very plain configuration. Whenever a
new user logs on to a workstation (or domain), this default user profile is copied to the user's
profile. After that, the user may modify this default profile to his or her requirements and
needs. Of course, you might want to establish some organizational defaults, such as a
company scheme.
Warning The techniques shown next are advanced uses of the Registry Editor. Back up the
registry before doing the following.
The default user profile is saved in the following disk directory:
•
•
For new installations: %SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\Default User (this
directory may have the hidden attribute set, so that it is not displayed when using
either Explorer or a command session)
For Windows NT 4, and Windows 2000 installations that are upgraded from Windows
NT 4: %SystemRoot%\Profiles\Default User\
The name of the user profile is ntuser.dat. There is an entire configuration for new users in the
directory %SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\Default User; check out the Start Menu,
Desktop, and other directories, too. You will find that interesting modifications can be made
that enable new users to become proficient quickly without spending too much time
customizing their computers.
First, to make this new user profile accessible to remote users (users other than those who log
on locally), you must copy the Default User directory to the share named NetLogon. This
share is typically located in the directory at C:\Winnt\SysVol\SysVol in Windows Server.
Placing files in Export (in Windows NT 4) causes replication to copy them locally to Import,
along with any BDCs (Backup Domain Controllers). Note that the share might be located
elsewhere. The NetLogon share can be located quickly by typing the following command at a
command prompt:
net share
The computer's shares will be displayed.
One process to copy these files is to create a new custom profile, and then copy the new
custom profile using the System applet's User Profiles tab.
Warning Be smart! Be sure to make a backup copy of the ntuser.dat file before you make any
changes in it!
Do the following to modify the default new user profile. (Remember to create a new Default
User directory, saving the current Default User directory as a backup.)
Start the Registry Editor using either a command prompt or by selecting Start → Run.
Click the title bar of the HKEY_USERS on Local Machine window to make it active.
Choose File → Load Hive from the Registry Editor menu.
Open the hive file in %SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\Default User. (If your
system is configured, or installed, with different directory names, choose the correct
name.) This hive has a filename of ntuser.dat.
5. The Registry Editor prompts you for a new Key Name. Use the name ntuser.
6. Change whatever keys in ntuser need to be modified. There will be a slew of
changeable items in the new profile, including AppEvents, Console, Control Panel,
Environment, Keyboard Layout, Software, and Unicode Program Groups. When
adding new keys, do be careful to ensure that all users have at least read access to the
new keys. No read access means that the key won't be accessible to the person named
"user."
1.
2.
3.
4.
Tip To set the permissions for a key, select the key, and then select Security →
Permissions from the Registry Editor menu. Ensure that the Everyone group has
at least read access. Resist the urge to give everyone more than read access to this
key. Too much power can be a dangerous thing!
7. After making all modifications to NTUSER, choose File → Unload Hive from the
Registry Editor menu. Unload the hive to the file ntuser.dat. (You did back up the
original file, right?)
8. Exit the Registry Editor.
Once this profile is saved in the Netlogon share location, each time a new user logs on to the
network, the user will get this new profile.
Can't Find the Location for ntuser.dat?
Remember that the ntuser.datfile has the hidden attribute, so it is not normally displayed in
either a command window or in Explorer. Either tell Explorer to display hidden files or, at a
command prompt, use the dir command with the /ah option to display hidden files and
directories.
If worse comes to worst, open a command window (tough to do this in Explorer) and, in the
root of the system drive, use the command:
DIR /ah /s ntuser.dat
This command lists all copies of the ntuser.dat file, allowing you to change the appropriate
one. One thought though: don't change the "current user" ntuser.dat file—it won't work!
Windows will rewrite the file when the user next logs off, causing any changes you made to
disappear!
Using the Registry Editor from the Command Line
The Registry Editor may be used from the command line, without user interaction. The
commands that the Registry Editor uses include those described below. (Note that not all
commands may be available under all operating systems.)
•
•
To import a registry file into the Registry Editor:
•
•
To create a registry object from a file:
•
To export a registry (or part of the registry):
REGEDIT [/L:system] [/R:user] filename1
REGEDIT [/L:system] [/R:user] /C filename2
REGEDIT [/L:system] [/R:user] /E filename3 [regpath1]
•
•
To delete part of a registry:
REGEDIT [/L:system] [/R:user] /D regpath2
In all the above commands, the parameters are as follows:
/L:system
Specifies the location of the system.dat file. Note that there is a colon
between the /L and the parameter system.
/R:user
Specifies the location of the user.dat file. Note that there is a colon
between the /R and the parameter user.
filename1
Specifies the file(s) to import into the registry.
/C filename2
Specifies the file to create the registry from. Note that there is a space
between the /C and the parameter filename2.
/E filename3
Specifies the file to export the registry to. Note that there is a space
between the /E and the parameter filename3.
regpath1
/D regpath2
Warning
Specifies the starting registry key to export from (defaults to exporting
the entire registry).
Specifies the registry key to delete. Note that there is a space between the
/D and the parameter regpath2.
Be careful; be very careful. Running the Registry
Editor in the command-line mode can be
damaging to the registry—it is possible to utterly
destroy the registry with a single command.
Restoring
Restoring is what Joe and Ed on the Learning Channel do to old furniture, right?
Well, maybe so, but it's also possible to restore an object in the registry using the Registry
Editor. The process is straightforward, although like everything else, you must have
something to restore from. As explained above, using Export (in the File menu), you can save
a registry object to a file. The file extension is .reg, and it is a really good idea to keep
filenames as descriptive as possible.
A suggestion: If you have a strong desire to play with the import and export functionality of
the Registry Editor, install a practice copy of Windows. Don't do this on a working version—
at least not a copy of Windows that you, or anyone else, care about.
Note When an object is restored, the data overwrites the existing object. It becomes
permanent, as everything that the Registry Editor does is immediately written to the
registry.
Warning More important: When an object is restored, it is written on top of the currently
selected object. Make sure that the object you are restoring belongs at the current
selection. Again, make sure you name your file well so that you know exactly which
object a given file represents. Imagine coming back to a saved file, perhaps weeks
later, and trying to restore it without knowing which object it was saved from.
Warning Even much more important: Restoring an object may override the read-only mode
option—it will write to the registry no matter what! Care to guess how I found that
out?
When an object is restored, the selected object is not renamed, even though the contents of the
object are replaced.
Security
Security is paramount in a Windows installation. The registry, just like the NTFS file system,
can be protected from unauthorized access. This can be a critical issue, because Windows
supports remote registry editing.
Note It is possible to make changes to one computer's registry from another computer without
the user of the changed computer even knowing that a change has been made (that is,
until they see the results of the change).
The Registry Editor supports security modifications. If a hive is not accessible to the Registry
Editor, the user is unable to view the hive or change it, depending on the level of access
granted by the system. However, the Registry Editor's Edit → Permissions menu selection
allows you to change the security attributes for a hive and any keys (if you have sufficient
authority to do so).
Initially, when you select Edit → Permissions, the Permissions For dialog box is displayed
(see Figure 4.11). You set basic security in this dialog box, while you set advanced
functionality (permissions, auditing, and owner) in the Advanced Security Settings For dialog
box.
Figure 4.11: Setting the permissions for an object in the Registry Editor
Clicking the Advanced button of the Permissions For dialog box displays the Advanced
Security Settings For dialog box, shown in Figure 4.12. The Advanced Security Settings For
dialog box has four tabs: Permissions, Auditing, Owner, and Effective Permissions.
Figure 4.12: Specific users and administrative units can have their own permissions.
Permissions
The currently selected object is displayed along with the current permissions granted. Default
permissions are typically, but not always, ones that everyone can read; the Administrator
accounts and the system both have full control.
The Permissions tab lists the object's name in the dialog box's title bar. To allow the current
object to include its parent's permissions, select the check box that says, "Inherit from parent
the permission entries that apply to child objects. Include these with entries explicitly defined
here." To allow changing permissions for both the selected item and any subkeys it contains,
select the check box that says, "Replace permission entries on all child objects with entries
shown here that apply to child objects.".
You set detailed permissions by clicking the Edit button in the Permissions tab of the
Advanced Security Settings For dialog box. This displays the Permission Entry For dialog
box, shown in Figure 4.13. The list box shows the current permissions, organized by name.
Select one name (each may be modified separately, or all entries may be cleared using the
Clear All button) and set the type of access. The selections include the following:
Figure 4.13: Permissions are customized on a user-by-user basis in the Permission Entry For
dialog box.
Full Control Allows the selected user to have complete, unrestricted access
Query Value Allows the selected user to have read access
Set Value Allows the selected user to have write access
Create Subkey Allows the selected user to create a subkey
Enumerate Subkeys Allows the selected user to obtain a list of subkeys contained within the
object
Notify Tells Windows XP to notify the owner when the object is modified
Create Link Allows the selected user to create a link to the object from another object
Delete Allows the selected user to delete the object
Write DAC Allows the selected user to modify Discretionary Access Control information
Write Owner Allows the selected user to modify the owner record information
Read Control Combines the standard read, Query Value, Enumerate Subkeys, and Notify
permissions
Warning Of course, the standard warnings apply: Do not grant more permission than is
necessary to do the job. Understand which permissions are being granted (see the
above list) and consider granting permissions temporarily, removing anything
granted as soon as it is not necessary.
Auditing
The word auditing, when mentioned with the words government and taxes, generally gets us
weak in the knees and starts us sweating profusely. However, auditing registry interaction can
be somewhat less troublesome and very beneficial to the user.
Auditing, like permissions, is based on users. You set up auditing in the Auditing tab of the
Advanced Security Settings For dialog box (see Figure 4.14). For an object that has not had
any auditing set, the list will be blank. The first thing to do is to check "Inherit from parent the
auditing entries that apply to child objects. Include these with entries explicitly defined here."
Next, click the Add button to add new users to the list (see Figure 4.15). In the Select User,
Computer, or Group dialog box, you can select both groups and individual users. Select one
name in the list box and click the Add button to add that name to the list of names to be
audited. Once all names to be audited have been added, click OK. This dialog box also has an
Advanced button that provides additional features for specifying an object name.
Figure 4.14: The Auditing tab, in which you set auditing permissions
Figure 4.15: Add users or administrative units to be audited in the Select User, Computer, or
Group dialog box.
After adding a new user to audit, or selecting Edit in the Advanced Security Settings For
dialog box for an existing user, the Auditing Entry For dialog box is displayed (see Figure
4.16).
Figure 4.16: The Auditing Entry For dialog box is where you set auditing events.
Set specific permissions in the Auditing Entry For dialog box. The following events may be
audited:
Full Control Used to set auditing events (you may select Successful, Failed, or both)
Query Value Audited whenever the user or group in the name list reads the object
Set Value Audited whenever the user or group in the name list writes to the object
Create Subkey Audited whenever the user or group in the name list creates a key
Enumerate Subkeys Audited whenever the user or group in the name list enumerates a list of
keys contained within the object
Notify Audited whenever the user or group in the name list does anything that generates a
notification to the owner
Create Link Audited whenever the user or group in the name list creates a link to the object
from another object
Delete Audited whenever the user or group in the name list deletes the object
Write DAC Audited whenever the user or group in the name list modifies the Discretionary
Access Control information
Write Owner Audited whenever the user or group in the name list modifies the owner record
information
Read Control Audited whenever the user or group in the name list does anything that
includes the standard read, Query Value, Enumerate Subkeys, or Notify permissions
You can audit for success and/or failure. Either or both may be selected if desired:
Successful Whenever a successful operation is done, auditing information is saved. This
mode is useful when creating a log of information about changes to the registry. Success
auditing can help you go back and determine what changes were made to the registry to try to
fix the problem.
Failed Whenever an unsuccessful operation is done, auditing information is saved. Whenever
security is an issue (any time there is more than one user), failure auditing can help point to
attempts to compromise system security.
Tip Select audit success for critical objects that shouldn't be changed often. Select audit
failure for any object that is security related.
Owner
I own things; you own things. To keep the records straight, we have titles for cars, deeds for
property, and other documents that trace ownership of anything that is nontrivial. With
computers, especially Windows XP, ownership is an important thing. I "own" my computer,
and probably I don't want you messing with it.
When using NTFS, ownership may be set for files. In addition, objects in the registry may
have ownership, too. Ownership implies ultimate control: the owner can restrict access, audit,
and do whatever he or she wants.
In the Registry Editor, the Owner tab in the Advanced Security Settings For dialog box allows
you to take "ownership" of a registry object (see Figure 4.17). An object may have more than
one owner, and if there are multiple owners, then they each share owner privilege.
Figure 4.17: The Owner tab lists the current owner and allows ownership to be set to the
current user.
The owner of any object may allow or disallow another user from taking ownership; however,
once another user has ownership, the original owner's rights are terminated.
Note Both the current owner and the system administrator may assign ownership of the object
to a user or to the system administrator.
Tips for Registry Editor Users
Several tips come to mind when using the Registry Editor:
•
•
•
First, when saving a hive using Save Key (under the Registry menu), make absolutely
sure that the filename saved to is descriptive enough to enable the successful
restoration of the hive at a later time. The Registry Editor doesn't check whether a hive
being restored is the same hive as the one being replaced.
Second, as with the Registry Editor, be aware that printing can create reports of
incredible size. Do not print the entire registry, especially if you are over the age of 22
or so—life is just too short.
Finally, the Registry Editor Save Subtree As functionality allows saving a detailed text
report, identical to the printed report, to a disk file. This report can then be loaded into
a text editor or word processor, allowing editing and printing.
Reg.exe
Reg.exe is a tool combining the functionality of a number of the other command-line-driven
Windows NT 4 Resource Kit registry tools. Reg.exe is a standard part of Windows XP, and it
is included in the Windows 2000 Resource Kit. It improves the interaction between the
command line and the registry and is somewhat easier (and a whole lot more consistent) to
use than the handful of other utilities.
Note If you need to administer Windows 2000 machines as well, the Windows 2000 Resource
Kit includes Reg. If you are still using older Resource Kit components in legacy support
systems, there is no urgent need to change or migrate to the newer tools that are
contained in the Windows Resource Kits. However, it is not recommended that the older
utilities be used when updating support facilities, but that the new tools be integrated
wherever possible. Many of the Resource Kit utilities are command-prompt driven.
However, being experienced users, we are not afraid of a command prompt, are we?
Reg.exe has the following functions:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Add
Backup (only found in versions prior to Windows 2000)
Compare (only found in Windows 2000 versions and later)
Copy
Delete
Export (only found in Windows 2000 versions and later)
Import (only found in Windows 2000 versions and later)
Load
Query
Restore
Save
Unload
Update (only found in versions prior to Windows 2000)
In the following sections, I'll cover each of the functions, showing parameters and results as
examples of how to use Reg.exe.
Add
The add function, invoked with the command reg add <options>, adds an object (key or value
entry) to the registry. Options include the registry object to be added with the object's value,
an optional machine name (additions may be made to remote registries), and an optional data
type, as described next.
The command line for add is:
REG ADD RegistryPath=value [data type][\\Machine]
As with other registry tools, the registry path may be a ROOTKEY or a hive (with or without
a value entry). The ROOTKEY may be one of the following (HKLM is assumed if none is
entered):
•
•
•
•
•
HKLM (for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE)
HKCU (for HKEY_CURRENT_USER)
HKCR (for HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT)
HKU (for HKEY_USERS)
HKCC (for HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG)
The hive is further qualified to determine the object to be added.
The data type parameter is one of the following (the default, if the data type is not specified, is
to use REG_SZ):
•
•
•
•
REG_SZ
REG_DWORD
REG_EXPAND_SZ
REG_MULTI_SZ
Here's an example of executing the add command:
Windows 8:56:09 C:\
REG ADD HKLM\Software\MyCo\MyApp\Version=1.00
The operation completed successfully.
Windows 9:00:48 C:\
REG query HKLM\Software\MyCo\MyApp\Version
REG_SZ
Version 1.00
Windows 9:00:59 C:\
Backup
Backup is only found on Windows versions prior to Windows 2000, so this section is of
concern only to those working with machines running Windows 95 or 98/Me. On versions of
Windows that do not support Backup, including Windows XP, use the Save option instead of
Backup. The backup function, invoked with the command reg backup <options>, saves the
registry object specified to the file specified. Options include the registry path to be saved, the
output filename, and an optional machine name (saves may be made on remote registries).
The command line for backup is:
REG BACKUP RegistryPath OutputFileName [\\Machine]
As with other registry tools, the registry path to be queried may be a ROOTKEY or a hive,
with or without a value entry. The ROOTKEY may consist of one of the following (HKLM is
assumed if none is entered):
•
•
•
•
•
HKLM
HKCU
HKCR
HKU
HKCC
Only HKLM and HKU may be specified when copying objects to a remote registry.
Note Notice that reg save and reg backup are identical in functionality.
An example of executing the backup command is shown below. In this example, I've saved a
small key to the file C:\Temp\MyCo.reg:
Windows 9:34:19 C:\
REG backup HKLM\Software\MyCo\MyNewApp c:\temp\MyCo
The operation completed successfully.
Windows 9:34:21 C:\
dir c:\temp\myco.*
Volume in drive C is (c) - Boot drive
Volume Serial Number is CC56-5631
Directory of c:\temp
07/17/99 09:34a
8,192
1 File(s)
8,192 bytes
183,407,104 bytes free
MyCo
Windows 9:34:27 C:\
Compare
The compare function, invoked with the command reg compare keyname1 keyname2
<options>, displays the value of an object (key or value entry) in the registry. A required
parameter, keyname, specifies the object to be queried. Options include specifying a query for
a specific registry, querying for the default value, and specifying that all subkeys and values
be displayed.
The command line for query is:
REG QUERY Keyname1 Keyname2 [/v valuename or /ve] [/oa | /od | /os | /on]
[/s]
As with other registry tools, the registry path may be a ROOTKEY or a hive (with or without
a value entry). The ROOTKEY may be one of the following (HKLM is assumed if none is
entered):
•
•
•
•
•
HKLM
HKCU
HKCR
HKU
HKCC
The hive is further qualified to determine the object to be added. Remote registry comparisons
may be done; simply specify the keyname as \machine\keyname.
The following output options allow for specifying:
/oa
Output all
Displays both matches and differences
/od
Output differences
Display only differences
/os
Output same
Displays matches
/on
Output none
Displays no output (Use the command's return code to
determine if the comparison was successful or not.)
Copy
The copy function, invoked with the command reg copy <options>, copies the registry object
specified to a new name. Options include the registry path to be copied (the source) and a
destination name.
The command line for copy is:
REG COPY OldPath [\\Machine] Newpath [\\Machine]
As with other registry tools, the registry path to be copied (both the old path and the new path)
may be a ROOTKEY or a hive. The path may be specified with or without a value entry. The
ROOTKEY may consist of one of the following (HKLM is assumed if none is entered):
•
•
•
•
•
HKLM
HKCU
HKCR
HKU
HKCC
Only HKLM and HKU may be specified when copying objects to a remote registry.
Note Consider the case where a registry object is copied from one registry to another registry
on a different machine. This command is more powerful than is apparent at first glance.
The hive may be further qualified to determine the contents of a specific key or value entry. If
no value entry is specified, all the value entries in the key will be copied. Here's an example
of executing the copy command:
Windows 9:10:52 C:\
REG query HKLM\Software\MyCo\MyApp\
Listing of [Software\MyCo\MyApp\]
REG_SZ
Version 1.00
Windows 9:15:18 C:\
REG copy HKLM\Software\MyCo\MyApp\ HKLM\Software\MyCo\MyNewApp
The operation completed successfully.
Windows 9:15:43 C:\
REG query HKLM\Software\MyCo\MyNewApp
Listing of [Software\MyCo\MyNewApp]
REG_SZ
Version 1.00
Windows 9:15:51 C:\
Delete
The delete function, invoked with the command reg delete <options>, deletes the specified
registry object. Options include the registry path to be deleted, an optional machine name
(queries may be made on remote registries), and an optional parameter, /F, that forces the
deletion without recourse.
The command line for delete is:
REG DELETE RegistryPath [\\Machine] [/F]\
As with other registry tools, the registry path to be queried may be a ROOTKEY or a hive
(with or without a value entry). The ROOTKEY may consist of one of the following (HKLM
is assumed if none is entered):
•
•
•
•
•
HKLM
HKCU
HKCR
HKU
HKCC
Only HKLM and HKU may be specified when deleting objects from a remote registry.
The hive deletion may be forced by using the /F option, which forces the deletion without any
prompt or confirmation. Microsoft recommends that the /F option be used only with extreme
care. I agree.
An example of executing the delete command is shown next. Notice that I had to respond with
a y to the prompt to delete the specified object.
Windows 9:05:30 C:\
REG query HKLM\Software\MyCo\MyApp\Version
REG_SZ
Version 2.00
Windows 9:09:30 C:\
REG delete HKLM\Software\MyCo\MyApp\Version
Permanently delete registry value Version (Y/N)? y
The operation completed successfully.
Windows 9:09:40 C:\
REG query HKLM\Software\MyCo\MyApp\Version
The system was unable to find the specified registry key.
Windows 9:09:43 C:\
Export
The export function, invoked with the command reg export, exports the registry object
specified to a disk file. The object may be a single-level key, such as HKLM\TEMP.
Parameters include the name of the key to export and the name (qualified as necessary) of the
file to export to. Export is only allowed on the local machine.
The command line for export is:
REG EXPORT keyname filename
As with other registry tools, the registry path to be queried may be a ROOTKEY or a hive,
with or without a value entry. The ROOTKEY may consist of one of the following (HKLM is
assumed if none is entered):
•
•
•
HKLM
HKCU
HKCR
•
•
HKU
HKCC
Objects in the key are exported. Here's an example of executing the export command:
Windows 9:47:58 C:\
REG export HKLM\TEMP\ myreg.exp
The operation completed successfully.
Windows 9:48:01 C:\
Import
The import function, invoked with the command reg import, imports the registry object
specified from a disk file. The object may be a single-level key, such as HKLM\TEMP.
Parameters include the name of the key to import and the name (qualified as necessary) of the
file to import from. Import is only allowed on the local machine.
The command line for import is:
REG IMPORT filename
Objects in the exported key are imported. There is no recovery in the event of a user error
with this command. Here's an example of executing the import command:
Windows 9:47:58 C:\
REG import myreg.exp
The operation completed successfully.
Windows 9:48:01 C:\
Load
The load function, invoked with the command reg load <options>, loads the registry object
from the file specified. The object must have been saved using the reg save or reg backup
command. Options include the name of the file to load from, the registry path to be restored,
and an optional machine name (restorations may be made to remote registries).
The command line for restore is:
REG LOAD FileName keyname [\\Machine]\
As with other registry tools, the registry path to be queried may be a ROOTKEY or a hive,
with or without a data key. The ROOTKEY may consist of one of the following (HKLM is
assumed if none is entered):
•
•
HKLM
HKCU
Only HKLM and HKCU may be specified in this command.
Objects in the key are loaded, overwriting existing objects if there are any. Here's an example
of executing the load command:
Windows 9:47:58 C:\
REG load c:\temp\myco HKLM\TEMP\
The operation completed successfully.
Windows 9:48:01 C:\
reg query HKLM\TEMP /s
Listing of [TEMP\]
REG_SZ
Version 1.00
Windows 9:48:35 C:\
Query
The query function, invoked with the command reg query keyname <options>, displays the
value of an object (key or value entry) in the registry. A required parameter, keyname,
specifies the object to be queried. Options include specifying a query for a specific registry,
querying for the default value, and specifying that all subkeys and values be displayed.
The command line for query is:
REG QUERY Keyname [/v valuename or /ve] [/s]
As with other registry tools, the registry path may be a ROOTKEY or a hive (with or without
a value entry). The ROOTKEY may be one of the following (HKLM is assumed if none is
entered):
•
•
•
•
•
HKLM
HKCU
HKCR
HKU
HKCC
The hive is further qualified to determine the object to be added.
Remote registry query may be done by specifying the keyname to be remotely queried, such
as \machine\keyname.
Restore
The restore function, invoked with the command reg restore <options>, restores the registry
object from the file specified. The object must have been saved using the reg save or reg
backup command. Options include the name of the file to restore from, the registry path to be
restored, and an optional machine name (restorations may be made to remote registries).
The command line for restore is:
REG QUERY FileName RegistyPath [\\Machine]
As with other registry tools, the registry path to be queried may be a ROOTKEY or a hive,
with or without a value entry. The ROOTKEY may consist of one of the following (HKLM is
assumed if none is entered):
•
•
•
•
•
HKLM
HKCU
HKCR
HKU
HKCC
Only HKLM and HKU may be specified when copying objects to a remote registry.
Objects in the key are restored and overwritten by the information contained in the specified
file. Here's an example of executing the restore command:
Windows 9:39:17 C:\
REG backup HKLM\Software\MyCo\MyNewApp c:\temp\MyCo
The operation completed successfully.
Windows 9:40:20 C:\
REG restore c:\temp\myco HKLM\Software\MyCo\MyNewApp
Are you sure you want to replace Software\MyCo\MyNewApp (Y/N) y
The operation completed successfully.
Windows 9:40:44 C:\
Save
The save function, invoked with the command reg save <options>, saves the registry object
specified to the file specified. Options include the registry path to be saved, the output
filename, and an optional machine name (saves may be made on remote registries).
The command line for save is:
REG SAVE RegistryPath OutputFileName [\\Machine]
As with other registry tools, the registry path to be queried may be a ROOTKEY or a hive
(with or without a value entry). The ROOTKEY may consist of one of the following (HKLM
is assumed if none is entered):
•
•
•
•
•
HKLM
HKCU
HKCR
HKU
HKCC
Only HKLM and HKU may be specified when copying objects to a remote registry.
An example of executing the save command is shown next. In this example, I've saved a small
key to the file C:\Temp\MyCo.reg:
Windows 9:16:27 C:\
REG save HKLM\Software\MyCo\MyNewApp c:\temp\MyCo.reg
The operation completed successfully.
Windows 9:18:35 C:\
dir c:\temp\myco.reg
Volume in drive C is (c) - Boot drive
Volume Serial Number is CC56-5631
Directory of c:\temp
07/17/99 09:18a
8,192
1 File(s)
8,192 bytes
183,407,104 bytes free
MyCo.reg
Windows 9:19:08 C:\
Unload
The unload function, invoked with the command reg unload <options>, unloads (deletes) the
registry object specified. The object must be a single-level key, such as HKLM\TEMP.
Options include the name of the key to unload and an optional machine name (objects may be
unloaded from remote registries).
The command line for unload is:
REG UNLOAD keyname [\\Machine]
As with other registry tools, the registry path to be queried may be a ROOTKEY or a hive,
with or without a value entry. The ROOTKEY may consist of one of the following (HKLM is
assumed if none is entered):
•
•
HKLM
HKCU
Only HKLM and HKCU may be specified in this command.
Objects in the key are unloaded and are not saved. There is no recovery in the event of a user
error with this command. Here's an example of executing the unload command:
Windows 9:47:58 C:\
REG unload HKLM\TEMP\
The operation completed successfully.
Windows 9:48:01 C:\
reg query HKLM\TEMP /s
The system was unable to find the specified registry key.
Windows 9:48:35 C:\
Update
Update is supported in versions of Windows prior to Windows 2000, so this section is of
concern only to those working with machines running Windows 95 or 98/Me. On versions of
Windows that do not support Backup, including Windows XP, use the Save option instead of
Backup Update is invoked with the command reg update <options>, updates an existing
object (key or value entry) to the registry. Options include the registry object to be added
(with the object's value) and an optional machine name (updates may be made to remote
registries).
The command line for update is:
REG UPDATE RegistryPath=value [\\Machine]
As with other registry tools, the registry path to be queried may be a ROOTKEY or a hive,
with or without a value entry. The ROOTKEY may consist of one of the following (HKLM is
assumed if none is entered):
•
•
•
•
•
HKLM
HKCU
HKCR
HKU
HKCC
The hive is further qualified to determine the object to be added.
Below is an example of executing the update command. First I show the original value, then I
update the object, and then I show the new value.
Windows 9:00:48 C:\
REG query HKLM\Software\MyCo\MyApp\Version
REG_SZ
Version 1.00
Windows 9:01:33 C:\
REG update HKLM\Software\MyCo\MyApp\Version=2.00
The operation completed successfully.
Windows 9:03:47 C:\
REG query HKLM\Software\MyCo\MyApp\Version
REG_SZ
Version 2.00
Windows 9:03:53 C:\
Installing Remote Registry Editing on Windows 95, Windows 98,
and Windows Me
Note This section addresses the concerns of system administrators working in mixednetworking environments.
Though Windows NT Workstation and Windows 2000 Professional have remote registry
editing installed already, Windows 95, 98, and Me do not. The installation process is similar
on both operating systems, though the source of the necessary drivers differs with each
version.
You have to install a network service to enable remote registry editing. This service,
REGSERV, is found in the following location:
•
•
Windows 95: Look on the Windows 95 distribution CD, in the directory
\Tools\ResKit\NetAdmin\RemotReg, for the regserv program files.
Windows 98/Me: Look on the Windows 98/Me distribution CD, in the directory
\Admin\NetTools\RemotReg, for the regserv program files.
In each operating system, the installation is identical:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Open the Control Panel.
Start the Network applet.
Click the Add button in the Configuration tab.
Select Service from the list, and click the Add button.
Click the Have Disk button, and provide the directory information as given above.
Select Microsoft Remote Registry.
Install the Remote Registry service, and reboot the computer when prompted.
Tip The Remote Registry service files are identical in Windows 95 and Windows 98/Me. Either
will work with either version of the operating system.
Windows 2000 Backup's Emergency Repair Disk Features
The RDisk utility is not available under Windows 2000 or Windows XP. Windows 2000's
Backup program contains the functionality of RDisk. With Windows 2000, the ERD
(Emergency Repair Disk) has slightly different contents than under previous versions of
Windows NT.
Note Windows XP does not support the ERD disk capability!
The repair disk holds some of the system configuration components. Backup can back up
registry files to a location on the hard drive (the Repair directory) and configuration files to a
diskette (the ERD). The ERD contains files used to help Windows 2000 restore the system to
a known state in the event of damage to the working copy of the registry.
Generally, copies of the registry contained in the Repair directory are only usable with the
Setup program's repair facility. This may seem to limit their usefulness. However, when
disaster strikes, anything is better than nothing. Actually, spending half an hour running the
Setup repair function is a small price to pay to recover from a damaged registry.
There can be only one Repair directory on a Windows 2000 system, always at
%SystemRoot%\Repair. However, there may be many ERDs in existence at one time. Since
an ERD's contents are (generally) matched to the registry, it is best to simply keep one or two
copies of the most recent registry backed up.
Tip Actually, you can copy the files in the Repair directory to another safe location, as well,
then copy them back to the Repair directory if necessary. Make sure that all files are
copied or backed up and restored as a set-don't attempt to back up only some of the files
in the Repair directory. If you copy the Repair directory files to another location, also
create a copy of the ERD and save that as well.
Creating an Emergency Repair Disk
To create an ERD, follow these steps:
1. Start Backup without any options.
2. Select the Emergency Repair Disk button in the Welcome tab.
3. At the prompt to insert a diskette (see Figure 4.18), insert a diskette containing nothing
of value. The diskette must already be formatted.
Figure 4.18: Backup will write backup files to the ERD, and optionally to the Repair
directory.
4. Once Backup is done, it will display a dialog box prompting you to label the ERD and
place it in safekeeping. You may then create another ERD, update the repair
information on the hard disk, perform other backup tasks, or exit.
Note Remember to remove the floppy diskette from the drive once Backup finishes writing
the repair information to it. Attempting to boot this diskette won't cause a problem;
however, it will have to be removed before the system can be rebooted.
Saving to the Repair Directory
In Windows 2000, Backup can save the entire registry to the Repair directory. To update the
%SystemRoot%\Repair directory, follow these steps:
1. Start Backup without any options.
2. Select the Emergency Repair Disk button in the Welcome tab.
3. At the prompt to insert a diskette, insert a diskette containing nothing of value. The
diskette must already be formatted.
4. Select the "Also backup the registry..." check box (see the previous Figure 4.18).
5. Once Backup is done, it displays a dialog box prompting you to label the ERD and
place it in safekeeping. You may then create another ERD, perform other backup
tasks, or exit.
The Windows 2000 Resource Kit
The Windows 2000 Resource Kit contains a number of very useful tools. Many of these tools
run from a command prompt, although one has a Windows-type interface. The Resource Kit
changed substantially in Windows 2000. Gone are all the old registry utilities, leaving only
the multipurpose reg.exe program.
Note There are two resource kits: one is included with the operating system, on the
distribution CD, and has only limited contents. The second version has both a book and
a CD with many more utilities and is available from Microsoft Press. Try the URL
http://www.microsoft.com/ mspress/windows/ windowsxp/itpros/default.asp for more
information.
If nothing else, the Windows 2000 Resource Kit is an excellent source of both information
and a whole bunch of really neat utilities and tools for the Windows 2000 user.
Note While I've got you in support mode, make a link on your Desktop for the URL
http://support.microsoft.com/ support/search/c.asp?SPR=. This URL links to the online
TechNet search support. TechNet contains a vast amount of technical information
oriented toward system administrators. I don't know what I'd do without TechNet.
Warning Many of the earlier versions of the Windows Resource Kit utilities work with both
Windows NT 4 and Windows 2000. However, be most cautious when using older
utilities with Windows XP, as they may not have been well tested on the Windows XP
platform!
Chapter 5: Policies-Good for One, Good for
All
Overview
Windows XP Professional stores configurations for all users, and computers, as policies.
(Windows XP Home does not support policies.) By default, no policies are set, but an
administrator can easily set policies for a group of users or for the entire system. It's possible
to set some policies by manually "hacking" the registry. However, that's the hard way. An
easier way to change policies is to use one of the policy tools that Microsoft provides.
The first question on your mind is, "What does this have to do with the registry?" Well, of all
things in Windows XP Professional, policies affect (and change) the registry more than
anything else. With policy settings, you can change the way hardware and software behave
and can be used.
An Introduction to Policies
Policies govern a site, a domain, or an organizational unit (often referred to as an OU) but not
a specific user or computer. Policy is applied in a hierarchy, with higher-level policies used
where no lower-level policy exists. For example, policy is applied as site (the highest level),
then domain, organizational unit, and user. Policies in the domain override those they conflict
with in the site, while conflicts between the domain and organizational unit are resolved with
the organizational unit taking precedence. Conflicts between nested organizational units are
resolved with the lower-level organizational unit taking precedence.
Note Policy objects and settings can be set, unset, or not configured.
Policy settings are configured in objects called group policy objects (GPOs). GPOs are edited
using the Microsoft Management Console (MMC).
The Official Order of Policy Implementation Is...
When Windows XP Professional (when joined to a domain) implements system policies, the
policies are applied in this order:
1. Policies inherited from previous versions of Windows. For example, Windows NT 4
policies are contained in the NTConfig.pol file. Note that Windows NT 4 policies need
not exist, and they will not exist on a clean installation of Windows XP Professional.
2. The policies contained in the local group policy object.
3. Site group policy objects, in the order specified by the administrator.
4. Domain group policy objects, in the order specified by the administrator.
5. Organizational unit group policy objects, from higher-level to lower-level
organizational unit (parent to child organizational unit), and in administratively
specified order at the level of each organizational unit.
Organizational units may be nested. That is, you can have an organizational unit called
Students. Within Students, you then might have Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors,
representing the four classes. (You might also have Graduate Students, Master's, or Doctoral.)
Nesting can be as simple or as complex as your organization is.
When nesting organizational units, policy may be either inherited or not. You, the
administrator, specify inheritance rules, within the following framework:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Inheritance is downward only. In the example above, Freshmen inherit from Students,
but Students never inherit from Freshmen.
Settings that have not been configured are not inherited.
Settings that are disabled are inherited as disabled.
When a setting is configured in the higher-level organizational unit, and not
configured in the lower-level organizational unit, then the lower-level organizational
unit inherits the setting from the parent organizational unit.
When settings between the higher-level organizational unit and a lower-level
organizational unit don't conflict (are compatible), but are not the same, both are used
to form the lower-level organizational unit's policy.
When settings between the higher-level organizational unit and a lower-level
organizational unit do conflict (are incompatible), but are not the same, the lower-level
organizational unit's policy is used.
Note Well, almost always...An attribute called No Override, if selected at the higher-level
organizational unit, will cause the lower-level organizational unit to always execute the
higher-level OU's policy.
Just More Confusion?
In the previous section, you saw that policies are set for sites, domains, and organizational
units. Now, I'm going to confuse things a bit and say that policies are divided into two parts,
Computer Configuration and User Configuration. Computer Configuration specifies policies
that are applied to a computer without regard to who the user is. User Configuration specifies
policies that are applied to a user without regard to which computer the user logs on to.
Both the Computer Configuration and the User Configuration are made up of three sections:
Software Settings Everything in Software Settings deals with software installation policy-for
example, what can be installed, what must be uninstalled, and when.
Windows Settings Settings for Windows XP Professional are controlled in this section. There
are more items in the Windows Settings section for the User Configuration than for the
Computer Configuration.
Administrative Templates The extensible section, almost a catchall for everything that
doesn't fall into the other two sections, is the Administrative Templates section. Items are
added to Administrative Templates using .adm files.
Note Though we are talking about Office throughout this chapter, many other Microsoft
components use .adm files, including Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Software Settings
The Software Settings section contains policies that deal with software installation and
maintenance, such as what applications can be installed, what must be uninstalled and when,
what maintenance must be done, and so on.
For example, if you configure Microsoft Word XP under Software Settings, and a user logs on
to a computer that doesn't have Microsoft Word XP installed already, the user will still see a
Start menu selection (shortcut) for Microsoft Word XP. If the user selects this shortcut,
Microsoft Word XP will install itself (from a network share) for the user to use.
Windows Settings
In both Computer Configuration and User Configuration, you'll find a Windows Settings
section. For Computer Configuration, the settings are applied to each user who logs on to the
computer. For User Configuration, the settings are applied to users who log on regardless of
the computer they log on to.
Administrative Templates
The Administrative Templates section contains all registry-based information. Two hives are
used:
•
•
HKEY_CURRENT_USER, the location where user configuration settings are saved
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, the location where computer configuration information
is saved
Both user application policy items and policy for Windows XP Professional are managed in
Administrative Templates. Adding policy items to Administrative Templates is simple. Most
applications (that support policy) come with .adm files that contain information about which
registry settings can be configured. For example, Microsoft Office XP has an .adm file named
word10.adm (to Microsoft, Word XP is also known as both Microsoft Word version 10 and
Microsoft Word 2002).
You can download the Microsoft Office policy tools from Microsoft's Internet website. They
are part of the Microsoft Office Resource Kit located at
http://www.microsoft.com/office/techinfo/reskit/default.htm.
A small fraction of the Microsoft Word XP.adm file is:
CLASS USER
CATEGORY "Microsoft Word 2002"
KEYNAME Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Word\Options
CATEGORY "Tools | Options..."
KEYNAME Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Word\Options\vpref
CATEGORY "View"
KEYNAME Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Word\Options\vpref
CATEGORY "Show"
KEYNAME Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Word\Options\vpref
POLICY "Startup Task Pane"
KEYNAME Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Word\Options
PART "Check to enforce setting on; uncheck to enforce setting off"
CHECKBOX
VALUENAME StartupDialog
VALUEON NUMERIC 1
VALUEOFF NUMERIC 0
END PART
END POLICY
POLICY "Highlight"
PART "Check to enforce setting on; uncheck to enforce setting off"
CHECKBOX
VALUENAME fShowHighlight_533_1
VALUEON NUMERIC 1
VALUEOFF NUMERIC 0
END PART
END POLICY
POLICY "Bookmarks"
PART "Check to enforce setting on; uncheck to enforce setting off"
CHECKBOX
VALUENAME grpfvisi_146_1
VALUEON NUMERIC 1
VALUEOFF NUMERIC 0
END PART
END POLICY
POLICY "Status bar"
PART "Check to enforce setting on; uncheck to enforce setting off"
CHECKBOX
VALUENAME fStatusBar_83_1
VALUEON NUMERIC 1
VALUEOFF NUMERIC 0
ACTIONLISTON
VALUENAME fStatLine_3_1 VALUE NUMERIC 1
END ACTIONLISTON
ACTIONLISTOFF
VALUENAME fStatLine_3_1 VALUE NUMERIC 0
END ACTIONLISTOFF
END PART
ACTIONLISTOFF
VALUENAME fStatLine_3_1 VALUE DELETE
END ACTIONLISTOFF
END POLICY
POLICY "ScreenTips"
PART "Check to enforce setting on; uncheck to enforce setting off"
CHECKBOX
VALUENAME grpfvisi_159_1
VALUEON NUMERIC 1
VALUEOFF NUMERIC 0
END PART
END POLICY
<Many deleted lines...>
POLICY "Tools | Compare and Merge Documents, Legal blackline"
KEYNAME Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Word\Options\vpref
PART "Check to enforce setting on; uncheck to enforce setting off"
CHECKBOX
VALUENAME fDefaultToCompare_1848_1
VALUEON 1
VALUEOFF 0
END PART
PART " " TEXT
END PART
PART "When this option is turned on, a comparison between two documents"
TEXT
END PART
PART "automatically generates a new Legal Blackline document, leaving"
TEXT
END PART
PART "the originals unchanged." TEXT
END PART
END POLICY
END CATEGORY
END CATEGORY
In this example, we see that the registry section being changed is HKEY_CURRENT_USER.
The key being set (or changed) is
Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Word\Options\vpref (vpref stands for "view
preferences"). The key to be changed is shown in a KEYNAME line in the .adm file.
Checking Microsoft Word XP's menu structure, we see a top-level menu item called Tools,
and under Tools is a menu selection called Options. Clicking Options will display Microsoft
Word XP's Options dialog box (see Figure 5.1), which has a tab named View. On the View
tab is a section called Show. Each of these items correlates to a CATEGORY line in the .adm
file, shown partially in the above listing.
Figure 5.1: User options in Microsoft Word XP are set in the Options dialog box.
Finally, in the .adm file, we have the POLICY lines. The first POLICY line shown is Startup
Task Pane.
Figure 5.2 shows the MMC Group Policy window with the Administrative Templates settings
opened under User Configuration. The Start Menu & Taskbar settings are being displayed.
You can select from a wide variety of options, one of which is to add a logoff command to the
Start menu.
Figure 5.2: Microsoft Windows XP Professional group policy for user configuration.
Back to the above listing, under POLICY, there's a PART line with the text "Check to enforce
setting on; uncheck to enforce setting off", followed by the keyword CHECKBOX.
CHECKBOX specifies that this policy is toggled on and off (that is, checked and unchecked).
If on, the value of the key will be 1 (specified with the line VALUEON NUMERIC 1) or 0
(specified by the next line, VALUEOFF NUMERIC 0).
The next two lines end blocks that start at PART (ends at the END PART line) and POLICY
(ends at the END POLICY line). Each policy has one or more parts; most policies have only a
single part, however.
Armed with this information, you can go out and create policy files for other applications.
Granted, if you are not the application's creator, it will be difficult-but not impossible-to set
things like defaults using policies.
The changes made under Administrative Templates are saved in two Registry.pol files. These
files are stored in subdirectories under %SystemRoot%, one called Machine (which contains
the Registry.pol file that is used to update HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE) and the other called
User (which contains the Registry.pol file that is used to update HKEY_CURRENT_USER).
Finding Registry.pol Files
I can't say where the Registry.pol files are, except to tell you to use the Windows Find feature,
or a command session's dir command. Why? Well, each installation is unique in the locations
where these files are stored; for example, on my computer, I have the following Registry.pol
files:
G:\WINNT\System32\GroupPolicy\Machine\Registry.pol
G:\WINNT\System32\GroupPolicy\User\Registry.pol
G:\WINNT\SysVol\Domain\Policies\{31B2F340-016D-11D2-945F00C04FB984F9}\MACHINE\Registry.pol
G:\WINNT\SysVol\Domain\Policies\{6AC1786C-016F-11D2-945F00C04fB984F9}\USER\Registry.pol
G:\WINNT\SysVol\Domain\Policies\{EE520C60-1F3E-11D3-A6E800A024D2DD82}\User\Registry.pol
G:\WINNT\SysVol\SysVol\darkstar.mv.com\Policies\{31B2F340016D-11D2-945F-00C04FB984F9}\MACHINE\Registry.pol
G:\WINNT\SysVol\SysVol\darkstar.mv.com\Policies\{6AC1786C016F-11D2-945F-00C04fB984F9}\USER\Registry.pol
G:\WINNT\SysVol\SysVol\darkstar.mv.com\Policies\{EE520C601F3E-11D3-A6E8-00A024D2DD82}\User\Registry.pol
Notice the use of GUIDs (globally unique identifiers) for some of the directory names-those
may be different for each installation.
The Microsoft System Policies for Windows XP
Windows XP Professional supplies several tools for setting policies. The System Policy
Editor, which is used to set policy in Windows NT 4, is still included, and may be used, but it
is definitely not recommended. Now you use the Active Directory Users and Computers to
manage policy. Changes made to policy are made to the registry, either immediately or when
a given user or member of an organizational unit logs on, or when the computer starts. Policy
is a registry issue, and a complex one at that.
Warning Wait a minute-I know I changed that registry entry! With policies, it is possible to
"hack," or change, the registry and have the change go nowhere fast. That's right: the
policy will be reapplied automatically, wiping out whatever changes you have made
to the registry, all without even telling you it is happening! If you ever find your
changes mysteriously disappearing, round up the usual suspects, and make sure that
policy is high on the suspect list!
You can edit policy in a number of different ways:
System Policy Editor This utility, which is becoming obsolete, is retained for compatibility
with Windows NT 4. Neither Microsoft nor I recommend that you use the System Policy
Editor.
Microsoft Management Console (MMC) This program is used to manage many facets of
Windows XP. The MMC is able to load whatever functionality you need through the use of a
custom extension called a snap-in. With Windows XP Professional, Microsoft provides about
40 different snap-ins to use with the MMC. Windows XP Home Edition provides about 20
different snap-ins to use with the MMC.
Active Directory Users and Computers This administrative tool (select Start → Programs
→ Administrative Tools) allows management of computers, users, groups, domain
controllers, and policy. Actually, this is the MMC, using a snap-in to do Active Directory.
When you choose to edit policies, the MMC is used with the policy snap-in.
Active Directory Site and Services This administrative tool (select Start → Programs →
Administrative Tools) allows management of sites (an Active Directory organizational level)
and services.
Note Each of these Windows XP administrative tools actually uses the MMC as a common
interface. And each in turn uses the MMC to edit policy. It's not uncommon to have
many copies of the MMC open at the same time.
Each of these tools requires that you select certain objects to enable editing of group policies.
The next section describes how to use each policy-editing tool.
System Policy Editor
The System Policy Editor is obsolete, retained only for compatibility with NT 4. Neither
Microsoft nor I recommend that you use the System Policy Editor if you can possibly avoid
using it. To start the System Policy Editor, from the Start menu's Run command, enter poledit
and click OK. See "The Microsoft System Policy Editor for Windows NT 4" later in this
chapter for information on how to use the Microsoft System Policy Editor.
Microsoft Management Console (MMC)
The MMC is a "universal" management tool that Microsoft has created to manage Windows
XP (Home Edition and Professional). Using the MMC is easy, and since the MMC presents a
standardized appearance and operating methods, it will become the preferred tool to use for
management.
To start the MMC, from the Start menu's Run command, enter MMC and click OK. Once
started, the MMC is able to load whatever functionality is needed.
Group Policy not yet installed in the MMC? That's easy to fix; just follow these simple steps:
1. Start the MMC. In addition to using the Run command as described above, you can
also type MMC at a command prompt.
2. In the File menu, select Add/Remove Snap-In (see Figure 5.3).
Figure 5.3: Add MMC snap-in components from the MMC File menu selection.
3. In the Add/Remove Snap-In dialog box, select the Standalone tab (shown in Figure
5.4). Make sure that Console Root is displayed in the Snap-Ins Added To list box, and
then click Add. The Add Standalone Snap-In dialog box opens.
Figure 5.4: Use the Add/Remove Snap-In dialog box to add functionality to the MMC.
4. In the Add Standalone Snap-In dialog box, select Group Policy, as shown in Figure
5.5. Scroll through the list as necessary. Click the Add button to start the Group Policy
Wizard.
Figure 5.5: Scroll until you get to Group Policy.
5. In the Select Group Policy Object window (see Figure 5.6), select Local Computer for
the Group Policy Object. Then click Finish.
Figure 5.6: The Group Ploicy Wizard lets you configure the Group Policy Object.
Note There is no Group Policy snap-in for XP Home Edition. Once you create a
policy using the Group Policy snap-in, you have to link it to the proper levelsites, domains, or organizational units. Otherwise the policy just sits there and
does nothing.
6. Click Close in the Add Standalone Snap-In dialog box, and click OK in the
Add/Remove Snap-In dialog box.
Using the MMC to manage group policy is easy! First, it is trivial to create an MMC console
file that is configured to display a given GPO policy object. Just follow these steps:
1. Open the administrative tool Active Directory Users and Computers.
2. Right-click the organizational unit that uses the policy to be edited to display its
context menu. If you're creating a new policy, select the organizational unit that will
use the policy once it is created. If creating policy for a domain, select the domain.
Figure 5.7 shows how I've expanded Local Computer Policy, then User Configuration,
Windows Settings, and Internet Explorer Maintenance. I then selected Browser User
Interface. This shows how simple it is to set options for Microsoft Internet Explorer.
You can easily set the title, the static logo, and browser toolbar customizations.
Figure 5.7: In the MMC, policies are navigated using a tree structure very similar to
Explorer.
3. Select Properties from the context menu, or select Properties from the Action menu. In
Figure 5.8, I selected the Browser Title and then displayed the properties.
Figure 5.8: Use an item's Properties dialog box to set various policy settings. Here I'm
setting the Browser Title.
4. In the Properties dialog box for the object (display this by double-clicking on the
object-Browser Title in this example), make changes as desired. Notice that each
object's Properties dialog box is different, and that most have substantial prompting to
allow you to easily change the object.
5. Now for the hard part. To create an MMC configuration file (these files have an
extension of .msc), select File → Save As. Enter a new filename when prompted (I
used the name Group Policies.msc). Click Save to save this file. You can save the .msc
file in Administrative Tools, on the Desktop, or on any drive you'd like.
Well, now you have created your policy MMC configuration file; next is what to do with it.
(Actually, you have probably saved a bunch of MMC configuration files-one for each group
policy object.) My recommendation is to create a folder to hold these files, maybe called
Policy. Then create a second folder under Administrative Tools, again called Policy. Then
place shortcuts to each of the MMC configuration files in this folder. This will give you oneclick access to each group policy object.
Figure 5.9 shows an example of just this type of policy control. My Start menu is opened to
my Administrative Tools folder. Notice that I have a shortcut for Group Policies. Easy, fast,
and efficient-sure beats threading through Active Directory Users and Computers, properties,
and everything else.
Figure 5.9: My Start menu's Administrative Tools folder contains a shortcut called Group
Policies, where I can start the MMC to manage my policies.
Active Directory Users and Computers
The Active Directory Users and Computers administrative MMC tool allows you to manage
computers, users, groups, domain controllers, and policy. To view the Group Policies
properties tab, select a computer domain (in Figure 5.10, darkstar.mv.com is one domain,
while DORA is the domain controller) or an organizational unit, and then select Properties in
either the context menu or the Action menu.
Figure 5.10: Using the MMC to manage the domain's directory of Users and Computers.
Setting Policy for a User
To set policy for a given user, you need the user, an organizational unit to assign the user to,
and a policy to apply to the organizational unit. For example, I have students, and some
students are seniors (and seniors are much more responsible than freshmen!). This creates two
levels of organization. Your organization may have more (or fewer) levels of organization,
but the process is similar. In this example, I'll set policy for one student, Marie Theplama,
who is a senior.
If I haven't yet set up any policies, then to apply the global policy object to Marie Theplama, I
must do the following:
1. I first create an organizational unit called Students.
2. I display the properties for the Students organizational unit, and click the Group Policy
tab.
3. I click the New button to create a new policy. The policy is created, and I am placed
into rename mode to name the new global policy object.
4. I select the new global policy object and click the Edit button to change whatever
policies are applicable.
5. I repeat steps 1 through 3 to create another organizational unit under Students named
Seniors.
6. After creating Seniors, I select Properties, and on the Group Policy tab I click New to
create a New Group Policy Object.
7. I select the new global policy object and click the Edit button to change whatever
policies are applicable so that seniors have appropriate privileges and policies.
8. I then create Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors organizational units and global
policy objects in the same manner.
9. I create a user for Marie Theplama. She's a senior; nothing else is special about her. I
create her user under the organizational unit Seniors.
Setting Policy for a Computer
To set policy for a given computer, the process is very similar to the process for users, above.
You need to create a computer record, an organizational unit to assign the computer to, and a
policy to apply to the organizational unit. Here at DarkStar, computers are named after
famous science fiction characters. One computer is called Pixel (who is a cat that can walk
through walls); another computer is named Lazarus.
Just like for users, computers need their own organizational unit. For this example, I'll use
Students for the computers that will be accessible to and used by students.
Note A computer's organizational unit is no different than an organizational unit for a user; in
fact the same organizational unit could be used for both if appropriate.
I create a computer under Students for Lazarus. Once created, as a computer, I can set a
description, assign membership into security groups and organizational units, and specify the
computer's location and who is responsible for this computer. I can assign membership to the
Students organizational unit, any other applicable organizational units, and security groups.
Just like with users, you have a lot of latitude when configuring computers. While users are
typically assigned to organizational units based on the administrative hierarchy of the
organization, computers are often assigned based on physical location, or how they are to be
used.
In Figure 5.11, I'm setting policy for darkstar.mv.com, which is managed by the server
DORA. I can make changes, and they will be applied to the remote computer-after all, DORA
is not the computer where the MMC is running. The MMC is actually running on my other
server, PeachFuzz!
Figure 5.11: The MMC, managing the domain darkstar.mv.com. This will actually modify
policy on the server DORA.
The Microsoft System Policy Editor for Windows NT 4
The System Policy Editor is a tool that allows users to set policy. Even though it is intended
for Windows NT 4, it comes as "standard equipment" in Windows XP. As I mentioned earlier
in this chapter, I don't recommend that you use the System Policy Editor to set policy in
Windows XP. Microsoft included it only for compatibility with Windows NT. That said, if
you do work with Windows NT systems, read on.
Many of the changes made by the System Policy Editor are to the registry, so although the
System Policy Editor is not thought of as a registry tool, I'll document it here anyway.
Actually, modifying the Windows NT 4 registry using the System Policy Editor is a wise
move-it will validate your changes, preventing you from doing something that may have
seemed logical to you, but actually is not.
The System Policy Editor allows you to open either a policy file (with the extension of .pol)
or a computer. It uses a simple user interface, as shown in Figure 5.12. When you click an
object, the object's Properties dialog box is displayed. In Figure 5.12, Local Computer and
Local User are both objects that can be opened.
Figure 5.12: The System Policy Editor displays a Properties dialog box when you click an
icon. Then you can open the tree to see specific settings.
With the System Policy Editor, the Local Computer entry should display eight items, all
applicable to a Windows NT system. For a Local User, the Properties dialog box should have
six items. In both cases, the items displayed are unique; there is no overlap.
You can use the System Policy Editor for Windows 95/98/Me clients, enabling some remote
administration of these machines. However, the System Policy Editor has not been well tested
on these three platforms.
WYSIWYG? From System Policy Editor?
What is displayed in the Properties dialog boxes is dependent on which template(s) are
loaded. Windows NT supplies three templates by default:
common.adm Contains user interface options common to both Windows NT and Windows
95/98.
winnt.adm Contains specific settings for Windows NT.
windows.adm Contains specific settings for Windows 95/98.
Two sections in all .adm files, CLASS MACHINE and CLASS USER, define how settings
are applied.
The .adm files are text files that can be modified to suit the user's needs. A competent user
should be able to write an .adm file, or modify an existing one, without too much trouble.
However, those pesky "make sure you have good backup" warnings also apply if you
customize your .adm files.
Typically, for all machines (Windows NT and Windows 95/98/Me), you can modify the
following categories:
Control Panel Allows you to restrict the display of the Control Panel.
Desktop Allows/disallows you to change wallpaper and/or color schemes.
Shell Allows you to do the following:
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•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Remove the Run command from the Start menu
Remove folders from Settings on the Start menu
Remove the Taskbar from Settings on the Start menu
Remove the Find command from the Start menu
Hide drives in My Computer
Hide Network Neighborhood
Hide the Entire Network in Network Neighborhood
Hide all items on the Desktop
Disable the Shut Down command
Not save settings at exit
System Allows you to do the following:
•
•
Disable registry editing tools
Run only allowed Windows applications
For Windows NT, you can modify the following categories:
Windows NT Shell Consists of three sections, which allow setting the following:
Custom User Interface
Set custom shell
Custom Folders
Set custom Programs folder
Hide Start menu subfolders
Set custom Startup folder
Set custom Network Neighborhood
Set custom Start menu
Restrictions
Use only approved shell extensions
Remove File menu from Explorer
Remove common program groups from Start menu
Disable context menus for the Taskbar
Disable Explorer's default context menu
Remove the Map Network Drive and Disconnect Network
Drive options
Disable Link File Tracking
Windows NT System Consists of four choices:
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Parse autoexec.bat
Run logon scripts synchronously
Disable Task Manager
Show welcome tips at logon
For Windows 95, you can modify the following categories:
Windows 95 Control Panel Consists of four sections, which allow setting the following:
Network Restrict Network Control Panel
Printers Restrict printer settings
Passwords Restrict Passwords Control Panel
System Restrict System Control Panel
Windows 95 Shell Consists of one section, Custom Folders, which allows you to set the
following:
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Custom Programs folder
Custom Desktop icons
Hide status of Start menu subfolders
Custom Startup folder
Custom Network Neighborhood
Custom Start menu
Windows 95 System Consists of one section, Restrictions, which allows you to do the
following:
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Disable the MS-DOS prompt
Disable the single-mode MS-DOS apps
Windows 95 Network Consists of one section, Sharing, which allows you to do the
following:
•
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Disable file sharing
Disable print sharing
For any type of machine (Windows NT or Windows 95/98/Me), you can modify the
following:
Network Consists of one choice:
System Policies Update Remote update
System Consists of two sections, SNMP and Run, which allow you to set the following:
SNMP
Communities
Permitted managers
Traps for Public community
Run
Items that are executed at startup
For Windows NT-only machines, you can modify the following:
Windows NT Network Consists of one section, Sharing, which allows you to do the
following:
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Create hidden drive shares (workstation)
Create hidden drive shares (server)
Windows NT Printers Consists of three choices:
•
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•
Disable browse thread on this computer
Scheduler priority
Beep for error enabled
Windows NT Remote Access Consists of four choices:
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•
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Max number of unsuccessful authentication retries
Max time limit for authentication
Wait interval for callback
Auto Disconnect
Windows NT Shell Consists of one section, Custom Shared Folders, which contains four
choices:
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Custom shared Programs folder
Custom shared Desktop icons
Custom shared Start menu
•
Custom shared Startup folder
Windows NT System Consists of two sections:
Allow logon banner
Logon
Enable shutdown from Authentication dialog box
Do not display last logged on username
Run logon scripts synchronously
File System
Do not create 8.3 filename for long filenames
Allow extended characters in 8.3 filenames
Do not update last access time
Windows NT User Profiles Consists of four sections:
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Delete cached copies of roaming profiles
Automatically detect slow network connections
Slow network connection time-out
Timeout for dialog boxes
For Windows 95 machines, you can modify the following:
Access Control Consists of one section:
•
User-level access control
Logon
Consists of three sections:
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•
•
Custom logon banner
Require validation by network for Windows access
Allow logon without name or password
Passwords Consists of four sections:
•
•
•
•
Hide share passwords with asterisks
Disable password caching
Require alphanumeric Windows password
Min Windows password length
Microsoft Client Service for NetWare Networks Consists of four sections:
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•
Preferred server
Support long filenames
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Search mode
Disable automatic NetWare login
Microsoft Client for Windows Networks Consists of three sections:
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Log on to Windows NT
Workgroup
Alternate workgroup
File and Printer Sharing Consists of two sections:
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Disable file sharing
Disable printer sharing
Dial-up Networking Consists of one section:
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Disable dial-in
Windows 95 System Consists of three sections:
SNMP
Enables Internet MIB (RFC1156)
Network Paths
Enables network path for Windows setup
Enables network path for Windows tour
Profiles
Enables user profiles
For each item, choices may range from a simple disable or enable of the property to setting of
text, additional options, and so on. For instance, Figure 5.13 shows the Local User Properties
dialog box. I've selected Local User, Control Panel, Display, and Restrict Display. In the
Settings for Restrict Display area are five additional settings that I can change for this item.
Figure 5.13: Setting hide attributes for the Control Panel's Display applet and tabs.
Note Policies for client computers only take effect when they are stored in the NetLogon share:
NTConfig.pol for NT and Config.pol for Win9x.
Part II: Advanced Registry Stuff
Chapter List
Chapter 6: Associations, Linkages, and OLE-How Confusing Can This Get?
Chapter 7: Why, Oh Why, Are There system.ini and win.ini Files?
Chapter 8: Getting Rid of the Unwanted
Chapter 9: Recovering from Disaster, or Making the Best of a Bad Situation
Chapter 10: Programming and the Registry-A Developer's Paradise?
Chapter 11: The Performance Monitor Meets the Registry
Part Overview
In this section, you'll learn how to:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Use OLE with the registry
Understand system.ini and win.ini
Clean up your system
Recover from system disasters
Program for the registry
Manage the Performance Monitor
Chapter 6: Associations, Linkages, and
OLE-How Confusing Can This Get?
Overview
OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) is a technology that allows applications to share data
and functionality easily. I like that. Sounds good. It's quick and easy to understand, and it's
basically accurate. Using OLE, applications can pass data back and forth, and OLE also
allows a server and client to pass programming functionality between them. The server is able
to do something that the client wishes done.
OLE works extensively with the registry. But before we get to that, it's important to
understand how OLE evolved and how it functions.
Understanding OLE (or Not)
First, let's start out with a few ground rules:
•
•
•
•
There is no way to learn all about OLE in one chapter. (I doubt you could learn all
about OLE in a single book!)
Even OLE experts are not really experts.
There are a number of good books on OLE, but unless you are programming, avoid
them.
If you don't understand everything about OLE after reading this chapter, don't feel
bad.
•
The author takes no responsibility for what happens when you wake up at 2 A.M. and
shout, "Now I understand!"
Most programmers don't build their OLE applications from the ground up. Instead, for the
difficult parts, they use development systems such as Microsoft's Developer Studio. Today, a
programmer can create an OLE application almost as quickly as any other type of application.
Most applications manage their initial OLE setup by themselves. Some applications rely on
their installation programs to do the OLE setup. And some applications use the installation
program both to set up OLE and, if the configuration becomes damaged, to repair the damage
to the extent that they can reconfigure the OLE components.
This brings up some questions. First, how does OLE work? Second, what does OLE have to
do with the registry? Moreover, why do we have to worry about it? Do we mention DDE?
And where, oh where, does the Clipboard fit into this mess?
OK, stay tuned for answers to all of these questions.
Introduction to OLE
Kraig Brockschmidt of Microsoft is probably the best-known expert on OLE. Here's how he
describes its evolution:
Windows API (Application Program Interface) evolved into Windows Objects, which
eventually became what we know as OLE.
Kraig admits it's not that simple, but OLE developed by evolution, not by revolution.
Way back in the good old days, Windows was much simpler and easier to understand. In its
first incarnation, Windows allowed virtually no interprocess communications. There was the
Clipboard (which we still know and love), to which one program could post data that another
program could (hopefully) read. However, that exchange required user interaction. The user
was required to take steps to put the selected data on the Clipboard and then in the recipient
application take steps to retrieve the data stored in the Clipboard.
Problems arose. First, the basic Clipboard supported only a very limited range of data types.
Programs could exchange data in various basic formats (text and binary, for the most part),
but these formats were sorely lacking the flexibility to express any object that was composed
of compound data.
Compound Data?
Compound data is data that contains information in multiple formats. The easiest type of
compound data to envision is a word-processing document that includes some images. At this
point in the evolution of the Clipboard, the word-processing program couldn't just toss that
document and its images on the Clipboard. After all, how would the program identify the
format of that data? If it said binary, no other application would be able to understand or use
the data. If it said text, what would happen when an application tried to use the data and
encountered the images? Would it delete the images? Sure, that would work, but if the user
wanted the complete document, including the images, he or she would be most unhappy about
the results.
Microsoft realized quickly that applications needed a direct, application-to-application
communication method that didn't rely on the Clipboard. Quickly or slowly, depending on
your point of view, the concept of DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange) was born. Actually
"conceived" would be a better description, because DDE wasn't viable in its original format.
As it grew, DDE did allow applications to communicate data. However, there were still
problems. With DDE, there was no way for applications to find out about their partners.
Developers created most DDE applications specifically as pairs. For applications from two
independent sources, DDE was unlikely to be useful, because the developers would have to
cooperate in order to take advantage of DDE.
OLE became the next stage in the development of interapplication communications and data
sharing. OLE allowed an application to interact with another one without knowing, in
advance, about the other application. Magic, really.
The Clipboard
The Clipboard is the original and most basic method to transfer data between applications.
The Clipboard supports both inter-application transfers (between two applications) and intraapplication transfers (within the same application).
There is only one object in the Clipboard at any one time. (Microsoft Office uses a multiple
document Clipboard interface; however, this interface is created and implemented by Office,
and not Windows.) There are some complex rules on the Clipboard, such as the following:
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•
•
An application cannot assume that an object placed in the Clipboard will remain there
after the application releases the Clipboard. Therefore, it is not possible to use the
Clipboard as a temporary storage location.
The format of the object in the Clipboard must be in one of the standard formats
(listed below), or the application placing the data on the Clipboard must be prepared to
render or display the Clipboard's contents.
Some objects in the Clipboard are in a format that is not native to Windows. These
objects require the application that places the object to be available to display or
render the object if necessary.
Windows XP supports the following types of data in the Clipboard, without creating custom
formats:
CF_BITMAP A bitmap (image)
CF_DIB A DIB (Device Independent Bitmap)
CF_DIBV5 A version 5 bitmap (available on Windows 2000 and later versions)
CF_DIF A DIF (Data Interchange Format) object
CF_DSPBITMAP A private format bitmap
CF_DSPENHMETAFILE An enhanced metafile display format object
CF_DSPMETAFILEPICT A metafile-picture display format object
CF_DSPTEXT A text display format object, with private format
CF_ENHMETAFILE An enhanced metafile object
CF_GDIOBJFIRST through CF_GDIOBJLAST A range of integer values for applicationdefined GDI (Graphical Device Interface) objects
CF_HDROPV A handle of type HDROP, identifying a list of files
CF_LOCALE Locale information
CF_METAFILEPICT A metafile picture object
CF_OEMTEXT A text format in the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) character set
CF_OWNERDISPLAY An object of owner display format
CF_PALETTE A color palette object
CF_PENDATA An object containing data for the pen extensions to the Microsoft Windows
for Pen Computing
CF_PRIVATEFIRST through CF_PRIVATELAST A range of integer values for private
Clipboard formats
CF_RIFF A sound object too complex for the CF_WAVE format
CF_SYLK An object in Microsoft Symbolic Link (SYLK) format
CF_TEXT A plain-text format object
CF_WAVE An audio object, using PCM (Pulse Code Modulation)
CF_TIFF A Tagged Image File Format object
CF_UNICODETEXT A text object using the two-byte Unicode character set
As this list shows, Windows supports many different formats, without any programmer
intervention. However, in many situations, these formats are not adequate. In these cases, the
application serving (placing) the data on the Clipboard may register a new format with
Windows. To enable viewing of the Clipboard data, you must also have code that displays the
Clipboard data.
DDE
DDE, or Dynamic Data Exchange, has been part of Windows since the early days. An Excel
spreadsheet (the client) for managing stock market information is an example of DDE. A
second software application that actually retrieves the stock prices (quotes) is the server. In
addition, another application goes to the Internet and gets current stock market quotes (the
server). The two programs need to interact dynamically (after all, prices change), so using the
Clipboard is not optimal; you want your spreadsheet updated dynamically and efficiently,
without any user interaction.
Through a process of broadcasting, Excel (the client) establishes a communications link with
the server. Excel broadcasts its request and the server responds that it is able to fulfill this
request. A DDE linkage is established, allowing Excel to request information from the server
as necessary.
As an example, you may be interested in a particular list of stocks. Excel would tell the server
to check these stocks and provide the current quote for them. Excel might also have a timer
loop that repeats this process every five minutes, providing you with up-to-date stock quote
information.
As another example, you might request a one-time quote on a stock of interest. Maybe you're
interested in just how well Microsoft (MSFT) is doing on the stock exchange. Perhaps your
spreadsheet has a section where you type in the stock name. You enter the name, and the
quote comes back.
Either the client or the server can perform automatic updating. Client-initiated updates might
occur on a time-based basis, or when the user makes a change if the data retrieved was
relatively static. Servers might initiate an update whenever the server recognizes that the
information the user is requesting has become out of date.
OK, no one said DDE was easy. If they did, they didn't tell the truth. DDE is complex and
very difficult to understand or use. Programmers exposed to DDE shuddered and desperately
searched for better alternatives. Some programmers kludged together broadcast messages to
pass simple data, but for many, DDE was still the best (only) method to exchange data
between two applications.
Why Is It Difficult to Exchange Data?
Memory protection causes most of the problems; one application cannot access memory
objects belonging to other applications.
When an object is placed in the Clipboard, the memory that the object occupies is given to
Windows. From that point onward, Windows owns the object, and the application that placed
the object in the Clipboard loses control of the object. This means that whenever an object is
placed in the Clipboard, the application will usually make a copy of the object and place the
copy in the Clipboard, keeping the original object for the application's use.
The DDE process uses the Clipboard to transfer large blocks of data, too. Typically, the server
application places the data on the Clipboard and uses DDE to tell the client application about
the data. Server applications are able to pass small data objects to the client application as part
of the DDE conversation.
What Is OLE?
OLE means Object Linking and Embedding. That says it all. With DDE, and with the
Clipboard, applications only pass data and do not pass any functionality. With OLE, we
expand on what the server application can do for the client.
As I mentioned earlier, applications can pass both data and programming functionality back
and forth using OLE. The client can request action from the server. However, the client
program's developer does not have to develop all this functionality if it exists already.
As an example, take the e-mail client called Outlook. Outlook has a simple, built-in e-mail
editor. However, some users want (demand, actually) more functionality in their e-mail
editors. They want formatting, macros, even included images, and other nifty stuff. They want
the functionality of Microsoft Word to create their e-mail.
Wouldn't it be nice if the Outlook development team could borrow part of Word? Now, it
would make little sense for the Outlook development team to sneak into the Word group's
office and steal the code for Word. After all, they'd then have to maintain it, and Word's one
big puppy-major maintenance blues there.
What's the next best thing? First, let's let the Word developers continue to maintain Word.
Second, let's get Word to work for us. We know that the developers on the Word team
included OLE server technology into Word; Word has client OLE technology too, in case you
wondered. However, we find that the Outlook team can't really expect the Word team to put
special stuff into Word for them, so what can they do?
Things are not so bad here: because Word is an OLE-compliant application, all Outlook has to
do is to ask Word, "What can you do for me?" Outlook does this by first checking with the
server at the most basic OLE level (a level that all OLE applications must support). This level
allows the client to ask the server what functionalities are supported.
Realize that when we talk about supported functionalities, we are not talking about "Do you
support italic text?" Rather, we are asking such questions as "Do you support embedding?" or
"Do you support automation?" The server is then able to tell the client exactly what it is able
to do. In the case of Outlook using Word to edit e-mail, Outlook asks, "Can you be
embedded?" and Word responds, "Yes, I can."
Note You might ask, "Peter, why are you are adding yet another term, OLE automation?"
This process allows the client application to take control of the server, and it lets the
server see the client as a user. The client is able to actually click buttons and otherwise
interact with the server application.
Now read on.
Embedding
With embedding, an object (which could be either a data object or server functionality) is
embedded into the client application or the client application's data. When you embed Word
into Outlook, you create a window, and using OLE, you tell Word to use this window to
interact with the user. You also tell Word how it should appear to the user; for example,
Outlook customizes Word's toolbars.
This embedding works regardless of whether Word is running or not. If Word is running,
anything that Word is currently doing is unaffected by having Word embedded into Outlook's
e-mail editing system. In fact, the OLE server treats these as separate instances of the
program, and keeps them separate. There are advantages, however. If the server is already
running, it is not necessary to load a second copy of the server. Instead, the two instances
share the executable code.
With embedded objects, the client owns a private copy of the object. The server may update
the client's object, though the server won't change any other instances of the data.
Each time an embedded object is used, there will be a new copy of the object. For complex
objects, graphics, and so on, this can consume substantial system resources.
Object Linking
Object linking is a mysterious technology where one application creates an object used by
another application later. A linked object remains the property of the creating application, and
there is only one copy of the object.
The server is the creating application. The server links to the client application. When the
server updates the object, the client gets a message and updates the object display in the client
as necessary. Some objects are not visible, so there is no display update necessary.
The closest thing to showing how linking works is to look at Windows itself. There are a
number of icons on your Desktop. Most are called shortcuts, which are denoted by that funny
up-pointing arrow image in the lower-left corner. Think of these shortcuts as links. Open the
properties for a shortcut and go to the Shortcut tab. In the Target edit box, you will see the
name of the file that is associated with this shortcut (link). If you have a dozen shortcuts to the
same file, each shortcut will open the same copy of the program. There won't be a dozen
copies of the program.
OLE Controls, a.k.a. ActiveX
In the previous examples, the server application was a typical Windows program.
Applications like this are native Windows applications. For example, Word for Windows is a
server application. Word has a user interface and it runs on its own, without needing any
client to embed the Word object.
Sometimes the server application doesn't have a native, stand-alone mode. That is, such an
application doesn't have a user interface-no window, no direct way for the user to interact
with the program. Applications like this are ActiveX controls; they used to be called OLE
controls. ActiveX controls are commonly used with programs such as Internet Explorer and
other web browsers; however, many programs can use ActiveX controls.
Note An ActiveX control must be embedded and may never be run alone.
A typical user could have a large number of ActiveX controls installed, and the user might
never know it. It is common for a user to download ActiveX controls from the Internet
without ever realizing that this has happened.
VBX, What's a VBX?
VBX controls, or Visual Basic controls, were the first generation of ActiveX controls. When
VBX controls were first developed, they served in dialog boxes as custom controls, things
such as progress bars, and so on.
Generally, a VBX control doesn't handle data, while an ActiveX control might. In addition,
only Visual Basic was able to easily create VBX controls. Programmers who developed in
C/C++, for example, had difficulty creating their own VBX controls. However, Microsoft
eventually developed a system to create VBX controls using development platforms other
than Visual Basic.
Microsoft also realized that the concept of VBX (embeddable controls) was a good one, and
that these controls were here to stay. In came the OCX (OLE Control) technology; it was
development-platform independent, usage-platform independent, and more flexible.
Evolution and the name game reared their heads again. Microsoft moved to ActiveX controls
more as a change in name than in function. It is common to see ActiveX controls referred to
as OCX controls, and vice versa.
Some ActiveX controls display data. Some don't do anything other than provide some form of
user interface. For example, these controls were on one of my computers:
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BtnMenu Object
CarPointProximityCtrl
ChatShowClt Object
DirectAnimation Java Classes
HHCtrl Object
Internet Explorer Classes for Java
IPTDImageControl.Slmage
Label Object
Microsoft MSChat Control Object
Microsoft Search Settings Control
Microsoft XML Parser for Java
PopupMenu Object
Win32 Classes
All of these controls were installed in the %SystemRoot%\Occache directory. If you are not
using Internet Explorer or are not active on the Internet, you probably won't have many of
these controls.
Note If you don't find an Occache directory, don't panic. It is probably because you don't have
any ActiveX controls installed on your computer!
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!
Remember when I said previously that OLE controls don't have a user interface? Well
actually, I lied a little. It is possible to use RunDll32 to execute some OLE controls. RunDll32
doesn't have a user interface either, and any control that works with RunDll32 must be written
specifically for this type of usage. For example, the OLE Active Movie control will run with
the command:
%SystemRoot%\System32\rundll32.exe amovie.ocx,RunDll
This opens the Active Movie OLE control (RunDll provides a main window for the control),
and Active Movie then displays an Open File dialog box. You might select an Active Movie
file (try clock.avi in Windows XP's %SystemRoot% directory) and run it using amovie.ocx.
This is possible because Active Movie was written to work with RunDll, and as such, it
works. Try this trick with most any other OLE control, and you will get the message,
"Missing entry point RunDll," which indicates that the entry point passed in the command
was not found.
Oh, yes, you can also pass parameters to your OLE control with the command:
RunDll:%SystemRoot%\System32\rundll32.exe amovie.ocx,RunDll
%SystemRoot%\clock.avi
This command loads Active Movie, loads clock.avi, and allows the user to interact with the
control. Try it. Better yet, try this:
%SystemRoot%\System32\rundll32.exe amovie.ocx,RunDll /play /close
%SystemRoot%\clock.avi
Don't mistakenly insert spaces between the executable file (amovie.ocx in the previous
example), the comma, and the entry point (RunDll in the previous example). This will break
RunDll without telling you why it failed.
Get the hint? I passed a parameter to the Active Movie control to play the clock.avi file and
then close it when the .avi file is finished. Active Movie loaded the file specified, played the
file, and closed it-all without user intervention.
Oh, don't blame me if the clock.avi file is a bit annoying.
Actually, RunDll will run more than OLE controls-RunDll will (or will at least attempt to)
execute any executable file, including DLL (Dynamic Link Library) and EXE (executable)
files. This is true as long as you know the file's entry point and the file to be executed follow
the RunDll protocol. For more information, see Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q164787,
which can be viewed at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;q164787.
Though originally written for Windows 95/98, it has been updated to include support for
Windows XP users.
Note Don't have amovie.ocx? This control is part of many versions of Microsoft Internet
Explorer. Virtually all Windows 9x or Windows 2000 computer have a copy that you can
use. You can download from Microsoft; however, the amovie.ocx file is combined with an
earlier version of Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Client-Server OLE Applications
Client-server OLE applications make up a substantial number of programs on most Windows
computers. Even though the user may not be aware of which client-server OLE applications
are installed, there are many.
One of the best-designed and best-integrated sets of applications is Microsoft Office, currently
released as Office XP.
Note Office XP is really Office, version 10. Microsoft has not used the version number as part
of the product name for some time. However, many of Office's registry entries and
file/folder names use the version number. Just remember that Office XP is Office
version 10 (and Office 2000 is Office version 9).
Office XP combines word processing (Word XP for Windows), spreadsheets (Excel XP), a
database system (Access XP), a presentation program (PowerPoint XP), and a host of utilities
(such as Chart). Each of the main applications in Microsoft Office works as both a client and
a server application. Some applications-such as the Word Art and Chart utilities-are not
designed to run as simple clients. For example, take Word XP (a program that at least I know
how to use).
Word, as a client is . . . Word. Open Word and edit a document. Write a short letter to
someone-it doesn't matter whom. Create something, about a page long, three or four
paragraphs. You have Word's functionality in all these paragraphs; you did everything using
Word and nothing else.
Now things start to get exciting. Insert an object. For grins, insert a drawing into a Word
document. Click Insert → Object. Word displays the Object dialog box that lists all the
embeddable OLE server objects (see Figure 6.1). Actually, OLE uses an API call to display
the dialog box.
Figure 6.1: Inserting a Media Clip object is as easy as selecting it from the Object dialog box.
Some servers work by totally embedding themselves into Word. For example, Microsoft
Photo Editor is called to edit (or select, if you are creating a new object) the picture you have
inserted. With Office XP, Word does not embed the server, rather the server is called as a
separate process. Word XP displays the standard picture toolbar, and you may edit the picture
either by selecting Edit → Photo Editor Photo Object → Edit or by simply double-clicking the
image. (I'm jumping ahead some here, but notice how Figure 6.3 shows Word XP with the
image of Figure 6.2 embedded as a Microsoft Photo Editor object.)
Figure 6.2: Microsoft Office XP allows embedding many types of objects, and uses other
applications (including Photo Editor) to manipulate these embedded objects.
Figure 6.3: Microsoft Word XP with Figure 6.2's image embedded in a Word document.
Double-click the image to edit it in Photo Editor.
It is quite incredible that Microsoft Photo Editor (or any other object server, for that matter)
works without Microsoft Word having prior knowledge of it. Actually, select (double-click
the object, for example) a Microsoft Photo Editor object, and Word gives control to Microsoft
Photo Editor. Microsoft Photo Editor then displays its own window along with Word's
window, so that the user can switch between the Word document and the object as necessary-I
use this same process while I write.
When the Microsoft Photo Editor object is not selected, Word allows normal operation (see
Figure 6.2). You do context-switching between Word and Microsoft Photo Editor whenever
you select something in the document. If your selection is a Microsoft Photo Editor object
(see Figure 6.3), Microsoft Photo Editor is put in control; otherwise, Word takes control.
A lot of magic goes on behind the scenes here. When saving a complex document containing
OLE objects, the objects' servers save the OLE objects when and where instructed to do so by
Word.
Oops, topic-drift. I'm trying to make everyone an OLE expert. Let's see if I can wrap this up
in a nutshell, then connect everything with the registry.
So, in a nutshell:
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Client applications may have OLE objects embedded into their documents, and/or
have OLE server functionality embedded into their basic functionality.
This embedding is done at runtime, so the developer knows nothing about what
embedding will be done when the program is being written.
When a client application wants to embed an OLE object, the client application calls
OLE to display the Insert Object dialog box to the user. The user then selects the
embedded object.
By selecting the object, OLE allows the client's user interface (menus and toolbars, for
example) to be turned over to the server application.
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Server applications may edit the object in place, or may create a special editing
window, which may have menu/toolbar support, as appropriate. Usually, complex
objects have their own windows for editing just to keep things simpler for the user.
OLE uses the registry to learn about embeddable server applications.
OLE server and client applications are identified by CLSIDs; call 'em UUIDs, or
GUIDs, if you want. A CLSID is a unique long string of numbers.
The server application is able to use OLE to tell the client what capabilities the server
has. This allows the client to behave in a predictable manner.
Note It is possible to embed a purely functional OLE object into a document. From time to
time with database programming, OLE controls (ActiveX) and OLE applications
(without instance-specific data, such as Microsoft Calendar Control 10.0) are used.
OK, I've prattled on about OLE long enough (is that a wild cheer I hear?), so let's get to the
registry component of OLE.
OLE and the Registry
Wow, now we're back to the registry. That was a lot of stuff to cover, just to get a handle of
the basics of OLE.
As I've mentioned, OLE works extensively with the registry. When an application registers
itself with OLE as a potential server application, this registration process consists of adding a
number of entries into the registry. For OLE applications, such as ActiveX controls, these
entries are relatively simple and easy to follow. More complex OLE applications-take
Microsoft Word as an example-have hundreds of entries in the registry and are typically
difficult to understand.
Let's look at a simple OLE control-the ActiveX control called Calendar Control 10.0, which is
an application available from Microsoft (as part of Office XP) that allows users to insert a
calendar into their document.
Yes, Calendar Control 10.0 is embeddable into a Word document (you can also embed it into
many other types of documents). This usage, which is typical, is very useful-think of how
many times you needed to include a calendar in a document. Check out Figure 6.4 to see
Word and Calendar Control 10.0 working together. In the document that I used for this figure,
I actually used the date that I was writing this chapter.
Figure 6.4: Embedding a Microsoft Calendar Control adds a new dimension to your Word
documents, and makes a normally complex task easy.
Size and Placement...
Calendar Control 10.0 allows for easy resizing. However, some versions of ActiveX controls
don't work as well when embedded into Word. They may create an underlying window that
makes sizing the control's main window difficult. Because of this, the embedded control tends
to resize its display in unexpected ways. This is not acceptable behavior, I might add.
If you embed an object that is difficult to resize, try this: First resize the offending control to
make it smaller, and then quickly-before Word can resize it-click the underlying base
window. This locks the base window so you can resize the control's window as appropriate. A
simple double-click anywhere inside the base window restores the normal display.
Microsoft Calendar Control 10.0 allows a lot of interaction with other documents and
applications-you can set the month and year as desired using the drop-down list boxes.
Nevertheless, why would you, a user, want other interaction? Easy! One classic example is to
embed Calendar Control into a Web page, a document whose application is the Web browser.
Another example is to embed Calendar Control into an e-mail message. Ding! Did the light go
off? E-mail everyone on your team and include in the message the details of a virtual meeting
with the calendar showing the appropriate date.
You can modify the properties of embedded objects. There are usually two ways to set the
object's properties. The first is to use the programmatic interface (geeky-see Figure 6.5). You
can also use the object's Object Properties dialog box (see Figure 6.6). The programmatic
interface allows access to all possible properties, while the Object Properties dialog box
allows quick and simple modification of selected object properties.
Figure 6.5: You can directly modify the object's properties with the Properties dialog box.
This is a standard object properties dialog box, not the one written by the object's author.
So, we have a Microsoft Calendar Control 10.0 OLE server application implemented as an
ActiveX control. Let's look at the registry entries for Calendar Control.
First are the entries in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes\CLSID. These entries
define much of the OLE interface:
{8E27C92B-1264-101C-8A2F-040224009C02}]
@="Calendar Control 10.0"
The lines above are the hive (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE), key (Software), and subkeys
(Classes\CLSID), followed by any values that these keys might contain. A value in the form
of @=data denotes the default value entry found in every registry key and subkey.
Figure 6.6: The Object Properties dialog box, created by the object's author, is much easier to
use than the interface shown in Figure 6.5.
Note The Windows XP CLSID is identical the Windows NT 2000 CLSID. Surprised? Don't
be, as the CLSID comes from the application, not the operating system. Also, Calendar
Control 10.0 probably has the same CLSID as Calendar Control 9.0.
The first subkey contains the CLSID for the Calendar Control 10.0 server. This CLSID
happens to be 8E27C92B-1264-101C-8A2F-040224009C02, although other versions of
Calendar Control (if they were substantially different) might have different CLSIDs. The
default data variable contains a string describing the program. Notice that this string is also
found in the second section of the registry,
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\MSCAL.Calendar.7, described next.
{8E27C92B-1264-101C-8A2F-040224009C02}\CLSID
@="8E27C92B-1264-101C-8A2F-040224009C02"
Windows uses the AuxUserType subkey for short, people-readable names for the application.
Menus, both regular and pop-up, use these short names. Microsoft recommends that the
names in AuxUserType be limited to not more than 15 characters.
The entry, InprocHandler32, tells the system what in-process handler will be used.
{8E27C92B-1264-101C-8A2F-040224009C02}\InprocServer32
@="C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office10\MSCAL.OCX"
Many applications use InprocServer.dll as their in-process handler, although this is not a
requirement. Another commonly used in-process handler is MAPI32.DLL, which is used by
many mail-enabled objects:
Intended for use with Windows XP, the Insertable entry indicates to the system that the
application is listed in the insert list of the Insert New Object dialog box:
{8E27C92B-1264-101C-8A2F-040224009C02}\Insertable
@=""
The next entry contains the application's fully qualified path and executable filename. This
string is not a REG_EXPAND_SZ, so don't use substitution variables:
{8E27C92B-1264-101C-8A2F-040224009C02}\MiscStatus
@="131473"
Table 6.1 lists the flag values allowed in MiscStatus.
Table 6.1: Flag Values Used in the MiscStatus Object
Flag (Value) in Decimal Flag (Value) in
Description
Hex
1
0x00000001
When resizing, the object is recomposed.
2
0x00000002
The object is only available as an icon.
4
0x00000004
The object is used in insert mode, not replace
mode.
8
0x00000008
The object is static.
16
0x00000010
The object can't link inside.
Table 6.1: Flag Values Used in the MiscStatus Object
Flag (Value) in Decimal Flag (Value) in
Description
Hex
32
0x00000020
OLE 1 can link the object.
64
0x00000040
The object is a link object.
128
0x00000080
The object is inside out.
256
0x00000100
Activate the object when it is visible.
512
0x00000200
The object's rendering is device independent.
1024
0x00000400
The object is invisible at runtime.
2048
0x00000800
The object is always run.
4096
0x00001000
The object acts like a button.
8192
0x00002000
The object acts like a label.
16384
0x00004000
The object may not be inactivated.
32768
0x00008000
The object has a simple frame.
131072
0x00010000
The object sets the client site first.
262144
0x00020000
The object runs in IME (Input Method
Editor) mode.
Note In MiscStatus, combine values using binary or bitwise addition; the easiest way to do a
bitwise is to simply add the values. For example, an application with the flags:
"The object sets the client site first" (131072),
"Activate object when it is visible" (256)
"The Object is inside out" (128)"
The object can't link inside" (16), and
"When resizing, the object is recomposed" (1)
would store a value of (131072 + 256 + 128 + 16 + 1) = 131473 in MiscStatus, which is
exactly the value that is in our Calendar Control object's MiscStatus.
In some entries, the Printable subkey denotes an OLE object that will support the IPrint
method (Printable is not found in all objects-only those that are printable using the IPrint
method):
{8E27C92B-1264-101C-8A2F-040224009C02}\Printable
@=""
For an object that may be inserted, there must be an associated ProgID value (ProgID is
shorthand for "programmatic identifier"). This value consists of a short name, a type, and a
numeric value (the numeric value is often a version number):
{8E27C92B-1264-101C-8A2F-040224009C02}\ProgID
@="MSCAL.Calendar.7"
A registry section is created with this name (see the next entry), where more registry values
will be stored for this object:
{8E27C92B-1264-101C-8A2F-040224009C02}\Verb
@=""
Verbs indicate types of action that the object may take. Always numbered consecutively in the
registry, there are three components to verb entries, as shown here:
{8E27C92B-1264-101C-8A2F-040224009C02}\Verb\0
@="&Edit,0,2"
This sample verb, Edit, shows three things. First, the text used in the menu, &Edit. The &
indicates that the letter following it will be underscored and used as a hotkey value.
Second, the first number, 0, is the menu flag's value. Table 6.2 shows the valid values. (Not
all are used with OLE menus, such as MF_OWNERDRAW.)
Flag Name
Table 6.2: Flag Types Allowed
Value
Description
MF_STRING
0x0000
The menu item is a string.
MF_ENABLE
0x0000
The menu item is enabled.
MF_UNCHECKED
0x0000
The menu item is unchecked.
MF_INSERT
0x0000
The menu item is an inserted item.
MF_BITMAP
0x0004
The menu item is a bitmap.
MF_CHECKED
0x0008
The menu item is checked.
MF_DISABLED
0x0002
The menu item is disabled.
MF_GRAYED
0x0001
The menu item is dimmed.
MF_OWNERDRAW
0x0100
The menu item is an owner-draw item.
Third, the second number, 2, is the verb flag. There are only two possible values for this
entry, as shown in Table 6.3.
Verb Flag Name
Table 6.3: Verb Flag Names
Value Description
OLEVERBATTRIB_NEVERDIRTIES
1
OLEVERBATTRIB_ONCONTAINERMENU 2
Indicates that the verb does not
modify the object, so the object will
not require storing in persistent
storage.
Indicates that the verb should
appear on a pop-up menu.
There is a second section of the registry for the Calendar Control 10.0 OLE object. This
section, in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes, is called MSCAL.Calendar.7.
In the MSCAL.Calendar subkey, there are two possible value entries. One is shown below:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\MSCAL.Calendar]
@="Calendar Control 10.0"
The first value entry is the default value (@=) that contains the name ("Calendar Control
10.0") used in the insert list of the Insert Object dialog box. A second value that some objects
may use is EditFlags, which contains the edit flags, expressed as hex values.
The CLSID subkey contains the object's CLSID:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\MSCAL.Calendar\CLSID]
@="{8E27C92B-1264-101C-8A2F-040224009C02}"
When present, the next subkey (which works with the Microsoft OLE DocObject technology)
may contain information about the capabilities of the OLE object:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\MSCAL.Calendar.7\DocObject]
@="0"
Intended for use in Windows 2000 and Windows XP, the following entry indicates to the
system that the application should be listed in the insert list of the Insert New Object dialog
box:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\MSCAL.Calendar\Insertable]
@=""
The protocol subkey is used for compatibility with OLE 1 container (client) applications:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\MSCAL.Calendar\protocol]
@=""
There is one subkey in protocol, called StdFileEditing. Within StdFileEditing, there are a
number of items, as shown here:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Word.Document.6\protocol\StdFileEditin
g]
@=""
The default entry in StdFileEditing is an empty string.
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Word.Document.6\protocol\StdFileEditin
g\server]
@="C:\\PROGRA~1\\MICROS~2\\winword.exe"
The first subkey in StdFileEditing is the server subkey. Inside server is the default string
containing the fully qualified name of the server executable file. (The Calendar control doesn't
have this entry, so I've shown the entry for Word.) Because this string is REG_SZ, do not use
any substitutable variables, such as %SystemRoot%, in it.
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\MSCAL.Calendar\protocol\StdFileEditing
\verb]
@=""
The next subkey in StdFileEditing is verb. Inside verb are one or more numbered subkeys;
numbers begin with 0 and should be consecutive. Each verb that the OLE application uses in a
menu will be included, as shown here:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\MSCAL.Calendar\protocol\StdFileEditing
\verb\0]
@="&Edit"
This verb is the Edit menu selection. The text used in the menu is &Edit. The & indicates that
the letter following it will be underscored and used as a hotkey value.
Finally, a version-independent ProgID is created. Even when the control is updated, this entry
won't change:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{8E27C92B-1264-101C-8A2F040224009C02}\
VersionIndependentProgId
@="MSCAL.Calendar"
Like ProgID, this identifies the program, without any version references.
How Linkages Are Made between Applications
OK, now we'll look at a few of the mechanisms that Windows XP uses to manage OLE
applications, CLSIDs, and the user interface.
First, let's confuse applications and documents. Considering them identical for now will ease
some of the issues here. OLE is one complex puppy, so anything we can do to understand it is
OK. Later in this chapter, I'll spend some time pointing out what the differences are between a
document and an application.
OK, so the user's application wants to use OLE. There are a couple of ways that applications
can use OLE:
•
•
Write the application from the get-go to use OLE controls. Some applications do this;
however, many do not.
Write the application to allow the user to embed OLE objects into it. Many OLE
applications do this.
Neither of these two scenarios is mutually exclusive. For example, an application could have
both methods built into it. In either case, it is necessary to register the server of the OLE
object that the client will be using.
When registered, the server's basic properties are in the registry, in the
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes and
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes\CLSID sections. This information in the
registry provides the client with the minimum (got that, minimum) amount of information
needed to interact with the OLE server.
However, the client application needs to know more about the server. Questions that must be
answered include what the server does, expectations of the server, whether support for inplace editing exists, and what information or data is communicated between the server and the
application.
An ActiveX control, for example, probably won't have any data that is stored in the client's
document. Most ActiveX controls display information for the user. However, the displayed
information varies greatly. Some ActiveX controls display contents that vary only in detail. A
classic example of this type of ActiveX control is a real-time clock control—the control
retrieves the time from the system and displays the time in a specified format. Another
controls data changes in content, but not type. For example, the Calendar Control 10.0 control
always displays a calendar. However, a Microsoft Photo Editor server's data and type both
would change from invocation to invocation. Who knows what the user might try to display in
the Microsoft Photo Editor control? The display could be anything from a company logo to a
cheery holiday greeting.
Regardless, each server must communicate with the client application. The client always
initiates communications between a server and a client; otherwise, how would the server
know a client needed it? This communication uses a technique called querying the interface.
The server will respond with information about exactly what the server can do.
Everyone Uses OLE
Everyone uses OLE, we just don't realize it. Windows XP uses OLE to perform a number of
useful tasks. OLE is a built-in, not an added-on-later, part of Windows.
Explorer, the Windows user interface, relies on OLE for many of its abilities. For example,
look at your Desktop. Do you understand what is going on there? Probably not. Do you care?
Maybe, and a bit of understanding can help later when you decide to customize it. Explorer is
responsible for much of the functionality that you see on your Desktop. Explorer is the
program that paints your Desktop background; puts up those icons (such as the pesky Recycle
Bin, My Briefcase, and My Computer); and manages aspects of the user interface, such as
property sheets and context menus. This is all done with the very valuable assistance of OLE.
Let's give OLE a big hand—it does a lot for us.
Embedded Documents
Embedded documents have references to each OLE object that they have. Unlike when OLE
controls are used with an application (remember, we blurred this distinction in the previous
section), OLE objects in a document can and do vary greatly. Each document is unique—one
document may contain no OLE objects, while the next may contain many different objects.
Transportability is a critical issue. Say I create a chapter for my publisher and embed an OLE
object into the document. Then I e-mail that document to my editor. When the editor opens
the document and wants to have access to the object, the OLE server application will have to
display the object on the computer. It is not necessary that the OLE server be in the same
directory, or in any specific directory. OLE uses the registry to take care of locating the server
and activating it as necessary. I might have the OLE server installed in a directory on my Q:
drive, while my editor might have the same server located on the C: drive, and the executable
filename may well be different in each installation, too. Regardless, as long as the ProgID
value is identical, Windows XP will be able to locate the server and launch it.
Critical items in the registry are those entries shown in the previous sections of this chapter. If
you find it necessary to move an OLE server's files from one location to another, it may be
possible to edit the registry and change the file locations that are stored in entries, such as
shown below in Figure 6.7.
Figure 6.7: An object's registry entries shown in the Registry Editor
Note Before making any change such as this, be sure your backups are up-to-date.
Warning Don't even consider moving system OLE servers and objects. Leave anything
supplied with Windows XP that is related to OLE where it is. There can be
references to these objects in places other than the registry.
Fixing an OLE Disaster
Common OLE problems arise when a user inadvertently deletes the OLE server files, often in
an ill-advised attempt to clean up hard disk space, while the OLE registry entries remain in
the registry. There are several tricks to recover from this. First, attempt to reinstall a new copy
of the OLE server in the original location. This will probably work in most cases. However, if
you cannot reinstall—maybe you don't know where the source files are located—consider
restoring the files from a backup.
As a last resort, try to remove the registry entries for the OLE server. This probably will result
in your registry and system becoming unstable, but if it is unusable anyway, what do you have
to lose? Check the sections listed here for entries about the OLE server:
•
•
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\
Doing this will require some detective work. You will have to search the registry using either
the Registry Editor or by exporting the registry to a text file and using a text editor's search.
While searching, note all locations listing the OLE server. There will be at least the two
mentioned in the previous list, although some OLE components may have more entries.
Disaster typically raises its ugly head when there are multiple dependencies between a
number of OLE objects. The fix here is to restore if possible.
Another disaster point is when a new application installs an OLE object that conflicts with an
existing one. Typically, the two OLE objects would have different CLSIDs. However, it is
possible that the CLSIDs are identical, although in theory this should not happen. Installing a
second copy of an OLE object modifies the object's ProgID. The user will frequently see two
OLE objects in the Insert Object dialog box with the same name. Often, only one of the
objects will work correctly.
Chapter 7: Why, Oh Why, Are There
system.ini and win.ini Files?
Overview
Even with Windows XP, Microsoft's latest operating system, we still see, as a remnant
dragged kicking and screaming, both system.ini and win.ini files. These files do serve a
purpose (as I describe below), so we have to live with them.
Okay, so now we have a registry, and that registry was supposed to replace the system.ini and
win.ini files that the first 16-bit versions of Windows were plagued with. However, some
legacy applications still depend on system.ini and win.ini to run, and Microsoft has wisely
retained support for these files in Windows XP.
The Evolution of System and Configuration Files
If you have been a Windows user for more than a few years, you're probably well aware of
the issues that have evolved concerning the win.ini and system.ini files. These files contained
almost all of the information used to configure earlier versions of Windows; other
configuration files, such as protocol.ini (no, there is no protocol.ini file in Windows XP, so
don't bother trying to look for it!), were used to store network information as well. When the
time to design Windows NT arrived, those wonderful software guys at Microsoft decided that
there were some problems with using .ini files. Several problems were apparent:
•
•
•
•
Users would edit these files, often without regard for the consequences of making
changes. Sometimes these changes were totally inadvertent.
Some editors (typically those used to doing word processing) would add, remove, or
even change some characters without explicitly telling the user. An example is quotes
used around strings, for which the editor would stick in stylized quotes.
The system.ini and win.ini files were growing at an alarming rate. As users added
software, fonts, and system components, these files grew. The result was that the
primitive search routines employed in the early versions of Windows could not
efficiently search for entries in the files.
Applications were able to modify system entries in the win.ini and system.ini files
with impunity. A rogue application could butcher these files and no one would be the
wiser until the damage caused a failure in the operating system—no protection or
security was available.
These problems with win.ini and system.ini prompted Microsoft to move to a more efficient
method of storing information that both Windows and user applications could access easily
and efficiently. The registry—a binary, tree-oriented database—is quick and easy to work
with. Changes to existing products as they were migrated to 32-bit environments, such as
Windows NT versions (including Windows 2000 and Windows XP) and Windows 95/98/Me,
presented a few problems for programmers to resolve. Moving to the registry-based model
also presented a few problems for legacy applications, applications that already exist either on
the user's computer(s) or as products that are being sold but will not be updated. These
problems include:
•
•
Existing 16-bit applications must be supported in executable form. That is, an
application that expects win.ini and system.ini files to exist must be able to use them.
Some 16-bit applications do not have access to registry manipulation APIs. These
applications must be supported using the preexisting win.ini and system.ini files also.
Note Today, there are still many 16-bit applications being sold on the Windows platform.
This is over three years after the introduction of Windows 95, a 32-bit platform that
supports 32-bit applications very well. In the foreseeable future, there will always be at
least one 16-bit application being sold or used somewhere. Old habits, and old software,
die hard.
To handle these problems, Microsoft decided to retain support for both win.ini and system.ini.
Windows would no longer use these files, but they would be available to any applications that
chose to access or utilize them.
In this chapter, we'll look at the system.ini and win.ini files that Windows XP provides. The
default files are not too large, although the win.ini file might become larger when the user
installs more 16-bit applications. The system.ini file might also grow as the user adds items
that are not designed to work with Windows.
When Windows applications write to the win.ini or system.ini file, and those applications use
the Windows XP registry-updating APIs, the information that would have been stored in the
.ini file will be stored in the registry. This is subject to the exclusions discussed next.
Any file listed in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows
NT\CurrentVersion\IniFileMapping section (that is, an .ini file or registry entries) will also be
updated using the Windows XP registry-updating APIs. Windows will search the
IniFileMapping section for the application's section. If the section is found, it is used. If no
application section is found, Windows will search for an .ini file to use.
Note Any application that directly opens an .ini file, perhaps using the 16-bit .ini file-processing
APIs or direct file I/O, will bypass the registry file manipulation entirely.
system.ini
Located in the system.ini file are a few entries that the Windows XP Setup program supplies
by default. Here is a typical, basic system.ini file:
; for 16-bit app support
[drivers]
wave=mmdrv.dll
timer=timer.drv
[mci]
[driver32]
[386enh]
woafont=dosapp.FON
EGA80WOA.FON=EGA80WOA.FON
EGA40WOA.FON=EGA40WOA.FON
CGA80WOA.FON=CGA80WOA.FON
CGA40WOA.FON=CGA40WOA.FON
This file contains four sections—[drivers], [mci], [driver32], and [386enh]—and only a few
entries in these sections. Entries are primarily for fonts (in the [386enh] section), as well as
two drivers used with Windows XP:
mmdrv.dll A driver that is used for multimedia (sound) support
timer.drv A driver that is used to provide timer support
In addition, your system.ini file may contain other entries and other sections if you are using
16-bit-incompatible applications. These applications would use the win.ini file to write
application-specific information, typically in sections created for the application.
Most of the Windows XP system entries were moved from the system.ini file to the registry
key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WOW.
This key contains many entries that would be found in a Windows 3.1x installation.
Note Windows XP cannot use any 16-bit screen savers because they do not perform correctly
when used in the Windows NT environment. Any entry found in the [BOOT] section of the
system.ini file will never be migrated to Windows XP.
win.ini
Few entries are located in the win.ini file, except for computers that have been used for some
time and have had additional software or components installed.
The default win.ini file contains four sections with no entries and two sections—[Mail] and
[MAPI]—containing entries:
; for 16-bit app support
[fonts]
[extensions]
[mci extensions]
[files]
[Mail]
MAPI=1
[MCI Extensions.BAK]
aif=MPEGVideo
aifc=MPEGVideo
aiff=MPEGVideo
asf=MPEGVideo2
asx=MPEGVideo2
au=MPEGVideo
ivf=MPEGVideo2
m1v=MPEGVideo
m3u=MPEGVideo2
mp2=MPEGVideo
mp2v=MPEGVideo
mp3=MPEGVideo2
mpa=MPEGVideo
mpe=MPEGVideo
mpeg=MPEGVideo
mpg=MPEGVideo
mpv2=MPEGVideo
snd=MPEGVideo
wax=MPEGVideo2
wm=MPEGVideo2
wma=MPEGVideo2
wmp=MPEGVideo2
wmv=MPEGVideo2
wmx=MPEGVideo2
wvx=MPEGVideo2
A computer with a few more miles on it might have additional entries, like these:
[WinZip]
Note-1=This section is required only to install the optional WinZip
Internet
Browser Support build 0231.
Note-2=Removing this section of the win.ini will have no effect except
preventing
installation of WinZip Internet Browser Support build 0231.
win32_version=6.3-7.0
[SciCalc]
layout=0
This computer has some additional applications installed. These applications are a mixture of
system components and added-on programs from a variety of sources:
Mail The entries in the [Mail] section describe the mail interface that is installed on this
computer.
WinZip WinZip is an enhancement to the very popular DOS-based PKZIP program. WinZip
adds both a Windows interface and the ability to handle long filenames.
The first application, Mail, is most certainly part of the 32-bit e-mail system. Why does it
have entries in the win.ini file? This allows 16-bit applications to know something about the
already-installed e-mail interface. Remember: 32-bit applications can use .ini files, including
win.ini, although it is strongly recommended that they do not.
The win.ini system-based settings are stored in the registry in a number of subkeys. Table 7.1
shows some of these settings and their locations. This is mostly of interest to users who are
using dual environments, such as Windows NT and Windows XP.
Section in win.ini
Table 7.1: Sections Found in win.ini
Registry Path
Description
[extensions]
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\
File associations used by
Software\Microsoft\Windows
Explorer
NT\CurrentVersion\ Extensions
[fonts]
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\
Software\Microsoft\Windows
NT\CurrentVersion\ Fonts
Fonts used by Windows
Section in win.ini
Table 7.1: Sections Found in win.ini
Registry Path
Description
[fontsubstitutes]
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\
Software\Microsoft\Windows
NT\CurrentVersion\
FontSubstitutes
Fonts used by Windows
[mci extensions.bak]
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\
Software\Microsoft\Windows
NT\CurrentVersion\ MCI
Extensions
The Media Control Interface
settings and extensions
[mci extensions]
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\
Software\Microsoft\Windows
NT\CurrentVersion\ MCI
Extensions
The Media Control Interface
settings and extensions
Some items are never migrated in a dual-environment system. These items are usually not
moved to the registry either due to their complexity or for other reasons. Other items are
migrated, but not used. Such items include:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
[Ports], [Devices], and [PrinterPorts] that are migrated during the migration process as
part of installation; these settings are not used for any purpose.
Persistent shares and users as used by Windows for Workgroups, but not Windows
3.1x.
The default domain and user ID from Windows for Workgroups or the LANMAN.ini.
Individual user profiles that are maintained by WinLogin.
Changes that users make in their copies of the Main, Startup, Games, and Accessories
Program Manager groups.
MS-DOS drive letters, which are managed using the Windows Disk Administrator.
(Drive letters usually vary between Windows 3.1x, Windows 2000, and Windows XP
due to how drives are detected and the possible presence of Windows 3.1x–
incompatible drive formatting, such as NTFS drives.)
Auto Arrange, Minimize on Run, and Save Settings on Exit options for Program
Manager. These settings are not type compatible. (Program Manager uses strings,
while Windows XP uses DWORD values for these settings.)
DOS command window font details.
Chapter 8: Getting Rid of the Unwanted
Overview
Sometimes we don't have what we want in the registry. Other times, we have too much of
what we don't want in the registry. This chapter covers the second case. We install software,
try it, don't like it, and remove it. Things come and things go, sometimes intentionally,
sometimes by accident. But whatever the cause or reason, any computer that has been running
Windows XP for more than a few months will probably have a few entries in the registry that
do nothing more than clutter it up. Additionally, a few unlucky users will have some entries
that are doing something that they really don't want to happen.
For whatever the reason, this chapter covers the very difficult task of trying to remove
unwanted things from the registry without having to reinstall Windows XP.
Before You Clean Up
The classic problem is that we are not always good at removing things we install. Many
software programs come with uninstall programs, but many others don't. Sometimes we lose
track of an application—usually because, in a moment of weakness, we delete the
application's directory without properly uninstalling the application. Desperation for even a
few more MB of hard disk space will make us do strange things.
Have you ever installed an application on a secondary drive only to later have that secondary
drive fail? Maybe you have a good backup, maybe not. Perhaps you just want to do a general
housecleaning. Whatever your situation may be, removing unwanted items from the registry
should be handled with extreme caution.
Warning Have I already said this? Back up your registry before doing anything described in
this chapter. Manually removing items from a registry is perhaps the easiest way to
trash everything. Back up, back up, and back up again.
Using third-party utilities can help make this formidable task easier and help prevent you
from unintentionally deleting files you need. In this chapter, I cover three utilities that help
clean up the registry: RegClean, RegMaid, and CleanReg. A fourth utility, RegView, lets you
easily take a quick look at the registry.
Warning Windows XP is a "new" operating system—utilities specific to Windows XP are only
beginning to become widely available. Utilities described in this chapter were originally
created for Windows NT and are commonly used successfully with Windows 2000;
however, they should be used with caution. I've tested each of the described utilities,
but that is no guarantee that these utilities will work with your Windows XP
configuration.
RegClean
Microsoft created a program that automates cleaning the registry. Called RegClean, it is
available from several sources; I used to recommend that you retrieve it directly from
Microsoft's Internet site at http://support.microsoft.com/ download/ support/ mslfiles/
regclean.exe. However, Microsoft no longer makes RegClean available! The reason for the
discontinuation of RegClean is not documented—one might guess that there were problems
with the program.
Since Microsoft does not make RegClean available, your best bet is to use one of the Internet
web search sites (such as http://www.google.com) and search for RegClean.exe. I found many
references to the program and several sites offering downloads, such as ZDNet and CNET.
The most recent version of RegClean is RegClean 4.1a. This version was released in early
1998. It is fully compatible with Windows XP, although you may need to update to a later
version of the OLE driver OLEAUT32.dll. This update is included with the distribution of
RegClean. Documentation on how to install the driver is also included in the RegClean
readme file.
Using RegClean is simple—just follow these steps:
1. Download the RegClean.exe file from an Internet site. Check with Microsoft's website
first; they may have restored the files since this chapter was written.
2. Execute the RegClean.exe file to start the self-extractor program. Alternatively, you
may use either WinZip or PK_UNZIP on the RegClean.exe distribution file to extract
the program and other files. Files contained in the RegClean.exe distribution file
include:
OADIST.exe The update for OLEAUT32.dll, if needed
Readme.txt A text file with instructions on how to use RegClean and information
about OADIST.exe
RegClean.exe The real RegClean.exe program, which is an executable Windows XP
application
3. Execute the extracted RegClean.exe program.
Note RegClean.exe writes a program called RegClean.exe. Confused? Well, you should be.
The RegClean.exe file that you download (about 800KB in size) is a self-extracting zip
file. One of the files contained in RegClean.exe is RegClean.exe—the actual program.
In order for both files to coexist, the self-extracting RegClean.exe file must write its
output to a different directory or drive. RegClean.exe cannot extract to its own directory.
Do I Need to Update OLEAUT32?
If you receive the message(s):
REGCLEAN.EXE is linked to missing export OLEAUT32.DLL:421
and/or:
A device attached to the system is not correctly functioning
it is probable that you will need an updated OLEAUT32.dll file.
OLEAUT32.dll is installed with Internet Explorer 3.x or later, so most of the users who are
affected by this problem have earlier versions of Windows, such as Windows NT.
Installing OLEAUT32.dll is a simple process—just execute the OADIST.exe file that was
extracted from the RegEdit.exe file (see step 2 in the "RegClean" section).
Running RegClean
Executing RegClean is simple; it doesn't care what directory it is run from. However,
RegClean will save undo information to the directory that it has been executed from.
Start RegClean either by choosing Start → Run, by using a command-prompt window, or
from Explorer. Once started, RegClean displays a window similar to the one shown in Figure
8.1. In this window, the lower status bar and the descriptive text just above it indicate the
progress of RegClean's initial pass through the registry.
Figure 8.1: RegClean has just two buttons: Fix Errors and Cancel. The Fix Errors button is
initially labeled Start, even though RegClean starts automatically.
Note Though RegClean has a Cancel button, it is disabled (inactive) and cannot be selected
while RegClean is running. Once RegClean completes the initial check, the Cancel
button's text changes to Exit, and the button is made active. Additionally, RegClean
does not appear in the Taskbar or on the Task Manager's Applications tab. To end
RegClean, open the Task Manager's Processes tab, select RegClean.exe, and click End
Process.
Once RegClean finishes the scan of the registry, it advises the user either that it has not found
any registry errors (this usually happens if you run RegClean frequently) or that RegClean can
correct the errors found. Clicking the Fix Errors button tells RegClean to clean the registry.
Clicking Cancel causes RegClean to exit without doing anything else.
If RegClean doesn't find any errors, the message shown in Figure 8.2 appears. This message
tells you that no errors were detected in the registry.
Figure 8.2: If RegClean finds no errors, this message is shown. Only the Exit button is active.
When RegClean finds errors (this happens often, even on a very clean system), the Start
button's text changes to Fix Errors, and this button is enabled. You may then click either Fix
Errors or Exit, as desired. If you choose to fix the registry errors that RegClean finds, the
utility creates a registry backup file of those items changed, as shown in Figure 8.3.
Figure 8.3: If RegClean finds errors, this message is shown. Both the Fix Errors and Exit
buttons are active.
As RegClean cleans the registry, it writes a registry file to the drive that RegClean was run
from. This registry file may be used to restore the registry to the same condition that it was in
before running RegClean.
The registry save file created by RegClean is named in the following manner:
Undo computer yyyymmdd hhmmss.Reg
Here, computer is the name of the computer whose registry was cleaned; you may keep a
single copy of RegClean and then link to and execute it from many other computers. The
yyyymmdd is the year, month, and day that RegClean was executed; and hhmmss is the time of
day that RegClean was executed.
For example, my computer's RegClean folder now has a file named Undo PEACHFUZZ
20011022 162809.Reg. This file contains about 1100 lines, all from a relatively recent clean
installation of Windows Server.
Undoing RegClean
After RegClean runs, it is important to make sure that all applications and systems are still
functioning correctly. If you find that something has broken (this is unlikely, but could
happen), it is imperative that you restore the registry to its original state immediately. To do
this, simply use Explorer and double-click the Registration Entries backup file created by
RegClean (see Figure 8.4).
Figure 8.4: RegClean creates the Registration Entries files whose filenames all start with
Undo.
Be careful that you select the correct .reg backup file if there is more than one. Remember,
you can tell Explorer to list files in date/time order, making the selection process much
simpler.
Sometimes, users find that they are unable to undo the changes. Windows XP will give an
error when the registry backup file created by RegClean is double-clicked. The user (that's
you) will get one or more errors that indicate a problem has occurred. These errors are caused
by a problem with the registry, not with the .reg file.
To fix this problem, follow these steps:
Open Explorer and select Tools → Folder Options.
In the Folder Options dialog box, select the File Types tab.
In the Details for 'REG' Extension area, click the Advanced button.
In the Edit File Type dialog box, select Merge in the Actions list box. Then click the
Edit button to open the Editing Action for Type: Registration Entries dialog box.
5. In the Application Used to Perform Action box, enter the name regedit.exe "%1"
(including the double quotes).
6. Click OK (or Close, as appropriate) in all open dialog boxes.
1.
2.
3.
4.
After doing this, you should be able to restore registry entries from a .reg registry backup file.
It is rare that the Registration Entries configuration becomes corrupted. However, Microsoft
mentions that this may be a problem with RegClean.
RegMaid
Like RegClean, RegMaid is a utility that helps users of Windows XP clean up their registries.
RegMaid is much more interactive than RegClean; RegMaid actually has a user interface. The
RegMaid program is available from several sources. I suggest that you retrieve it directly
from Microsoft's Internet site at ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/Softlib/MSLFILES. There may be
other versions of RegMaid or other products called RegMaid, but I recommend that you use
the Microsoft version found at this address. (The RegMaid file was available from Microsoft's
FTP site as of early 2002, when this was written.)
The current version of RegMaid, 1.1, was released in 1995. This version is fully compatible
with Windows NT 4 and was actually last revised in late 1997. The changes in the revision
were slight.
Note RegMaid, unlike RegClean, comes with source code. That's right, you can customize
RegMaid to do specific cleanups as desired. To rebuild RegMaid, you will need a copy
of Microsoft Visual C++. However, to ensure that the correct directory structure for
Visual C++ is maintained, be sure to use either the RegMaid self-extractor or the /d
PKUNZIP option.
Is RegMaid Compatible with Windows XP?
I am not convinced that RegMaid works correctly under Windows XP.
OK, I'll be honest; I know that RegMaid has problems with Windows XP. One problem that I
found is that RegMaid doesn't expand TypeLib entries in REG_EXPAND_SZ format. (It is
probable that RegMaid doesn't expand any REG_EXPAND_SZ objects at all.) On my
computer, RegMaid won't find the file %SystemRoot%\Speech\Xtel.dll (where
%SystemRoot% is set to C:\Windows), but it will find the file C:\Windows\Speech\Xtel.dll!
Since Windows XP stores many TypeLib entries in REG_EXPAND_SZ format, RegMaid
fails to find these entries.
If you use RegMaid with Windows XP, I strongly recommend that you back up the registry
and have a second copy of XP installed so that you are able to repair any damage to the
registry that RegMaid may inflict. Hopefully, Microsoft will introduce a new version of
RegMaid after Windows XP is released. Check Microsoft's website for more information on
the current release status of RegMaid.
Using RegMaid is simple—just follow these steps:
1. Download the RegMaid.exe file from Microsoft's Internet site at
ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/Softlib/MSLFILES. (If Microsoft moves the file, you can
search for it from any point in Microsoft's website.)
2. Execute the RegMaid.exe file to start the self-extractor program. Alternatively, you
can use WinZip on the RegMaid.exe distribution file to extract the program and other
files. If you are manually unzipping the file, use the /d option to force the creation of
subdirectories. I do not recommend manually unzipping these files, but if you do so,
make sure that you do not unzip to the same folder that the RegMaid.exe archive is
stored in—the program name is identical to the archive name, and an error will result.
Note If you manually unzip to extract the RegMaid programs without using the /d
option, you will receive a message that there are two copies of RegMaid.hlp.
Select Overwrite to retrieve the correct help file.
3. Files contained in the RegMaid.exe distribution file include an executable copy of
RegMaid.exe (look in the Release directory for the executable program file), help
files, and the program's source files. The RegMaid distribution package contains just
under 100 files.
4. Execute the RegMaid.exe program that is extracted. When RegMaid is extracted
properly, you will be provided with a directory called RegMaid\Release. RegMaid and
the necessary support files are located in the Release directory. They may be copied to
any location you desire.
RegMaid's primary user interface is the toolbar; like almost all Windows applications,
RegMaid has a full function menu, too. The toolbar buttons allow you to quickly navigate
through the registry objects that RegMaid has found suspect. You may easily and quickly
delete any of these objects.
Warning Careful. Unlike RegClean, RegMaid doesn't create a recovery file. Once RegMaid
removes a registry entry, it will be difficult to restore it. Before running RegMaid,
you would be very wise to fully back up the registry. This will also facilitate
recovery from any blunders that RegMaid might make.
RegMaid contains four views:
•
•
•
•
CLSID view
ProgID view
TypeLib view
Interface view
These views are discussed next. The views are used in order—CLSID, ProgID, TypeLib, and
Interface. There is a Refresh button on RegMaid's toolbar, and it is recommended that you
refresh after deleting objects, before moving to a new view, and after moving to a new view.
CLSID View
The first view that RegMaid displays is the CLSID view. This view lists objects, their names,
and CLSIDs. The CLSID view looks for CLSIDs (OLE components) that don't have a handler
or server or for which the handler or server specified is missing, probably because the file or
directory was deleted.
Valid handlers are listed here:
•
•
•
•
•
•
InprocHandler
InprocHandler32
InprocServer
InprocServer32
LocalServer
LocalServer32
Note The missing item is shown in the first column in the CLSID view, Missing. This column
has six positions, with five dashes and one X. The position where the X is found is the
type of the missing handler. For example, if the Missing column shows - - - X - -, this
indicates that the InprocServer32 is missing.
Notice that each handler or server comes in two flavors, either 16-bit or 32-bit. Generally,
Windows XP components will be 32-bit. However, some systems and components do use the
16-bit entries, including some versions of Microsoft Word Basic.
Take a look at Figure 8.5. RegMaid found over 340 items that were not correct in the registry
of a relatively stock Windows installation. Some items were the result of installing
aftermarket applications, others come with Windows.
Figure 8.5: RegMaid's report for the CLSID view shows some objects that have problems
with their handlers.
Items listed in Figure 8.5 include the following, which are all InprocServer32 objects:
•
•
•
•
Window List in Shell Process
History
An unnamed object
CompositeFolder
I can tell RegMaid to clean up these entries automatically. To do this, I must select an entry
(see Figure 8.6), and then click the Delete button in the toolbar or select Clean Up → Delete
Entries.
Figure 8.6: RegMaid's CLSID view showing objects that could be fixed. The first four objects
are shown in Figure 8.5 too.
A second, and perhaps better, way is to simply uninstall the problem application. Start the
Add/Remove Programs applet in the Control Panel and select the program, application,
component, or whatever it is that you want to remove. Do this only if the product is not in use
anymore; if the product is still in use, this won't be an option.
Regardless of what I do, after fixing the problem, I next click the Refresh button in RegMaid
and make sure that no new entries show up in the CLSID view. If nothing new shows up, I go
on to the next view, ProgID, which is described next. If any new entries appear, I follow this
process a second time.
ProgID View
The ProgID view contains items that are associated with the registry's ProgID entries. Entries
in ProgID view show a name, a CLSID, and a ProgID name (see Figure 8.7). As with the
CLSID view, it is imperative to determine exactly what each entry listed is for and why there
is an error. Unlike CLSID problems, the ProgID entries are not simply a matter of a missing
file—in this case, we are dealing with registry entries that are corrupt or, more likely, missing.
Don't be too surprised if you find that you have no entries in the ProgID view.
Figure 8.7: RegMaid's ProgID view shows those entries with invalid ProgID entries.
Generally, it is safe to remove these entries. As with any other registry change, back up the
registry first.
Note Windows 2000 users take note: Right from the start, some Windows 2000 systems
(those upgraded from Windows NT 4, for example) have several invalid ProgID entries.
The Scheduler Queue Object and Scheduler Job Object entries are found in all Windows
2000 systems. No documentation exists with regard to their use or necessity, other than
that they are used to process .job or .que file types. No actions are specified for either.
Also, a clean installation of Windows 2000 typically has one invalid ProgID entry,
called TimeStamp. There is no documentation on this entry. You may also find similar
entries in Windows XP.
TypeLib View
RegMaid will search all entries in the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Typelib section of the
registry to determine if there is an associated .tlb (TypeLib) file. If the file cannot be found
based on the entry, RegMaid will report that entry.
Here, I have to disagree with RegMaid's documentation (regarding whether to delete the entry
or not). My recommendation is to do the following:
•
For any TypeLib entry with an entry in one (or more) of the file columns, search for
the file on the hard drive. If the file is found, but at a different location from where the
registry entry says it should be, you may consider updating the registry manually to
show the correct pathname (see Figure 8.8). I've found that about half of the entries
flagged as being bad in the TypeLib view are marked this way because the path to the
file was incorrect.
Figure 8.8: This TypeLib entry has an erroneous data value of
%SystemRoot%\System32\dmview.ocx. Changing the value to
C:\Windows\System32\dmview.ocx will solve the problem that RegMaid found.
•
For any TypeLib entry that lists two or more versions, it is possible that one version
has improper entries, while the other version may be okay. Typically, when a new
version of a product is installed, the older version may not be completely removed
from the registry. In this situation, I'd recommend leaving these entries in the registry
without change, or deleting the version that has incomplete values. RegClean actually
does a proper job of cleaning up this type of registry chaff.
Warning Generally, my recommendation is to err on the cautious side. If in doubt, don't use
RegMaid to delete the entry. RegClean does a much better job of cleaning and
repairing the TypeLib entries than RegMaid does.
Interface View
The Interface view searches the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Interface entries. Each entry that
has a TypeLib subkey is checked to determine that there is a match between the TypeLib
entry's CLSID and a valid OLE object found in the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Typelib
subkey. If no entry is found in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Typelib, RegMaid will flag the
line.
RegMaid claims that entries that don't match may be safely deleted. However, I recommend
that you don't allow RegMaid to fix this error—RegMaid will delete the entire subkey in
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Interface instead of deleting the suspect TypeLib entry. RegClean
also does not flag this discrepancy as an error. Figure 8.9 shows RegMaid displaying Interface
errors.
Figure 8.9: This Interface entry has a TypeLib entry value of 1.0. RegMaid does not like this
entry, because TypeLibs are supposed to be in the form of a CLSID.
Warning If you wish to invoke RegMaid's Delete function on an Interface view item, back up
the registry or subkey in question before continuing. Blind deleting like this will
probably lead to disaster, sooner or later.
Recommendations for RegMaid
I have several recommendations you should follow when using RegMaid:
•
•
•
•
•
Make a full backup of the registry before starting RegMaid.
Be careful about what is removed with RegMaid. RegMaid does not have any
methodology to recover from errors, either its own or yours.
The CLSID view entries may be safe to delete, but do review each of them first.
The ProgID view entries are probably safe to delete, although you should review each
of them first as well.
The TypeLib and Interface view entries probably should not be deleted unless you are
absolutely sure that these entries are not being used.
•
•
Run RegClean before running RegMaid. RegClean will clean many problem entries
that RegMaid would find. RegClean will create a .reg file that allows restoring these
entries if desired, so there is an additional recovery path that RegMaid doesn't offer.
Consider rewriting RegMaid to write a recovery file for each item deleted. Since
Microsoft supplies the source code file for RegMaid, a recovery file is not difficult to
create (if you are a C/C++ programmer).
The best course of action with RegMaid is to keep RegEdit open at the same time. For each
entry that RegMaid finds suspect, find the entry in the registry. See if you can determine what
RegMaid is unhappy about. Can you fix the problem? For example, is the path missing or
invalid? If either of these is the case, fix it. Is the problem caused by a ProgID or TypeLib
entry that has one valid version and another invalid version? If so, consider manually deleting
the invalid version while retaining the valid one. RegMaid will attempt to delete all versions
when one version is found invalid.
Warning Due to the lack of any restore methodology, always use RegMaid with caution!
CleanReg
Matt Pietrek, a columnist for Microsoft Systems Journal and a developer at Compuware's
NuMega Labs, created a program called CleanReg for an article he wrote for MSJ. This very
clever utility may be obtained from several sources. If you have access to a subscription to
MSDN, the source for CleanReg is available on the MSDN CD-ROM or in the MSDN
Library. Or, if you have a subscription to MSJ and still have the September 1996 issue, the
source is located on page 77. The source code is also available at
http://www.microsoft.com/msj/defaulttop.asp?page=/msj/archive/s358a.htm.
Note Checking out Microsoft's entire MSJ website at http://www.microsoft.com./msj/ will
reveal lots of good information, especially for programmers. For example, all source
code from back issues is available by clicking on the Back Issues link and scrolling to
the desired issue.
Note CleanReg works a bit differently from RegClean and RegMaid. CleanReg looks at
registry entries and attempts to find filenames. Whenever CleanReg finds what it thinks
is a filename, it searches for the file.
Pietrek had to overcome several difficulties when he wrote CleanReg. For one thing, he had to
determine what constitutes a valid filename. With long filenames, Pietrek correctly states that
the following is actually a valid filename (try it, I did):
foo -p .exe
So You Say CleanReg Won't Compile Right?
There is a problem with CleanReg and some later versions of Microsoft Visual C++:
Microsoft Visual C++ will indicate an error in clnregui.cpp with the WinMain function. The
error indicates that WinMain has been either redefined or overloaded. The error is in the types
assigned to the parameters of the WinMain function. To correct this problem, change the
WinMain parameter list to what I have shown here. Simply add all characters and lines shown
in bold in this listing fragment to your version of clnregui.cpp (and don't forget the comment
characters, //):
TEXT("CD-ROM) for all documentation questions.");
// int PASCAL WinMain( HANDLE hInstance, HANDLE hPrevInstance,
//
PSTR lpszCmdLine, int nCmdShow )
// Function parameters cleaned 6/8/98 by Peter D. Hipson
int PASCAL WinMain(
HINSTANCE hInstance,
HINSTANCE hPrevInstance,
LPSTR lpszCmdLine,
int nCmdShow )
{
InitCommonControls(); // Gotta do this for treeview controls
Fix the WinMain function before correcting any errors, such as an error calling the
DialogBox( ) function a bit later in the WinMain function, because these other errors are
caused by the incorrect WinMain parameters.
I've successfully compiled CleanReg with Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0 after fixing the
WinMain line.
But, in the registry, what's to differentiate the filename foo -p .exe from the executable foo
taking the parameter -p .exe? Is there a standard in the registry? No, not really. Is there a
standard anywhere else? Yes, somewhat. For a command passed to the operating system, it is
expected that the executable filename will be enclosed in double quotes ("") if it is not a short
(8.3) name. That is, if you have the file foo -p .exe, and you want to execute this file, you
must enter the command exactly as:
"foo -p .exe"
There will be an error if you enter the name like this, without quotes:
foo -p .exe
In this case, the operating system will assume that the name of the executable file is foo, and
will then attempt to pass the parameter(s) -p .exe to that file.
Note Sometimes Windows XP is able to correctly determine the filename even if it is a long
name. In these cases, Windows XP usually can figure it out if the name doesn't contain
any spaces or other special characters.
Entries in the registry don't have set, fixed rules. Programmers of applications have been
known to code exactly what they expect and not to bother considering any other application or
system convention. Now, some programmers have adopted a convention that Microsoft uses
for many registry entries. It involves filenames and parameters—don't quote the filename, but
instead, quote the parameters, if there are any, such as in this example:
foo "-p .exe"
This works well, but unless you know this rule is being followed, it is difficult to determine
whether the programmer is following this rule or simply being lazy about including quotes in
the following string:
foo -p .exe
This leads us right back to the original problem: what constitutes a valid filename in a registry
entry and what does not? In the end, you, the user, will have to determine whether a filename
is valid when running CleanReg. Some simple tricks of the trade will be helpful. When given
a path, take the name up to the first non-alpha character, append *.* to that name, and try to
find the file with the dir command in a command window. (An alpha character is a letter, a
number, or one of the allowed special characters.)
For example, when searching for:
C:\temp\foo –p .exe
take the first part, up to the first invalid character (the space):
C:\temp\foo
append *.* to this name:
C:\temp\foo*.*
and do a dir command:
dir C:\temp\foo*.*
The dir command will list all files beginning with foo, allowing you to determine if the file in
question is foo, foo.exe, foo –p.exe, or whatever. Then you may make an educated guess with
CleanReg as to whether to remove the file's entry in the registry or not, depending on the
search.
CleanReg allows you to remove either a single value or a key. When removing a key,
CleanReg will delete all subkeys contained in the subject key. This should raise a note of
caution with you—be careful not to delete too much when using CleanReg.
Figure 8.10 shows CleanReg running on a Windows system. CleanReg found almost 200
entries that were suspect. A manual check showed that about 80 percent of these entries were
indeed bad. In this figure, there is a file found in the open files common dialog box MRU
(most recently used) list. This file was named E:\mas.TIF. I had accidentally saved this file in
the wrong place. Later I resaved it in the correct place and deleted the wrong file.
Unfortunately, the open files common dialog box's MRU list was not updated.
Figure 8.10: CleanReg listing a bad reference to the file E:\mas.TIF. Okay, so I deleted that
file on purpos.
In Figure 8.10, the file that CleanReg thought was missing (E:\mas.TIF) was deleted by
another user. It was very hard for Windows to know that the file was intentionally deleted.
CleanReg has two check boxes in the user interface:
Update after Delete This option tells CleanReg to update the display after the user deletes
anything. Checking this option could slow things down a bit when the user's registry is large,
so the use of this option is up to the user, based on experience.
Sane Filenames A "filename" means that there's a :\ near the beginning of the string that
CleanReg is checking. If Sane Filenames is checked, CleanReg assumes that characters like /
and - aren't part of the filename, although they're technically legal.
Some entries to suspect and delete are those that point to your Temp directory. Often these
files are artifacts of checking out a file and having the file appear in a program's MRU (most
recently used) list. Or perhaps a program was temporarily installed into the Temp directory to
be checked out. My Temp directory is C:\Temp. My rule is that anything in the Temp
directory may be deleted at any time. Nothing to be saved should ever be placed in the Temp
directory.
Many applications store their MRU in the registry in a subkey called Recent File List.
Manually removing entries from such a subkey usually results in few bad side effects.
However, using the application to clear the MRU list is the best alternative, if possible; some
applications don't have a mechanism to clear the MRU list.
Some applications save work or other files in the Temp directory, too. Generally, these
applications are robust enough that they will not fail should these files be deleted. Any critical
work file will typically be kept open by the application just so the user is unable to delete the
file.
Note CleanReg doesn't see hidden files or directories. Be careful that you don't mistake a file
that is hidden—one that has the hidden attribute—with a file that is truly missing. In a
command-prompt window, you can determine a file's attributes with the attrib
command. In Windows, use Explorer's options to turn on the display of files with the
hidden attribute on.
When Matt Pietrek wrote CleanReg, he wisely decided not to check for files on floppy drives
or other drives with removable media, such as CD-ROM drives. CleanReg does check for
files on currently accessible network drives. However, be careful of the case where a CDROM is accessed over a network.
To use or make changes to Pietrek's program, download the original source from Microsoft
and compile it, or see if you can find an executable version of CleanReg on the Internet.
RegView
Microsoft offers a nifty little program named RegView on the site
ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/Softlib/MSLFILES. This program works somewhat like the Registry
Editor; however, the program provided by Microsoft does not allow modification. Only
viewing registry items is allowed.
The program is supplied in source code format only. To use it, you must have Visual C++ to
build the executable files.
RegView is a Shell Name Space Extension program. That is, once installed, the program will
appear in Explorer's Address bar as a selection. Figure 8.11 shows just how RegView is
invoked.
Figure 8.11: Registry View (RegView's nice friendly name) may be started by simply
selecting it in Explorer's Address drop-down list.
Now Microsoft was also thoughtful in that when RegView is created, an icon is added to the
Desktop. Now we all realize that the Windows Desktop is a rather barren place, so this does
add a bit of color.
Note For fun, right-click on the Desktop's Registry View icon. Hum, no properties selection
for this one! This is the way that Shell Name Space Extensions work.
If you start Windows Explorer and select Registry View, you can click through the hierarchy
of any of the registry hives. For example, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE has the following
object:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\DESCRIPTION\System
If you click through the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive, you eventually get to System, as
shown in Figure 8.12.
Figure 8.12: Registry View shows the current subkey. System has three keys and eight data
values.
To find out where you are in the registry hierarchy, you must go back to Explorer's Address
bar. Open the drop-down list to see the entire path to where you are. You can move up the
path by selecting any point in the drop-down list along that path.
The Registry View program has the minimum number of interfaces needed to make it work as
a multilevel name space extension. (This multilevel functionality is shown in Figure 8.13.)
Figure 8.13: Explorer's Address bar shows all levels above the currently displayed one. You
can move up to DESCRIPTION, HARDWARE, or HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE with a
single click on the address tree.
Note RegView is copyright by Microsoft, so don't even think about enhancing and then
redistributing it without their permission.
Chapter 9: Recovering from Disaster, or
Making the Best of a Bad Situation
Overview
Disaster usually strikes when least expected. There it is, usually late at night, just when things
are sailing smoothly along, and whammo! A server fails, maybe with an infamous "blue
screen of death." (When a system error occurs in Windows that is so severe that the operating
system cannot continue, it displays a blue screen with white characters telling you about the
error.)
Disaster can also strike when Windows XP boots. Maybe the system starts fine, then
mysteriously crashes in any of a thousand ways after a few minutes, a few hours, or even a
few days. On the other hand, maybe, just maybe, out of the blue something happens and the
system becomes unstable.
In this chapter, we'll look at how to survive when disaster strikes. Rather than panic, I'll show
you how to systematically discover the problem and get your system up and running again.
When Failure Strikes
One server on my network used to crash on a regular basis. It was easy to blame the operating
system or applications. I never could figure out exactly why it crashed, but I do know that
when I upgraded the system with a new CPU, motherboard, and memory, those mysterious
system crashes became a thing of the past. It is now common for the server to run for weeks
without a single problem.
Note "Bad" memory is probably the single most common problem with computers. Memory
failures can (and do) masquerade as many different faults, and they can be very difficult
to troubleshoot. Consider using the best memory available and keeping spare memory
on hand to swap into an unreliable computer.
Sometimes you have to figure out what happened. Maybe a hardware problem precipitated the
failure. Or perhaps a failing hard drive with a bad sector in an infrequently used section of a
system file caused the problem. Maybe, and this one is nasty, there's a bad spot in the registry.
When disaster strikes, a methodical approach to recovery is the only reasonable path to
follow. You can try the shotgun technique: replace things randomly until something fixes the
problem. Or you can use a more logical technique: analyze the problem and apply fixes in a
systematic method. I vote for the latter; I've tried shotgun type repairs, and they are so
difficult to do that in the end, only the most inexperienced user will try to fix a problem using
such a random technique.
Warning Have I already said this? Back up your registry before doing anything described in
this chapter. Manually removing items from a registry is perhaps the easiest way to
trash everything! Back up, back up, and back up again.
Note Remember to check the Event Viewer. The event log can contain valuable information
about failures of both applications and system components!
If I haven't mentioned it, read Chapter 8, "Getting Rid of the Unwanted," as well. Sometimes
the unwanted is the root cause of all of our problems.
What Fails Most Often?
The things that cause serious problems with Windows XP registries and installations are:
•
•
•
Removing software without using the software's "uninstall" program. If you don't use
the uninstall program, entries are left in the registry that point to files that are no
longer there.
Improperly or incompletely installed software. Again, the problem is often due to
insufficient disk space for the software's files, or an installation program that fails. In
this case, the installation program probably updated the registry before the file copy
process had completed; it then failed to undo the registry update after the file copy
process failed.
Damaged software files, caused by installing either the wrong software or wrong
software version into a directory where an existing software program or version exists.
Some problems arise when software versions become mixed, or when the installation
process cannot properly update one or more files.
To Repair or to Replace?
The Windows XP installation program allows you to repair a broken installation. This is nice.
This is good. This can be dangerous, too.
Generally, the repair options in the Windows XP installation program simply allow you to
replace the Windows system files with fresh copies from the distribution media. These system
files are the same files installed at the original installation. Now how can that be bad? Well, if
you have installed a service pack, such as Service Pack 4, you may find that when you refresh
the Windows installation, part of your service pack goes away. However, some things, like
registry entries, won't go anywhere. This can result in some rather strange problems, to say
the least. Sometimes it becomes a catch-22 situation. A service pack is installed, so you can't
refresh the Windows installation; you can't remove the service pack (most service packs have
an uninstall process) because the system won't run; and if you force a refresh of the system
files, the system won't run to allow you to install the service pack. Oops, you're stuck, again.
Note Catch-22 is the title of a popular book by Joseph Heller. This term describes a situation
in which two actions are mutually dependent and cannot be done separately. However,
they can't be done at the same time, either. Like how you can't reinstall the Windows XP
system files and the service pack at the same time, although to run Windows XP, you
might need the service pack.
What do you do? Try refreshing the Windows XP installation using the repair options in the
installation program. Immediately after that, install the same or a higher-level service pack as
was installed originally on the system. That should refresh the Windows XP installation and
the service pack installation. Of course, if you refresh the installation and the system won't
run afterwards, you do have a problem; it may be time to reinstall Windows XP from scratch.
Note At least one supplier of Windows backup and restore software noted the following scenario
and problem: Let's say you have a system for which the system drive has totally failed. You
replace the drive and install a minimum copy of Windows XP to run the restore program to
recover the original disk's contents from backup. The original system included a service
pack. You will probably find that you can't complete the restore. The problem is that the
minimum copy of Windows XP must have the same service pack installed as the original
copy of Windows XP; otherwise, you are restoring mismatched files into the system
directories.
Stabilizing the System
Once a disaster has occurred, the first step is to stabilize the system. It is important that you
prevent further problems or damage. After stabilizing the system, it will be much easier to fix
the problem and get everything performing at its best.
Consider stabilization a systematic analysis. Start with the first step, discussed next. Can you
do what this step calls for? If not, go to step 2. If so, does the system work right? If not, go
back through step 1 and see if any of the hints and suggestions might apply to your system. I
can't list every possible problem or fix, but I'll try to cover the most common ones here in this
chapter.
When this chapter doesn't help, consider Microsoft's Internet news server at
msnews.microsoft.com. This server is accessible using one of the Microsoft news programs,
such as Outlook Express or Microsoft New, or an Internet news program, such as Agent from
Forte or any of the other Internet news programs available to users.
A few of the newsgroups to check on msnews.microsoft.com include (in most cases, you may
substitute windowsnt, or win2000 for windowsxp to access newsgroups pertaining to those
operating system versions):
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
microsoft.public.windowsxp.accessibility
microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics
microsoft.public.windowsxp.customize
microsoft.public.windowsxp.device_driver.dev
microsoft.public.windowsxp.embedded.techpreview
microsoft.public.windowsxp.games
microsoft.public.windowsxp.general
microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware
microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support
microsoft.public.windowsxp.messenger
microsoft.public.windowsxp.music
microsoft.public.windowsxp.network_web
microsoft.public.windowsxp.newusers
microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain
microsoft.public.windowsxp.photos
microsoft.public.windowsxp.print_fax
microsoft.public.windowsxp.security_admin
microsoft.public.windowsxp.setup_deployment
microsoft.public.windowsxp.video
microsoft.public.windowsxp.winlogo
microsoft.public.windowsxp.work_remotely
Note Things change. The above list of newsgroups was current when this chapter was written,
but most likely Microsoft has since added new newsgroups to their site! Best bet: get to
the site and review all the newsgroups; then subscribe to those that are relevant to your
problem!
Posting a query in one of these newsgroups will certainly create some response. Whether the
respondents are able to assist you is something that you won't know until you try. I've posted a
number of questions over the years; I've gotten help about half the time, and usually when I
did not receive a useful reply, I did get the feeling that people on the newsgroup had at least
tried to assist with a solution.
Warning Be careful not to lose your Last Known Good configuration. When Windows XP
boots successfully, it overwrites the Last Known Good configuration with the
current configuration. This could cause great gnashing of teeth later on. Try very
hard to back up the registry and the operating system if possible (discussed next).
Step 1: Can You Boot into a Spare Operating System?
Can you boot the system into a different operating system or a different copy of Windows
XP? If not, go to step 2.
Note Microsoft's new "product authorization" introduces a new wrinkle in the process of
installing a second copy of the operating system. You have 30 days from the installation
of Windows XP to authorize it, or it stops working. There are no easy workarounds for
installing two copies without seeking two product authorizations. However, since the
hardware will be identical in both authorizations, I suspect that Microsoft won't object.
By booting into a different operating system or a different copy of Windows XP, you will
possibly be able to preserve (back up) the existing registry and hard drives and even do tests
on the system's hardware. Once you've booted and are running, back up immediately.
Warning When backing up, do not back up to existing backup tapes. Use new tapes so that
you do not overwrite any existing backups. There is a very high probability that you
will be making a backup of information that is not good, while any existing backup
(especially older backups) may have valid copies that you will have to restore later.
If necessary, go out and buy a new set of backup tapes.
Once the computer boots another copy of the operating system, do the following:
1. Back up the registry files using the techniques described in Chapter 2. Copy the files
from the copy of Windows XP that failed. You will find this copy of the registry in the
installation directory, C:\Windows\System32\Config, of the failed Windows XP
installation. Any process used to back up this directory and its files will be useful.
Copy the directory to removable media, such as a Zip drive or a network drive. Using
diskettes is a possibility, although the size of many registry files (a total of 30 or more
megabytes) will necessitate the use of many diskettes.
2. Back up the entire system. Use the booted operating system's backup program to
create a copy of the system exactly as it was when it failed. Don't delete anything,
don't rename anything, and don't change anything. Get a backup—just in case you are
wrong about the problem and need to restore everything to the state that it was in
when it failed. More than one time, I've hacked about on a failing system only to
realize after I've done considerable damage that the problem is somewhere else. When
this happens, it is nice to be able to restore the drive to undo your own self-induced
damage.
3. Back up any drives used to hold components and applications. This generally means
doing a complete backup of all the system's hard drives.
4. Run diagnostic software on the computer. Check the drives fully, including a surface
(read) scan if possible, and check the memory and CPU before going any further.
Sometimes a system will boot another operating system even when there is a hardware
failure—perhaps the other operating system doesn't have any critical components in
the area of memory that is bad. (Windows XP pushes the hardware very hard, while
earlier versions of Windows are less demanding on the system and memory.) If you
suspect bad memory, many computers will allow you to set, in the BIOS, the
maximum amount of memory allowed. However, if the bad memory is in the first few
megabytes, it is unlikely that there will be enough memory to boot the system. In this
case, swapping the bad RAM with good units can help diagnose the problem.
Note Diagnostic software? Where does one get diagnostic software? There are several good
commercial test programs, such as Q&A Plus, that test computer hardware. These
programs let you determine if the system is performing correctly. Be careful with any
diagnostic software, especially when checking storage media. Some diagnostic program
functions may be destructive to data on drives. Be sure to follow all program
instructions carefully and heed all warnings.
Step 2: Can You Boot the System in Normal Mode?
If you can boot the system in its normal mode, go to step 3. Otherwise, read on.
Windows XP has a different bootup manager than Windows NT 4. Differences include only
one selection for the initial boot (the option to boot to a VGA mode has been moved) for each
installed copy of Windows XP. Figure 9.1 shows the Windows XP boot menu. Compare this
menu with the Windows 2000 boot menu (shown in Figure 9.2) and the Windows NT 4 boot
menu (shown in Figure 9.3) and note the subtle changes made.
Figure 9.1: The Windows XP boot menu is almost the same as the boot screen found in
Windows 2000. Booting problems require pressing F8 to get to the debugging screen.
Figure 9.2: The Windows 2000 boot menu allows you to boot in one mode only.The only
visible changes for Windows XP are small text edits.
Figure 9.3: The Windows NT 4 boot menu allows you to boot in VGA mode.Later versions of
Windows take a more complex route to booting in a straight VGA mode.
Tip In each menu where there is an automatic selection, you will see the message, "Seconds
until highlighted choice will be started automatically," and a countdown timer. The
countdown timer stops whenever an arrow key (either up or down) is pressed. Even if
there is only one selection, pressing an arrow key still stops the timer, giving you time to
read the menu's text.
If you have a problem and you can boot to the boot menu, you can press F8 and set debugging
modes as appropriate (see Figure 9.4).
Figure 9.4: The Windows XP Advanced Options menu allows you to choose how Windows
will boot.
The Advanced Options menu has 10 choices:
Safe Mode This mode starts the system with a minimal set of files and drivers. Drivers loaded
include only mouse, monitor, keyboard, mass storage, base video, and default system
services. There is no network support in this version of Safe mode.
Safe Mode with Networking This mode adds network support to the standard Safe mode.
This is useful when debugging tools reside on a network drive, or when you are confident that
there are no networking problems.
Safe Mode with Command Prompt With the command-prompt mode, the same
configuration is loaded as with Safe mode, but instead of starting the GUI, Windows displays
a command prompt. Users who are familiar with the command prompt may find this mode
more stable and easier to use.
Enable Boot Logging Using boot logging allows you to determine which drivers and other
objects are loaded when Windows XP boots. Listing 9.1 shows part of a typical boot log. The
boot log is stored in %SystemRoot%\ntbtlog.txt. Use Notepad to display this file, which
typically has several hundred entries.
Enable VGA Mode This starts Windows XP using the default VGA driver, in 640 x 480,
256-color mode. This driver is compatible with all display adapters supported by Windows
XP. The default VGA driver is not an optimal driver. It lacks support for higher resolutions,
higher color depth, and any high-performance features of the display adapter. However, the
default driver will usually work regardless of the hardware installed.
Last Known Good Configuration This starts Windows using the Last Known Good
configuration. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\Select\LastKnownGood is a pointer to
the Last Known Good configuration. This value contains an index to one of the ControlSetnnn
subkeys. Use the Last Known Good configuration when a bad configuration change (such as
improperly adding new hardware) happens. The Last Known Good configuration will not help
when system configuration files are missing or damaged.
Directory Services Restore Mode (Windows 2000 or Windows .NET Server edition
domain controllers only): Use this option to restore the Active Directory. The Directory
Services Restore Mode is usable on a domain controller, not on Windows XP (Home Edition
and Professional) or Windows .NET Server member servers.
Debugging Mode This mode sends status messages to the default communications port,
which is COM1. Connect a terminal or other serial device to the communications port, and
configure the device correctly.
Start Windows Normally This mode essentially is the same boot as if you had not selected
advanced startup options.
Reboot To restart from scratch (perhaps because a device was not ready and that problem has
been resolved) by rebooting the computer, select this option.
Listing 9.1: Excerpts from a Typical ntbtlog.txt Boot Log File
Microsoft (R) Windows (R) "codename" Whistler Version 5.1 (Build 3505)
10 28 2001 19:18:17.500
Loaded driver \WINDOWS\System32\ntoskrnl.exe
Loaded driver \WINDOWS\System32\hal.dll
Loaded driver \WINDOWS\System32\KDCOM.DLL
Loaded driver \WINDOWS\System32\BOOTVID.dll
Loaded driver pci.sys
Loaded driver isapnp.sys
Loaded driver intelide.sys
Loaded driver \WINDOWS\System32\DRIVERS\PCIIDEX.SYS
Loaded driver MountMgr.sys
Loaded driver ftdisk.sys
Loaded driver \WINDOWS\System32\DRIVERS\WMILIB.SYS
Loaded driver dmload.sys
Loaded driver dmio.sys
Loaded driver PartMgr.sys
Loaded driver VolSnap.sys
Loaded driver atapi.sys
Loaded driver disk.sys
Loaded driver \WINDOWS\System32\DRIVERS\CLASSPNP.SYS
Loaded driver Dfs.sys
Loaded driver Fastfat.sys
Loaded driver KSecDD.sys
Loaded driver NDIS.sys
Loaded driver Mup.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\audstub.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\rasl2tp.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\ndistapi.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\ndiswan.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\raspppoe.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\raspptp.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\ptilink.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\raspti.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\cdrom.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\redbook.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\usbuhci.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\mgaum.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\el90xnd5.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\rdpdr.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\termdd.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\kbdclass.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\mouclass.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\swenum.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\update.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\i8042prt.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\parport.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\serial.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\serenum.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\fdc.sys
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\Drivers\NDProxy.SYS
Did not load driver \SystemRoot\System32\Drivers\NDProxy.SYS
Loaded driver \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\usbhub.sys
Safe Mode
When you experience problems with your Windows XP system, try booting in the Safe mode
first. This is the default, and often the most useful, debugging mode. Safe mode is much like
Windows 95/98/Me's Safe mode, in that only a minimum system is loaded.
There are three Safe modes in Windows XP. First, there's Safe mode with no networking (the
default). This mode loads only the basic files and drivers: the base video (VGA for most
systems), basic mouse, monitor, services, and storage.
The next level of Safe mode is Safe mode with networking. In this mode, drivers and files
loaded are still the same basic ones loaded with Safe mode without networking. However,
Windows XP attempts to load the networking support as well. Using Safe mode with
networking allows you to connect to other computers if necessary.
Safe mode with command prompt does not start the Desktop, Start menu, or Taskbar. Instead,
you're presented with a command prompt to work from. This final mode is similar to the
Recovery Console described in Chapter 2.
Try Safe mode without networking first; if that works, and you need networking, try Safe
mode with networking. If Safe mode without networking fails, try Safe mode with command
prompt. If Safe mode with command prompt fails, then it will be necessary to fall back to the
Recovery Console.
Using the Last Known Good Configuration
To use the Last Known Good Configuration menu, choose it from the Advanced Options
menu shown earlier in Figure 9.4 and press Enter. The system will continue the boot by
displaying the initial boot menu (with the bottom line indicating the selected boot option). Use
the arrow keys and press Enter to boot the desired version of the operating system.
Once the system starts, the boot process displays the Hardware Profile/Configuration
Recovery menu (shown in Figure 9.5). A Windows XP installation can have multiple
hardware configurations. (The most common applications for multiple configurations are a
notebook computer, a computer with PCMCIA, or PC, cards, or an active USB or IR bus
configuration.) Those of us with standard PC configurations, without easily removable
hardware, will have only a single hardware profile (by default named Profile 1), and anyone
with removable hardware should have a profile for each configuration that may be used.
Figure 9.5: Use the Hardware Profile/Configuration Recovery menu to select the hardware
profile and Last Known Good configuration.
Note It has been suggested that users set their profiles on all machines to indicate that their
computers are portable computers with unknown docking states. This is supposed to
relax the product authorization requirements substantially, allowing more flexibility in
how to manage hardware.
If it is necessary to change to the default configuration, press D, which turns off the Last
Known Good selection. You can re-enable the Last Known Good selection by pressing the L
key.
For systems with multiple hardware configurations, select the boot configuration from the list.
For a system with one default configuration, the configuration name is Profile 1, and it is
automatically selected for you.
The Profile 1 entry, by the way, comes from the System applet in the Control Panel. In that
applet, on the Hardware tab, click the Hardware Profiles button to display the dialog box for
configuring hardware profiles (shown in Figure 9.6). In this dialog box, you can also set the
time delay before taking the default selection. Though many users will have only one
hardware configuration, anyone using Windows XP on a dockable portable platform will
certainly have at least two profiles, one for when docked, one for when not.
Figure 9.6: Configure hardware profiles in the Hardware Profiles dialog box. This is the same
dialog box that is found in Windows 2000.
When you need to change to a configuration other than the default one, you must select this
configuration using the up and down arrow keys. After you select the Last Known Good
configuration (and hardware profile, if necessary), you still have to press Enter to continue the
boot process. The boot process for Windows waits indefinitely until Enter is pressed.
Warning Remember, once the Last Known Good configuration is booted, it becomes the
current configuration (the current control set), and the current configuration that
would have been booted is discarded. Anything installed after the previous boot will
be lost.
If you manage to boot the Last Known Good configuration, consider yourself lucky; the
system should be stable, although it probably will be missing whatever software and hardware
you installed during the last session. However, this should be only a minor problem. In this
case, consider everything installed during the last session. Think very carefully as to whether
it makes sense to reinstall the same item a second time. Consider setting up a test machine, or
another installation of Windows XP, to install the system that caused the problems, and see if
this other installation also fails.
If you are successful in using the Last Known Good configuration to boot, it usually will be
safe to delete the application's files and directories, because the registry should not have any
entries for this application. However, having a backup is vital at this stage.
Note Instead of deleting files and directories, do this: Use either Explorer or the move
command at a command prompt to rename the directory. I usually prefix the original
directory with delete_, just to remind me which directory to delete. Then, do nothing for
a week or so. If the system displays no odd behavior, back up the directory and delete it
from the drive. Did you notice what I said? I said back up the directory before deleting
it. Again, a backup is very good insurance.
Control Sets, Control Sets, and More Control Sets
After booting using the Last Known Good configuration option, your registry "grows" a new
control set. This control set is numbered one higher than the currently known highest control
set. For example, if your system has ControlSet001 and ControlSet002, a new control set
called ControlSet003 will also be created. In this situation, one control set is the one that
failed, one is the current control set, and one is the Last Known Good configuration. After
booting my system, the Last Known Good configuration had the following control sets:
ControlSet001 Marked as the control set that failed. This control set would have been booted
if the Last Known Good configuration had not been chosen.
ControlSet002 Marked as the Last Known Good control set. This control set will be booted if
the Last Known Good configuration is selected at the next boot.
ControlSet003 Marked as the current control set—the control set used to boot the system.
Prior to booting, this control set was marked as Last Known Good.
Step 3: Does the System Run without Crashing?
Say the system boots in normal mode; or by following step 2, you have the system booted in
Safe mode or using the Last Known Good configuration. Now, does the system run without
crashing? If yes, go to step 4. Otherwise, read on.
First, since the system boots, it is probably almost right. But "almost" covers a really wide
territory. Does the system boot, but then crash almost immediately? Or does the crash come
sometime later? Can you cause it to crash by running an application or performing a specific
task? Does the crash seem to happen at random times, or does there seem to be some rhyme
and reason to the crash? We're in detective mode now.
The System Boots, Then Crashes Almost Immediately
This situation is virtually as bad as a system that won't boot. Possibly the cause of the crash is
something that is starting up when the system starts. Try this: Start the system, but don't log
on. Just sit and watch for at least twice as long as it normally takes to crash. Does it crash? If
it does, this is probably due to some system component. You are probably stuck with little or
no hope except to reinstall or to restore from a backup.
If the system doesn't crash immediately, the crash is probably due to something that the user
is loading. Log on as another user. Does it crash? If it does, the problem is probably
something that is common to all users. Check out the common Startup directory
(%SystemRoot%\Profiles\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup or
%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup) and clean
it out. Try starting the system again. If it fails again, you are probably stuck with either a
restore or a reinstallation.
If the system only crashes when you log on as a particular user, you may be saved yet. Check
the failing user's Programs → Startup directory in the Start menu. Check all Programs\Startup
directories for that matter, cleaning out each one; put anything contained in the Startup
directories into temporary directories. Once you have cleaned out the Startup directories, log
on again as the user who causes the system to fail.
If the system doesn't fail once you've cleaned out a user's Startup directory or the Startup
directory for all users (you're almost home free now), check the entries that were in the
Startup directory. Consider manually starting each one; then wait for a reasonable period to
see if the system fails or not. This will almost certainly help localize the problem to a single
entry in the Startup directory.
How do you get to the Startup directory if the system keeps failing? Again, you can rely on
your old friend, the dual-boot. (You did create a dual-boot system as I described in Chapter 2,
right?) Boot the backup operating system and use it to allow you to clear out the Startup
directories. Just make sure you are deleting the correct Startup directories.
Some additional locations that items may run from include:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Run
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\
CurrentVersion\RunOnce
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\
CurrentVersion\RunOnceEx
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\
CurrentVersion\RunServices
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\
CurrentVersion\RunServicesOnce
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows
NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Userinit
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Run
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\RunOnce
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\
CurrentVersion\RunOnceEx
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\
CurrentVersion\RunServices
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\
RunServicesOnce
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows
NT\CurrentVersion\Windows\Run
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows
NT\CurrentVersion\Windows\Load
The Crash Comes Sometime Later
How much later? Minutes, hours, or days? A crash that comes many hours or days later is
probably not related to the registry. A crash that happens a few minutes later is almost
identical to the above situation where the crash is virtually immediate. Nevertheless, a crash
that happens some minutes or even an hour later could easily be a registry entry gone awry.
How does this happen? When Windows XP starts, it starts up many services and devices.
Some services are slow to start and other services start but then spend some time initializing.
Try this: In either %SystemRoot%\Profiles\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup or
%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup (depending
on whether the current installation is an upgrade or a clean installation), put in a link to
taskmgr.exe. This launches the Windows XP Task Manager application. Look at what Task
Manager is saying. Sort the entries in the Processes tab by CPU usage. Do you see an
application that is jumping up in CPU utilization just before the system crashes? This may be
the problem.
OK, let's say you have a suspect. The Task Manager shows a big chunk of CPU utilized by a
particular application. Let's call this application badapp.exe. (Great name, isn't it?) What do
you do? First, it would be nice to simply tell Windows XP not to load or execute badapp.exe.
However, it may be virtually impossible to do that, since this application may be launched by
a registry entry. Remember, there are six places in the registry that function much like the
various Programs\Startup directories.
What is the next best thing? If you have nothing to lose, consider temporarily renaming the
file. Boot into your backup operating system and use it to rename the file, giving it a new
temporary filename. I would add the prefix bad_ to the original filename, making it easy to
find later. Just make sure you are renaming the correct file.
After renaming the file, restart the original or backup Windows XP installation. You should
expect to see at least one message informing you that the file you renamed can't be found, and
you can probably ignore this. Probably, but not always. If the file is a necessary part of the
operating system, Windows XP probably won't start. Arrgggg! Such is life; in this case, an
operating system restoration or repair is the only solution.
Can You Cause the System to Crash?
Sometimes the system will remain stable until you do a specific thing. In this case, there are
two possible courses of action. If the application worked at one time and just recently started
to fail, something has happened either to the application's files or to the application's registry
entries. In either case, a good course of action is to simply try reinstalling the application.
If possible, try removing the application before doing the reinstallation; be sure to back up
any user data files first, though. Sometimes installation programs don't write over certain files
that already exist.
If the application never worked on your system, again, there is but one alternative: uninstall
the application, posthaste. Sadly, some applications are poorly written and don't have an
uninstall program. With due caution (make backups), rename the application's directory to
something you'll notice, so that in a week or so, if the system remains stable, you can delete
the directory.
After renaming the application's directory, restart the system and see if there is any instability.
If things are stable after a day or two, use a registry cleanup tool such as RegClean, CleanReg,
or RegMaid to extract any registry entries for this application. My choice would be to use
CleanReg (see Chapter 8), because CleanReg will check more than just the OLE entries.
The Crash Happens at a Specific Time or Date
If the system always seems to crash after a specific time, check to make sure that there are no
time-based applications or commands that run. (The Windows XP AT command is a suspect
here.) What other things happen at the time? Is the time absolute or relative to boot? If
absolute, suspect that something is being started at the specific time or shortly before. If
relative, look for something that is being started with the system bootup, but maybe taking a
very long time to initialize because it fails. Note that some systems are timing interdependent,
which means that process A must start after process B. Again, beware of any catch-22
situations where two processes are mutually dependent.
Step 4: Do the System Components and Subsystems Run Okay?
If you find that your system will run indefinitely without failing, you may have good reason to
suspect that an installed application is the problem. You randomly run applications, and
eventually something fails.
At this point, you say, "Voila! I've found the problem." Alas, it is not that simple. You may
find the problem's trigger, but the odds are high that the problem itself is somewhere else.
Narrow down interdependencies between applications by running only one at a time. Start
Windows XP; then start and use one application. (This works well for most applications, but
when you have two applications designed to work together, this may not be a viable way to
troubleshoot the problem.)
Review your list of recently installed applications. Anything installed just before the system
became unstable should be suspect. If an application has never worked on your system, again
there is but one alternative: uninstall the application if possible.
Note A possible test is to create a second, clean installation of Windows XP and install the
suspect application under the second copy of the operating system. That is a good
indicator as to whether the application can run under Windows XP without problems.
Using a clean installation of Windows XP will help minimize unwanted interaction
between two applications.
If your application doesn't have an uninstall program, make a backup and rename the
application's directory. Rename the directory to something you'll notice, so that in a week or
so, if the system remains stable, you can delete the directory.
After renaming the application's directory, restart the system and see if there is any instability.
If things are stable after a day or two, use a registry cleanup tool such as RegClean, CleanReg,
or RegMaid to extract any registry entries for this application. My choice would be to use
CleanReg (see Chapter 8), because CleanReg will check more than just the OLE entries.
Step 5: Do Installed Applications Run Okay?
If installed applications run okay, go to step 6. Otherwise, read on.
What is happening? Probably something has corrupted the registry, or there is a hardware
problem. First, back up the system fully. Then, run sufficient diagnostics to rule out any
hardware problems. Finally, try restoring the registry. Start with the most recent backup—not
the one you made before running diagnostics, but the most recent regularly scheduled backup.
If the most recent backup doesn't solve the problem, continue working back through older
backups to see if one of them will restore system stability.
Be aware that by going back through older backups, you only want to restore system files and
the registry—for example, you do not want to restore user files.
Step 6: Is the System Generally Stable?
If the system is generally stable, go to step 7. Otherwise, read on.
A system that is unstable—and the instability cannot be traced to a specific application or
component—usually points to a hardware problem. In this situation, analysis of the failures is
important. These steps may help in diagnosing and fixing the problem:
•
•
•
•
•
Run all possible hardware checks and diagnostics.
Swap out whatever hardware parts may be replaced easily.
Install and run a second copy of Windows XP with all the software and components
that the failing system uses.
Reinstall (repair) the failing installation of Windows XP.
Reinstall the applications and optional components.
Step 7: Then What Is the Problem?
What is the problem, then, if the system starts, runs, and shuts down okay, and it doesn't crash
or otherwise fail? There can be serious problems even when a system doesn't crash.
Take the situation in which the computer's hardware is simply overwhelmed by the demands
that the operating system and applications place on it. Running some applications—for
example, server components such as SMS, SQL Server, and Exchange Server—will quickly
bring a substandard system to its knees.
Tip Windows XP is even more demanding on hardware performance than earlier versions of
Windows! Do not be surprised if, upon upgrading, you find that that the system doesn't
run as well as it did prior to the upgrade.
Use the Windows XP Performance Monitor to analyze system performance problems. This
program is able to monitor all Windows XP performance indicators and indicators for a
number of add-on components, such as Exchange Server, SQL Server, and others.
Analysis
First, do an analysis. Ask yourself what changed. Analysis of the problem means that you
must determine why the computer worked yesterday but doesn't work today. For example, did
you:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Remove any software or system components?
Clean up the drive, deleting files that you thought were unneeded?
Install any new applications?
Upgrade any applications?
Upgrade the operating system (install any service packs?)
Change system hardware?
Experience a power failure or fluctuation?
To keep this chapter from becoming a general system failure analysis tool, I'll limit the effects
of these items to what might happen to the registry.
Fixing Things Up
Next, decide if it is better to try to restore things to their original states either by reinstalling
the component or application or by removing the offending item.
If there is a backup of the registry and the item in question, restoring to get the system back to
a working state will probably be a good starting point. A stable system that is not having
trouble is much easier to work on than a system that fails for unexplained reasons.
Once the system is restored, try the established method for removing the component, such as
the Add/Remove Programs applet in the Control Panel or the application's uninstall program.
If there is no backup of the registry or component, a different tack must be taken. There are
three possible avenues of attack:
•
•
•
Try reinstalling the component. Typically, the installation program will restore any
registry entries that are necessary for the component to run. Often, any customization
done since the last installation will be lost, but that's life.
Try finding an uninstall program. First, check the Add/Remove Programs applet in the
Control Panel. If the component is listed, run uninstall from there. If the component is
not listed, then check the component's directories. List all the executable (.exe) files. If
there is one named uninstall or remove, this may be the program that you need. Don't
forget to check the component's documentation regarding uninstall procedures, too.
If there is no uninstall program, and the application must be removed, and you are
going to have to do this manually, read on.
Note Some components, especially those that are system components, make so many changes to
the registry that it is impossible to remove them manually. This is especially true for
components that have replaced already existing components, as in the case of upgrading to
a new version. Though you can remove the entries for the component in question, you
cannot restore the entries that the component has changed to their original state; this is
especially true if you don't know their original state. Changes to the registry are usually not
well logged, so there is typically little to tell you what has changed from time to time.
Possible Problems, Quick Fixes
Some possible problems that cause the system to fail include those listed next. There are other
problems too, so don't consider this list to be exhaustive.
An Application or a System Component Was Deleted
Say an application or a system component was deleted, perhaps in error. In this case, you
would do the following:
•
•
•
Try restoring the application's files. Running the application's installation program
may be the best way to restore files, though many applications allow a single file to be
restored from the distribution media. Be aware that some applications store the files on
the distribution media in compressed format, so that the only way to restore a single
file may be to reinstall the entire application.
If that fails, try reinstalling the application. Reinstalling the application may be
necessary when the application's files are not accessible on the distribution media. Be
aware that some installation programs will delete user configurations and other items
that either you or other users have modified since the original installation.
If that fails, try removing the application with the application's uninstall program and
then reinstalling the application. Some applications try to be smart and only reinstall
those files and components that have not already been installed. But you may be trying
to replace a file that you suspect has been corrupted or trying to restore registry
entries, and the setup program doesn't realize that. It's just trying to save some time!
(Some time-saver, huh?) In this case, it will probably be necessary to remove the
original application (use its uninstall program, if there is one) before reinstalling it.
Another Application Has Overwritten an Application's Files
A new application has been installed, and this new installation has overwritten a previously
installed application's files. Okay, this was probably an error, but you inadvertently installed
the new application in the existing application's directory. This sometimes happens when the
two applications have the same default installation directory. More often, we simply make a
mistake and choose the wrong directory. Most application setup programs won't warn that the
path already exists. Major bummer. When you suspect an application's files have been
overwritten, here are some things to do:
•
•
•
First, use the new application's uninstall program to uninstall the new application. If
the new application has been used, and there are user document or data files, back up
these files. However, get rid of that new application; you can reinstall it later. If there
is no automated uninstall for the new application that you are removing and you must
remove it manually, make certain to clean up as many of the new application's registry
entries as possible. If you don't, and you reinstall the new application into a new
directory, the setup program may not properly update the registry because it thinks the
application has already been installed.
Next, restore the application's files, perhaps from a known good backup. If that fails,
try reinstalling the application from the original distribution media.
If that fails, try removing the original application with the application uninstall
program and then reinstalling the original application.
There Is an Error Reading the Application's Files
If there is an error reading the application's files, or the application crashes (faults) when
executed, the application's files are probably damaged. What happened? There are several
possibilities, and some of them are very ugly, by the way.
Maybe a user error caused one or more files to be overwritten. In this case, things don't look
too bleak. Generally, a restore of the application's files will allow you to recover from this
situation. Use a known good backup or reinstall from the distribution media.
Maybe another application or the operating system overwrote one or more files. This is rare,
but it could happen. Check file dates to try to determine when the file overwrites occurred and
see if there is a way to determine the culprit. Restore the correct files and consider setting
permissions to read/execute for everyone but an administrative userID that you won't use
except to manage these files. Using file system permissions allows you to get immediate
notification when a file overwrite occurs.
Warning Permissions are the Windows XP way to protect applications and system files from
unauthorized changes. Always set permissions so that most users, other than those
who must have higher-level permissions, have read/execute permissions only.
Allowing all users to have write permissions for system and application executable
files is not a very good move, no matter how trusted the users are. Eventually,
someone will unintentionally overwrite something, delete a file, or do some other
damage.
There Is an Error Reading the Drive
Well, actually this is the beginning of the end of the world.
First, run chkdsk and determine what Windows XP is able to do to fix the problem. Realize
that when Windows XP fixes a file on an NTFS drive, it doesn't fix the file; it only makes the
file readable. Windows XP is not able to recover the file's contents—if it could, everything
would be all right. Instead, it gives a message that says file so-and-so has been repaired,
which is somewhat misleading in this respect. However, you must do this repair to be able to
replace the file with the right one.
When chkdsk runs, it will tell you if there are any damaged files. Windows XP is able to
recover from minor problems and errors on the drive. Don't worry about these types of errors;
it is not unusual to have a drive reported as having minor errors.
After running chkdsk, you must make a decision. A backup at this point can't hurt, but don't
back up over any existing backups. Use a fresh tape, or whatever your backup program backs
up to, and put this backup to the side. Here are the actions I'd take, in order of preference:
1. Replace the drive and restore to the new drive from the most recent known good
backup. Since drives usually fail in stages, a little bit at a time, it is possible that your
backups are not going to help as much as you'd like. This is a judgment call—if you
are confident that a recent backup is okay, try it. If you are not confident of your more
recent backups—often errors develop over time and contaminate all backups long
before they are discovered—don't use the backup.
2. Reformat the failing drive and restore from a known good backup.
3. Restore the entire drive from a known good backup without reformatting. This is
sometimes necessary if, for some reason, the drive can't be formatted.
4. Try to restore specific files known to be defective, either from backups or from the
application's distribution media.
If there is an error reading the application's files, or the application crashes (faults) when
executed, the application's files are probably damaged. What happened? There are a few
possibilities. Maybe one or more files were overwritten by user error. As I mentioned earlier,
a restore of the application's files will generally allow you to recover from this situation.
Maybe another application or the operating system overwrote one or more files. Again, check
file dates to try to determine when the file overwrites occurred, and see if there is a way to
determine the culprit. Restore the correct files and consider setting permissions to
read/execute for everyone but an administrative userID that you won't use except to manage
these files. Using file system permissions allows you to get immediate notification when a file
is overwritten.
Manually Removing Registry Entries
In Chapter 8, I described three programs that automate the process of registry entry removal.
But sometimes when repairing a problem, it is necessary to remove entries manually. Here I'll
cover manual removal techniques.
Manual removal techniques are even more dangerous than using a program to clean out
entries. Removing things by hand is tedious, and you won't be able to fully check registry
integrity this way. Backups are in order before even thinking of starting to manually remove
an entry from the registry.
Finding Entries
The first thing that you must do is find all the entries relative to the problem. This means you
have to do a search.
Searching the registry with the Registry Editor is possible but not optimal. RegEdit has search
capabilities, but rather than using it to search, try the following technique: Launch RegEdit
and select My Computer. Next, select Registry → Export Registry File. This writes the entire
registry, excluding items such as the security hives, to a text file. Next, use a text editor (I use
Notepad, as Notepad's search is reasonably fast, at least compared to RegEdit.) to find your
problem application. Sounds too easy, doesn't it? However, finding the application may
present a few problems. What do you search for? Try searching for the executable name or
directory name. Or try searching for the known name of the application. If none of these
work, search for things such as the application's document file extension, if it has one.
There may be entries for applications in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software. Many
applications install subkeys here, but others do not. If you're looking for a potentially optional
component of Windows XP, check the
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion and
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion subkeys.
Virtually everything that is part of the Windows XP operating system and from Microsoft
should have entries in these two subkeys.
Still having problems finding your application? Try reading through the registry line by line.
Start in the CLSID section, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes\CLSID in
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.
Visually scan the registry, starting with HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, then
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, to see if any entries match anything that you can associate with
the errant application. Look at the program's name, its publisher—anything that might be a
link. At this point, you are in detective mode.
Note Ever wonder how hackers break into systems? Oftentimes, it's by doing things just like
this. They read anything about the system they can find. In short, they do just what
you'll be doing.
Most of the time, the application will have entries grouped together under a subkey. Some
applications will have other entries that tend to float, but these are rather unusual. Once you
find something that matches what you are looking for, see if there is a CLSID for it. Searching
for a CLSID will be helpful in finding other entries in the registry for that application or
component.
Removing Entries
Warning: If you are trying to remove entries from the registry, you should have exhausted all
other alternatives; removing these entries is your last resort short of reinstalling Windows XP.
Got that? The odds are very good that if you start hacking away at the registry, you'll destroy
it.
But if you have nothing to lose, and you want to learn about the registry, this can be a way to
do so. Back up the registry. I'd recommend having a parallel installation of either Windows
NT, Windows XP or Windows Server, or perhaps Windows 95/98/Me (if your drives are
formatted using the FAT file system) that you can boot to when you have totally destroyed
your installed registry; this will allow you to restore the registry with a minimum of grief. If
you don't have a parallel installation of Windows, now would be as good a time as any to
install one.
To remove items, use the Registry Editor (RegEdit). Select the entry (key, subkey, or value)
to be deleted and remove it. Don't forget that the Registry Editor is editing the actual working
registry; once you delete something; there is no easy way to restore it.
With the Registry Editor, you may want to consider saving any major subkeys to disk files
before deleting them. By saving these subkeys to the disk, you will be able to restore them
should you find that you've deleted the wrong thing. It is possible to delete items from the
registry that will make it impossible to start or run Windows XP. Having a complete backup
of the registry that is restorable without using the affected copy of Windows XP is a very
good idea.
Chapter 10: Programming and the
Registry–A Developer's Paradise?
Overview
Disclaimer # 1: I'm a C/C++ programmer, so this chapter will deal with C/C++ programming.
However, to be fair, I've included some Visual Basic for Applications registry programming
in Chapter 14, "Microsoft Office Entries." All of the programming techniques discussed in
that chapter are usable with virtually any version of Visual Basic.
Disclaimer # 2: I'm a Microsoft Visual C++ programmer. However, any development
platform that uses MFC (Microsoft Foundation Classes) will be compatible with this chapter's
content. Also, those registry manipulation techniques that are part of the Windows XP (either
Home Edition or Professional) API are exposed in all development platforms as standard
Windows XP API calls. So, if you are not using Visual C++, don't despair: Your system will
be sufficiently similar. You should experience only minor problems in using everything
discussed in this chapter with other languages and compilers on your system.
Disclaimer # 3: I could write an entire book on programming for the Windows registry.
Remember, programming is an art, not a science, and there are many, many different ways to
write your applications. Use MFC, don't use MFC, use C++ and classes, don't use C++ and
classes, use a dialog interface, use a window interface, use a command-prompt interface, and
so on. I don't spend a lot of time on the interface in this chapter; instead, I work more on the
actual calls and functions that you, a programmer, would be using.
A Word on the Registry's History
Note Much of what this chapter covers is directly applicable to Windows XP, Windows
2000/NT, and even Windows 95/98/Me. In Windows 95/98/Me, many registry entries
are in slightly different locations, although the basic concepts are identical for the
programmer. The operating system does a good job of masking these differences.
Remember the registry's history. You see, the history of the registry is important in
understanding how the various registry functions work and the parameters that are passed to
these functions. What is now the registry was, once upon a time, a set of .ini files (specifically
win.ini and system.ini). In addition, each application had its own .ini file. An application
could store information in the win.ini and system.ini files, but that practice didn't gain much
acceptance for a number of reasons, including performance and file bloat.
Much of the code that updated .ini files was reworked so that applications could easily work
with the registry. In some cases, the applications didn't need to be modified at all; in other
cases, there were minor modifications. However, all in all, you will see a lot of excess
baggage in some registry functions. In some cases you will see that, even today, the same
functions will still work with .ini files if need be.
Note The .ini files of old were divided into sections called profiles. Typically, a profile section is
dedicated to a specific application or module.
Windows XP Registry API Functions
A program manipulates the registry using a number of registry functions. These functions are
prefixed with Reg, and the rest of the function name describes the function's actual purpose in
life. Table 10.1 lists the Windows XP registry functions, along with a short description of
each one's functionality.
Note Two new functions were added to Windows 2000, and the newer versions of the
Windows SDK (Software Development Kit) show the registry hive
HKEY_PERFORMANCE_DATA as a predefined type.
Table 10.1: Windows XP Registry Functions
Function
Description
RegCloseKey
Closes the connection between the application and a specific
registry object. The function RegOpenKey opens this
connection.
RegConnectRegistry
Allows an application to modify a remote registry. It
establishes a connection with the registry on a specified
remote computer.
RegCreateKey
Creates a new registry subkey. This simple function allows
no options; see RegCreateKeyEx for a more powerful
version of this API.
RegCreateKeyEx
Creates a new registry subkey. This function allows setting
security, options, and classes.
RegDeleteKey
Deletes an existing subkey that opened with RegOpenKey.
RegDeleteValue
Deletes an existing data key that opened with RegOpenKey.
RegEnumKey
Enumerates all the subkeys starting with the specified key or
subkey. One object is returned for each call to
RegEnumKey until the function returns the value
ERROR_NO_MORE_ITEMS. This function exists for
compatibility with earlier versions of Windows;
programmers for Windows XP should use RegEnumKeyEx.
RegEnumKeyEx
Enumerates all the subkeys, starting with the specified key
or subkey. One object is returned for each call to
RegEnumKeyEx until the function returns the value
ERROR_NO_MORE_ITEMS. This function retrieves the
class name, the time of last modification, and the object's
name.
RegEnumValue
Enumerates all the data keys in the specified key or subkey.
One object is returned for each call to RegEnumValue until
the function returns the value
ERROR_NO_MORE_ITEMS. This function retrieves the
name, the value, and the type for the object.
RegFlushKey
Causes any changes made to a registry entry to be written to
the actual registry. This implies only simple buffering
because, generally, changes to the registry are immediate.
RegGetKeySecurity
Retrieves the security attributes for a given registry object;
Function
Table 10.1: Windows XP Registry Functions
Description
the security may be set (changed) if the user has sufficient
privileges.
RegLoadKey
Creates a new subkey under either HKEY_USERS or
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE; the information to create the
new subkey is contained in a file, the name of which is
passed to the function.
RegNotifyChangeKeyValue
Tells the system to inform the caller if the specified object is
changed or if the object's attributes are changed. If the
object is deleted, no notification is sent. An event handler in
the application processes the notification.
RegOpenKey
Opens a registry object. This function is called before many
other registry functions. The handle returned by
RegOpenKey is then passed to other registry functions that
require a registry handle. Microsoft recommends that
RegOpenKeyEx be called by Windows XP, Windows 2000,
Windows NT, and Windows 95/98/Me applications.
RegOpenKeyEx
Opens a registry object. This function is called before many
other registry functions. The handle returned by
RegOpenKeyEx is passed to other registry functions that
require a registry handle. RegOpenKeyEx handles security
and other options that RegOpenKey does not handle.
RegQueryInfoKey
Returns information about the specified object.
RegQueryMultipleValues
Returns information about the data keys in a specified
subkey.
RegQueryValue
Returns the value of the default (unnamed) value entry
associated with each key and subkey. Microsoft
recommends that RegQueryValueEx be called by Win32
applications.
RegQueryValueEx
Returns the value of the default (unnamed) value entry
associated with each key and subkey. RegQueryValueEx
handles security and other options that RegQueryValue does
not handle.
RegReplaceKey
Tells the operating system to use a different file for this key
upon restarting (the registry is stored as a series of files, one
file for each of the main keys). Use this function to back up
and restore the registry and for disaster recovery.
RegRestoreKey
Restores the key's or subkey's contents from a file. The
RegRestoreKey function will restore multiple objects, as
many as are contained in the registry file provided.
RegSaveKey
Saves the key's or subkey's contents to a file. The
RegSaveKey function will save multiple objects, as many as
are specified to the registry file provided.
RegSetKeySecurity
Sets the specified object's security attributes. The user must
Table 10.1: Windows XP Registry Functions
Description
Function
have sufficient privileges to use this function.
RegSetValue
Sets the value of the default (unnamed) value entry
associated with each key and subkey. Microsoft
recommends that RegSetValueEx be called by Win32
applications.
RegSetValueEx
Sets the value of the default (unnamed) value entry
associated with each key and subkey. RegSetValueEx
handles security and other options that RegSetValue does
not set.
RegUnLoadKey
Removes from the registry the specified object(s).
RegOpenUserClassesRoot
Retrieves the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT hive for a specific
user. This function is useful when managing one user while
not logged on as that user.
RegOverridePredefKey
Allows mapping of a predefined key or hive name (such as
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT) to a different key or hive. For
example, you could map HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT to
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Temp\DLL.
A number of different functions that work with the older .ini files are obsolete by Microsoft's
standards, although they still allow support for legacy applications. These functions should
not be incorporated into new code, although they may be encountered in legacy code. Use the
functions described in Table 10.1 for new work. Table 10.2 lists the now obsolete registry
functions.
Function
Table 10.2: Obsolete Win32 Registry Functions
Description
GetPrivateProfileInt
Returns an integer value entry value from the
specified location
GetPrivateProfileSection
Returns an entire section's contents
GetPrivateProfileSectionNames
Returns the names in a section
GetPrivateProfileString
Returns a string value entry value from the specified
location
GetPrivateProfileStruct
Fetches a private structure from the specified
location, comparing the checksum retrieved with the
checksum that was written when the object was
saved
GetProfileInt
Returns an integer value entry value from the
specified location
GetProfileSection
Returns an entire section's contents
GetProfileString
Returns an integer value entry value from the
specified location
WritePrivateProfileSection
Saves or writes to the specified location an entire
Function
Table 10.2: Obsolete Win32 Registry Functions
Description
section's contents
WritePrivateProfileString
Writes to the specified location a value entry string
value
WritePrivateProfileStruct
Writes to the specified location, saving a checksum
written with the object
WriteProfileSection
Writes an entire section's contents
WriteProfileString
Writes to the specified location a value entry string
value
In many cases, these functions will map directly into the registry, in the entry under
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows
NT\CurrentVersion\IniFileMapping. This mapping allows many legacy applications that used
the win.ini, system.ini, or control.ini files to continue to function correctly. Support for this
functionality is available under Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows NT only and
does not apply to any other version of Windows. However, for new code, do not use these
functions: use the newer functions described earlier in Table 10.1.
Writing an application that uses the registry API calls is simple and straightforward. For
example, an application that queries the registry for a certain object's value might be as simple
as:
1. Open the object.
2. Query the object's contents.
3. Close the object.
Let's try that. In Windows XP (actually, all versions of Windows 2000 and Windows NT,
too), we have some advantages in that we can write console applications that interact with the
registry. Okay, Windows 95/98/Me has many of these advantages, too. Although console
applications are not always the most user friendly, they are very quick and easy to write; and
since this is not a programming book, we'll develop our example program as a console
application.
To develop any application using Visual C++, use the New Project Wizard. Why not—after
all, this wizard saves us a lot of work. Follow these steps:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
In Visual C++, select File → New.
Select the Projects tab in the New dialog box.
Select Win32 Console Application in the Project Type list.
Provide a name for the project (Reg1, say) and a location; then click OK.
Open the newly created Reg1.cpp file and drop in the code shown in Listing 10.1. It is
best if you download the code from www.sybex.com, and cut and paste to save time
and to avoid typing errors. However, if you do not have Internet access, you may type
in this code directly.
Tip You can download the entire project from the Sybex website, at www.sybex.com.
Click Catalog, type the name of the book or the reference number from the book's
ISBN (2987), and press Enter. From the main page for this book, click Downloads
to go to the code. All of the files in the project are zipped into a single file called
reg1.zip.
6. Build the project.
7. Correct your typing errors.
8. Rebuild the project and try out Reg1.
Slight modification of these steps will be necessary if you are not using Visual C++.
Regardless, the basics are the same: create a new, empty console application and, in the main
source file, add the code from Listing 10.1.
Listing 10.1: Reg1.cpp, a Program to Access the Registry
// Reg1.cpp : Defines the entry point for the console application.
//
#include
#include
#include
#include
#include
"stdafx.h"
"windows.h"
"winreg.h"
<winerror.h>
"stdio.h"
int main(int argc, char* argv[])
{
#define MAX_VALUE_NAME 4096
// How big things can get.
CHAR
ClassName[MAX_PATH] = ""; // Buffer for class name.
CHAR
KeyName[MAX_PATH];
// Name for the data value entry.
char
*szHive = "HARDWARE\\DESCRIPTION\\System";
char
szBufferReturn[MAX_VALUE_NAME];
char
szData[MAX_VALUE_NAME];
// Data value returned.
DWORD
dwcClassLen = MAX_PATH;
// Length of class string.
DWORD
dwcMaxClass;
// Longest class string.
DWORD
dwcMaxSubKey;
// Longest sub key size.
DWORD
dwcMaxValueData;
// Longest Value data.
DWORD
dwcMaxValueName;
// Longest Value name.
DWORD
dwcSecDesc;
// Security descriptor.
DWORD
dwcSubKeys;
// Number of sub keys.
DWORD
dwcValues;
// Number of values for this key.
DWORD
dwType = 0;
// Type of data such as REG_SZ;
DWORD
i = 0;
DWORD
nBufferReturnSize = sizeof(szBufferReturn);
DWORD
nDataSize = MAX_PATH;
// Data value buffer size.
DWORD
dwcValueName = MAX_VALUE_NAME;
DWORD
retCode;
FILETIME ftLastWriteTime;
// Last write time.
HKEY
hKey = NULL; // Handle for the registry key.
HKEY
hKeyResult;
long
nReturnCode = 0;
PHKEY
phkResult = &hKeyResult; // Result code hole!
printf("Reg1: version Windows XP/.Net\n");
hKey = HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE;
hKeyResult = HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE;
// First open the key specified in szHive:
if ((nReturnCode = RegOpenKeyEx(hKey,
0,
KEY_ENUMERATE_SUB_KEYS|KEY_EXECUTE|KEY_QUERY_VALUE,
&hKeyResult)) == ERROR_SUCCESS)
{// Get Class name, Value count. Display for the user.
retCode = RegQueryInfoKey (hKeyResult,
// Key handle.
ClassName,
// Buffer for class name.
&dwcClassLen,
// Length of class string.
NULL,
// Reserved.
&dwcSubKeys,
// Number of sub keys.
&dwcMaxSubKey,
// Longest sub key size.
&dwcMaxClass,
// Longest class string.
&dwcValues,
// Number of values for this key.
&dwcMaxValueName, // Longest Value name.
&dwcMaxValueData, // Longest Value data.
&dwcSecDesc,
// Security descriptor.
&ftLastWriteTime); // Last write time.
printf("\n\nLooking at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\%s\n\n", szHive);
printf (
"ClassName, '%s' \n"
"dwcClassLen, '%ld'\n"
"dwcSubKeys, '%ld'\n"
"dwcMaxSubKey, '%ld'\n"
"dwcMaxClass, '%ld'\n"
"dwcValues, '%ld'\n"
"dwcMaxValueName, '%ld'\n"
"dwcMaxValueData, '%ld'\n"
"dwcSecDesc, '%ld'\n",
ClassName,
// Buffer for class name.
dwcClassLen,
// Length of class string.
dwcSubKeys,
// Number of sub keys.
dwcMaxSubKey,
// Longest sub key size.
dwcMaxClass,
// Longest class string.
dwcValues,
// Number of values for this key.
dwcMaxValueName, // Longest Value name.
dwcMaxValueData, // Longest Value data.
dwcSecDesc);
// Security descriptor.
printf("\n\n");
for (i = 0, retCode = ERROR_SUCCESS;
retCode == ERROR_SUCCESS; i++)
{
retCode = RegEnumKey (hKeyResult, i,
KeyName, MAX_PATH);
}
if (retCode == (DWORD)ERROR_SUCCESS)
printf("Sub-key name = '%s'\n", KeyName);
retCode = ERROR_SUCCESS;
printf("\n\n");
// Next get the value stored in Identifier:
for (i = 0; i < 100 && nReturnCode == ERROR_SUCCESS; i++)
{
nBufferReturnSize = sizeof(szBufferReturn);
szBufferReturn[0] = '\0';
nDataSize = sizeof(szData);
szData[0] = '\0';
if ((nReturnCode = RegEnumValue(
hKeyResult, i,
szBufferReturn, &nBufferReturnSize,
NULL,
&dwType,
(LPBYTE)szData, &nDataSize
)) == ERROR_SUCCESS)
{
printf("Identifier is '%s'\n\n", szBufferReturn);
nBufferReturnSize = sizeof(szBufferReturn);
if (dwType == REG_SZ)
{
printf("Identifier contains '%s' REG_SZ \n\n",
szData);
}
else
{
printf("Identifier contains a non-string'\n\n");
}
}
else
{// We're done, check for errors now:
if (nReturnCode != ERROR_NO_MORE_ITEMS)
{// No need to tell we are at end of list...
nBufferReturnSize = sizeof(szBufferReturn);
FormatMessage(FORMAT_MESSAGE_FROM_SYSTEM, NULL,
nReturnCode, 0, szBufferReturn,
nBufferReturnSize, NULL);
printf("RegEnumValue() %ld failed '%s'!\n\n",
nReturnCode, szBufferReturn);
Note This is when I usually regale the reader with stories about my first Windows program. It
took me about six months to get the basics of my first Windows interface displayed on
the screen, and there was no functional code in that interface. Today, with Visual C++
and the wizards, I can do that six months of work in about ten minutes. Progress, ah
progress—and to think there are those who'd choose to stifle this innovation.
A programmer is able to write a program that interacts with the registry using only a few lines
of source code. Listing 10.1 shows the main source file for just such a program. The program
in Listing 10.1 also requires simple stdafx.cpp and stdafx.h files. Listing 10.2 shows the
stdafx.cpp file, and Listing 10.3 shows the stdafx.h header (include) file for Reg1.cpp.
Listing 10.2: stdafx.cpp, the Support Precompiled Header File for Reg1
// stdafx.cpp : source file that includes just the standard includes
//
Reg1.pch will be the pre-compiled header
//
stdafx.obj will contain the pre-compiled type information
#include "stdafx.h"
// TODO: reference any additional headers you need in STDAFX.H
// and not in this file
Listing 10.3: stdafx.h, the Support Precompiled Header File for Reg1
// stdafx.h : include file for standard system include files,
// or project specific include files that are used frequently, but
//
are changed infrequently
//
#if !defined(AFX_STDAFX_H__BD7FBDE9_14B4_11D2_88CB_0060970BB14F__INCLUDED_)
#define AFX_STDAFX_H__BD7FBDE9_14B4_11D2_88CB_0060970BB14F__INCLUDED_
#if _MSC_VER > 1000
#pragma once
#endif // _MSC_VER > 1000
// TODO: reference additional headers your program requires here
//{{AFX_INSERT_LOCATION}}
// Microsoft Visual C++ will insert additional declarations
//
immediately before the previous line.
#endif
//!defined(AFX_STDAFX_H__BD7FBDE9_14B4_11D2_88CB_0060970BB14F__INCLUDED_
To create your own Reg1 program, simply plug these files into a project. Output for this
program uses simple printf statements, because this program doesn't have a Windows user
interface.
Note The Reg1 program, though nominally a C++ program, is really a standard C program.
Although it would be very easy to include additional C++ (and even MFC) code, I chose
to keep this program as simple as possible.
Now, let's take a closer look at the Reg1 program. The first step after basic program
initialization is to open a registry subkey:
if ((nReturnCode = RegOpenKeyEx(hKey,
szHive,
0,
KEY_ENUMERATE_SUB_KEYS|KEY_EXECUTE|KEY_QUERY_VALUE,
&hKeyResult
)) == ERROR_SUCCESS)
{// Get Class name, Value count. Display for the user.
In this code, I call RegOpenKeyEx and save the return code; the error handler will use the
return code to display an error message, if appropriate. If RegOpenKeyEx returns
ERROR_SUCCESS, the registry subkey was opened successfully. In hKey is the base key
given to RegOpenKeyEx. We initialize this to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. We initialize the
desired key to open in szHive. The desired key to open is hard-coded as
"HARDWARE\\DESCRIPTION\\System". Finally, hKeyResult will contain the handle to the
key opened if the function is successful.
Once opened, the next step is to get some information about our key:
retCode = RegQueryInfoKey (hKeyResult,
// Key handle.
ClassName,
// Buffer for class name.
&dwcClassLen,
// Length of class string.
NULL,
// Reserved.
&dwcSubKeys,
// Number of sub keys.
&dwcMaxSubKey,
// Longest sub key size.
&dwcMaxClass,
// Longest class string.
&dwcValues,
// Number of values for this key.
&dwcMaxValueName, // Longest Value name.
&dwcMaxValueData, // Longest Value data.
&dwcSecDesc,
// Security descriptor.
&ftLastWriteTime); // Last write time.
The call to RegQueryInfoKey returns the information about the key that's shown in Table
10.3.
Table 10.3: Information Returned by RegQueryInfoKey()
Variable in Reg1 (the User Description
May Specify a Different
Name)
ClassName
Class name (this field may be blank under Windows
95/98/Me)
dwcClassLen
Length of class string buffer and the returned length of the
class string
dwcSubKeys
Number of subkeys in this key
dwcMaxSubKey
Longest object name
dwcMaxClass
Longest class string
dwcValues
Number of value entries in this subkey
dwcMaxValueName
Longest value name
dwcMaxValueData
Longest value data
dwcSecDesc
Security descriptor
ftLastWriteTime
Last write time for Windows XP, Windows 2000, and
Windows NT systems
Once we have some information about the subkey, we display this information for the user
and carry on.
The next step in our simple program is to display all the subkeys that are contained within our
target key. A simple loop that enumerates all the subkeys and prints the results of this
enumeration does the job. We monitor the results of the RegEnumKey function call until an
error is returned. Most loops would check the return value to determine what the error was, in
order to build in error recovery; in our simple program, this is unnecessary.
for (i = 0, retCode = ERROR_SUCCESS;
retCode == ERROR_SUCCESS; i++)
{
retCode = RegEnumKey (hKeyResult, i,
KeyName, MAX_PATH);
}
if (retCode == (DWORD)ERROR_SUCCESS)
printf("Sub-key name = '%s'\n", KeyName);
The next step is to get each value entry's name and value. Due to the simple nature of this
program, I only display keys that have a data type of REG_SZ and skip other keys. However,
adding a more complex case statement would allow displaying all the different data types.
As in code used to enumerate subkeys, the printing of value entry values uses a loop and a test
to ensure that the enumeration function, RegEnumValue, returns successfully.
This loop is composed of two steps. The first step is to get the value entry's name; the second
step is to get the actual data value contained in the entry. Separate printf statements display
this data for the user, as appropriate:
for (i = 0; i < 100 && nReturnCode == ERROR_SUCCESS; i++)
{
nBufferReturnSize = sizeof(szBufferReturn);
szBufferReturn[0] = '\0';
nDataSize = sizeof(szData);
szData[0] = '\0';
if ((nReturnCode = RegEnumValue(
hKeyResult, i,
szBufferReturn, &nBufferReturnSize,
NULL,
&dwType,
(LPBYTE)szData, &nDataSize
)) == ERROR_SUCCESS)
{
printf("Identifier is '%s'\n\n", szBufferReturn);
nBufferReturnSize = sizeof(szBufferReturn);
if (dwType == REG_SZ)
{
printf("Identifier contains '%s' REG_SZ \n\n",
szData);
}
else
{
printf("Identifier contains a non-string'\n\n");
}
}
else
{// We're done, check for errors now:
if (nReturnCode != ERROR_NO_MORE_ITEMS)
{// No need to tell we are at end of list...
nBufferReturnSize = sizeof(szBufferReturn);
FormatMessage(FORMAT_MESSAGE_FROM_SYSTEM, NULL,
nReturnCode, 0, szBufferReturn,
nBufferReturnSize, NULL);
printf("RegEnumValue() %ld failed '%s'!\n\n",
nReturnCode, szBufferReturn);
printf("RegEnumValue() failed!\n\n");
}
}
}
}
// When done, always close the key!
RegCloseKey(hKey);
This is error handling at its simplest. We save the return code from a registry function call. If
the return is not ERROR_SUCCESS, something went wrong. For such a case, we can use
FormatMessage to create a more user-friendly error message, which we can print on the
screen for the user:
else
{// Could not open the registry object!
nBufferReturnSize = sizeof(szBufferReturn);
FormatMessage(FORMAT_MESSAGE_FROM_SYSTEM, NULL, nReturnCode,
0, szBufferReturn, nBufferReturnSize, NULL);
}
printf("RegOpenKey() %ld failed '%s'!\n\n",
nReturnCode, szBufferReturn);
A Windows program uses a message box to display the error message text.
Figure 10.1 shows the results of an execution of Reg1.
Figure 10.1: Reg1, a simple command-prompt application, provides lots of interesting
information about a registry subkey.
Note Even when run under other versions of Windows, Reg1 will provide useful output
(although the output is different than Windows XP). This shows the compatibility
between the Windows XP registry and the registry found in earlier versions of
Windows.
Note For complete source code for the Reg1 program, check this book's website at
www.sybex.com; click Catalog, enter the book title or reference number from the book's
ISBN (2987), and press Enter. From the main page for this book, click Downloads to go
to the code.
Does FormatMessage Always Return the Best Message?
It probably does, but not always; the problem is exactly as it seems. Regardless, whatever
FormatMessage does return is better than just displaying an error code value to the user.
Take this example of an error message:
"Error number 259 occurred."
Descriptive? No.
Useful? No.
User friendly? No.
The better result comes from FormatMessage, formatted in a string:
"The Error 'No more data is available.' occurred in the call to
RegEnumValue."
This message, though not perfect, is much better and provides useful information to the user
of the program. Programmers who display meaningless numbers in their error messages
without explanatory text should be banned from ever using a computer again.
One caution, however: The error strings returned by FormatMessage may contain a trailing
newline character. It may be necessary to pare these from your error messages.
To Use MFC or Not to Use MFC? That Is the Question
C++, MFC (Microsoft Foundation Classes), and the concept of object-oriented programming
(a.k.a. OOP) have all hit the big time. Some programmers actually believe that it is not
possible to use old C calls in a C++ program. Actually, it is fully possible to use the Windows
API calls in any program, whether the program is C, C++, MFC, or whatever. However,
Microsoft did bundle a few of the registry functions into MFC to make programming a bit
easier. For example, the CWinApp class contains a number of both documented and
undocumented registry manipulation functions.
First, the good news: some registry functions are available in CWinApp. Now, the bad news:
there are not many registry functions available in CWinApp. The functions listed in Table
10.4 are available to programmers directly. Don't despair, however—you can just call the
plain old Windows API registry functions as well.
Table 10.4: Registry Functions That Are Part of CWinApp
Function, with Parameters Passed Documentation Description
void SetRegistryKey (LPCTSTR
Yes
This overloaded function fills in the
Table 10.4: Registry Functions That Are Part of CWinApp
Function, with Parameters Passed Documentation Description
lpszRegistryKey)
m_pszRegistryKey variable using
the passed string. This string would
typically contain the company
name. m_pszRegistryKey is used to
create the necessary key(s) under
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\
Software\ m_pszRegistryKey\
m_pszProfileName. m_pszProfile
Name is set to m_pszAppName
by SetRegistryKey.
void SetRegistryKey (UINT
nIDRegistryKey)
Yes
This overloaded function fills in the
m_pszRegistryKey variable from a
string contained in the application's
string resources. This string would
typically contain the company
name. m_pszRegistryKey is used to
create the necessary key(s) under
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\
Software\ m_pszRegistryKey\
m_pszProfileName. m_pszProfile
Name is set to m_pszAppName
by SetRegistryKey.
HKEY GetSectionKey (LPCTSTR
lpszSection)
No
Returns hKey for
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\
Software\RegistryKey\
AppName\lpszSection, creating it if
it doesn't exist, where RegistryKey
is the company name as stored in
m_pszRegistryKey, and AppName
is the application name as stored in
m_pszAppName. The caller must
close the hKey returned.
HKEY GetAppRegistryKey()
No
Returns hKey for
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\
Software\RegistryKey\AppName,
creating it if it doesn't exist, where
RegistryKey is the company name
as stored in m_pszRegistryKey, and
AppName is the application name
as stored in m_pszAppName. The
caller must close the hKey returned.
UINT GetProfileInt (LPCTSTR
Yes
lpszSection, LPCTSTR lpszEntry, int
nDefault)
Calls GetSectionKey() to open lpsz
Section; then calls
RegQueryValue
Ex() to get the value for the key
specified in lpszEntry. Returns
Table 10.4: Registry Functions That Are Part of CWinApp
Function, with Parameters Passed Documentation Description
nDefault if the entry is not found.
Works on an .ini file if a call to
SetRegistryKey() has not
previously been made.
BOOL WriteProfileInt (LPCTSTR
Yes
lpszSection, LPCTSTR lpszEntry, int
nValue)
Calls GetSectionKey() to open lpsz
Section; then calls
RegSetValueEx() to set the value
for the key specified in lpszEntry.
Returns FALSE if the entry cannot
be set. Works on an .ini file if a call
to SetRegistryKey() has not
previously been made.
CString GetProfileString (LPCTSTR Yes
lpszSection, LPCTSTR lpszEntry,
LPCTSTR lpszDefault = NULL)
Calls GetSectionKey() to open lpsz
Section; then calls
RegQueryValueEx() to get the
value for the key specified in
lpszEntry. Returns lpszDefault if
the entry is not found. Works on an
.ini file if a call to SetRegistryKey()
has not previously been made.
BOOL WriteProfileString
(LPCTSTR lpszSection, LPCTSTR
lpszEntry, LPCTSTR lpszValue)
Yes
Calls GetSectionKey() to open lpsz
Section; then calls
RegSetValueEx() to set the value
for the key specified in lpszEntry.
Returns FALSE if the entry cannot
be set. Works on an .ini file if a call
to Set RegistryKey() has not
previously been made.
BOOL GetProfileBinary (LPCTSTR Yes
lpszSection, LPCTSTR lpszEntry,
LPBYTE* ppData, UINT* pBytes)
Calls GetSectionKey() to open
lpszSection; then calls RegQuery
ValueEx() to get the value for the
key specified in lpszEntry. The size
of the buffer to return the data in is
specified by pBytes. The parameter
pBytes is set to the size of the
returned data. Works on an .ini file
if a call to SetRegistryKey() has not
previously been made.
BOOL WriteProfileBinary
(LPCTSTR lpszSection, LPCTSTR
lpszEntry, LPBYTE pData, UINT
nBytes)
Calls GetSectionKey() to open lpsz
Section; then calls
RegSetValueEx() to set the value
for the key specified in lpszEntry.
The buffer containing the data to
save is pData, and the data's size is
specified by nBytes. Works on an
.ini file if a call to SetRegistryKey()
Yes
Table 10.4: Registry Functions That Are Part of CWinApp
Function, with Parameters Passed Documentation Description
has not previously been made.
LONG DelRegTree(HKEY
hParentKey, const CString&
strKeyName)
No
Deletes the specified subkey from
the specified parent. Since a
registry subkey may not be deleted
unless it is empty, a helper function
is used to recursively delete further
subkeys and keys.
Note A bright programmer could write a wrapper around the Windows API registry functions
if desired. However, there's a reason that Microsoft didn't already do that: you'd actually
gain no additional functionality or usability. On the other hand, it might be possible to
improve the registry access, especially searching for and retrieving specific keys, with a
C++ registry class. I'll leave it up to you to design your own registry class.
The process for using the CWinApp registry functions is simple:
1. Call CWinApp::SetRegistryKey() to tell MFC that your application is going to work
with the registry rather than a separate .ini file.
2. Call the functions to retrieve or set values in the registry.
Closing code is not needed unless a call has been made to one of the following CWinApp
functions:
•
•
HKEY GetSectionKey(LPCTSTR lpszSection)
HKEY GetAppRegistryKey()
If one of these functions is used, be sure that your application does a proper close of the
registry key returned. Of course, check to ensure that the function didn't fail.
Chapter 11: The Performance Monitor
Meets the Registry
Overview
A part of the registry that we've not discussed yet is HKEY_PERFORMANCE_DATA, the
registry's performance hive. This registry hive contains the necessary information to allow an
application to successfully interact with and display performance data. Hidden from the
Registry Editor, it is contained in a place in the registry that is only accessible
programmatically; otherwise, it's not visible or editable.
That HKEY_PERFORMANCE_DATA does not actually exist is an interesting part of
Windows. Windows stores this hive temporarily, mostly in memory. Quick updating of these
performance-monitoring counters is necessary to avoid impacting performance. Windows has
no need to store, on disk, performance data—this type of information is transient, constantly
changing while the system is used.
Although it is somewhat more difficult to access the performance hive than other registry
hives, this difficulty can be overcome using the tools provided in the Windows header file,
winperf.h, distributed with Visual C++. In addition, in this chapter I'll show you a simple
program I've created for browsing HKEY_PERFORMANCE_DATA. PerfMon1 is a program
that views the information in HKEY_PERFORMANCE_DATA. Keep in mind that the
program as presented in this chapter is only an example and doesn't actually do any useful
retrieval of data—you will have to add that functionality.
PerfMon1: A Program to Access HKEY_PERFORMANCE_DATA
The PerfMon1 program is a simple console application, displaying its voluminous data using
printf() statements. To keep this example as simple as possible, I've forgone any semblance of
a user interface. The example program's inability to do any real monitoring is for the same
reason—simplicity!
There are two methods to access performance data under Windows. The first, the "standard"
registry interface, is powerful, but does not focus on performance data. The second, the
Performance Data Helper (PDH), is newer and actually easier to use. The PDH is oriented
toward single counters, rather than groups of counters. PerfMon1 uses the rather standard
interface.
Note When you're using PerfMon1, I suggest you use I/O redirection and capture the data into
a file. Then edit or browse the file. PerfMon1 might typically print over 50,000 lines of
output; watching all of this scroll past on the screen won't be any fun.
The performance data is entirely contained within the HKEY_PERFORMANCE_DATA
hive, with the exception of the object and counter names and help information, which are
contained in the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows
NT\CurrentVersion\Perflib\009.
Note Are the performance data and HKEY_PERFORMANCE_DATA part of the registry?
Well, that's a good question. It seems obvious that the storage of performance data
wasn't part of Microsoft's original conception of the registry.
HKEY_PERFORMANCE_DATA is an example of Microsoft extending the registry
functionality and interface to provide special services.
There are only two values in this key: Counter and Help. Both of these values are
REG_MULTI_SZ, with many entries in each.
Note Appendix D lists a typical installation's counters and objects. You can use the
information in Appendix D to determine which items are objects and what counters are
found in each object.
An Example Portion of PerfMon1 Output
First, let's take a look at PerfMon1's output:
PerfMon1 - Check out HKEY_PERFORMANCE_DATA! Version 2002
+-------------------------------------------------------Index: 10386
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Index: 10548
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Index: 10524
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
Counter:
10388
10390
10392
10394
10396
10398
10400
10402
10404
10406
10408
10410
10412
10414
10416
10418
10420
10422
10424
10426
10428
10430
10432
10434
10436
10438
10440
10442
10444
10446
10448
10450
10452
10454
10550
10552
10554
10526
10528
10530
10532
10534
10536
10538
10540
10542
10544
10546
PerfMon1's Performance Counters
To make sense of PerfMon1's output, you can look up the object and counter IDs in Appendix
D. It'll also help to start off with a good understanding of what counters are. A counter is an
item that indicates how many times, or at what rate, a given event happens. For example, the
counter named Page Faults/Sec indicates the number of page faults (that is, the number of
times the system needed to use virtual memory) that occurred in the previous second. Most, if
not all, counters are based on a time interval (that you, the user, may set). A temporary
counter is used, and when the time interval expires, the counter in the registry is updated.
Then, any performance-monitoring application is able to retrieve and display the updated
counter.
And a performance object? A performance object is a collection of performance counters used
to monitor a specific functionality.
The output begins with the Active Server Pages performance object at index 10386. This
object measures various parameters regarding Active Server Pages. Counters in Active Server
Pages (see Figure 11.1) include those shown below:
Counter
Name
10388
Debugging Requests
10390
Errors during Script Runtime
10392
Errors from ASP Preprocessor
10394
Errors from Script Compilers
10396
Errors/Sec
10398
Request Bytes in Total
10400
Request Bytes out Total
10402
Request Execution Time
10404
Request Wait Time
10406
Requests Disconnected
10408
Requests Executing
10410
Requests Failed Total
10412
Requests Not Authorized
10414
Requests Not Found
10416
Requests Queued
10418
Requests Rejected
10420
Requests Succeeded
10422
Requests Timed Out
10424
Requests Total
10426
Requests/Sec
10428
Script Engines Cached
10430
Session Duration
10432
Sessions Current
10434
Sessions Timed Out
10436
Sessions Total
10438
Templates Cached
10440
Template Cache Hit Rate
10444
Template Notifications
Counter
Name
10446
Transactions Aborted
10448
Transactions Committed
10450
Transactions Pending
10452
Transactions Total
10454
Transactions/Sec
Figure 11.1: The Performance Monitor's Add Counters dialog box showing Active Server
Pages and some counters
The next object is number 10548, Indexing Service Filter. This object has only three counters:
Counter
Name
10550
Total Indexing Speed (MB/hr)
10552
Binding Time (msec)
10554
Indexing Speed (MB/hr)
Moving on in the PerfMon1 report, the next index is number 10524, or in more friendly terms,
Indexing Service. This object is a bit different from the Indexing Service Filter, but why? It's
because the actual indexing service is different from the indexing service filter. The counters
in the Indexing Service performance object are shown here:
Counter
Name
10526
Word Lists
10528
Saved Indexes
10530
Index Size (MB)
10532
Files to Be Indexed
10534
Unique Keys
10536
Running Queries
10538
Merge Progress
10540
# Documents Indexed
10542
Total # of Documents
Counter
Name
10544
Total # of Queries
10546
Deferred for indexing
The Performance Monitor itself is another example of the MMC (Microsoft Management
Console). In Figure 11.2, the Performance Monitor shows the first few counters for the
system's CPU usage. In this figure, the bottom lines show various types of usage. The top line
graphed shows idle time, which drops whenever the CPU is utilized.
Figure 11.2: The Performance Monitor displaying some CPU usage counters.
Figure 11.2 also shows how you can customize a performance graph. I've customized both the
chart title and the title for the vertical axis. Current data values are shown in the chart's data
display area directly below the actual chart. The legend, located below the chart, shows the
items being displayed and allows modification of the displayed item's attributes, such as
color, line style, and width.
A Look at the Program
Now let's take a look at the PerfMon1 program itself. Listing 11.1 contains the main program,
PerfMon1.cpp, a very simple program that accesses performance counters and objects stored
in the registry. To create PerfMon1, see the instructions for creating a project in Chapter 10.
Note You may download the PerfMon1 code from the Sybex website at www.sybex.com.
Click Catalog, type the name of the book or the reference number from the book's ISBN
(2987), and press Enter. From the main page for this book, click Downloads to go to the
code.
Listing 11.1: PerfMon1.cpp
// PerfMon1.cpp : Defines the entry point for the console
//application.
#define _UNICODE
#include "stdafx.h"
#include <windows.h> // Standard windows header
#include <winperf.h> // Performance monitor definitions
#include <stdio.h> // printf() and other I/O stuff
#include <malloc.h> // memory allocation definitions.
#define BUFFERSIZE 8192 // initial buffer size,
#define INCREMENT 4096 // If too small, increment by 4096
int main(int argc, char* argv[])
{
// These objects are shown in winperf.h:
PPERF_DATA_BLOCK
PerfDataBlock = NULL;
PPERF_OBJECT_TYPE
PerfObjectType;
PPERF_INSTANCE_DEFINITION PerfInstanceDefinition;
PPERF_COUNTER_DEFINITION PerfCounterDefinition;
PPERF_COUNTER_DEFINITION PerfCurrentCounter;
PPERF_COUNTER_BLOCK
PerfCounterBlock;
// Program variables:
DWORD BufferSize = BUFFERSIZE; // Size of our buffer.
DWORD nShort;
// If TRUE, display minimal data
DWORD i;
// Index
DWORD j;
// Index
DWORD k;
// Index
char szOutput[512]; // temporary output buffer
// Create a reference, and initialize test buffer:
szOutput[0] = '\0';
printf("PerfMon1 - Check out HKEY_PERFORMANCE_DATA! ");
printf("Version 2000\n");
// Check options, /S for short output display!
nShort = FALSE;
if (argc > 1)
{
if (argv[1][0] == '/' &&
(argv[1][1] == 'S' || argv[1][1] == 's'))
{
nShort = TRUE;
}
}
// Allocate an initial buffer, which we'll resize later.
PerfDataBlock = (PPERF_DATA_BLOCK) malloc(BufferSize);
printf("+");
while (RegQueryValueEx(HKEY_PERFORMANCE_DATA,
"Global", NULL, NULL, (LPBYTE) PerfDataBlock,
&BufferSize) == ERROR_MORE_DATA)
{// The buffer is too small, so expand it!
printf("-");
BufferSize += INCREMENT;
PerfDataBlock = (PPERF_DATA_BLOCK)
realloc(PerfDataBlock, BufferSize);
}
printf("!\n\n");
// Buffer is sized OK now, let's get the first object!
PerfObjectType = (PPERF_OBJECT_TYPE)
((PBYTE)PerfDataBlock + PerfDataBlock->HeaderLength);
// loop through objects in HKEY_PERFORMANCE_DATA
for (i = 0; i < PerfDataBlock->NumObjectTypes; i++)
{
if (nShort)
{
printf("Index: %ld\n",
PerfObjectType->ObjectNameTitleIndex);
}
else
{
printf("\n");
printf("Index to name in Title Database %ld\n",
PerfObjectType->ObjectNameTitleIndex);
printf("Length of this object definition %d\n",
PerfObjectType->TotalByteLength);
printf("Length of object definition %ld\n",
PerfObjectType->DefinitionLength);
printf("Length of this header structure %ld\n",
PerfObjectType->HeaderLength);
printf("use by analysis program to point to "
"retrieved title string %ld\n",
PerfObjectType->ObjectNameTitle);
printf("Index to Help in Title Database %ld\n",
PerfObjectType->ObjectHelpTitleIndex);
printf("Used by analysis program to point to "
"retrieved title string %ld\n",
PerfObjectType->ObjectHelpTitle);
printf("Object level of detail %ld \n",
PerfObjectType->DetailLevel);
printf("Number of counters in each "
"counter block %ld \n",
PerfObjectType->NumCounters);
printf("Default counter to display %ld \n",
PerfObjectType->DefaultCounter);
printf("Number of object instances %ld\n",
PerfObjectType->NumInstances);
printf("Instance name Code page, "
"or 0 if UNICODE %ld\n",
PerfObjectType->CodePage);
printf("Sample Time in 'Object' units %ld\n",
PerfObjectType->PerfTime);
printf("Frequency of 'Object' units %ld\n\n",
PerfObjectType->PerfFreq);
}
// next get the counter block,
// containing counter information!
PerfCounterDefinition = (PPERF_COUNTER_DEFINITION)
((PBYTE)PerfObjectType +
PerfObjectType->HeaderLength);
if (PerfObjectType->NumInstances > 0)
{// first instance:
PerfInstanceDefinition =
(PPERF_INSTANCE_DEFINITION)
((PBYTE)PerfObjectType +
PerfObjectType->DefinitionLength);
// Next instance loop:
for(k = 0;
k < (DWORD)PerfObjectType->NumInstances; k++)
{
if (nShort)
{
printf("\n\tInstance '%S'\n", (char *)
((PBYTE)PerfInstanceDefinition +
PerfInstanceDefinition->NameOffset));
}
else
{
printf("\n\tUnicode name of "
"this instance '%S'\n",
(char *)((PBYTE)PerfInstanceDefinition +
PerfInstanceDefinition->NameOffset));
printf("\tLength including the "
"subsequent name %ld\n",
PerfInstanceDefinition->ByteLength);
printf("\tTitle Index to name "
"of 'parent' object %ld\n",
PerfInstanceDefinition->
ParentObjectTitleIndex);
printf("\tIndex to instance "
"of parent object %ld\n",
PerfInstanceDefinition->
ParentObjectInstance);
printf("\tA unique ID used "
"instead of matching the "
"name to identify this "
"instance, -1 = none %ld\n",
PerfInstanceDefinition->UniqueID);
printf("\tLength in bytes "
"of name; 0 = none %ld\n\n",
PerfInstanceDefinition->NameLength);
}
PerfCurrentCounter = PerfCounterDefinition;
// Get first counter in this instance
PerfCounterBlock = (PPERF_COUNTER_BLOCK)
((PBYTE)PerfInstanceDefinition +
PerfInstanceDefinition->ByteLength);
// Then retrieve all counters in this
// instance with a loop:
for(j = 0; j < PerfObjectType->NumCounters; j++)
{
if (nShort)
{
printf("\t\tCounter: %ld\n",
PerfCurrentCounter->
CounterNameTitleIndex);
}
else
{
printf("\t\tLength in bytes of this "
"structure %ld \n",
PerfCurrentCounter->ByteLength);
printf("\t\tIndex of Counter name "
"into Title Database %ld\n",
PerfCurrentCounter->CounterNameTitleIndex);
wprintf(L"\t\tretrieved name string '%s'\n",
PerfCurrentCounter->CounterNameTitle);
printf("\t\tIndex of Counter Help into "
"Title Database %ld\n",
PerfCurrentCounter->CounterHelpTitleIndex);
wprintf(L"\t\tretrieved help string '%s'\n",
PerfCurrentCounter->CounterHelpTitle);
printf("\t\tPower of 10 to scale %ld\n",
PerfCurrentCounter->DefaultScale);
printf("\t\tCounter level of detail "
"(for controlling display complexity %ld\n",
PerfCurrentCounter->DetailLevel);
printf("\t\tType of counter %ld\n",
PerfCurrentCounter->CounterType);
printf("\t\tSize of counter in bytes %ld\n",
PerfCurrentCounter->CounterSize);
printf("\t\tOffset to the first "
"byte of this counter %ld\n",
PerfCurrentCounter->CounterOffset);
printf("\n\n");
}
// Get next counter.
PerfCurrentCounter = (PPERF_COUNTER_DEFINITION)
((PBYTE)PerfCurrentCounter +
PerfCurrentCounter->ByteLength);
} // for loop
// next instance, coming up next!
PerfInstanceDefinition = (PPERF_INSTANCE_DEFINITION)
((PBYTE)PerfCounterBlock +
PerfCounterBlock->ByteLength);
} // for loop
} // if (PerfObjectType->NumInstances > 0)
else
{// Get the first counter.
PerfCounterBlock = (PPERF_COUNTER_BLOCK)
((PBYTE)PerfObjectType +
PerfObjectType->DefinitionLength);
// Get counters in a loop:
for(j = 0; j < PerfObjectType->NumCounters; j++)
{
if (nShort)
{
printf("\tCounter: %ld\n",
PerfCounterDefinition->CounterNameTitleIndex);
}
else
{
printf("\tLength in bytes of "
"this structure %ld \n",
PerfCounterDefinition->ByteLength);
printf("\tIndex of Counter name "
"into Title Database %ld\n",
PerfCounterDefinition->CounterNameTitleIndex);
printf("\tretrieved title string '%S'\n",
PerfCounterDefinition->CounterNameTitle);
printf("\tIndex of Counter Help "
"into Title Database %ld\n",
PerfCounterDefinition->CounterHelpTitleIndex);
printf("\tretrieved help string '%S'\n",
PerfCounterDefinition->CounterHelpTitle);
printf("\tPower of 10 by which to scale %ld\n",
PerfCounterDefinition->DefaultScale);
printf("\tCounter level of detail (for "
"controlling display complexity %ld\n",
PerfCounterDefinition->DetailLevel);
printf("\tType of counter %ld\n",
PerfCounterDefinition->CounterType);
printf("\tSize of counter in bytes %ld\n",
PerfCounterDefinition->CounterSize);
printf("\tOffset to the first "
"byte of this counter %ld\n",
PerfCounterDefinition->CounterOffset);
printf("\n\n");
}
// Data is (LPVOID)((PBYTE)PerfCounterBlock +
// PerfCounterDefinition->CounterOffset);
PerfCounterDefinition = (PPERF_COUNTER_DEFINITION)
((PBYTE)PerfCounterDefinition +
PerfCounterDefinition->ByteLength);
} // for loop
} // else if (PerfObjectType->NumInstances > 0)
// Get the next object to monitor
PerfObjectType = (PPERF_OBJECT_TYPE)
((PBYTE)PerfObjectType +
PerfObjectType->TotalByteLength);
} // Done! Go home and be sweet about it.
return(0);
}
The program includes references to stdafx.cpp and stdafx.h. These two files are very simple.
The file stdafx.cpp contains the lines:
// stdafx.cpp : source file that includes just the standard includes
//
PerfMon1.pch will be the pre-compiled header
//
stdafx.obj will contain the pre-compiled type information
#include "stdafx.h"
// TODO: reference any additional headers you need in STDAFX.H
// and not in this file
The include file stdafx.h contains these lines:
// stdafx.h : include file for standard system include files,
// or project specific include files that are used frequently, but
//
are changed infrequently
//
#if !defined(AFX_STDAFX_H__766546C6_18BD_11D2_88CB_0060970BB14F__INCLUDED_)
#define AFX_STDAFX_H__766546C6_18BD_11D2_88CB_0060970BB14F__INCLUDED_
#if _MSC_VER > 1000
#pragma once
#endif // _MSC_VER > 1000
#define WIN32_LEAN_AND_MEAN // Exclude rarely-used
//
stuff from Windows headers
#include <stdio.h>
// TODO: reference additional headers your program requires here
//{{AFX_INSERT_LOCATION}}
// Microsoft Visual C++ will insert additional declarations immediately
// before the previous line.
#endif // !defined(AFX_STDAFX_H__766546C6_ . . .
)
The performance information access program is simple and does not do much more than list
the counters found in the registry. Of course, most performance-monitoring programs will
want the actual performance data values, too.
If you look at the PERF_COUNTER_DEFINITION structure, you will see that the last three
items defined in this structure are CounterType, CounterSize, and CounterOffset. These three
items represent the specific information needed to access a particular performance counter. Of
course, to use the counter in a meaningful way, you'd also have to (at least) scale and format
the counter properly, and then display it.
The following code segment shows the definition of the PERF_COUNTER_DEFINITION
object:
typedef struct _PERF_COUNTER_DEFINITION {
DWORD
ByteLength;
// Length in bytes of this structure
DWORD
CounterNameTitleIndex;
// Index of Counter name into Title Database
LPWSTR
CounterNameTitle;
// Initially NULL, for use by analysis
// program to point to retrieved title string
DWORD
CounterHelpTitleIndex;
// Index of Counter Help into Title Database
LPWSTR
CounterHelpTitle;
// Initially NULL, for use by analysis program
// to point to retrieved title string
LONG
DefaultScale;
// Power of 10 by which to scale chart line
// if vertical axis is 100
// 0 ==> 1, 1 ==> 10, -1 ==>1/10, etc.
DWORD
DetailLevel;
// Counter level of detail (for controlling
// display complexity)
DWORD
CounterType;
// Type of counter
DWORD
CounterSize;
// Size of counter in bytes
DWORD
CounterOffset;
// Offset from the start of the PERF_COUNTER_BLOCK
// to the first byte of this counter
} PERF_COUNTER_DEFINITION, *PPERF_COUNTER_DEFINITION;
Notice the last item in PERF_COUNTER_DEFINITION: CounterOffset. The offset from the
start of the PERF_COUNTER_BLOCK is CounterOffset. This finds the counter in question.
The CounterSize variable (just above CounterOffset) tells you how many bytes the counter in
question occupies. Many counters are four bytes (a DWORD) in length.
Another important item for the counter is CounterType, a DWORD that describes the
counter's type. The CounterType field is bitmapped and contains a lot of valuable information
about the counter, as shown in Table 11.1. Figure 11.3 shows a mapping of the bits in
CounterType.
Figure 11.3: CounterType bits are all significant.
Table 11.1: The Bits in CounterType
First Bit
End Bit Description
0
7
Reserved
8
9
Size field indicating the size, ranging from 0 to variable-length
binary
00 = Displays a DWORD-sized counter (32 bits)
01 = Displays a large-sized counter
10 = Displays a zero-length counter
11 = Displays a variable-length counter
10
11
The counter's type: number, counter, text, or 0
00 = Displays a number that is not a counter
01 = Displays a counter that increases as time passes
10 = Displays a text field
11 = Displays as a zero
12
15
Reserved
16
19
Subtype, varies depending on the type of counter
If the counter is number (00) then:
0000 = Displays as a hexadecimal value
First Bit
End Bit
Table 11.1: The Bits in CounterType
Description
0001 = Displays as a decimal integer
0010 = Displays as a decimal integer / 1000
If the counter is increasing number (01) then:
0000 = Displays the counter value without modification
16
19
0001 = Displays the counter divided by the time since the previous
counter value
0010 = Displays the counter divided by a base value
0011 = Contains the base value used in fractions
0100 = Displays the counter subtracted from the current time
0101 = Displays using the Quelen processing function
0110 = Begins or ends a standard histogram
0111 = Displays the counter divided by a private clock
If the counter is text, then:
0000 = Type of text is in the text field
0001 = Display the text as ASCII using the CodePage field
20
21
The timer base for the counter: either timer ticks, timer 100
nanoseconds, or an object-based timer
00 = Uses the system timer tick as the base
01 = Uses a 100-nanosecond timer base for the counter
10 = Uses the object timer frequency
22
23
Calculation modifier, used for delta counters
01 = First computes the difference between the two values
10 = Shows both the difference and the base difference
24
27
Calculation modifier, used with inverse or multicounters
01 = Shows as a 1.0 value
10 = Shows as the cumulative result of multiple values
First Bit
End Bit
Table 11.1: The Bits in CounterType
Description
28
31
Format flag, describing how to display this counter's data
0000 = Displays no suffix
0001 = Displays the suffix "/Sec"
0010 = Displays the suffix "%"
0011 = Displays the suffix "Secs"
0100 = Displays no value
The best information on these values is contained in the SDK's winperf.h, one of the betterdocumented header files for Windows XP.
To access a counter, see the section of Listing 11.1 where PerfCounterBlock is used. Set this
initially to the first counter:
PerfCounterBlock = (PPERF_COUNTER_BLOCK)
((PBYTE)PerfInstanceDefinition +
PerfInstanceDefinition->ByteLength);
You can access the data using the following line of code:
Data = (LPVOID)((PBYTE)PerfCounterBlock +
PerfCounterDefinition->CounterOffset);
When using the code described here, be certain to properly de-reference the pointers.
Adding Performance Data to the Registry
The first part of this chapter delves into accessing preexisting performance data in the
registry. It is also possible to add performance data to the registry for your own systems and
applications. To do this, you must design your application or system to keep counters and
modify the application or system to write these counters into the registry. Use the techniques
described in the Microsoft Resource Kit version 3.5, Chapter 13, "Adding Application
Performance Counters." This reference is available on the TechNet CD from Microsoft.
The process of adding performance data to the registry involves creating a .dll for collecting
performance information. This .dll must have (at a minimum) a Collect entry point function.
The entry point names may be determined at the product design phase. When installed, your
installation program must specify the entry point names. Here are some possible entry points
used to support performance monitoring:
Library The name of the .dll file that your application uses to collect performance data. This
object is required.
Collect The routine that is used to report performance data upon request. This function is
required.
Open The function that is used to initialize the performance monitoring; this function is not
required if the application is able to update performance counters without requests.
Close The function that terminates the collection of performance data; as with Open, the
Close function is not strictly required.
Adding counters to the registry is done using the LODCTR function. This function updates
the registry and adds performance counters for an application or service as necessary. To use
LODCTR, you must write an .ini file. The MSDN topic "Adding Counter Names and
Descriptions to the Registry" documents this process.
Here is an example of performance counters added to the registry of one Windows XP
installation for the IIS Web service:
"Library"="w3ctrs.dll"
"Open"="OpenW3PerformanceData"
"Close"="CloseW3PerformanceData"
"Collect"="CollectW3PerformanceData"
"Last Counter"=dword:00002890
"Last Help"=dword:00002891
"First Counter"=dword:000027ee
"First Help"=dword:000027ef
In this example, the library to monitor performance data is w3ctrs.dll. There are function entry
points defined for Open, Close, and Collect. Your application may add these entries at
program installation time or during the first execution of the program.
LODCTR automatically creates the final four entries—Last Counter, Last Help, First Counter,
and First Help—when counters are loaded; your application should not modify these four
entries.
An example of a LODCTR .ini file follows (all lines that begin with // are comment lines that
are ignored by LODCTR):
[info]
applicationname=MyApp
symbolfile=symfile.h
// Only English is used by many of us, but there could be
// multiple languages loaded at one time. Just specify
// the language code in addition to (or instead of, if
// English is not used) the definition of 009=English line.
[languages]
009=English
// The object that will be using these counters is defined
// first.
[text]
OBJECT_1_009_NAME=MyApp
OBJECT_1_009_HELP=Monitor performance statistics for MyApp
// Next we define two counters for this object, one called
// Transactions, and another called LostCustomers.
DEVICE_COUNTER_1_009_NAME=Transactions
DEVICE_COUNTER_1_009_HELP=Number of transactions processed/second
DEVICE_COUNTER_2_009_NAME=LostCustomers
DEVICE_COUNTER_2_009_HELP=Number of customers lost due to slow transactions
This example is simple. There are two counters with descriptive text and only one language.
The strings OBJECT_1, DEVICE_COUNTER_1, and DEVICE_COUNTER_2 are defined in
the file symfile.h.
A real application might have many counters, depending on the application's complexity.
In summary, to create performance monitoring, follow these steps:
1. Create the necessary registry entries as described earlier in this section for Library,
Open, Close, and Collect.
2. Move or copy the file specified in the Library entry to the %SystemRoot%\System32
directory.
3. Use the LODCTR program to integrate the .ini file's counter entries into the registry.
Part III: Windows and Office Registry
Entries
Chapter List
Chapter 12: The Windows XP User Interface–Changing How It Looks
Chapter 13: Networking and Registry System Entries
Chapter 14: Microsoft Office Entries
Part Overview
In this section, you'll learn how to:
•
•
•
Change the appearance of the Windows XP user interface
Make networking and system registry entries
Make registry entries that affect Microsoft Office system and user configurations
Chapter 12: The Windows XP User
Interface–Changing How It Looks
Overview
The Windows user interface is probably the most modified part of Windows. Virtually all
users change some part of the user interface at some time. Regardless of where they are done,
many user interface registry modifications are easy to do and are relatively safe. For example,
to figure out what is where, I make changes both from the Properties dialog boxes and in the
registry, and then I just look at what's changed.
Messing up a registry entry for the user interface will usually not break the operating system;
your display may not look like it should, but that's correctable. Typically, it will just make
things either less friendly or not so pretty. However, some changes can cause serious damage
to the system. Restore a damaged registry from a backup.
In this chapter, I'll cover how to make changes to user interface items, describing each one, its
location in the registry, and any tool available to manipulate it.
A New Look for Windows XP
With Windows XP, Microsoft changed how Windows looks and feels, including the Desktop,
Explorer, and Internet Explorer. Microsoft has modified the interface that was developed for
Windows 2000. For example, for a logged-on user, some Desktop functionality is stored in a
different location in the registry than it was in previous versions of Windows.
Why are things different? Well, for one thing, Internet Explorer replaces the Windows
Explorer application in most cases.
Note Notwithstanding any court orders, Windows uses one program for both Windows
Explorer and Internet Explorer. While Microsoft was forced to give up packaging
Internet Explorer with Windows XP as a browser, it still uses Internet Explorer for the
Windows Explorer functionality. Say you install a competitor's browser...In reality
Windows never removes anything; instead it allows the installed browser to serve the
Internet browser needs and uses Explorer for its own needs.
Now, this is not all bad, as it tends to integrate functions that were originally separate. In
addition, Windows uses Internet Explorer for a number of other areas, including the Control
Panel, the MMC (Microsoft Management Console), and other minor applications throughout
Windows.
The Control Panel is the best tool to use to change the display properties in the registry; open
the Display applet in the Control Panel (or right-click an unused place on the Desktop and
select Properties). The registry controls everything—the Desktop, how things look, fonts,
dialog box styles, colors, and DOS command-prompt windows.
There are some shortcuts for modifying the registry, other than using the Registry Editor. For
example, in Windows XP Professional, you can use the MMC Policy Editor snap-in (not
available in XP Home Edition) that is part of Computer Management (select Start →
Programs → Administrative Tools), the Reg utility in the Resource Kit (see Chapter 4), and a
few other tools to implement many of the settings. But the really interesting settings that are
often desired, but seldom used, must be set using either very special tools or by direct, manual
manipulation of the registry.
When you need to create a new key for setting values, make sure that you choose the correct
data type for the key. Many keys are REG_SZ but hold a numeric value. Be careful not to
create these keys with the wrong data type, such as REG_DWORD, because Windows XP
won't recognize the value. Many of the settings for the user interface won't take effect until
you log on the next time.
Warning Do I have to say it? Back up your registry before making changes in it. Admittedly,
changing the HKEY_USERS hive is less dangerous than changing
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, but there are hazards in making any changes to the
registry.
Desktop Settings
The Desktop is the single most modified part of the Windows user interface. Users quickly
put on a bitmap for their wallpaper, set a background pattern, customize the size and
configuration of windows, and change colors—all with wild abandon.
Windows has subkeys in the registry that hold the Desktop settings. Windows XP is a
multiuser-enabled operating system, and it adds some complexity to the issue of user interface
configuration and customization.
There are, at a minimum, two users to consider: First there's the currently logged-on user. For
me, the currently logged-on user is the Administrator; you may have used a different name for
your normal logons, but the principles are the same regardless. The second user is the one
your computer considers to be the user when no user is actually logged on.
A third user (if you want to consider this a user, which I do) is the user profile used to create a
new user's profile. This user is very limited in what they can do. And yes, this user has a
name—the user is .DEFAULT. Notice the period, the first character in that user's name; it is
significant in that Windows knows that this is the user to use when no other user is logged on.
I'll refer to this user as the "default user."
Unfortunately, these two users are somewhat different. For example, the default user does not
use Internet Explorer to manage the Desktop. (What management is there, anyway—no icons,
only wallpaper, background, and a few color settings.) This means that techniques that are
usable on normal users may not work on the default user. However, this is not a major issue,
since you configure the default user the same way that you did in prior versions of Windows.
Themes are predefined configurations consisting of Desktop configurations, colors, sounds,
icons, cursors, and other visual customizations for the user interface. With earlier versions of
Windows, one of the first things to do is load the Microsoft Windows Themes, which are
available from Microsoft in their add-on product Plus at
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/plus/. Themes allows you to load any Windowscompatible theme; this saves time when configuring the Desktop.
Users can create themes themselves or get them from a variety of sources. Many users rely on
the themes that come with the various Windows Resource Kits, from Windows 95/98/Me, or
from a number of sites on the Internet.
Note I won't get into the issues of copyrights and themes. A number of themes for Windows
surely impinge upon the rights of others. For example, Star Trek, Star Wars, Three
Stooges, The Simpsons, and a host of other themes are floating around on the Internet.
Some are licensed, and most are the creation of the fans that have made these themes
available to the public, usually for free. If you use a particular theme, whether you pay
for it or not is a value decision that you will have to make. Myself, I'd prefer that
everyone respected the intellectual property rights of others.
Although you can make many of the modifications mentioned in this chapter using various
Properties dialog boxes, some modifications can only be done by changing the registry. Of
course, I recommend using the easiest method to change things when possible—and that
would be the Properties dialog box, in most cases.
The registry key HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop contains the settings
used by Windows XP when there is no logged-on user. Notice that this subkey includes many
settings that probably won't mean much to the system. In the "no user logged on" mode,
Windows normally doesn't display icons or much of anything else. Notice I said normally;
there are ways to force Windows to do just this. For example, you can allow services to
interact with the Desktop and start services before a user logs on.
The registry key HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Control Panel holds settings for the current user.
Note Note that <SID> is a placeholder for a user's SID (security identifier). Usually, finding
your SID is easy; just peek at the HKEY_USERS hive. There will be two or three
subkeys: .DEFAULT (for use when no user is logged on) and one or more subkeys
identified by a SID value—this is your SID.
Backgrounds and Wallpapers
At some point, every user has probably wondered about the difference between a background
and wallpaper. Both are bitmaps. The background bitmap is typically small, consisting of one
or two colors. Wallpaper is usually an image that covers some, or all, of the exposed Desktop;
this image can be as large as the Desktop, tiled, or stretched to fit.
The background is under everything on the Desktop. When drawing, the first thing that
Windows XP does with the Desktop is to draw the background bitmap in the background
color(s) selected. The Windows default is pea green—not my favorite color. When there is no
background bitmap, Windows by default draws the background as a solid color.
Note We'll talk about changing that pea green background color later; don't worry. Having a
solid-color background can improve system performance when compared to having a
bitmap for the background.
Once the background is drawn, Windows draws the wallpaper. Windows draws the wallpaper
in one of three modes:
Centered One copy of the wallpaper image is drawn in the center of the screen. If the
wallpaper image is too small to fit, then the background will be visible on those areas the
wallpaper image does not cover. If the wallpaper image is too large, Windows clips parts to
fit.
Tiled The first copy of the wallpaper is drawn in the upper-left corner of the screen;
additional copies are drawn below and to the right to fill the entire screen with the wallpaper
bitmap. Some bitmaps, by design, fit together well, hiding this seam; other bitmaps present a
jagged, clumsy look when tiled.
Stretched This refers to the Windows feature for stretching the Desktop image When
enabled, Windows automatically stretches the wallpaper bitmap to fit the screen dimensions.
This is the most commonly used mode, and the most inefficient mode.
Note If you primarily use one resolution, you can improve performance by doing the
following: Instead of using a bitmap as wallpaper in stretched mode, use a graphics
editor to stretch the bitmap to the screen's resolution. Then, select the Centered option to
display the wallpaper. Substantial improvements in Desktop-update performance may
be achieved by changing the mode.
After drawing the wallpaper, Windows XP draws objects, such as Desktop icons and other
windows. Windows handles icons and their labels in a special manner. Windows draws the
icon images over the wallpaper. Next, Windows fills the area under the icon's label with the
background color, but not the background pattern; the label's background is a solid color.
(Why? Because the labels would be very difficult to read if a pattern were used.) Finally the
text for the icon is drawn, so what you see under the text of an icon is not the wallpaper, but
the background color.
In addition, there are two sets of background/wallpaper settings. Windows XP maintains one
set for the current user and the other set for all users who do not have personalized values.
Those users without predefined configurations are supported using the
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor subkey.
Wallpaper
The Wallpaper value entry is a string that must contain the filename of the image file for the
wallpaper. The value to modify is in HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Software\Microsoft\Internet
Explorer\Desktop\General.
Value entry:
Wallpaper
Type:
REG_EXPAND_SZ
Typical value:
"" (or a fully qualified filename)
The file should be any file that Internet Explorer is able to display, including HTML, HTT
(Hypertext Template), JPG, and BMP files. The resolution of the image should be compatible
with the current display mode. If the resolution is different from the display mode, it is not the
end of the world, but the quality of the display, and system performance, will be
compromised.
If you are specifying a file that is not in the %SystemRoot% path, be sure to include a fully
qualified pathname. Generally, the Display Properties dialog box will include pathname
information regardless of where the file is located.
This parameter is compatible with logged-on users only. For the .DEFAULT user, the registry
value to modify is in HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop.
Value entry:
Wallpaper
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
"" (or a fully qualified bitmap image filename)
The file should be a standard (noncompressed) Windows XP bitmap, and the resolution
should be compatible with the current display mode. If the resolution is different from the
display mode, it is not the end of the world, but the quality of the display, and system
performance, will be compromised.
If you are specifying a file that is not in the %SystemRoot% path, be sure to include a fully
qualified path name. Since this variable is REG_SZ, do not use environment variables to
specify the file's path. Alternatively, modify this value with Reg.exe.
This parameter is compatible with the default user only. It allows you to configure the
Desktop display before any user has logged on. When configuring the Desktop display before
a user has logged on, consider placing your company logo there!
Note For users other than the default user, the image file type for a background is any type
that Internet Explorer is able to display. This means that even hypertext files can be used
for backgrounds. For the default user, the image type must be a bitmap (.bmp) file.
WallpaperStyle
The WallpaperStyle entry tells Windows XP to stretch or compress a wallpaper bitmap that is
different from the Desktop in size or resolution to fit the Desktop fully. For all users except
for the default user, this value is located in
HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Desktop\General. For the
default user, this value is located in HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop.
Value entry:
WallpaperStyle
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
0
A value of 0 will result in unstretched wallpaper, while a value of 2 will stretch the wallpaper
to fit the screen's resolution.
If carried to extremes, this mode can result in an unattractive Desktop. Generally, if the
wallpaper image is close to the size of the Desktop, the appearance will be acceptable. Certain
bitmaps stretch better than others, so if in doubt, try it.
The WallpaperStyle parameter is compatible with both specific users and the default user
subkeys. It allows you to configure the Desktop display before any user has logged on. For
the default user configuration, consider stretching either wallpaper that is a different size from
the default logon screen or wallpaper designed to be stretched.
TileWallpaper
The TileWallpaper entry tells Windows XP to either tile or center the Desktop's wallpaper.
For all users except the default user, this value is located in the subkey
HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Desktop\General. For the
default user, this value is located in HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop.
Value entry:
TileWallpaper
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
0
A value of 0 will not tile the wallpaper, while a value of 1 will tile the wallpaper to fit the
screen's resolution.
It is possible to have a single copy of the wallpaper that is not centered or located at the upper
left of the Desktop; see the next two sections.
This parameter is compatible with both specific users and the default user subkeys. It allows
you to configure the Desktop display before any user has logged on. For the default user
configuration, when tiling, use either a small bitmap or a tileable bitmap.
WallpaperOriginX
The WallpaperOriginX entry allows you to set the origin for both tiled and untiled wallpaper
displays as shown here. Located in HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop, it
may be necessary to create the value entry.
Value entry:
WallpaperOriginX
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
0
This entry is useful if, for example, you want to set your wallpaper to be in one of the corners
of the Desktop. This parameter works with both centered and tiled wallpapers.
This parameter is compatible with the default user only. It allows you to configure the
Desktop display before any user has logged on. For the default user configuration, consider
recentering the wallpaper to provide an aesthetically pleasing Desktop. I find that having a
small company logo in the lower-right or upper-left corner of the screen can be pleasing!
WallpaperOriginY
The WallpaperOriginY entry allows setting the origin for both tiled and untiled wallpaper
displays. Located in HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop, it may be necessary
to create the data value.
Value entry:
WallpaperOriginY
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
0
This entry is useful if, for example, you want to set your wallpaper to be in one of the corners
of the Desktop. This parameter works with both centered and tiled wallpapers.
This parameter is compatible with the default user only. It allows configuration of the
Desktop display before any user has logged on. For the default user configuration, consider
recentering the wallpaper to provide an aesthetically pleasing Desktop. I find that having a
small company logo in the upper-left or lower-right corner of the screen can be pleasing!
Pattern
The Pattern entry contains a pattern drawn using the background Desktop color. It is stored as
a string containing eight numbers. This value is located at HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Control
Panel\Desktop for all but the default user, and at HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control
Panel\Desktop for the default user.
Value entry:
Pattern
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
(None)
Internet Explorer converts each number to a line in a bitmap. Each one in the binary number
will represent the Desktop color.
The patterns are stored in the key HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Control Panel\Patterns. There is a
simple editor for modifying (and creating new) patterns. You start this editor in the
Background tab of the Display Properties dialog box by clicking the Pattern button.
This parameter is compatible with both specific users and the default user subkeys. This
allows you to configure the Desktop display before any user has logged on. For the default
user configuration, consider using a pattern when not using stretched or tiled wallpaper.
Task Switching
Most users switch tasks with the keystroke combination Alt+Tab, although some use the
Taskbar. You can configure the Task Switch dialog box, displayed when Alt+Tab is pressed,
if desired.
Settings for this dialog box are simple to implement. Since there is no task switching before a
user logs on, these settings are only meaningful to logged-on users and not the default user.
Though the settings can be set for the default user, they will have no useful effect—there is no
Task Switch dialog box for the default user!
Each of the task-switching values is located in the registry subkey
HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Control Panel\Desktop.
CoolSwitch
The CoolSwitch entry controls whether Windows displays the task-change window.
Value entry:
CoolSwitch
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
1
New! Prior to Windows NT 4, two styles of task switching were used. In direct switching,
the system cycles through the running applications as the task-switch keystroke combination
is pressed. Usually, only the application's title bar is active until the user releases the taskswitch key. The second method of task switching, CoolSwitch, is used to display a dialog box,
similar to that used in Windows 2000, to allow the user to select the application to switch to.
Windows NT 4 and later only support the second method. Therefore, Windows XP does not
use the CoolSwitch-enabling registry key. Setting this entry to any value other than 1 seems to
have no effect. Microsoft recommends not changing this key, so that the key will be
compatible with future upgrades.
CoolSwitchColumns
The number of columns in the CoolSwitch dialog box is set using CoolSwitchColumns, as
shown here.
Value entry:
CoolSwitchColumns
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
7
The CoolSwitch dialog box displays icons for each running application that has a displayable
window; it displays these icons in rows and columns. The CoolSwitch dialog box does not
display applications and components that have no window to display.
This registry key sets the number of columns (the number of icons across) displayed in the
CoolSwitch dialog box. The default value, 7, is a reasonable choice for most resolutions.
However, users may find that with low-resolution displays, fewer columns may be more
appropriate. Users with high-resolution displays, running a large number of applications
concurrently, may want more columns displayed.
Note Are more applications running than will fit in the CoolSwitch dialog box? No problem,
CoolSwitch will scroll the icons automatically as the user presses the task-switch
keystroke combination. However, setting both CoolSwitchColumns and
CoolSwitchRows to 1 won't create a single-icon CoolSwitch dialog box.
CoolSwitchRows
The number of rows in the CoolSwitch dialog box is set using CoolSwitchRows.
Value entry:
CoolSwitchRows
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
3
The CoolSwitch dialog box displays icons for each running application with a displayable
window in rows and columns. Windows will not display applications and components without
a main window, as they cannot be activated using the task-switch keys.
This registry key sets the number of rows (the number of icons up and down) displayed in the
CoolSwitch dialog box. The default value, 3, is a reasonable choice for most resolutions.
However, users may find that with low-resolution displays, fewer rows may be more
appropriate. Users with high-resolution displays, running a large number of applications
concurrently, may want more rows displayed.
Moving Windows
One of the nice things about Windows is that it gives you the ability to drag things. Windows
may be moved using a drag operation, and objects may be dragged and dropped. You can
move windows either by using the keyboard or by simply clicking the title bar and dragging
the window itself.
Both icons and objects can be dragged. This includes selections in documents for those
applications that support drag-and-drop. Clicking on the object selects it, and moving the
mouse begins a drag-and-drop operation.
There are three registry entries for dragging that are specific to Windows XP:
DragFullWindows, DragHeight, and DragWidth. DragFullWindows specifies whether a
window's contents are displayed (a full-content drag) while moving it, or whether only the
window's outline is displayed. The other two entries specify the size the box must be in a drag
operation before Windows will actually consider the object as something to be dragged.
Why change the size of the drag box? Some users who have difficulty controlling the amount
that they move the mouse may find it preferable to set a larger drag area.
Each of the drag-related values is located in the registry subkey
HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Control Panel\Desktop. Both logged-on users and the default user can
have these values applied to them.
DragFullWindows
Earlier versions of Windows only supported a mode called outline dragging. This was
necessary primarily due to the incredible lack of performance of early CPUs and video
systems. Newer hardware, improvements in video driver technology, and other changes have
brought full-window dragging to Windows. DragFullWindows allows dragging both a
window and the window's contents.
Value entry:
DragFullWindows
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
2
To drag the entire window with contents, set this parameter to a nonzero value (I have seen
both 1 and 2 used); to drag only a window outline, set this value to 0. This value may also be
set by clicking the Effects button on the Appearance tab of the Display Properties dialog box.
Look for the check box called Show Windows Contents While Dragging.
There is not much dragging done before a user logs on, so these entries probably won't matter
much to the default user's configuration.
DragHeight
The DragHeight entry determines the height of the rectangle used to detect the start of a drag
operation.
Value entry:
DragHeight
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
4
Click an object and move the mouse pointer more than the distance set for DragHeight and/or
DragWidth, and Windows will assume that a drag operation is being performed.
DragWidth
The DragWidth entry determines the width of the rectangle used to detect the start of a drag
operation.
Value entry:
DragWidth
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
4
Again, when you click an object and move the mouse pointer more than the DragWidth
(and/or DragHeight), Windows will assume that a drag operation is being performed.
Power Management
New! There are a number of settings for power management. Two of these are set in the
Desktop settings.
LowPowerActive
The LowPowerActive entry specifies whether an alarm is signaled when the battery power is
low. It's found in the subkey HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Control Panel\Desktop.
Value entry:
LowPowerActive
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
0
A value of 0 disables the low power warning functionality, while a value of 1 enables the
warning.
PowerOffActive
The PowerOffActive entry specifies whether the monitor power-off sequence has been
activated. It's found in the subkey HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Control Panel\Desktop.
Value entry:
PowerOffActive
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
0
A value of 0 indicates that the system monitor will not enter a power-off state.
PowerOffTimeOut
The PowerOffTimeOut entry specifies the amount of time prior to the monitor power-off
sequence (as set by the screen saver configuration). It's found in the subkey
HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Control Panel\Desktop.
Value entry:
PowerOffTimeOut
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
0
A value of 0 indicates that there is no monitor power-off time-out value.
Version Branding
New! A user may select whether the current Windows version is painted in the lower-right
corner of the Desktop.
PaintDesktopVersion
The PaintDesktopVersion entry specifies whether Windows will display two lines of product
and version identification in the lower-right corner of the Desktop. The first line displayed
will be the product identification ("Windows 2000" and "Windows XP Professional" are two
examples of product identification). It's found in the subkey HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Control
Panel\Desktop.
Value entry:
PaintDesktopVersion
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
0
A value of 0 disables the display of the Windows version on the Desktop, while a value of 1
enables the display. The default value is 1 for beta versions and other special versions of
Windows and 0 for standard released products.
User Preferences
New! There is a setting for default user preferences. This value is bitmapped—that is,
multiple selections may be included by simply adding the values for each selection.
UserPreferencesMask
The UserPreferencesMask entry specifies which user preferences are to be used and which are
not allowed. Some preferences are reserved for future use. It's found in the subkey
HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Control Panel\Desktop.
Value entry:
UserPreferencesMask
Type:
REG_BINARY
Typical value:
Typically 0x80003E9E for Windows 2000 and 0x80071290 for Windows
XP installations, but may vary with different installations and types of
installations (.NET Server vs. Professional vs. Home Edition)
Table 12.1 lists the various known bits and their meanings.
Bit
Table 12.1: UserPreferencesMask Bit Values and Their Meanings
UI Setting
Default Value Default Value Meaning
Windows
Windows XP
2000
0
Active window tracking 0
0
Active window
tracking is disabled by
default; if set, active
window tracking is
enabled.
1
Menu animation
1
0
When set, menu
animations are enabled.
Bit 9 controls the effect
of the animations.
2
Combo box animation
1
0
When set, the slideopen effect for combo
boxes is enabled.
3
List box smooth
scrolling
1
0
When set, list boxes
have a smooth
scrolling effect.
4
Gradient captions
1
1
When set, each
window title bar has a
gradient effect
(changes from one
color or shade to
another along the
length of the title bar).
5
Keyboard cues
0
0
When set, the menu
Bit
Table 12.1: UserPreferencesMask Bit Values and Their Meanings
UI Setting
Default Value Default Value Meaning
Windows
Windows XP
2000
access key letters
(those letters that are
underlined in a menu)
are only visible when
the menu is activated
using the Alt key on
the keyboard.
6
Active window tracking 0
Z order
0
When set, a window
activated through
active window tracking
is not brought to the
top.
7
Hot tracking
1
1
When set, window hot
tracking is enabled.
8
Reserved
0
0
Reserved.
9
Menu fade
1
1
See bit 1 above. Bit 9
allows menu fade
animation. If not set,
menus use slide
animation. This bit is
only meaningful if bit
1 is set.
10
Selection fade
1
0
When set, menus fade
out after a selection is
made.
11
Tool tip animation
1
0
When set, tool tip
animation is enabled.
The actual effects
depend on bit 12.
12
Tool tip fade
1
1
When set, tool tip fade
animation is enabled.
When not set, tool tips
use slide animation. If
bit 11 is not set, this bit
is ignored.
13
Cursor shadow
1
0
When set, the cursor
has an animated
shadow. This bit is not
meaningful on systems
with fewer than 256
colors.
Reserved
0
Used in Windows XP
14
Bit
Table 12.1: UserPreferencesMask Bit Values and Their Meanings
UI Setting
Default Value Default Value Meaning
Windows
Windows XP
2000
only.
15
Reserved
0
Used in Windows XP
only.
16
Reserved
1
Used in Windows XP
only.
17
Reserved
1
Used in Windows XP
only.
18
Reserved
1
Used in Windows XP
only.
Reserved.
19–30
Reserved
0
0
31
UI effects
1
1
When enabled, all user
interface effects
(combo box animation,
cursor shadow,
gradient captions, hot
tracking, list box
smooth scrolling, menu
animation, menu
underlines, selection
fade, tool tip
animation) are enabled.
Note The type of data is REG_BINARY, however this value is actually stored in
REG_DWORD format. When edited in the default format, remember that the low-order
bits are in the high-order positions. (The default Windows XP value of 0x80071290 will
show, and be edited, as 90 12 07 80.)
Something Else?
New! Since Microsoft put this into Windows XP, I'll show it. In the beta test product, users
could click a hyperlink in every window's title bar to send comments about that window to
Microsoft. The default text was "Comments?" A second key, LameButtonEnabled, turned on
the feature. This key is not present in released versions of Windows XP, though you can add it
if desired. However, as the name implies, this scheme is rather lame...
LameButtonEnabled
The LameButtonEnabled entry specifies whether the Comments? hyperlink is displayed in
each window's title bar. It's found in the subkey HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Control
Panel\Desktop.
Value entry:
LameButtonEnabled
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
0
Setting this entry to 1 enables the functionality. A value of 0 disables the display of the
"Comments?" hyperlink in a window.
LameButtonText
The LameButtonText entry specifies the text in the hyperlink displayed in each window's title
bar when LameButtonEnabled is set. It's found in the subkey HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Control
Panel\Desktop.
Value entry:
LameButtonText
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
Comments?
An empty string suppresses the display of any text. The text value does not affect the
functionality, or action taken by Windows, when this hyperlink is selected.
The Cursor
The cursor can be configured somewhat. The only parameter that can be set for the cursor
(sometimes called the text caret) is the blink rate. Some video systems, such as portables and
video projection systems, don't react well to fast blink rates. Setting the CursorBlinkRate
entry (discussed next) to a higher value may make the cursor easier to see.
CursorBlinkRate
The CursorBlinkRate entry specifies, in milliseconds, the blink rate of the cursor. It's found in
the subkey HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Control Panel\Desktop.
Value entry:
CursorBlinkRate
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
530
A smaller value will make the cursor blink faster, while larger values make it blink slower.
Note Where'd that odd value of 530 milliseconds come from? Why not just use 500
milliseconds, which is half a second? Got me. This is a holdover from the earliest
versions of Windows.
Menus and the Windows User Interface
In the past, the Windows 95/98/Me user interface allowed more user flexibility when
selecting menu items. Menu selections follow the cursor better in Windows XP and display
cascading menus as the cursor is positioned over them. Try your Start menu for a good
example of menu cascading. As an example, the MenuShowDelay entry controls cascadingmenu delays; I'll cover it next.
MenuShowDelay
The MenuShowDelay entry controls how long Windows XP will delay before showing a
cascading menu.
Value entry:
MenuShowDelay
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical Value:
400
If the user pauses on a menu item that has a cascading menu under it, after the time specified
in milliseconds, Windows XP displays the cascading menu automatically.
Slower processors may work better with a smaller value. However, the default of 400
milliseconds works well in most Windows XP installations.
Keyboard Settings
Several value entries are used to configure the keyboard under Windows. For most systems,
they will contain default values, though they are all easily modified by the user in the Control
Panel's Keyboard applet.
InitialKeyboardIndicators
The InitialKeyboardIndicators entry is used to set or clear keyboard toggle keys, such as Num
Lock and Caps Lock.
Value entry:
InitialKeyboardIndicators
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
0
The Num Lock key can be problematic because many users wish to have it turned on at the
time they log on. There are two ways to ensure that this happens. One way is to turn on the
Num Lock key, then press Ctrl+Alt+Delete and select the Logoff button. Alternately, in the
registry, change the user's setting in either HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Control Panel\Keyboard or
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Keyboard. Change the InitialKeyboardIndicators
entry from whatever value it already has to 2. This will force on the Num Lock key.
Note Other values in the Keyboard key control the other toggle keys, including the Caps Lock
and Scroll Lock keys.
KeyboardDelay
KeyboardDelay sets the delay before a pressed keyboard key will begin to repeat.
Value entry:
KeyboardDelay
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
1
The auto-repeat function can be very valuable to anyone who needs to draw a line in their
word processor, move the cursor with the arrow keys, or repeat the same key a number of
times over. With this benefit comes a problem: we sometimes inadvertently hold keys down
longer than we should, leading to multippppple characters in our text. Yep, I paused a bit too
long on the p in that word, trying to decide if my editor would let me do it!
On the other hand, if you are a good typist, then a quickly working key repeat with minimal
delay will speed things up. Each has their own value that they'd like to see, and for this one, 0
is about a quarter of a second, and 3 is a full second, more or less.
Note Times are approximate. Though a computer is capable of measuring even very small
amounts of time, it cannot accurately repeat such measurements.
KeyboardSpeed
The KeyboardSpeed entry sets how quickly keys will be repeated when a key is held down for
longer than KeyboardDelay (above).
Value entry:
KeyboardSpeed
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
31
The repeat rate can be between 2 and 30 characters per second, where the value of
KeyboardSpeed ranges from 0 to 31. Too high a repeat rate causes the user to often type more
repeating characters than desired, while a low rate causes the user to be frustrated and cranky.
Keyboard Layout
Keyboard Layout (notice the space in the name) holds what the user's current keyboard layout
is. For example, I can switch to a Thai keyboard layout and type in Thai script, like this: (no,
that word doesn't mean anything). This registry subkey is located at
HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Keyboard Layout. Within this subkey are a number of other subkeys,
used to hold information about using and customizing keyboards.
Tip It is easiest to use the Control Panel's Keyboard applet to modify Keyboard Layout
objects.
The Mouse and the Microsoft IntelliMouse
There are a number of settings for the mouse and the Microsoft IntelliMouse, which has a
wheel that scrolls windows. As support for Microsoft's IntelliMouse improves, more and more
applications will work with the scroll wheel. The scroll wheel has a switch functioning as a
separate button. A user may assign functionality to this button.
WheelScrollLines
Only meaningful for the IntelliMouse, the WheelScrollLines entry specifies the number of
lines to scroll whenever the user uses the mouse wheel. It's found in
HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Control Panel\Desktop.
Value entry:
WheelScrollLines
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
3
The wheel has discrete degrees of movement that provide tactile feedback to the user. The
default value is to scroll three lines.
Tip Windows at this point doesn't allow an easy method to modify this value; however, since
you have this book, you can change it as needed.
It takes some time to experiment with and get used to using the IntelliMouse's wheel for
scrolling. Before long, it can become second nature, and then it can be very fast and easy to
use.
Note If you're using Windows NT 4, be sure to get Microsoft's latest drivers for the
IntelliMouse. Although there is some native support for wheel mice in Windows NT, the
latest drivers offer improved performance.
DoubleClickHeight and DoubleClickWidth
The DoubleClickHeight and DoubleClickWidth settings in HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Control
Panel\Mouse control how much the mouse may move before Windows XP won't consider two
clicks in quick succession to be a double-click.
Value entry:
DoubleClickHeight or DoubleClickWidth
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
4
For most users, the default values are fine. However, users with notebook computers that
don't have good pointer resolution and users with handicaps may wish to make the doubleclick tolerance higher, especially when working with a high-resolution screen.
Other Mouse Values
Table 12.2 shows some of the other values in the registry that affect mouse performance. Each
of these values is located in the HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Control Panel\Mouse key. Some are
changed using the Control Panel's Mouse applet; others require registry surgery.
Value Entry
Table 12.2: Miscellaneous Mouse Values
Type
Default or Typical Value
Description
Value Entry
Table 12.2: Miscellaneous Mouse Values
Type
Default or Typical Value
Description
ActiveWindowTracking REG_DWORD 0
Allows the user to
bring a window to
the top, as can be
done in X
Windows.
Typically turned
off, set this value to
1 to turn on this
feature.
DoubleClickSpeed
REG_SZ
500
Sets how much time
between mouse
clicks before
Windows won't
consider two clicks
in succession to be
a double-click.
MouseSpeed
REG_SZ
1
Sets the degree of
scaling for the
mouse-pointer
movement. A
setting of 1 doubles
the speed; 2
quadruples the
speed.
MouseThreshold1
REG_SZ
6
Changes the
acceleration-tospeed ratio for the
mouse.
MouseThreshold2
REG_SZ
10
Changes the
acceleration-tospeed ratio for the
mouse.
SmoothMouseXCurve
REG_BINARY 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 15 6E 00
00 00 00 00 00 00 40 01 00 00 00
00 00 29 DC 03 00 00 00 00 00
00 00 28 00 00 00 00 00
Sets the mouse X
coordinate
smoothing when a
curve is made by
the user.
SmoothMouseYCurve
REG_BINARY 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 B8 5E
01 00 00 00 00 00 CD 4C 05 00
00 00 00 00 CD 4C 18 00 00 00
00 00 00 00 38 02 00 00 00 00
Sets the mouse Y
coordinate
smoothing when a
curve is made by
the user.
SnapToDefaultButton
REG_SZ
When set to 1,
automatically
moves the mouse to
0
Value Entry
Table 12.2: Miscellaneous Mouse Values
Type
Default or Typical Value
Description
the current default
button whenever
Windows displays a
new window.
SwapMouseButtons
REG_SZ
0
When set to 1,
swaps the right and
left mouse buttons,
which is marginally
useful for lefthanded users (ever
seen a left-handed
mouse?).
Other User Interface Settings
You can use a few other user interface settings with Windows XP. Some of these just don't fit
well in the previous section, so I've given them their own home.
Displaying Your Favorites
With Windows XP, displaying Internet Explorer's Favorites list in the Start menu allows you
to quickly jump to an Internet Explorer favorite item. Simply open the Taskbar's Properties
dialog box, and in the Advanced tab, turn on Display Favorites. To do the same change in the
registry, follow these steps:
1. At a command prompt, create a new directory (using the command MD) named
WWW in the following location: "%UserProfile%\Start Menu\WWW". Be sure to
include the quotes in this command because this is a long filename.
2. Copy all your favorites, typically in %UserProfile%\Favorites, to your new directory
at %UserProfile%\Start Menu\WWW.
3. In the registry, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\
Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders.
4. Edit the value entry Favorites, changing its value to "%UserProfile%\Start
Menu\WWW". This will force Internet Explorer to use your new Favorites directory
instead of your original Favorites.
Hiding Control Panel Applets
New! You can hide any of the Control Panel applets, thereby not allowing the user to easily
change part of the Windows configuration, by modifying the don't load key values. Simply
add a data value, whose name is the same as the Control Panel applet that is not to be loaded
in the don't load key. Follow these steps:
1. In MyComputer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ContorlPanel\don't load, create a new
subkey with the same name as the Control Panel applet to be controlled. For example,
to force the Control Panel to not display the NCPA.CPL applet, name the new data
key ncpa.cpl. Specify a data type of REG_SZ for this key. If this key already exists
with the correct data type, then proceed to step 2.
2. Set the data value of this new key to No.
3. In HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\openas\command, change the value entry, which is
named (default) in RegEdit, to have the following value (if by chance, you do not have
an OpenAs subkey, then see the upcoming section "Customizing the Properties Pop-up
Menu"):
4.
%SystemRoot%\System32\rundll32.exe %SystemRoot%\System32\
shell32.dll ,OpenAs_RunDLL %1
Windows XP typically sets both nacp.cpl and odbccp32.cpl to not load when the Control
Panel starts.
Setting Your Country
In the registry, you set the country code in International\Geo. A single entry, Nation, is found
there. Nation is a REG_SZ data key with a numeric code for the country. For example, the
United States has the country code 244, while Canada is 39. This key is under
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\International\Geo.
Warning The country codes are not the country/region codes that we normally use. Often
country codes are based on the international telephone country prefix. In this case,
the country codes used are unique to Windows XP and several other Microsoft
applications.
Customizing the Properties Pop-up Menu
You can add functionality to the properties of the pop-up menu that Explorer displays for a
file or link. To customize the Windows XP generic properties pop-up menu to add an Open
With menu selection, do the following:
1. In HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*, create a new subkey, called openas.
2. In HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\openas, created in step 1, create a subkey called
command.
3. In HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\openas\command, change the value entry, which is
named (default) in RegEdit, to have the value:
4.
%SystemRoot%\System32\rundll32.exe %SystemRoot%\System32\
shell32.dll ,OpenAs_RunDLL %1
Custom Icons on the Desktop
You can change the icons for certain objects—My Computer, My Network Places, Recycle
Bin (full), and Recycle Bin (empty)—using the Display Properties dialog box in the Control
Panel. Fine and dandy. Nevertheless, what about changing the other system icons?
The icon that is most often changed is that yellow folder used when Windows XP displays a
directory on the Desktop. With all those bright colors and complex icons, the yellow folder
icon is just a bit plain. That one's easy to fix; you can change the icon in the Properties dialog
box for the specific folder.
Other icons can be more problematic. For example, changing some of the icons on the
Desktop can be most intimidating. Table 12.3 lists some of the Windows XPDesktop objects
that have icons that are difficult to change.
Name
Table 12.3: CLSIDs for Some Desktop Objects
CLSID
Windows 2000 Windows XP
Compatible
Compatible
Inbox (a.k.a. Outlook)
00020D75-0000-0000-C000- √
000000000046
√
Internet Explorer 1.0
0002DF01-0000-0000-C000- √
000000000046
Internet Explorer 2 or later
FBF23B42-E3F0-101B-8488- √
00AA003E56F8
√
Microsoft Outlook
00020D75-0000-0000-C000- √
000000000046
√
My Computer
20D04FE0-3AEA-1069A2D8-08002B30309D
√
√
Network Neighborhood
208D2C60-3AEA-1069A2D7-08002B30309D
My Network Places
208D2C60-3AEA-1069A2D7-08002B30309D
√
√
Recycle Bin
645FF040-5081-101B-9F08- √
00AA002F954E
√
The Internet
3DC7A020-0ACD-11CFA9BB-00AA004AE837
√
√
The Microsoft Network
(MSN)
00028B00-0000-0000-C000000000000046
To change the name for one of the objects mentioned in Table 12.3, go to
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID and scroll down until you find the CLSID for the item that
you wish to change. Open the subkey and note that there are by default four values:
(default) The default registry value for this subkey that contains the title text
InfoTip A REG_EXPAND_SZ string containing the location of the tip text
IntroText A REG_EXPAND_SZ string containing the location of the introductory text.
LocalizedString A REG_SZ string containing a path to shell32.dll, a resource locator, and a
second copy of the title text
Modify the (default) and LocalizedString values to include your title rather than the default
text. You can also modify the InfoTip text to change the text displayed when the user moves
the mouse cursor over the item.
Tip I always create three new strings, prefixing each original name with Old, and then store
the original values. This allows me to restore the original text easily.
To change the Desktop icon for one of these objects, go to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID
and scroll down until you find the CLSID (from Table 12.3) for the item that you wish to
change. Open the subkey and then under that subkey open the subkey named DefaultIcon.
In the DefaultIcon subkey, there will be a default REG_SZ entry, containing the path to the
icon to display. Simply change that path to another icon path.
Want More Icons?
There are two main sources of icons in Windows XP. The first, shell32.dll, contains the icons
used by Windows for many components. The icons in shell32.dll are numbered starting from
1 (not zero, as was the previous convention). However the icons are not contiguously
numbered: rather there are gaps in the numbering sequence, which makes guessing at an
icon's ordinal number difficult.
Most program executable files contain icons, too.
Another file that contains only icons is moricons.dll. This file is located in the
%SystemRoot%\System32 directory. This file contains hundreds of icons of all different
types. If you find that none of the icons in shell32.dll are to your liking, check out the
moricons.dll file.
For fun, I searched my %SystemRoot% directory for all files with the word icon in them,
using the command dir *icon*.*. I found about 20 files that had a multitude of icons that I
could use for applications on my Desktop. Just be sure that when you use the icon in another
file, the file doesn't get uninstalled at some time in the future—it may be a good idea to create
a new folder in System32 called something like My Icons, and place a copy of the file in
there.
Figure 12.1 shows the registry entry for the Recycle Bin. This entry is the most complex of
the Desktop icons, in that the Recycle Bin will automatically switch between an icon
representing the full or empty state as necessary. Windows XP always displays the icon that is
in the (default) entry and doesn't know about any other entries in the DefaultIcon subkey.
Getting ideas here? You can hide a few icon definitions in the DefaultIcon subkey for later
manual retrieval if you want.
Figure 12.1: The Recycle Bin has two icons, plus the (default) entry for icons. You can
change both the empty and full icons if you want.
The Recycle Bin's Icons
The Recycle Bin is unique; it has two icons: one for empty and one for full. You may change
either or both. If you check the Recycle Bin's subkey, you will see their arrangement (see
Figure 12.1). Either the empty icon or the full icon will match the icon specified in the default
entry. You must maintain this relationship. For example, if the empty icon entry matches the
default entry, change both at the same time to the same value. The Recycle Bin automatically
changes the default icon depending on its state by copying either the full or empty icon
description to the default entry.
Windows XP displays only the icon in the value entry named (default) in RegEdit, because
Windows knows nothing about whether the Recycle Bin has anything in it.
If the Recycle Bin's icons get out of sync, drop a file into the Recycle Bin, then empty it. This
should force the Recycle Bin to resynchronize the displayed icon.
Enhancing the Start Menu
You may add a number of new entries to the Start menu, such as quick shortcuts to specific
Control Panel applets. This process is not really a registry modification; but you do use
CLSIDs, so we'll pretend that it is.
A folder named with <any name>.{<CLSID>}, as shown in the following format example, is
handled differently from other folders by Windows XP. Explorer will display the part of the
name before the period. (Remember, Explorer displays the Start menu, too.) Explorer then
uses the part after the period, the CLSID number, to fill in the directory structure.
For example, a directory named Control Panel.{21ec2020-3aea-1069-a2dd-08002b30309d}
will display the name "Control Panel" and all the items in the folder in Explorer and in the
Start menu. The following Windows XP components support this behavior:
•
Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}
•
•
•
Printers.{2227A280-3AEA-1069-A2DE-08002B30309D}
Dial-Up Networking.{992CFFA0-F557-101A-88EC-00DD010CCC48}
Recycle Bin {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}
Note When creating one of these special folders, don't forget to enclose the CLSID in curly
braces. It won't work otherwise. The name, the portion before the period, may be any
name that you desire.
Sounds Microsoft Never Gave Us
It is possible to add new sounds to Windows XP. For example, every time you start the
Registry Editor, you could have ringin.wav play a difficult-to-ignore bell sound.
To add new sounds, follow these steps:
1. Start the Registry Editor and open the subkey
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\AppEvents\Schemes\Apps.
Note This process requires setting the (default) value and works best if done with
RegEdit. However, here is another method. Instead of performing step 5 in these
instructions, use the Sounds applet in the Control Panel to set the value. The
Sounds applet will allow you to fill in the (default) value.
2. Create a new subkey named RegEdit, or whatever the name is of the program that you
are adding sounds to.
3. In your new key, create a subkey called Open.
4. In your new Open key, create a subkey called .Current. Don't forget the leading
period.
5. In your .Current subkey, set the (default) value to ringin.wav, or whatever sound file
you want.
After completing the entries in steps 2, 3, and 4, modify sounds played using the Control
Panel's Sounds applet. The Sounds applet permits browsing and previewing sounds, making
setting the sounds easier.
Make .dll Files Show Their Own Icons
Windows displays .dll files in Explorer with a generic .dll icon. This generic icon conveys no
information about the .dll file, other than the fact that the file is a .dll.
Many .dll files have one or more icons. You can force Explorer to display the .dll's first icon,
if there is one, or the generic Windows file icon, if there is no icon in the .dll file. Change the
value contained in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\dllfile\DefaultIcon to the string "%1". The
original value, "%SystemRoot%\System32\shell32.dll,-154", is the generic icon for .dll files
and won't be used anymore.
Note Some .dll files have a default icon that is not a reasonable representation of what the .dll
file does. For example, the icon for the .dll file mmcndmgr is the same as the generic
folder icon.
Easter Egg Hunt?
As many of us know, Microsoft programmers put little credit screens and other goodies into
each Microsoft product. These screens are popularly called Easter Eggs because they are
intended to be found by users, perhaps by accident.
The United States government has now forbidden Microsoft from putting Easter Egg type
objects in their operating systems, under the guise that programs and products used by the
government must not contain undocumented features or functionalities.
Sadly, there is much of Windows XP that is undocumented and only really understood by
Microsoft. The only effect that the government's restriction has had is the elimination of the
traditional Easter Egg.
Console and Command-Prompt Settings
Windows installations have a subkey under HKEY_CURRENT_USER called Console. Under
Console, there is a subkey called %SystemRoot%_system32_ntvdm.exe. Windows XP does
not, by default, have this subkey, though you may choose to add it. This section describes
customizing areas of the user interface specific to a Command Prompt window. As expected,
the values discussed in this section affect console and command-prompt windows that do not
have a custom configuration created.
All changes to the Console subkey will change the default values for all command-prompt
windows created after the change takes effect. After opening a window, use the Properties
dialog box to change the window's attributes.
The user may create additional subkeys under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Console key.
Name each subkey created with the same name as a console window's title. When Windows
creates a console window with the same name as a subkey found in
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Console, it will use the setting in this subkey to configure the
window's default view. As an example, I have a subkey named Command Prompt, which
matches the title in several command-prompt windows.
More Than One Way to Set Command-Prompt Options!
In Windows XP, you can have three different values set for many options:
1. The first level, found in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\
Microsoft\Command Processor key, affects all users.
2. The next level, found in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ Microsoft\Command
Processor, affects only the currently logged-on user (and is saved in that user's
profile).
3. The final level, where the configuration is entered as a parameter passed to the
command processor when it is invoked, affects only that particular session.
For more information about which command-prompt options and parameters may be set in
these three ways, enter the command CMD /? at any command prompt.
Foreground and Background Colors
You can change a command prompt's foreground and background colors. I prefer a light gray
background with black characters, or sometimes dark blue characters. Three areas affect the
colors used for a command-prompt window: the color table entries, the command-prompt
window colors, and the pop-up window colors.
By modifying the color table entries (ColorTable00 through ColorTable15), you create a
custom color palette. Windows XP allows modification of the color palette in the Display
Properties dialog box, although some users may be able to use the registry for this.
Setting the foreground and background indexes into the color table entries changes the
window colors. Indexes are stored for both foreground and background as a single DWORD
entry.
ColorTable00 through ColorTable15
The color table entries (see Figure 12.2) allow users to select colors for fonts and
backgrounds.
Value entries:
ColorTable00 through ColorTable15
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
(RGB value, varies)
Figure 12.2: The HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Console key includes the color entries used in
command windows.
The default colors for a command window are white on a black background. You can display
the command window's properties dialog box from the window's System menu, or you can
right-click the window's title bar and choose Properties.
The Properties dialog box contains four tabs. Choose the final tab, Colors. In this tab, you can
choose the colors for the window or the pop-up window's background and foreground from
the standard 16-color palette (see Figure 12.3).
Figure 12.3: The Colors tab allows setting colors and color palettes.
The standard palette allows selecting the rather common and mundane colors. It also allows
the user to customize colors using a set of edit controls. Some users will want the custom
colors to be available. An alternative to setting these colors manually, one by one, is to change
them in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Console.
Each color index is a DWORD, consisting of red, green, and blue values, for example,
00RRGGBB. Each color value may range from 0 to 255. The initial two digits are always
zeros.
PopupColors
Windows uses a pop-up window to inform you of some action or problem. You can set its
colors independently from the colors of the command window itself.
Value entry:
PopupColors
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
0xF5
The DWORD value contains two bytes; one byte is used and the other is ignored. This allows
specifying both the foreground and background color indexes. These colors are indexes to the
ColorTablenn entries. The first four bits, 5 in the preceding typical value, are the foreground
color index. The second four bits, the F in the preceding typical value, are the background
color index.
ScreenColors
Command windows may have both foreground and background colors set using
ScreenColors.
Value entry:
ScreenColors
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
0x07
The DWORD value consists of two bytes; one byte is used and the other is ignored. This
allows specifying both the foreground and background color indexes. These colors are
indexes to the ColorTablenn entries. The first four bits, 7 in the preceding typical value,
specify the foreground color index. The second four bits, the 0 in the preceding typical value,
specify the background color index.
Memory Used by Command-Prompt Windows
A couple of settings control the memory used by a command-prompt window. This memory
is only for the display and does not, for example, affect memory available for applications.
CurrentPage
The CurrentPage entry specifies the current page to use. The user should not reset this system
variable.
Value entry:
CurrentPage
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
0x0
ScreenBufferSize
The ScreenBufferSize entry specifies the size of the screen buffer. The buffer size specifies
the height and width value.
Value entry:
ScreenBufferSize
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
0x012C0050
The DWORD value has two bytes, allowing you to specify both the width and height in
characters of the screen buffer. The low-order word (a DWORD consists of two words)
specifies the width, while the high-order word specifies the height. For example, 0x012C0050
specifies a screen buffer that is 0 x 12C (300) lines high and 80 characters wide.
Cursors
The cursor attributes allow customizing the cursor size. The standard cursor for a Windows
XP command-prompt window is a modified underline cursor that can be set to a block cursor
of varying size. I suggest modifying the underline cursor because it is actually a very short
block cursor that looks like an underline, and therefore may be difficult to see.
CursorSize
The CursorSize entry specifies the percentage of the character cell that is filled with the
cursor.
Value entry:
CursorSize
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
0x19 (that's 25 in decimal)
The Options tab of the Properties dialog box allows setting the cursor to three sizes: Small,
Medium, and Large (see Figure 12.4). Actually, this value may be a number between 0,
Windows displays no cursor, and 99, Windows displays a full block cursor.
Figure 12.4: The Options tab allows setting many different options, such as three different
cursor sizes.
Keep in mind that the cursor consists of discrete lines based on the command-prompt
window's font size. As the font size gets larger, the user has more control over the size of the
cursor.
Note Windows XP does not have any provision for a nonblinking cursor. Such is life—it just
blinks on and on and on.
Fonts
Font attributes may be set, in a limited fashion, from the Font tab of the command prompt's
Properties dialog box (see Figure 12.5). More control of fonts is available in the registry.
Setting font values requires an understanding of fonts, especially when using complex ones,
such as TrueType.
Figure 12.5: The Font tab allows setting some font specifications. You have more flexibility
when directly manipulating the registry.
For simple changes, such as font size and so on, use the Properties dialog box. To select fonts
that are not available normally, or sizes that the dialog box doesn't allow you to set, direct
manipulation of the registry is the way to go.
FaceName
The FaceName entry specifies the font used to display characters in a command-prompt
window and is by default a raster font.
Value entry:
FaceName
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
(None)
Windows creates a raster font character in a cell, say 8 dots wide by 12 dots high, producing a
moonscape font. Raster fonts are faster for Windows to process, but usually don't have much
size flexibility. They are also generally lower in quality due to size constraints. Complex
fonts, such as the TrueType fonts, are infinitely variable in size and are typically of higher
quality when displayed in larger sizes. However, a complex font, such as a TrueType font,
requires more system resources (CPU capacity) to display as the font must be drawn, or
rendered, when used.
Most command windows use the default font, which is an undefined raster font. The font size
may vary depending on screen resolution, although a default size in most installations is 8 x
12, providing a reasonable, readable display.
FontFamily
The FontFamily entry specifies the font family for the window's display font. There are a
number of different families, such as TrueType and raster.
Value entry:
FontFamily
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
0
This entry is a DWORD, with values that include:
0
Don't care which is used
10
Roman family
20
Swiss family
30
Modern family
40
Script family
50
Decorative family
As the most flexible font-family specification is 0 or "don't care," most users do not change
this value.
Warning Before setting font-family values, be sure to understand what is, and how to specify,
a family value. Setting an invalid family value may cause the display to be different
from what was expected.
FontSize
The FontSize entry specifies the value for the font displayed.
Value entry:
FontSize
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
0
Windows divides the DWORD value into two halves, allowing both the width and height of
the characters to be stored in one value. The low-order word specifies the width, while the
high-order word specifies the height. For example, 0x0008000C specifies a character that is 8
x 12 in size. (Remember, 0x000C in hex is 12 in decimal.)
FontWeight
The FontWeight value specifies whether a font is bold or light.
Value entry:
FontWeight
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
0
A default value of zero specifies a default character that is not bold. Values range from 0 to
1000; typical values are shown here:
0
Don't care how bold
100
Thin
200
Extralight
300
Light
400
Normal
500
Medium
600
Semibold
700
Bold
800
Extrabold
900
Heavy
Note The
"don't
care"
(0)
value
will be
equated
with the
normal
level
(400) of
bolding.
A generic bold/nonbold may be set from the Font tab in the command prompt's Properties
dialog box when displaying a TrueType font. Raster fonts do not support the bold attribute.
What the Window Looks Like
You can change the appearance of the command-prompt window in a number of ways (see
Figure 12.6). Direct manipulation is possible; for example, the window location can be set
using a simple drag-and-drop procedure. Other window attributes can be set using the registry
or the Properties dialog box for the window.
Figure 12.6: The Layout tab allows setting the size, position, and buffer size of the screen.
FullScreen
The FullScreen entry specifies whether the console session is full screen or windowed.
Value entry:
FullScreen
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
0
Most users put their command-prompt sessions in a window, and not full screen, for ease of
use. The two values allowed for this entry are as follows:
1
0
Note
Full-screen mode
Windowed mode
This option is usable only on Windows running on Intel
x86 machines. RISC systems allow only windowed mode.
WindowSize
The WindowSize entry specifies the size of the command-prompt window. WindowSize is
both a height and a width value, each stored in the same DWORD.
Value entry:
WindowSize
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
0x190050
Windows splits the WindowSize DWORD into two bytes, allowing you to specify both the
width and height of the screen buffer. The low-order word specifies the width, while the highorder word specifies the height. For example, 0x00190050 specifies a screen buffer that is 0 x
19 (25) lines high and 80 (0 x 50) characters wide.
WindowPosition
The WindowPosition entry specifies the Window's location on the Desktop relative to the
upper-left corner.
Value entry:
WindowPosition
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
0x000000000
This position is the number of pixels in the x- and y-axes. Windows splits the DWORD value
into two halves, allowing both the x- and y-axes of the window to use the same DWORD. The
low-order word specifies the width, while the high-order word specifies the height. For
example, 0x00000000 specifies that the command prompt will be located in the upper-left
part of the Desktop at screen coordinates 0,0.
Note When setting WindowPosition in the Properties dialog box, Windows XP keeps the user
from entering a value that would move the window entirely off the Desktop. However,
when setting these values manually, there is no safeguard to prevent placing the window
off the screen. This presents some interesting possibilities in hiding a window. (Moving
a window off the Desktop hides it; you have to maximize the window from the Taskbar
to use it.)
The Command History Buffer
Windows XP maintains a command buffer that allows users to recall previously entered
commands for reexecution. You can configure the command history buffer in both the
command prompt's Properties dialog box and the registry, setting the buffer size, the number
of buffers, whether duplicates are stored, and so on.
Why do we set the number of commands stored in a buffer and the number of buffers as well?
I haven't found a satisfactory answer to this question. I am not aware of advantages of having
multiple smaller buffers versus having a few large buffers. Microsoft has not clarified this.
DosKey performs the command history management, which is loaded by Windows XP every
time a command-prompt session is started. DosKey allows the definition of keys, the creation
of macros, and so on.
Windows XP and Windows 2000 have the command history buffer support built into the
command processor, while in earlier versions, the buffer support was not as tightly integrated
with the command processor. Regardless of where the command history buffer is maintained,
the functionality does not change.
For more information on DosKey, enter the command DosKey /? at any command prompt.
The help screen will assist you in using DosKey.
HistoryBufferSize
The command buffer is activated using the up and down arrow keys. The HistoryBufferSize
entry specifies the number of commands stored.
Value entry:
HistoryBufferSize
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
0x32 (that's 50 in decimal)
A number of buffers can be set in the command prompt's Properties dialog box, regardless of
whether duplicate commands are saved or not.
HistoryNoDup
The HistoryNoDup entry specifies whether consecutive duplicate entries of a command will
be stored in the command history buffer or not.
Value entry:
HistoryNoDup
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
0x0
This entry controls whether duplicate commands are saved or not. Values allowed in this
entry are as follows:
1
Discard duplicates
0
Keep duplicates
NumberOfHistoryBuffers
NumberOfHistoryBuffers specifies the size of the Windows XP command buffer.
Value entry:
NumberOfHistoryBuffers
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
0x4
The command buffer is activated using the up and down arrow keys. This entry allows you to
specify how many buffers are used (see also the previous section). The default value, 4, is
usually adequate for most users.
Miscellaneous Settings
There are a few settings that don't seem to fit into the other categories I've discussed so far.
Settings for the InsertMode, QuickEdit, and CompletionChar entries are helpful to users.
InsertMode
A command-prompt window allows a default insert/overwrite mode. (The default may be
changed by pressing the Insert key on the keyboard.)
Value entry:
InsertMode
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
1
Most users set insert on, with a value of 1 (this is my preference), although some users find
that overwrite mode is more convenient.
QuickEdit
QuickEdit is a mode that allows you to quickly mark information, copy it to the Clipboard,
and paste the information from the Clipboard with the mouse.
Value entry:
QuickEdit
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
0
You can set this mode to QuickEdit disabled, which allows normal editing and is signified
with a value of 0, or QuickEdit enabled, which is signified with a value of 1.
CompletionChar
CompletionChar is located in HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/ Microsoft/Command
Processor. This value entry tells Windows XP to complete a partially typed filename when the
user presses a specified key.
Value entry:
CompletionChar
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
0
Many users set this key's value to 9, the numeric value for the Tab key. Other keys could be
used, but be careful not to select a key that is already used with Windows.
After setting this value and logging on again, open a command window. Next, in the root
directory, type the command dir w. Next, press the Tab key or whatever key you assigned to
the command-completion key. Notice how Windows now cycles through each directory or
file that begins with the letter w.
Note The subkey Command Processor may not be present for users who have upgraded from
previous versions of Windows NT. If this subkey is missing, create it and the
CompletionChar value entry. Be sure to preserve both case and spaces in these names and
to assign the key's data type as REG_DWORD, in order to ensure that they work correctly.
Chapter 13: Networking and Registry
System Entries
Overview
For a typical user, the Windows XP internal registry entries probably occupy about half of the
registry. Only after adding many applications does this proportion change much. Many
networking and system registry modifications are easy to do, although unlike changes to the
user interface, they can be dangerous. Making an improper change can break the operating
system, which may prevent you from booting your system. There are many changes that,
when done improperly, will cause serious damage to the system, necessitating restoration of
the registry from a backup.
You should make most networking changes using the Control Panel's Network applet. The
main reason for this is that after making changes, the Network applet will check the registry to
ensure that all networking registry entries are valid. This is not an exhaustive, problemfinding check; rather the Network applet just updates some entries if updating is necessary. In
other words, don't rely on this updating to detect errors. Windows updates the registry during
the binding phase.
Note that many of the settings for networking won't take effect until you restart the system.
Simply logging on again isn't sufficient, as Windows reads some network settings only at boot
time.
System Entries
Many of the other registry hives contain system entries. Most system entries are located in
hives HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, HKEY_CURRENT_USER (HKEY_USERS), and
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG. You can ignore HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG, since it
contains only a reference to the CurrentControlSet subkey contained in the
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive. That is, modifying an object in
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG\System would simply modify the corresponding object in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System. Ditto for HKEY_USERS, since this information is
available in HKEY_CURRENT_USER as well.
So at this point, if you examine the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive, you'll see most of the
configurations that Windows XP uses for the system. Windows divides the entries into a
number of major areas, including networking, disk, other hardware support, and other
software configuration entries.
Do I Always Have to Reboot?
The updating of network settings continues to improve in Windows XP. Generally, it is not
necessary to reboot the computer unless prompted to.
Although Windows XP will sometimes work fine without being rebooted following a change
made using the Control Panel, I recommend that you always reboot when, and if, the Network
applet suggests that you do so. If you have systems or software that slow down the rebooting
process, such as Microsoft Exchange Server, consider disabling these systems or software
while making changes to the networking registry components.
Warning Do I have to say it repeatedly? Back up your registry before making changes in it!
Changing the system and networking sections of the registry is extremely dangerous.
These sections are some of the most sensitive and difficult ones to modify.
Networking Entries
Networking is a major component of Windows XP. Networks connect virtually every
Windows user, with many users connected to complex networks.
Often, we use the Control Panel's Network applet to make changes to the network
configuration. In fact, I recommend that you use the Network applet whenever possible,
because it is much more difficult to make serious, damaging errors using the Network applet.
Many of the network configuration settings are contained in the subkey
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\ CurrentVersion\Network.
Additionally, other keys that control the networking environment are found in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and elsewhere.
Windows XP handles network issues differently than it handles other components, such as
video. For example, the configuration of the network card is separate from any other interface
adapter. In addition, the network card configuration process is somewhat different. These
differences are due to the deep-rooted nature of networking in Windows.
After initializing the network settings, only certain changes will not necessitate a reboot.
Windows XP will advise you, often too frequently, that you must reboot before your changed
settings will take effect. Generally, the cautions are accurate—they won't take effect.
Sometimes it is necessary to defer rebooting until a later time, particularly when the computer
is a vital network server.
Note Sometimes you must make two or three different sets of changes at a given time, and
Windows may tell you after each one that it requires a reboot. Now, if you had infinite
time (anybody got a few hours to spare?), you could go ahead and reboot every time
Windows suggests it. Often, however, you can skip the reboot until you have made the
last network-related change. Then when you reboot, you can have all the changes take
effect at the same time.
Persistent Connections
Persistent connections are connections to network resources—typically, file- and printerbased resources—that are reconnected each time the user logs on. There are also nonpersistent
connections that are lost when the user logs off. Persistence is set at the time of connection
creation.
Here is a connection made from a command prompt, using the NET USE command:
NET USE * \\computername\sharename /PERSISTENT:YES
The NET USE command allows the user to specify persistence, although the default is for the
connection to be persistent. The connection would not be persistent had this command been
entered as so:
NET USE * \\computername\sharename /PERSISTENT:NO
When using Explorer to map a network drive, the dialog box used has a check box labeled
Reconnect at Logon. When checked, this option creates a persistent connection. Regardless of
the method used to create the connection, maintenance of persistence is the same: either
Windows restores the connection when the user logs on the next time, generally the default, or
the connection is lost when the user logs off.
Other than a value entry named Order, which specifies the order for the shared directory
connections (if you edit it, the order in the drop-down changes), the only entry in
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows
NT\CurrentVersion\Network\Persistent Connections that seems to do anything significant is
SaveConnections. This value entry specifies the default value used with Explorer when
mapping a network drive. The setting of the Map Network Drive dialog box's Reconnect at
Logon check box is stored in this value entry. If this value is missing, Explorer will assume
that the value is yes.
Just Because Microsoft Says It, Doesn't Mean It's Always So
Concerning persistent connections, the Microsoft Resource Kit for Windows NT 4 stated the
following about HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Network:
This object is no longer used. In previous versions of Windows NT, it stored persistent
connections. Persistent connections are now stored in
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Network\
Persistent Connections.
However, I've noticed that Windows XP still stores persistent-connection information in
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Network, and not in the subkey Microsoft identifies in the
Resource Kit. This is an example of how you should always check the system itself, rather
than simply trusting the documentation.
The main difference is how the share is accessed. If the share is accessed as a drive letter, then
the information about that connection seems to be located in
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Network, while shares that are not mapped to a drive letter are
stored elsewhere.
RestoreConnection
Ghosted connections are persistent connections that exist when the actual connection to the
server has not been reestablished after the user logs on. For example, say user John has
persistent connections to 10 network drives. Each time John logs on, Windows XP could
restore each network connection, establishing connections with each server. However, when
doing this, what happens? First, restoring a number of connections is slow. Second, if one or
more servers are unavailable at logon time, John will get some sort of message telling him
that Windows could not make the connection. Both situations are problematic because John is
always in a hurry. He knows that some of the servers are not available, but he doesn't care,
because he won't be using those connections until he knows the server is accessible.
Windows XP uses ghosted connections when a user doesn't need or want an actual connection
until there is a need for the connection. Once the user uses the connection, Windows will
make the necessary connection. In some instances, this technique can cause problems; for
example, there will be a delay the first time that an inactive, ghosted connection is used. To
avoid such problems, you can disable ghosting with the following registry value:
Value entry:
RestoreConnection
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
0
Values used in this entry are as follows:
0
Windows will ghost the connection, restoring each connection as needed.
1
Windows restores the connection each time the user logs on.
This value entry is in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\NetworkProvider. Since this
entry doesn't exist by default in any version of Windows, you must create it in order to use it.
OptionalNames
Care to make your server appear as if it had a split personality? With this little-known trick, it
is easier to make this change than to tell how to do it. In the registry key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\ Services\LanmanServer\parameters,
you can add the following entry:
Value entry:
OptionalNames
Type:
REG_SZ or REG_MULTI_SZ
Typical value:
SPLIT
You must reboot the system for this change to take effect, but that is a small price to pay to
make your network appear to be larger than it really is. (This registry value does not exist by
default; you must create it if you are going to use it.)
Why do this? Several reasons. Say you add a new server. Eventually, this new server will
replace an old, preexisting server. You know that many users have persistent connections to
the old server. You create your new server with the name you choose, which will necessarily
be different from the old server, since the old server is still in use on the network. You set up
the new server, test it, and all is well.
At some quiet time, like when no clients are logged on, you migrate all resources from the old
server to the new server. Then you turn off the existing server. Finally, you just add the
OptionalNames entry using the name of the existing server. Tell users that you are migrating
to the new server and that they should use the new server's name, not the old name, whenever
they make new connections.
Users will eventually migrate to the new server's name, or you can change them manually
without disrupting the system.
Improving Network Performance
Several networking settings will improve performance. Increasing buffering usually improves
performance if sufficient memory is available. The following registry values, found in the
subkey HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\
Services\LanmanWorkstation\parameters, can help improve network performance. Some of
these entries may not exist on your system. If they don't exist, you will need to create them.
First, modify or add a MaxCmds value:
Value entry:
MaxCmds
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
15
This registry entry may contain a value between 0 and 255. Since the default value is only 15,
my recommendation is to increase it by steps of five, monitoring performance with each
change.
Both MaxThreads and MaxCollectionCount also affect network performance:
Value entry:
MaxThreads
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
15
This registry entry should contain the same value as MaxCmds, shown in the previous
example.
Value entry:
MaxCollectionCount
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
16
Specify the buffer used for the "character-mode named pipe" writes. You may choose a value
up to 65535.
Disk, Directory, and Related Entries
There are probably a thousand different registry entries that affect disk drives. Unfortunately,
many are specific to a given hardware configuration. The odds that any two computers would
have the same hardware configuration are somewhat remote, unless you bought them all on
the same day from the same vendor and had since made all changes yourself. In addition, the
number of different permutations of hardware makes it difficult to localize common entries
that would be significant to the majority of us. However, even with these staggering obstacles,
I've plowed ahead and found as many generic disk registry entries as I could. Let's hope that
these will answer most of your questions.
Moving Windows to a New Directory
This section is written for those who administer systems both with Windows XP and with
multiple versions of Windows. In Knowledge Base article Q154129, Microsoft outlines how
to change the name of the Windows NT 4 installation (root) directory. Microsoft has not
given (at the time this book was written) a process to move Windows XP; however, the
techniques in this article should be useful for anyone who must move Windows XP to a new
directory.
This is not an everyday action. However, for users who have upgraded earlier versions of
Windows NT that were installed in a directory with the version number as part of the
directory name, this process may make the installation look cleaner. For example, let's say
you upgraded an installation of Windows NT 4.0 installed in the directory WINNT. You'd
like to rename this directory WNTXP to reflect the current version number. Another example
involves installing the new version of the operating system into a temporary directory, such as
NewWNT, so that you have both versions of Windows installed at the same time.
Note No one has tested these renaming techniques with Windows XP. Similar to moving
Windows NT 4, moving Windows XP is probably possible, though the process will be
just as difficult.
There are two distinct possibilities here. If you have installed Windows NT or XP on an
NTFS partition, you follow a slightly complicated process that's described a little later. If
Windows NT is on a FAT partition, you can change the name using another somewhat
simpler process, described next.
FAT System Partitions: First Steps
Users who have installed Windows on a FAT partition have a somewhat simple task. FAT
doesn't support file security but is compatible with DOS and Windows 95/98/Me. It is a
simple process to use a boot diskette made on a DOS or Windows 95/98/Me computer to
access the files on the hard drive.
Microsoft Says "No" to Be Safe
Microsoft doesn't recommend or support renaming the Windows system directory. (Can we
blame them?) This means that if something goes wrong, you could be up the creek without a
paddle. For this reason, before doing this, do a full backup to ensure that you are able to
restore the original configuration just in case something goes wrong.
My own precaution is to carefully check installed applications to ensure that none are
expecting Windows to install them in a fixed location.
One test to perform first is to dump the registry and search for the installation directory, such
as C:\WINDOWS, in the registry. The Registry Editor could also do this search, but a dump
edited with a good text editor may work better. It is not necessary to search for the
environment variable %SystemRoot% in the registry—this variable will be updated
automatically.
Users of NTFS have to install a second copy of Windows to change the installation directory.
Luckily, users of FAT partitions don't have to do this. For FAT-based systems, perform the
following steps:
I recommend that you have sufficient disk space to hold at least two copies of the operating
system temporarily. This allows you to retain your original installation until you are able to
ensure that the change in directory names is working correctly. If you retain two copies, be
sure to rename the original so that the system won't see it.
Tip If your system is on a FAT32 partition, then you must use a later release of Windows 95
or any release of Windows 98/Me. The initial release of Windows 95 is not compatible
with FAT32.
1. Open a command-prompt window. Type the command attrib -r-s c:\boot.ini.
2. Create a bootable diskette, either from DOS or from Windows 95/98/Me. Copy the
xcopy, edit, and move command files to this diskette. Make sure they are compatible
with the operating system version on the diskette.
Tip It is not necessary to use an ERD (Emergency Repair Disk) to boot a Windows
95/98/Me system. Windows 95/98/Me is capable of creating bootable diskettes
with the format command, using the /s (for system) option. Windows XP does not
support formatting diskettes with the system option.
3. Boot your computer from the bootable disk. Test to ensure that the xcopy, edit, and
move commands are functioning correctly. If they aren't, correct this problem before
continuing.
4. After ensuring that the necessary commands work, make a directory, using the MD
command, with the new name that you wish to run Windows from—for example, type
MD WinNew.
Warning An alternative technique would be to use the DOS command move to
rename the directory. This is dangerous since you would then have no
backup to be able to go back to. I really do recommend making a full copy,
just in case!
5. Use the xcopy command to copy all the files and subdirectories from the original
Windows system directory to your new Windows system directory.
Note Use the xcopy command option /e to ensure that even empty subdirectories are
copied. Some empty subdirectories may be necessary for the system to work
correctly.
6. Using the edit command, change the boot.ini file. Edit and change the lines with the
original directory name to reflect the new directory name:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\Windows="Windows Server"
Both lines contain a directory reference, in our example, it is Windows. Change both
to read:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WinNew="Windows Server (new)"
In both cases, changing the text in quotes is a good idea. This is the prompt telling the
user to select the operating system.
Note It is not necessary, but may be desirable, to change the attributes in the boot.ini
file back to System and Read Only. If you do reset the attributes to System and
Read Only, do so after everything is working correctly.
7. Remove your boot diskette and attempt to reboot the system. If the system reboots and
runs correctly, continue.
8. Follow the steps outlined later under "Completing the Move." When done with these
steps, continue with the next step.
9. Again, reboot the system. If the system reboots and runs correctly, rename the original
directory, WINDOWS in our example, to a different name (say, Win_OLD).
Warning Do not delete this directory yet—wait until you have tested the change.
10. Now set the attributes back on boot.ini; use the command attrib c:\boot.ini +r +s.
11. After a suitable test period with no problems, typically several weeks, back up and
then delete the original installation directory that you renamed in step 9.
NTFS System Partitions: First Steps
Users who have installed Windows XP on an NTFS partition have a somewhat more difficult
task. NTFS is not accessible from DOS or Windows 95/98/Me, at least not easily accessible in
a read/write mode. Because of this limitation, you need to install a second operating system
that is compatible with NTFS—Windows XP or a version of Windows Server.
Note I recommend that you have sufficient disk space to hold two copies of the original
operating system temporarily, as well as a third, basic installation of the operating
system. This allows you to retain your original installation until you are able to ensure
that the change in directory names is working correctly. If you retain two copies, be sure
to rename the original so that the system won't see it.
To change the system directory name for Windows XP, follow these steps:
1. Install a new, maintenance copy of Windows XP or Server into a new directory. (If
you don't already have one installed, that is.) It is not necessary to install this copy of
Windows on the boot drive. However, doing so will make things slightly easier.
2. Open a command-prompt window. Type the command attrib -r-s c:\boot.ini.
3. Restart the computer, and boot your new maintenance copy of Windows XP/Server.
4. Log on as Administrator and open a command window.
5. Make a directory, using the MD command, with the new name that you wish to run
Windows from; for example, type MD WinNew.
Warning An alternative technique would be to use the command move to rename the
directory. This is dangerous since you would then have no backup to be able
to go back to. I recommend doing a full copy, just in case!
6. Use the xcopy command to copy all the files and subdirectories from the original
system directory to your new system directory.
Note Use the xcopy command option /e to ensure that even empty subdirectories are
copied. Some empty subdirectories may be necessary for the system to work
correctly.
7. Using the edit command, change the boot.ini file. Edit the following line, where
Windows is the original installation directory:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\Windows="Windows Server"
This line contains a directory reference; in our example, it is Windows. Change it to
read:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WinNew="Windows Server (new)"
In both cases, changing the text in quotes is a good idea. This is the prompt telling the
user to select the operating system.
Note It is not necessary, but may be desirable, to change the attributes on the boot.ini
file. If you do not immediately reset the attributes to System and Read Only,
remember to do so after everything is working correctly.
8. Attempt to reboot the system, selecting your original installation of Windows XP. If
the system reboots OK, continue.
9. Follow the steps outlined under the next section, "Completing the Move." When done
with these steps, continue with step 10.
10. Again, attempt to reboot the system, selecting your original installation of Windows
XP. If the original version of Windows XP reboots and runs correctly, rename the
original Windows XP directory, WINDOWS in our example, to a different name (say,
Win_OLD).
Warning Do not delete this directory yet—test the system thoroughly first!
11. Now, set the attributes back on boot.ini, using the command attrib c:\boot.ini +r +s.
12. After a suitable test period with no problems, typically several weeks, back up and
then delete the original installation directory that you renamed in step 10.
Completing the Move
Regardless of whether you have an NTFS or a FAT partition, it is necessary to perform the
following steps. You must modify a file called setup.log. With some versions of Windows,
the Backup program's registry restoration and Windows's Setup and Service Pack Setup
programs use setup.log. Additionally, the registry itself will have many hard-coded references
to the Windows system directory. You must modify these references, as well.
Perform the following steps on your FAT or NTFS system to complete the renaming process:
1. Back up the file setup.log to setup.bak using the copy command.
2. Open the file setup.log in the %SystemRoot%\Repair directory with a text editor, such
as the command prompt's edit command or Notepad.
3. Globally change all references to the original installation directory with the new name
that you have chosen.
Warning Be careful not to change anything other than the installation directory name in this
file, or the setup repair process will not be able to repair the system later.
A short section of a typical setup.log file is shown below. Assume that the original installation
directory is WINDOWS. As an example, I've used underlines here to highlight the lines that
would have to be changed:
[Paths]
TargetDirectory = "\WINDOWS"
TargetDevice = "\Device\Harddisk0\Partition1"
SystemPartitionDirectory = "\"
SystemPartition = "\Device\Harddisk1\Partition1"
[Signature]
Version = "WinNt5.0"
[Files.SystemPartition]
NTBOOTDD.SYS = "ataboot.sys","ad03"
NTDETECT.COM = "NTDETECT.COM","11f1b"
ntldr = "ntldr","3aae6"
arcsetup.exe = "arcsetup.exe","3036c"
arcldr.exe = "arcldr.exe","33a86"
[Files.WinNt]
\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\kbdclass.sys = "kbdclass.sys","8a28"
\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\mouclass.sys = "mouclass.sys","98d7"
\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\uhcd.sys = "uhcd.sys","d727"
\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\usbd.sys = "usbd.sys","9c73"
\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\hidparse.sys = "hidparse.sys","6230"
\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\hidclass.sys = "hidclass.sys","13b9c"
\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\usbhub.sys = "usbhub.sys","b54b"
\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\intelide.sys = "intelide.sys","4ae2"
\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\pci.sys = "pci.sys","14ec5"
\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\isapnp.sys = "isapnp.sys","12889"
\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\aic78xx.sys = "aic78xx.sys","1ce69"
\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\i8042prt.sys = "i8042prt.sys","c5b9"
Note There are typically about 3000 lines in a setup.log file. If your file is considerably
shorter, or does not start as the above example shows, make sure you are changing the
correct file!
You will need to scan the system registry to ensure that there are no hard-coded references to
the installation directory. I found that there were almost 2,000 hard-coded references to the
installation directory in a well-used installation. Each of these references would have to be
manually changed. Follow these steps to determine all hard-coded references to the
installation directory for Windows:
1. Using the Registry Editor, export the entire registry to a file called orig.reg. To do so,
select My Computer in the registry tree display.
2. Use a text editor's Search and Replace commands to change all occurrences of the
original installation directory name to the new directory name.
3. Reintegrate your edited registry into the original registry; either double-click the
exported registry in Explorer or type the command START orig.reg at a command
prompt.
Note This process is somewhat complex. There is an excellent chance that when you've
finished, the system will not work correctly. (Yes, you read that right—it may not work
correctly!) Always make sure you have a good backup for restoring in case the change
fails.
Upgrade Blues
Windows XP comes in two flavors: upgrade and full installation. You can usually get an
upgrade for an existing product at a considerable discount over the cost of an entire new
product license. Generally, the product is identical in both versions, but in the upgrade
version, the Setup program will confirm that you actually have the original product.
The test to see if there is an original product to upgrade is relatively simple, but not flawless.
The upgrade version of Windows XP will check the hard drive for a qualifying version of
Windows. If Setup finds no prior installation of Windows, it will prompt you to insert a disk
for the original product to prove you have a product that can be upgraded.
One problem comes about when you install the Windows XP upgrade on a system and you
later need to reinstall a new copy of Windows XP in the same directory. It is possible that the
Windows XP upgrade setup program won't work correctly, because it may think that you
don't have a product that is included in the upgrade offer when it only finds Windows XP on
the drive.
Note If you are installing a second copy of Windows XP, the upgrade program will work. It
only fails when reinstalling over the original installation.
Here is a quick workaround for this problem:
1. Edit the registry subkey HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows
NT\CurrentVersion. Change the value for CurrentVersion to 4.0, 5.0, 5.1 or whatever
version you need.
2. In the registry subkey HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\Setup, check the value
entry SystemSetupInProgress. If necessary, reset its value to 0.
3. In the registry subkey HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\Setup, check the value
entry UpgradeInProgress. If necessary, reset its value to 0. If this value does not exist,
don't worry about it; it is not necessary to add it.
4. If Windows has an installed service pack, it would be a very wise move to remove it
before reinstalling Windows XP. Otherwise, problems with the TCP/IP drivers may
result in system instability. After reinstalling Windows XP, reinstall the last service
pack. Remember, service packs are cumulative, so you only need to install the highest
numbered service pack. Finally, reinstall any hotfixes that were applied to the original
system.
5. With some earlier versions of Windows, if you have RAS (Remote Access Service) on
this computer, it is imperative to uninstall the service packs. (Service packs can
substantially change RAS.) However, some users are unable to remove the service
packs without breaking other critical parts of Windows XP. In that case, restore the
file %SystemRoot%\System32\Drivers\tcpip.sys from the original distribution CDROM or from the service pack uninstall directory
%SystemRoot%\$NtServicePackUninstall$.
Note To recover a file from the distribution CD-ROM, you must use the expand command
from a command prompt. Typing expand /? gives you more information on using
expand.
Where Was Windows XP Installed From?
Many of us change the drive letters assigned to the CD-ROM drives after the Windows
installation is completed. It is a simple process and helps provide order in the system,
especially if you are like me and add or remove drives frequently.
On my computers, I assign all CD-ROM drives to drive letters ranging from S: to Z:. I have
four servers with between one and three CD-ROM drives each. Shares have the same drive
letters on each networked computer. This way, a reference to S: on any computer on the
network will always access the same CD-ROM drive and usually the same CD-ROM, too.
Reassigning the CD-ROM drive letters makes the system more manageable, but there is one
problem. Every time you want to make a setup change to Windows XP and the Windows XP
Setup or Configuration programs need to access the original Windows XP CD-ROM, the
prompt will be for the Windows XP installation CD-ROM drive letter used. This drive letter
will be different from the new, reassigned CD-ROM drive letter.
The location of the original installation source CD-ROM is stored in the registry subkey
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion in the value
entry SourcePath. In addition, check the registry subkey
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup, in the
value entries SourcePath and Installation Sources. The value entry Installation Sources is a
binary value, so edit this one with caution. Change both instances of SourcePath to X:\I386,
where X is the CD-ROM drive letter.
I'm Full, Burp
Windows XP will give a warning when the amount of free space on the drive falls to less than
10 percent. This percentage works well with smaller 1 or 2GB hard drives, but when the drive
is large (20GB or more), the amount of free space can be several gigabytes when the warning
is given.
To fix this problem, you can alter the percentage-free parameter, changing it from 10 percent
to a more reasonable value. Edit the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
System\CurrentControlSet\ Services\LanmanServer\ parameters. Add a new REG_DWORD
data value named DiskSpaceThreshold. Edit this data value and set its value to the percentage
of free space at which you want the warning given. For example, set the value to 5 to give a
warning when there is less than 5 percent free space remaining.
Note DiskSpaceThreshold will affect all drives. Consider the effect when your system has a
mix of small and large drives.
Why Is Windows Asking for a Disk in the Drive?
From time to time, we get into a situation with Windows XP in which there is no disk or CDROM in the disk drive. This might happen when we start an application or a service or at
some other time. After checking whether the drive specified is missing from the path
statement, check something less obvious. Check HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\Setup.
If it contains a value entry named WinntPath, delete this entry and restart Windows.
Note How does a CD-ROM or diskette drive get into the path? Most often, this happens due
to either a user error or an application installation that has gone awry. Some applications
allow execution from the CD-ROM drive, but don't realize that the application, or a
disk, isn't always going to be available in the drive. If inserting any disk satisfies the
message from Windows that no disk is in the drive, the message is not significant, and
you should try the fix just discussed.
Removing Context Menu Items
It is easy to remove both the Map Network Drive and Disconnect Network Drive selections in
the Explorer context menu (and the Tools menu). You might want to do this to make the
context menus simpler and easier to use.
A simple change to the registry tells Explorer not to display either of these entries. In the
registry key
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer,
change (or add, if it doesn't exist) the following entry:
Value entry:
NoNetConnectDisconnect
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
1
This registry entry supports two values. When the value is 1, then the Map Network Drive and
Disconnect Network Drive menu selections are available. When the value is 0, the Map
Network Drive and Disconnect Network Drive menu selections are not available. The policyediting tools, as described in Chapter 5, are able to make this change.
Using More Than Two IDE Controllers
Most computers now come with two built-in IDE controllers. The hardware may map one
controller to the PCI bus and one to the IDE bus. (The PCI bus IDE controller may exhibit
better performance.) Windows XP is able to access both IDE controllers, if desired, without
any modifications.
More modern motherboards (and computers...) may have two additional IDE controllers
(allowing a total of eight IDE drives). Typically, the third and fourth controllers are special
purpose, such as RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) enabled. For example, a
RAID controller is built in to the main motherboard of my main server.
Warning These techniques have not been well tested with Windows XP. If you need to
attempt these procedures, back up critical data before proceeding!
Several configurations are possible with the two IDE controllers. One configuration is to have
four hard drives. Today, IDE drives are available in sizes that rival SCSI drives. (My server,
DORA, has an 18GB IDE hard drive, in addition to the SCSI drives.) You can create a very
reasonable configuration with as much as several hundred gigabytes (or more, depending on
when you read this) of hard disk space using all four IDE drives.
Note IDE and ESDI drives are basically the same to Windows XP, so actually it's possible to
add additional ESDI controllers with the techniques discussed in this section. Of course,
ESDI drives and ESDI controllers are scarcer than hen's teeth, but that's not the issue
here.
Another popular configuration is one or two hard drives on the PCI IDE controller (this
allows maximum performance with the hard drives) and one or two CD-ROM drives on the
second IDE controller. Due to the inherent low performance of CD-ROM drives, it is best to
connect the CD-ROM drives to the slower of the two IDE controllers.
Windows XP will support up to two standard IDE controllers. However, it is possible to add a
third or fourth IDE controller to many systems. I'm not going to comment on the availability
of hardware to do this type of configuration, other than to say that many IDE controller cards
are available, some of which offer substantial performance capabilities, and some
motherboards are equipped with two additional IDE ports.
Note One hard drive and one CD-ROM drive? Resist the urge to connect these two devices to
a single IDE controller. Some systems will limit the hard drive's performance to the
slowest device on the IDE controller—and this device will always be the CD-ROM
drive. So, unless you want your hard drive to perform like a CD-ROM drive, keep these
two devices on different controllers.
Note Only perform this procedure if your computer is an Intel x86 system or if you are only
using two IDE controllers. The changes described below only work with x86 systems;
Windows XP supports two IDE systems without any modifications. Some motherboards
with four IDE port may require drivers from the board manufacturer. In the event that
you are installing Windows XP on a system that has four IDE ports located on the
motherboard, first check with the manufacturer to determine their support for Windows
XP.
Each IDE controller is numbered. The primary IDE controller is numbered 0 and the
secondary IDE controller is numbered 1. An added third IDE controller would be numbered 2,
a fourth would be numbered 3, and so forth. Keep this concept in mind as you go about
adding a third or fourth (or fifth...) IDE controller:
1. In the Registry Editor, open the subkey HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\
CurrentControlSet\ Services\Atdisk and add a new subkey named PARAMETERS.
2. Open this newly created PARAMETERS key and create a subkey named with the
number for the added controller. For example, create a subkey named 2 if you are
adding a third new IDE controller, or 3 for a fourth new IDE controller.
3. Open the subkey that you named in step 2 and create the following three data values:
Value Entry
Type
Typical Value
BaseAddress
REG_DWORD Use the physical address of the IDE controller's data
register. Configure the controller so that this address
does not conflict with any existing IDE controllers or
other installed devices.
DriveControl
REG_DWORD Use the physical address of the IDE controller's drive
control register. Configure the controller so that this
address does not conflict with any existing IDE
controllers or any other installed devices. Typically, this
address is at BaseAddress + 0xE.
Interrupt
REG_DWORD Use the IDE controller's IRQ (interrupt request) address.
Configure the controller so that this address does not
conflict with any existing IDE controllers or any other
installed devices.
Saving Share Information
Many people use Windows XP shares, which may be lost when making a clean installation.
You might clean-install for a number of reasons. Perhaps your system is unstable. And since
you can't determine the starting date of the problems, you cannot depend on backups. In
addition, sometimes the system hardware configuration changes (for example, a new server or
disk assembly is installed), which necessitates a clean installation.
For servers with a large number of shares, reentering each share manually can be a timeconsuming process. The following registry trick is easier.
Warning Before following these steps, realize that the process described may overwrite any
existing shares.
1. Start the Registry Editor (RegEdit).
2. Open the subkey HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\ CurrentControlSet\
Services\LanmanServer\Shares.
3. Select Registry → Export Registry File.
4. Enter a filename for saving the Shares subkey. Preferably, you should save this file to
a floppy disk or another nonvolatile location. Click the Selected Branch button, and
the saved branch should read HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\
CurrentControlSet\Services\ LanmanServer\Shares.
5. After reinstalling Windows XP, insert the diskette with the file saved in step 4 and
type the command START filename.REG at the command prompt. Use the filename
you saved in step 4.
6. Check to ensure Windows XP has properly incorporated these shares into the registry.
Note Macintosh shared volumes will not be saved using these techniques.
When using this technique at upgrade time, check that the new version of Windows saves
share information in the same location as the previous version; otherwise the changes won't
have the desired effect. At the time of this book's writing, this technique works with both
Windows NT 4 and Windows XP.
Other Hardware Support Entries
There are thousands of other hardware support entries. The key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Ports
contains default information for each port on the system. A typical system has the following
ports:
COM1, COM2, COM3, COM4 These are communications (serial) ports used with mice,
modems, and other serial devices.
FILE These ports, typically used for printer driver output when no matching physical device
is attached to the computer, redirect output to a disk file.
LPT1, LPT2, LPT3, LPT4 These are printer (parallel) ports used with printers, some other
devices, special modems, and so on.
Ne00, Ne01, Ne02 These ports are used with printers directly connected to the network. Some
higher-performance printers include a built-in Ethernet port.
Note AppleTalk devices connected to the network do not have ports as described above.
I've gathered a few to describe in this chapter and grouped them by major components—serial
ports and printer ports.
Serial Ports
In Windows XP, the serial ports are contained in the subkey
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Ports. In
addition, the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\ControlSet001\Enum\Root\*PNP0501
holds port information. Neither of these keys exists in versions earlier than Windows 2000.
As Windows XP spreads the information throughout the registry, manual modification is
more difficult!
Each communications port entry consists of a REG_SZ string containing the port's speed,
parity, bits, and stop bits. The default values for these entries are given below:
Value Entry
Value
Value Entry
Value
COM1:
"9600,n,8,1"
COM2:
"9600,n,8,1"
COM3:
"9600,n,8,1"
COM4:
"9600,n,8,1"
The PnP (Plug and Play) subkeys contain settings for virtually all hardware installed on a
Windows XP system. For example, *PNP0501 is the identifier for serial ports (also see
Appendix E, "Plug and Play Identifiers").
The key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\ CurrentControlSet\ Enum\Root\*PNP0501 on
my machine, DORA, consists of two subkeys, one for each of the two serial ports installed on
the system. Inside this key are additional subkeys, one for each port. The names of these
subkeys may vary, but could be PnPBIOS_14 and PnPBIOS_11. Inside these subkeys are
three additional subkeys, Control, Device Parameters, and LogConf.
In the Control subkey, you'll find a number of values that deal with device setup—for
example, whether firmware (software on the device) is used or not and how resources are
allocated. Modifying this subkey can be very tricky.
In the subkey Device Parameters, you'll find the values shown below (a given Windows XP
installation may not have all the values described):
Value Entry
Value
PortName
A string such as COM1.
PollingPeriod
A REG_DWORD with a default value of 0.
ForceFifoEnable
A REG_DWORD with a value of 0 if the FIFO buffers are not used.
RxFIFO
A REG_DWORD with the receive FIFO value set by the user. The
value will range from 1 to 14.
TxFIFO
A REG_DWORD with the transmit FIFO value set by the user. The
value will range from 1 to 16.
Windows XP seriously limits the user's ability to alter items such as IRQ addresses, I/O
addresses, and DMA channels. This limitation is necessary to comply with the PnP
requirements.
These settings are contained in a REG_RESOURCE_LIST value in the registry key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Hardware\ResourceMap\PnP Manager\PnPManager. Every port
(actually every device that is installed on the computer) has a REG_RESOURCE_LIST value.
The device driver uses the REG_RESOURCE_LIST (a device driver resource list) to "find"
the hardware.
Printer (Parallel) Ports
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Parport contains parameters
that help control the system's utilization of the basic parallel or printer ports. Many Windows
XP computers use one of these parallel ports connected to a standard printer. An Intel x86
system may have between zero and two parallel ports, although most systems have only one
parallel, or printer, port.
Ports on virtually all Windows XP systems utilize a standard printer driver chip as the
hardware interface. This chip is configurable in the BIOS, and may allow either one-way (to
the printer) or two-way (both to the printer and from the printer to the computer)
communications. Additionally, printer port configurations allow for high-speed
communications, which are important when you are printing complex images (bitmaps, for
example) and transferring a large amount of data between the computer and the printer. Some
printers also have a scanning mode. These printers require both high-speed printer ports and
ports that support bidirectional data transfers. Many of the parallel port's settings are
configurable with the Control Panel's Ports applet.
Other Software Configuration Entries
Some settings affect the user interface and the system equally. Where do we place these
entries? WinLogon is a section in the registry that holds settings used for things like the users
log.
Password Expires in n Days
Windows displays a password expiration message to the user a certain number of days before
the user's password expires. Configure this message in Windows XP at the client by following
these steps:
1. Start the Registry Editor.
2. Open the subkey HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows
NT\CurrentVersion\WinLogon.
3. Add this value entry, or modify it if it already exists:
Value entry:
PasswordExpiryWarning
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
14
4. This entry holds the number of days Windows XP will display the "password expires"
warning.
Domain Refresh Interval
Windows refreshes the domain list whenever the workstation is unlocked, providing that the
workstation has been locked for more than 120 seconds. (A user can lock their workstation by
pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete.) On many networks, refreshing the domain list can result in a
significant delay before the user regains control of their system.
This problem may be somewhat alleviated by increasing the minimum "locked time" setting
(in essence, gambling that the domain list won't have changed during that time), which you do
by modifying the following value entry (found in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows
NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon):
Value entry:
DcacheMinInterval
Type:
REG_DWORD
Typical value:
120
This entry contains the number of seconds that the system must have been locked before the
registry will force the system to refresh the domain list. Values range from a minimum of 120
seconds, the default, to a maximum of 86,400 seconds
Chapter 14: Microsoft Office Entries
Overview
In this chapter, I'll tell you how to repair your Office XP registry entries. If Microsoft Office
is not running correctly, the problem may be more involved than just a damaged or missing
registry entry. For example, it is entirely possible that files are either corrupted or missing. For
this reason, don't look at this chapter as being a save-all. Rather, try fixing the registry, but if
that doesn't have the desired effect, try reinstalling the malfunctioning Office components.
A Few Words about Office XP
This chapter is a bit different from some of the others. Although I could just list every registry
entry for Microsoft Office, the chapter would quickly become boring, and it would be
excessively long. Instead, I'm going to focus on particular Office-related topics that affect the
registry:
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•
Microsoft Office shared components and how they are interlinked to form a cohesive
product. Microsoft Office consists of many programs that interact with each other. In
addition, some optional Office programs can be installed if the user wants them. And
to confuse the issue even more, some programs are automatically installed on "first
use"!
Changes made by the Microsoft Office Setup program to the registry, which can be
extensive in a typical system. Even one Microsoft Office program can result in
hundreds of registry changes.
The .reg files that come with Microsoft Office. These files are used to update the
registry, making changes that are standardized for all Microsoft Office installations.
How to modify Microsoft Office configuration information. Each configuration of
Microsoft Office is unique. During the installation process, a user may select options
and components to install.
How to customize and copy user information between users. Many organizations
choose to install Microsoft Office on an organization-wide basis. Usually this is done
by installing one copy, then using cloning techniques to duplicate the installation
across a network.
Programming the registry using Microsoft Office's VBA (Visual Basic for
Applications.) VBA offers a lot of power to the typical Office user. For example, it is
capable of much of the power that Visual Basic provides. Moreover, all VBA
applications are capable of registry interaction.
Note The information in this chapter refers to the Microsoft Office XP Professional Edition,
the release that is current at the time of this book's writing. Later versions of Office will
be released every year or so, perhaps even in 2003. Hopefully, much of this chapter's
information will be usable with these future releases.
If you're having problems with your installation of Office, I'd never suggest that you try to
restore the Office products by first restoring a backup of the files and then adding registry
entries. Though this might work, you could expect the need for other subtle things, such as
adding critical shared .dll files to the Windows XP System32 directory.
Warning Never, under any circumstances, install any beta editions of Office XP on Windows
XP. This is virtually guaranteed to cause you substantial grief—you will learn about
things in Product Authorization (PA) that you really don't want to know. Resist the
urge to "try out" beta copies of Office XP!
One of two processes performs most of Microsoft Office's registry modifications. The first
process is the Setup program. This program will add, subtract, and otherwise modify a
number of registry entries, all of which are critical to the running of Microsoft Office. The
second process is a group of registry modification files, with the extension of .reg. These files
are contained in directories on the Microsoft Office distribution CD-ROM.
Repairs to Microsoft Office are relatively easy. On the one hand, some components reinstall
well. Reinstalling Microsoft Word, on the other hand, may overwrite your normal.dot file. I
suggest, therefore, that you save or otherwise back up user-modified Microsoft Office files,
such as the document templates like normal.dot, before reinstalling Microsoft Office.
Note Notice that there are components listed in this registry section that are not part of the basic
Microsoft Office package, such as a listing for Microsoft Publisher.
Microsoft Office Shared Components
Microsoft Office consists of a number of components. We all know about the big ones—
Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint. Nevertheless, a number of small helper applications
that we don't always see or know about are also included with Office. For example, there is
Microsoft Graph (which is also called Microsoft Chart), a graphing program used with Word,
Excel, and Access. The Microsoft Office shared components are listed here:
Equation Editor
Used to create visually appealing equations.
WordArt
Used to embed simple drawings into documents. Microsoft Word
integrates the WordArt capability, although the original WordArt
application, if previously installed, is retained for compatibility.
Graph
A basic graphing tool; used to graphically display data.
Organization Chart
Used for the drawing and maintenance of basic organizational charts.
Media Player
An embeddable media player; most useful for embedding video clips
into PowerPoint presentations.
ClipArt Gallery
A collection of clip art from Microsoft PowerPoint that may be used to
improve the visual appeal of documents.
Draw
A basic drawing package that can be used to create effects such as 3-D.
In Microsoft Word, drawing is integrated into Word itself.
With the possible exception of the ClipArt Gallery, which consists mostly of images, the
shared components are usually ActiveX embeddable components. Embedding uses CLSIDs
inserted into the registry by the Microsoft Office installation process. Appendix F, "Office XP
CLSIDs," lists the significant Microsoft Office CLSIDs.
Note Office does not install all of the CLSIDs listed in Appendix F. Most of us install only parts
of Microsoft Office, and therefore only some of the CLSIDs will be present in the registry.
A missing CLSID doesn't signify an error or problem in itself.
Changes Made by Microsoft Office Setup
Unlike some earlier versions of Office, Microsoft Office XP uses the newer Microsoft
installer named MSI, or Microsoft Installer. The Microsoft Office Setup program first adds
and sometimes removes a number of registry entries; actually, a full installation process could
modify over a thousand registry entries. (Now you see why I don't just list them all!) Each
entry modified, deleted, or added by the Setup program is modified because the entry is based
on information specific to the current installation. For example, Setup must handle the entry
that has the installation directory, which the user may change at setup time. The .reg files
cannot do this, because the .reg file technique cannot take into account user preferences.
The main controlling file for the Microsoft Office Setup program, for Microsoft Office XP
Professional, is PRORET.msi.
Note There are many versions of Microsoft Office, and other versions will have a different
installation (.msi) filename. The Microsoft Office CD's root directory typically holds
two .msi files: the main installation .msi file and a second, smaller one, named
OWC10.msi. OWC is for Microsoft Office Web Components.
PRORET.msi is located in the root directory of the Microsoft Office CD-ROM. This file is
binary so that users may not alter it in any way. There is also a setup initialization file,
SETUP.ini, which Setup uses to initialize itself. The .msi file contains entries that control
which files are copied and where; which registry entries to delete, add, and modify; and
everything else that must be done to install Microsoft Office.
The Microsoft Office XP installation .msi file includes:
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19 registry searches
53 retrievals of pathnames
1,418 additions to the registry
2 checks of the registry
28 checks for registry equality
9 registrations of type libraries
29 self-registrations
21 retrievals of the Windows path
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73 creations of strings of REG_SZ type
6 creations of REG_DWORD type objects
35 registry entry removals
9 registry tree deletions
3 copies of registry key values
6 items that are specifically not removed if encountered
1 copy of .ini file values for the registry
Microsoft Office System Configuration Information
Microsoft Office XP stores information about common configuration settings in the registry
key at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Office (I'll refer to this location as
the "system keys"). This key contains a subkey called 10.0 (for the version number of
Microsoft Office XP). The next version of Office will probably be stored in a subkey named
11.0. There is also a subkey called 9.0 (and one called 8.0), each with a single object:
Outlook, which contains information on registration and setup.
Noncommon configuration information, specific to a given user, is stored in the user's
configuration at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office (I'll refer to this
location as the "user keys"). These settings are modifiable by users and are kept separate from
one another, as each user will have their own configuration and defaults.
The structure of these two locations for Microsoft Office is virtually identical. Under
Microsoft is the Office subkey. Under Office are one or more subkeys for each version of
Microsoft Office installed. For example, many installations have a subkey, 8.0, for Office 97,
a subkey, 9.0, for Microsoft Office 2000, and 10.0 for Microsoft Office XP. Under the version
subkey are one or more product keys and a few support keys.
Don't be surprised if there are subkeys for Microsoft Office components that aren't installed.
Some components set items for other components regardless of whether they're installed or
not. For example, on my computer, in the user keys, I have the following major subkeys.
(Throughout this chapter, assume that an unqualified key is a user key, as I will fully qualify,
or annotate, any system keys.)
Access Microsoft Access, a full-featured desktop database system.
Common Items common to more than one Microsoft Office component.
Excel Microsoft Excel, a spreadsheet program.
Outlook Microsoft's advanced e-mail client.
Registration Microsoft's Office XP user-registration system. The first time a user installs
Microsoft Office XP, the registration program will contact Microsoft, relaying user and
product statistics.
Word Microsoft's well-known word processor, used to write this book.
Each of these keys contains more keys and information. For example, I don't actually have
Access installed, but Microsoft Office Setup included the Access subkey, regardless. The
Access subkey has entries for the following items:
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Clipboard Formats
InstallRoot
Jet
Menu Add-Ins
Options
Report Formats
Speller
Wizards
I'll describe each of these subkeys in detail in the next section.
In the system keys, we find the subkeys listed below. Generally, at this level the system keys
closely parallel the user keys.
Access Microsoft Access, a full-featured desktop database system
Common Items common to more than one Microsoft Office component
Excel Microsoft Excel, a spreadsheet program
Outlook Microsoft's advanced e-mail client
Shortcut Bar The Office XP shortcut bar configuration information
Word Microsoft's well-known word processor, used to write this book (didn't I already say
that?)
Like the user keys, each of the system keys contains more keys and information. For example,
the Access subkey has entries for the following items:
CustomizableAlerts Access gives an alert whenever a certain event occurs.
Settings Access uses an MRU list to allow the user to quickly open a previous file. The MRU
file list is contained in this subkey.
The Access Entries
The Microsoft Access database program is Microsoft's main entry into desktop database
systems. Though Microsoft also offers a product called FoxPro (and more appropriately,
Visual FoxPro), FoxPro is not part of the Office suite. We'll look into some subkeys of the
Access key in the following sections.
Clipboard Formats
The entries in the Clipboard Formats subkey describe special formats that Microsoft Access is
able to process. These entries include formats and descriptive information on the handler for
each format. A typical entry might be:
Value entry:
HTML (*.html)
Type:
REG_SZ
Typical value:
soa.dll,30,html,HTML,HTML(*.html),1
This entry indicates that Access will use soa.dll to read this type of data. The entry also
provides information to Access about requirements necessary to invoke the code in the .dll
file. A typical installation might define six or more Clipboard formats.
InstallRoot
The InstallRoot subkey has a single data value, named Path. Path, a REG_SZ object, contains
the fully qualified path to the Microsoft Access program files. A typical entry might be
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office, where C: is the drive that Microsoft Office was
installed on.
Jet
Microsoft Jet is the engine that Microsoft Access uses to access the actual database files.
Microsoft has opened the interface to the Jet engine to other application software, allowing
developers to create programs. These programs are able to create, read, and write Accesscompatible databases.
Microsoft Jet is a complex, high-performance database engine. There are several additional
interfaces in the Jet engine, allowing programming interoperability between Accesscompatible software and other database systems, including these (there can be others that are
not found in this list):
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dBase 5.0
dBase III
dBase IV
Excel 3.0
Excel 4.0
Excel 5.0
Excel 8.0
Exchange 4.0
HTML Export
HTML Import
Jet 2.x
Jet 3.x
Lotus WJ2
Lotus WJ3
Lotus WK1
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Lotus WK3
Lotus WK4
Microsoft Access
Microsoft Access Data Access Page
Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP)
Microsoft IIS
Microsoft IIS (Internet Information Server)
Outlook 9.0
Paradox 3.X
Paradox 4.X
Paradox 5.X
Paradox 7.X
Rich Text Format (RTF)
Snapshot Format
SQL Database
Text
Word for Windows Merge
Menu Add-Ins
Access may be expanded or enhanced using menu add-in programs. Some menu add-ins
supported by Microsoft Access include these:
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Add-In Manager
Database Splitter
Linked Table Manager
Switchboard Manager
A registry subkey defines each add-in in the Access\Menu Add-Ins subkey.
Options
The states of certain Access options are stored in the Options subkey. These options can vary
greatly from installation to installation. An example value entry is AttachIndexWarning.
Report Formats
The Report Formats subkey stores the formats that Access is able to write reports in. Formats
typically supported by most installations include the following:
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HTML
Microsoft Excel
MS-DOS Text
Rich Text Format (RTF)
Snapshot Format
Speller
Like the other members of the Microsoft Office family, Access supports a spell-checking
mode. Spell checking is important if you or other users are as fumble-fingered as I am.
Without a spelling checker, this book would be unreadable, and the editor, who had to work
hard enough anyway, would have probably done nasty things to me.
Settings for spell checking include the following:
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Custom Dictionary
Ignore All Caps
Ignore Mixed Digits
Language ID (information about the current language being used)
Suggest Always
Suggest Main Dictionary Only
Wizards
Access uses wizards to perform a number of the more complex setup and processing tasks.
Wizards allow inexperienced users to quickly become proficient and to get the maximum
amount of use from Access without spending a great deal of time learning the product.
Each wizard has a unique set of objects. The main categories of wizards are these:
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Control wizards
Data Access Page wizards
Form wizards
Preferences
Property wizards
Query wizards
Report wizards
Table wizards
The Common Entries
In Microsoft Office, many of the applications share parts or components. For example, that
funny and entertaining Office Assistant (see Figure 14.1) allows a user to get help quickly and
easily in any application. Entries for these components are found in the Common subkey.
Other common information—such as Default Save, New, Templates, and so on—is stored in
this section as well.
Figure 14.1: The Office Assistant is always there to provide help. A single click displays the
Help balloon, as shown.
Microsoft Office shares the following items among multiple Office applications:
Assistant This subkey manages the configuration and customization of the Microsoft Office
Assistant. Me, I like that cute cat figure. Several settings for the assistant are available, such
as whether the assistant works with wizards.
General This subkey holds a number of miscellaneous objects. General configuration items
include installation information and setup data.
HelpViewer This subkey is where you define the help viewer defaults for small and large
help panes and pane position.
Internet This subkey stores Internet locations, such as where components are downloaded
from.
LanguageResources This subkey stores the language ID (U.S. English is 409).
Note Wait a minute...Isn't U.S. English 1033? What's this 409 number? Okay, use the
Windows calculator program, and convert 0x409 from hexadecimal to decimal. If you
did it right, you got 1033. That's the secret; the language ID in this object is in
hexadecimal!
Migration This object holds information about migration from one version to a newer
version. Applications in this subkey include Excel, Office, Outlook, and Word.
Open Find This object contains subkeys for each product. Within each subkey are settings
specific to the application.
Toolbars This subkey stores settings such as adaptive menus, whether menus auto-expand,
and so on.
UserInfo This subkey holds the user's name, company, ID, initials, and user information. This
information is stored in Unicode format.
InstallRoot
InstallRoot contains the Microsoft Office installation directory.
LV
When used, LV describes the installation type, product ID, product name, and so forth.
The Excel Entries
The Excel key, for the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet program, contains a couple of subkeys:
Options and Recent Files. The Options subkey contains various optional values for Excel. The
Recent Files subkey contains information about files that were recently opened.
The Outlook Entries
The Outlook key contains the settings for the Outlook e-mail client, available as part of the
Microsoft Office package. I'll admit a preference for Outlook 2002. It's a tool that I use every
day for e-mail, calendar, and contact management tasks. It offers substantial improvements
over earlier versions of Outlook. I recommend that if you are considering Outlook, you get the
latest version from Microsoft.
The Outlook subkey contains information on the following Outlook 2002 functions:
Dataviz This subkey holds a flag indicating whether public folders are hidden or not.
InstallRoot This object holds the fully qualified name of the directory that Outlook 2002 has
been installed in.
NameSpaces A namespace represents a data source, such as the MAPI message store, or file
and directory names. This subkey holds namespace information for Outlook.
OMI This subkey holds the Outlook Internet e-mail system configuration.
Operations This subkey contains configurations of various operations that Outlook will
perform, such as file import, file export, data link export, VCard import, Accounts import,
Calendar import, and Eudora import.
SchedulingInformation This subkey contains options and configuration information for the
Outlook Schedule functionality.
SearchTypes This is the table of CLSID entries for each search type.
Setup This subkey lists options chosen during setup.
UpgradePath This is the path to be used for upgrade.
Outlook is one of the most complex components of Microsoft Office. It can be difficult to
configure; but once it's set up, it provides flexibility and power, making it a valuable tool for
any busy computer user.
The PowerPoint Entries
Microsoft PowerPoint is a tool used to create presentations for display on media, such as
video screens, printed handouts, and slides. PowerPoint is capable of such tricks as animation,
sounds, and special effects, making it a good presentation and training tool. Many users are
familiar with PowerPoint, but most do not use this program to its fullest. Look at the
supported features discussed in this section for some ideas of what can be done with this
versatile program.
The following list contains subkeys that are specific to PowerPoint:
Addins Microsoft PowerPoint supports a number of add-in product functionalities. This
object contains information about add-ins, including auto-content and PowerPoint tools.
Answer Wizard This subkey contains settings used with the supplementary help system that
assists users in searching for additional help on problems they are having.
AutoContent Wizard This subkey assists users in designing a presentation and developing
content.
DLL Addins This subkey contains add-in .dll files used by PowerPoint.
Document Routing This subkey contains a flag to tell Microsoft PowerPoint whether or not
to track status.
Export Modules This subkey contains the names of modules used to export presentations to
other formats, such as for an offline publishing or printing system.
InstallRoot This subkey holds the root directory that Microsoft PowerPoint has been installed
in.
OLE Play Options This object contains any OLE multimedia support that is included.
Typically, items in this subkey include sound and video support.
PPCentral This object consists of basic Microsoft PowerPoint options, many of which are
configurable by the user.
Sound This subkey is concerned with sound formats, such as WAV, that are supported by
Microsoft PowerPoint.
Sound Effects This object contains information about sound effects. The user can use these
included sound effects (like Typewriter, Whoosh, Laser, Camera, and Drive By) in a
presentation.
Translators This subkey contains information about import and export support for other
versions of Microsoft PowerPoint. The tools include Export to Microsoft PowerPoint 7, and
Import from Microsoft PowerPoint 7 and Microsoft PowerPoint 4.
ValuPack This object specifies the location of the Microsoft Office ValuPack directory. Run
Valupk8.hlp to find out more about the ValuPack.
Viewer This object specifies the location for the Microsoft PowerPoint viewer, a stand-alone
Microsoft PowerPoint display program.
The Publisher Entries
Microsoft Publisher is a midrange page-layout program that is well integrated with other
Microsoft Office products. Using Microsoft Publisher is easy; the application allows you to
create professional documents that may be printed locally or sent to a printer/typesetter for
duplication. The following list contains subkeys specific to Microsoft Publisher:
ColorSchemes This subkey contains the definition of the Microsoft Publisher color schemes.
Microsoft Publisher allows users to switch color schemes at any point using a four-color
palette.
Envelopes This subkey contains information on any envelopes defined.
HTML This subkey contains the filter to process HTML documents. Microsoft Publisher will
publish in HTML if desired, allowing you to create Web pages from other existing documents
with a minimum of effort.
HTMLCharacterEncodings This subkey holds character encoding for foreign languages.
Mail Merge This subkey contains information on mail merge. Using the Microsoft Access Jet
database engine, Microsoft Publisher is able to merge database information, creating custom
documents as necessary.
Page Size This subkey defines custom page sizes, such as those required for business cards.
Printing This subkey contains information used by Microsoft Publisher to print user
documents.
ProPrint This subkey contains information used by Microsoft Publisher to print using a highend image-processing system.
PubBackground This subkey contains the directory path to the Microsoft Publisher
backgrounds that can be used with publications.
PubClipart This subkey contains the directory path to the Microsoft Publisher clip art that
can be used with publications.
Recent File List This subkey holds the Microsoft Publisher MRU file list.
Spelling This subkey contains spell-checking options.
Version This subkey is where version information is saved.
WizType This subkey contains the Microsoft Publisher wizards that are used to create basic
publications with a minimum of effort.
The Registration Entries
The Registration subkey contains the Microsoft Office XP product ID value.
The Word Entries
The Word subkey contains information about the Microsoft Word installation directory. All of
the remaining Word options are set in the user's configuration.
Microsoft Office User Configuration Information
The best way to get to the Office user configuration registry entries is through
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\10.0. Although they are also available
in the HKEY_USERS hive, accessing them through HKEY_CURRENT_USER instead will
ensure that the correct set of entries (those for the currently logged-on user) is always
modified.
Some ways to use these keys include:
•
•
•
Backing up the key and saving it for another user ID. This second user ID could be a
different user ID for the same user. This allows a user to recover their entire
configuration without changes.
Modifying a specific user's entries. Maybe the organization name changes—you could
rely on users to update their systems, or you could go in and make the necessary
changes for them.
Implementing a specific backup and restore for whatever reason.
Note Sometimes we just want to start over and redo our user settings from scratch. So, we
uninstall Microsoft Office and do a new clean install. Bang! There are all our old
settings back again—we can't seem to get rid of them. The reason for this is simple:
Uninstalling doesn't remove these user configuration settings. Uninstalling only removes
the system settings. It is actually not even necessary to uninstall to change the user
configuration settings; simply delete the user's configuration.
In the next sections, you'll find some of the common user configuration settings. These may
be altered, following standard precautions about backing up, and will only affect the current
user. Other users will not see any changes made to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER
configuration.
Access User Configurations
Microsoft Access user configurations are stored in subkeys under the Access key. The items
found in this key will vary greatly depending on the user's configuration and use of Access.
Binder User Configurations
Any user-specific Binder settings are saved in the Binder subkey.
What's Binder? It is surprising just how many experienced Microsoft Office users don't know
what Binder is or how to use it. Microsoft Binder is a program that makes it possible to group
all of your documents, spreadsheets, and presentations for a project into a single master
document. A typical use for Binder is to create a project proposal and presentation.
Common User Configurations
Items in the Common subkey are shared between more than one of the Microsoft Office
applications. For example, the Microsoft Office Assistant is used by all the Microsoft Office
products.
Commonly, any user-installed items, such as those from Visual Basic for Applications, will
be stored in the Common subkey as well. See "Using the Registry from Microsoft Office
Applications," later in this chapter.
Most Common subkeys contain:
Assistant This subkey contains the settings for the Microsoft Office Assistant, including who
the assistant is and other Office Assistant configurations. To change these settings, contextclick the Microsoft Office Assistant and select an item to change.
AutoCorrect AutoCorrect is mostly used in Microsoft Word. It allows a word that is
misspelled to be automatically corrected. Users of Excel, PowerPoint, and Access will also
find use for this functionality.
Cursors This subkey is where you can configure cursors displayed by Microsoft Office. I've
been unable to find any way other than registry manipulation to change Office's cursor
selections.
FileNew This subkey contains the configurations for the File New dialog box.
General This subkey contains the general settings for all Microsoft Office applications.
InstallRoot This subkey contains a count of the number of installations and the path of the
basic Office installation.
Internet This subkey contains the Internet settings for all Microsoft Office applications.
LanguageResources This subkey contains the language settings for all Microsoft Office
applications.
Open Find This subkey contains the settings for the Open dialog box.
ProductVersion This subkey contains the product version that is currently installed. A typical
product version consists of four parts, separated with periods.
Toolbars This subkey contains the toolbar configurations and settings.
UserInfo This subkey contains information about the current user.
W2KMigrationFeatures This subkey contains information about migration from prior
versions of Microsoft Office.
WMEMigrationFeatures This subkey contains information about migration from prior
versions of Microsoft Office.
Draw User Configurations
Microsoft Draw is a helper application that is used to edit and draw within Office documents.
Primarily an OLE server application, Draw is not designed or intended to be used as a standalone application.
Excel User Configurations
The user's entire Excel configuration is contained in the Excel subkey. Keys in this subkey
include:
Init Commands This subkey contains the commands used to initialize Excel.
Init Menus This subkey contains information used to initialize Excel's menu.
InstallRoot This subkey contains the path of the Excel installation.
Line Print This subkey contains Lotus macro line-printing settings.
Microsoft Excel This subkey contains basic configuration settings.
Recent File List This subkey contains the list of the most recently used files.
Spell Checker This subkey contains the options for configuration of the spelling checker.
WK? Settings This subkey contains the settings for the Lotus open-and-save feature.
Graph User Configurations
Microsoft Graph is a helper application that is used to edit and include simple graphs and
tables within Office documents. Primarily an OLE server application, Graph is not designed
or intended to be used as a stand-alone application.
Outlook User Configurations
Outlook's configuration settings are contained in this subkey. Settings for the following areas
are included:
Appointment This subkey contains the appointment book configuration information.
AutoNameCheck This subkey contains the setting that indicates whether to automatically
check names in the Send and CC lines of messages.
Categories This subkey contains the message categories.
Contact This subkey contains the contact (names) list management configuration and options.
Dataviz This subkey contains the interface with external data sources such as the PAB
(Personal Address Book) and other data sources.
Item Toolbars This subkey contains the toolbar configurations.
Journal This subkey contains the Outlook Journal, used to track items.
Journal Entry This subkey contains the Outlook Journal configuration.
Message This subkey contains the message box configuration.
Note This subkey contains the note configuration.
Office Explorer This subkey contains the configuration of the Office Explorer.
Office Finder This subkey contains the Office Finder configuration and settings.
OMI Account Manager This subkey contains the Outlook Internet e-mail system
configuration.
Options This subkey contains various miscellaneous settings.
Printing This subkey contains the printing options and configuration.
Report This subkey contains the reporting options and configuration.
Scripting This subkey contains the scripting driver's CLSID.
Security This subkey contains the security settings.
Setup This subkey contains the setup options and settings.
Task This subkey contains the task options and settings.
Today This subkey contains the Outlook Today settings.
WAB This subkey contains the settings for the Windows Address Book.
Wizards This subkey contains the wizard settings.
PowerPoint User Configurations
Microsoft PowerPoint user settings are saved in the PowerPoint subkey.
Publisher User Configurations
Microsoft Publisher user settings are saved in the Publisher subkey. They include the
following:
Preferences This subkey contains the user preferences and settings.
Tracking Data This subkey contains the tracking items.
UserInfo This subkey contains the information specific to the current user, including the
following entries:
•
•
•
•
OtherOrganization
Personal
PrimaryBusiness
SecondaryBusiness
Query User Configurations
The Query subkey contains information about the Microsoft Query (msqry32.exe) program, if
installed and used. Microsoft Query is useful for peeking at various data sources, such as
database files created by any ODBC-compliant application.
Word User Configurations
Microsoft Word user configurations are saved in this subkey. Items saved here include the
following:
Custom Labels This subkey holds information that is used when printing on labels. Users
may create their own custom label to match their label stock.
Data This subkey includes the Word MRU file list. This list is hidden in another object and is
not editable.
Default Save This subkey contains the default save format.
Help This subkey contains the Help file information.
InstallRoot This subkey contains a count of the number of installations and the path of the
basic Office installation.
List Gallery Presets This subkey contains binary information about presets for the list
gallery.
Options This subkey holds various Microsoft Word options and settings.
Stationery This subkey contains information used primarily when Microsoft Word is the email editor.
Text Converters This subkey contains the filters used to convert documents saved as text
files into Word. Entries include:
Import\MSPAB Filter for importing from the Microsoft Personal Address Book
Import\OUTLOOK Filter for importing from Microsoft Outlook
Import\SPLUS Filter for importing from Microsoft Schedule Plus
Wizards This subkey contains configurations for the various Word wizards.
WordMail This subkey contains WordMail settings used when Word is used as the e-mail
editor.
Using the Registry from Microsoft Office Applications
Okay, in the final section of this chapter, let's figure out how to manipulate the registry from a
Microsoft Office application. That's right, if you wanted to, you could write an entire registry
editor using Microsoft Word.
Most Microsoft Office users won't have a great need to save items in the registry. However, if
you find that you need to save information that must be persistent between sessions, saving
this information in the registry can be an excellent method.
The example I'll use here is a simple system for saving a string to the registry. This macro is
written in VBA (Visual Basic for Applications), and the techniques are portable not only
among the Microsoft Office applications, but also to any other application that uses VBA as
its scripting language.
In this example, the user enters some information into a single edit control in a basic VBA
form. The information is then written into the registry, in the user's section, under the key
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ Microsoft\ Office\Common\ UserOptions. You would
use a different name than UserOptions for your application, of course.
Figure 14.2 shows the UserOptions key and the data values saved in it (I used a variable
named Text). These values, once saved, can be modified from various places in Word and
even in other Microsoft Office applications.
Figure 14.2: The UserOptions subkey has a single data object, named Text.
The Set User Options Here dialog box is used to modify the Text data object, stored in the
UserOptions subkey. This dialog box (see Figure 14.3) is a simple form that allows easy data
entry.
Figure 14.3: The Set User Options Here form sets and resets a string that is saved in the
registry.
Note Many of Word's options are set in a single REG_BINARY variable named Settings.
This makes it difficult to "hack" these items as individual things, since it is necessary to
find the exact location within Settings of a specific functionality.
I'm going to show some of the code used to create this form here. Yours does not need to be
this complex. A simple form without tabs can be very effective in getting a user interface
together; add tabs as needed later on.
First is the main function that displays (shows) the form itself:
Sub DisplayPublisherOptionsDialogBox()
frmUserOptions.Show
End Sub
This code shows the form frmUserOptions and then exits. The form takes care of actually
initializing itself by reading the various registry entries and updating itself appropriately. This
initialization is done in the form's initialization code:
Private Sub UserForm_Initialize()
UserOptions =
"HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Common\UserOptions"
If System.PrivateProfileString("", UserOptions, "Text") <> "" Then
frmUserOptions.TextBox1.Text = System.PrivateProfileString("",
UserOptions, "Text")
End If
End Sub
First, we initialize the global string variable, named UserOptions. This string contains the
name of the registry key that will hold our information. By saving this location in a variable,
we can use the variable without worrying about whether a name has changed—if we need to
change the registry key, we need only change it in one place.
Next we know the form has been shown and has been initialized. Our variable UserOptions
has also been initialized. Note that any line that begins with a leading single quote (') is a
comment line. Comments are only there for our own information, and the system ignores
them. ActiveWindow tells the system to work with the active window. An example of
conditional processing follows:
Private Sub CommandButton1_Click()
Dim myString As String
With ActiveWindow
If frmUserOptions.TextBox1.Text <> "" Then
System.PrivateProfileString("", UserOptions, "Text") =
frmUserOptions.TextBox1.Text
End If
frmUserOptions.Hide
End With
End Sub
This code is executed when the user clicks the Done! Button. We have two things to do.
First we must process the information that the user has provided. We check to see if the text
box contains any text, and if it does, we save that information. We test for the presence of
entered text using an If statement.
An If statement allows what is called conditional processing. When the subject of the If
statement is true, the statement after the Then is executed. (You can also have an Else clause,
which is executed if the result of the If statement is false.) Conditional processing is the
cornerstone of computer programming. Without conditional processing, programs as we know
them could not exist.
In the previous example, if the following function:
frmUserOptions.TextBox1.Text <> ""
returns a value of "True", we set the registry variable to the text contained in the edit box.
Note PrivateProfileString() returns the value that the value entry contains if it exists. If the
entry doesn't exist, System.PrivateProfileString() returns the default, an empty string.
The following code is very similar. We check to see if the data value "Wrap" exists and what
its value is. If the value is "True", we set the variable View.WrapToWindow to True.
Otherwise, we set the variable View.WrapToWindow to False.
If System.PrivateProfileString("",UserOptions , "Wrap") = "True" Then
.View.WrapToWindow = True
Else
.View.WrapToWindow = False
End If
This same process—of checking a registry entry for its value, setting a local variable to reflect
the registry entry's value, and checking the next registry entry in the list—is performed by
checking each of the relevant entries.
After the user finishes with the form and clicks the Done! button, the registry is updated. If
the user clicks the Cancel button instead of OK, Visual Basic for Applications discards
everything without making any changes in the registry.
Tip Need a quick way to start a Visual Basic for Applications function? Simply create a
macro and edit the macro's code to include the functionality that you need.
Confused about System.PrivateProfileString?
The first example in this section retrieved a value from the registry. This value was used to
initialize the form controls. In the second example, we set a registry data value with the same
function. How does it know the difference?
The magic is that the context of how the call is made tells Visual Basic for Applications how
to use it. In the first instance, the call was within an If statement. In the second use, the call
was part of an assignment statement. Visual Basic for Applications knows the difference.
The entire source code and form definitions for this example are shown in Listing 14.1.
Listing 14.1: frmUserOptions.frm
VERSION 5.00
Begin {C62A69F0-16DC-11CE-9E98-00AA00574A4F} frmUserOptions
Caption
=
"Set User Options Here"
ClientHeight
=
3120
ClientLeft
=
45
ClientTop
=
435
ClientWidth
=
4710
OleObjectBlob
=
"frmUserOptions.frx":0000
StartUpPosition =
1 'CenterOwner
End
Attribute VB_Name = "frmUserOptions"
Attribute VB_GlobalNameSpace = False
Attribute VB_Creatable = False
Attribute VB_PredeclaredId = True
Attribute VB_Exposed = False
Dim UserOptions As String
Private Sub CommandButton1_Click()
Dim myString As String
With ActiveWindow
If frmUserOptions.TextBox1.Text <> "" Then
System.PrivateProfileString("", UserOptions, "Text") = _
frmUserOptions.TextBox1.Text
End If
frmUserOptions.Hide
End With
End Sub
Private Sub UserForm_Initialize()
UserOptions = _
"HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Common\UserOptions"
If System.PrivateProfileString("", UserOptions, "Text") <> "" Then
frmUserOptions.TextBox1.Text = _
System.PrivateProfileString("", UserOptions, "Text")
End If
End Sub
Part IV: The Registry Reference
Chapter List
Chapter 15: Introduction to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT
Chapter 16: Introduction to HKEY_CURRENT_USER and HKEY_USERS
Chapter 17: Introduction to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
Chapter 18: Introduction to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software
Chapter 19: Introduction to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System and
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG
Part Overview
In this section, you'll learn how to:
•
•
•
•
•
Understand unique IDs and manage the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT hive
Manage the HKEY_CURRENT_USER and HKEY_USERS hives
Understand the five keys in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
Find installed software configurations in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software
Work with and tune HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System and
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG
Chapter 15: Introduction to
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT
Overview
Many of the registry's entries deal with the Windows XP system. These entries comprise a
substantial portion of a new installation's registry, although as more and more applications are
installed, this percentage will drop.
Is there anything to fear in the registry's system components? Absolutely! A wrong entry in
some system entries will make the system unstable, unbootable, or just plain dead. In these
remaining chapters, we'll cover the registry, hive by hive, pointing out some of the more
important entries, some values, and some cautions to consider.
The HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT branch contains information about both OLE and various file
associations. The purpose of HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT is to provide compatibility with the
existing Windows 3.x registry. The information contained in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT is
identical to information found in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes.
Before we talk too much about HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, we'll delve into things like
GUIDs, UUIDs, and all those other funny registry numbers. Don't let this scare you—it is
good (not absolutely necessary, just good) to understand what these numbers really are.
Knowing that you have backed up your registry before starting this chapter, let's dig in and
see what's there.
GUIDs, UUIDs, and Other Funny Numbers in Windows
All versions of Windows are just chock full of strange, long numbers. One type of number is
the GUID (globally unique ID), a.k.a. the UUID (universally unique ID). Regardless of which
term is used, a GUID is always a unique number assigned to an application or component.
Controls, applications, parts of Windows, software and components, tools, compilers—
everything today has one or more GUIDs. Used primarily with OLE (Object Linking and
Embedding), GUIDs link components and the operating system. GUIDs are used as a linkage
between applications, file types, embedding, OLE, objects, and the operating system.
Note Though I say that every program has a unique GUID, actually different versions of the
same program may share the same GUID. This allows the program to be compatible
with earlier versions of itself. Regardless, two different programs should never have the
same GUID.
For example, Microsoft Word has a GUID of {000209FF-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}.
This is unique enough that we can be sure that a request for this GUID will always match
Microsoft Word, and not some other application. How can we say that? After all, although a
GUID is long (it's a number with 16 bytes, or 128 bits), what mechanisms are there to make
sure that each programmer uses a unique GUID?
The process of obtaining a GUID is simple and, in most cases, doesn't even require any direct
interaction with Microsoft. Does that make you rather nervous? Fear not, Microsoft provides a
tool to generate a GUID, and that tool takes some rather interesting steps to attempt to make
each GUID unique.
Note Why even bother with these GUIDs? Say two programmers working for different
companies create a program with the executable file name of xyz.exe. There's nothing
wrong with that; a program's filename typically doesn't represent the actual product
name or the program's functionality. However, without GUIDs it would be rather
difficult for Windows to distinguish between these two programs.
First, a bit of history (just what you wanted, a history lesson). All Ethernet network interface
cards (NICs) have a unique identifying number built into them. That's right, the NIC in your
computer is different from the NIC of the computer in the office next door. This means that
each computer with a NIC actually has a form of a unique serial number.
Note This unique number is actually the MAC (Media Access Control) address, used by the
networking hardware to manage the various resources found on the network.
The NIC's serial number (the MAC address) allows the hardware layer of the network to
distinguish between different computers on the network. An overseeing organization assigns
unique identifiers to each NIC manufacturer (which forms the first part of the MAC address),
and the manufacturer assigns the second part of the identifier to each NIC at assembly time
(usually sequentially). Most NICs have their ID number written on a small sticker on the card,
though in today's world, users and administrators have virtually no need for the NIC's MAC
address. Figure 15.1 shows a Windows XP computer NIC configuration. Notice the line
called Physical Address—that is the NIC's MAC address.
Figure 15.1: A typical NIC's MAC address, as displayed using the IPCONFIG /ALL comman.
The Microsoft GUID program takes the NIC's identifier number, which is unique; the current
time and date information (which is relatively unique), hashed a bit; and a random number for
good measure and uses these to create the GUID. To have two identical GUIDs, it would be
necessary to have two computers with the same NIC MAC addresses, at the same time
(exactly, to the millisecond), and with the same random number.
In short, it is unlikely that two GUIDs would be the same. Even if a programmer were to get
the command to run at exactly the same time on both computers, it is not reasonable that the
random number would be the same on both runs. This is because the random number is not
based on time or any other factor that a programmer might be able to influence. Hence, you
can be reasonably sure that the GUID for each application will be unique.
There is actually one instance where a GUID might not be unique: when a programmer
intentionally copies the GUID for one program into another program. This could be
unintentional; but more likely, the program would do this by design. I can't think of any valid
reason why a programmer might create two different applications with the same GUID, but
I'm sure that someone will write and tell me why this could, or would, happen.
A GUID consists of five groups of digits in hexadecimal. Hyphens separate each group. These
groups display four bytes, two bytes, two bytes, two bytes, and six bytes—in that order—as
the following GUID shows:
{000209FF-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}
It is common, although not specifically required, that braces enclose a GUID. However,
whenever you encounter a number with the above arrangement of digits (8, 4, 4, 4, 12), you
can generally assume that the number is a GUID.
A Rose by Any Other Name
UUID and GUID are just different names for the same thing. Ditto for CLSID (class ID).
CLSIDs, GUIDs, and UUIDs all identify a specific class of objects. Treat a CLSID the same
as you would treat a GUID or a UUID, and all will be well.
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT
The HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT hive contains information about both OLE and various file
associations.
Warning A little later in this chapter, we'll start fiddling with the registry. You are an
intelligent person; therefore, you know that you should back up your registry before
you start. Please, do not change the registry without having a good, easily restored
backup.
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT provides compatibility with the existing Windows 3.x registry;
some applications and systems expect HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT to exist. The information
contained in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT is identical to information found in the subkey
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes. Actually, these two objects are physically the
same. A change made in one will automatically modify the other. Think of
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT as a house on the corner of an intersection. The house might have
two addresses, one on each street. Remember: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT is
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes and
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes is HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.
Managing File Types and File Extensions
The HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT hive consists of a list of all file extensions (file types) known
to your installation of Windows XP. Each time you install a new application, the application
should add or modify one or more extensions. The application's setup program does this, and
this process tells Windows XP that the application will handle (open, print, and so on) that
type of file when users select it.
For example, the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT key for an Excel spreadsheet file (any file that
ends in .xls) is as follows:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.xls
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.xls\Excel.Sheet.5
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.xls\Excel.Sheet.5\ShellNew
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.xls\Excel.Sheet.5\ShellNew\FileName = excel.xls
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.xls\ExcelWorksheet
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.xls\ExcelWorksheet\ShellNew
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.xls\ExcelWorksheet\ShellNew\FileName = excel4.xls
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.xls\ShellEx
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.xls\ShellEx\{00021500-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.xls\ShellEx\{00021500-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}
\(Default) = {83799FE0-1F5A-11d1-95C7-00609797EA4F}
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.xls\ShellEx\{BB2E617C-0920-11d1-9A0B-00C04FC2D6C1}
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.xls\ShellEx\{BB2E617C-0920-11d1-9A0B-00C04FC2D6C1}
\(Default) = {9DBD2C50-62AD-11d0-B806-00C04FD706EC}
This complex group of registry entries results from the complexity of the Microsoft Office
product; after all, we pay a lot for those Office products.
Another example is for batch files with the extension of .bat. The entry we find for batch files
is as follows:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.bat
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.bat\(Default) = batfile
We also see a subkey named PersistentHandler that contains a GUID. This GUID (5e941d80bf96-11cd-b579-08002b30bfeb) is the plain-text persistent handler, and it is used for many
other HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT entries as well.
We see an identifier, which has no name, with a data value of batfile. Looking a bit further
down the line (or down HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, so to speak), we find an entry called
batfile. Coincidence? Luck? Secret conspiracy? Here are the facts for batfile:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\(Default) = MS-DOS Batch File
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\EditFlags = 30 04 00 00
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\DefaultIcon
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\DefaultIcon\(Default) =
%SystemRoot%\System32\shell32.dll,-153
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\edit
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\edit\(Default) = &Edit
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\edit\command
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\edit\command\(Default) =
%SystemRoot%\System32\NOTEPAD.EXE %1
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\open
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\open\EditFlags = 0x00000000
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\open\command
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\open\command\(Default) = "%1" %*
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\print
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\print\command
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\print\command\(Default) =
%SystemRoot%\System32\NOTEPAD.EXE /p %1
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shellex\batfile\shellex\PropertySheetHandlers
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shellex\PropertySheetHandlers\PifProps
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shellex\PropertySheetHandlers\PifProps\(Default)
= {86F19A00-42A0-1069-A2E9-08002B30309D}
Now, the preceding set of entries tell us and Windows XP everything needed to handle a .bat
file—the icon to display, how to edit it, how to open it, how to print it, and how to process
(execute) it. Let's look at each section of this entry. We'll begin with the first section:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\(Default) = MS-DOS Batch File
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\EditFlags = 30 04 00 00
Initial handling for batch files includes (in an unnamed variable) the text string used both in
Explorer for the file's Properties dialog box and in the Type column of Explorer's detailed list
view. Modifying this string changes the behavior of Explorer and Windows for the properties
displayed for a batch file.
The EditFlags variable controls how Windows processes the command.
EditFlags and Bitmapped Variables
EditFlags variables are bitmapped, with a few apparent bits. Flags are combined by ANDing
them together. For example, 00 08 00 00 ANDed with 00 01 00 00 would result in the value
00 09 00 00. Use the Windows calculator program and simply add the values; the result will
be identical.
Note EditFlags are stored in binary format, so that the bytes in the value are not in the same
order that a DWORD value would have. If modifying EditFlags values, be cautious to
correctly order the bytes!
EditFlags variables affect the way that Windows XP and its components, such as Internet
Explorer, handle receiving certain files, as well as how files are processed.
Table 15.1 shows the bit values defined for EditFlags.
Name
Table 15.1: Bit Values for EditFlags
Value (in
Value (in
Description or Effect
Hexadecimal)
Binary)
Exclude
0x00000001
01 00 00 00
Excludes the file class;
suppresses the display of the
file type in the file types list
Show
0x00000002
02 00 00 00
Shows extensions for nonfile
objects (such as a folder that
aren't associated with a
filename extension)
HasExtension
0x00000004
04 00 00 00
Shows that the file class has a
name extension
NoEdit
0x00000008
08 00 00 00
Does not allow editing
registry entries associated
with this file class
NoRemove
0x00000010
10 00 00 00
Disables the Remove button
in the File Types tab
NoNewVerb
0x00000020
20 00 00 00
Disables the Actions → New
command in the File Types
tab
NoEditVerb
0x00000040
40 00 00 00
Disables the Edit button in the
Edit File Type dialog box
NoRemoveVerb
0x00000080
80 00 00 00
Disables the Remove button
in the Edit File Type dialog
box
NoEditDesc
0x00000100
00 01 00 00
Disables the Edit Name
button in the Edit File Type
dialog box
NoEditIcon
0x00000200
00 02 00 00
Disables the Change Icon
button in the Edit File Type
dialog box
NoEditDflt
0x00000400
00 04 00 00
Disables the Set Default
button in the Edit File Type
dialog box
NoEditVerbCmd
0x00000800
00 08 00 00
Disables modification of
commands associated with
verbs
NoEditVerbExe
0x00001000
00 10 00 00
Disables modification of
command actions
NoDDE
0x00002000
00 20 00 00
Disables changing the DDE
settings
NoEditMIME
0x00008000
00 80 00 00
Disables modification or
deletion of the content type
Name
Table 15.1: Bit Values for EditFlags
Value (in
Value (in
Description or Effect
Hexadecimal)
Binary)
and default extension entries
OpenIsSafe
0x00010000
00 00 01 00
Specifies that the file class's
open verb can be invoked for
downloaded files
AlwaysUnsafe
0x00020000
00 00 02 00
Disables the "Never ask me"
check box
AlwaysShowExt
0x00040000
00 00 04 00
Ensures that a class extension
is always to be shown
NoRecentDocs
0x00100000
00 00 10 00
Disables automatic adding of
these files or objects to the
Recent Documents folder
ConfirmOpen
0x10000000
00 00 00 01
Confirms open after
download in Internet Explorer
Common EditFlag Values
Some commonly used flag combination values are these:
EditFlag 0xD2010000 For drives, directories, folders, and so on. Disables Edit File Type,
Remove, Description, and Edit Name in the Edit dialog box. Also adds the file type to the list
if this isn't a real file.
EditFlag 0x30040000 For batch files, disables Set Default, Remove, and New.
EditFlag 0x38070000 For applications, disables Edit, Set Default, Change Icon, and Edit
Description.
The next section for batch files is as follows:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\DefaultIcon
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\DefaultIcon\(Default) =
%SystemRoot%\System32\shell32.dll,-153
The DefaultIcon entry specifies which icon Explorer displays in the Explorer program or on
the Desktop, as appropriate. Notice that Explorer won't allow you to use the Explorer
Properties dialog box to change the icon for a batch file. Here is where it is changed:
%SystemRoot%\System32\shell32.dll,-153
What does that magic line mean? The file named %SystemRoot%\System32\shell32.dll is a
.dll file that has, in addition to other things, a whole bunch of icons. The second number is a
bit of a mystery, right? First, it is negative; just how do you find a negative icon, anyway?
Second, there doesn't seem to be any simple program or method to find which icon matches
this magic number.
The negative number isn't so difficult. Icons are stored as resources in executable files; .exe
and .dll files are both executable, but other extensions are also executable and can have icons
in them. Each resource has a unique signed number from 0 to 65535 (a two-byte value)
assigned. These resources (icons, dialog boxes, and strings) use this number to identify
themselves to Windows. Programmers, and programmers' tools, ignore the fact that these
resources are stored with signed numbers and simply ignore the signs. A programmer sets the
icon's identifier to 65382, and Windows, to make things easy for all of us, displays it as –153.
So icon number –153 is actually icon number 65382.
Some .dll files with lots of icons in them are pifmgr.dll, moricons.dll, and shell32.dll. There
are other files containing icons, too.
Let's look at the next section:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\edit
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\edit\(Default) = &Edit
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\edit\command
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\edit\command\(Default) =
%SystemRoot%\System32\NOTEPAD.EXE %1
The shell\edit section describes how to edit the subject file. The name of the context-menu
selection to edit is in the variable having no name. (Right-click the file in Explorer to see the
context menu.) The default variable name for most programs is &Edit, which displays the
word Edit. (The letter preceded with an ampersand is the accelerator key's letter and will be
underscored.)
The section shell\edit\command contains a single, unnamed entry listing the editor to edit the
file. In the case of a batch file, the default editor is Notepad. If you have a favorite editor, you
can plug it into this location to have it edit the file. Just remember that the editor must be able
to open and save the file in the correct format. Fortunately for batch files, this is not difficult;
they are plain-text files with no special editing requirements. When the editor is called, the
argument %1 will be substituted with the batch file's name, as shown here:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\open
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\open\EditFlags = 0x00000000
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\open\command
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\open\command\(Default) = "%1" %*
The shell\open section contains the code to execute the file. In the case of a batch file, the
EditFlags value is 0x00000000. Notice the format of this command, especially the placement
of the quotes: "%1" %*. This command string will have the initial (quoted) %1 substituted
with the batch file's name and the second %* substituted with any parameters that the user
passed to the command. If editing the data, be very careful not to place the quotes in the
wrong place; don't quote the entire string, for example.
The next section handles printing requests:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\print
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\print\command
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\print\command\(Default) =
%SystemRoot%\
System32\NOTEPAD.EXE /p %1
Printing, managed by the shell\print section, contains only one working entry under
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\print\command with a single, unnamed entry. This
entry tells Explorer to print using Notepad, passing the filename and the /p option. The option
/p is a relatively standard option telling the program to open the file, print it to the default
printer, and then exit. Generally, Windows prints the entire file, although it is possible that
some applications will provide options for the print process. (Notepad is not silent or hidden;
you will see it open, see the print dialog, and see Notepad close.)
Entries for property sheets for this object are next:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shellex
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shellex\PropertySheetHandlers
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shellex\PropertySheetHandlers\PifProps
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shellex\PropertySheetHandlers\PifProps\
(Default) = {86F19A00-42A0-1069-A2E9-08002B30309D}
Mappings to programs for all CLSIDs are in the CLSID part of HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.
Looking up our magic CLSID, {86F19A00-42A0-1069-A2E9-08002B30309D}, we find it is
registered for shell32.dll, along with a few other settings. This tells us that the PIF (Program
Interface File) manager is actually part of shell32.dll, used to display the property sheet for
batch files:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{86F19A00-42A0-1069-A2E9-08002B30309D}
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{86F19A00-42A0-1069-A2E9-08002B30309D}\
(Default) = .PIF file (handler) property pages
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{86F19A00-42A0-1069-A2E9-08002B30309D}\
InProcServer32
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{86F19A00-42A0-1069-A2E9-08002B30309D}\
InProcServer32\(Default) = shell32.dll
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{86F19A00-42A0-1069-A2E9-08002B30309D}\
InProcServer32\ThreadingModel = Apartment
Several items in the CLSID section are worth noting. First, InProcServer32 is the name for a
section dealing with in-process servers. In this case, we are working with a 32-bit in-process
server, but that's not important right now.
We get the name of the server, shell32.dll, from the variable with no name; and we get the
threading model, Apartment, from the ThreadingModel entry. These are important, since
specifying the wrong ThreadingModel can cause data corruption. Other possible values for
ThreadingModel are Single and Both, although it is unlikely that you will see Single
specified.
One picture is worth a thousand words. Or so they say. Figure 15.2 shows the entries for a
batch file (.bat) a bit more graphically.
Figure 15.2: The entries for .bat (batfile) type files in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, showing
their relationship.
As shown in Figure 15.2, batch files are a relatively more complex example of how a
particular file type is processed. Some other types of files are simpler—for example, they may
not support context menus—while some are much more complex. Each system will be
different for optional components, although Windows components typically are similar
regardless of the installation.
Okay, what have we learned? First, for virtually any object that relates to a file (except My
Computer, My Network Places, Recycle Bin, and so on), we can set the text description,
change the icon, set an editor to edit, set a printer to print, and control how the object is
executed or opened, as appropriate. In fact, we can add almost any functionality to the context
menu we might want to. For instance, we can set a second editor for batch files; we'll use the
command prompt's editor.
This example uses the Registry Editor. I'm going to start right from the beginning since this is
our first registry hack, I mean "fix."
1. Open the Registry Editor (RegEdit). The current local registry will be displayed.
2. Make HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT the top window either by selecting it in the Window
menu or by clicking it.
3. A batch file's extension is .bat, so find .bat in the list of extensions.
4. Open the .bat key, which holds one unnamed entry with a value of batfile. Figure 15.3
shows this entry. An additional subkey, called PersistentHandler, contains the GUID
for the handler for a batch file.
Figure 15.3: Most extension entries have a single entry referring to a subsequent entry
in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.
5. Find the entry batfile in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT and expand the shell subkey. The
original shell subkey contains three entries: edit, open, and print.
6. Create a new subkey under shell and call this new subkey NewEdit. (Sure, you can
call this new subkey anything you want.)
7. In your NewEdit subkey, there is an unnamed entry with a data type of REG_SZ. In
this entry, put the text of the new command you are adding. In this example, we are
adding the command-level editor (the editor displayed when you type edit at a
command prompt), so I'm adding the string Edit with DOS Editor. Take a gander at
Figure 15.4 to see what we've done so far!
Figure 15.4: The Registry Editor with NewEdit open, showing the unnamed key with
the command's menu text
8. Under the NewEdit subkey, create a second subkey called command.
9. In the subkey command, create a new, unnamed value with a data type of
REG_EXPAND_SZ. Make sure you use REG_EXPAND_SZ, and not REG_SZ,
because this string will have an expansion variable embedded in it.
10. The string value for this new variable is the command itself. In our case, we are going
to use the command editor, edit.com, which is located in %SystemRoot%\System32.
Add this string like so:
%SystemRoot%\System32\edit.com %1
The %1 is a substitution variable, much like substitution variables in batch files, where
Windows will substitute the name of the file to load into the editor. Figure 15.5 shows
this change.
Figure 15.5: The Registry Editor with the new command added
11. We are done adding a new context-menu selection. Close the Registry Editor and
restart Windows.
Note Although not always necessary, I recommend that you restart Windows XP after each
registry modification. Windows XP caches some parts of the registry, and changes won't
become visible until after restarting. Actually, much of HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT is
cached, so a reboot is an especially good idea here.
Figure 15.6 shows the new context menu in action. When the user clicks the menu selection
Edit with DOS Editor, the command-prompt editor will open in its own window, and the
selected file will be loaded, as shown in Figure 15.7.
Figure 15.6: The new, modified context menu. Look—we now have a new editor to choose
from.
Figure 15.7: Using a different editor may be just the trick for some users.
Editing with the command editor may be easier for some users, or maybe you have a favorite
editor you would like to substitute.
You can modify all context menus in Explorer (which includes the Desktop) using this
technique. You can add selections for different file types, new actions to take, new editors,
new print options, whatever.
Managing OLE and Embedding
The second function of HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT is to manage OLE. It is perhaps well
beyond the scope of this book to really delve into the intricacies of OLE. But a quick review
is in order.
OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) is a basic functionality that Microsoft has been
working on for the last 8 to 10 years. The origins of OLE, or at least the concepts surrounding
OLE, are vague. Some of these techniques and functions can be traced back to the beginnings
of Windows and something called DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange). DDE was one hell of a
difficult thing to work with, and Microsoft quickly expanded it to make it more flexible.
OLE consists of a whole slew of features, but the main one we'll worry about today is the
concept of embedding. Embedding is the process of using one application inside another
application. Many of Microsoft's applications rely heavily on embedding. Outlook is one
example; it's the Microsoft Desktop information management system that many of us use for
e-mail. Outlook can use Microsoft Word as the preferred e-mail editor by embedding Word
into Outlook's e-mail editor window. When this is done, Word's menus, toolbars, and other
functions are all available to the user.
Figure 15.8 shows Word as the e-mail editor, running and editing a message to my editor. An
invisible Word window exists with this chapter open. Using Word to edit an e-mail message
doesn't affect Word's ability to be a word processor, although I do save my work before using
Outlook.
Figure 15.8: Outlook's e-mail editor with Word embedded
There is nothing that would prevent you from writing an application that allowed embedding
Word. For that matter, embedding into a client application is possible for virtually all server
applications. There are established mechanisms to determine the server's capabilities, what is
needed to embed, and so on, although it is well beyond the scope of this book to get into that
topic. They say there are only about two programmers who really understand embedding and
OLE, and they both work for Microsoft.
The Default Client—It's a Dirty Job but Someone Has to Do It
Windows XP offers what amounts to a default client application. It gives a server application
that is incapable of running on its own a way to execute. This default client application is
called RunDLL32.exe.
When RunDLL32 is executed, it is passed the name of the server, typically an ActiveX
control (a.k.a. an OLE control), some actions, and the name of the subject object, typically a
file of some sort.
For example, the entry for amovie.ocx, an ActiveX control used to display MPEG (video)
files, is as follows:
%SystemRoot%\System32\RunDLL32.exe
%SystemRoot%\System32\amovie.ocx,RunDll /play /close %1
In this example, RunDLL32 will load amovie.ocx, passing these four parameters:
RunDll Tells amovie.ocx who the client is.
/play Tells amovie.ocx to play the specified object; in this case the object is a file.
/close Tells amovie.ocx to close after playing the specified object.
%1 Tells amovie.ocx which file contains the object to be played.
Delving into the Unknown
Regardless of how many viewer controls, applications, and whatever else you install under
Windows XP, there are going to be unknown file types. Windows refers to these files as
unknown. When Windows opens an unknown file, a dialog box is displayed that is named
Open With. This dialog box, shown in Figure 15.9, allows you to select an application to open
files whose file type is currently not defined.
Figure 15.9: Open With allows both opening a specific file of an unknown type and setting a
new default action for other files at the same time.
The Open With dialog box allows you to select the application used to open the file. Also, if
the "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file" box is checked, Open With
will create a new default handler for the file type.
Default handlers include most applications installed under Windows XP that are properly
registered in the registry—that is, installed correctly. In addition, several system components
are used as handlers, including RunDLL32 (which allows running ActiveX controls),
WinHlp32 (to open standard Windows help files), and Internet Explorer.
Whenever a selection does not appear within the list of programs in the Open With dialog
box, clicking the Browse button allows you to select any other executable program.
When the box labeled "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file" is checked,
new entries in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT are created for this file type. These entries may then
be edited or modified by the user, using the techniques previously shown, to change or
enhance the behavior of the context menu.
Chapter 16: Introduction to
HKEY_CURRENT_USER and
HKEY_USERS
Overview
HKEY_CURRENT_USER and HKEY_USERS are hives that deal with users and user
profiles. When first installed, Windows XP systems have two profiles configured: the default
user, used by the system when no user is logged on, and a profile for the currently logged-on
user.
HKEY_CURRENT_USER is the profile for the currently logged-on user.
HKEY_CURRENT_USER is actually just a link to the user's profile that is stored in
HKEY_USERS. Changes made in HKEY_CURRENT_USER are also going to appear in
HKEY_USERS and be saved when the user logs off (if the user doesn't have a mandatory
profile). HKEY_USERS contains the profile for the currently logged-on user and the default
profile.
In this chapter, we'll take an in-depth look at the major subkeys that make up the profile of the
currently logged-on user.
Looking at User Profiles
All user profiles are stored as separate profile files and are loaded as needed. They are saved
in the %SystemRoot%\Profiles\<userid> directory. The registry components of the user's
profile are contained in the ntuser.dat files.
For example, consider our fictional user, Pixel:
1. The user Pixel logs on to the system.
2. Windows XP validates the user ID and password with the Active Directory server or
the local machine's security manager if the user is not logging on to a domain.
3. The logon checks the user's profile status.
4. If the profile is local, or if the user is not logging on to a domain, the profile is loaded
from the local machine.
5. If the user's profile is not local, and the user is logging on to a domain and has a
roaming or mandatory profile, the correct profile is loaded from the appropriate
network share. The user's ntuser.dat file is loaded into the registry's HKEY_USERS
hive with a subkey name equal to the user's SID (security identifier).
6. The user's profile is read from the server and updated as necessary to reflect the user's
preferences. The user uses the same profile when logging on at any computer in the
domain.
Note Pixel, who's Pixel? Try Robert A. Heinlein's book, The Cat Who Walked Through Walls
(ISBN 0-441-09499-6), to learn about the cat, Pixel.
In the process of loading the user's profile, the user's ntuser.dat file is loaded into
HKEY_USERS. This hive contains the user's registry settings, everything that will later
appear in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive. This becomes a hive with a name equal to the
user's SID. Windows XP unloads and saves to the original location the profile of the
previously logged-on user. This leaves HKEY_USERS with only two user profiles loaded at
any given time, for the default user and the current user. (Actually, if no user logs on, then
only one profile is present: the default profile.)
Warning Careful—backing up a server's registry doesn't back up each user's profile. It is
necessary to completely back up the server's Profiles directory, which contains
information for each user who is defined on that machine and who has a profile
stored there.
Users who don't have authority to modify their profile because they are using a mandatory
profile may make changes. However, these changes will be lost when the user logs off.
Note What happens when the same user ID, with a roaming profile, is used concurrently on
two different computers? This situation is not well defined. It is not an error; however,
only one of these multiple logged sessions will actually save the user's profile. The
session that is the last to log off will overwrite all other saves by other sessions.
The major user components in the registry are:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER The HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive manages specific
information about the currently logged-on user. Remember, Windows XP automatically
reflects changes made in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT to the user's information contained in
HKEY_USERS.
HKEY_USERS The HKEY_USERS hive also contains information about a pseudo user
(named .DEFAULT) that is used when no user is logged on. (It also contains information
about the user currently logged-on user and other users as well.)
Remember that HKEY_CURRENT_USER is an alias for the actual user's information that is
contained in the HKEY_USERS hive. Modifying one will always modify both. Generally it is
easier to make changes to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive, as there is no ambiguity as to
who's information is being modified.
Again, a backup is vital. I have to do one myself, so while I'm busy, why don't you do a
registry backup, too.
HKEY_CURRENT_USER
The HKEY_CURRENT_USER branch manages specific information about the currently
logged-on user. This hive contains a complete profile of how Windows will look and behave
for the user.
Note If at any time you want to modify the look and feel (the profile) of Windows XP when
no user is logged on, then modify the entries in the HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT subkey.
There are parallel entries in this subkey for virtually every entry found in
HKEY_CURRENT_USER. Realize that some changes won't be meaningful because
they represent parts of the system that are quite inaccessible when no user is logged on.
Major subkeys in HKEY_CURRENT_USER include the following:
AppEvents This subkey includes information about labels for events, such as the default
beep. Other information includes the sounds (such as the beeps, dings, and bongs) that
Windows emits when things happen. It is not common to edit label entries, but it is possible.
Use the Control Panel's Sounds applet to change event sounds, although some sounds must be
changed directly in the registry.
Console The colors, font, and other command-window metrics are stored in this subkey.
These settings apply to console windows only; other windows have their metrics stored
elsewhere.
Control Panel This subkey holds settings for some of the Control Panel's applets. Examples
of settings saved here include those for the Accessibility, Appearance, Mouse, and Keyboard
applets.
Environment The system environment strings are saved in this subkey.
EUDC Information regarding End User Defined Characters is stored in this subkey. (This
subkey is not found on all Windows installations.)
Identities This subkey holds settings for user-specific configurations of certain software.
Keyboard Layout The keyboard layout can be modified from this subkey, typically when a
special-purpose keyboard is used.
Network All drives to which drive letters are mapped are managed in this subkey. Explorer
primarily manages drive mapping of network shares.
Printers All printers, local and remote, are managed in this subkey. Printer information is
accessible in the system's Printer applet.
RemoteAccess The wizard for dial-up networking services that allows connecting to remote
computers and networks stores information in this subkey. (This subkey is not found in all
Windows installations.)
SessionInformation This subkey contains dynamic information about the current session.
Software Information about all installed software is stored in this subkey. The vendor
typically arranges this information, although some applications may be in their own subkeys.
System This subkey contains information used by the backup and restore process.
Unicode Program Groups This subkey contains information used by Program Manager. (Is
anyone using Program Manager anymore?) The subkeys found in Unicode Program Groups
are in a binary format that is difficult to edit. (Have I ever seen entries in the Unicode
Program Groups subkey? No, not yet.) Actually, users who upgraded from Windows NT 3.x
may have entries in this subkey. However, Windows NT version 4 or later will not use this
subkey, even though it is found in all versions of Windows, including Windows XP.
Volatile Environment Typically, this subkey contains a number of entries. For example, a
value called LOGONSERVER contains a string with the logon server (the server the user is
currently logged on to). For example, my logon server is \\DORA. There are a number of
other interesting items found in this subkey.
AppEvents
The AppEvents subkey contains all the information that Windows XP uses to play sounds and
make other events happen, whenever a given event happens. Additionally, the AppEvents
subkey contains definitions of what sounds to play when an event occurs. Finally, AppEvents
also contains sound schemes for both default sounds and no sounds. Users may create new
schemes, as desired, using the Control Panel's Sounds applet—more on that later.
First, AppEvents is divided into two parts. The first part, named EventLabels, consists of a list
of events and the labels to be used for these events. These labels are hard-coded in mmsys.cpl
as string resources. For events that are not part of Windows by default, and therefore do not
have any label(s) defined in mmsys.cpl, there will be a display string in the appropriate
EventLabels entry. In Windows XP, the standard labels from 5824 to 5856 are currently
defined (a total of 32 EventLabels), as shown in Table 16.1.
These strings can be viewed using Microsoft Visual C++ (Visual Studio). Load mmsys.cpl as
a resource file and open the string table.
Action Name
Table 16.1: AppEvents Labels for Windows XP
Action Label String Resource Number
Default Beep
5824
Program Error
5825
Close Program
5826
Critical Battery Alarm
5827
Device Connect
5828
Action Name
Table 16.1: AppEvents Labels for Windows XP
Action Label String Resource Number
Device Disconnect
5829
Device Failed to Connect
5830
Empty Recycle Bin
5831
Low Battery Alarm
5832
Maximize
5833
Menu Command
5834
Menu Popup
5835
Minimize
5836
New Mail Notification
5837
Start Navigation
5838
Open Program
5839
Print Complete
5840
Restore Down
5841
Restore Up
5842
Asterisk
5843
Default Sound
5844
Exclamation
5845
Exit Windows
5846
Critical Stop
5847
System Notification
5848
Question
5849
Start Windows
5850
Start Menu
5851
Windows Logoff
5852
Windows Logon
5853
Windows Explorer
5854
Hardware
5855
Windows
5856
The next part of AppEvents is a subkey named Schemes. Found in Schemes are two subkeys:
Apps and Names. In Apps, we first find a subkey named .Default, which contains subkeys for
each of the items listed in EventLabels (see Table 16.1, above). Each item will then have a set
of subkeys, .Current and .Default, where .Current contains the currently defined sound, and
.Default contains the default sound. Figure 16.1 shows the LowBatteryAlarm sound (which
has its own sound in Windows XP).
Figure 16.1: When a portable computer's power management reports that the battery is low,
the user will hear this sound.
We previously discussed labels for events. Next, we need a table of sounds to "play" when the
event happens. These events are located in
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\AppEvents\Schemes\Apps\.Default. This subkey contains entries
to match each entry in the EventLabels subkey (listed in Table 16.1). Each subkey has at least
two subkeys, including .Current and .Default. For example,
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\AppEvents\Schemes\Apps\.Default\.Default\ contains the
following:
.Current This subkey contains one unnamed entry with the value of ding.wav, unless the user
has changed the sound to be played. That is, when a default event (an event that doesn't have
its own sound defined) occurs, Windows will play the ding.wav file.
.Default This subkey contains one unnamed value with the value of
Windows\Media\ding.wav. Windows will actually hard-code the directory to the Windows
installation directory. If at some time the user selects the default sound in the Control Panel's
Sounds applet, this one is used.
When a sound is not defined (either by default or by user action), the string contained will be
empty. Not all sounds are defined!
There are event labels for a number of events, as Table 16.2 shows. This table lists sounds
found in virtually all Windows systems right from the first installation, along with some used
by Microsoft Visual Studio.
Subkey
Table 16.2: Sounds Found on Most Windows Systems
Default Text
Description
.Default
Default Beep
Default sound used when a sound is needed,
but no specific sound has been defined
ActivatingDocument
Complete
Navigation
Sound played when the navigation of an
object is complete
AppGPFault
Program Error
Sound played when a program returns an error
CCSelect
Select
Sound played when an object is selected
Close
Close Program
Sound played when a program closes
EmptyRecycleBin
Empty Recycle Sound played when the Recycle Bin is
Subkey
Table 16.2: Sounds Found on Most Windows Systems
Default Text
Description
Bin
emptied
MailBeep
New Mail
Notification
Sound played when a new e-mail arrives
Maximize
Maximize
Sound played whenever a window is
maximized
MenuCommand
Menu
Command
Sound played whenever a menu item is
selected
MenuPopup
Menu Pop-up
Sound played whenever a pop-up (context)
menu item is selected
Minimize
Minimize
Sound played whenever a window is
minimized
MoveMenuItem
Move Menu
Item
Sound played whenever a menu item is moved
MSVC_HitBP
Breakpoint Hit Sound played when a breakpoint in Microsoft
Visual C++ has been reached (may not be
present if Microsoft Visual C++ is not
installed)
MSVC_OutputError
Error in Output Sound played when an error in Microsoft
Visual C++ has been detected (may not be
present if Microsoft Visual C++ is not
installed)
MSVC_OutputWarning
Warning in
Output
Navigating
Start Navigation Sound played when navigation begins
Open
Open Program
Sound played when a program starts or opens
RestoreDown
Restore Down
Sound played when a window is restored from
the maximized size to the normal size
RestoreUp
Restore Up
Sound played when a window is restored from
the minimized size to the normal size
RingIn
Incoming Call
Sound played when an incoming telephony
call is received
RingOut
Outgoing Call
Sound played when an outgoing telephony call
is made
ShowBand
Show Toolbar
Band
Sound played when the toolbar band is shown
SystemAsterisk
Asterisk
Sound played as the standard Windows
asterisk sound
SystemExclamation
Exclamation
Sound played as the standard Windows
exclamation sound
Sound played when a warning in Microsoft
Visual C++ has been detected (may not be
present if Microsoft Visual C++ is not
installed)
Subkey
Table 16.2: Sounds Found on Most Windows Systems
Default Text
Description
SystemExit
Exit Windows
Sound played when Windows is exited
SystemHand
Critical Stop
Sound played as the standard Windows critical
stop sound
SystemQuestion
Question
Sound played as the standard Windows
question sound
SystemStart
Start Windows
Sound played when Windows starts
Sounds based on events are set in the Control Panel's Sounds applet. Figure 16.2 shows this
simple program. Each event can have one sound assigned, and users can create and save event
sound schemes.
Figure 16.2: The Control Panel's Sounds applet sets sounds and sound schemes.
All sounds are rather meaningless unless the computer supports audio. Windows systems
without sound compatibility will display these labels, and the user may set system sounds, but
Windows cannot play these sounds. After all, how can Windows play a sound without a sound
system? (Experiments at the Dilbert facility using Elbonionans to make the appropriate
sounds did not succeed!)
Maybe, just maybe, there will be systems that don't have all of the above event labels. This is
typically the case when a system administrator has substantially customized the installation
and has deleted these objects. Although there may seem to be good reasons to delete event
labels, it rarely is a good idea—more likely, it is a case of someone trying to generate work
for themselves.
Once a system has more software applications and perhaps hardware too, these products may
add events. These events will require labels and (probably, although not necessarily) sounds.
Microsoft Office, for example, adds about 40 event labels; that's more than the default version
of Windows. Microsoft's Developer Studio consists of a myriad of development tools,
including Visual C/C++, Visual BASIC, Visual FoxPro, and others. It will also add many new
events. Events and event labels can become overwhelming if lots of applications are installed.
Additionally, if the user has defined one or more schemes, there will be an entry for each
user-defined scheme. The name that is used is a system-generated hash of the user's scheme
name. For example, I created a scheme called Peter's Scheme, and Windows XP named the
relevant subkeys Peter'0.
Scheme names are contained in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\AppEvents\Schemes\Names
subkey. There will be one subkey for each scheme created by users, plus the two default ones:
.Default and .None. The .Default subkey is the scheme used to restore the sounds to their
default values. The .None subkey is a scheme used to turn off all sounds, which in some
situations may be a really good move. There have been times when I wanted to use a really
big hammer on someone's speakers. Oh, and by the way, each of these scheme subkeys
contains the username for the scheme.
Already we see the possibility to modify the default sounds so that there could be a standard
set of sounds for an organization. After all, a company with specialized sounds (for example,
any company in the entertainment business) might really want their sounds to be the default
sounds.
In the Control Panel's Sounds applet, you can select default sounds in the Schemes section
(see Figure 16.2). Select the Windows Default scheme to restore the defaults. In the Sounds
applet, you can also select No Sounds to remove all sounds from events.
Note Before selecting a scheme and making massive changes, it may be a good idea to save
the current settings in a new scheme so that you can back out of an undesired change
with only a little work. You can delete schemes that you no longer need in the Sounds
applet using the Delete button. Better safe than sorry.
Console
The Console subkey contains information used to configure the default sessions. Each entry
sets parameters used for character-based applications; those with their own PIF files will use
the PIF file settings rather than the settings in this subkey.
In Table 16.3, we are actually dealing with two-digit values (four of them in each ColorTable
entry). A two-digit hex value can represent a value between 0 and 255 (that's 0 and 0xFF in
hex). Table 16.3 shows each value entry, a typical value, and what the value entry means.
Table 16.3: Console Settings Found on Most Windows Systems
Value Entry
Typical Value Description
ColorTable00
0x00000000
An RGB color value that is black as night.
RGB is additive, getting lighter as the values
increase.
ColorTable01
0x00800000
Dark red.
ColorTable02
0x00008000
Dark green.
ColorTable03
0x00808000
Pea-green color (or a dark yellow, you decide).
Table 16.3: Console Settings Found on Most Windows Systems
Value Entry
Typical Value Description
ColorTable04
0x00000080
Dark blue.
ColorTable05
0x00800080
Violet.
ColorTable06
0x00008080
Dark cyan.
ColorTable07
0x00c0c0c0
Light gray.
ColorTable08
0x00808080
Darker gray.
ColorTable09
0x00ff0000
Bright red.
ColorTable10
0x0000ff00
Bright green.
ColorTable11
0x00ffff00
Yellow—or a really, really bright pea green.
ColorTable12
0x000000ff
Bright blue.
ColorTable13
0x00ff00ff
Bright violet.
ColorTable14
0x0000ffff
Cyan.
ColorTable15
00x0ffffff
White.
CurrentPage
0x00000000
Page zero is the current page.
CursorSize
0x00000019
The cursor is 25 percent of the character cell in
size.
FaceName
(None)
The name of the console font, if defined. A
default font is selected if none is defined.
FontFamily
0x00000000
The console font family, if defined. The
default family for the selected font is used if
none is defined; typical values include
TrueType and Raster.
FontSize
0x00000000
The font size; the low word contains the
character width; the high word contains the
character height. For example, a font 8 x 16
would be 0x00080010.
FontWeight
0x00000000
The weight (bolding) of the font; larger
numbers are bolder.
FullScreen
0x00000000
A value of 0x00000001 is set if this window is
full screen; a value of 0x00000000 is set if the
window is not full screen.
HistoryBufferSize
0x00000032
The size of the history buffer in commands;
the hex value of 32 indicates that 50
commands may be stored in each command
history buffer.
InsertMode
0x00000000
A value of 0x00000001 is to use insert mode;
0x00000000 is to use overwrite mode.
NumberOfHistoryBuffers
0x00000004
The number of history buffers used for this
command session. The size of the history
buffers are set using HistoryBufferSize.
PopupColors
0x000000f5
The color used for a pop-up window, if
Table 16.3: Console Settings Found on Most Windows Systems
Value Entry
Typical Value Description
displayed. The first four bits (f in the typical
value) are the characters; the next four bits (5
in the typical value) are the foreground color.
These values are indexes to the color values
defined in this table.
QuickEdit
0x00000000
Setting the value to 0x00000001 enables
QuickEdit; setting it to 0x00000000 disables
QuickEdit. QuickEdit allows quick cut and
paste to the Clipboard.
ScreenBufferSize
0x00190050
The screen buffer size. In the example, 0x0019
equals 25 in decimal and 0x0050 equals 80 in
decimal; therefore, the default screen buffer
size is 25 x 80 in size. Other common sizes are
50 x 80 (0x00320050) or 43 x 80
(0x002b0050). Windows XP does not restrict
you to a width of 80 characters in a command
session—line widths are essentially unlimited.
ScreenColors
0x00000007
The index to colors for the screen. The next-tolast digit is the index for characters, and the
last digit is the index for the background.
WindowSize
0x00190050
The window size. In the example, 0x0019
equals 25 in decimal and 0x0050 equals 80 in
decimal; therefore, the default screen buffer
size is 25 x 80 in size. Other common sizes are
50 x 80 (0x00320050) or 43 x 80
(0x002b0050).
Colors are in RGB, stored as a four-byte value. Windows ignores the first byte (actually,
Windows uses it internally, and it should always be set to zero). The second byte is red, the
third byte is green, and the fourth and final byte is blue. For example, a color value of
0x00AA2020 is a dusky red, the same color as the windbreaker that I wear in the spring. I left
the jacket in a restaurant the other day and called them to check to see if it was there. I
described the color as an RGB color 170, 32, 32; the person who owned the restaurant told me
without any hesitation that it was there. Could the fact that I was the only one to leave a jacket
there in weeks have anything to do with it?
Tip Lazy and don't want to convert between hex and decimal using your fingers and toes—or
just can't take off your shoes? The Windows Calculator program will convert between
hex and decimal with ease. Just start Calculator and select View → Scientific.
Hexadecimal and Colors
What the heck is hex? Hexadecimal numbers, usually just called hex for short, are expressed
in base 16. To show a hex number, we use the numeric digits 0 through 9 and the letters A
through F.
Computers are binary. They know only two number values: either 1 (on) or 0 (off). A single
datum of computer data is called a bit, which represents either 0 or 1, and no other value in
between.
In computers, numbers are stored in bytes, each comprising 8 bits. A byte's value may range
from 0 to 255. In hex, that value range is 0x00 to 0xFF. The prefix 0x precedes hexadecimal
numbers, and the letters may be either uppercase or lowercase (case doesn't matter).
Two bytes together (16 bits) form what is called a "WORD" (usually, but not always, written
in uppercase). A WORD, if unsigned, may represent a value from 0 to 65535. A signed
WORD value represents a value of –32767 to 32767.
Four bytes together (32 bits) form what's called a "DWORD," short for double word. A
double WORD, if unsigned, may represent a value from 0 to 4294967295. A signed double
WORD represents a value from 2147483647 to –2147483647.
Oftentimes programmers try to fit as much information as possible into a WORD or DWORD
value. History has shown how this can backfire, but for some data, this technique works well.
Color values are a case where three sets of values (one each for red, green, and blue) fit within
the DWORD's four bytes.
Oh, and one more bit of confusion: Half a byte, 4 bits, is called a nibble. A nibble can hold a
value between 0 and 15. Several registry entries use 4-bit nibble values.
Control Panel
The Control Panel subkey in the registry is where many of the Control Panel applets store
settings and defaults. The number of sections may vary depending on installed components.
Things that affect the number of sections include special mouse support, screen savers, and
installed optional components. There may be some differences between a Windows Server
and a Windows workstation installation. This subkey also includes data stored in the win.ini
and system.ini files on Windows 3.x and earlier.
The sections that show up in many registries include:
Accessibility Contains Windows XP's features for users who require special support due to
physical limitations—items such as a special keyboard, mouse, or sounds, and general
support.
Appearance Holds settings for Windows XP's appearance and the schemes used for display
configuration.
Cache Appears to control how Control Panel applets are cached—don't you just hate it when
there is a component that is both undocumented and apparently unused? I checked every
system I could, and the Cache subkey was empty on all systems—both XP Professional and
Server.
Colors Contains the colors for buttons, text—just about everything displayed to the user.
Current Contains the currently loaded color scheme.
Cursors Contains a value that indicates where the current cursor source is.
Custom Colors Contains any user-defined color schemes.
Desktop Holds the Desktop configuration, colors, spacing metrics—everything about what
the screen displays.
don't load Holds the names of any .cpl files that are not to be loaded if found on the system.
These .cpl files are usually not loaded as they are incompatible with either Windows XP or
another component, or they are not desired.
Input Method Contains information about the user's hotkey definitions.
International Contains items dealing with the computer's location (country), including
sorting orders.
IOProcs Holds the Media View File System control.
Keyboard Contains configurations for the keyboard, such as initial state of the toggle keys
for Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Scroll Lock; and delay and repeat rates.
Microsoft Input Devices Contains information about the interaction between input devices
(such as the system mouse) and Windows XP components.
MMCPL Contains Multimedia Control Panel settings.
Mouse Contains mouse settings, such as speed, tracking, and other settings.
Patterns Contains Windows XP's patterns used to create backgrounds, such as Boxes,
Critters, Diamonds, and so on.
Powercfg Contains information about the power configuration settings, including definitions
of the various power configuration policies.
Screen Saver.3DflyingObj Contains configurations for this screen saver.
Screen Saver.3Dpipes Contains configurations for this screen saver.
Screen Saver.Bezier Contains configurations for this screen saver.
Screen Saver.Marquee Contains configurations for this screen saver.
Screen Saver.Mystify Contains configurations for this screen saver.
Screen Saver.Stars Contains configurations for this screen saver.
Sound Contains information about sounds. Contains one entry for something called
SystemDefault or Default. This object was named Sounds in earlier versions of Windows.
In the remainder of this section, we'll look at some of these entries that either seem interesting
or can set data that cannot be set elsewhere. Most entries can be set using the Control Panel.
Accessibility
The concept of allowing Windows to be accessible to users who have special needs is
relatively new. Windows 95 was the first version of Windows to offer accessibility
configurations. Windows NT 4, released after Windows 95, followed suit.
The Accessibility key is subdivided into a number of subkeys:
Blind Access Entries include the following:
On This entry has a default value of 0, indicating that the blind access functionality of
Windows XP is not enabled.
High Contrast Entries include the following:
Flags This entry has a value of 126 on my system.
High Contrast Scheme This entry contains the name of the default high contrast scheme.
Keyboard Preference Entries include the following:
On This entry has a value of 0 or 1. When set to 1, the system understands that the user is
using the keyboard rather than a mouse. This should allow applications to show keyboard
interfaces that might otherwise be hidden on a normally configured system.
Keyboard Response Entries include the following:
AutoRepeatDelay This entry has a default value of 1000, or one second. Increasing this value
increases the wait time before the keyboard auto-repeat kicks in.
AutoRepeatRate This entry has a default value of 500. Increasing this value increases the
repeat rate.
BounceTime This entry has a default value of 0. This value specifies the amount of time to
ignore a keystroke after pressing and releasing a key. This helps eliminate false double
keystrokes.
DelayBeforeAcceptance This entry has a default value of 1000. Increasing it increases the
amount of time that a key must be pressed before it registers as being pressed. Changing the
default here is useful if a user has a tendency to hit keys by mistake.
Flags This is a character field containing a default value of 82 for Windows 2000 and 126 for
Windows XP. This object enables or disables the previously discussed flags.
MouseKeys Entries include the following:
MaximumSpeed This entry has a default value of 80. It limits the maximum speed, in pixels
per second, that the mouse cursor will move when a mouse-movement key is pressed.
TimeToMaximumSpeed This entry has a default value of 3000, three seconds, and is used to
determine the amount of time required for the mouse pointer to reach full speed (specified in
MaximumSpeed) when a mouse-movement key is held down.
Flags This is a character field containing a default value of 18 for Windows 2000 and 62 for
Windows XP. This object is used to disable and enable the previously discussed flags.
SerialKeys This subkey holds settings for a special input device connected to a serial port that
emulates the keyboard and mouse on the computer. Note that all versions of Windows support
SerialKeys. Typically, people who are unable to use standard keyboards take advantage of
these devices. Each device has a unique configuration, and registry entries will be specific to
the device. For systems that do not have serial keyboard/mouse emulation devices configured,
SerialKeys will have no entries. Otherwise, it has the following objects:
ActivePort This entry sets the COM port used and has a default of COM1.
Baud This entry sets the serial speed, in baud, displayed as a hexadecimal number by default.
Port This entry defines the COM port supported.
Flags This entry contains a default value of 3, indicating that the feature is supported.
ShowSounds Entries include the following:
On This entry indicates (when set to a nonzero value) that rather than using a sound, a pop-up
window should be used to notify the user that an event has occurred.
SoundSentry Entries include the following:
Flags This entry has three bitmapped values:
1 indicates that SoundSentry is on.
2 indicates that SoundSentry is available.
4 indicates the state of the indicator and is not user settable.
FSTextEffect There are four values for this object:
0 shows no text effect.
1 flashes characters to draw the user's attention.
2 flashes the window's border to draw the user's attention.
3 flashes the entire display to draw the user's attention.
WindowsEffect This object has five values:
0 shows no window effect.
1 flashes the window's title bar to draw the user's attention.
2 flashes the entire window to draw the user's attention.
3 flashes the entire display to draw the user's attention.
4 performs a custom action, as defined in the SoundSentryProc routine that is exported in
iFSWindowsEffectDLL.
StickyKeys With the StickyKeys feature, a key (such as Ctrl, Shift, or Alt) that normally is
pressed at the same time as another key to modify the second key's meaning can be set to
"stick" on until the next key is pressed. This avoids having to press two keys at the same time,
a process that is difficult for some users. There is a single entry in StickyKeys called Flags, a
REG_SZ variable that contains a decimal number that represents the Flags value. Table 16.4
shows the known bits.
How's That Number Again?
The value stored in the Windows XP registry is a text string containing a number. This
number is in decimal. The default value, 510, indicates that the flags at 0x1FE are turned on
(plug in 510 into the Windows calculator, then convert it to hexadecimal). Looking at Table
16.4, and the default value of 510 (0x000001FE), we see that the set flags are:
2 (0x00000002) StickyKeys is available (cannot be changed from the StickyKeys dialog box).
4 (0x00000004) The StickyKeys hotkey is available.
8 (0x00000008) A confirmation dialog box is displayed when activating StickyKeys using the
hotkey (cannot be changed from the StickyKeys dialog box).
16 (0x00000010) Windows plays a siren sound when the hotkey turns on or off the
StickyKeys feature.
32 (0x00000020) An indicator is displayed when StickyKeys is enabled.
64 (0x00000040) Windows plays a sound when a StickyKeys modifier is pressed.
128 (0x00000080) Pressing the modifier key twice locks it; a third press unlocks it (normally
Windows automatically releases the modifier key after one use).
256 (0x00000100) Windows turns off StickyKeys when a modifier key and another key are
pressed simultaneously (cannot be changed from the StickyKeys dialog box).
Flags Bits
Table 16.4: StickyKeys Flags Bits Defined
Flags (in
Windows XP Windows
Can
Decimal)
Compatible 2000
Be
Compatible Set?
0x00000001
1
√
√
√
StickyKeys is turned
on.
0x00000002
2
√
√
√
StickyKeys is
available. (This
setting cannot be
changed from the
StickyKeys dialog
box.)
0x00000004
4
√
√
√
The StickyKeys
hotkey is available.
0x00000008
8
√
√
√
A confirmation dialog
box is displayed when
StickyKeys is
activated using the
hotkey. (This setting
cannot be changed
from the StickyKeys
dialog box.)
0x00000010
16
√
√
√
Windows plays a
siren sound when the
hotkey is used to turn
on or off the
StickyKeys feature.
0x00000020
32
√
√
√
When enabled,
StickyKeys displays
an indicator.
0x00000040
64
√
√
√
Windows plays a
sound when a
StickyKeys modifier
is pressed.
0x00000080
128
√
√
√
Pressing twice locks
the modifier key.
Normally the modifier
key is automatically
released after use. A
third press unlocks the
modifier key.
0x00000100
256
√
√
√
Whenever a modifier
key is pressed
simultaneously with a
another key,
Description
Flags Bits
Table 16.4: StickyKeys Flags Bits Defined
Flags (in
Windows XP Windows
Can
Decimal)
Compatible 2000
Be
Compatible Set?
Description
StickyKeys is turned
off. (This setting
cannot be changed
from the StickyKeys
dialog box.)
0x00000200
512
√
√
√
Unknown.
0x00000400
1024
√
√
√
Unknown.
0x00000800
2048
√
√
√
Unknown.
0x00001000
4096
√
√
√
Unknown.
0x00002000
8192
√
√
√
Unknown.
0x00004000
16384
√
√
√
Unknown.
0x00008000
32768
√
√
√
Unknown.
0x00010000
65536
√
√
Left Shift key is
currently locked.
0x00020000
131072
√
√
Right Shift key is
currently locked.
0x00040000
262144
√
√
Left Ctrl key is
currently locked.
0x00080000
524288
√
√
Right Ctrl key is
currently locked.
0x00100000
1048576
√
√
Left Alt key is
currently locked.
0x00200000
20971520
√
√
Right Alt key is
currently locked.
0x00400000
4194304
√
√
Left Windows key is
currently locked.
0x00800000
8388608
√
√
Right Windows key is
currently locked.
0x01000000
16777216
√
√
Left Shift key is
currently latched.
0x02000000
33554432
√
√
Right Shift key is
currently latched.
0x04000000
67108864
√
√
Left Ctrl key is
currently latched.
0x08000000
34217728
√
√
Right Ctrl key is
currently latched.
0x10000000
68435456
√
√
Left Alt key is
currently latched.
Flags Bits
Table 16.4: StickyKeys Flags Bits Defined
Flags (in
Windows XP Windows
Can
Decimal)
Compatible 2000
Be
Compatible Set?
0x20000000
536870912
√
√
Right Alt key is
currently latched.
0x40000000
1073741824 √
√
Left Windows key is
currently latched.
0x80000000
2147483648 √
√
Description
Right Windows key is
currently latched.
Note As time goes on, each new version of Windows adds a number of new values for
StickyKeys. A total of seven values are currently unknown, and probably not used.
TimeOut There are two entries in TimeOut that control when the accessibility options are
turned off. They are based on nonuse for a certain period of time.
Flags A value of 1 is on; a value of 3 indicates that Windows plays a siren sound when the
time-out period expires.
TimeToWait This entry sets the time, in milliseconds, that the computer is idle before
accessibility options are turned off. Five minutes is 300000.
ToggleKeys There is a single value in ToggleKeys called Flags. ToggleKeys is a feature that
works like StickyKeys (described above). Unlike with StickyKeys, toggled keys must be
manually reset, as they do not reset after the next keystroke. A bitmapped value is used that
has six bits defined (see Table 16.5).
Flags Bits
Table 16.5: ToggleKeys Flags Bits Defined
Windows XP Windows 2000 Description
Compatible
Compatible
0x00000001
√
√
If set, then the ToggleKeys feature is
turned on.
0x00000002
√
√
If set, then the ToggleKeys feature is
available.
0x00000004
√
√
If set, the user is able to turn on and off
the ToggleKeys feature by pressing the
Num Lock key for eight seconds.
0x00000008
√
√
Windows displays a dialog box to
confirm activation using the hotkey.
0x00000010
√
√
Windows plays a siren sound when
ToggleKeys turns on or off.
0x00000020
√
This feature provides a visual indicator
of the ToggleKeys state.
Appearance
What Windows XP looks like is contained in the Appearance subkey. There are two subkeys
called New Schemes and Schemes. (Schemes appears to be retained for compatibility, and
may not be included with future versions of Windows.)
New Schemes contains the definitions for the schemes defined for Windows XP. These
definitions are used by the themeui.dll file's routines to manage the themes. Unlike earlier
versions of Windows, the values contained in New Schemes are easily modified.
In Schemes, there are keys (all of which are REG_BINARY data types) containing definitions
of the Windows standard color schemes, such as Lilac, Maple, Wheat, Windows Standard,
and so on.
Each scheme in this subkey is loaded in the Control Panel's Display applet, which is also
accessible from the Desktop's properties menu. Looking in the Appearance tab, there is a
drop-down list to select a scheme from.
It is quite possible to hack a scheme from the registry, although many of the parts of the
scheme may be modified more easily in the Display Properties dialog box. Once modified, a
new scheme may be saved for later reloading as needed.
Cache
The Cache subkey seems to control how the Control Panel displays its icons. Many Windows
XP users do not have any entries in this subkey, while others do. An example of the Cache
subkey is shown in Microsoft's Knowledge Base article Q150541, which you'll find at
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q150541.
Colors
The Colors subkey contains the colors for buttons, text, and just about everything displayed to
the user. Keep in mind that more colors may be defined as more applications and components
are installed on Windows XP.
Each entry listed in this subkey has a string containing three numbers representing the red,
green, and blue color levels, as shown in Table 16.6. As the color value increases, the color
becomes lighter, so that a value of 127 0 0 is a dark red, and a value of 255 0 0 is a bright red.
Item
Table 16.6: Color Objects in a Typical Windows XP Installation
Object Name
Red Value Green Value Blue Value
Active Window Border
ActiveBorder
212
208
200
Active Window's Title
ActiveTitle
0
84
227
Application Work Space
AppWorkSpace
128
128
128
Background
Background
0
78
152
Button Alternate Face
ButtonAlternateFace
181
181
181
Button Dark Shadow
ButtonDkShadow
113
111
100
Item
Table 16.6: Color Objects in a Typical Windows XP Installation
Object Name
Red Value Green Value Blue Value
Button Face
ButtonFace
236
233
216
Button Hilight
ButtonHilight
255
255
255
Button Light
ButtonLight
241
239
226
Button Shadow
ButtonShadow
172
168
153
Button Text
ButtonText
0
0
0
Gradient Active Title
GradientActiveTitle
61
149
255
Gradient Inactive Title
GradientInactiveTitle
157
185
235
Gray Text
GrayText
172
168
153
Hilight
Hilight
49
106
197
Hilight Text
HilightText
255
255
255
Hot Tracking Color
HotTrackingColor
0
0
128
Inactive Border
InactiveBorder
212
208
200
Inactive Title
InactiveTitle
122
150
223
Inactive Title Text
InactiveTitleText
216
228
248
Info Text
InfoText
0
0
0
Info Window
InfoWindow
255
255
225
Menu
Menu
255
255
255
Menu Text
MenuText
0
0
0
Scrollbar
Scrollbar
212
208
200
Title Text
TitleText
255
255
255
Window
Window
255
255
255
Window Frame
WindowFrame
0
0
0
Window Text
WindowText
0
0
0
Menu Hilight
MenuHilight
49
106
197
Menu Bar
MenuBar
236
233
216
Current
The Current subkey contains the currently loaded color scheme. One key, called Color
Schemes, contains the name of the color scheme. Also check
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ControlPanel\Appearance\Schemes for a list of schemes installed
on the computer.
Cursors
The Cursors subkey contains the currently loaded cursor scheme. One key, called Schemes
Source, contains the name of the cursor scheme. Also check
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ControlPanel\Appearance\Schemes for a list of schemes installed
on the computer.
Custom Colors
The Windows XP common dialog box called Colors allows you to define and save up to 16
custom color definitions. These custom colors are stored in the subkey Custom Colors, in
entries named ColorA through ColorP. Each entry contains a six-digit string, in hexadecimal,
nominally in RGB, for each custom color. The default value for each color entry is FFFFFF,
or white.
Desktop
The configuration of the user's Desktop is contained in the Desktop subkey. This key contains
between 25 and 50 different entries. Many of these items (see Table 16.7) are adjusted in the
various Properties dialog boxes, but some must be changed directly from the registry.
Entry
Table 16.7: Desktop Settings Found on Most Windows Systems
Typical Value
Description
ActiveWndTrkTimeout
dword:00000000
This value is currently undefined.
AutoEndTasks
0
Sets the automatic task-ending mode that
controls whether the system automatically
ends a timed-out task without displaying a
warning or prompt dialog box.
CaretWidth
dword:00000001
This value is currently undefined.
CoolSwitch
1
The fast task-switching mode; set to 0 to
disable. In Windows NT 4 and higher, the
feature is always enabled.
CoolSwitchColumns
7
Sets the number of columns of icons in
the Alt+Tab dialog box.
CoolSwitchRows
3
Sets the number of rows of icons in the
Alt+Tab dialog box.
CursorBlinkRate
530
Sets the time between blinks of the cursor,
in milliseconds; the default value is 530
milliseconds.
DragFullWindows
0
The drag mode in Windows XP that
supports either full-window dragging or
outline dragging; a value of 1 indicates
that full- window dragging is enabled.
DragHeight
4 (2 in earlier
versions)
Sets the vertical size of the dragging box
required before the mouse detects a drag
operation.
DragWidth
4 (2 in earlier
versions)
Sets the horizontal size of the dragging
box required before the mouse detects a
drag operation.
FontSmoothing
2
Font smoothing makes certain fonts easier
to read on high-resolution color adapters.
It is set in the Plus tab of the Display
Properties dialog box, under Smooth
Entry
Table 16.7: Desktop Settings Found on Most Windows Systems
Typical Value
Description
Edges of Screen Fonts.
FontSmoothingType
1
Set to 0 for no font smoothing, 1 for
normal smoothing, and 2 for cleartype
(best on digital LCD displays) smoothing.
ForegroundFlashCount
dword:00000003
This value indicates the number of times
that the Taskbar icons will flash when
user intervention is required.
ForegroundLockTimeout
dword:00030d40
This value indicates the amount of time
that an application will not be allowed to
move to the foreground following user
input.
GridGranularity
0
A grid that helps align objects on the
Desktop may be enabled by setting this to
any nonzero value.
HungAppTimeout
5000
Sets the time, in milliseconds, before a
hung application (one that does not
respond) will cause Windows XP to
display a dialog box to prompt the user to
either wait or kill the application.
IconSpacing
75
Sets the icon spacing granularity for the
Desktop. (Not present on Windows XP
systems by default.)
IconTitleFaceName
MS Sans Serif
Sets the icon font name. (Not present on
Windows XP systems by default.)
IconTitleSize
9
Sets the size of icon titles. (Not present on
Windows XP systems by default.)
IconTitleStyle
0
Sets the icon title style. (Not present on
Windows XP systems by default.)
IconTitleWrap
1
Sets the entry that controls whether icon
titles will wrap or be displayed on only
one line. (Not present on Windows XP
systems by default.)
LameButtonText
Comments
New to Windows XP, this is text,
displayed next to the title bar's minimize
button, that a tester may click to send
comments to Microsoft. Changing the text
does not change the functionality of this
button, which is only available on betareleased products.
LowPowerActive
0
This value is currently undefined.
LowPowerTimeOut
0
This value is currently undefined.
MenuShowDelay
400
The delay time set before showing a
cascading menu; typical values are from 0
Entry
Table 16.7: Desktop Settings Found on Most Windows Systems
Typical Value
Description
to 400, although values can be higher.
PaintDesktopVersion
dword:00000001
This value, when 0, tells Windows to
display version information on the
desktop (in the lower-right corner).
Pattern Upgrade
TRUE
The pattern used under icon labels or
exposed areas of the Desktop that the
Desktop wallpaper doesn't cover; set in
the Background tab of the Display
Properties dialog box.
PowerOffActive
0
This value indicates whether the power
off phase of the screen saver is enabled.
PowerOffTimeOut
0
This value is the number of seconds that
the power off counter is set to. When zero,
the feature is disabled.
ScreenSaveActive
1
If this value is set at 1, the screen saver
will be displayed when the system has
been inactive for a longer amount of time
than is specified in ScreenSaveTimeOut.
ScreenSaverIsSecure
0
If this value is set at 1, the screen saver
will prompt for a password.
ScreenSaveTimeOut
1500
Sets the amount of time the computer is
inactive, in seconds, before displaying the
screen saver.
SCRNSAVE.EXE
(NONE)
The fully qualified name of the current
screen saver.
TileWallpaper
0
The wallpapering mode. If the value is set
at 0, the wallpaper is centered using only a
single copy. If the value is 1, the
wallpaper is tiled starting in the upper left
corner.
UserPreferencesMask
hex:9e,3e,00,80
This value is currently undefined.
WaitToKillAppTimeout
20000
Sets the amount of time that elapses, in
milliseconds, before notifying users of
any applications that are not responding
properly when a logoff or shut-down
command is received.
Wallpaper
(None)
Sets the name of the wallpaper file; a
bitmap file.
WallpaperStyle
0
This value is currently undefined.
WheelScrollLines
3
The number of lines that the Microsoft
wheel mouse will scroll when the wheel is
turned; the default value of 3 may be too
much for some applications.
As the installation of Windows XP ages and more optional components are added, the number
of entries in the Desktop subkey will increase. Many of the possible entries are selfexplanatory. Generally, modifying a value won't cause a computer to crash, although the
results may be unpleasant.
A subkey under Desktop, named WindowMetrics, contains entries that define the physical
attributes for a number of the components that make up the Desktop. The values shown in
Table 16.8 are default values, and your values may differ depending on your settings.
Entry
Table 16.8: Default Values for WindowMetrics
Typical Contents
Description
AppliedDPI
96
Sets the visual display DPI (dots
per inch) value for the screen
BorderWidth
1
Sets the width of a resizable
window's border
CaptionFont
A logical font structure
defining a font to be used
Sets the font used for captions
CaptionHeight
-270
Sets the height of the characters,
varies with display parameters
CaptionWidth
-270
Sets the width of the characters,
varies with display parameters
IconFont
A logical font structure
defining a font to be used
Sets the font used for icons
IconSpacing
75
Sets the space between each icon
IconTitleWrap
1
Sets whether an icon's title
wraps (nonzero) or not
IconVerticalspacing
-1125
Sets the spacing between rows of
icons
MenuFont
A logical font structure
defining a font to be used
Sets the font used for menus
MenuHeight
-270
Sets the height of the characters
MenuWidth
-270
Sets the width of the characters
MessageFont
A logical font structure
defining a font to be used
Sets the font used for messages
MinAnimate
0
Sets whether windows will be
animated when being resized
(such as minimized, restored, or
maximized)
ScrollHeight
-240
Sets the height of the characters
ScrollWidth
-240
Sets the width of the characters
Shell Icon BPP
16
Sets the number of bit planes for
icons
ShellIconSize
32
Sets the size of icons in the shell
Entry
Table 16.8: Default Values for WindowMetrics
Typical Contents
Description
SmCaptionFont
A logical font structure
defining a font to be used
Sets the font used for small
captions
SmCaptionHeight
-180
Sets the height of the characters
SmCaptionWidth
-180
Sets the width of the characters
StatusFont
A logical font structure
defining a font to be used
Defines the status bar font
International
The International subkey stores items dealing with the computer's location (country),
including sorting orders. Most of these entries are set in the Control Panel using the Regional
Settings Properties applet.
New! New to Windows XP is the subkey Geo. Contained in Geo is a data value named
Nation, which contains a code for the user's country. This code is not based on the
international country telephone prefix, but rather on a much less widely used system (which
appears to be part of the Microsoft MapPoint mapping system). Table 16.9 lists the country
codes which are currently defined:
Table 16.9: Microsoft MapPoint Country Codes, As Used by Windows XP
Country Code
Country
0
LocaleID of the user's computer (not used by Windows XP)
6
Albania
11
Argentina
12
Australia
14
Austria
21
Belgium
23
Bangladesh
26
Bolivia
29
Belarus
32
Brazil
35
Bulgaria
39
Canada
45
China
46
Chile
51
Colombia
61
Denmark
66
Ecuador
68
Ireland
Table 16.9: Microsoft MapPoint Country Codes, As Used by Windows XP
Country Code
Country
70
Estonia
75
Czech Republic
76
French Guiana
77
Finland
84
France
88
Georgia
94
Germany
98
Greece
109
Hungary
110
Iceland
111
Indonesia
113
India
118
Italy
122
Japan
131
North Korea
134
Korea
140
Latvia
141
Lithuania
143
Slovakia
145
Liechtenstein
147
Luxembourg
166
Mexico
167
Malaysia
176
The Netherlands
177
Norway
181
Suriname
185
Paraguay
187
Peru
191
Poland
193
Portugal
200
Romania
203
Russia
209
South Africa
212
Slovenia
217
Spain
221
Sweden
Table 16.9: Microsoft MapPoint Country Codes, As Used by Windows XP
Country Code
Country
223
Switzerland
235
Turkey
241
Ukraine
242
United Kingdom
244
United States
246
Uruguay
249
Venezuela
39070
Multiple countries and regions, or countries or regions that do not have a
country value defined
Generally, there is little need to manually set anything in International. The Regional Settings
Properties dialog box covers each entry fully and includes error checking.
IOProcs
The IOProcs subkey contains a reference to a single file, mvfs32.dll, which is not found on
any system that I have checked. mvfs32.dll is the Media View File System .dll used by some
applications to view media files. There is a strong probability that this file system and
IOProcs are not used by more recent applications. There are two Media View File System
.dlls supplied with Windows XP: mvfs13n.dll and mvfs14n.dll. Like the Cache subkey
mentioned earlier in this chapter, this is almost a mystery key. One Microsoft Knowledge
Base entry does document a fix for a problem with Encarta 95 and Windows NT 3.5 that
requires an entry in IOProcs for M12 = mvfs1232.dll; this is the only information available.
Windows XP has the single data value, MVB = mvfs32.dll.
Keyboard
The Keyboard subkey stores configurations for the keyboard, such as the initial state of the
toggle keys—Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Scroll Lock—and the delay and repeat rates.
A typical system will have these three entries:
InitialKeyboardIndicators This is automatically set by Windows XP when users log off or
when the system is shut down. It preserves the previous state of the Num Lock key. 0 turns
off Num Lock when the user logs on, and 2 turns on Num Lock when the user logs on.
KeyboardDelay This is the delay, when a key is held down, before the key auto-repeats.
Values from 0 to 3 are accepted, with 0 being a delay of 250 milliseconds, and 3 being a delay
of 1 second. (These times are approximate.)
KeyboardSpeed This is the speed at which a key auto-repeats. Choose a value from 0, which
repeats at two characters per second, to 31, which repeats at 30 characters per second.
MMCPL
Some ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) and Multimedia Control Panel settings are stored
in the MMCPL subkey. Many computers do not have any entries in MMCPL. Typical entries
might include the following:
mlcfg32.cpl=G:\\PROGRA~1\\COMMON~1\\System\\MAPI\\1033\\nt\\mlcfg32.cpl
mlcfq32.cpl=G:\PROGRA~1\COMMON~1\System\MAPI\1033\nt\mlcfg32.cpl
NumApps=20
H=230
W=442
X=88
Y=84
It is possible to have Control Panel multimedia settings in other directories, with the exception
of %SystemRoot%\System32, by specifying their names and paths in the MMCPL subkey.
Mouse
Mouse settings, such as speed and tracking, are set in the Mouse subkey. Typical settings
include those shown in Table 16.10.
Entry
Table 16.10: Mouse Settings Found on Most Windows Systems
Typical Value
Description
ActiveWindowTracking
0x00000000
When this value is set to
0x00000001, the active window
will always be the one the mouse is
positioned on.
DoubleClickSpeed
500
Sets the amount of time between
consecutive clicks of the mouse
button for it to be considered a
double-click.
DoubleClickHeight
4
Sets the amount of movement
allowed (vertical) for a double-click
to be valid.
DoubleClickWidth
4
Sets the amount of movement
allowed (horizontal) for a doubleclick to be valid.
MouseThreshold1
6
Sets the motion factor that, when
factored with MouseSpeed, controls
the motion of the mouse.
MouseThreshold2
10
Sets the motion factor that, when
factored with MouseSpeed, controls
the motion of the mouse.
MouseSpeed
1
Sets the speed of the mouse pointer
relative to the movement of the
mouse.
MouseTrails
0
If zero, no mouse trails, if 1 (or
Entry
Table 16.10: Mouse Settings Found on Most Windows Systems
Typical Value
Description
greater) there are mouse trails. The
higher the number, the more trails
displayed.
SmoothMouseXCurve
(large binary data block)
Defines the x curve parameters for
mouse movement smoothing.
SmoothMouseYCurve
(large binary data block)
Defines the y curve parameters for
mouse movement smoothing.
SnapToDefaultButton
0
When this value is set to 1, the
mouse will snap to the default
button in dialog boxes.
SwapMouseButton
0
When nonzero, the functionality of
the two outside mouse buttons is
swapped—useful for left handed
users.
Patterns
The Patterns subkey is where patterns used to create backgrounds, such as Boxes, Critters,
and Diamonds, are set. For Windows XP, a pattern is expressed as an 8 x 8 box of color, black
for each 1 bit and the background color for each 0 bit. The first number represents the first,
topmost, line in the pattern; the second number represents the second line in the pattern, and
so forth.
Each line is a binary representation; for example, the Boxes pattern is:
127, 65, 65, 65, 65, 65, 127, 0
These values are binary numbers, stored in decimal format, as shown below:
Decimal
Binary
127
0111 1111
65
0100 0001
65
0100 0001
65
0100 0001
65
0100 0001
65
0100 0001
127
0111 1111
0
0000 0000
You can compare these binary numbers with the Boxes pattern. To do so, use the Edit Pattern
button (in the Pattern dialog box) to view the pattern in the pattern editor. This fully shows the
relationship between the bits and the pattern.
Be creative; you can cook up new patterns using the pattern editor. Enter a new pattern name,
click the Add button, and voila, there is your new pattern. Just remember: it can be hard to be
creative using an 8 x 8 cell.
The standard patterns defined in Windows XP are shown in Table 16.11. Note that the actual
text in the (None) entry's value is the same as the name!
Name
Table 16.11: Default Patterns Defined in a Typical Windows XP Installation
Definition Text
(None)
(None)
50% Gray
170 85 170 85 170 85 170 85
Boxes
127 65 65 65 65 65 127 0
Critters
0 80 114 32 0 5 39 2
Diamonds
32 80 136 80 32 0 0 0
Paisley
2 7 7 2 32 80 80 32
Pattern
224 128 142 136 234 10 14 0
Quilt
130 68 40 17 40 68 130 1
Scottie
64 192 200 120 120 72 0 0
Spinner
20 12 200 121 158 19 48 40
Thatches
248 116 34 71 143 23 34 113
Tulip
0 0 84 124 124 56 146 124
Waffle
0 0 0 0 128 128 128 240
Weave
136 84 34 69 136 21 34 81
PowerCfg
Windows XP supports power configuration and power savings. Power configurations are set
in the Control Panel's Power Options applet. Each of the five supplied power schemes has a
default name, and each scheme can be modified and saved by the user.
A default set of power policies is stored in GlobalPowerPolicy, a subkey in the key PowerCfg.
Another subkey in PowerCfg, PowerPolicies, contains subkeys for each power configuration,
both Microsoft and user created. The Microsoft power policies are:
Name
Description
Home/Office Desk
A Desktop scheme, this is useful when the computer is
connected to the power source permanently.
Portable/Laptop
This scheme is useful for notebook and laptop computers for
which maximum battery life is important.
Presentation
When performing presentations, this scheme will not allow
blanking (turning off) the monitor.
Always On
Typically for network servers, this scheme keeps everything
running, without standby. This allows network access to the
Name
Description
computer, regardless of whether it is currently being used or
not.
Minimal Power Management Another scheme designed for servers, this one keeps the
computer on and at the highest performance level.
Max Battery
For notebooks and laptop computers, using Max Battery will
maximize the battery's life.
Screen Saver.3DFlyingObj
The Screen Saver.3DFlyingObj key holds configurations for the 3D Flying Objects (OpenGL)
screen saver. Actually, you are able to access these settings from the Screen Saver tab in the
Display Properties dialog box. Select the 3D Flying Objects (OpenGL) screen saver and click
the Settings button to configure these settings.
Screen Saver.3DPipes
The Screen Saver.3DPipes key holds configurations for the 3DPipes (OpenGL) screen saver.
Screen Saver.Bezier
The Screen Saver.Bezier key holds configurations for the Bezier (OpenGL) screen saver.
Screen Saver.Marquee
The Screen Saver.Marquee key holds configurations for the Marquee (OpenGL) screen saver.
Screen Saver.Mystify
The Screen Saver.Mystify key holds configurations for the Mystify (OpenGL) screen saver.
Screen Saver.Stars
The Screen Saver.Stars key holds configurations for the Stars (OpenGL) screen saver.
Sound
Information about basic sounds is contained in the Sound subkey. I've found two entries in
this subkey, Beep=yes and ExtendedSounds=yes, with the former seemingly present on all
systems. Beep=yes is used to indicate whether Windows XP will make a warning beep when
the user attempts to do something that is not allowed.
Sounds
The Sounds subkey, when present, contains one value entry called SystemDefault that
typically has a value of , (that is just a comma, nothing else). Other entries you might find in
the Sounds subkey include the following:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Enable=1
SystemAsterisk=chord.wav,Asterisk
SystemDefault=ding.wav,Default Beep
SystemExclamation=chord.wav,Exclamation
SystemExit=chimes.wav,Windows Logoff
SystemHand=chord.wav,Critical Stop
SystemQuestion=chord.wav,Question
SystemStart=tada.wav,Windows Logon
The Sounds key contains information used by legacy systems and will usually be found only
in systems that have been upgraded. Windows defines each of these sounds for use elsewhere
in the registry.
Environment
The Control Panel's System Properties applet contains a tab called Advanced that is
subdivided into three sections (Performance, Environment Variables, and Startup and
Recovery). Clicking the Environment Variables button displays the Environment Variables
dialog box. This dialog box is subdivided into System Variables and User Variables for
<user>, where <user> is the currently logged-on user (see Figure 16.3). Any environment
variable defined in System Variables will be available to all users, while environment
variables defined in User Variables for <user> will only be available to the currently loggedon user.
Figure 16.3: The Environment Variables dialog box. Environment variables for each user are
contained in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Environment.
Notice in Figure 16.3 that the current user is Administrator. When the next user logs on, they
will get a different user environment (all users have an identical set of System variables.)
There is little need to modify the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Environment section directly.
The Control Panel's System Properties applet does a better job of modifying entries in
Environment, and using System Properties is much safer than manually editing the registry.
Warning Avoid the urge to modify existing system variables unless you understand the
ramifications of making such a change. For instance, changing the entry
NUMBER_OF_PROCESSORS from 1 to 2 won't give you an extra CPU.
EUDC
EUDC, for End User Defined Characters, contains information about special characters users
have created for their specific needs. This feature is supported in the Japanese, Chinese,
Hangeul, and Johab character sets. This object is not on all Windows installations.
Identities
Configuration for some software, specific to the user, is stored in the Identities subkey. This
subkey contains, on a typical system, information for Outlook Express (stationary lists,
username, and so on).
Keyboard Layout
The Keyboard Layout subkey allows users to change keyboard configurations. Since different
languages may have different layouts (usually for special symbols, such as currency),
Windows XP allows users to change the keyboard layout using the Control Panel's Keyboard
and Regional Options applets.
Configuring Windows XP for multiple languages is easy. Open the Control Panel's Regional
Options applet, and use the General tab to change language settings.
Note You can have more than two input locales, although it is unusual to have many different
locales defined.
You can define a hotkey to switch locales (in the Input Locales tab). The default hotkey is
Left Alt+Shift, although you also can use Ctrl+Shift as an alternative hotkey. If you do not
desire a hotkey, uncheck Enable Key Sequence. If you select the "no hotkey" option, it would
be a good idea to check the Enable Indicator on Taskbar option so that you can use the
Taskbar to switch input locales.
Now, back to our currently scheduled programming . . .
In HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Keyboard Layout, you'll find the following three subkeys:
Preload This subkey contains the keyboard layouts preloaded by Windows. Use the Control
Panel's Regional Options applet, a hotkey, or the Taskbar to select the layout.
Substitutes Any key substitutes will be defined in the Substitutes subkey. Key substitutes
typically use the Dvorak keyboard layout. In Substitutes, a key named with the original locale
will be substituted with the value of the substituting layout. For instance, the Unites States
English locale is 409. In addition, 00000409 = 00000809 substitutes British English on the
United States English locale.
Toggle This subkey contains a single key whose data value will be 0 if no hotkey is defined, 1
if Left Alt+Shift is defined as the hotkey, and 2 if Ctrl+Shift is defined as the hotkey.
Tip Tired of QWERTY? A different keyboard layout can be most useful if QWERTY is not
your thing. One type of keyboard layout is the Dvorak layout. Said to improve typing
proficiency by a great deal, Dvorak has a slowly growing band of supporters. To select
the Dvorak layout, select an input locale in Regional Options, and click on Properties to
modify the layout.
Generally, all modifications to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Keyboard Layout should be done
using the Input Locales tab of either the Regional Options applet or the Keyboard applet.
Network
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Network contains configuration information for each network
drive that the user has permanently mapped. Under Network you will find a subkey for each
mapped drive letter.
For instance, if a user in My Network Places selects a server, then selects a share, right-clicks
that share, and selects Map Network Drive in the pop-up context menu, the Map Network
Drive dialog box (see Figure 16.4) will appear. This allows the user to select which drive
letter is mapped to the network share. This dialog box also contains the following:
Figure 16.4: The Map Network Drive dialog box
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The folder that is being linked to (this item is for reference only, and cannot be
changed)
A selection named Different User Name, allowing access to the drive as another user
A check box called Reconnect at Logon, important because unchecking it will mean
that the share is available only for the current session
Note Drives mapped without the Reconnect at Logon attribute enabled will not be loaded into
the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Network subkey.
You may map any unused drive letter to a network drive, using either the current user ID or
another user ID.
Once you select a drive (H: in our next example) and click the OK button, the registry's
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Network subkey will have F as the new subkey. The F subkey
contains six value variables:
ConnectionType The value of 0x1 is for drives; 0x2 is for printers.
DeferFlags Indicates whether the connection will be either reestablished whenever the system
is restarted, or only be reestablished when there is a need to use the connection.
ProviderName The network provider, typically Microsoft Windows Network (for Microsoft
networking).
ProviderType The network provider's type is 0x20000 for Microsoft Windows (LanMan)
networking.
RemotePath The UNC path to the network share; \\Dora\F is the share named F on the server
whose name is Dora.
UserName The name of the user for whom the share is established; it is either zero or the
name specified in the Map Network Drive dialog box (see Figure 16.4). The username syntax
consists of domain\user, where domain is the user's domain and user is the user ID.
Again, as with many other HKEY_CURRENT_USER entries, it is easy to manipulate the
entries in Network without using the Registry Editor. If you have problems deleting a
connection, one fix would be to delete the subkey from the
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Registry subkey.
Shares can be established quickly from a command-line prompt by using the command-line
syntax:
net use H: \\Dora\G
Here, H: is the drive letter to be mapped and \\Dora\G is the share name. To get the full syntax
of the net use command, type net use /? at a command-line prompt.
Printers
The HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Printers subkey contains information about printers—both
local and remote. Locally attached printers typically use four subkeys in Printers:
Connections This subkey contains subkeys for each remotely connected printer. Each subkey
is named for the printer and contains two objects: Provider, a variable that contains the name
of the driving .dll file (often win32spl.dll); and Server, a variable that contains the name of the
server that the printer is attached to.
DevModePerUser The user configurations for the printer, regardless of whether the printer is
local or remotely attached, are stored in this subkey. Each printer has a key entry, named for
the printer, with a binary data value following it. This way, multiple users may have different
printer configurations for the same printer.
DevModes2 The configurations for the printer, regardless of whether the printer is local or
remotely attached, are stored in this subkey. Each printer has a value entry, named for the
printer, with a binary data value following it.
Settings This subkey contains binary objects for each attached printer. The Printer Wizard
also stores its settings in a subkey named Wizard.
RemoteAccess
The RemoteAccess subkey contains connectoids for RAS (Remote Access Service).
Connectoids? What the heck is a connectoid? A connectoid consists of all the information
needed to implement a connection, typically to a remote computer.
The RemoteAccess subkey may include one value variable, called InternetProfile. Typically,
the InternetProfile entry contains a null (empty) string.
RemoteAccess is not found on all systems or configurations. If RemoteAccess is not installed,
then this object will probably not exist.
SessionInformation
The SystemInformation subkey contains dynamic information about the current session. This
data includes a data value named ProgramCount that is an indicator of the number of active,
running programs.
Software
Information about all installed software is stored in the Software subkey. This information is
typically arranged by vendor, although some applications may be in their own subkeys.
In a typical installation of Windows XP, the Software key has at least the following subkey:
Microsoft Information about many of the components that are part of Windows XP is found
in this subkey. On a typical installation, we see about 30 entries. A better-equipped
installation could have twice the number of entries. Below is a list of objects found in a
typical system:
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Active Setup
Advanced INF Setup
Clock
Command Processor
Conferencing
DataEnvironment Designer
DevStudio
Disk Administrator
File Manager
Full-Text-System
IEAK
Internet Explorer
Java VM
Microsoft Setup (ACME)
Multimedia
NetDDE
Notepad
NTBackup
Outlook Express
Protected Storage System Provider
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RegEdt32
Schedule+
SystemCertificates
User Location Service
Visual Basic
WAB
WebPost
Windows
Windows Help
Windows NT
ODBC
Policies
VDO
On more mature installations with more installed software, the Software key expands to cover
different product lines. Notice that products are arranged by the company that has produced
the product or the product's functionality, such as ODBC, rather than by specific product. For
example, if there were two Adobe products installed on the computer, the Adobe key would
have information about both products. Here is a list of subkeys found on a mature installation:
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Adobe
Canon
Dragon Systems
Federal Express
Forte
Inetstp
Microsoft
Netscape
ODBC
Policies
Qualcomm
VDO
Wang
System
The System subkey contains information used by the backup/restore program. This
information is mapped to the Current Control set.
Unicode Program Groups
The Unicode Program Groups subkey contains information used by Program Manager. The
question is, of course, who uses Program Manager anymore?
The subkeys found in Unicode Program Groups are in a binary format that is difficult to edit.
Have I ever seen entries in the Unicode Program Groups subkey? No, not yet. Wait a minute,
I've never actually run Program Manager with Windows XP, either. Maybe I'll give it a try...
After running Program Manager and creating a couple of personal groups and a few common
groups, I now have entries in the Unicode Program Groups key. As mentioned before, these
entries are in binary format and are complex structures. As Microsoft recommends, it is best
to edit these entries using Program Manager.
Note Actually, users who upgraded from Windows NT 3.x may have entries in the Unicode
Program Groups subkey; however, this subkey is unused by Windows NT versions 4
and later unless the user has configured or run Program Manager (ProgMan.exe).
Windows 3.1 Migrations Status
The Windows 3.1 Migration Status subkey is contained only in systems upgraded from
Windows NT 3.x. (There may be a few of these installations remaining.) The subkey contains
keys that are used to show the status of conversion of the Program Manager Group (.grp) files
and associated initialization (.ini) files that have been converted to Windows NT 4 or later
format. Deleting this value, and not the Windows 3.1 Migration Status subkey, causes
Windows to attempt to convert the Program Manager Group files when Windows restarts.
This reconversion may change the Start menu substantially, but should not cause serious
damage.
Volatile Environment
Typically, the Volatile Environment subkey contains a number of entries:
APPDATA A fully qualified string indicating the name and location of the user's Application
Data folder.
CLIENTNAME The name of the client; this entry is often empty.
HOMEDRIVE The home drive, typically C:.
HOMEPATH The path to the user's home folder. Typically found in the Documents and
Settings folder.
HOMESHARE The UNC path to the user's home folder location. Typically found on a
network server. This value might be set using a logon script.
LOGONSERVER A string with the logon server's name (the server the user is currently
logged on to). For example, my logon server is \\DORA.
SESSIONNAME The text Console, typically.
USERDNSDOMAIN The name of the DNS for this computer. For example, my system has
the value DARKSTAR.MV.COM.
HKEY_USERS
The HKEY_USERS hive contains information about each active user who has a user profile.
There are a minimum of two keys in the HKEY_USERS hive: .DEFAULT and the ID for the
currently logged-on user.
Chapter 17: Introduction to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
Overview
The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive contains information about the computer system's
configuration as it is currently running. This hive also holds information about users, groups,
security, and installed software.
You've backed up your registry before starting this chapter, right? Let's dig in and see what's
there.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
As I mentioned above, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE has five sections. Each section is
separate, and we'll deal with each separately. Remember that SAM (the Security Accounts
Manager) and Security actually cover different aspects of security, so don't confuse 'em.
Many parts of the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive are aliased to other registry locations.
Warning If you change anything in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive, there's a good
chance you'll trash your system registry. Really: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE is
probably the most critical part of the registry, so back up before you touch it—
before you even browse it!
Hardware
The Hardware subkey describes the system's hardware. Most everything in the Hardware
subkey is set during bootup by the ntdetect.com program or by the ARC (Advanced RISC
Computer) database for users running Windows XP on RISC computers.
The Hardware subkey contains three subkeys:
Description This subkey contains information about the processor, math coprocessor, and
multifunction adapters (devices such as the PCI bus, Plug and Play BIOS, and ISA bus).
DeviceMap This subkey holds subkeys for most devices, such as the keyboard, mouse, serial
ports, and video.
ResourceMap This subkey contains items such as HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer),
keyboard and pointer port(s), serial and parallel ports, SCSI devices (including IDE drives,
too), and video information.
Note Early versions of Windows had some problems dealing with the PCI bus, as PCI is
designed to work integrally with Plug and Play, which those early versions of Windows
did not support. Since the advent of Windows 95, the operating system is much better
behaved in supporting PnP.
I'll cover these subkeys fully a little later. If you are having problems with your hardware (no,
nothing here will help fix a broken keyboard!) interfacing with Windows XP, it is possible
that something in the Hardware key can help you fix the problem.
Before fiddling with registry values in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Hardware directly, first
try Windows XP's Computer Management tool (shown in Figure 17.1), which manages
devices, storage, services, and applications.
Figure 17.1: The Computer Management tool, showing disk defragmentation—it checked and
decided my drive was still okay.
Note Many times you will see subkeys with numbers for names, starting at 0. Often there is
only one of these subkeys, but if multiple objects of the type are described by a key, you
will see multiple subkeys numbered from 0 to n, where n is the number of objects minus
1. For example, a computer with five drives on a SCSI bus would have subkeys named
0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Hardware\ Description\System\
MultifunctionAdapter\3\DiskController\ 0\DiskPeripheral\.
Hardware Profiles, or How Can I Make Windows XP More HardwareFriendly?
Windows XP is capable of supporting multiple hardware configurations. This functionality is
most useful for notebooks and other portable computers. For instance, in the Control Panel's
System Properties applet, the Hardware Profiles tab allows a user to create multiple hardware
profiles. To create a new configuration, select an existing configuration and click the Copy
button. Enter a new name for the configuration (I used the name Backup Profile in my
example), then click OK. Select the new configuration you just created, and then click the
Properties button to display the dialog box shown in Figure 17.2; this dialog box's title will
vary depending on what you named your new configuration.
Figure 17.2: The Properties dialog box for the new hardware configuration named Backup
Profile.
Note Don't confuse hardware profiles with user profiles. They are very different animals
(goodness—is he referring to users as animals?), dealing with completely different
areas.
For each configuration, it is possible to define the computer as portable, which is useful when
there is docking support. When the option This Is a Portable Computer is checked, the
docking state can be set as one of the following:
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The docking state is unknown.
The computer is docked.
The computer is undocked.
Windows XP also allows making the profile an option when starting the operating system.
This is useful when you change hardware configurations frequently.
When creating a hardware profile, simply name it to reflect the configuration. For example, if
you create a profile for the computer when docked in the docking station, name the profile
Docked and make sure you select both This Is a Portable Computer and The Computer Is
Docked. When creating a profile for the computer when not docked, name this profile UNDocked and select This Is a Portable Computer and The Computer Is Undocked.
Tip Remember, with Microsoft's Product Authorization, if you change more than a trivial
amount of hardware, you must "reauthorize" your Windows XP installation. However, if
you set up your hardware profiles to indicate that the computer is a portable, you are
allowed more latitude in hardware changes prior to Windows requiring reauthorization.
Sometimes it is necessary to create a profile for when the portable computer is either docked
or undocked. Two scenarios can be envisioned: one where the docking state is not important
and another where the docking state is important. When the docking state is not important,
you can create a single profile with The Docking State Is Unknown option checked. In
configurations where the docking state is important, simply create two profiles, one for each
state.
Description
Okay, first, the standard warning: be very careful about making any changes in the
Description subkey. Everything in this subkey is set during bootup by the ntdetect.com
program or by the ARC database. As this information is volatile (it is regenerated each time
Windows XP starts by the bootup process), it is neither practical nor meaningful to modify the
data. You can use a program called System Information to view information in these subkeys.
Start System Information by selecting Start → All Programs → Accessories → System Tools
→ System Information.
Note In earlier versions of Windows, the System Information program was called WinMSD.
System Information replaces both the WinMSD and MSInfo32 programs. If you attempt
to execute either of these utilities in Windows XP, System Information will start.
There is a single subkey in Description called System. The subkeys inside System are
described in the following sections.
CentralProcessor
The CentralProcessor subkey contains subkeys describing each processor found. For
uniprocessor systems, a single subkey named 0 contains information about the processor.
Multiprocessor computers will have subkeys named from 0 to n, where n is the number of
processors minus 1. The following list shows the configuration of an Intel Pentium system.
Users with other processors or processors from other suppliers will see some different
information, although the keys will be identical.
Component Information This data value identifies information about the processor.
Configuration Data This is a REG_FULL_RESOURCE_DESCRIPTOR data object
containing data about the processor.
Feature Set This is a REG_DWORD value describing the computer's feature set.
~MHz A DWORD value containing the CPU speed, this field may not be present or contain a
value designating speed for some processors.
Update Status This is a DWORD value containing a flag indicating the update status for this
system.
VendorIdentifier This is the name of the company that manufactured the CPU, as a text
string; for example, an Intel Pentium will have "GenuineIntel", and an AMD system will
have"AuthenticAMD".
Identifier This is the CPU model and other CPU-specific identifying information; for
example, an Intel Pentium might have the string "x86 Family 5 Model 4 Stepping 3", or
perhaps "x86 Family 6 Model 4 Stepping 2" as the identifier. This string can be used to
selectively apply patches to correct known flaws in certain CPUs, for example. All compatible
processors will have a similar string.
FloatingPointProcessor
The FloatingPointProcessor key holds subkeys describing each floating-point math
coprocessor found. For uniprocessor systems, a single subkey named 0 contains information
about the coprocessor. Multiprocessor computers will have subkeys named from 0 to n, where
n is the number of processors minus 1. The following list shows an Intel Pentium system.
Users with other processors or processors from other suppliers will see some different
information, although the keys will be identical:
Component Information This data value identifies information about the processor.
Configuration Data This is a REG_FULL_RESOURCE_DESCRIPTOR data object
containing data about the processor.
Identifier This is the CPU model and other CPU-specific identifying information; for
example, an Intel Pentium might have the string "x86 Family 5 Model 4 Stepping 3" as the
identifier. This string can be used to selectively apply patches to correct known flaws in
certain CPUs, for example, as noted above.
MultifunctionAdapter
As with the entries in the keys CentralProcessor and FloatingPointProcessor, the entries in
MultifunctionAdapter are created either by the hardware recognizer (ntdetect.com) for Intelbased systems or by the ARC database found on RISC computers. Inside the
MultifunctionAdapter key are subkeys describing the internal structure of the computer, bus
structure, PnP (Plug and Play), BIOS (if PnP is installed), and devices installed on these
buses.
Note Instead of the MultifunctionAdapter key used with ISA, MCA (Micro-Channel
Architecture), and some PCI bus machines, you may find EisaAdapter if your computer
uses the EISA bus, or TcAdapter if your computer uses the TURBOChannel bus
architecture. Entries for both EisaAdapter and TcAdapter are similar to those in
MultifunctionAdapter; they vary based on what components are installed rather than on
bus type.
It would not be practical to describe all subkeys found for every different type of computer in
the MultifunctionAdapter subkey. Instead, let's look at a typical system: an Intel motherboard,
a PCI bus, an IDE hard drive, and typical peripherals.
The MultifunctionAdapter key contains one or more subkeys. There is one subkey for each
bus controller (PnP is counted as a bus and is included, though no devices are assigned to
PnP). A typical PCI bus computer (virtually all PCI-based computers also have ISA bus
support to allow using legacy interface cards) has three, or more, subkeys explained next.
0 The PCI BIOS, this object contains the key RealModeIrqRoutingTable, containing data
values for Component Information, Configuration Data, and Identifier.
1 The PnP BIOS doesn't have a physical bus as such. PnP works with the ISA bus and the PCI
bus in the computer. There are keys for Component Information, Configuration Data, and
Identifier.
2 APM, or Advanced Power Management, is present in those systems that support APM.
3 The PnP BIOS supports docking, and this subkey provides information about docking.
There are keys for Component Information, Configuration Data, and Identifier.
4 The ISA bus, with keys for Component Information, Configuration Data, and Identifier. The
ISA bus key contains subkeys for other devices such as disk controllers, keyboards, and
printer and serial ports.
Rather than describing all possible entries for the MultifunctionAdapter key, I'm going to
suggest that you use the Registry Editor (RegEdit) and peruse this key. Figure 17.3 shows
most of the MultifunctionAdapter key expanded on a typical PCI bus computer.
Figure 17.3: RegEdit shows the contents of the MultifunctionAdapter subkey.
DeviceMap
The DeviceMap subkey contains subkeys for devices such as the keyboard, mouse (or
pointer), serial ports, SCSI, and video. As with other parts of the
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Hardware key, DeviceMap is generated at boot time, and
making modifications to this subkey is ill advised. We can look, however, at several parts of
DeviceMap that are typical in a Windows XP installation.
One subkey always found in DeviceMap is KeyboardClass. This subkey has a value entry
called "\Device\KeyboardClass0" (yes, this entry's name does contain backslashes). The data
in this entry is \REGISTRY\Machine\System\ControlSet001\Services\Kbdclass. This is a
reference to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\Kbdclass, where
the current keyboard configuration and settings are located.
Another DeviceMap subkey, Scsi, holds information pertaining to SCSI hard drives and IDE
(ATAPI) hard drives. Windows blurs the line between IDE drives and SCSI drives by listing
both under the same registry objects.
The keys for a Windows system with one IDE drive are as follows:
Scsi
Scsi\Scsi Port 3
Scsi\Scsi Port 3\Scsi Bus 0\
Scsi\Scsi Port 3\Scsi Bus 0\Target Id 0
Scsi\Scsi Port 3\Scsi Bus 0\Target Id 0\Logical Unit Id 0
Identifier = "QUANTUM FIREBALL_TM2110S300X"
Type = "DiskPeripheral"
These keys identify a QUANTUM FIREBALL 2GB SCSI hard drive.
Now let's look at another system, a Windows server working as a file server (it serves four
hard drives and three CD-ROM drives). For a system with two IDE CD-ROM drives, an IDE
hard disk drive, a SCSI bus with four SCSI hard drives, and one SCSI CD-ROM drive, the
subkeys look like this:
Scsi
Scsi\Scsi Port 0
"FirstBusScanTimeInMs"=dword:000009ef
"DMAEnabled"=dword:00000001
"Driver"="atapi"
Scsi\Scsi Port 0\Scsi Bus 0
Scsi\Scsi Port 0\Scsi Bus 0\Initiator Id 255
Scsi\Scsi Port 0\Scsi Bus 0\Target Id 0
Scsi\Scsi Port 0\Scsi Bus 0\Target Id 0\Logical Unit Id 0
"Identifier"="Maxtor 91728D8"
"Type"="DiskPeripheral"
Scsi\Scsi Port 1
"FirstBusScanTimeInMs"=dword:00000014
"DMAEnabled"=dword:00000000
"Driver"="atapi"
Scsi\Scsi Port 1\Scsi Bus 0
Scsi\Scsi Port 1\Scsi Bus 0\Initiator Id 255
Scsi\Scsi Port 1\Scsi Bus 0\Target Id 0
Scsi\Scsi Port 1\Scsi Bus 0\Target Id 0\Logical Unit Id 0
"Identifier"="MATSHITA CD-ROM CR-581-M"
"Type"="CdRomPeripheral"
"DeviceName"="CdRom0"
Scsi\Scsi Port 1\Scsi Bus 0\Target Id 1
Scsi\Scsi Port 1\Scsi Bus 0\Target Id 1\Logical Unit Id 0
"Identifier"="MATSHITA CD-ROM CR-581-M"
"Type"="CdRomPeripheral"
"DeviceName"="CdRom1"
Scsi\Scsi Port 2
"Interrupt"=dword:0000000a
"IOAddress"=dword:00006300
"Driver"="aic78xx"
Scsi\Scsi Port 2\Scsi Bus 0
Scsi\Scsi Port 2\Scsi Bus 0\Initiator Id 7
Scsi\Scsi Port 2\Scsi Bus 0\Target Id 0
Scsi\Scsi Port 2\Scsi Bus 0\Target Id 0\Logical Unit Id 0
"Identifier"="QUANTUM FIREBALL_TM2110S300X"
"Type"="DiskPeripheral"
"InquiryData"=hex:00,00,02. . .
Scsi\Scsi Port 2\Scsi Bus 0\Target Id 2
Scsi\Scsi Port 2\Scsi Bus 0\Target Id 2\Logical Unit Id 0
"Identifier"="MICROP 2112-15MZ1001905HQ30"
"Type"="DiskPeripheral"
"InquiryData"=hex:00,00,02. . .
Scsi\Scsi Port 2\Scsi Bus 0\Target Id 4
Scsi\Scsi Port 2\Scsi Bus 0\Target Id 4\Logical Unit Id 0
"Identifier"="TOSHIBA CD-ROM XM-3301TA2342"
"Type"="CdRomPeripheral"
"InquiryData"=hex:05,80,02. . .
Scsi\Scsi Port 2\Scsi Bus 0\Target Id 5
Scsi\Scsi Port 2\Scsi Bus 0\Target Id 5\Logical Unit Id 0
"Identifier"="QUANTUM XP34301
1071"
"Type"="DiskPeripheral"
"InquiryData"=hex:00,00,02. . .
Scsi\Scsi Port 2\Scsi Bus 0\Target Id 6
Scsi\Scsi Port 2\Scsi Bus 0\Target Id 6\Logical Unit Id 0
"Identifier"="TOSHIBA MK537FB
6262"
"Type"="DiskPeripheral"
"InquiryData"=hex:00,00,02. . .
In this example, there is one IDE hard drive and two IDE CD-ROM drives. Both CD-ROM
drives are identical MATSHITA CR-581s. There is also one SCSI CD-ROM drive, a Toshiba
XM-3301. And there are four SCSI hard drives:
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•
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Identifier = "QUANTUM FIREBALL_TM2110S300X"
Identifier = "MICROP 2112-15MZ1001905HQ30"
Identifier = "QUANTUM XP34301 1071"
Identifier = "TOSHIBA MK537FB 6262"
In addition to the two IDE CD-ROM drives, there is a single 18GB IDE hard drive:
•
Identifier = "Maxtor 91728D8"
If all drives are listed as SCSI, how do we tell the difference between different drive types?
Well, actually, that's easy. Take a look at the different keys defined in the subkey Scsi Port n,
such as in this example:
Scsi\Scsi Port 0
"FirstBusScanTimeInMs"=dword:000009ef
"DMAEnabled"=dword:00000001
"Driver"="atapi"
In this example, the driver, ATAPI, tells us that the drive is an IDE drive. (ATAPI is short for
AT Attachment Peripheral Interface; IDE is short for Integrated Drive Electronics.)
Drives and Buses!
Windows changes the way IDE devices are handled by the operating system. Under Windows
NT version 4, the atapi.sys file handles I/O for all PCI-connected IDE devices. When the
device connects to an ISA bus controller, a different driver, atdisk.sys, manages the I/O.
ResourceMap
ResourceMap includes items such as HAL, keyboard and pointer port(s), serial and parallel
ports, SCSI devices (which include IDE drives), and video information. This subkey also
includes data about I/O channels, I/O ports and addresses, IRQs, and DMA channels.
Everything in ResourceMap is generated at boot time, so changes are transient at best.
ResourceMap entries are based on class, then device, as Figure 17.4 shows. In this figure,
notice that the System Resources subkey has been opened to show three entries: Loader
Reserved, Physical Memory and Reserved. The Physical Memory entry describes the memory
that exists in the system, while Reserved describes the parts of memory reserved for special
uses. In the system in this example, there is 256MB of RAM, with some sections reserved for
special use (check out Figure 17.5). Notice that both RAM and ROM (typically where the
computer's BIOS is stored) are listed. (I've sorted the memory usage by device, to make this
figure more readable.)
Figure 17.4: The ResourceMap key with the System Resources subkey opened
Figure 17.5: Reserved memory on this computer is made up of 10 blocks of memory, each
block having its own attributes.
Each subkey in ResourceMap consists of one or more subkeys, typically containing two
entries: .Raw and .Translated. These entries hold information about the device resources in a
special variable type called REG_RESOURCE_LIST. To edit or view device resources, open
the object (use the Registry Editor) to display the Resource Lists edit box (shown in Figure
17.6). In the Resource Lists edit box, select a resource and click the Display button to display
the Resources dialog box (see Figure 17.7). The Display button will be disabled until a
resource in the resource list is selected. In the Resources dialog box, you can see a myriad of
information, including DMA channel, interrupt (IRQ), memory used (commonly with video
cards and some network cards), port used, and device-specific data.
Figure 17.6: In the Resource Lists box, you select a resource and click the Display button.
This resource is reserved memory in system resources.
Figure 17.7: The Resources dialog box displays information about the reserved memory
resource.
SAM
Generally, a Windows XP system configured as a domain controller will use Active Directory
to manage users. Earlier versions of Windows NT, and Windows servers that are not part of a
domain, use SAM, the Security Accounts Manager, to manage user accounts on the computer.
Although Windows domain controllers use Active Directory, the SAM sections of the registry
still exist and are updated by Windows installations that are not part of a domain.
Note To view the contents of the SAM keys, you will probably have to give yourself
appropriate permissions. Select Edit → Permissions from the RegEdit menu to change
permissions.
Normally, Windows protects SAM against any viewing or tampering by users. This is good;
after all, who wants the typical user going in and monkeying about with the user security
database? In Windows XP domain controllers, the Active Directory tools maintain the user
information. In Windows NT 4, changes to SAM are made with either the User Manager or
User Manager for Domains tools found in the Administrative Tools section of the Start menu.
Warning Again, standard warnings: any playing with the SAM section may prevent one, more
than one, or all, users from being able to log on. The ultimate result could be that the
system may need to be restored from backup or be reinstalled. Be most cautious in
making any changes in SAM.
SAM consists of a single subkey, called (strangely enough) SAM. Inside the SAM subkey are
two subkeys.
The first subkey, called Domains, contains several objects (we'll cover these in a minute, don't
panic). The second subkey, called RXACT, contains, as far as I can determine, absolutely
nothing useful to the average registry hacker. RXACT is the registry transaction package,
used by Windows to manage the registry on servers that are not domain controllers.
(However, my experience with Microsoft has indicated that when one thinks that some
component of the registry is empty, one is not looking at it correctly.)
Okay, back to the Domains subkey. Inside Domains are two subkeys, Account and Builtin.
Note Much of the data in the SAM keys is stored in a format that cannot be displayed or
edited by the Registry Editor. Therefore, there is little possibility that you can edit these
fields.
Domains\Account
In Windows XP, the Account subkey contains virtually everything regarding the users and
groups. Three subkeys, Aliases, Groups, and Users, hold information about aliases, groups,
and users.
Note For information on user IDs, see Chapter 3. The section entitled "HKEY_USERS,
Settings for Users" contains a full reference to SIDs (security identifiers), present
throughout the SAM key of the registry. The descriptions below apply to Windows XP
and 2000 servers that aren't domain controllers and to Windows NT 4.
Aliases
The Aliases subkey contains information on local groups defined in the registry by the system
administrator. Local groups defined by the system are maintained in the Builtin subkey.
Note Windows XP and Active Directory substantially alter the configuration of SAM and
Security in the registry. Do not expect to see all the items found in Windows NT 4
domain controllers in Windows XP domain controllers. All of the below illustrations are
for Windows XP and 2000 servers that are not configured as domain controllers and for
Windows NT 4 (and earlier) servers.
Under Aliases, there are subkeys for each local group. (The example in Figure 17.8 has seven
aliases.) Aliases also contains a subkey called Members that lists the user IDs of each of the
aliases. Each is identified by a DWORD hexadecimal number (see the next section). Another
subkey, called Names, lists the names for each of the aliases.
Figure 17.8: Seven objects, each identified with a hexadecimal number, are found in the
Aliases subkey on my computer.
If you have created additional groups, they are found with similar identifiers, such as the
following (remember—this is an example; my computer has many such objects):
000003F3 This subkey, expressed as decimal 1011, relates to the global group called
Programmers. I created Programmers to cover users working in the R&D division who
needed to access the entire domain to do their work.
000003F4 This subkey, expressed as decimal 1012, relates to the global group called Domain
Workers. I created Domain Workers to cover a number of users who needed to access the
entire domain to do certain work.
Groups
The Groups subkey typically has one subkey (see Figure 17.9), pertaining to local user
groups. On a Windows XP computer, the subkey found is:
Figure 17.9: Only one object, named None, is found in the Groups subkey on my computer.
00000201 This subkey, expressed as decimal 513, relates to the None group, which contains
ordinary users.
Users
The final subkey within Domains\Account is Users. This subkey contains one entry for each
user defined in the SAM. For large networks, the number of users could be large. It is not
uncommon for a large network to have hundreds, if not thousands, of users defined. At the
college where I teach, our network has about 2500 users defined. In some networks, such a
network would be considered to be small! (But we won't tell our systems administrators that
their system is small...)
Fortunately, this author has a small network at home, so there are only a few users defined,
making things a bit less cluttered.
As with groups, system-created users have numbers less than 3F5 (that's 1013) and users
created by the system administrator will have numbers greater than or equal to 3F5.
Note There will probably be gaps in the numbers, or your numbers will not match mine. This
is normal (as normal as things get, that is) as each installation may have different users
defined by default. Also, once a user ID has been deleted, Windows will not reuse the
number. After all, there are lots of numbers for Windows to use, millions and millions
of them to be exact.
Rather than list every user ID and name on my system (you can see that I have 10 users
defined: 2 defined by the system, and 8 defined by the system administrator), let's just talk
about a few of them. First, directly under Users (see Figure 17.10) are some numbered
subkeys. The first two subkeys are predefined by the system:
Figure 17.10: Users and their attributes are contained within the Users and Users\Names
subkeys.
000001F4 The system administrator account has a SID ending in 500 (which is 0x1F4 in
hexadecimal; funny how that worked out).
000001F5 The system guest account has a SID ending in 501 (which is 0x1F5 in
hexadecimal; just as funny how that worked out, too).
Looking at Table 17.1, note the ending digits in the SIDs in the table and the above keys. This
is much too scary to be coincidence.
Table 17.1: Some Common SID Values for a Windows Networking Domain
Subkey Name
Global Group
SID
000001F4
Domain
Administrators
S-1-5-21-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-500
000001F5
Domain Guests
S-1-5-21-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-501
000001F6
Domain Users
S-1-5-21-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-502
The next subkeys (starting with 000003E8, which is 1000 in decimal, and ending with
000003F6, or 1014) have been created for each administrator-created user ID. (Remember,
the numbers in your system will likely vary a bit from these values.) Each of these subkeys
contains two named keys, called F and V. Feel free to guess as to the meanings of these
names and what the data contained within each is. Some assumptions can be made; for
instance, there must be an index between the subkeys and their counterparts found in the
Names subkey. Information such as group membership, privileges, passwords, and all other
data specified by the administrator must be contained in these variables, too.
In the Names subkey (refer again to Figure 17.10), you can see a number of user names found
on my system. For example:
Administrator The system-created system administrator account.
ASPNET A user ID used by ASP.NET worker processes.
IUSR_PEACHFUZZ A user ID used for anonymous access to Internet Information Services
(IIS).
IWAM_PEACHFUZZ A user ID used by IIS to run out of processes.
GUEST Any user may log on without a password using this user ID, but they get only very
limited privileges.
SUPPORT_388945a0 The account used by Microsoft to help support your computer. This
account is disabled by default; you must enable it to allow Microsoft to use this account.
JohnD The account for a rather fictitious user, who only works here when I am not around.
Main purpose of this employee is to collect a paycheck.
The remaining entries (VUSR_PEACHFUZZ, JoeS, and so forth) are similar. There is
nothing unusual about them.
Any name ending in a $ is a machine (a computer) account, not a user ID. There is always
confusion about what constitutes a machine account and what constitutes a user account. To
connect a computer to a server, the server must have both the computer's account and the
user's account. Got that? Both must exist! The computer, when started, automatically "logs
on" to the network, giving its computer name to the logon server.
Note Most networks today are configured to automatically add a machine account whenever a
new computer is attached to the network. This allows adding new hardware with a
minimum amount of administrative overhead.
Generally, when you create a new computer configuration, you create the computer name on
that computer. The dialog box used to create the computer name has a section called "Create a
computer account in the domain," which when checked will create the computer account.
Sometimes, however, it is necessary to create a computer account in a domain, and some
documentation says to use the User Manager for Domains program without telling you about
this neat trick. No one mentions the ending $, and computer accounts aren't visible in User
Manager for Domains.
Holy mackerel! Batman, what's a user to do?
Computer Accounts for Everyday Administrators
There are, it seems, two ways to create a computer account.
First, in the User Manager for Domains, you can create a user account with a trailing $. This
seems to create a valid computer account, although this is undocumented. Computer accounts
created this way remain visible to the User Manager for Domains program.
A second method (a more approved method, I might add!) is to use the command-prompt
NET command. Use NET COMPUTER \\<name> /ADD, where <name> is the name of the
computer to be added. Use NET COMPUTER \\<name> /DEL, where <name> is the name of
the computer to be deleted.
Though Windows 2000/NT/XP computers require a computer account on the server,
Windows 95/98/Me computers do not seem to need one. Other computers, including
Windows CE machines, have been known to require a computer account in addition to the
user account. Try working without a computer account, and if the user is unable to log on, add
a computer account to the user database and try again.
Well, we've covered global users and groups that are created by default by the system. Next,
we'll cover local users and groups.
Domains\Builtin
Under SAM\Domains\Builtin, there are three subkeys. These subkeys perform a similar task
to those in Domains\Account.
Aliases
In Aliases, we find the group numbers for each of the local groups. For example, the local
group 00000220, when viewed as a decimal number, is 544, which is the local Administrators
group. Figure 17.11 shows the Builtin subkey, with most subkeys expanded.
Figure 17.11: Expanding Aliases shows nine built-in groups.
Each of these local groups is used to maintain and use the local machine. There are domain
groups to perform remote maintenance. Table 17.2 shows the default groups found in Builtin
(your configuration may not have all groups listed).
Subkey Name
Table 17.2: The Builtin Local Groups
Builtin Local Groups
SID
00000220
Builtin\Administrators
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-544
00000221
Builtin\Users
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-545
00000222
Builtin\Guests
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-546
00000223[*]
Builtin\Power Users
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-547
00000224[*]
Builtin\Account Operators
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-548
00000225[*]
Builtin\Server Operators
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-549
00000226[*]
Builtin\Print Operators
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-550
00000227[*]
Builtin\Backup Operators
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-551
00000228[*]
Builtin\Replicator
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-552
0000022B[*]
Builtin\Remote Desktop Users
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-555
0000022C[*]
Builtin\Network Configuration
Operators
S-1-2-32-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-556
[*]
Available only in Windows XP Professional, .NET Server, and Windows 2000.
Also present in Aliases is a subkey called Members. This subkey contains users and global
groups that are members of local groups, identified by their SID suffixes. Another subkey
called Names lists the names that match with the various numeric identifiers described above.
Note Remember: Global groups may be members of local groups, but local groups may not
be members of global groups. Oh, and yes, local users may be members of global
groups, too. Confused? Good, then I am not alone! Basically, the only member
relationship not allowed is local groups as members of global groups; other than that,
anything goes.
Groups
In Groups, we find a single subkey called Names. There appears to be no information stored
in these subkeys.
Users
In Users, we find a single subkey called Names. There appears to be no information stored in
these subkeys.
RXACT
The key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM\SAM\RXACT is undocumented except that it is
listed as belonging to the registry transaction package. The RXACT subkey contains a single,
unnamed, REG_NONE type variable. This variable contains a set of three DWORD values,
one of which seems to change between installations, the other two of which don't seem to
change. The function of these values is unknown, although a guess is that the passwordencryption algorithm uses them. Maybe and maybe not.
Tracking Password Changes...
Sometimes you'll need to determine who has changed a password. This can be useful for
managing security. The following steps are used on a standard Windows XP server to
determine who changed a specific password. In this example, we wish to track the system
administrator's password modifications, but these same techniques can be applied to any user
by substituting the user's SID value for 000001F4 in the following example. The following
example pertains to Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Professional, XP Professional, and
.NET Server.
1. In Administrative Tools, select Local Security Policy. Then select Security Settings →
Local Policies → Audit Policy on the left side of the Security Settings tree. Set Audit
Object Access in the Policy list on the right to Audit the Attempts: Success and
Failure.
2. Using RegEdit, select the SAM key in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and use Edit →
Permissions to set Full Control for the Administrators local group (this may already be
set in Windows XP). Check Change Permissions on Existing Subkeys.
3. Navigate to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM\SAM\Domains\Account\Users\000001F4 (or go
to the subkey for the desired user.) Select Edit → Permissions, then click the
Advanced button and add the Administrators local group to the list. Enable both
Successful and Failed auditing for Set Value. Also check the "Replace auditing entries
on all child objects with entries shown here that apply to child objects" option.
Once you've made these changes, whenever a change is made to the Administrator account,
the change will be placed in the audit log.
Security
Security? What is security? First, it is not something to depend on in your old age, that's
assured!
In the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Security key, we find another key that normally only the
system has access to. As with the SAM, discussed previously, you can change the access
rights to the Security subkey to allow you (the administrator) to browse and (if you are daring,
stupid, or both) modify items.
To change the access rights to Security, select it in RegEdit and click the Edit menu's
Permissions selection. In the Registry Key Permissions dialog box, select your user account.
In the Type of Access list, select Full Control, and then click OK. It is imperative to be
careful: changing something improperly can lead to disaster.
Cache
Windows XP is able to cache from 0 to 50 previous successful logons locally. This is
typically done on systems where a domain controller is used to validate logons and security.
Sometimes (it happens to all of us) a domain controller is not available, and then it is still
possible to provisionally log on the user, using locally stored logon credentials.
Note The number of cached logons defaults to 10; however, it may be set to any number
between 0 and 50.
When the domain controller is unavailable and the user can be logged on using the cache, the
following message appears:
A domain controller for your domain could not be contacted. You have been logged on using
cached account information. Changes to your profile since you last logged on may not be
available.
If caching has been disabled or a user's logon information is not in the cache, this message is
displayed:
The system cannot log you on now because the domain <name of domain> is not available.
The Cache subkey (which is not found in Windows XP Home Edition) holds 11 cache entries
(or more, or fewer). One of these entries is NL$Control, which contains the cached entry of
the currently logged-on user.
Note With RegEdit, you are able to see both the hexadecimal values and an ANSI character
representation, which is readable even with UNICODE characters.
The other entries in the Cache key are named NL$1 through NL$10. Each entry contains
logon information for one of the previous 10 people who logged on to the computer.
Note The 10 previous logged-on users are unique users. If a user logs on twice, there will be
only one entry in the cache—each entry in the cache is for a unique user account. Any
entry that has not been used will contain zeros.
Policy
Psst, hey buddy, you want to buy some insurance?
No, not that type of policy! The Policy subkey contains security settings for users, groups, and
other components.
A number of subkeys are located under the Policy key. In Windows XP, these subkeys
include the following (again, your system may not possess all of these objects):
Accounts
DefQuota
Domains
KerLogoff
KerMaxR
KerMaxT
KerMinT
KerOpts
KerProxy
PolAcDmN
PolAcDmS
PolAdtEv
PolAdtFL
PolAdtLg
PolDnDDN
PolDnDmG
PolDnTrN
PolEfDat
PolMod
PolPrDmN
PolPrDmS
PolRevision
PolSecretEncryptionKey
PolState
QuAbsMax
QuAbsMin
SecDesc
Secrets
Each subkey (excluding Accounts, Domains, and Secrets) is constructed in virtually the same
manner: a single, unnamed data variable of type REG_NONE. This data variable will contain
a binary value, the length of which depends on the entry's purpose.
The Accounts subkey will contain information on perhaps six or more different SIDs. Most of
these SIDs are listed in Table 17.3 (although each system's entries may vary), along with their
descriptions. Note the changes to security and the introduction of the SID S-1-5-11 with
Windows NT 4 Service Pack 3.
Note The S-1-2-32 entries are not found in Windows XP Home Edition.
Table 17.3: Some Users Listed in the Accounts Subkey
Subkey
Present in
Present in
Description
Windows 2000
Windows XP
S-1-1-0
√
√
(Everyone)
S-1-5-11
√
√
Authenticated users; only found
in Windows NT 4 with
Windows NT Service Pack 3
and later
S-1-5-19
√
The local computer's service
account
S-1-5-20
√
The computer's network service
account
S-1-5-21...
√
One for each user account that
has been defined
S-1-2-32-544
√
√
BUILTIN\ADMINISTRATORS
S-1-2-32-545
√
√
BUILTIN\USERS
S-1-2-32-546
√
√
BUILTIN\GUESTS
Subkey
Table 17.3: Some Users Listed in the Accounts Subkey
Present in
Present in
Description
S-1-2-32-547
√
√
BUILTIN\POWER USERS
S-1-2-32-548
√
√
BUILTIN\ACCOUNT
OPERATORS
S-1-2-32-549
√
√
BUILTIN\SERVER
OPERATORS
S-1-2-32-550
√
√
BUILTIN\PRINT
OPERATORS
S-1-2-32-551
√
√
BUILTIN\BACKUP
OPERATORS
S-1-2-32-552
BUILTIN\REPLICATOR
The following information is contained in most subkeys described in Table 17.3:
ActSysAc A DWORD value, stored as binary (REG_BINARY) data; values range from
0x00000001 to an undetermined maximum. This field seems to be bitmapped, though no
explanation of its use or possible values has yet to be found. Not found in all Policy\Accounts
subkeys.
Privilgs A variable-length binary value, not found in all Policy\Accounts subkeys.
SecDesc A variable-length binary value, serving as the object's security descriptor.
Sid A binary representation of the SID value for the subkey.
In some versions of Windows, the Domains subkey will contain information on typically only
one domain. The Domains key will have a subkey for the doIn server versions of Windows,
this subkey typically contains four subkeys:
main that the computer belongs to, named with the domain server's SID. Other versions may
contain zero-length data.
SecDesc A binary value, probably variable length.
Sid A binary representation of the SID value for the subkey; the SID value is also used as the
subkey name.
TrDmName A binary value containing both binary data and the name of the domain.
TrDmPxOf A DWORD value.
Note A computer that is the domain server (for example, a PDC in NT 4) will not have an
entry in the Domains subkey.
How Do I Identify Dynamic Registry Keys in the Registry?
Permanent keys, those not created at boot, are identified in the key at
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\hivelist. The one exception
is HKEY_CURRENT_USER, which is located at %SystemRoot%\Profiles\UserName.
The value entries identify the registry keys. All are type REG_SZ. The following list shows
the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE keys.
Permanent Key
Typical Default Value
Comment
\REGISTRY\MACHINE\ (None)
HARDWARE
The HKEY_LOCAL_
MACHINE\ Hardware key,
re-created upon boot
\REGISTRY\MACHINE\ \Device\Harddisk 0\ Partition1\WINNT\
SAM
System32\Config\SAM
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM
\REGISTRY\MACHINE\ \Device\Harddisk
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SECURITY
0\Partition1\WINNT\System32\Config\Security Security
\REGISTRY\MACHINE\ \Device\Harddisk 0\ Partition1\WINNT\
SOFTWARE
System32\Config\Software
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Software
\REGISTRY\MACHINE\ \Device\Harddisk 0\ Partition1\WINNT\
SYSTEM
System32\Config\System
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
System
\REGISTRY\USER\
.DEFAULT
\Device\Harddisk
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT
0\Partition1\WINNT\System32\Config\Default
\REGISTRY\USER\
Security ID (SID)
\Device\Harddisk 0\ Partition1\WINNT\
Profiles\Username\ntuser.dat
\REGISTRY\USER\
Security ID (SID)_
Classes
\Device\ HarddiskVolume1\WINNT\
The current user's classes
Profiles\Username\Local Settings\ Application definition (see Chapter 15, on
Data\Microsoft\ Windows\UsrClass.dat
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT,
for more information)
The current user profile; also
holds entries for services
running under user accounts
Note that in Windows XP Home Edition, the path is similar to those listed above, but you
must replace Harddisk 0 with HarddiskVolume1 and replace WINNT with Windows.
The Secrets subkey will contain secret information. (Quiet, someone may be listening to this.)
There are a number of subkeys in Secrets. Big users of the Secrets subkey include Windows
and IIS.
Due to the nature of the data (no, not that it is secret, just that it is meaningless except to the
application or system that is using it), I won't cover it.
Note Secret data is specific to the application that has stored the data there, and generally it is
not meaningful to users.
RXACT
The RXACT subkey seems to contain an un-initialized value of RXACT that is stored in
SAM. This implies that the information stored in the SAM's version RXACT is dynamic in
nature.
SAM
SECURITY\SAM is an alias to the SAM\SAM subkey, which I covered previously.
Software
The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software key contains a collection of subkeys for various
installed components and applications. Any application can create its own subkey (most do so
when they install and store items such as file pointers, user initialization, and so forth),
although most often subkeys are based on the organization producing the software, with
further subkeys for different applications. For example, Microsoft's subkeys might look like
this (actually they are much more complex):
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\DrWatson
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Exchange
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\IE4
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Audio
Each of these subkeys will have one or more entries. (DrWatson has 12 entries with data
values for different user settings and filenames, set using DRWTSN32.exe.)
Figure 17.12 shows the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software key on a computer that has
been running Windows XP for several months and has a number of software packages
installed.
Figure 17.12: The HKEY_LOCAL_ MACHINE\Software key can become large if there are
many installed applications and system components.
Now, you may think that I should say more about the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software
key here in this chapter; but no, I won't. There is just too much really good stuff in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software to not devote a complete chapter to it, so I've
dedicated the next chapter (Chapter 18) to this key.
System
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System contains the system configurations. Subkeys include:
ControlSet001 A copy of the current control set.
ControlSet002 The Last Known Good control set used to boot from if there is a problem
booting from the current control set.
CurrentControlSet The control set used to boot from.
LastKnownGoodRecovery The control set used for a recovery.
DISK Contains information about drive letters, volume sets, RAID (mirrored, stripe, and
stripe with parity), and CD-ROM and drive mapping. Windows XP does not use or have this
object.
MountedDevices Contains information about currently available virtual devices (another way
of looking at drives!) and drives, including CD-ROM, hard, and floppy disks.
Select Contains information about which control set is used for what purpose.
Setup Contains information about Windows XP's installation.
As with HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System is a
very important key, and therefore I'll cover it fully in Chapter 19. No sense in overdoing it
here.
Chapter 18: Introduction to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software
Overview
The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software key contains information about installed software
on your system. It also contains information about Windows XP although the
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System key contains Windows XP information as well.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software has at least 11 sections. Each of the sections varies in
size from small (Secure usually has nothing in it at all!) to huge (Microsoft has settings for
every Microsoft application installed, and for some components of Windows also.)
In this chapter, I have tried to cover as many keys, values, and objects as possible. To cover
everything would make this chapter totally unmanageable.
Looking inside HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software
As I mentioned, in a typical installation, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software has 11 or 12
different subkeys:
Note The contents of your HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software hive will vary greatly
depending on what software is installed on your computer. On the machine used while
writing this book, Windows XP Advanced Server, Microsoft Office XP, and
Developer's Studio were installed.
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Classes
Clients
Gemplus
L&H
Microsoft
ODBC
Policies
Program Groups
Schlumberger
Secure
Voice
Windows 3.1 Migration Status
For many installations, there will be additional subkeys under
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software. For example:
•
•
•
•
•
•
3Com, or the supplier of the computer's NIC
Adobe, for users of Adobe's software, such as Acrobat Reader and PageMaker
Symantec, for anyone who uses Symantec antivirus software
INTEL, for software such as the Intel 3D Scalability Toolkit
Intuit, if you use their accounting or tax software
Qualcomm, if you use one of their e-mail or communications products
Of course, only the number and types of software packages installed on the target computer
limit the number of subkeys. Go hog wild, install tons of stuff, and you'll have a big
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software subkey.
Warning You have backed up your registry before starting this chapter, right?
In Case of Disaster
Be cautious! Blow a subkey or value, and you probably will have to reinstall the affected
product. If you're really unlucky, you might also have to reinstall Windows XP, if the
application's install program doesn't properly repair the registry. If you find you have to
reinstall because you didn't have a good registry backup, follow these steps:
1. Reinstall the product without uninstalling the original installation. If this works, you
may be able to recover your user settings, profiles, and such. If this doesn't work, try
step 2.
2. Uninstall the product and then reinstall. This probably will cause you to lose the user
settings, profiles, and such, but that's life. If this doesn't work, try step 3.
3. Install a second copy of Windows XP, and install the application on the second copy
of Windows XP into the product's original directory. If the product works on the
second copy of Windows XP, try the first copy again. If the product still doesn't work
on the first copy but does work on the second copy, you'll have to restore everything
from backups or reinstall everything from scratch. Either way, you are in for a long,
long night.
Classes
The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes subkey is a mapping of the
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT registry hive. This ensures that both have the same entries.
The HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT hive is described in Chapter 3 and in Chapter 15 (which is
devoted entirely to this hive). The information in these chapters applies to all entries in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes.
Clients
The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Clients subkey contains information used by
Windows for e-mail and related services. Users who have not installed any additional e-mail
services will find the Microsoft Exchange client defined as their mail provider—Exchange is
a default component of Windows XP.
A Microsoft Internet Explorer installation includes features such as:
Contacts An integral component of Outlook Express and Outlook, Contacts provides a
powerful tool for managing contacts and names. Contacts manages names, addresses
(including e-mail addresses), phone numbers, and so on.
EnvelopeHost Installed by Office, EnvelopeHost is a utility to create envelopes from each of
the Office products.
Mail Internet Explorer 5 installs a product called Outlook Express, which is a scaled-down
version of Microsoft's e-mail client, Outlook.
Media The Media feature includes some settings for the Windows media player program.
News The News client is a component in Outlook Express. Newsgroups are public (and
private) forums on the Internet where users are able to speak their minds on various topics.
StartMenuInternet This is Internet Explorer's startup command and icon definition.
A full installation of Microsoft's Outlook would include even more components, including:
Calendar A component of Microsoft Outlook, the Calendar provides a powerful tool for
managing time and appointments. Correctly configured, meetings can be scheduled, resources
may be reserved, and so on.
Internet Call NetMeeting is a tool used to hold online, interactive meetings.
Typical subkeys found in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Clients might include those
shown in Figure 18.1, which shows a computer that has Hotmail, the full version of Outlook,
and the default Outlook Express.
Figure 18.1: Clients can include products from more than one software vendor.
Gemplus
Windows XP supports Gemplus SmartCards. For more information on these devices, visit
www.gemplus.com.
L&H
Windows XP supports text-to-speech services. The L&H TTS3000 system may be installed.
This software is available from Microsoft at
http://www.microsoft.com/msagent/downloads.htm. This functionality is very useful for
seeing-impaired users.
Why More Than One E-Mail Client?
Okay, I can hear the questions now: Why the heck does a guy need many e-mail clients? Yes,
there is a good reason (at least I think so!): In my case I use many different e-mail clients:
1. I use Microsoft Outlook as my primary e-mail client. However...
2. I use Eudora to get messages from a mailing list that I belong to, because most of the
people on this list are not using Windows-compatible systems, and thus they don't
receive Outlook-generated messages well. (Outlook creates two copies of the message,
one in plain text and one in formatted text.) Also, as the mail list is archived, the
Outlook-generated messages are too large for the archive.
3. I use Forte Agent to retrieve messages from news servers. I could use Microsoft's
newsreader program, but I just like Agent. Because Agent can also send e-mail, it is an
e-mail client program, too.
4. Hotmail was installed with Windows by default. I've never used it, and probably won't
either.
5. Outlook Express installs with Internet Explorer. I have not used this program because
I use Outlook.
All of these e-mail programs are an example of:
•
•
•
How registry entries multiply (like rabbits!)
How the entries get convoluted (like Exchange being deleted by Outlook, but entries
for Exchange remaining in the registry, probably until hell freezes over)
How products get installed without the user realizing that they have been installed
(Outlook Express)
Microsoft
The Microsoft subkey in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software is the largest of the subkeys
in the Software key. One typical installation of a Windows XP server, with a number of
applications from Microsoft installed, has the following subkeys under
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft.
Note Note that some of these entries are only available on servers such as DhcpServer and
WINS. Protocol entries are only available when the protocol is installed.
.NetFramework Microsoft's .NET Framework is their attempt to create a better development
environment for applications that run in the distributed environment that the Internet offers.
Access Runtime Contains information about Microsoft Access.
ACS Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about
SNMP's ACS functionality.
Active Accessibility Contains support for Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA). MSAA
improves the access of command bars.
Active Setup Currently used with Internet Explorer as well as many other Windows
components, Active Setup is the installation process for applications distributed by the
Internet.
AD7Metrics Contains information about Microsoft Scripting and debugging.
Ads Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about the
Active Directory server functions.
Advanced INF Setup Contains support for setups based on .inf files, used with Internet
Explorer and some Internet Explorer components, such as Java.
ALG Contains information about Microsoft's FTP Client/Server Protocol. ALG is
application-level gateway.
ASP.NET Contains information about Microsoft's ASP (Active Server Pages) .NET facilities.
AsyncMac Also known as AsyMAC, this object contains an NDIS 3.0 MAC (Media Access
Control) driver used with serial communications (RAS).
AudioCompressionManager Contains support for the Microsoft Audio Compression
Manager system.
BOOTPMibAgent Found only in later versions of Windows, this object contains information
about support for the BootP MIB (Management Information Base) Agent.
Browser Contains the configuration for the Computer Browser Service.
Catalog42 Contains information about Microsoft's IIS web browser configuration.
ClipArt Gallery Contains information about clip art objects installed. Typically, but not
always, installed with products such as Microsoft Office.
Code Store Database Used with objects such as Java.
COM3 Found only in later versions of Windows, this object contains information about COM
(Common Object Model) version 3 and the Active Template Library.
Command Processor Found only in later versions of Windows, this object contains
initialization parameters for all command-prompt sessions.
Conferencing Supports Microsoft NetMeeting, a virtual conferencing/meeting system.
Connection Manager Administration Kit Found only in later versions of Windows, this
object contains information about the Connection Manager Administration Kit (CMAK), used
to manage RAS connections.
CRS Contains the configuration for the Content Replication System.
Cryptography Found only in later versions of Windows, this object contains information
about each of the installed cryptography services. It contains the management for the
Microsoft CryptoAPI (Cryptographic Application Program Interface).
CTF This object contains information about Microsoft's Component Testing Facility (CTF).
This system is used by developers and software testers to automate COM/DCOM components
testing.
DataAccess Found only in later versions of Windows, this object contains information about
data access providers for HTTP, HTTPS, IIS, LDAP, and others.
DataFactory Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information
about OLE data factory handlers.
DeviceManager Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object supports information
about bus types (not fully implemented in Windows 2000) and troubleshooters.
Dfrg Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about the
disk defragmenter, a standard Windows feature.
DFS This object contains information about Microsoft's Distributed File System, installed
under Windows 2000 Server and a component that may be installed under Windows XP.
DfsHost This object contains information about Microsoft's Distributed File System, installed
under Windows 2000 Server and a component that may be installed under Windows XP.
DhcpServer Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object supports the DHCP
(Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server functionality.
DhcpMibAgent Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object supports DHCP MIB.
DHCPServer Contains the support and configuration for DHCP (Dynamic Host
Configuration Protocol), which, in a nutshell, allows dynamic (automatic) allocation of IP
addresses in a TCP/IP network.
Direct3D Contains Microsoft's high-performance 3-D drawing API.
DirectDraw Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information
about the high-speed Direct3D support.
DirectInput Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information
about high-speed input interfaces.
DirectMusic Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information
about the high-performance music player.
DirectPlay Contains Microsoft's high-performance engine that provides a way for multiplayer
games to communicate using networks.
DirectPlay8 Contains Microsoft's high-performance engine that provides a way for
multiplayer games to communicate using networks.
DirectPlayNATHelp Contains Microsoft's high-performance engine that provides a way for
multiplayer games to provide help.
DirectX Contains Microsoft's I/O system.
DownloadManager Contains a system that allows files being transferred by Internet Explorer
to be downloaded in background mode and to be suspended and resumed as desired.
Driver Signing Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information
about drivers and driver authentication.
DrWatson Contains a system for providing information on application and system faults.
DRM Contains a system for providing support for DRM (Digital Rights Management).
EAPOL Contains a system for providing support for EAPOL (Extensible Authentication
Control Protocol over LANs).
EnterpriseCertificates Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains
information about various enterprise certificate authorities.
ESENT Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information for the
ESENT (Extensible Storage Engine).
EventSystem Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information for
the event management system.
Exchange Contains Microsoft's default e-mail client.
Fax Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about the
built-in Windows fax system.
FrontPage Contains Microsoft's application to develop and manage Internet Web pages.
Home Publishing Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains
information about Microsoft Home Publishing.
HostMIB Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information for the
Host MIB.
HTML Help Collections Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains
information about HTML help.
IASAgent Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about
the Internet Authentication Services agent.
IE Setup Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about
setup for Internet Explorer.
IE4 Contains Microsoft's Internet Explorer 4.
IGMPMibAgent Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information
about the Internet Group Management Protocol.
InetMgr The Internet Service Manager, used to manage Microsoft IIS.
Inetsrv Contains Microsoft IIS.
InetStp Contains configuration information for Microsoft IIS.
InfoViewer Contains Microsoft Information Viewer, a data and information retrieval system,
typically used with Microsoft TechNet and MSDN.
Intelligent Search Contains support for the Microsoft Intelligent Search, part of Microsoft
Office XP.
IntelliPoint Contains support for the Microsoft IntelliMouse, an enhanced pointing device.
InteractiveMusic No, not karaoke. Microsoft Interactive Music is a system used to deliver
music over the Internet.
Internet Account Manager Used to manage e-mail accounts.
Internet Audio Audio may be sent to clients on the Internet using a number of different
compression techniques, such as CCITT, Lernout & Hauspie, and Microsoft's encoding.
Internet Connection Wizard The Internet Connection Wizard automates the steps used to
connect a new user to the Internet.
Internet Domains Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains
information about special domains. A typical default entry in this object consists of a number
of data items for the Hotmail e-mail system.
Internet Explorer Contains Microsoft Internet Explorer, currently version 6.
Internet Mail and News Contains Internet Mail and News settings.
Internet Shopper Contains Microsoft's client Internet commerce system.
IpInIp Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about
IpInIp.
IPMulticastMibAgent Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains
information about the IP Multicast MIB agent.
IPSec Feature support for IP Security.
IPXMibAgent Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information
about the IPX MIB agent.
Java VM Contains the Java virtual machine configuration.
Jet Contains the Microsoft Access database access engine, used by Microsoft Office and
other applications.
KeyRing Contains a small, usually metal, often lost, object used to hold keys. Or contains
IIS's Key Manager program.
Languages Used with Microsoft's Internet browser and server support, used to define file
types (such as HTM, HTML, STM, STML, and ALX).
LANManagerMIB2Agent Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains
information about the LAN Manager MIB agent.
LanmanServer Manages server support for the SMB (Server Message Block) protocol, the
core of Microsoft networking.
LanmanWorkstation Manages client support for the SMB protocol.
Machine Debug Manager Works to help define which processes should be debugged and
which should be ignored.
MediaPlayer Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information
about Microsoft Media Player.
Microsoft Chat Character Editor Contains an add-on graphics editor for Microsoft Chat
characters.
Microsoft Comic Chat Contains Internet Chat, an interactive conferencing system with a
graphic interface (using comic characters).
Microsoft Expedia Contains Pocket Streets 98, Microsoft's road atlas program.
Microsoft FrontPage Contains Microsoft's Internet web page publishing utility.
Microsoft Image Composer Contains Microsoft's graphic- and image-editing application.
Microsoft Reference Contains a component of Microsoft office that provides a complete
reference section.
MMC Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about the
Microsoft Management Console.
MMCtlsForIE Contains multimedia controls for Internet Explorer.
Mobile Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about
mobile or portable operations.
MOS Contains configurations for Microsoft Office's Outlook and MSNAudio.
MosTrace Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains support for
gathering debug information.
Mr. Enigma Function is unknown. Only found on Windows XP systems.
MSDAIPP Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information for
the Microsoft Internet Publishing Provider feature.
MSDTC Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about
Microsoft DTC.
MSE Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about the
Microsoft Script Editor.
MSFTPSVC Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information
about the Microsoft FTP service.
MSLicensing Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information
used by Microsoft Terminal Services licensing.
MSMQ Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about
Microsoft Message Queue Server.
MSTTS Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about
the Microsoft speech engine (TTS is short for text-to-speech).
Multimedia Contains the configurations for Active Movie and DirectX components.
Ncpa Contains the configuration information for the Network Control Panel applet.
NdisWan Contains the Network Device Interface Standard, used with a WAN (wide area
network), such as the Internet.
NetBIOS Contains the Network Basic Input/Output System, used to control basic network
communications, including the software interface and naming conventions.
NetBT Contains the configuration for NetBIOS when implemented over TCP/IP.
NetDDE Contains the configuration for Network Dynamic Data Exchange.
NetSh Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about
performance managing for the networking scheduler.
NetShow Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about
the Microsoft Net Show feature.
Non-Driver Signing Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains
information about signing of non-driver files.
NTDebuggers Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information
about the Windows NT debuggers.
NTDS Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information for the
Windows NT directory service.
NwlnkIpx Contains support for the Novell NetWare IPX protocol.
NwlnkNb Contains the configuration for the NetWare network browser.
NwlnkSpx Contains the configuration for the NetWare SPX protocol.
Office Contains support for Microsoft Office (whichever version is installed), typically Office
2000 (version 9.0) or Office XP (version 10.0).
Ole Contains basic configuration information for Object Linking and Embedding.
OS/2 Subsystem for NT Contains basic support for OS/2 standards.
OSPFMibAgent Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information
about the OSPF MIB agent.
Outlook Express Contains Microsoft's basic e-mail system, installed by default with Internet
Explorer.
Pegasus Contains winged horse of Greek mythology, or support for Windows CE 2.x.
Protected Storage System Provider Contains an inaccessible subkey used to protect user
security.
RasAuto or RasAutoDial Contains configurations for the Remote Access Service AutoDial
facility, used to automatically connect to a remote network.
RAS Contains configurations for the Remote Access Service, the dial-in component of
Windows Server.
RasMan Contains the Remote Access Service manager program.
ReferenceTitles Contains Microsoft Bookshelf (part of Microsoft Office).
RemoteAccess Contains some settings for RAS (Remote Access Service).
ResKit The basic setup settings for the Windows XP Resource Kit (either for server or
workstation).
Resource Kit Contains the component settings for the Windows XP Resource Kit.
RFC1156Agent Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information
about the MIB for use with network management protocols in TCP/IP-based networks.
RIPMibAgent Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information
about the Routing Information Protocol MIB agent.
Router Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about IP
routing.
Rpc Contains the configuration for Remote Procedure Calls.
RPCLOCATOR Used to enable RPC applications to perform procedures on multiple remote
computers.
Schedule+ Contains settings for Schedule+ or a substitute, such as Outlook or Exchange.
SchedulingAgent Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains
information about Windows scheduling.
ScrptDbg Contains Microsoft Office's script debugger settings.
Secure Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about
security.
Shared Tools Location Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains
information about the location of tools that are shared between more than one application.
Shared Tools Lists and describes relationships with various Microsoft tools that may be
"shared" using OLE.
SNMP_EVENTS Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains
information about SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) events.
SNMPMIB Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information
about the SNMP MIB.
SpeechAPI or Speech Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains
information about the built-in speech API.
SystemCertificates Contains information about security certificates (used primarily with
Internet Explorer).
Tcpip Stores system configurations for TCP/IP. Computer-specific configuration information
is stored elsewhere.
TelnetServer Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information
about the Windows Telnet server.
Tracing Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about
event tracing.
Transaction Server Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains
information about Transaction Services.
Tshoot Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about
troubleshooting.
User information This object contains information for the Microsoft Office user.
VBA This is where Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications, used with a number of Microsoft
products, is configured.
Visual Basic This object contains information about Visual Basic.
VisualScriptEditor This object contains information about the Visual Basic script editor.
VisualStudio Contains the configuration for Microsoft's Visual Studio, the development
platform.
W3SVC Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about
IIS's web server.
WAB Not "Windows Always Breaks;" this is where the WAB (Windows Address Book),
used to manage addresses (different from Outlook's Contacts functionality), is configured.
WBEM Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains information about
Web-Based Enterprise Management.
Windows This is where a number of Windows configuration parameters are set. See the
second part of this section for more information on this subkey.
Windows Messaging Subsystem Contains configurations for e-mail.
Windows NT This is where a number of Windows configuration parameters are set. The
second part of this section documents this subkey.
Windows Scripting Host Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, this object contains
information about scripting (JavaScript or Visual Basic Script).
Wins The Windows Internet Name Service, or WINS, saves configuration information in this
subkey.
WZCSVC The Windows WZC Service.
Looking at the previous list, you should realize that there are many more possible subkeys
under Software—so many possibilities, in fact, that no single source could hope to document
them all. Each installed application or component can and often does create a subkey in the
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software key.
Even more interesting and unexplainable is the fact that there are both Windows and
Windows NT sections in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software. Microsoft came up with
Windows, then later developed Windows NT, and chose to group items whichever way they
wanted. Were I to tell you that old stuff was in Windows and new stuff was in Windows NT,
I'd be accused of making it all up (and rightly, I might add). There is little rhyme or reason to
the organization and contents of these two subkeys.
Now, let's take a detailed peek into a few of the subkeys found on virtually every Windows
XP system.
Note Some items below are specific to server installations, others are specific to workstation
installations, and most are applicable to both servers and workstations. If known, I've
indicated which ones are specific to which type of installation.
Windows
First, I know the questions you are asking right now: Why is configuration for parts of
Windows XP included in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software, and other parts included in
other sections of the registry? Why isn't it all consolidated? Why spread it out? Why, oh why,
is this so hard to understand?
Well, I can't answer the last question, but I may be able to shed a bit of light on a few of the
others. Many of the components included in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software are
components that are or were separate from Windows. For example, Internet Explorer, Font
support, and even Explorer are separate from the base operating system. Yes, dear friends,
you can run Windows XP without using Explorer—Program Manager is still part of
Windows. (No, I'm not going to comment on Windows XP's support for this antiquated userinterface component!)
CurrentVersion
Under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Microsoft\Windows is a subkey called
CurrentVersion. This subkey contains a number of keys defining information about the
current installation of Windows. It also contains a large number of subkeys (which I've
documented below, in separate sections) for various components of Windows XP.
Note Many of the settings that were originally found in CurrentVersion in Windows NT 4 are
now found in the subkey HKEY_CURRENT_USER\<sid>\ Software\Microsoft\
Windows\CurrentVersion. This move allows customization on a user-by-user basis.
CurrentVersion\AdminDebug
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the AdminDebug subkey contains information
that Windows uses to manage debugging.
CurrentVersion\App Management
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the App Management subkey contains
information that Windows uses to manage various applications. You'll find subkeys for many
of the installed programs on the computer here.
CurrentVersion\App Paths
In a typical installation of Windows XP, you might find as many as 30 or 40 objects in the
App Paths subkey. A clean installation of Windows XP might have fewer than 10 objects; for
example:
•
•
•
•
DIALER.exe
HYPERTRM.exe
PINBALL.exe
WORDPAD.exe
Even this "minimum" list could be smaller if Hyperterm or Pinball were not installed on the
computer.
Each subkey in App Paths contains one required entry:
<No Name> An unnamed value with a data value containing a string with the fully qualified
path of the application, including the application's name and extension, typically .exe.
Each subkey may contain one additional entry:
Path An entry with a data value containing a string with the fully qualified path of the
application, typically used to locate supporting files, if necessary. Not all App Paths subkeys
have the Path value.
If you must move an application component, check App Paths to see if the application is
listed. If it is, when moving the component, make sure that the App Paths entries are updated
to reflect the application's new location.
CurrentVersion\Applets
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the Applets subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage installed applets.
CurrentVersion\Control Panel
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the Control Panel subkey contains information
that Windows uses to manage the system Control Panel.
CurrentVersion\Controls Folder
The Controls Folder subkey holds a single binary value. The Control Panel uses information
from this value to configure the display of Control Panel applets, including title information.
A number of Control Panel applets may also include subkeys in the Controls Folder subkey.
For instance, when applets use special handlers, typically done with OLE, a mapping of tabs
in the Control Panel applet to OLE server is found in Controls Folder.
Here is an example of the subkey for the Display Control Panel applet:
Display Might contain an entry to manage optional components in the Display applet's main
window.
In addition to the above example, other Control Panel applets, such as Desk and Device, can
and do use the Controls Folder subkey.
CurrentVersion\CSCSettings
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the CSCSettings subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage CSC (Client Side Caching) settings.
CurrentVersion\Dynamic Directory
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the Dynamic Directory subkey contains
information that Windows uses to manage the Dynamic Directory Service.
CurrentVersion\Explorer
Microsoft Explorer, which functions as the user interface for Windows XP, has a number of
configuration options. Some options are set with various configuration dialog boxes; others
must be set using the Registry Editor.
AlwaysUnloadDLL Contains a single, unnamed string value, with a value of either 1 or 0.
AutoComplete Contains a single string value, named UseAutoComplete. The default value is
Yes.
BrowseNewProcess Contains a single string value, named BrowseNewProcess. The default
value is Yes.
CSSFilters Contains a number of entries primarily for Internet Explorer. These entries are for
OLE controls used for visual effects, such as Blur, Invert, Glow, and Shadow.
Desktop Typically contains three entries, for Inbox, Recycle Bin, and The Internet. These are
default items on the Desktop.
FileTypesPropertySheetHook Used by Internet Explorer, the entries in this subkey are used
to display files, often containing MIME-encoded objects.
FindExtensions Used by Internet Explorer, Outlook, and the Windows Address Book to
manage their find functionality.
MyComputer Used with the Start menu (and elsewhere). Other entries found on some
computers include dial-up networking and mobile devices.
NameSpace\Controls Contains the Control Panel.
NameSpace\Printers Contains the Printers Panel.
NewShortcutHandlers Used to manage items, such as property sheets.
RemoteComputer Contains a subkey called NameSpace, which includes information on
remote printers.
Shell Folders Used by the system to configure part of a user's profile. User profiles consist of
two parts: the user's private items and a second common profile called All Users. The Shell
Folders subkey contains four keys:
Common Desktop Contains a pathname to the profiles directory. On many systems this will
be C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop.
Common Programs Contains a pathname to the common programs directory. On many
systems, this will be C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs.
Common Start Menu Contains a pathname to the Start menu. On many systems, this will be
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu.
Common Startup Contains a pathname to the Start menu\Programs directory. On many
systems, this will be C:\Documents and Settings\ All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup.
ShellExecuteHooks Used by Internet Explorer to manage the execution of shell extensions.
SmallIcons On the Plus tab of the Display Properties dialog box, the Use Large Icons check
box state. String values allowed are YES and NO.
Streams Could be small rivers, seasonally may be dry. More likely, contains the Taskbar and
toolbar and only one subkey:
Desktop Two entries, Default Taskbar and Default Toolbars, are found in this subkey.
Thumbnail View Contains one entry, called AutoExtract. The value will be either 0x1 or
0x0.
Tips Contains money or value given to a person who serves you, or words of advice. Okay,
really. Windows displays tips on a dialog box when a user logs on, although most users turn
off the tips as their second or third action after installing Windows. Fifty tips exist in
Windows XP by default, but you could add more. And a tip for you: If you add more,
Windows won't know about them; Windows expects 50, and uses 50.
User Shell Folders Contains the folders used for users. Four keys exist in this subkey:
Common Desktop Contains the path %SystemRoot%\Profiles\All Users\Desktop. This
provides a path to the common Desktop for users.
Common Programs Contains the path %SystemRoot%\Profiles\All Users\Start
Menu\Programs. This provides a path to the common Start Menu\Programs directory for
users.
Common Start Menu Contains the path %SystemRoot%\Profiles\All Users\Start Menu. This
provides a path to the common Start Menu directory for users.
Common Startup Contains the path %SystemRoot%\Profiles\All Users\Start
Menu\Programs\Startup. This provides a path to the common Start Menu\Programs\Startup
directory for users.
User Shell Folders\New Usually empty; contains a location for new common objects for
users.
VolumeCaches Empty, except for the following subkeys:
Active Setup Temp Folders The description reads: "These files should no longer be needed.
They were originally created by a setup program that is no longer running."
Downloaded Program Files The description reads: "Downloaded Program Files are ActiveX
controls and Java applets downloaded automatically from the Internet when you view certain
pages. They are temporarily stored in the Downloaded Program Files folder on your hard
disk."
Internet Cache Files The description reads: "The Temporary Internet Files folder contains
web pages stored on your hard disk for quick viewing. Your personalized settings for web
pages will be left intact."
WindowsUpdate Contains a single entry called UpdateURL, which contains a reference to
the Windows Internet Connection Wizard.
CurrentVersion\Extensions
The Extensions subkey contains keys that define what program opens a specific file type.
Similar to the Classes subkeys found elsewhere in the registry, Extensions is only for addedon, non-Microsoft applications. The Extensions subkey shows, in File Manager, the
application that a user prefers to open a certain file with—for example, "Open .rtf files with
Word for Windows." Explorer, Windows NT 4, Windows 2000, and Windows XP do not
appear to use this subkey.
Note Why have this in the registry if it is not used? Simple: Many legacy (older) applications
will attempt to update the subkey even though it is not used. Also, since it is possible to
use Program Manager with Windows XP (yes, progman.exe is still part of Windows
XP!), there actually is a potential use for these entries.
CurrentVersion\ExtShellViews
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the ExtShellViews subkey contains information
that Windows uses to manage how a view is presented to the user: as either a web view or a
thumbnail view.
CurrentVersion\Group Policy
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the Group Policy subkey contains information
that Windows uses to manage groups. Some of the Windows Active Directory information
about groups is stored in this location. Not available in Windows XP Home Edition.
CurrentVersion\H323TSP
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the H323TSP subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage H323 teleconferencing.
CurrentVersion\Installer
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the Installer subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage the Microsoft Office installer program. Typically the value is the
Windows path C:\Windows\System32.
CurrentVersion\Internet Settings
The Internet Settings subkey consists of settings used with the Internet, primarily with
Internet Explorer. Two keys present in this key include ActiveXCache, which points to a
directory where Internet Explorer may cache ActiveX (OLE) controls; and
CodeBaseSearchPath, which points to a Microsoft site where common code is downloadable.
In addition to these two keys, Internet Settings also contains these subkeys:
Accepted Documents Some documents are accepted as safe. These include Word, Excel, and
PowerPoint documents. (No, there is no need to tell me about all those nasty Word viruses. I
know.) Also considered safe are the GIF, bitmap, and JPEG image types.
ActiveX Cache A second set of ActiveX control cache directories. Two entries in this subkey
provide two locations to store ActiveX controls installed on the user's system.
Cache Contains Internet Explorer's cache parameters: cleanup factor, interval and time, a
debug flag, freshness, and persistence. These factors are set in Internet Explorer's Settings
dialog box, on the General tab.
Cache\Paths Internet Explorer stores web pages and objects in a series of cache directories.
The default is to have four cache directories, though the number of cache directories can be
modified if necessary. For each cache directory, a subkey named pathn (where n is the
number of cache directories) is created. Each of the path subkeys contains a pathname and a
size limit.
Cache\Special Paths Two special directories are used by Internet Explorer. These are for
cookies (small files stored on the computer by a website), and for the Internet Explorer history
list.
Cookies Contains keys to limit the size of the cookies directory, the cache prefix (cookie:),
and the directory path. Cookies track a user's usage of a particular site, monitor favorite
selections, establish user-based defaults, and sometimes hold information about the user.
Virtually all cookie use is benign, intended to optimize the website's presentation to the user
or to cache user-specific information for reuse at a later time.
Note Don't like cookies? Don't accept them, and clean out your cookies directory. Nothing
evil will happen—a few Internet sites will deny access to clients who don't allow
cookies, but this is rare. Much of the paranoia about cookies is unfounded; cookies
cannot dig into your system and gather information about you.
History Internet Explorer keeps a (limited) history of sites visited by the user (URL History).
This list is in the directory named by the unnamed value in this subkey.
Last Update This subkey contains information about the last version of Internet Explorer
components installed. Information may consist of a product's date or a version number.
Cryptography\AUTH2UPD Contains the version number of the currently installed
cryptography component.
IEXPLOREV2 Contains the product date for Internet Explorer 2.
IEXPLOREV3 Contains the product date for Internet Explorer 3.
IEXPLOREV4 Contains the product date for Internet Explorer 4.
Note With the Internet Explorer Last Update information, it is not possible to determine
which, if any, versions are installed. It is safe to assume, however, that the latest version
is probably the currently installed version. Of course, a user might have gone back to an
earlier version—if so, it would not be possible to determine this from the Last Update
subkey.
SO SO is short for security options. To get to these options, go to the Security tab of the
Internet Options dialog box in Internet Explorer, then click the Settings button to display the
Security Settings dialog box. Here you will find security-based options, subkeys for which
include:
ACTIVE_CONTENT\ACTIVEX Runs ActiveX controls and plug-ins.
ACTIVE_CONTENT\ENABLE Downloads signed ActiveX objects.
ACTIVE_CONTENT\SAFETY Initializes and scripts any ActiveX controls that have not
been marked as safe.
ACTIVE_CONTENT\SCRIPTSAFE Scripts any ActiveX controls that have been marked
as safe.
ACTIVE_CONTENT\UNSIGNEDACTIVEX Downloads unsigned ActiveX controls.
AUTH\LOGON Sets how to handle logon credentials.
DOWNLOAD\FILEDOWNLOAD Sets whether to download files or not.
DOWNLOAD\FONTDOWNLOAD Sets whether to download and install fonts or not.
JAVAPER\JAVA Sets Java permissions.
MISC\DRAGDROP Sets whether to allow drag-and-drop or cut-and-paste of files.
MISC\FORMDATA Sets submission of unencrypted form data.
MISC\INSTALLDT Sets whether to allow installation of Desktop items.
MISC\LAUNCHING Sets whether to allow launching a file or application in an
<IFRAME>.
MISC\SOFTDIST Sets software channel permissions.
SCRIPTING\SCRIPT Sets whether to allow active scripting.
SCRIPTING\SCRIPTJAVA Sets whether to allow Java scripting.
SOIEAK Contains security options for IEAK (Internet Explorer Administration Kit). With
IEAK, you can customize the setup of Internet Explorer, presetting preferences and options to
suit a particular set of circumstances. As with the SO options, previously listed, these settings
will appear in the Security Settings dialog box in Internet Explorer 6.
Note These are not the only options or settings that may be configured with IEAK. IEAK
allows customization of the installation for an ISP, for example, where the user's default
home page will be the ISP's page.
ACTIVE_CONTENT\ACTIVEX Runs ActiveX controls and plug-ins.
ACTIVE_CONTENT\ENABLE Downloads signed ActiveX objects.
ACTIVE_CONTENT\SAFETY Initializes and scripts any ActiveX controls that have not
been marked as safe.
ACTIVE_CONTENT\SCRIPTSAFE Scripts any ActiveX controls that have been marked
as safe.
ACTIVE_CONTENT\UNSIGNEDACTIVEX Downloads unsigned ActiveX controls.
AUTH\LOGON Sets how to handle logon credentials.
DOWNLOAD\FILEDOWNLOAD Sets whether or not to download files.
DOWNLOAD\FONTDOWNLOAD Sets whether or not to download and install fonts.
JAVAPER\JAVA Sets Java permissions.
MISC\DRAGDROP Sets whether or not to allow drag-and-drop or cut-and-paste of files.
MISC\FORMDATA Sets submission of unencrypted form data.
MISC\INSTALLDT Sets whether or not to allow installation of Desktop items.
MISC\LAUNCHING Sets whether or not to allow launching a file or application in an
<IFRAME>.
MISC\SOFTDIST Sets software channel permissions.
SCRIPTING\SCRIPT Sets whether or not to allow active scripting.
SCRIPTING\SCRIPTJAVA Sets whether or not to allow Java scripting.
Subscription Folder Holds certain subscribed objects.
TemplatePolicies These settings initialize (and reset) the SO (security options) for Internet
Explorer. The original factory default is Medium, which provides a reasonable medium
between excessive safety and minimal safety.
High Typically these settings will keep your system as safe as possible.
Low These settings offer little safety to your system.
Medium These settings offer a compromise between safety and ease of use.
MedLow These settings offer a compromise between safety and ease of use.
Url History Four entries in Url History manage the history list, including the cache limit
(number of entries in the history list), the number of days to keep the cache (20 days is the
default), and the directory where the history cache is kept.
User Agent Contains a subkey used to manage MSN entries.
UA Tokens Two entries for MSN (Microsoft Network) exist in this subkey, one for each
version (2.0 and 2.5) of MSN.
ZoneMap Four predefined zones, which are groupings of Internet sites based on security
issues, are contained in Internet Explorer 6. The user is able to set zone attributes (see SO,
above) for each zone and assign sites to a specific zone as desired. ZoneMap contains subkeys
that define which sites fit within a specific zone (local sites not in other zones, sites that
bypass the proxy server, and all UNC paths).
Domains Typically contains an empty subkey.
ProtocolDefaults Contains the various protocols allowed, such as file, ftp, and http.
Ranges Contains a place where the buffalo roam, and also entries (if any) for zone ranges.
Zones Contains definitions of the four default zones, plus the local computer (included but
not a zone, as such).
0 The first zone is not a zone at all. Just your computer.
1 The local intranet zone is for sites within your own organization. Generally, all the local
intranet sites can be trusted.
2 The trusted sites zone is for intranet and Internet sites that you trust to have safe content (for
your computer, but not necessarily for you).
3 The everyone else zone is for sites that you have not placed in any other zone. This is the
default zone.
4 The "I really don't trust this site" zone is for sites that have content that is not tested, not
known, or otherwise considered to be unsafe for your computer. Maybe call this the Twilight
Zone?
CurrentVersion\IPConfMSP
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the IPConfMSP subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage Media Stream Providers.
CurrentVersion\IPConfTSP
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the IPConfTSP subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage Telephony Service Providers.
CurrentVersion\MCD
MCD is the OpenGL mini-client driver. In this model, the driver is responsible for hardwareaccelerated features and handler software for all other features. The MCD subkey typically
contains about six settings for MCD functionality. Most users only use OpenGL for screen
savers. The Pipes screen saver is an example of an OpenGL program.
CurrentVersion\ModuleUsage
The ModuleUsage subkey contains a listing of modules, typically ActiveX controls and
UUIDs. In the subkeys within ModuleUsage, there is information such as the module's owner
(if known).
CurrentVersion\MS-DOS Emulation
If you're opening an MS-DOS application, and the application does not have its own PIF file,
settings for the application's display are found in the MS-DOS Emulation subkey. In MS-DOS
Emulation, a single subkey named Font controls the display's attributes:
Font Contains the name of the font used for MS-DOS applications. The default is Lucida
Console.
CurrentVersion\netcache
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the netcache subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage whether to enable the network cache, the size of the network cache,
and whether the entire network cache is encrypted.
CurrentVersion\Nls
NLS (National Language Support) provides the support to manage and display characters
using the Unicode character sets. With Unicode, it is possible to display characters from
multiple languages at one time. The Nls subkey contains the following:
LocaleMapIDs Contains a table of lookup values for NLS languages.
CurrentVersion\Policies
The Policies subkey manages RSAC (Recreational Software Advisory Council) ratings. The
Internet, Internet Explorer, and some games use these settings. This key contains a subkey
called Explorer as well as other subkeys:
Explorer Contains one entry by default. FileName0 contains the name of the RSAC ratings
definition file; this file is text and is editable with Notepad. The second entry, called Key,
contains a binary value.
ShowSuperHidden A flag that tells Explorer whether it should show files and directories that
have the super-hidden attributes applied to them. Super-hidden files/folders have both the
system and hidden attributes set. These files are not visible through the GUI by default. You
can still get to them through the command prompt or by disabling this in the View tab of
Folder Options by unchecking Hide Protected Operating System Files. (They will not be
visible unless you have the Show Hidden Files and Folders option selected also.)
NonEnum Information about non-enumerated objects. One value is present by default:
{BDEADF00-C265-11D0-BCED-00A0C90AB50F} The handler for web folders.
Ratings May contain two value entries and two subkeys. The value entry FileName0 contains
the name of the RSAC ratings definition file. The second entry, Key, contains a binary value.
The subkeys that may exist in Ratings are:
.Default Contains three ratings-oriented keys: Allow_Unknowns, Enabled, and PleaseMom.
Each is a binary value.
.Default\http://www.rsac.org/ratingsv01.html Contains four DWORD values: l, n, s, and v.
System Contains a number of useful keys:
disablecad Disabling the key combination Ctrl+Alt+Delete is useful for some environments.
DisableNT4Policy Windows NT 4 policy can be enforced on Windows users, if desired.
dontdisplaylastusername Controls whether the logon screen will display the user ID of the
last user to log on.
legalnoticecaption The legal notice is a message that is displayed before a user is allowed to
log on. The user must click OK to dismiss this message, allowing management to enforce
rules or policy.
legalnoticetext The text in the legal notice message box.
shutdownwithoutlogon Controls whether Windows can be shut down without logging on
first. The default is true for nonserver installations and false for servers. I often turn this
option on when setting up servers, because if a user wanted to shut down the server, they
could simply use the power switch.
Undockwithoutlogon Allows the user to undock without logging on.
CurrentVersion\RenameFiles
In Windows XP, sometimes an application, when it is being installed, must remove a file for
some reason. (The reasons would be specific to the application.) Rather than deleting these
files, which the user might need later should the application need to be removed, a common
technique is to rename the files. Then, if necessary, they can be renamed back to their original
names.
A few of the applications that rename files are:
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Sa
Win
WinMail
WinNews
WordPadAttribSet
CurrentVersion\Run
Here is one of those areas in the registry that you want to find, but never seem to be able to.
The Run subkey contains the name of executables that will be run each time the system is
started.
In one system that I have, the following are included in the Run subkey:
BrowserWebCheck Contains Internet Explorer's application that uses pull technology to
check the currency of subscribed web pages.
H/PC Connection Agent Contains a program that checks for an HPC (handheld PC) to be
connected. If the program detects the HPC, it will automatically initiate logon for the HPC.
POINTER Contains an enhanced mouse system, part of the Microsoft IntelliPoint program.
SystemTray Contains the system tray.
TIPS Contains the Mouse Tips program.
Most Windows XP systems only have an entry for SystemTray in Run. This subkey is much
like the Start Menu\Programs\Startup directory—anything there will be run when a user logs
on.
Note By putting items in CurrentVersion\Run, then protecting the registry key from
modification, you can force users to open or run certain applications. They will be
unable to change this behavior.
CurrentVersion\RunOnce
Once? When?
The RunOnce subkey allows executing a program the first time a user (any user) logs on, and
it does not allow the user to continue until they have exited the program(s). Once the program
has completed execution, Windows XP will delete it from the RunOnce key.
To run a program one time, in RunOnce enter an arbitrary name as a value (the program's
common name will work fine here); the string data for the program should be the program's
fully qualified file name. For example:
JobRun = C:\Jobs\JobRun.exe
The value's data type should be REG_STRING.
The application runs after the next user logs on. It will not be necessary to restart the
computer.
CurrentVersion\RunOnceEx
The RunOnceEx subkey is used by system components and Internet Explorer to run setup and
configuration components. Works much like the RunOnce subkey.
CurrentVersion\Setup
The Setup subkey contains information including the boot directory (typically C:\), the
installation source directory (often the drive letter of your CD-ROM drive), and the source
path (often the same as the source directory).
Why Does Windows Run an Unknown Job at Logon or Bootup?
If you can't find it in the startup groups (looking under the Documents and Settings folder), do
the following:
1. Check HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows
NT\CurrentVersion\Windows.
2. Load and/or run keys.
3. Remove the offending program.
A program can also be loaded at startup in Windows XP in the Startup folder for the current
user and all users and in the following registry locations:
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HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Run
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\
CurrentVersion\RunOnce
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\
CurrentVersion\RunServices
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\
CurrentVersion\RunServicesOnce
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\RunOnce
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\
CurrentVersion\RunServices
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\
CurrentVersion\RunServicesOnce
After installing Windows, you may find that you want to change the CD-ROM's drive letter.
(I use drive letters after S: for CD-ROM drives, for example.) If you don't tell Windows XP
(in Setup) every time you attempt to change the installation (for instance, installing a new
component or option), the Windows XP Setup program will prompt you to insert the disk in
the wrong drive, making the installation process more complicated. A simple change to the
entries in this section will make the process much easier.
BaseWinOptions May contain a number of subcomponents, all controlled by .inf files.
OC Manager The master list of installed options and accessories.
OptionalComponents Provides the status for each optional component installable with
Windows XP. This subkey contains a list of optional components and a set of corresponding
subkeys, one for each optional component.
CurrentVersion\SharedDlls
The SharedDlls subkey contains .dll files shared between multiple applications. Windows
maintains a list of all shared .dll files and a count of the number of applications using each
shared file.
When removing an application using a shared .dll file, the uninstall program decreases the
count by one. If the count becomes zero, Windows will prompt you to remove the shared .dll
file.
Note Although this section implies that it is for .dll files only, actually any shared file may be
included in the list.
Uninstalling Applications Which Do Not Have an Add/Remove or Uninstall Program
All programs for Windows are supposed to have both an installation program and an
uninstallation program. Now, in a perfect world, I'd be rich and happy, and you'd never have
any problems with Windows. Neither is the case, however.
So we have programs that don't have uninstallation programs. Because these rogue programs
have no established removal method, they are rarely listed in the Control Panel's Add/Remove
Programs applet. (Or if they are listed, selecting uninstall does nothing...)
To remove these programs you must do several things:
1. Back up the program's folder(s) (a backup is always a very good idea). If they were
reasonably well behaved when installing, these programs should have created their
folder in the Program Files folder. However, rogue programs typically install
themselves in either the C: drive's root or under the Windows folder. (Bad choices in
either case!)
2. In HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software and HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software,
search for any registry subkeys, back them up, and then delete them. (Back them up
using RegEdit's Export features.)
3. Remove these programs that no longer exist from your Start menu. With Windows
XP, the Start menu is a combination of the user's Start menu items and items from the
configuration named All Users. Look under %SystemDrive%\Documents and
Settings\[username | All Users]\Start Menu\... (search the entire directory structure
under these locations).
4. Back up and then delete references to the program that you are attempting to remove.
If your application is listed in the Add/Remove Programs list (but it doesn't really support
removal), then look in the registry location HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\
Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall. Back up the objects for this application, then delete them
(and their contents).
Some applications may have an entry in the registry at
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services. If you find an entry, back
up the entry, and then delete the entry, with any objects contained in it.
If the program starts automatically whenever Windows boots, check the entries described in
the sidebar titled "Why Does Windows Run an Unknown Job at Logon or Bootup?" earlier in
this chapter.
CurrentVersion\Shell Extensions
Shell extensions are used to extend and expand the Windows user interface and capabilities.
The Shell Extensions key contains a subkey, named Approved, where all shell extensions are
stored.
Note For more information on shell extensions, check out Jeff Prosise's March 1995
Microsoft Systems Journal article titled "Writing Windows 95 Shell Extensions."
CurrentVersion\ShellScrap
The ShellScrap subkey, on most systems, holds one subkey, PriorityCacheFormats. In
PriorityCacheFormats is a single value entry, named #3, that contains an empty string.
CurrentVersion\ShellServiceObjectDelayLoad
The ShellServiceObjectDelayLoad subkey loads objects subject to a delay. The delay allows
the operating system to finish initializing, establish connections, and so on. Most systems with
Internet Explorer 5 installed load WebCheck. WebCheck is responsible for subscription
maintenance. Other items in this subkey are Network.ConnectionTray and SysTray.
CurrentVersion\StillImage
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the StillImage subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage the Kodak or third-party imaging system.
CurrentVersion\Syncmgr
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the Syncmgr subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage the synchronization of folders.
CurrentVersion\Telephony
Windows XP works with telecommunications. Modems and telephones establish remote
connections (and voice calls, at times). Within the Telephony key, there are a number of
subkeys:
Country List This subkey contains about 240 subkeys, one for each country defined. A
typical country code is one to four digits and matches the telephone company's country code.
For example, the country code for Thailand is 66. (To make a long distance telephone call to
Thailand, I'd dial 001-66, where the 001 is the overseas access code and 66 is the country
code.) Information in each country subkey includes:
CountryCode Contains a DWORD value that should be equal to the country code.
(Remember that this value is displayed in hexadecimal format.) This code would have to be
changed if a country's country code were to change, although this is unlikely.
Name Contains a string with the country's name, such as Thailand.
InternationalRule Contains the rules used to dial numbers in this country. (See the next
sidebar for more on rules.)
LongDistanceRule Contains the rules used to dial long distance in this country. (See the
sidebar for more on rules.)
SameAreaRule Contains the rules used to dial local numbers in this country. (See the sidebar
for more on rules.)
Tip Need a list of all the countries in the world? Here they are, along with the applicable
telephone country codes. Export this subkey of the registry to a text file, and use an editor
to clean up the list!
Locations Each user may have zero, one, or more locations defined. (Actually, each user
should have one location: the user's current or home location.) Each location defined is stored
in the Locations subkey, as Location0, Location1, and so on.
Rules, Rules, and More Rules
Look in the InternationalRule, LongDistanceRule, and SameAreaRule subkeys given above;
you'll see a jumble of letters and numbers. Each has meaning. For example:
0-9
Indicates a number that is to be dialed as entered.
ABCD
Indicates touch-tone characters to be dialed, only usable on tone dial systems. (This
produces the special tones named A, B, C, and D.)
E
Dials the country code.
F
Dials the area code or city code.
G
Dials the local number.
H
Dials the card number.
*
Dials a * tone.
#
Dials a # tone.
T
Indicates subsequent numbers dialed as tone dial.
P
Indicates subsequent numbers dialed as pulse dial.
,
Pauses for a fixed period of time (typically 1 second).
!
Flashes the hook (1/2 second on-hook, 1/2 second off-hook).
W
Waits for second dial tone (outside line dial tone).
@
Waits for silent answer (ringback followed by silence for 5 seconds).
$
Waits for calling-card prompt tone.
?
Pauses for user input.
Using Thailand as our example:
InternationalRule = 001EFG
(Dial 001, the country code, the city code, the local number.)
LongDistanceRule = 0FG
(Dial 0, the city code, the local number.)
SameAreaRule = G
(Dial the local number.)
That's all folks, an easy set of rules! With these rules it's easy to add new countries (they pop
up all the time, right?) if necessary. What with the sometimes major changes to area codes,
which are equivalent to city codes in other countries, it is sometimes necessary to modify the
United States entry. You can set rules in the Change Calling Card dialog box by clicking the
Rules button.
Providers Providers are the connections between Windows XP and the modem or other
telecommunications device. The most common provider is the Unimodem driver, though
there are also other drivers, including the TAPI interface.
CurrentVersion\Unimodem
The Unimodem driver is a universal modem driver (see, now Unimodem makes sense) used
to control virtually all industry-compatible AT-command modems, also known as Hayes-
compatible modems. If this subkey is not present, you do not have a modem installed. Most
standard modems must be connected to a POTS (plain old telephone service) line. In other
words, lines that are not digital are controlled by the Unimodem driver.
The Unimodem driver also controls direct connections between two computers connected via
a serial cable. Though good speed performance is impossible, serial cable connections are
used when connecting some notebooks and most PDAs (personal digital assistants) and HPCs
(handheld PCs). Note that some systems use an IR (infrared) link for these devices, too.
Note Please note that Windows XP/2000/NT 4 and Windows CE version 1 are not
compatible. It will be necessary to upgrade to Windows CE version 2.x or later to
connect an HPC to your Windows system.
DeviceSpecific Contains subkeys for each connection. For example, a typical system will
have a subkey under DeviceSpecific for each modem type installed and one for direct serial
cable connections if installed. Each entry contains information that the device, modem, or
connection might send to the host computer.
CurrentVersion\Uninstall
The Control Panel's Add/Remove Programs applet has a list of applications to remove
automatically. Using this feature, the removal will be smooth and will not cause problems
with system stability.
Warning This assumes that the applications designer did a credible job of creating his remove
system. If the application does not have a good uninstaller, you may still have
problems. No one, other than the supplier of an application, can assure you that the
uninstall will go smoothly. Before uninstalling anything, make sure you have a
backup of the system, the application (all of it), and the registry. With good backups,
it is possible (although nothing is guaranteed) that you may be able to recover from
an uninstall gone awry.
The Uninstall subkey contains a subkey for each component that is automatically
uninstallable. For example, in the Uninstall\IntelliPoint subkey, you'll find the following:
DisplayName Contains a REG_SZ value that holds the string Microsoft IntelliPoint.
UninstallString Contains a value that holds the string
C:\progra~1\MICROS~2\Mouse\UNINSTALL.exe.
When you select Microsoft IntelliPoint in the Add/Remove Programs applet, the program or
object in the UninstallString entry is executed, performing the uninstallation. Typically, for a
system component such as the IntelliPoint mouse driver being uninstalled, it must reinstall the
original component.
Tip Ever manually uninstalled a program and then realized that the Add/Remove Programs
list had an uninstall for the program? Easy fix: delete the applicable subkey from the
CurrentVersion\Uninstall key. Careful, don't remove the wrong one.
CurrentVersion\URL
Used with Internet Explorer, the URL subkey provides a default prefix for a URL when the
user does not enter one. For example, I'm in the habit of accessing my web page by typing in
the following:
www.mv.net/ipusers/darkstar
When, in fact, the full URL is:
http://www.mv.net/ipusers/darkstar
Internet Explorer, using information stored in CurrentVersion\URL, determines that the
default prefix should actually be http://.
DefaultPrefix Contains the default prefix (usually http://) used when the user does not enter a
prefix and the initial characters of the URL do not tell Internet Explorer what prefix from the
prefixes list (below) to use. The default prefix can be changed if the user is primarily using
FTP or Gopher, for example.
Prefixes Contains a list of all valid prefixes, based on the initial part of the URL. For
example, if the URL starts with www, or www., the prefix would be http://. If the URL starts
with ftp, or ftp., then the prefix would be ftp://. The prefixes defined by default (you may add
more if you wish) are:
Beginning of URL
Prefix
ftp
ftp://
ftp.
ftp://
gopher
gopher://
gopher.
gopher://
home
http://
home.
http://
mosaic
http://
mosaic.
http://
www
http://
www.
http://
CurrentVersion\WebCheck
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the WebCheck subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage Internet Explorer's customization on a per-user basis.
CurrentVersion\Welcome
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the Welcome subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage the Internet Connection Wizard. The single subkey in this key is
called ICW; it contains a flag indicating whether the Internet Connection Wizard has been run
or not.
CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the WindowsUpdate subkey contains information
that Windows uses to manage OEM installations.
CurrentVersion\WinLogon
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the WinLogon subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage logon options. One object, DisableLockWorkstation, has a
REG_DWORD value. With this object, the LockWorkstation feature can be enabled and
disabled as needed.
Help
The Help subkey contains a list of help files and their locations. These are used when, inside
an application, the user either presses F1 (for help), or selects the What's This button and
clicks on a control or object in the application's user interface.
It is possible to remove entries from this section, if desired, when you know for sure that the
help file is either no longer used or has been removed.
Tip If you find that pressing F1 or selecting What's This brings up a WinHelp error,
indicating that WinHelp cannot find the help file, search for the file; if you can find it,
WinHelp will update this subkey to indicate this file's location.
ITStorage
The ITStorage subkey is used with the Microsoft HTML Help control (an ActiveX control) to
display help for HTML documents in Internet Explorer.
Finders For each type of HTML help file, an entry is created. Each entry has a name equal to
the extension of the help file. For instance, the CHM HTML help files are listed as being
serviced by a specific control, identified by a UUID.
Windows Messaging Subsystem
Another subkey you'll find under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft on most
Windows systems is Windows Messaging Subsystem. MAPI (Microsoft Outlook) uses this
subkey, which contains a list of all MAPI-enabled applications.
Windows NT
Under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft, you'll also find a Windows NT
subkey. Much like the Windows subkey (described earlier), the Windows NT subkey sets
Windows operating parameters. Microsoft did not rename this (preexisting) key when
Windows NT 5.1 was renamed "Windows XP."
There is only one subkey in the Windows NT key. This subkey, CurrentVersion, contains
about 30 subkeys and perhaps 15 value entries in a typical installation. Unlike the Windows
subkey, the number of entries in Windows NT is relatively constant between different
installations.
CurrentVersion
CurrentVersion contains a number of value entries. These entries hold information about the
installation:
CSDVersion Contains the level of the system. By level, I mean which service packs have
been installed (if any). Remember, service packs are cumulative—installing Service Pack 3
automatically installs both Service Pack 1 and Service Pack 2. A system for which there is no
installed service pack may not have a CSDVersion object.
CurrentBuild Contains an obsolete data value containing old version and build information.
Do not use this value; use CurrentBuildNumber to determine the build of Windows that is
running.
CurrentBuildNumber Contains a number that indicates which build of Windows is running.
A higher number indicates a later operating system build. During the development process,
build numbers are incremented each time the developers create a complete operating system,
sometimes daily.
CurrentType Contains information on whether the installation is uniprocessor or
multiprocessor.
CurrentVersion Contains the Windows NT version number, such as 4.0. Microsoft
sometimes uses subversion numbers, such as 3.11 or 3.51. The Windows XP version of NT is
5.1.
DigitalProductID The Windows product ID and other binary information are stored here.
HWID Contains a value of not used.
InstallDate Contains information on the Windows installation date. This value is the number
of seconds since January 1, 1970, and these dates remain valid until early 2038—not much of
a problem there.
PathName Contains information on the Windows installation path.
ProductID Contains the Windows product ID. If Windows is installed from something other
than OEM media, the product ID will consist of a total of twenty digits: five lead digits, the
first three digits of the user's CD key, the last seven digits of the user's CD key, and five
trailing digits. The leading and trailing digit numbers will vary from installation to
installation. For OEM media installations, the product ID will be equal to the OEM CD key.
In both cases, the CD key is written on a small yellow sticker on the back of the CD jewel
case.
ProductName The actual name of the operating system—for example, Microsoft Windows
XP.
RegDone In Windows versions prior to Windows XP, tells if the user has registered the copy
of Windows. In Windows XP, Product Authorization is used for this purpose.
RegisteredOrganization Contains the name of your company or organization, as you entered
it during setup. If your company or organization name changes, you can edit this value.
RegisteredOwner Contains the name as you entered it during setup. If your name changes
(maybe you inherited the computer from your predecessor?), you can edit this value.
Software Type Contains the string SYSTEM.
SourcePath Contains the source path you used to install Windows. If you reassign CD-ROM
drive letters (I do, to keep all CD-ROM drives at the end of the alphabet, using letters S
through Z), you can edit this value to change the installation source path. This path could be a
network path, if the installation is from a shared resource.
SystemRoot Contains information used to create the %SystemRoot% environment variable,
the base directory that Windows XP is installed in. Be cautious about changing this value and
realize that Windows, when booting, will update this registry entry anyway. There may be
other locations where the Windows directory is coded without using the %SystemRoot%
variable.
Changing Your Installation Location
As mentioned above, the location that you used to install Windows is stored in the SourcePath
subkey. If you re-arrange your CD-ROM drive letters (like I do) after installing Windows XP,
every time you need to update, or install a feature, Windows will search the original location,
and then prompt you for the location of the necessary files.
To make things smoother, you can modify the source path data object found in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\
CurrentVersion\Setup\Sourcepath. Also check to see if SourcePath is found in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\ CurrentVersion\Sourcepath
and change that occurrence as well. (There is no need to add this object if it is not present in
your registry.)
For example, suppose you installed from the default CD-ROM location D:, then later changed
the CD-ROM's drive letter to S:. You would modify SourcePath from D:\ to S:\. Of course,
you could copy the entire installation CD to a folder on your hard drive (I do this frequently).
Then simply update SourcePath to reflect the fully qualified location for the source files.
CurrentVersion\AeDebug
Windows XP will launch a debugger when there is an application or system failure. A
debugger is a program that will either save information about the failure or allow interactive
debugging. Most users who are not developers will simply use Dr. Watson as their debugger.
Dr. Watson is a simple program that saves vital information about what failed and why there
was a failure to a debugging file.
For Dr. Watson users, the typical entries in AeDebug are as follows:
Auto Contains a string value of 1 if automatic debugging is to be done, or 0 if no automatic
debugging is to be done.
Debugger Contains the name of the default debugger. If you have a debugger installed other
than Dr. Watson, your debugger is listed here.
UserDebuggingHotKey Allows a user to launch the debugger using a keystroke
combination. Useful for developers, but the average user will find little use for this
functionality.
Dr. Watson's Options
Dr. Watson, DRWTSN32.exe, takes a number of command-line options when launched:
•
•
•
•
•
Use the –i option to (re)install Dr. Watson as the default debugger. Use this option if a
different debugger was installed in the past and you want to use Dr. Watson again.
The –g option is ignored, but no error is generated. This option maintains
compatibility with 16-bit (Windows 95 and Windows 3.x) versions of Dr. Watson.
The –p <pid> option tells Dr. Watson to debug the process ID specified.
The –e <event> option tells Dr. Watson to debug the event specified.
Use -? to display a simple help screen of options.
CurrentVersion\Compatibility
CurrentVersion\Compatibility2
CurrentVersion\Compatibility32
Within the three Compatibility objects are value entries for a number of legacy (older,
preexisting) applications that are not very compatible with Windows XP. A flag value (a
hexadecimal number, expressed as a string) tells Windows about the incompatibility and
allows Windows to modify the operating system's behavior to compensate for the
application's incompatibility.
What does Compatibility do? During beta testing of the operating system, testers inform
Microsoft of applications that do not perform correctly. Microsoft may contact the
application's supplier and work with them to make the program work correctly. For some
applications, especially for applications where there is a large installed base of users,
Microsoft will make patches to the operating system to allow that application to function
correctly. Usually these patches consist of doing things that make the new version of the
operating system look like the original version for that application. These patches are turned
on and off with a set of binary switches—when the application is loaded, Compatibility is
checked, and the necessary patches are turned on for that application.
Note Realize that these patches will be only visible to the offending application and not to any
others.
CurrentVersion\Console
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the Console subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage the appearance of console applications.
CurrentVersion\Drivers
Some drivers use the CurrentVersion\Drivers section of the registry. In certain Windows XP
installations, two drivers—timer.drv and mmdrv.dll—are installed. The timer.drv driver
creates certain timer functions on PC-compatible systems, and mmdrv.dll is the low-level
wave, MIDI, and AUX support driver.
CurrentVersion\drivers.desc
The drivers.desc subkey contains descriptions of certain drivers installed under Windows XP.
The descriptions are text, intended to be people readable.
CurrentVersion\Drivers32
Driver mapping for certain virtual devices, such as multimedia, is done in the Drivers32
subkey. For instance, the value entry named midi contains the default value mmdrv.dll.
CurrentVersion\EFS
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the EFS subkey contains information used to
manage the encrypted file system. This subkey is not used in Windows XP Home Edition.
CurrentVersion\Embedding
Embeddable applications (such as PaintBrush and Sound Recorder) are listed in value entries
in the Embedding subkey.
CurrentVersion\File Manager
The File Manager subkey contains one subkey:
AddOns Contains a subkey containing information on add-on software products for File
Manager. WinZip is an add-on software product that fits into this category.
CurrentVersion\Font Drivers
The Font Drivers subkey contains any needed drivers used to display fonts. The increased
usage of TrueType fonts has minimized the use of this subkey.
CurrentVersion\FontCache
In Windows, the management of fonts is critical to system performance. Using a cache allows
much better performance when displaying frequently used fonts. Windows creates bitmaps of
the TrueType fonts, and then caches these bitmaps so that they do not have to be re-created.
The FontCache subkey (not used in Windows XP) contains three value entries:
MaxSize The maximum size of the font cache.
MinIncreSize The minimum increment size for the font cache.
MinInitSize The minimum initial size for the font cache.
The CurrentVersion\FontCache\LastFontSweep subkey contains one variable:
LastSweepTime A binary value indicating the last time the font cache was cleaned.
CurrentVersion\Font Drivers
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the Font Drivers subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage non-TrueType fonts, such as Adobe type fonts.
CurrentVersion\FontDPI
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the FontDPI subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage the sizing of fonts, based on pixels.
CurrentVersion\FontMapper
Font mapping is an internal component of Windows XP that compares the attributes for a
requested but not available font, and then matches these attributes with available physical
fonts.
In FontMapper, attribute modifiers are supplied for the font mapper in Windows XP.
CurrentVersion\Fonts
The Fonts subkey contains a list of currently installed fonts. The list is made up of keys in the
form:
Font display name = fontfile
where Font display name is the display name, such as Arial (TrueType), and fontfile is the
actual font file—arial.ttf, for Arial (TrueType).
The Font applet in Control Panel and other applications (indirectly, through the operating
system) use the information in Fonts. It is possible to manually manipulate the font
information; however, using the Fonts applet will make the process much easier.
CurrentVersion\FontSubstitutes
Some fonts that are commonly called for by applications are not supplied with Windows XP.
These fonts are older, bitmapped fonts commonly used with early versions of Windows and
Windows NT but no longer supplied or directly supported. These fonts are simply mapped to
newer TrueType fonts.
The following are font substitutions:
Old font
New font
Helv
MS Sans Serif
Helvetica
Arial
MS Shell Dlg
MS Sans Serif
Times
Times New Roman
Tms Rmn
MS Serif
CurrentVersion\GRE_Initialize
The subkey GRE_Initialize contains objects used by the GRE (Graphics Rendering Engine),
which displays a few fonts that Windows XP supports. These fonts are bitmapped fonts (not
TrueType). Fonts handled or remapped by GRE are:
FIXEDFON.FON
vgafix.fon
FONTS.FON
vgasys.fon
OEMFONT.FON
vgaoem.fon
CurrentVersion\HotFix
The HotFix subkey contains information that Windows XP uses to manage whether any
hotfixes have been applied. Each applied hotfix will have its own subkey, named with the
fix's Q number. This object may not exist if no hotfixes have been applied.
CurrentVersion\ICM
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the ICM subkey contains information used to
manage image color matching.
CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options
Used for debugging objects such as services or DCOM, the Image File Execution Options
subkey specifies what debugger to use for a specific service or DCOM object.
Note Notice that the term image file refers to an executable image file, not a graphics file.
Your Image File Name Here without a path In this example subkey, value entries show
how to configure the debugger. More information on image file debugging is available from
NuMega Lab's website at http://www.compuware.com/products/numega/.
CurrentVersion\IniFileMapping
The IniFileMapping subkey maps .ini files (as they were used with early versions of
Windows) to registry keys. In all cases, the entries in IniFileMapping point to other registry
entries.
CurrentVersion\LanguagePack
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the LanguagePack subkey contains information
that Windows uses to manage installed second languages.
CurrentVersion\LastFontSweep
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the LastFontSweep subkey contains information
that Windows uses to record the last time that the font cache was cleaned.
CurrentVersion\MCI
The MCI subkey contains the MCI (Media Control Interface) drivers. Most systems with an
audio card will have four entries:
AVIVideo Contains the AVI (video files) driver, mciavi.drv.
CDAudio Contains the CD audio (music) player driver, mcicda.drv.
Sequencer Contains the MIDI (sequencer) driver, mciseq.drv.
WaveAudio Contains the wave file (audio files) driver, mciwave.drv.
CurrentVersion\MCI Extensions
The subkey MCI Extensions holds multimedia file extensions and the driver used to handle
these objects. For example, the following entry:
mpeg = MPEGVideo
denotes that Windows XP should use the MPEGVideo driver to process MPEG files.
CurrentVersion\MCI32
The MCI32 subkey contains 32-bit MCI (Media Control Interface) drivers. Most systems with
an audio card will have five entries:
AVIVideo Contains the AVI (video files) driver, mciavi32.dll.
CDAudio Contains the CD audio (music) player driver, mcicda.dll.
MPEGVideo Contains the MPEG (video) driver, mciqtz32.dll.
Sequencer Contains the MIDI (sequencer) driver, mciseq.dll.
WaveAudio Contains the wave file (audio files) driver, mciwave.dll.
Note In MCI32, some drivers are common with CurrentVersion\MCI.
CurrentVersion\Midimap
MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) configuration is saved in the Midimap subkey.
MIDI creates music using sound (instrument musical note) definitions, combined with the
music's score. The score (in a special format) tells the computer how to "play" each
instrument. As might be expected, the computer does not make many mistakes, assuming the
score has been properly entered into the MIDI file.
Better-quality sound systems use actual recordings of instruments playing specific notes to
create a very high-quality sound.
CurrentVersion\ModuleCompatibility
In the ModuleCompatibility subkey, you will find entries much like those in
CurrentVersion\Compatibility. A flag value (a hexadecimal number, expressed as a string)
tells Windows XP about the incompatibility and allows Windows to modify the operating
system's behavior to compensate for the application's incompatibility.
Each entry lists a module and a compatibility flag. For example:
MYST = 0x8000
CurrentVersion\Network
In the Network subkey (only in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE), there are four subkeys. There
is some disagreement between what Microsoft documents should be in each subkey and what
experience shows is actually there.
Shared Parameters Documented to hold the single value entry Slow Mode, this object lists
which servers and domains are accessed over a slow (typically dial-up or modem) connection.
Using additional caching on these connections compensates for slow connections.
SMAddOns Contains a pointer to Server Manager extension .dlls used to augment RAS.
UMAddOns Contains a pointer to User Manager extension .dlls used to augment RAS.
World Full Access Shared Parameters Documented to hold the value entry
ExpandLogonDomain, this contains a value (yes or no) that defines whether Windows
expands the Shared Directories list in the Connect Network Drive dialog box. Experience
shows that the value entry named Slow Mode, used to list which servers and domains will be
accessed over a slow connection (typically dial-up or modem), is also present in this subkey,
as is the entry RAS Mode.
CurrentVersion\NetworkCards
For each network card installed (remember, servers can have multiple cards) and for remote
access (RAS and/or DUN), there will be one subkey in NetworkCards. Subkeys are named
with numbers, beginning with 1. In each is a subkey called NetRules. An example, using a
3Com 3C-590 PCI Ethernet card, is shown here:
1 Contains six entries, plus the subkey NetRules. The entries are:
Description : REG_SZ : 3Com Etherlink III Bus-Master Adapter (3C590)
InstallDate : REG_DWORD : <a date, expressed as the number of seconds since
January 1, 1970>
Manufacturer : REG_SZ : 3Com
ProductName : REG_SZ : El59X
ServiceName : REG_SZ : El59x1
Title : REG_SZ : [1] 3Com Etherlink III PCI Buss-Master Adapter (3C590)
1\NetRules Contains the following entries:
bindform : REG_SZ : "Ei59x1" yes yes container
class : REG_MULTI_SZ : Ei59xAdapter basic
InfName : REG_SZ : oemnad0.inf
InfOption : REG_SZ : 3C590
type : REG_SZ : ei59x ei59xAdapter
CurrentVersion\NTVersionOfLastBackup
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the NTVersionOfLastBackup subkey contains
information that Windows uses to manage information on the operating system version.
CurrentVersion\OpenGLDrivers
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the OpenGLDrivers subkey contains information
that Windows uses to manage OpenGL drivers.
CurrentVersion\Perflib
Monitoring system performance is a critical part of managing a Windows XP server.
Performance monitoring allows the graphing of between 500 and 800 different parameters.
The number of parameters, which may be monitored, varies depending on system
components, packages, and configurations. There will be one or more subkeys in the Perflib
key, one for each installed language. In this example, 009 is the subkey for U.S. English, the
language that is installed on my computer:
CurrentVersion\Perflib\009 Contains the performance item names and descriptions. Each is
listed in the Performance Monitor's Add Counters dialog box. A REG_MULTI_SZ string
contains the item name, and a second REG_MULTI_SZ string contains the item description.
Running the Performance Monitor can be very instructional, especially for Windows servers.
With the Performance Monitor, it is possible to see which applications are "hogging"
resources, making pigs of themselves, and so forth. Also, the Performance Monitor is able to
show usage for optional components such as Exchange Server, SQL Server, and IIS, to name
a few.
CurrentVersion\Ports
Ports (serial, printer, file, and network ports) are configured in the Ports subkey. For most
ports, no entries are needed. For serial ports, the default settings (typically 9600, n, 8, 1 as set
by the Control Panel's Ports applet) for some options are stored here.
CurrentVersion\Print
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the Print subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage all printer resources. Each printer will have a subkey.
CurrentVersion\ProfileGuid
A list of user GUIDs, mapped to the user's SID.
CurrentVersion\ProfileList
User profiles for all users who use the computer are listed in the ProfileList subkey. A subkey
is created for each user, named with the user's SID. Inside each of these subkeys are five
variables:
CentralProfile Contains the location of the user's central profile, if the profile is not stored on
the local machine. This location will be specified as a UNC pathname.
Flags Contains a DWORD value, typically 0x2.
ProfileImagePath Contains the location of the user's local profile. For users with a central
profile, a local copy is kept in case the central profile is unavailable.
Sid Contains the user's SID, as a binary object.
State Contains a DWORD value indicating the user's current state.
CurrentVersion\related.desc
The related.desc subkey contains descriptions (if any) for items such as wave, wave1, wave2,
and wave3.
CurrentVersion\SeCEdit
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the SeCEdit subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage the Security Configuration Editor.
CurrentVersion\SrvWiz
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the SrvWiz subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage the Server Wizard program. Information in this object includes the
name of the server and the NetBIOS name for the server. Available on server products only.
CurrentVersion\Svchost
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the Svchost subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage the Services Host features.
CurrentVersion\Terminal Server
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the Terminal Server subkey contains information
that Windows uses to configure the Terminal Services features of Windows.
CurrentVersion\Time Zones
Windows XP is able to compensate for various time zones, and for DST (daylight saving
time) in those areas where there is support for DST. Though technically there can only be 24
time zones (if we assumed even hours), actually there are several time zones where the time
difference is only 30 minutes, and some time zones have different names depending on the
country. Windows supports about 47 different time zones, spanning the entire world. The
Control Panel's Date/Time applet uses these settings, and they are passed to other applications
as data.
In the Time Zones key are subkeys for each possible time zone. Each time zone has
information that includes the following:
Display Contains a string describing the time zone, such as 'Eastern Time (US & Canada)'.
Dlt Contains a string describing the daylight time, such as 'Eastern Daylight Time'.
MapID Contains a string containing coordinates for the world map displayed by the Control
Panel's Date/Time applet. Allows scrolling of the map, although unlike some versions of
Windows 95, individual time zones are not highlighted.
TZI Contains time zone information, a structure documented in KB article Q115231.
CurrentVersion\Tracing
Found in Windows 2000 and later versions, the Tracing subkey contains information that
Windows uses to manage IIS tracing of certain events.
CurrentVersion\Type 1 Installer
Adobe Illustrator Type1 fonts may be used with Windows XP by converting these fonts to
TrueType fonts using the Control Panel's Fonts applet. The Type 1 Installer key contains up to
four subkeys:
Copyrights Contains encoded copyright information for Type1 fonts.
LastType1Sweep Contains the time of the last Type1 font sweep, if there was one.
Type 1 Fonts Lists any Type1 fonts installed.
Upgraded Type1 Lists any upgraded Type1 fonts installed.
CurrentVersion\Userinstallable.drivers
Any user-installed drivers are listed in the Userinstallable.drivers subkey. An example of a
user-installed driver might be the Sound Blaster driver. This driver is not installed
automatically by Windows XP.
In Windows XP, the generic sound driver, wdmaud.drv, is listed as the following:
Wave : REG_SZ : wdmaud.drv
CurrentVersion\Windows
The CurrentVersion\Windows subkey (remember we are still in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT) contains five value entries.
Entries in this section are used to support both Windows XP as it currently runs
(AppInit_DLLs) and legacy applications (the other entries):
AppInit_DLLs Tells Windows XP to attach the specified .dlls to all Windows applications.
Loading any Windows application will, after restarting the system, load the specified .dlls.
This feature is used for debugging and performance monitoring, for example.
Swapdisk Specifies the location where Windows for MS-DOS in standard mode will swap
non-Windows applications. Not terribly useful for Windows XP, and this entry's value is not
specified in a default installation of Windows XP.
Spooler Tells any applications that might check the win.ini file whether to use the spooler. A
string (yes or no) tells the application whether the spooler will or will not be used.
DeviceNotSelectedTimeout Sets the time frame, in seconds, that the system waits for an
external device to be turned on. Specific printers may have their own values, set in the Printer
Manager.
TransmissionRetryTimeout Sets the system default time frame for the Printer Manger to
attempt to send characters to a printer. Specific printers may have their own values, set in the
Printer Manager.
CurrentVersion\Winlogon
Ah, we've come to an important part of the registry. 'Bout time, you say? WinLogon contains
the configuration for the logon portion of Windows XP. Many logon defaults are stored in this
subkey. Each important entry is covered in detail below. The first list shows those entries
present on all Windows XP installations. A list of optional components comes next.
AutoRestartShell A value of 0x1 indicates that if the shell (usually Explorer) crashes, then
Windows XP will automatically restart it. A value of 0x0 tells Windows to not restart the shell
(the user will have to log off and log back on to restart the shell).
CachedLogonsCount Contains the number of cached logons. If Windows XP is unable to
find an authenticating domain controller, Windows authenticates the user's logon using the
information cache. The default value is 10 cached entries.
CachePrimaryDomain Contains the name of the current domain. If no domain is established,
the value will be NEWDOMAIN. Not available in Windows XP Home Edition.
DcacheUpdate Listed by some sources as not used by Windows NT 4, this entry does have a
value, which may be a date/time variable.
DebugServerCommand Used with the internal Microsoft debug tool used to debug
CSRSS.exe, a Windows Executive subsystem used to display graphics for text-mode
applications. The default value of this string is no.
DefaultDomainName Contains the default domain name, usually the domain the user last
logged on to. The default value is NEWDOMAIN. If the computer cannot log on to a domain
such as an XP Home client, the default value is the computer name.
DefaultUserName Contains the name of the last user who logged on successfully. Displayed
if DontDisplayLastUserName has a value of 0.
DontDisplayLastUserName If this REG_STRING value is 0, the name of the last user to
successfully log on will automatically be displayed in the system logon dialog box. Setting
this value to 1 will force users to enter both a username and a password to log on. If using
automatic logon, make sure this value is set to 0.
LegalNoticeCaption An optional dialog box may be displayed prior to logging on a user.
This value contains the dialog box's title. Typical usage of this dialog box is to advise users of
organizational policy (such as a policy that a user may not install software without
management approval). It is used with the value LegalNoticeText.
LegalNoticeText A dialog box may optionally be displayed prior to logging on a user. This
value contains the dialog box's text. Typical usage of this dialog box is to advise users of
organizational policy (such as a policy that a user may not install software without
management approval). Used with LegalNoticeTitle.
PowerdownAfterShutdown For computers that support automatic power-down, Windows
XP is able to perform a power-down. Some computers (such as those with the ATX-style
motherboards and many notebooks) support automatic power-down. Set this string value to 1
to enable automatic power-down.
ReportBootOk Used to enable or disable automatic startup acceptance. This happens after
the first successful logon. Use a value of 0 when using alternative settings in BootVerification
or BootVerificationProgram.
Shell Sets the shell or user interface displayed by Windows XP once a user has successfully
logged on. The default value is Explorer.exe, though for users who insist, Program Manager,
File Manager, or another shell program can be substituted. For users not using Explorer,
entries in Shell might be: taskman, progman, wowexec. If the shell cannot be executed, then
Windows will execute the programs found in the shell directory.
ShutdownWithoutLogon The Windows XP logon dialog box has a button to shut down the
system. For Windows XP Professional users, this button is enabled, and for Windows Server
users, this button is disabled. When ShutdownWithoutLogon is equal to 1, the button is
enabled. Changing this button for a server allows a user who's not logged on to shut down the
server—but then so does the power switch.
System The default entry is lsass.exe, the Local Security Authority system. The lsass.exe
program is the one that displays the logon dialog box (displayed when the user presses
Ctrl+Alt+Delete), and it uses many of the entries in this subkey. Not available in Windows
XP Home Edition.
Userinit Specifies which executable(s) run when the user logs on. Typically, userinit.exe
starts the shell program (see Shell, previously discussed), and nddeagnt.exe starts NetDDE
(Network DDE).
VmApplet Runs the Control Panel's System Properties applet.
There are a number of entries that don't exist by default in WinLogon. These entries may be
added to modify the logon behavior of the system. The list below shows those optional
WinLogon entries that I am aware of:
AllocateCDRoms This value entry is used to restrict access to the CDs in the CD-ROM
drives to the currently logged-on user only. Otherwise, if not restricted, CD-ROM contents
and drives are accessible to all processes on the system.
AllocateFloppies This value entry is used to restrict access to the floppy disks in the floppy
drives to the currently logged-on user only. Otherwise, if not restricted, floppy contents and
drives are accessible to all processes on the system.
AutoAdminLogon When used with DefaultPassword and DefaultUserName, and when
DontDisplayLastUserName is false (0), AutoAdminLogon logs on a user automatically
without displaying the logon dialog box.
CacheLastUpdate Used internally by WinLogon and should not be modified.
CacheValid Used internally by WinLogon and should not be modified. The typical value is 1.
DcacheMinInterval Contains a value, in seconds, that specifies the minimum time period
before the domain list cache is refreshed. Since refreshing the domain list cache may be a
lengthy process and because the cache is refreshed when a workstation is unlocked, it may be
wise to change this value to a longer period of time. The range of this value is from 120
seconds to 86,400 seconds (that's one day).
DefaultPassword Used with AutoAdminLogon to provide password information for an
automatic logon.
Warning Be careful of both DefaultPassword and AutoAdminLogon because they can create
security problems if misused. Do not automatically log on a user with special
privileges, and resist the urge to automatically log on the system administrator for
servers. The password stored in DefaultPassword is not encrypted, and
AutoAdminLogon doesn't know or care who is sitting in front of the machine when
it starts up and logs on the user.
DeleteRoamingCache To conserve disk space, locally cached profiles may be deleted when
the user logs off using this value. Set DeleteRoamingCache to 1, and when the user logs off,
their cached profile will be deleted. Computers used by many users who have roaming
profiles can create cached profiles that consume a substantial amount of disk space.
KeepRasConnections Normally when a user logs off, all RAS sessions are canceled. By
setting KeepRasConnections to 1, the system will keep these RAS sessions active through
logons and logoffs. This is useful when there is a permanent connection to a WAN (such as
the Internet) that must be maintained.
LogonPrompt Placing a string (up to 255 characters) in this value allows displaying an
additional message to users when they log on. This value is similar to the LegalNoticeText
value in that it provides a method to advise all users who log on of something.
PasswordExpiryWarning Provides a warning, in days, to users when their password is going
to expire. The default is 14 days, though a shorter period—typically 5 days—is often used.
ProfileDlgTimeOut Contains the amount of time, in seconds, in which a user must respond
to the choice of using a local or a roaming (remote) profile. The default time-out period is 30
seconds.
RASForce Used to force checking of the Logon Using Dial-up Networking check box in the
logon dialog box. If RASForce is set to 1, then it is checked; if 0, it is unchecked. This is
meaningful only if RAS is installed and the computer is a member of a domain. Not available
in Windows XP Home Edition.
RunLogonScriptSync Windows XP is able to run both the logon script (if there is one) and
the initialization of the Program Manager shell at the same time. If RunLogonScriptSync is
set to 1, the logon script will finish before Windows starts to run Program Manager.
SlowLinkDetectEnabled Determines if slow link detection is enabled. Used with roaming
(remote) profiles to help minimize the amount of time a user might have to wait before a local
profile is used.
SlowLinkTimeOut Sets the amount of time (in milliseconds) that the system will wait for a
slow connection when loading a user's profile.
Taskman When the name of an alternative task manager is specified, Windows will use the
specified program. The default task manager is taskmgr.exe.
Welcome Allows you to specify the text displayed in the title of the logon and lock/unlocked
screens. Include a leading space in this text to separate your text from the default title, which
is retained.
You can use the MMC with the Policy Editor snap-in to modify many of these settings.
CurrentVersion\WOW
WOW, or Win16 on Win32, is a system where legacy 16-bit Windows applications may be
run on newer 32-bit Windows systems. WOW emulates Windows 3.1 in standard (not
enhanced) mode.
The WOW key contains eight subkeys:
boot Contains drivers (communications, display, mouse, keyboard, and so on) used to
emulate the Windows 3.1 mode.
boot.description Contains a description of the computer system (hardware) such as display,
keyboard, and mouse. This subkey also includes the language support requirement—for
instance, English (American).
Compatibility The concept of compatibility and applying minor patches to the operating
system to allow legacy applications that are not directly compatible with the newer version is
an old one. In this case, compatibility is maintained between the 3.1 emulation and earlier
versions of Windows.
keyboard Holds the keyboard driver .dll file and the keyboard type and subtype.
NonWindowsApp Could contain two entries, ScreenLines and SwapDisk. Generally, this
section is not used in WOW unless these lines existed in the previous installation of Windows
3.x.
SetupPrograms Contains a list of commonly known installation and setup programs.
standard Contains entries from the standard-mode settings of System.Ini. If Windows XP
upgraded a Windows 3.x installation, and system.ini had modifications affecting standard
mode (the mode that WOW runs in), these entries are moved to this subkey.
WowFax Contains only the subkey SupportedFaxDrivers.
WowFax\SupportedFaxDrivers Contains the name of the supported fax drivers. The only
entries, by default, are for WinFax, E-FAX, MAXFAXP, Quick Link II Fax, Quick Link
Gold, and ProComm Plus.
ODBC
ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) is a system for Windows (both Windows XP/2000/NT
and Windows 95/98/Me) used by applications to share data stored in databases. With ODBC,
an application is able to open a database written by another application and read (and
sometimes update) data in the database using a set of common API calls.
ODBC, having been around for a while, originally worked using a setup file called
ODBCINST.ini. Today that file's contents have been moved to the registry as a subkey under
ODBC, called (guess!) ODBCINST.ini. In the ODBCINST.ini subkey, there will be
information about each installed driver. Drivers commonly installed include Access, Oracle,
SQL Server, FoxPro, dBASE, and text files.
Note To learn more about ODBC, I recommend one of my programming books for database
programmers, such as Database Developer's Guide with Visual C++ 4 (Que, ISBN 0-67230913-0). Though this book is out of print, copies are still available from some sources and
libraries.
Policies
The Policies subkey contains settings used for network conferencing and system certificates.
Most systems will have only a few data values within Policies.
Program Groups
Program Groups contains Program Manager's program groups. If a user runs Program
Manager and creates any groups, then these groups will appear in the Program Groups key.
The Program Groups key also contains a single value:
ConvertedToLinks This value indicates that program groups were converted to Explorer
links. If this value is equal to 0x0 or does not exist, Windows will attempt to convert program
groups to links.
Secure
There's no documentation on the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Secure subkey. No
entries seem to exist in this key.
Voice
Information about the Windows XP text-to-voice engine is contained in the Voice subkey.
This functionality is not available on all Windows systems.
Windows 3.1 Migration Status
The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Windows 3.1 Migration Status subkey is used to
tell Windows XP that the system has migrated the existing Windows 3.x .ini and Reg.dat files
to Windows.
Deleting the Windows 3.1 Migration Status key causes Windows XP, on the next boot, to
prompt the user to migrate. Afterwards, Windows XP will re-create the value and subkeys as
needed.
Chapter 19: Introduction to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System and
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG
Overview
The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System key contains information about the system and
system configuration. The hive HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG is a partial mapping of
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet and information from
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software. We'll discuss these hives and keys in this final
chapter of the book.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System
In a typical installation, seven subkeys exist in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System:
CurrentControlSet Windows XP boots from this control set. It is typically a mapping of
ControlSet001 or ControlSet002.
ControlSet001 This is the primary control set, used by default to boot Windows XP.
ControlSet002 This is the backup control set, used to boot in the event that ControlSet001
fails.
LastKnownGoodRecovery This key shows which configuration was used when the last
known good startup option was selected.
MountedDevices This key shows disk drives that are available to the system.
Select This small subkey contains information about which control set is used to boot the
computer.
Setup This is a small subkey with information about the initial setup (installation) of
Windows XP.
Prior to Windows XP, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System also contained the DISK key.
This object contains parameters used by the Disk Administrator program. Under Windows NT
4, it includes CD-ROM mappings and other binary information. Windows 2000 uses this
object differently, in that the Disk Administrator functionality is now part of MMC (Microsoft
Management Console). Windows XP does not have this subkey.
Some systems will have slightly different names for the two numbered control sets. Some
computers won't have a ControlSet002. For example, your computer might have the following
subkeys:
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ControlSet001
ControlSet003
It is also possible, but unlikely, that there may be more than two numbered control sets.
Each control set key contains four objects:
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Control
Enum
Hardware Profiles
Services
The Enum subkey was new as of Windows 2000 and was added to support Plug and Play.
What Are Mapped Registry Subkeys?
Sometimes more than one name refers to a single registry subkey (control sets in particular do
this, as does HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT). The process is simple. Consider the mythical Fizbin
Company, the proud maker of Fizzits. (You do use Fizzits, don't you?) Fizbin found that with
a high-tech product such as Fizzits, it was necessary to have a high-tech company. They also
wanted to make it seem as if they were more international than they really were.
However, Fizbin has a number of stodgy stockholders, most of whom have never seen or used
a Fizzit and have only a vague idea of what a Fizzit is or does. These stockholders were dead
set against renaming the company for any reason.
As a compromise, the company would still be called the Fizbin Company. However, when
doing business, they would use the name International Fizbin. Regardless of the name used,
it's the same company. A letter written to the president of International Fizbin still goes to the
president of Fizbin Company—one company, two names. Therefore, when the president of
Fizbin Company hires a new marketing manager, she automatically becomes the marketing
manager of International Fizbin, too.
CurrentControlSet
The current control set is the control set used to boot the computer. It is copied from
ControlSet001 or from one of the other numbered control sets if ControlSet001 failed to boot,
and it is the main control set. Except for the contents of keys that may be different,
ControlSet002 (or ControlSet003, if that is what your computer has) has a structure identical
to CurrentControlSet.
CurrentControlSet consists of four subkeys:
Control Consists of information used to control how Windows XP operates. This information
controls everything from bootup to networking parameters to Windows to WOW (Windows
on Windows).
Enum Contains information about hardware, the hardware state, legacy devices, and so on.
Hardware Profiles You use Hardware Profiles to configure Windows XP for hardware
platforms that change frequently. This is common when dealing with notebook computers, for
example, as they may be either docked or undocked. An installation of Windows will have
one or more hardware profiles. The use of hardware profiles is most helpful when running
Windows on portable computers, particularly those with docking stations.
Services Manages services, such as support for hardware. Services are changed using the
Control Panel's Services applet.
Control
The Control subkey has a number of data values used for booting and system initialization.
Control also contains about 30 subkeys.
Control's value entries are:
CurrentUser The name of the currently logged-on user. Actually, this entry always has the
default value USERNAME because Windows XP does not update it. Client Services for
NetWare will store user specific configuration code in this value.
RegistrySizeLimit Found only on Windows systems prior to Windows XP. If you change the
registry size limit from the default value of 8MB, RegistrySizeLimit will contain the
maximum registry size in bytes. Though users are only able to set the registry size limit in
MB, Windows will store the value as a DWORD containing the maximum registry size in
bytes. Windows XP does not have the limitations on registry size that earlier versions of
Windows had.
SystemStartOptions This entry contains startup options passed from firmware or the startup
contained in boot.ini. Options could include debugging information (such as a debugging port
and the debugging port parameters) and perhaps information on the system root directory.
Changing this value is useless—the system will restore it from the boot.ini file at the next
reboot.
WaitToKillServiceTimeout This entry contains the time, in milliseconds, to wait before
killing a service when Windows XP is shutting down. If this value is too small, Windows may
kill a service before it has finished writing its data; if too large, a hung service will delay
shutdown. It is best to leave the WaitToKillServiceTimeout value at its default value of 20000
(which is 20 seconds) unless you know you are having a problem.
AGP
The AGP (Advanced Graphics Port) subkey contains a number of values used to configure
AGP graphics adapters.
ApmActive
The ApmActive object holds information about APM (Advanced Power Management). One
value entry, named Active, has a REG_DWORD value of either 1 (APM is active) or 0 (APM
is not active). Use of APM requires that the hardware support this function. Most newer
desktop and notebook computers support APM. If your computer doesn't support APM, or
you are not using APM, then this subkey may be missing from your registry. Information
about ApmActive can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/hwdev/archive/onnow/apm.asp.
ApmLegalHal
New as of Windows 2000, the ApmLegalHal object holds information about whether the
hardware actually supports APM. Generally, Windows queries the BIOS to determine APM
support. If your BIOS does not have support for APM, then this subkey may be missing from
your computer. When the HAL implementation is Halx86.dll, this object will be present and
have a value of 1. This object is not found on all versions of Windows.
Arbiters
New as of Windows 2000, the Arbiters object holds information about bus arbitration. This is
part of the support for Plug and Play that has been added to Windows. At least two subkeys
exist in Windows XP in Arbiters: AllocationOrder and ReservedResources. The
ReservedResources subkey contains the following data values:
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BrokentMemAtF8
BrokenVideo
Gateway9500Workaround
Pci
PCStandard
Root
These data values contain either REG_RESOURCE_REQUIREMENTS_LIST objects or
REG_SZ strings, as necessary.
BackupRestore
New as of Windows 2000, the BackupRestore object holds settable configuration information
for the backup program that comes with Windows. Included in this object are
AsrKeysNotToRestore, DllPaths, FilesNotToBackup, and KeysNotToRestore.
AsrKeysNotToRestore is new to Windows XP and indicates which Automated System
Recovery keys are not to be restored.
Biosinfo
New as of Windows 2000, the Biosinfo object supports Plug and Play. Entries in this object
include date codes for the BIOS and FullDecodeChipsetOverride, a value that indicates
support for extended address decoding.
BootVerificationProgram
One entry in BootVerificationProgram, ImagePath, is a data value with a string variable that
the boot verification program uses. This value will contain the filename of the boot
verification program. Enter an empty string, or delete this value if no boot verification
program is used.
The program used to verify the boot must be supplied by the user.
To enable boot verification, it is also necessary to set ReportBootOk to 1 in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WinLogon.
If ReportBootOk is 0, automatic (default) start-up acceptance is disabled. This happens after
the first logon that is successful. (ReportBootOK is defined in Chapter 18.)
Class
The Class subkey contains a number of GUIDs, one for each of the following labels. Notice
that though later versions of Windows rename some items slightly (making them plural), the
functionality of the object is the same despite renaming.
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Batteries (new as of Windows 2000)
Computer (new as of Windows 2000)
Disk drives (new as of Windows 2000)
Display adapters
DVD/CD-ROM drives (new as of Windows 2000)
Floppy disk controllers (new as of Windows 2000)
Floppy disk drives (new as of Windows 2000)
Human Interface Devices (new as of Windows 2000)
IBM Digital Signal Processors (new as of Windows 2000)
IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers (new as of Windows 2000)
IEEE 1394 Bus host controllers (new as of Windows 2000)
Imaging devices (new as of Windows 2000)
Infrared devices (new as of Windows 2000)
Keyboard (new as of Windows NT 4)
Keyboards (new as of Windows 2000)
Medium Changers (new as of Windows 2000)
Memory technology driver (new as of Windows 2000)
Mice and other pointing devices (new as of Windows 2000)
Modem (new as of Windows NT 4)
Modems (new as of Windows 2000)
Monitors (new as of Windows 2000)
Mouse (new as of Windows NT 4)
Multifunction adapters (new as of Windows 2000)
Multiport serial adapters (new as of Windows 2000)
Network adapters
Network Client (new as of Windows 2000)
Network Protocol (new as of Windows 2000)
Network Service (new as of Windows 2000)
Non-Plug-and-Play drivers (new as of Windows 2000)
NT Apm/Legacy Support (new as of Windows 2000)
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PCMCIA adapters (new as of Windows 2000)
Ports (COM & LPT)
Printer (new as of Windows NT 4)
Printers (new as of Windows 2000)
SCSI and RAID controllers (new as of Windows 2000)
SCSI controllers (new as of Windows NT 4)
Smart card readers (new as of Windows 2000)
Sound, video, and game controllers
Storage volumes (new as of Windows 2000)
System devices (new as of Windows 2000)
Tape drives
Universal Serial Bus controllers (new as of Windows 2000)
Each of these subkeys contains one or more of the following value entries:
(Default) The default name as a string; for example, Mouse or Mice and other pointing
devices. When using RegEdit, the name (Default) displays as (Default) with the parentheses.
Class The device's class as a single word with no embedded spaces. It is a string that is
similar to the default entry. For mice and other pointing devices, the value is Mouse.
Default Service A string defining the default service, usually the same as the Class entry.
Icon An index to the object's icon.
Installer32 A string pointing to the program or system to install this type of device. The
Control Panel, or the SysSetup.dll, installs many devices.
LegacyInfOption A string with information about legacy support. It is usually a string name
for the device, similar to the Class entry.
NoDisplayClass A flag, 1 or 0, indicating whether to display the class.
NoInstallClass Contains information as to whether the device is installable.
TroubleShooter-0 Contains information used for the interactive troubleshooter application in
Windows XP.
UpperFilters A filter designed for the specific device.
SilentInstall A flag value that indicates that this object's installation driver should send no
messages or pop-up windows that require user response.
Subkeys do not have all possible entries. The entries (Default) and Class are universal to all
subkeys, while Icon, Installer32, and others exist in many (but not all) subkeys.
CoDeviceInstaller(s)
New as of Windows 2000, the CoDeviceInstaller(s) object holds the CLSIDs of handlers for
installations from removable media such as CD-ROM drives.
Com Name Arbiter
New as of Windows 2000, Com Name Arbiter manages COM (Common Object Model) DB
services. The two values contained in this key include ComDB and ComDBMerge, each of
which contain a REG_BINARY value.
ComputerName
ComputerName contains two subkeys and no value entries:
ActiveComputerName This subkey includes a single value entry, ComputerName, with a
string containing the computer's name.
ComputerName This subkey contains a single value entry, ComputerName, with a string
containing the computer's name.
And, yes, both subkeys contain exactly the same thing. Changing ComputerName will cause
Windows, on the next reboot, to copy this string to ActiveComputerName.
ContentIndex
New as of Windows 2000, the ContentIndex object works with the management of content
indexing. It contains a number of subkeys for both catalogs and languages. Values stored
under this subkey include those shown in Table 19.1.
Entry Name
CiCatalogFlags
Table 19.1: ContentIndex Data Values
Description
Controls file-modification scanning. Valid values are
either (or both):
0x00000001: Disable notification processing for all
remote UNC paths.
0x00000002: Disable notification processing for all
local paths.
DaemonResponseTimeout
Time-out, in minutes, used by CiDaemon.exe, when
an attempt is made to index a corrupt file.
DefaultColumnFile
Fully qualified filename for the file containing
column definitions for .asp and .idq files.
DelayedFilterRetries
Number of times (default is 240) the Indexing Service
will attempt to reindex a document when a failure
occurs.
Entry Name
Table 19.1: ContentIndex Data Values
Description
DelayUsnReadOnLowResource
If this value is set to 1, the USN (Update Sequence
Number) is not read while there is a high demand on
resources.
DLLsToRegister
A REG_SZ list of DLL files called by the Indexing
Service when it starts.
EventLogFlags
If 0, then do not log events; if 2, then log when one or
more embedded objects could not be filtered by the
Indexing Service. A value of 1 is reserved and should
not be specified.
FilterBufferSize
In kilobytes, the size of the buffer used by the
Indexing Service filter.
FilterDelayInterval
The delay, in seconds, to suspend indexing when
there are more than the specified number of
documents in the filter buffer.
FilterDirectories
If 0, then system properties for directories are not
indexed; if non-0, then they are indexed.
FilterFilesWithUnknownExtensions
If 0, then files with unknown (unregistered)
extensions are not indexed; if non-0, then they are
indexed.
FilterIdleTimeout
The amount of time, in milliseconds, that the
Indexing Service holds loaded IFilter DLL files that
are no longer being used.
FilterRemainingThreshold
Specifies the Indexing Service will wait until this
value (in files, the default is 32) in the buffer is
exceeded before reindexing.
FilterRetries
The Indexing Service will attempt to retry indexing
this many times. The default is 4, and any value
between 0 and 10 may be specified.
FilterRetryInterval
Specifies, in minutes, the amount of time that the
Indexing Service waits to index a file that is not
accessible because the file is in use by another
process.
ForcedNetPathScanInterval
Specifies, in minutes, the amount of time that the
Indexing Service waits between forced indexing on
paths that do not have file notifications.
ForcePathAlias
A value of 1 forces path aliasing.
GenerateCharacterization
A value of 1 generates abstracts.
IMAPSvcInstance
Internet Mail Access instance number.
IsapiDateTimeFormatting
A value of 0 uses the current user's local, 1 uses the
default local, and 2 forces use of the format
YYYY/MM/DD HH:MM:SS.
IsapiDateTimeLocal
A value of 0 displays time in UTC (Coordinated
Entry Name
Table 19.1: ContentIndex Data Values
Description
Universal Time); 1 uses the local time format for
display.
IsapiDefaultCatalogDirectory
The catalog directory (the default is System).
IsapiMaxEntriesInQueryCache
The maximum number of queries that may be cached.
The default is 2; any value between 0 and 100 may be
specified.
IsapiMaxRecordsInResultSet
Specifies the maximum (default is 5000) rows in the
result set. Any value between 0 and 1,000,000 may be
specified.
IsapiQueryCachePurgeInterval
Specifies, in minutes, the cache purge interval.
IsapiRequestQueueSize
Specifies, in requests, the request queue size. Values
may range from 0 to 100,000.
IsapiRequestThresholdFactor
This value, times the number of processors located in
the system, sets the number of Indexing Service
threads.
IsAutoAlias
A value of 0 does not create aliases; 1 sets aliases.
IsEnumAllowed
A value of 0 does not allow enumeration; 1 allows
enumeration. Enumeration, if allowed, can seriously
impact server performance.
IsIndexingIMAPSvc
If 0, then does not index IMAP mail; 1 indexes IMAP
mail.
IsIndexingNNTPSvc
If 0, then does not index NNTP messages; 1 indexes
NNTP Messages.
IsIndexingW3SVC
If 0, then does not index IIS server files; 1 indexes IIS
server files.
IsReadOnly
If 0, then the catalog is not updated; 1 updates the
catalog.
LeaveCorruptCatalog
If 0, then does not repair errors in the catalog; 1
repairs errors in the catalog.
LowResourceCheckInterval
In seconds (the default is 60), the time interval to
check for low resources when creating word lists.
LowResourceSleep
In seconds (the default is 180), the time interval to
wait when low resources are detected. Valid values
range from 5 to 1200.
MajorVersion
Indexing Service major version number. Typically a
value of 3 is found in Windows XP system.
MasterMergeCheckpointInterval
Number of kilobytes (default is 2048, valid values
range from 256 to 4096) of memory used when a
merge must be restarted.
MasterMergeTime
The time, in minutes since midnight, that a merge
will occur. Valid values are 0 to 1439, the default is
Entry Name
Table 19.1: ContentIndex Data Values
Description
60 minutes (1 A.M.).
MaxActiveQueryThreads
The maximum number of threads used for a query.
MaxActiveRequestThreads
The maximum number of threads used for a request.
MaxAutoAliasRefresh
Time, in minutes, that the Indexing Service will wait
prior to refreshing aliases. Default is 15 minutes,
though this value may range from 0 to 10,080 (7
days).
MaxCachedPipes
Specifies the maximum number (default is 3, though
this value may range from 0 to 1000) for cached
pipes.
MaxCatalogs
The number of catalogs (default is 32; valid values
are 0 to 1000) that may be open at any given time.
MaxCharacterization
The maximum size for an abstract, in characters. The
default is 160 characters, with a maximum of 500
allowed.
MaxDaemonVmUse
The amount of paged memory (in kilobytes) allocated
to an Indexing Service daemon. Values between
10,240 and 419,303 may be specified.
MaxFilesizeFiltered
Actual content in files that exceed this value
(specified in kilobytes) are not indexed; instead only
the file properties are. The default is 256 kilobytes.
MaxFilesizeMultiplier
Allows the Indexing Service to recover from corrupt
files by specifying how many times larger the
indexing data may be compared to the actual file size.
MaxFreshCount
When this number of un-indexed, in the master index,
files is reached, the Indexing Service starts a new
master merge. The default value is 20,000, and may
be any valid number greater than 1000.
MaxFreshDeletes
When this number of files are deleted, the Indexing
Service starts an update to the master index. The
default value is 320 and may be any valid number
greater than 10.
MaxIdealIndexes
Specifies the maximum number of indexes that the
system will have. The default is 5, and valid values
range from 2 to 100.
MaxIndexes
This value specifies the maximum number of
persistent indexes that a catalog may contain. The
default is 25, and must range from 10 to 150.
MaxMergeInterval
The time, in minutes, that must pass between
consecutive merges. The default is 10, but any value
between 1 and 60 may be specified.
MaxPendingDocuments
The number of documents that must be waiting prior
Entry Name
Table 19.1: ContentIndex Data Values
Description
to the index being determined to be out of date.
MaxQueryExecutionTime
The time, in milliseconds, for processing a query.
Any valid positive value may be specified. The
default is 10,000, which is 10 seconds.
MaxQueryTimeslice
Specifies the time, in milliseconds, for a query. Time
values range from 1 to 1000, the default is 50
milliseconds.
MaxQueueChunks
The number of buffers used to track unfiltered
documents. The range is 10 to 30, and the default is
20.
MaxRestrictionNodes
The maximum number of notes created in a single
query by the Indexing Service. The default is 5000,
and the value may be any nonzero positive number.
MaxRunningWebhits
Specifies the number of instances of the object
module webhits.dll that are in use. The default is 20,
and the range may be any nonzero value less than or
equal to 200.
MaxShadowFreeForceMerge
When this percentage of available disk space is used
by shadow indexes, a new master merge is
performed. Though the documented values are listed
as being 5 to 100 percent, most installations seem to
have a value of 500 (0x1F4) in this object.
MaxShadowIndexSize
When this percentage of total disk space is used by
shadow indexes, a new master merge is performed.
Values range from 5 to 25 percent, with the default
being 15 percent.
MaxSimultaneousRequests
Specifies the maximum number of simultaneous
query requests via named pipes that the Indexing
Service will support. The default is 50 requests, and
this value may range from 1 to 20,000.
MaxTextFilterBytes
The amount of data processed from a given file with a
"well known" extension. Specified in bytes, any
nonzero value may be specified. The default value is
26,214,400 bytes.
MaxUsnLogSize
The maximum allowed size (the default is 8,388,608
bytes) for the USN (Unique Synchronization Number
log file). Any nonzero positive value is valid for this
object's value.
MaxWebhitsCpuTime
The amount of time, in seconds, that webhits.dll waits
prior to timing out. Values range from 5 to 7200.
MaxWordlistIo
When I/O reaches this threshold, the Indexing Service
will wait. Expressed in kilobytes per second, the
default is 410, and must be greater than 100.
Entry Name
Table 19.1: ContentIndex Data Values
Description
MaxWordListIoDiskPerf
If you have enabled performance counters, the
Indexing Service will wait whenever the threshold
specified is reached. Specified as a nonzero percent,
the default is 10.
MaxWordLists
Specifies the maximum number of word lists that
may exist before the Indexing Service merges them
into the master index. The default is 20, and values
between 10 and 30 may be specified.
MaxWordlistSize
Maximum amount of memory, in 128-kilobyte
blocks, that may be used for a word list. The default
is 20 (2,560,000 bytes) and may range between 10
(1,280,000 bytes) and 30 (3,840,000 bytes).
MinClientIdleTime
Time, in seconds, that the query client is idle before it
can be dropped. The default is 600.
MinDiskFreeForceMerge
The minimum free disk space that must be available
prior to a master merge being processed. The default
is 15, and the range is 5 to 25.
MinDiskSpaceToLeave
The minimum amount of free space, in megabytes,
that the Indexing Service will leave free on a disk.
The default is 20, and any positive value may be
specified.
MinIdleQueryThreads
The number of threads that must be kept idle to
process incoming queries. The default is 1, and any
value up to and including 1000 may be specified.
MinIdleRequestThreads
The number of threads that must be kept idle to
process incoming requests to the Indexing Service.
The default is 1, and any value up to and including
1000 may be specified.
MinimizeWorkingSet
Set to 0 to maximize the Indexing Service working
set, or set to 1 (the default) to minimize the working
set size.
MinMergeIdleTime
In percent, the time the CPU must be idle prior to
performing an annealing merge. The default is 90,
and values range from 10 to 100 percent.
MinorVersion
The Indexing Service's minor revision number. For
Windows XP, this value is 1; for earlier versions, this
value is 0.
MinSizeMergeWordlists
The word list must exceed this value (in kilobytes) to
force a shadow merge. The default is 256.
MinWordlistBattery
On battery-operated computers, the battery life must
exceed this value to allow the Indexing Service to
run. If the default of 100 is specified, the Indexing
Service will not run while on batteries.
Entry Name
Table 19.1: ContentIndex Data Values
Description
MinWordlistMemory
Specifies, in megabytes, the memory for word list
creation. The default is 5, and values may range from
1 to 100.
NNTPSvcInstance
The NNTP server's instance number. Typically 1.
PropertyStoreBackupSize
The number of system pages on disk that are used to
back up the primary property cache. The default is
1024, and may range from 32 to 500,000.
PropertyStoreMappedCache
The property store cached page count. The default is
4 pages, and may be any integer value.
RequestTimeout
Time, in milliseconds, for a client to wait for a named
pipe connection to the Indexing Service.
ScanBackoff
The Indexing Service use of system resources. Range
is 0 to 20, with a default of 3. Microsoft notes that
you should not specify values between 11 and 20 as
these are reserved for future use.
SecPropertyStoreBackupSize
The number of system pages on disk that are used to
back up the secondary property cache. The default is
1024, and may range from 32 to 500,000.
SecPropertyStoreMappedCache
The number of pages in memory for the property
cache. The default is 4, and any positive value may be
specified.
StartupDelay
The Indexing system will delay this number of
milliseconds prior to starting any actual work. This
allows the system to properly start up without dealing
with the overhead of the Indexing Service. Specify a
positive value; the default is 480,000 (8 minutes).
StompLastAccessDelay
Files newer than this number (in days) will have their
last accessed date updated by the Indexing Service.
The default is 7 days, and a value between 0 and
1,000,000,000 is required.
ThreadClassFilter
CiDaemon.exe's priority class filter. Values include:
0x20 (normal priority)
0x40 (idle priority, the default)
0x80 (high priority)
ThreadPriorityFilter
CiDaemon.exe's priority filter. Values include:
-2 (lowest priority)
-1 (lower priority)
Entry Name
Table 19.1: ContentIndex Data Values
Description
0 (normal priority)
1 (higher priority, the default)
2 (highest priority)
ThreadPriorityMerge
The Indexing Service's merge thread priority filter.
Values include:
-2 (lowest priority, the default. RegEdit will show this
value as 4294967294.)
-1 (lower priority)
0 (normal priority)
1 (higher priority)
2 (highest priority)
UsnLogAllocationDelta
When the USN log is full, this amount (in bytes) is
removed to make space for additional new entries.
Any positive value may be specified; the default is
1048576.
UsnReadMinSize
The minimum size (in bytes) for the USN log before
change notifications are processed. The default is
4096, and must be within the range of 1 and 524,288.
UsnReadTimeout
The time (in seconds) to wait prior to processing
notifications to the USN log. The default is 300, and
the value must greater than 0 and less than or equal to
43,200.
W3SvcInstance
The instance number of the web server (IIS) being
indexed. Any nonzero positive value may be
specified, which must match an existing web server's
instance number.
WebhitsDisplayScript
When 0, the Indexing Service will not return hit
highlights. A value of 1 will return highlights in
known script files, and a value of 2 will search and
return highlights in all script files.
WordlistUserIdle
The time, in seconds, to wait until filtering is
resumed.
Two additional subkeys are present: Catalogs and Language. Catalogs defines the catalog
folders. Language specifies language specific items, including noise filters and so on.
ContentIndexCommon
New as of Windows 2000, ContentIndexCommon contains the column file entry.
CrashControl
CrashControl brings to mind all kinds of marvelous things. However, the subkey
CrashControl is actually a basic function for Windows XP when it fails at the system level.
CrashControl options are generally set using the System applet's Startup and Recovery dialog
box (see Figure 19.1). The Startup and Recovery dialog box is activated from the Advanced
tab of the Control Panel's System Properties applet.
Figure 19.1: The Startup and Recovery system properties
CrashControl options are set in the System Failure section at the bottom of the dialog box.
Windows XP has seven value entries in CrashControl:
AutoReboot The Automatically Restart control state is set to 0 if there is no automatic reboot
after a STOP error.
CrashDumpEnabled This is the Write Debugging Information control state. It is set to 0 if
no dump is required after a STOP error. A value of 1 indicates that a full dump is requested. A
value of 2 indicates that a kernel dump is requested, and a value of 3 indicates a minidump
(64KB only) is requested.
DumpFile This is the text control under the Write Debugging Information control. It contains
the path to the dump file, by default %SystemRoot%\memory.dmp. This file will be as large
as (or slightly larger than) the physical memory installed in the computer. Make sure the
device to receive this file is large enough to hold the file.
LogEvent This is the Write an Event to the System Log control state and indicates that the
crash event should be logged. When set to 0, Windows will not make an event log entry after
a STOP error. This flag cannot be set in Windows XP server versions except by using direct
registry manipulation.
MinidumpDir Found only in Windows XP, this value indicates where (a folder location) to
save the minidump (a partial dump of 64KB in size). This object is a REG_EXPAND_SZ
string, and defaults to %SystemRoot%\Minidump.
Overwrite This is the Overwrite Any Existing File control state. It is set to 0 if there is no
automatic reboot after a STOP error. If this value is set, Windows XP will create a new
debugging file with a new name.
SendAlert This is the Send an Administrative Alert control state. When set to 0, Windows XP
will not send an administrative alert after a STOP error.
Windows 2000 contains an entry, KernelDumpOnly, whose value indicates whether to save
all memory or only the Windows 2000 kernel in the dump file. All entries in CrashControl are
REG_DWORD except for MinidumpDir and DumpFile, which are REG_EXPAND_SZ.
Some references indicate that these values are REG_SZ; this information is incorrect.
CriticalDeviceDatabase
New as of Windows 2000, the CriticalDeviceDatabase object contains the list of devices
critical to the operation of Windows. This list is PnP-based.
DeviceClasses
New as of Windows 2000, the DeviceClasses object contains CLSID listings of all devices
installed on the system.
FileSystem
Entries in FileSystem vary based on the installed file system(s). These are the value entries in
FileSystem:
Win31FileSystem When this value is 1, LFNs (long filenames) are disabled. This maintains
compatibility with older operating systems, such as Windows 3.1. However, using this option
may create compatibility issues with Windows NT 4 or Windows 95/98/Me, and it should be
set only if absolutely necessary. Also, do not set this option except immediately after
installing Windows. If you do, it may cause existing, installed applications to fail.
Win95TruncatedExtensions The following behavior will take place depending on the setting
of this option: Say you have two files, smith.htm and jones.html. If
Win95TruncatedExtensions is equal to 1 (the default), the command DEL *.htm will delete
both files. The command DEL *.html will delete only jones.html. When
Win95TruncatedExtensions is equal to 0, the command DEL *.htm will delete only
smith.htm. The command DEL *.html will delete only jones.html.
NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation If set to 1, Windows XP will not automatically generate
standard 8.3 filenames. Without 8.3 filenames, any legacy DOS or Windows 3.x applications
lacking LFN support will fail. They will not be able to open or otherwise use any file that has
an LFN unless the file is renamed to a valid 8.3 filename.
NtfsEncryptionService This value holds the name of the service used to encrypt files under
the NTFS file system. This object may not exist if there are no NTFS volumes present on the
system.
Note Some applications, including Microsoft Office, will not even install if
NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation is set.
Warning Be careful about changing these options. Once installed, some systems do not expect
that the state of the FileSystem entries will change, or that support for LFNs will
change, either. This is especially true when changing from allowing LFNs to not
allowing them.
GraphicsDrivers
By default, the GraphicsDrivers subkey contains subkeys called DCI (Display Control
Interface) and UseNewKey. The DCI subkey contains a value entry named Timeout, which
has a default value of 7. The UseNewKey object is not populated.
Note Microsoft dropped DCI support for Windows NT 4, and yet DCI remains in Windows
XP. Go figure.
One optional entry can be found in GraphicsDrivers: DisableUSWC. With certain higherperformance video cards, Uncached Speculative Write Combining (USWC) memory is not
cached. In addition, certain computers have a memory conflict with USWC that may cause
the user interface to fail to respond after certain drag-and-drop operations. The DisableUSWC
entry does not have a value; its presence in the registry is sufficient to turn off USWC. This
type of error is rare.
GroupOrderList
Each service in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ System\ CurrentControlSet\ Services is listed
in the GroupOrderList subkey along with a binary value indicating the order in which the
group is to be loaded at system startup time. Systems typically have the following groups:
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Base
Boot Bus Extender (supported in Windows 2000 and later versions only)
Extended base
ExtendedBase (supported in Windows 2000 and later versions only)
Filter
New! The FSFilter entries are new to Windows XP and are part of the file system filters.
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FSFilter Activity Monitor
FSFilter Anti-Virus
FSFilter Bottom
FSFilter Cluster File System
FSFilter Compression
FSFilter Content Screener
FSFilter Continuous Backup
FSFilter Copy Protection
FSFilter Encryption
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FSFilter HSM
FSFilter Infrastructure
FSFilter Open File
FSFilter Physical Quota Management
FSFilter Quota Management
FSFilter Replication
FSFilter Security Enhancer
FSFilter System
FSFilter System Recovery
FSFilter Top
FSFilter Undelete
Keyboard Class
Keyboard Port
Ndis
NetBIOSGroup (supported in Windows 2000 and later versions only)
Network (supported in Windows 2000 and later versions only)
Parallel Arbitrator
Pnp Filter (supported in Windows 2000 and later versions only)
PNP_TDI (supported in Windows 2000 and later versions only)
Pointer Class
Pointer Port
Primary Disk
SCSI CDROM Class
SCSI Class
SCSI Miniport
SpoolerGroup
Streams Drivers (supported in Windows 2000 and later versions only)
System Bus Extender
Video
Video Init
Video Save
Hivelist
Hivelist contains the following value entries listing registry keys and their source files.
\REGISTRY\MACHINE\HARDWARE does not have a source file because Windows creates
this key dynamically at boot time. Specific user information (those items that include a SID)
will vary based on the currently logged-on user and Windows installation.
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\REGISTRY\MACHINE\HARDWARE =
\REGISTRY\MACHINE\SECURITY =
\Device\Harddisk0\Partition1\WINNTWS\System32\Config\SECURITY
\REGISTRY\MACHINE\SOFTWARE =
\Device\Harddisk0\Partition1\WINNTWS\System32\Config\SOFTWARE
\REGISTRY\MACHINE\SYSTEM =
\Device\Harddisk0\Partition1\WINNTWS\System32\Config\SYSTEM
\REGISTRY\MACHINE\SAM =
\Device\Harddisk0\Partition1\WINNTWS\System32\Config\SAM
\REGISTRY\USER\.DEFAULT =
\Device\Harddisk0\Partition1\WINNTWS\System32\Config\DEFAULT
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\REGISTRY\USER\S-1-5-21-45749729-16073390-2133884337-500 =
\Device\Harddisk0\Partition1\WINNTWS\Profiles\Administrator.000\ntuser.dat
Here is some further information about the preceding names:
\REGISTRY: The name for the registry itself
\MACHINE: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
\USER: HKEY_USERS
Windows dynamically creates HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG at boot time. Windows creates
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT from other registry entries at boot time. Windows creates
HKEY_CURRENT_USER when a user logs on.
IDConfigDB
The IDConfigDB subkey is the identification for the current configuration. This key contains
four value entries:
CurrentConfig Indicates which control set is being used.
IsPortable A value of 1 indicates that this computer is defined as a portable computer.
PropertyProviders Specifies the name of the .dll file used to display property sheets under
Windows XP. The default is profext.dll; however, this object may not be found in all
installations.
UserWaitInterval Specifies the period of time a user waits. In the bootup Hardware
Profile/Configuration Recovery menu, Windows takes the default choice after the user waits
the time specified in UserWaitInterval. The value is in seconds; the default value is 30
seconds.IDConfigDB also contains the hardware profiles in the Hardware Profiles subkey.
The Windows XP installation process will create one configuration for the user. This default
configuration is Original Configuration. Any additional configurations that users create will
also appear in the Hardware Profiles subkey.
Note See the Hardware Profiles tab in the System applet of the Control Panel to get more
information about setting up multiple hardware profiles.
IDConfigDB also contains the Alias and CurrentDockInfo subkeys, in which Windows XP
saves the docking status.
Keyboard Layout
There are two subkeys in Keyboard Layout; each deal with supporting MS-DOS applications
to use languages other than U.S. English:
DosKeybCodes Contains a list of keyboard layouts and a two-letter (MS-DOS-compatible)
country code.
DosKeybIDs Contains a list of keyboard layouts and keyboard ID values.
Note See the Knowledge Base article Q117850, titled "MS-DOS 6.22 COUNTRY.TXT File,"
for more information about support for MS-DOS applications.
Keyboard Layouts
Keyboard Layouts contains a subkey for each keyboard layout that Windows XP supports for
Windows applications. Each layout subkey contains two, or more, entries:
Layout File The name of the .dll file that manages the keyboard using that character set; for
example, the Icelandic keyboard layout .dll file is named kbdic.dll.
Layout Text A string identifying the keyboard layout; for example, for Iceland, the string is
Icelandic.
Layout ID A string, containing a number, identifying the keyboard layout.
Layout Display Name A string identifying a resource string with the display name for this
keyboard layout. The default layout display names are located in the input.dll file.
It is possible, though difficult, to create custom keyboard layouts.
Support is available to Windows XP users who wish to use the Dvorak keyboard layouts. Use
the Regional Settings applet in the Control Panel to select either the Dvorak right- or left-hand
layout. No special hardware is required, though the markings on the standard keyboard will be
incorrect. This is because the Dvorak keyboard has a different keyboard layout with letters
arranged based on how often they are used.
LSA
LSA, the Local Security Authority, locally validates security for user rights, secret objects,
and trusted domain objects. LSA uses the msv1_0.dll file to do the actual validation of
security. Within the LSA key is a subkey called msv1_0 that contains items for msv1_0.
Warning Microsoft strongly recommends that you do not touch anything in the LSA subkey.
An incorrect entry or change could send the system into a state where no users are
able to log on, and the system would have to be completely restored.
Data objects contained in LSA include:
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Authentication Packages
Bounds
Notification Packages
Security Packages
LsaPid
SecureBoot
auditbaseobjects
crashonauditfail
disabledomaincreds
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everyoneincludesanonymous
fipsalgorithmpolicy
forceguest
fullprivilegeauditing
limitblankpassworduse
lmcompatibilitylevel
nodefaultadminowner
nolmhash
restrictanonymous
restrictanonymoussam
There are also a number of subkeys in LSA, including:
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AccessProviders
Data
GBG
JD
Kerberos
MSV1_0
Skew1
SppiCache
MediaCategories
MediaCategories is a key used primarily to describe multimedia controls and objects. Each
item is a CLSID-named key containing two value entries. The first entry is Display, a
REG_BINARY that indicates to Windows to display this object. The second entry is Name, a
REG_SZ containing the name of the object.
MediaInterfaces
MediaInterfaces is a key used to describe multimedia interfaces.
MediaProperties
MediaProperties is a key used primarily to describe MIDI and other device properties. This
key contains subkeys to describe any MIDI schemes (custom configurations in the Control
Panel's Multimedia Properties applet) that a user has created.
Contained in the MediaProperties key is a subkey named PrivateProperties. In
PrivateProperties are three subkeys: DirectInput, Joystick, and Midi(if a MIDI-compatible
sound board exists).
The DirectInput key contains subkeys for a number of devices. Each device has a single data
object named Flags2. If Flags2 exists with a value, then DirectInput internally maps device
axes to logical axes. This prevents the user from remapping the axes.
The Joystick key contains a number of subkeys, each containing data objects. The following
data objects can be defined in Joystick, though not all may be present in all configurations:
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Flags1
OEMData
OEMHardwareID
OEMName
The Midi key contains two subkeys, each containing MIDI ports and emulated ports.
MediaResources
MediaResources is a key used to describe the resources available for multimedia (specifically
for MIDI) on the computer.
Two to six subkeys exist in this section:
DirectSound Contains information about Windows XP's support for DirectSound, including
information about compatibility issues between specific applications and patches
implemented to resolve these compatibility issues.
Joystick Contains information about the driver used to interface with joystick type devices.
msvideo Contains information about direct video drivers.
MCI Contains information about MCI (Media Control Interface) devices.
MIDI Contains subkeys for each installed physical and virtual device. The device subkeys
contain definitions for instruments that the user has defined.
NonGeneralMIDIDriverList Contains resource definitions (including instrumentation) for
users with nongeneral MIDI hardware.
MediaSets
MediaSets is a key used to describe resources available for multimedia on the computer. This
object may not be found on all systems. See "Custom Property Sets and Interfaces" in the
Windows DDK for more information on MediaSets.
MSPaper
This key is for the Microsoft document imaging system, part of Microsoft Office. There are a
number of objects in MSPaper, including:
AutoRotation A REG_DWORD value, controlling whether an image is to be rotated or not.
LocaleID A REG_DWORD value, specifying the locale identifier (used to determine the
language). This object may not be set in all systems.
MaxImageSize A REG_DWORD value, specifying the maximum scanned image size.
PerformOCR A REG_DWORD value, controlling whether an image is to be processed using
OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to convert the image to text.
Network
The Windows XP Network key houses much of Windows XP's network configuration
information. This information includes Connections, NcQueue, RefNames, and several
CLSID-named objects.
NetworkProvider
The NetworkProvider key contains two objects, HwOrder and Order, which indicate the
specific order of network providers. Both usually contain the same contents. There is a single
value entry in each, ProviderOrder, a REG_SZ string containing a comma-separated list of
providers. The default value is RDPNP, LanmanWorkstation WebClient.
If you're using RAS (Remote Access Service), there is an option to disable automatic
(ghosted) restoration of network connections at logon. Most users prefer to have connections
restored automatically at logon. If RAS is not installed, you can enable ghosted connections
by putting the RestoreConnection value entry in the NetworkProvider key. This
REG_DWORD entry may contain a value of either 0x1 or 0x0. If the value is 0x0, Windows
XP will ghost connections.
NLS
The NLS subkey holds Windows XP's National Language Support functionality. There are
three or four possible subkeys in NLS. However, the OEMLocale subkey is not present in
installations of Windows unless an OEM has customized Windows for a specific locale.
CodePage CodePage contains a series of value entries. Each value's name matches a code
page ID. The value will contain a REG_SZ value equal to the filename for that code page. For
code pages with no supporting file, the value entry's value will be an empty string. CodePage
also includes the following additional value entries and subkeys (some of these subkeys may
not be found on all systems):
ACP This value is the active (or default) code page used by Windows.
MACCP This value is the Macintosh active code page.
OEMCP This value is the OEM code page to translate ANSI characters.
OEMHAL This value is the OEM display of extended characters at a command prompt.
EUDCCodeRange This subkey holds information for fonts classified as End User Defined
Characters. The information is in value entries that indicate ranges of the double-byte
character set that are usable for EUDC.
Language The Language subkey contains entries used to identify files that support different
languages. Each value entry's name matches the ID for a language. The entry contains a
REG_SZ data value equal to the name of the file to support that language. If there is no
support for the language (the support files have not been installed), the value entry's contents
will be an empty string.
Locale The Locale subkey contains entries used to identify files that support different
locations. Each value entry's name matches the ID for a location. The entry contains a
REG_SZ data value equal to a numeric 1 if there is support for the locale. The value has an
empty string if there is no support for the locale.
OEMLocale Not normally present on systems, OEMs add the OEMLocale subkey to support
systems in their specific locale. Entries in OEMLocale are similar to those in the CodePage
subkey.
OEMLocale contains a series of value entries. Each value's name matches a code page ID.
Each entry contains a REG_SZ value equal to the filename for that code page. For code pages
with no supporting file, the entry's value will be an empty string.
Note Windows will only check the OEMLocale subkey if a specific locale ID is not found in
the default locale file (locale.nls).
NTMS
New as of Windows 2000, the NTMS object supports the Windows NT Media Services.
Support includes OMID (On-Media Identifiers).
Under NTMS is an object, OMID (Original Manufacturer ID), which in a typical installation
contains the object named Tape. In Tape are these objects:
HP Contains information for the HP Media Label Library.
MTF Contains information for the MTF (Microsoft Tape Format) Media Label Library.
QIC Contains information for the QIC (QIC113 Format) Media Label Library.
PnP
New as of Windows 2000, the PnP object manages the Windows Plug and Play capabilities.
Much of this information is specific to certain computers and devices. This object includes the
following subkeys:
BusInformation Contains information about the presence and status of various bus types.
Pci Contains PCI device information.
PciIrqRouting Contains information about the actual handling of the PCI bus's IRQ routing.
Remember, PnP/PCI supports sharing IRQs.
Print
The Print key contains all the information accessed by Windows XP when a printer is being
used. In addition to the subkeys documented next, there are also a few value entries in the
Print key (not all installations will have all of these entries):
BeepEnabled Enables or disables a beep when a printer error is detected. Set to 0x1 to turn
on beeps.
MajorVersion The version number's high digit(s); for a product with a version number of
4.3, the major version is 4.
MinorVersion The version number's low digit(s); for a product with a version number of 4.3,
the minor version is 3.
NoRemotePrinterDrivers Contains the name of print drivers incompatible with remote
connections. This entry typically has Windows NT Fax Driver as a value.
PortThreadPriority The Windows XP kernel priority for the printer driver. A value of 0
indicates normal priority, –1 indicates lower than normal priority, and 1 indicates a higher
than normal priority.
PriorityClass Used to set the priority class for the print spooler. A value of 0 (or no value)
indicates a default priority class will be used. The default priority class is 7 for Windows XP
Professional, 0 for Windows XP Home Edition, and 9 for Windows servers. Coding any other
value will be translated to the priority class for servers, 9.
RouterCacheSize The size of the router cache, in pages.
SchedulerThreadPriority Sets the priority for the scheduler. Setting
SchedulerThreadPriority to 1 sets the priority to above normal, 0 sets the priority to normal,
and –1 (0xFFFFFFFF) sets the priority to below normal.
Upgrade A flag to indicate the upgrade status.
The Print key contains five or six subkeys, discussed next.
Environments
The Environments key contains subkeys for each possible platform. Each platform key
contains two subkeys: Drivers and Print Processors. The platform subkeys are:
Windows 4.0 For Windows 95 drivers.
Windows IA64 Provides support for Intel 64-bit systems.
Windows NT Alpha_AXP Provides support for Alpha systems.
Windows NT x86 Provides support for Intel-based systems.
Each platform subkey contains:
Drivers Contains the driver information for each installed printer driver. Each installed
printer has a separate subkey named for the printer. Printer driver configuration subkeys are
contained in a subkey named Version-0 for Windows NT 3.1, Version-1 for Windows NT 3.5,
Version-2 for Windows NT 4, or Version-3 for Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Each
printer driver subkey contains the following value entries:
Attributes Driver attributes; a typical value for attributes might be 0x00000002.
Configuration file The .dll file that holds the printer configuration.
Data file The .ppd or .dll file containing printer data.
Datatype The data type, such as RAW; most printers leave this field blank.
Dependent files Any files that the printer driver is dependent on.
Driver The name of the printer driver .dll file.
DriverDate The date the driver was developed or released.
DriverVersion The version of the printer driver .dll file.
HardwareID An identifying string for the hardware (an example might be Apple
Laserwriter53b1).
Help File The name of the printer driver's help file.
Manufacturer The name of the printer's manufacturer (Apple, for example).
Monitor If there is a print monitor, the print processor will direct its output to the print
monitor.
OEM URL The URL for the manufacturer of the printer.
Previous Names The original name of the printer (for example, Apple LaserWriter Iig).
Provider The name of the printer driver's origin (for example, Microsoft Windows 2000).
TempDir A flag that indicates that the printer driver will use a special temporary directory for
work files.
Version Holds the printer's driver version number. It is a value of 0 for Windows NT 3.1, 1
for Windows NT 3.5, 2 for Windows NT 4, and 3 for Windows 2000 or Windows XP.
Print Processors There are one or more print processors with Windows XP. The default
processor is WinPrint (winprint.dll).
Forms
By default, forms used when printing documents are defined in the Forms subkey. However, a
user may also specify a custom form. In most installations of Windows, the following forms
will exist:
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A2 420.0 x 594.0 mm
B3 364.0 x 515.0 mm
Foolscap 13.50 x 17.00in
#10 Env. 9.50 x 4.12 in
DL Env. 220.0 x 110.0 mm
Fanfold 9.50 x 11.00 in
Fanfold 12.00 x 8.50 in
Fanfold 14.50 x 11.00 in
Letter+ 9.00 x 13.30 in
A4+ 223.5 x 355.6 mm
Create custom forms using the Printers applet in the Control Panel. To do this, follow these
steps:
1. Select File → Server Properties. The Forms tab includes a section to create a new
form.
2. Click Create a New Form.
3. Change the name in Form Description to a name that describes the new form.
4. Change the sizes and margins to match your form.
5. Click Save Form.
The Metric/English Units control is for display—you may display forms in either metric or
English units.
Monitors
No, not that big thing on your desk. A monitor for printing is a program that receives
messages from printers and displays information about print jobs to the user. The printer may
be either locally connected to a computer or connected directly to the network with a network
card installed inside the printer. When working with a network-connected printer, the
management of the printer is a bit more difficult. In this case, a printer monitor program
receives messages from the printer and then process these messages for the user.
Each type of networked printer is different, and there are different monitors designed to work
with each printer. Monitors exist for Hewlett Packard, Lexmark, Digital, and other network
printers. There are also monitors for locally connected printers that are more generic in
nature—they work with any printer connected to the printer port. Default monitors include
PJL (Printer Job Language), USB, and Local Port.
PendingUpgrades
Any pending upgrades are located in the PendingUpgrades subkey.
Printers
Each printer installed has a subkey under the Printers key. The printer's key name is the same
as the printer's description; by default, this is also the system name for the printer.
A printer's subkey is made up of one subkey and the following value entries:
Attributes The printer attributes—for example, those set in the Scheduling tab of the printer's
property page.
ChangeID A funny number that is not documented anywhere. Every time you change
something on the printer, ChangeID changes, too. It is used to track changes.
Datatype The type of data passed to the printer, such as RAW.
Default DevMode The printer's default DevMode structure.
Default Priority The default priority.
Description A printer description provided by the user.
DnsTimeout The amount of time to wait before a DNS timeout, in milliseconds; the default is
15 seconds.
Location User-supplied text describing the printer's location.
Name The name of the printer.
Parameters Any printer parameters.
Port The port the printer connects to.
Print Processor The print processor; WinPrint is the default.
Printer Driver The .dll file used to drive the printer.
Priority The printer's priority: 1 is lowest, 99 is highest.
Security Security attributes.
Separator File The name of the job separator file.
Share Name If the printer is shared, this is the share name.
SpoolDirectory The directory used to spool, if not the default spool directory.
StartTime Sets the earliest time the printer is available (see UntilTime). If StartTime = 0 and
UntilTime = 0, the printer is always available.
Status The current printer status.
TotalBytes The total number of bytes in the print queue.
TotalJobs The total number of jobs in the print queue.
TotalPages The total pages to be printed.
txTimeout The amount of time to wait before the printer times out, in milliseconds; the
default is 45 seconds.
UntilTime Sets the latest time the printer is available (see StartTime); this is set in the
Scheduling tab of the printer's property page.
The subkey, PrinterDriverData, has information about the printer's paper sources,
permissions, and more. Information in PrinterDriverData is specific to each driver.
Providers
The default provider for printing in Windows XP networking is LanMan Print Services
Internet Print Provider. Another provider is Microsoft Windows Network. However,
specifying the Microsoft Windows Network provider may cause problems in some
installations.
There are a number of value entries in the Providers key:
EventLog A DWORD value that specifies the event log status.
LogonTime A REG_BINARY value that specifies the time of logon.
NetPopup A DWORD value that specifies the NetPopup service status. It is set to 1 to
display a pop-up message for remote print jobs.
NetPopupToComputer A DWORD value that specifies the NetPopup service status. It is set
to 1 to display a pop-up message for remote print jobs.
Order A REG_MULTI_SZ multiple string that specifies the order of providers. Generally,
Windows XP networks should list LanMan Print Services Internet Print Provider first in the
Order value. If you find that you are unable to browse printers, check the Order value and
ensure that it contains only LanMan Print Services Internet Print Provider and not Microsoft
Windows Network.
RestartJobOnPoolEnabled A DWORD value that specifies whether print jobs are restarted.
RestartJobOnPoolError A DWORD value that specifies the time waited to restart a job
(default is 600 seconds).
RetryPopup A DWORD value that specifies whether a pop-up message is displayed if a print
job fails.
Under the Providers key, you'll also find a subkey for each provider; I'll use the LanMan Print
Services Internet Print Provider as an example. The following entries may be present for each
provider:
DisplayName A string that contains the name of the provider. For our example, it is LanMan
Print Services Internet Print Provider.
Name A string that contains the name of the driver .dll. For our example, it is win32spl.dll.
LoadTrustedDrivers An optional data value that is a DWORD value. If it is set to 1, drivers
will not be installed from a remote print server, but may only be taken from the path specified
in TrustedDriverPath.
TrustedDriverPath An optional data value that is a string containing the path to load trusted
printer drivers. Both this data value and LoadTrustedDrivers must be set to 1 to restrict the
loading of drivers.
The provider key may also contain a subkey named Servers. This subkey may contain an
entry called AddPrinterDrivers, a DWORD value that specifies who is allowed to add printer
drivers using the Printer applet in the Control Panel. When set to 1, only administrators and
print operators (if on a server) or power users (if on a workstation or member server) may add
printer drivers.
PriorityControl
The PriorityControl key contains a single value entry: Win32PrioritySeparation. It is a
DWORD value containing a value between 0 and 32. (Note that Windows NT 4 uses values
between 0 and 2.) The Advanced tab of the System applet in the Control Panel includes a
section called Performance. Click the Performance Options button to display the Performance
Options dialog box, where you'll find a set of buttons that allows you to optimize performance
for applications or background services. When set to Applications, Win32PrioritySeparation
is 18; otherwise it is 26. Windows XP Professional sets this value to 0; XP Home Edition sets
this value to 2.
Warning Microsoft cautions that the only way to successfully set the
Win32PrioritySeparation value is to use the System applet in the Control Panel. Do
not attempt to change this value manually.
ProductOptions
ProductOptions has a single value entry that describes the type of product installed; Windows
XP has several different versions.
ProductType Contains a string with one of the following values:
LANMANNT A Windows NT Advanced Server (3.1), a Windows NT 4 PDC or BDC
configuration, or a Windows server that is running Active Directory.
SERVERNT Windows NT Server 3.5 or later that is running in stand-alone (not a domain)
mode.
WinNT Windows NT Workstation, Windows 2000 Professional, or Windows XP (nonserver
versions).
Safeboot
New! This object contains two subkeys, Minimal and Network. Each subkey contains
definitions of what product options are available for each safeboot mode. This key is new to
Windows XP.
ScsiPort
New! This object is used to manage some special SCSI devices. These devices include
certain disk drives, scanners, and so forth. Note that not all SCSI devices are listed in this
section—only those that require special handling. This key is new to Windows XP.
SecurePipeServers
Pipes—long, hollow objects used to transport fluid materials. Or a virtual connection between
two computers using a network. A secure pipe is a virtual pipe that has encryption and other
security features to enhance the security of data being moved in the pipe.
In most Windows XP systems, there's an object entry in the SecurePipeServers subkey:
winreg, for the remote Windows registry editing facility. The winreg subkey contains one
value entry and one subkey. The value entry, named Description, has the value Registry
Server.
The winreg\AllowedPaths subkey contains a single value entry, Machine, a REG_MULTI_SZ
string containing the registry keys that may be edited remotely using the Registry Editor.
Modify this string to add or remove keys that you wish to edit remotely. The default values in
the Machine entry are:
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System\CurrentControlSet\Control\ProductOptions
System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Printers
System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Eventlog
Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion
System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Replicator
SecurityProviders
Security and privacy are important buzzwords in cyberspace today. Governments are working
hard at limiting privacy and, essentially, security. It is also the keen intent of users to keep
what is private to them private from the prying eyes of their governments. This all makes
security a hot, hot topic.
Windows XP includes support for security in the SecurityProviders subkey. SecurityProviders
contains five subkeys, discussed next.
Note The abbreviation CA in the entries in SecurityProviders doesn't stand for California; it
stands for Certificate Authority.
CertificationAuthorities
The CertificationAuthorities subkey contains the names of a number of different organizations
that issue certificates and their products. A typical installation might contain the following
values:
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AT&T Certificate Services
AT&T Directory Services
AT&T Prototype Research CA
GTE Cybertrust ROOT
internetMCI Mall
Keywitness Canada Inc.
Thawte Premium Server CA
Thawte Server CA
Verisign Class 1 Public Primary CA
Verisign Class 2 Public Primary CA
Verisign Class 3 Public Primary CA
Verisign Class 4 Public Primary CA
Verisign/RSA Commercial
Verisign/RSA Secure Server
Ciphers
A cipher is a code or key used to encrypt or encode an object. Generally, the term ciphers
includes the methodology in addition to the actual key. The Ciphers subkey contains
information relating to a number of cipher technologies. Some of these technologies are more
secure than others, although all are satisfactory for most routine work. Ciphers supported in
Windows XP include the following:
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DES 40/56
DES 56/56
NULL
RC2 128/128
RC2 40/128
RC4 128/128
RC4 40/128
RC4 64/128
Skipjack
Triple DES 168/168
Hashes
A hash is a form of cipher. Typically thought of as weak encryption, hashes can serve well
when small amounts of data are being transmitted; some hash algorithms are quite secure.
Windows XP includes the ability to support the following hashes:
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MD5
SHA
KeyExchangeAlgorithms
Key exchange is the process in which users are able to pass keys among themselves. An
encryption algorithm, called a public-key algorithm, is used to send the key using plain text.
This is possible because the key used to encrypt the message is not the same key used to
decrypt it. The encryption key, called the public key, is given to everyone who is to send you
encrypted messages. You keep the secure decryption key to read your encrypted messages.
Warning Improperly designed public-key encryption schemes have a great potential for backdoor type flaws. A back door is a way to decrypt a message without actually having
the decryption (or private) key. Many governments argue that they should have the
ability to decrypt messages to promote law and order. However, that policy has yet
to be shown as valid.
Key exchange algorithms supported by Windows XP include the following:
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Diffie-Hellman
Fortezza
PKCS
Protocols
Protocols are the methodologies used to transmit information. Five security protocols are
supported in Windows XP. The most common protocol that computer users are aware of is
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), which is used to transmit secure information over TCP/IP
networks such as the Internet.
Secure protocols that Windows XP supports include:
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Protocols\Multi-Protocol Unified Hello
Protocols\PCT 1.0
Protocols\SSL 2.0
Protocols\SSL 3.0
Protocols\TLS 1.0
ServiceGroupOrder
The ServiceGroupOrder subkey has a single value entry named List. The List entry includes a
REG_MULTI_SZ string containing the names, in load order, for the services.
When Windows XP starts the services, it will start them in the order given in
ServiceGroupOrder\List. Services within each group then start in accordance with the values
contained in the CurrentControlSet\Control\GroupOrderList key.
Drivers are loaded into memory in the order specified in ServiceGroupOrder\List; the default
for most servers is the following:
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System Bus Extender
SCSI miniport
port
Primary disk
SCSI class
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SCSI CDROM class
filter
boot file system
Base
Pointer Port
Keyboard Port
Pointer Class
Keyboard Class
Video Init
Video
Video Save
file system
Event log
Streams Drivers
PNP_TDI
NDIS
NDISWAN
TDI
NetBIOSGroup
SpoolerGroup
NetDDEGroup
Parallel arbitrator
extended base
RemoteValidation
PCI Configuration
Notice that service groups may be different in different computers. Don't expect your system
to have entries in the same order, or even to always have the same entries.
Note Generally, it would not be prudent to change the load order for services. Some services
expect that other services are already loaded.
ServiceProvider
The ServiceProvider subkey works with the Winsock RNR (Resolution and Registration)
Service APIs. ServiceProvider contains the subkeys Order and ServiceTypes. The entries in
this subkey are pointers to other registry keys and entries.
Note Microsoft recommends that you do not manually change these entries.
The subkey ServiceProvider\Order contains two value entries:
ExcludedProviders A REG_MULTI_SZ string consisting of numbers indicating service
providers. Most Windows XP systems do not have any entries in this list. To add an excluded
provider, enter the service provider's identifier from Table 19.2.
Service Provider
NS_SAP
Table 19.2: Service Providers and Their Identifiers
Identifier
1
Service Provider
Table 19.2: Service Providers and Their Identifiers
Identifier
NS_NDS
2
NS_TCPIP_LOCAL
10
NS_TCPIP_HOSTS
11
NS_DNS
12
NS_NETBT
13
NS_WINS
14
NS_NBP
20
NS_MS
30
NS_STDA
31
NS_CAIRO
32
NS_X500
40
NS_NIS
41
ProviderOrder A REG_MULTI_SZ value entry containing zero, one, or more values. The
number of values varies with the number of installed protocols. Systems might have Tcpip,
NwlnkIpx, or other values in this entry. These values correspond to
CurrentControlSet\Services values.
A second subkey under ServiceProvider is ServiceTypes. IIS uses this subkey. ServiceTypes
typically contains four subkeys (there may be fewer or more, depending on what IIS
components you have installed):
GOPHERSVC Contains the Gopher service configuration. Information includes the GUID
for the handler for Gopher requests and the TCP/IP port number (70 by default).
GOPHERSVC is not valid with Windows XP.
Microsoft Internet Information Server Microsoft's IIS is capable of serving remotely as a
service. That is, you can remotely administer IIS.
MSFTPCVC The FTP service configuration is in this subkey. The information contained
here includes the GUID for the handler for FTP requests and the TCP/IP port number (21 by
default).
W3SVC The Web (WWW) service configuration is in this subkey. The information contained
here includes the GUID for the handler for web requests and the TCP/IP port number (80 by
default).
Users may modify the TCP ports for these services; see the Windows Server Resource Kit for
more information. When modifying ports, use a port number greater than 1023 to avoid
conflict with any existing assigned ports.
Session Manager
Session Manager is a complex subkey used to manage the user's session and basic Windows
startup. Session Manager contains a number of value entries and subkeys.
The value entries in Session Manager are relatively constant between different installations of
Windows:
BootExecute Specifies programs started when the system boots. The default is autocheck
autochk * and dfsInit. Autochk is the auto-check utility that is included with Windows XP.
DfsInit is the distributed file system initializer.
CriticalSectionTimeout Specifies the time, in seconds, to wait for critical sections to time
out. Since Windows XP (retail product) does not wait for critical sections to time out, the
default value is about 30 days. Anyone care to wait that long? Not me!
EnableMCA MCA (Machine Check Architecture) is used in some systems; some Pentium
Pro processors support MCA. The default value is enabled (1).
EnableMCE MCE (Machine Check Exception) is supported by some Pentium processors. By
default, support for MCE is disabled.
ExcludeFromKnownDlls Windows NT will use entries in the KnownDLLs key to search for
.dlls when loading them. ExcludeFromKnownDlls is used to exclude a .dll from the
KnownDLLs search.
GlobalFlag Controls various Windows NT internal operations using a bitmapped flag. Table
19.3 shows some common GlobalFlag bit values. GFLAGS.exe (see Figure 19.2) is a useful
tool to set GlobalFlag. It is a component of the Windows NT Server Resource Kit Supplement
2. There are indications that Windows XP has no support for GlobalFlag.
Figure 19.2: The GFLAGS program makes it easy to set the GlobalFlag value. Just click and
select a value to be set.
Value (Bit)
Table 19.3: GlobalFlag Bit Values
Description
0x00000001
Stop when there is an exception.
0x00000002
Show loader snaps.
0x00000004
Debug initial command.
0x00000008
Stop on hung GUI.
0x00000010
Enable heap tail check.
0x00000020
Enable heap free check.
0x00000040
Check heap validate parameters.
0x00000080
Validate all heap allocations.
0x00000100
Enable pool tail check.
0x00000200
Enable pool free check.
0x00000400
Set up memory tagging.
0x00000800
Enable heap tagging.
0x00001000
Create user mode stack trace DB.
0x00002000
Create kernel mode stack trace DB.
0x00004000
Maintain a list of objects for each type.
0x00008000
Enable heap tags by DLL.
0x00010000
Ignore debug privilege.
0x00020000
Enable csrdebug.
0x00040000
Enable kernel debug symbol loading.
0x00080000
Disable page kernel stacks.
0x00100000
Enable heap call tracing.
0x00200000
Enable heap coalescing.
HeapDeCommitFreeBlockThreshold Has a default of zero.
HeapDeCommitTotalFreeThreshold Has a default of zero.
HeapSegmentCommit Has a default of zero.
HeapSegmentReserve Has a default of zero.
LicensedProcessors Specifies the maximum number of processors that are allowed. The
standard retail version of Windows 2000 Server allows a maximum of four processors in a
multiprocessor server environment and two processors in a workstation environment.
ObjectDirectories Contains a list of object directories to create during startup.
ProcessorControl An undocumented DWORD variable. The default value is 0x2.
ProtectionMode When this value is set to 1, security is increased on shared base objects. The
default of 0 reflects a weaker security level.
Note For more information on making Windows secure, see
http://www.rl.af.mil/tech/programs/winNT/downloads/NTAG_devguide.doc.
RegisteredProcessors Specifies the number of processors allowed. The standard retail
version of Windows 2000 Server allows a maximum of four processors in a multiprocessor
server environment and two processors in a workstation environment. Standard Windows
products such as Windows 95/98/Me and Windows XP Home Edition support one processor.
ResourceTimeoutCount Specifies the number of four-second ticks allowed before a resource
will time out. Windows does not normally time out on resources, and the default value is 30
days.
There are also a number of subkeys in Session Manager, discussed next.
AppCompatibility The AppCompatibility subkey contains information about the
compatibility of a number of applications.
AppPatches The AppPatches subkey contains patches for a number of applications. Typical
installations include patches for the following:
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CWD
MYST
•PALED40
USA
VB
VB40016
CheckBadApps and CheckBadApps400 These two subkeys are interrelated:
CheckBadApps Contains applications that may be incompatible with earlier versions of
Windows NT, such as Windows NT 3.51. There are only a few applications listed in this
section.
CheckBadApps400 Contains applications that may be incompatible with Windows NT 4 and
Windows 2000. This section has more applications listed then CheckBadApps.
When executing a listed application in one of these two subkeys, Windows displays a
message for the user. This message tells the user about the possible problems encountered.
The system does not prevent the user from running the application after displaying the
warning message. This object is not found on Windows XP.
DOS Devices The DOS Devices subkey contains symbolic names and their corresponding
logical names. Most systems have the following default entries in DOS Devices:
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advapi32 = advapi32.dll
comdlg32 = comdlg32.dll
crtdll = crtdll.dll
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DllDirectory = %SystemRoot%\System32
gdi32 = gdi32.dll
kernel32 = kernel32.dll
lz32 = lz32.dll
olecli32 = olecli32.dll
olesvr32 = olesvr32.dll
rpcrt4 = rpcrt4.dll
shell32 = shell32.dll
user32 = user32.dll
version = version.dll
Environment The Environment subkey holds the Windows system environment variables.
User environment variables are stored in the user's profile.
Executive The Executive subkey holds the Windows system executive configuration.
FileRenameOperations The FileRenameOperations subkey holds the list of files that must be
renamed, but cannot be renamed at the time.
Kernel The single object, obcaseinsensitive, is a REG_DWORD flag typically set to 1,
indicating that case is not considered.
KnownDLLs The KnownDLLs subkey holds the .dll files that Windows knows about and
searches first during a system startup. This improves the search time in finding a specified .dll
file object.
Memory Management
Memory Management controls the system's virtual memory, paging files, and so on. To
define the paging file parameters, use the System applet in the Control Panel and choose the
Advanced tab's Performance Options. Other entries include the following:
ClearPageFileAtShutdown If set to a value of 1, the paging file's contents (not the file, just
its contents) will be cleared at shutdown. This option is useful for Windows installations that
require a high degree of security. The default of 0 causes the paging file's contents to be left
on the disk.
DisablePagingExecutive Setting this value to 1 disables the Windows automatic paging
system. The default of 0 allows the paging executive to run normally. Do not change this
option unless you understand exactly what the effects of disabling paging are.
IoPageLockLimit Specifies the number of lockable bytes available for an I/O operation. The
default is 0, which is equal to 512K. This object is not typically found on Windows XP
systems.
LargeSystemCache Specifies that the system will favor the system cache working set rather
than the processes working set. Server installations typically set this to 1, while workstations
will set it to 0.
NonPagedPoolQuota The maximum space allocated by one process in a nonpaged pool.
NonPagedPoolSize The nonpaged pool size. The default value of 0 indicates a default size
based on the system's physical memory size. The maximum value allowed is 80 percent of the
physical memory size.
PagedPoolQuota The maximum space allocated by one process in a paged pool.
PagedPoolSize The paged pool size. The default value of 0 specifies that the value will be
32MB. This value affects the maximum registry size.
PagingFiles The name, path, initial size, and maximum size for the system paging file(s). Set
this information using the Change button in the Performance tab of the System applet in the
Control Panel.
SecondLevelDataCache Specifies the size of the second-level data cache.
SystemPages Specifies the number of page table entries. The default value of 0 denotes that
the default number of entries is to be used.
WriteWatch Specifies that memory writes should be watched for access violations.
Power The power management policies for both battery and nonbattery operation are defined
in the Power subkey.
SFC The System File Checker (SFC) settings are held here. Two data objects,
CommonFilesDir and ProgramFilesDir (which designate paths), are found in this object.
SubSystems The SubSystems subkey contains subsystem settings established at startup time.
There is a subkey named CSRSS (short for client-server runtime subsystem). Most systems
have the following entries:
Debug The debug path, if used; most installations do not have Debug set.
Kmode The path to the Win32 driver; the default is win32k.sys.
Optional Defines optional components that are only loaded when the user runs an application
that requires them. Typical values include Os2 and Posix.
Os2 The path and filename of the optional Windows NT OS/2 1.x emulator. This object may
not be found on Windows XP systems.
Posix The path and filename of the optional POSIX subsystem. This is the only POSIX entry
in the registry.
Required The default entry, Debug Windows, is required.
Windows The path and name of the executable used to start the Win32 subsystem. The
default value is:
%SystemRoot%\System32\csrss.exe ObjectDirectory=\Windows SharedSection=
1024,3072 Windows=On SubSystemType=Windows ServerDll=basesrv,1 ServerDll=
winsrv:UserServerDllInitialization,3
ServerDll=winsrv:ConServerDllInitialization,2 ProfileControl=Off
MaxRequestThreads=16
WPA The WPA subkey contains settings for the Windows Product Authorization system.
This system requires that the user "authorize" the use of their product with Microsoft. WPA
contains three objects:
PnP Contains a single REG_DWORD value named seed. This value contains a large number.
SigningHash- This object, which contains additional characters after the hyphen, contains a
single data object, SigningHashData, a REG_BINARY value.
SessionManager
Found only in Windows NT 4, SessionManager is different from Session Manager with a
space, discussed earlier in this chapter. SessionManager contains lists of applications that may
not run correctly with Windows NT 4. This object is not found in Windows XP.
Setup
The Setup key contains three value entries:
Keyboard The default value, STANDARD (indicating a standard keyboard), is found in
virtually all systems.
Pointer The value msser indicates that the standard Microsoft serial mouse is the default
choice for setup. The value msps2 indicates that a Microsoft-compatible PS/2 mouse is
connected.
Video The default value, VGA, indicates that VGA is the default video choice for setup.
StillImage
The StillImage subkey holds information about the still-image monitoring process. Five items
may be found in this object: Debug, DeviceNameStore, Events, Logging, and Twain.
SystemResources
The SystemResources subkey holds information about various system resources, generally
related to the computer's bus architecture. SystemResources contains three subkeys, discussed
next.
AssignmentOrdering The AssignmentOrdering subkey contains entries for each possible bus
type. Each entry specifies either an entry (the default is PCFlat) or a
REG_RESOURCE_REQUIREMENTS_LIST object. Value entries in AssignmentOrdering
include the following:
Eisa Contains the string PCFlat.
Isa Contains the string PCFlat.
MCA Contains the string PCFlat.
PCFlat Contains a REG_RESOURCE_REQUIREMENTS_LIST object.
PCI Contains a REG_RESOURCE_REQUIREMENTS_LIST object.
PCMCIA Contains the string PCFlat.
BusValues Value entries in BusValues order each bus structure using a REG_BINARY
object. This object also contains a second field, the use for which is unknown. Table 19.4
shows each entry and the two values stored in each.
Bus Type
Table 19.4: BusValue Entries
Order Number Unknown Number
CBus
9
0
Eisa
2
1
Internal
0
0
Isa
1
0
MCA (not used in Windows XP)
3
1
MPI
10
0
MPSA
11
0
NuBus
7
0
PCI
5
1
PCMCIA
8
1
TurboChannel
4
0
VME
6
0
Note Did you realize that there were that many different buses available for microcomputers?
Actually, we do not use many of these buses anymore, or they are rather uncommon.
ReservedResources The ReservedResources subkey may contain two entries: Isa and Eisa.
The Isa entry contains a REG_RESOURCE_LIST object that lists the ISA bus's reserved
resource as being bus number 0. The Eisa entry, if present, contains a REG_SZ object with an
empty string.
Terminal Server
The Windows Terminal Server enhances accessibility to Windows. There are about 10 entries
in the Terminal Server subkey:
DeleteTempDirsOnExit Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
FirstCountMsgQPeeksSleepBadApp Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 15.
IdleWinStationPoolCount Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
Modems With Bad DSR Holds a REG_MULTI_STRING value.
MsgQBadAppSleepTimeInMillisec Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
NthCountMsgQPeeksSleepBadApp Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 5.
PerSessionTempDir Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
ProductVersion Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of 5.0, 5.1 in XP.
TSAppCompat Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
TSEnabled Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0 or 1 in XP.
One of the subkeys found in Terminal Server is AddIns, which contains the keys Clip
Redirector, Sound Redirector, and Terminal Server Redirector. In Clip Redirector, you'll find
these values entries:
Name Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of RDPClip.
Type Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 3.
In the subkey Sound Redirector, you'll find these entries:
Name Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of RDPSound.
Type Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 3.
In the subkey Terminal Server Redirector, you'll find these entries:
Name Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of \\Device\\RdpDr.
Type Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
The Terminal Server subkey AuthorizedApplications contains the following item:
<default>: This default value entry holds a value of a blank string.
The Terminal Server subkey DefaultUserConfiguration contains the following value entries:
CallbackNumber Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
Callback Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
Domain Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
FInheritAutoLogon Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
FInheritCallbackNumber Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FInheritCallback Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FInheritInitialProgram Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
FInheritMaxDisconnectionTime Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FInheritMaxIdleTime Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FInheritMaxSessionTime Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FInheritReconnectSame Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FInheritResetBroken Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FInheritShadow Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FLogonDisabled Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FPromptForPassword Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FReconnectSame Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FResetBroken Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
InitialProgram Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
KbdIdleBusymsAllowed Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 60.
KbdIdleDetectAbsolute Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
KbdIdleDetectProbationCount Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 80.
KbdIdleInProbationCount Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 35.
KbdIdlemsAllowed Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
KbdIdlemsGoodProbationEnd Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 2500.
KbdIdlemsProbationTrial Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 2500.
KbdIdlemsSleep Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 100.
KeyboardLayout Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
MaxConnectionTime Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
MaxDisconnectionTime Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
MaxIdleTime Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
NWLogonServer Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
Password Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
Shadow Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
The Terminal Server subkey Dos contains these value entries:
UserName Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
WorkDirectory Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
The Terminal Server subkey KeyboardType Mapping contains two subkeys. The first, JPN, is
for Japanese keyboard mapping:
000000000017 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of kbdlk41a.dll.
00000000 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of kbd101.dll.
00000001 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of kbdax2.dll.
000000020015 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of kbdnecAT.dll.
000000020017 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of kbdlk41j.dll.
00000002 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of kbd106.dll.
00000003 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of kbdibm02.dll.
00000D01 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of kbdnecNT.dll.
00000D04 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of kbdnecNT.dll.
00010002 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of kbd106n.dll.
00010D01 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of kbdnec95.dll.
00010D04 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of kbdnec95.dll.
00020002 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of f3ahvoas.dll.
00020D01 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of kbdnecAT.dll.
00020D04 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of kbdnecAT.dll.
The other subkey under KeyboardType Mapping is KOR, for Korean keyboard mapping:
00000003 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of kbd101a.dll.
00000004 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of kbd101b.dll.
00000005 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of kbd101c.dll.
00000006 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of kbd103.dll.
The Terminal Server subkey Utilities has three subkeys, change, query, and reset. The change
subkey contains these value entries:
Logon Holds a REG_MULTI_STRING value.
Port Holds a REG_MULTI_STRING value.
User Holds a REG_MULTI_STRING value.
Winsta Holds a REG_MULTI_STRING value.
The second Utilities subkey, query, contains:
Appserver Holds a REG_MULTI_STRING value.
Process Holds a REG_MULTI_STRING value.
Session Holds a REG_MULTI_STRING value.
User Holds a REG_MULTI_STRING value.
Winsta Holds a REG_MULTI_STRING value.
The final Utilities subkey, reset, contains:
Session Holds a REG_MULTI_STRING value.
Winsta Holds a REG_MULTI_STRING value.
The Terminal Server subkey VIDEO contains a single subkey, rdpdd. In this subkey, you'll
find the following value entries:
\\Device\\Video0 Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of \\REGISTRY\\
Machine\\System\\ControlSet001\\Services\\RDPDD\\Device0.
VgaCompatible Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of \\Device\\Video0.
The Terminal Server key Wds contains the subkey rdpwd, which contains these value entries:
BaudRate Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 57600.
ByteSize Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 8.
CfgDll Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of RDPCFGEX.dll.
ConnectType Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
DeviceName Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
FAutoClientDrives Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FAutoClientLpts Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
FDisableCam Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0 in XP.
FDisableCcm Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0 in Windows XP.
FDisableCdm Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0 in Windows XP.
FDisableClip Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FDisableCpm Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FDisableEncryption Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
FDisableLPT Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FEnableBreakDisconnect Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FEnableDsrSensitivity Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FEnableDTR Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
FEnableRTS Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
FFlowSoftwareRx Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
FFlowSoftwareTx Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
FForceClientLptDef Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
FInheritAutoClient Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
FlowHardwareRx Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
FlowHardwareTx Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
FlowType Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
The subkey rdpwd contains the subkey Tds. This subkey contains the subkey tcp:
InputBufferLength Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 2048.
InteractiveDelay Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 10.
MinEncryptionLevel Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
OutBufCount Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 6.
OutBufDelay Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 100.
OutBufLength Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 530.
Parity Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
PdClass Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 2.
PdDLL Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of tdtcp.
PdFlag Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 78.
PdName Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of tcp.
PortNumber Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 3389.
ServiceName Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of tcpip.
StartupPrograms Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of rdpclip.
StopBits Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
WdDLL Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of rdpwd.
WdFlag Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 54.
WdName Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of Microsoft RDP 5.0.
WdPrefix Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of RDP.
WsxDLL Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of rdpwsx.
XoffChar Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 19.
XonChar Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 17.
The Terminal Server key contains the subkey WinStations. WinStations contains a number of
data values and nested keys. The data values contained in WinStations include:
Anonymous A REG_BINARY value.
AppServer A REG_BINARY value.
CallbackNumber Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
Callback Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
Comment Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of System Console.
DefaultSecurity A REG_BINARY value.
Domain Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
FEnableWinStation Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
FInheritAutoLogon Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FInheritCallbackNumber Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FInheritCallback Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FInheritInitialProgram Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FInheritMaxDisconnectionTime Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FInheritMaxIdleTime Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FInheritMaxSessionTime Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FInheritReconnectSame Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FInheritResetBroken Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FInheritShadow Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FLogonDisabled Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FPromptForPassword Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FReconnectSame Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FResetBroken Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FUseDefaultGina Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
InitialProgram Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
InputBufferLength Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
KeyboardLayout Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
KeyboardName Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of
\\REGISTRY\\Machine\\System\\ CurrentControlSet\\Services\\Kbdclass.
MaxConnectionTime Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
MaxDisconnectionTime Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
MaxIdleTime Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
MouseName Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of
\\REGISTRY\\Machine\\System\\ CurrentControlSet\\Services\\Mouclass.
OutBufCount Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
OutBufDelay Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
OutBufLength Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
Password Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
PdClass Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
PdDll Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
PdFlag Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 30.
PdName Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of console.
RemoteAdmin A REG_BINARY value.
Shadow Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
The WinStations key also contains the subkey Console:
UserName Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
WdDll Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of wdcon.
WdFlag Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 36.
WdName Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of Console.
WorkDirectory Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
Also found in WinStations is the subkey RDP-Tcp. This subkey contains these values:
CallbackNumber Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
Callback Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
CdClass Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
CdDLL Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
CdFlag Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
CdName Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
CfgDll Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of RDPCFGEX.dll.
Comment Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
Domain Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
fAutoClientDrives Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
fAutoClientLpts Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
fDisableCam Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
FDisableCcm Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
fDisableCdm Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
fDisableClip Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
fDisableCpm Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
fDisableEncryption Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
fDisableExe Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
fDisableLPT Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
fEnableWinStation Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
fForceClientLptDef Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
fHomeDirectoryMapRoot Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
fInheritAutoClient Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
fInheritAutoLogon Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
fInheritCallback Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
fInheritInitialProgram Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
fInheritMaxDisconnectionTime Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
fInheritMaxIdleTime Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
fInheritMaxSessionTime Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
fInheritReconnectSame Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
fInheritResetBroken Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
fInheritSecurity Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
fInheritShadow Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
fLogonDisabled Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
fPromptForPassword Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
fReconnectSame Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
fResetBroken Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
fUseDefaultGina Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
InitialProgram Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
InputBufferLength Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 2048.
InteractiveDelay Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 50.
KeepAliveTimeout Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
KeyboardLayout Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
LanAdapter Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
MaxConnectionTime Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
MaxDisconnectionTime Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
MaxIdleTime Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
MaxInstanceCount Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of –1.
MinEncryptionLevel Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 2.
NWLogonServer Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
OutBufCount Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 6.
OutBufDelay Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 100.
OutBufLength Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 530.
Password Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
PdClass Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 2.
PdDLL Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of tdtcp.
PdFlag Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 78.
PdName Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of tcp.
PortNumber Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 3389.
Shadow Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 1.
TraceClass Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
TraceDebugger Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
TraceEnable Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 0.
Username Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
WdDLL Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of rdpwd.
WdFlag Holds a REG_DWORD value, with a default of 54.
WdName Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of Microsoft RDP 5.0 (for versions
prior to Windows XP) and 5.1 for Windows XP.
WdPrefix Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of RDP.
WFProfilePath Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
WorkDirectory Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
WsxDLL Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of rdpwsx.
The RDP-Tcp subkey also contains the subkey UserOverride. This subkey contains the
subkey Control Panel, which contains the subkey Desktop, which contains one value entry:
Wallpaper Holds a REG_SZ string, with a typical value of an empty string.
TimeZoneInformation
The TimeZoneInformation subkey contains information used to manage time, time zones, and
daylight time. Each entry is filled in from the time zone table contained in the subkey
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Time Zones.
Value entries contained in this subkey include:
ActiveTimeBias Specifies the number of minutes that local time is currently offset from
GMT (UTC) time. This includes DST (daylight saving time). Divide this value by 60 to
convert to hours.
Bias Specifies the number of minutes that local time is nominally offset from GMT (UTC)
time, ignoring DST. Divide this value by 60 to convert to hours.
DaylightBias Specifies the amount to change Bias to achieve ActiveTimeBias when DST is
in effect.
DaylightName Specifies the name of the time zone when DST is active; for example, eastern
daylight time.
DaylightStart A SYSTEMTIME structure indicating the start date for DST.
StandardBias Specifies the amount to change Bias to achieve ActiveTimeBias when DST is
not in effect. This value is typically 0.
StandardName Specifies the name of the time zone when DST is not active; for example,
eastern standard time.
StandardStart A SYSTEMTIME structure indicating the end date for DST.
Update
Update contains information about how to update policies, which are set using the Active
Directory system and MMC. Policies update the file config.pol, and this file's path is known.
When a user logs on, the user's computer policies are automatically updated.
The Update subkey contains up to four value entries:
NetworkPath Contains an empty string if UpdateMode is 1, or the network path to the
location of the update files if UpdateMode is 2.
UpdateMode Contains a DWORD value indicating the update mode. There are three values
allowed in UpdateMode:
0 Do not use policies for updates.
1 Automatic policy mode is in effect after validating the user on the domain.
2 Manual policy mode is in effect. The NetworkPath variable is required when using this
mode.
Verbose Allows the system to display error messages if Verbose = 1. The default does not
display error messages. The Verbose data value is not set by default.
LoadBalance Allows the system to balance loads if LoadBalance = 1. The default does not
display error messages. The LoadBalance data value is not set by default.
UsbFlags
Windows XP fully supports USB, and this object contains information about the current USB
configuration.
VirtualDeviceDrivers
Windows XP does not support VDDs (virtual device drivers). The subkey
VirtualDeviceDrivers contains any VDDs that are loaded in the VDM (Virtual DOS Machine)
when initialized. This subkey is for IHVs (independent hardware vendors) who find it
necessary to supply drivers for their hardware products.
There is a single value entry in VirtualDeviceDrivers: VDD, which contains a
REG_MULTI_SZ string. This string contains the names of any VDDs used by the VDM. By
default, this value is empty because there are no VDDs for Windows XP.
Note Windows XP does not support any 16-bit virtual device drivers. Applications that rely
on 16-bit virtual device drivers will fail.
WatchDog
A WatchDog is a method to determine whether a system has failed to respond. There is one
subobject in WatchDog, Display. Contained in Display are three data values,
DisableBugcheck, Shutdown, and ShutdownCount.
Windows
The Windows subkey contains some configuration information for Windows. Value entries
included in this subkey are:
CSDVersion The CSD (Microsoft's nomenclature for their service packs) status can be
determined from this subkey. In earlier versions of Windows NT (other than Windows NT 3.1
Advanced Server), CSDVersion was a string. However, Windows NT 4 used a DWORD
value. Windows 2000 changed back from REG_DWORD to REG_SZ, and it remains this
way in Windows XP. This object may not be found if no service packs have been applied.
Directory Includes a REG_EXPAND_SZ string containing the value %SystemRoot%.
ErrorMode May contain a value between 0 and 2:
0 The default mode that serializes errors and waits for a user response.
1 Nonsystem errors are considered normal and are not reported. The event log logs the system
errors. The user is given no error message.
2 Errors are logged to the event log, and no error message is given to the user.
NoInteractiveServices If set to 1, no interactive services are allowed.
ShellErrorMode Specifies the mode (see ErrorMode, above) for the shell.
ShutdownTime Specifies the time of the last shutdown.
SystemDirectory Includes a REG_EXPAND_SZ string containing the value
%SystemRoot%\System32.
WMI
WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) provides kernel-level debugging
instrumentation to Windows XP. A single subkey exists in WMI. This subkey, Security,
contains a REG_BINARY value with a name that is a CLSID.
WOW
WOW, or Windows on Windows, is the mode that allows legacy 16-bit applications to run on
32-bit versions of Windows. It uses a simple emulation of the Windows 3.x standard mode.
There are eight value entries in the WOW subkey:
cmdline Contains the command line used to start the WOW system.
DefaultSeparateVDM Specifies whether WOW is to allocate a default separate VDM
(Virtual DOS Machine).
KnownDLLs Contains a list of DLLs that the WOW VDM will load to provide compatibility
for non-Win32 applications.
LPT_timeout Specifies the time-out period for the printer port.
SharedWowTimeout Contains the time-out value of 3600.
size Contains the memory size allocated. A value of 0 means that the system used the default
size.
Wowcmdline Contains the command line used to start the WOW system, including any
parameters.
wowsize Specifies the amount of memory supplied to WOW applications. Released versions
of Windows automate this value, and changes should not be necessary. The default value is
16.
Enum
The Enum subkey represents the beginning of the hardware tree. Through the Enum key, any
subkey named Root (regardless of case) will represent enumerated devices.
Subkeys in this key include those discussed next.
DISPLAY
The DISPLAY subkey represents the display device, a.k.a. the monitor, attached to the
system. Generally, a generic monitor setting is all that is required.
FDC
The FDC subkey represents the floppy disk drive installed on the system. As with monitors,
floppy disk drives are rather generic.
HTREE
In Windows NT 4, HTREE was a complex object. In Windows 2000 and XP, HTREE
contains no data values and only a single subkey: ROOT. Within the ROOT key, again there
are no data values, only a single subkey named 0. This subkey contains one data value:
ConfigFlags Holds a REG_DWORD value of 32 (0x00000020).
IDE
New as of Windows 2000, the IDE object contains information about all IDE devices. For
example, on the machine I am using, there are two IDE CD-ROM drives and a single 18GB
IDE hard drive. There is information in the IDE key for each of these three devices.
Information is arranged with a key for each basic device and a subkey for each specific device
within the basic device.
For example, my two Matshita CD-ROM drives are attached to one of my IDE channels.
Under IDE, there is a subkey named CdRomMATSHITA_CD-ROM_CR-581M________________1.05____. Quite a name, isn't it? Under this subkey, there are two
additional subkeys, one for each drive:
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4&13b4afd&0&0.0.0
4&13b4afd&0&0.1.0
Notice that the only difference between those two subkeys is a single character.
ISAPNP
New as of Windows 2000, the ISAPNP object manages the ISA bus's PnP functionality. ISA
systems have a single key named ReadDataPort, used to receive information from the system
about PnP.
PCI
New as of Windows 2000, PCI is a subkey with information on each of the PCI bus adapters.
For example, one computer here has built-in PCI disk controllers, PCI-to-ISA and PCI-toUSB bridges, a PCI SCSI adapter, a PCI network interface card, and a PCI video adapter.
Each PCI device has a subkey containing information about the device.
PCI_HAL
New as of Windows 2000, the PCI_HAL object contains information about the actual PCI
bus. A computer could have more than one PCI bus; however, most will have one,
documented in this key.
PCIIDE
New as of Windows 2000, the PCIIDE object contains information about all IDE controllers.
Most modern computers have two IDE controllers (a primary and a secondary). Although
many times these devices are listed as one being attached to the ISA bus and one to the PCI
bus, oftentimes both are routed through the PCI bus (this allows for higher performance).
Root
The Root subkeys represent enumerators that Windows uses to hold information about the
device(s). Each device listed in AttachedComponents receives a subkey under the Root key.
On one of my Windows systems, this object contains the following entries. These entries vary
depending on the installed hardware.
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Root\*PNP0000
Root\*PNP0100
Root\*PNP0200
Root\*PNP030b
Root\*PNP0400
Root\*PNP0501
Root\*PNP0700
Root\*PNP0800
Root\*PNP0B00
Root\*PNP0C01
Root\*PNP0C02
Root\*PNP0C04
Root\*PNP0F03
Root\*PNPB003
Root\*PNPB02F
Root\dmio
Root\ftdisk
Root\LEGACY_CDFS
Root\LEGACY_DMBOOT
Root\LEGACY_DMLOAD
Root\LEGACY_FASTFAT
Root\LEGACY_MOUNTMGR
Root\LEGACY_NTFS
Root\LEGACY_PARTMGR
Root\LEGACY_REMOTEREGISTRY
Root\LEGACY_SNMP
Root\LEGACY_SNMPTRAP
Root\LEGACY_SYSMONLOG
Root\LEGACY_VGA
Root\MS_NDISWANBH
Root\PCI_HAL
Notice that not all devices are really hardware. Items such as virtual drivers are included in
the list.
These subkeys include information about each device. Devices that receive support from
Windows NT have additional information in the form of an extra subkey. An example, the
NIC (network interface card) in the computer is a 3Com 3C900 series, which is a PCI device
(actually, Plug and Play) that Windows NT is able to support.
Under Windows XP, the subkey for the 3C900 is Enum\Root\LEGACY_EL90X. Where'd the
EL90X come from? EL is short for EtherLink (3Com's terminology for their Ethernet cards).
The 90X is the designator for the 3C900 series, which contains a number of different devices
with varying speeds (10Mbps and 100Mbps) and connection form factors.
The LEGACY_EL90X subkey contains the following entries:
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HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Hardware Profiles\Current
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Hardware Profiles\0001
That's a mouthful, but it really says that there are three names for the same piece of
information.
Note Changes made in the Current subkey change the corresponding subkey in the currently
used configuration and vice versa.
SCSI
New as of Windows 2000, SCSI is a subkey with information on each of the SCSI devices
attached to the system. Some systems (many perhaps) do not have any SCSI devices. There is
a subkey for each attached SCSI device.
STORAGE
New as of Windows 2000, storage volumes allow Windows to very efficiently manage disk
resources. Each writeable storage device (hard disk drive) will have a subkey in the
STORAGE key. Within a device's key, there are two subkeys: Control and LogConf.
SW
New as of Windows 2000, SW is used with support for streaming protocols. Items in this
subkey could include:
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Microsoft Streaming Clock Proxy
Microsoft Streaming File System I/O
File System Reader
File System Writer
Microsoft Streaming Quality Manager Proxy
Microsoft Streaming RIFF Wave File Parser
RIFF Wave File Parser
Microsoft Streaming Service Proxy
Microsoft Streaming Tee/Sink-to-Sink Converter
Tee/Sink-to-Sink Converter
Microsoft Streaming Network Raw Channel Access
•
•
•
Raw Channel Access Capture/Render
WDM Streaming IOverlay Property Set Interface Handler
RAS Async Adapter
USB
New as of Windows 2000, USB (Universal Serial Bus) allows connecting, daisy-chain
fashion, various devices. Though acceptance of USB has been slow, it appears that the next
few years will bring a proliferation of USB devices, including keyboard, pointer, joystick, and
output devices.
Hardware Profiles
In Windows XP, the Hardware Profiles key contains information about the computer. This
information is used in HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG. In the Hardware Profiles key, there may
be one or more subkeys, each named with a number; there is also a subkey named Current.
For a further view of both this key and HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG, see the sections on
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG later in this chapter.
Windows maps the Current key to the currently used key, typically 0001. The
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG hive maps to the Current key. Changes made in Current are
reflected in the key it is mapped to and to HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG. The converse is also
true: changing HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG will change both Current and the hive Current
maps to.
Note We can assume that Microsoft has other plans for this key in the future. The naming of
the key is odd, but then again, we are dealing with Microsoft on this one.
A decidedly nonhardware object is also contained in the Hardware Profiles key: Software. A
single entry resides in the Software subkey: Internet Settings. The Internet Settings key
contains two value entries for controlling how the system connects to the Internet:
EnableAutodial Contains a DWORD value. If the value is 0x0, the system will not attempt to
auto-dial to connect to the Internet (or other remote host). If the value is 0x1, the system will
attempt to auto-dial when this is necessary to connect to the remote network.
ProxyEnable Contains a DWORD value. If the value is 0x0, the system will not use a proxy
server to connect to the Internet. If the value is 0x1, the system will use a proxy server to
connect to the Internet.
Services
The Services subkey contains information about the Windows XP services. The Services
applet in Administrative Tools manages the Services subkey.
A service is any Windows service, such as a device driver, the file system drivers, and so on.
Services can be started in several ways:
Automatic The service starts automatically when Windows starts.
Manual The service starts manually and not when Windows starts.
Disabled The service is disabled. The service cannot be started.
The Services subkey also contains devices listed in the Devices applet of the Control Panel.
Similar to a service, a device may have a number of different startup states:
Boot The device starts when the system boots, before any other devices.
System The device starts when the system boots, after the boot devices.
Automatic The device starts when the system boots, after the boot and system devices.
Manual The device starts manually; the system will not attempt to start the device
automatically.
Disabled A user cannot start the device.
Boot The device starts when the system boots.
When a service runs, it often must log on as a user. Choices for a service include logging on
as the system account or as a specific account. When logging on as a specific account, the
service is configured with the account name and password information.
Warning Be careful not to compromise system security by allowing a service to log on as a
privileged account and interact with the Desktop.
ControlSet001
ControlSet001 is the control set used to boot the computer during normal operations. If it fails
to boot for some reason, then ControlSet002 (or ControlSet003) will be used instead.
ControlSet002
Though object content may vary, ControlSet002 (or ControlSet003, if that is what your
computer has) is identical in structure to ControlSet001.
ControlSet002 is the backup control set and the Last Known Good control set.
DISK
While this key no longer exists in Windows XP, you'll find it in Windows 2000 and earlier
versions. The DISK key contains information about specific types of drives, such as CDROM drive letter mappings. In Windows 2000, the DISK key contains information about disk
configurations, such as fault-tolerant configurations (consisting of mirroring, stripe sets, stripe
sets with parity, and so on). DISK contains a single value entry, named Information, which
contains an undocumented REG_BINARY value.
Disk Administrator manages the information in the DISK key. In fact, this key doesn't even
exist until the first time a user runs Disk Administrator. Disk Administrator also makes
backups of this key. Start Disk Administrator and select Partition → Configuration Save. Disk
Administrator will then write the DISK key information to a floppy disk. It will not write to
any other device, such as a hard drive.
Disk Administrator writes the entire HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System key to a registry
export file. However, do not try reloading this file using anything other than Disk
Administrator, because another program may restore keys and values that are not up to date.
Mounted Devices
The Mounted Devices key contains information about drives, such as CD-ROM drive letter
mappings. In Windows XP, the Mounted Devices key contains information about volume
configurations and identifiers, as well as DOS configurations.
Select
The Select key contains information about which control set has been loaded by the system.
The following four value entries reside in this key:
Current Defines the currently used control set.
Default Defines the currently used control set, which is typically also the current control set.
Failed Lists a control set that has failed when the system was attempting to start.
LastKnownGood Specifies the control set that is accessed when a user requests the Last
Known Good control set from Windows at boot time.
Warning When Windows XP shuts down, Windows copies the current control set to the Last
Known Good control set. Be careful when attempting to boot the system that you do not
inadvertently overwrite your Last Known Good copy of the control set with a copy that
does not work correctly.
Setup
Setup contains information used by the system during the setup stage. This information is
contained in a number of value entries:
CmdLine Contains the command string to set up Windows. Typically, this command is setup
–newsetup.
NetcardDlls Contains the names for the drivers for the NIC.
OsLoaderPath Contains the path for the OS loader.
SetupType Has a value of 0, 1, or 4. These values indicate the following:
0 Setup has completed.
1 Windows is doing a new full install.
4 Windows is doing an upgrade.
SystemPartition A pointer to the system installation device. Typically, for SCSI systems, this
string will be \\Device\\Harddisk0\\Partition1. In Windows XP, the string is
\\Device\\HarddiskVolume.
SystemPrefix Used to determine the system type.
SystemSetupInProgress If the setup has not completed, the value in this entry is 0x1. Once
setup has completed, it contains the value 0x0.
uniqueid A unique directory name used during setup.
UpgradeInProgress This value is 0 unless an upgrade is in progress.
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG
The HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG hive is nothing more than an alias (or pointer) to the
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Hardware Profiles\Current key.
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG stores only items changed from the standard configuration
contained in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet. The most common
entries found in HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG are the entries under Services for the video
display. Windows 95 and Windows NT 4 introduced this object.
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG contains two subkeys, Software and System, discussed in the
next two sections.
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG\Software
The HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG\Software key contains some settings that you may want to
configure. Notice that there is no built-in methodology to edit or modify items in the Software
key—each application or system must manage these entries and provide the method for the
user to modify entries.
Under the Software key, Microsoft applications include a subkey named Microsoft. This
subkey contains only one entry on most systems: Windows. The Windows subkey includes a
subkey named CurrentVersion. Get the drift here? This structure
(HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion) is exactly the
same structure you find in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Hardware
Profiles\Current\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion. Both subkeys have
Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion. However, it is possible that other applications will have
subkeys under this key, as well. Do not count on the Microsoft subkey being the only one
present in HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG\Software; there may be others some day.
The Software key also contains a subkey called Internet Settings. In Windows XP, the path is
Software\Microsoft\windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings. There are two value entries in
this key:
EnableAutodial Contains a DWORD value. If the value is 0x0, then the system will not
attempt to auto-dial to connect to the Internet or any other remote host. If the value is 0x1,
then the system will attempt to auto-dial if necessary to connect to the remote network. This
object is only found on systems that use dial-up networking.
ProxyEnable Contains a DWORD value. If the value is 0x0, then the system will not use a
proxy server to connect to the Internet. If the value is 0x1, then the system will use a proxy
server to connect to the Internet.
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG\System
The HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG\System key contains objects that temporarily modify the
current control set. Microsoft chose to implement multiple hardware configurations this way,
rather than allowing users to modify the current control set on-the-fly, for reliability reasons.
Regardless of what happens to the system, Windows can be sure that the current control set is
representative for all users and configurations, and if changes must be implemented for a
specific configuration, these changes will be pointed to by HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG.
CurrentControlSet
The System key contains a subkey called CurrentControlSet. This subkey matches the
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet key in function. Remember: only
modifiers are present in HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG; therefore, if nothing in the
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet subkey needs modification, the
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG\System\CurrentControlSet classes will be empty.
The HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG\System\CurrentControlSet key contains three subkeys:
Control, Enum, and Services.
Control
In HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet, the Control subkey has a number
of value entries used for booting and system initialization, as well as about 30 subkeys. In
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG, the Control subkey is typically empty, unless it is necessary to
modify HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control based on a particular
configuration.
In HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG, the Control key may contain the following value entries:
RegistrySizeLimit If the user changes the registry size limit from the default value of 8MB,
RegistrySizeLimit will contain the maximum registry size, in bytes. Though users are only
able to set the registry size limit in megabytes, Windows will store the value as a DWORD
containing the maximum registry size in bytes.
SystemStartOptions This value contains options used during startup, passed from firmware
or the startup process (contained in boot.ini). Options might include debugging information
(such as a debugging port and the debugging port parameters) and perhaps information on the
system root directory.
WaitToKillService This value specifies the amount of time, in milliseconds, to wait before
killing a service when Windows is shutting down. If this value is too small, Windows may kill
the service before it has finished writing its data; if this value is too large, a hung service will
delay shutdown. It is best to leave the WaitToKillService value at its default value of 20000,
unless you know you are having a problem.
Control could also contain any of the subkeys found in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control.
Enum
The Enum subkeys represent the beginning of the hardware tree. Through the Enum key, any
subkey named Root (regardless of case) will represent devices enumerated using non-PnP
services.
Though HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG\System\ CurrentControlSet\Enum is typically empty,
it could contain the two subkeys HTREE and Root.
HTREE The HTREE subkey represents the hardware devices. There is a subkey under
HTREE called ROOT, and within ROOT, there is a subkey called 0. HTREE\ROOT\0
includes any devices that may be transient, such as a device contained within a docking
station. Similar to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\ CurrentControlSet\Control\Enum,
notice that not all devices are really hardware. The list includes items such as virtual drivers
and so on.
Root The Root subkeys represent enumerators used by Windows to hold information about
the device(s). Each device listed in AttachedComponents receives a subkey under the Root
key.
These subkeys contain information about each device. Devices that receive support from
Windows XP have extra information in the form of an additional subkey. For example, the
NIC (network interface card) in the computer is a 3Com 3C900, which is a PCI device
(actually, Plug and Play) that Windows is able to support.
Again, because HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG is used to modify
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\ CurrentControlSet\Enum\Root, only items that must be
changed on a temporary basis are included in HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG.
Services Services contains subkeys for each device changed from the default configuration.
Every system has at least one entry in this subkey for the video card. For example, consider
one computer that is running Windows XP Professional with an ARK chipset video adapter.
This device's parameters are stored in a subkey called ark, at
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG\System\ CurrentControlSet\Services\ark.
Your computer will have a similar subkey for its video card with virtually identical entries.
The name will be different. For example, if you have a Matrox Millennium video card, the
subkey's name will be mga_mil, not ark.
For video (specifically VGA) subkeys, typical entries include:
DefaultSettings.BitsPerPel Indicates the number of bits per pel (pixel); this will be a number
between 1 (indicating a monochrome system) and 32 (true-color systems).
DefaultSettings.Xresolution The resolution in the X plane (horizontal). Settings range from
640 to 1280 or more for very high resolution systems.
DefaultSettings.Yresolution The resolution in the Y plane (vertical). Settings range from 480
to 1024 or more for very high resolution systems.
DefaultSettings.Vrefresh The vertical refresh rate, which usually has a value between 20 and
100, with a typical value of about 70. This reflects the monitor's refresh rate, in Hz. If you
change this value, make sure the video adapter at the specified resolution supports the value
chosen. Oh, also realize that the Display Properties dialog box will probably change it back to
whatever it wants.
DefaultSettings.Flags This entry controls the specification of any device flags, as necessary.
DefaultSettings.Xpanning If the device supports hardware panning, this specifies the default
horizontal panning value.
DefaultSettings.YPanning If the device supports hardware panning, this is the default
vertical panning value.
Part V: Appendices
Appendix List
Appendix A: Common Hives and Keys
Appendix B: Registry Data Types
Appendix C: Where Can I Get More Help?
Appendix D: Performance Counters
Appendix E: Plug and Play Identifiers
Appendix A: Common Hives and Keys
In virtually all registries, there are a number of common entries. These entries, mostly for
basic system components, usually have either the same values or predictable values. Table
A.1 lists some common registry hives and keys.
Hive/Key
Table A.1: Common Registry Hives and Keys
Subkey
Description
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
All keys
The main system description
hive. This hive is critical to the
execution of Windows XP.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\Description\
All keys
Contains information on
installed hardware. This key is
created at boot time, though
Hive/Key
Table A.1: Common Registry Hives and Keys
Subkey
Description
some entries may be retained
from previous executions.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\Description\
System
Contains system device
information, excluding NIC
(network interface card) and
video devices.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\Description\
System\ CentralProcessor
Contains CPU information,
such as make, model, and
version.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\Description\
System\
FloatingPointProcessor
Contains floating point
processor data, such as make,
model, and version.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\Description\
System\
MultifunctionAdapter\2\
DiskController\0\
DiskPeripheral
Contains installed disk
controller information. Systems
may have one, two, or three
controllers in a typical
configuration: primary IDE,
secondary IDE, and SCSI.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\Description\
System\
MultifunctionAdapter\2\
KeyboardController
Contains keyboard controller
information at the hardware
level.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\Description\
System\
MultifunctionAdapter\2\
ParallelController
Contains printer (parallel) port
information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\Description\
System\
MultifunctionAdapter\2\
PointerController
Contains mouse port
information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\Description\
System\
MultifunctionAdapter\2\
SerialController
Contains information on
installed serial ports.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\Description\
System\ MultifunctionAdapter Contains information on device
classes, other than network and
disk.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\Description\
System\ PCMCIA PCCARDs
Contains information on
installed PCMCIA (PC Card)
devices.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\DeviceMap\
All keys
Contains basic device-mapping
and control information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\DeviceMap\
KeyboardClass
Contains keyboard devicemapping information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\DeviceMap\
KeyboardPort
Contains keyboard port
configuration information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
PARALLEL PORTS
Contains printer (parallel) port
Hive/Key
Table A.1: Common Registry Hives and Keys
Subkey
Description
Hardware\DeviceMap\
configuration information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\DeviceMap\
PointerClass
Contains mouse information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\DeviceMap\
PointerPort
Contains information on the
port (mouse port, PS/2 mouse
port, serial port, and so on) the
mouse (pointer) connects to.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\DeviceMap\
Scsi
Contains general disk interface
information on IDE and SCSI
devices.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\DeviceMap\
Scsi\Scsi Port 0
Contains information on the
first disk drive interface adapter
(although labeled as SCSI, this
may be an IDE device).
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\DeviceMap\
Scsi\Scsi Port 1
Contains information on the
second disk drive interface
adapter (although labeled as
SCSI, this may be an IDE
device).
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\DeviceMap\
SERIALCOMM
Contains information on serial
communications device
configurations.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\DeviceMap\
VIDEO
Contains video configuration
information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\ResourceMap\
All keys
Contains information on
(hardware) system mapping.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\ResourceMap\
Hardware Abstraction Layer\
PC Compatible Eisa\Isa HAL
Describes the system
configuration to Windows.
HALs exist for generic systems
and for computers that have
special hardware
configurations, such as
multiple processors or special
bus configurations.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\ResourceMap\
KeyboardPort\ PointerPort
Contains general
keyboard/mouse interface
information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\ResourceMap\
KeyboardPort\
PointerPort\msi8042prt
Contains mouse/keyboard
interface information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\ResourceMap\
LOADED PARALLEL
DRIVER RESOURCES
A description of currently
loaded printer (parallel) port
driver configurations.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
LOADED SERIAL DRIVER
A description of currently
Hive/Key
Table A.1: Common Registry Hives and Keys
Subkey
Description
Hardware\ResourceMap\
RESOURCES
loaded serial port driver
configurations.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\ResourceMap\
OtherDrivers
Contains general information
on devices not otherwise
classified.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\ResourceMap\
OtherDrivers\<NIC>
A description of the NIC.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\ResourceMap\
ScsiAdapter
Contains information about
SCSI and IDE adapters.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\ResourceMap\
ScsiAdapter\atapi
A description of the installed
IDE (ATAPI) disk interface.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\ResourceMap\
System Resources
Contains general information
on system resources.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\ResourceMap\
System Resources\Reserved
Contains reserved system
resources information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\ResourceMap\
System Resources\Physical
Memory
Contains system memory
resources information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\ResourceMap\
VIDEO
Contains information on video
configurations supported by the
system.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\ResourceMap\
VIDEO\chips
Contains information on the
installed VGA adapter for the
Chips & Technology VGA
system.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\ResourceMap\
VIDEO\VgaSave
Contains information on the
originally installed VGA video
system, generally a generic
VGA system.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Hardware\ResourceMap\
VIDEO\VgaStart
Contains information on the
VGA driver used to start the
system.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM
The SAM subkey. Usually
protected from user browsing
and modification. (Yes, the key
is named SAM\SAM.)
In Windows 2000 and
Windows XP domains using
Active Directory, SAM is not
used.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Account\
Aliases
Contains SAM alias
information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\Domains\Account\
Contains member alias
Hive/Key
Table A.1: Common Registry Hives and Keys
Subkey
Description
SAM\
Aliases\Members
information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Account\
Aliases\Names
Contains domain name alias
information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Account\
Groups
Contains Groups information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Account\
Groups\ Names
Contains group name
information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Account\ Users Contains specific user
information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Account\
Users\Names
Contains user name
information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Account\
Users\Names\Administrator
Contains user administrator
information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Account\
Users\Names\Guest
Contains user guest
information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Builtin\
Aliases\Members\ S-1-5-21xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Contains information on builtin users: Administrator and
Guest.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Builtin\
Aliases\Members\ S-1-5-21xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx\000001F4
Contains information on the
built-in user: Administrator.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Builtin\
Aliases\Members\ S-1-5-21xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx–
xxxxxxxxxx\000001F5
Contains built-in user
information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Builtin\
Aliases\Members\ S-1-5-21xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx–
xxxxxxxxxx
Contains Domain Groups
information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Builtin\
Aliases\Members\ S-1-5-21xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx\00000200
Contains Domain Admins
group information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Builtin\
Aliases\Members\ S-1-5-21xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx\00000201
Contains Domain Users group
information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Builtin\
Aliases\Members
Contains member alias
information for user groups.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\Domains\Builtin\
Contains member alias
Hive/Key
Table A.1: Common Registry Hives and Keys
Subkey
Description
SAM\
Aliases\Names\Administrators information for Administrators.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Builtin\
Aliases\Names\Backup
Operators
Contains member alias
information for Backup
Operators (users who perform
system backups).
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Builtin\
Aliases\Names\Guests
Contains member alias
information for Domain
Guests.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Builtin\
Aliases\Names\Power Users
Contains member alias
information for Power Users.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Builtin\
Aliases\Names\Replicator
Contains member alias
information for the Replicator
account.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\Domains\Builtin\
Aliases\Names\Users
Contains member alias
information for Domain Users.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SAM\
SAM\RXACT
The SAM RXACT key. Used
by the registry transaction
package, there are a number of
RXACT keys located in the
registry. Typically these keys
contain nothing.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Security\
All keys
The protected Windows
security key.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Software\
All keys
Contains information about
installed user and system
software.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Software\
Classes
Contains information about
extensions and the usage of file
types.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Software\
Classes\*
Contains information about
files in general—that is, files
that are not otherwise
classified.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Software\
Classes\CLSID
Contains information about
CLSID (class ID) assignments.
Almost all applications, and
those that support OLE, have a
CLSID.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Software\
Classes\Interface
Contains information about
OLE interface assignments.
Almost all applications that
support OLE have an OLE
interface.
Hive/Key
Table A.1: Common Registry Hives and Keys
Subkey
Description
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Software\
Description
Contains information about
RPC objects and
configurations.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Software\
Windows NT\CurrentVersion
Contains information on the
currently installed version of
Windows.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Software\
Program Groups
Contains information on
program groups as used by
Program Manager.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Software\
Secure
Contains security information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
Software\
Windows 3.1 Migration Status Contains information on
migration from Windows NT
3.x to Windows NT 4/2000/XP.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
System\ControlSet001\
All keys
The control set used to manage
system resources.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
System\ControlSet002\
All keys
Backup control sets are
numbered 002, 003, 004, and
so on. Typically, there will
only be two control sets.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
System\ControlSet003\
All keys
Backup control sets are
numbered 002, 003, 004, and
so on. Typically, there will
only be two control sets.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
System\ControlSet004\
All keys
Backup control sets are
numbered 002, 003, 004, and
so on. Typically, there will
only be two control sets.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
System\CurrentControlSet\
All keys
The current control set is
mapped to the control set used
for starting the computer.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
System\CurrentControlSet\
Control\
BootVerificationProgram
That program used to verify
that the system booted
correctly.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
System\CurrentControlSet\
Control\Class
Contains information about
CLSIDs (OLE).
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
System\CurrentControlSet\
Control\ComputerName\
ActiveComputerName
Holds the computer's current
name.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
System\CurrentControlSet\
Control\ComputerName\
ComputerName
Holds the computer's name.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
System\CurrentControlSet\
Control\CrashControl
Determines events when/if the
system fails.
Hive/Key
Table A.1: Common Registry Hives and Keys
Subkey
Description
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
System\CurrentControlSet\
Control\FileSystem
A description of the system file
system (FAT or NTFS).
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
System\Disk\
All keys
A description of the system
disk.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
System\Select\
All keys
A description of the control set
used.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
System\Setup\
All keys
A description of the system
setup state.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
System\
All keys
A description of the system.
HKEY_USERS\
All keys
Contains general user
information.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
All keys
The default user active when
no other user is logged on. All
information in .DEFAULT
would also be found for
specific users.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
AppEvents\EventLabels
Event labels are used to notify
users (with sound) when events
happen.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
AppEvents\Schemes
Schemes are used to apply
which sounds are used for
events.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
AppEvents
Contains application events,
such as Startup, Document
Open, and so on.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Console
The system's command prompt
for Windows configuration.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel
The System Control Panel used
to configure Windows.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel\Accessibility
The Control Panel's
Accessibility applet.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel\Appearance
The Control Panel's
Appearance applet.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel\Colors
The Control Panel's Colors
applet.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel\Current
The Control Panel's Current
applet.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel\Custom Colors
The Control Panel's Custom
Colors applet.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel\Desktop
The Control Panel's Desktop
applet.
Hive/Key
Table A.1: Common Registry Hives and Keys
Subkey
Description
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel\International
The Control Panel's
International applet.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel\IOProcs
The Control Panel's I/O
Processes applet.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel\Keyboard
The Control Panel's Keyboard
applet.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel\MMCPL
The Control Panel's MMCPL
applet.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel\Mouse
The Control Panel's Mouse
applet.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel\Patterns
The Control Panel's Patterns
applet.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel\Screen Saver
.3DFlyingObj
The Control Panel's Screen
Saver.3DFlyingObj saved
configuration.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel\Screen Saver
.3DPipes
The Control Panel's Screen
Saver.3DPipes saved
configuration.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel\Screen Saver
.Bezier
The Control Panel's Screen
Saver.Bezier saved
configuration.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel\Screen
Saver.Marquee
The Control Panel's Screen
Saver.Marquee saved
configuration.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel\Screen
Saver.Mystify
The Control Panel's Screen
Saver.Mystify saved
configuration.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel\Screen
Saver.Stars
The Control Panel's Screen
Saver.Stars saved
configuration.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Control Panel\Sound
The Control Panel's Sound
applet.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Environment
Contains definitions of
environment variables, used
with both Windows and
command prompts.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Keyboard Layout
The keyboard layouts for NLS
(National Language Support).
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Software\Microsoft\ Windows Contains configurations for the
Help
Windows help system.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Software\Microsoft\ Windows Contains the Windows current
NT\CurrentVersion
software configurations.
Hive/Key
Table A.1: Common Registry Hives and Keys
Subkey
Description
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Software\Microsoft\ Windows Contains configurations of
NT\CurrentVersion\Devices
software drivers for hardware.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Software\Microsoft\ Windows Contains Windows
NT
configuration items.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Software\Microsoft\
Windows\CurrentVersion
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Software\Microsoft\ Windows Contains general information
about Windows.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Software\Microsoft
Contains information about
Microsoft components and
software.
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
Software
Contains software
configurations (as compared to
hardware configurations).
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\
UNICODE Program Groups
Unused on most systems.
HKEY_USERS\<SID>\
All keys
Contains information for
specific users as identified by
<SID>.
HKEY_USERS\<SID>\
AppEvents\EventLabels\
.Default
Contains information regarding
application event labels, as in
.DEFAULT.
HKEY_USERS\
<SID>_Classes\
<None>
New as of Windows 2000, this
key contains no usable
information.
Contains Windows
configuration items.
Appendix B: Registry Data Types
Overview
A value entry in the registry can contain data in different formats. All registry data is stored in
binary format, along with a value indicating the data's actual type. There are potentially
hundreds of types of data that can be stored in the registry; however, Windows only uses
fewer than 20 of these types. These types are classed as:
Common data types These are supported and edited by RegEdit and most other registry
tools.
Windows XP–specific data types These are supported and edited by RegEdit and some other
registry tools.
Special and component/application-specific data types These are both supported and
unsupported by registry tools, but cannot usually be edited by users, except as binary data.
Keep in mind that registry editors actually allow the editing of all unsupported data types,
including data types that display as REG_UNKNOWN. However, editing is done in binary
mode, requiring the user to have intimate knowledge of the data object's contents.
The Data Types
If you find it necessary to modify the registry, it's important that you understand each data
type, how data is stored for each data type, and so on. Much of the information about the
default registry data types is contained in the file WinNT.h, as included in the Microsoft
Windows SDK (Software Development Kit). The registry data types are described in Table
B.1.
Type
Table B.1: Known Registry Data Types
Data Type Size
Index (If
Known)
Description
REG_BINARY
3
0 or more
bytes
A binary object that
may contain any
data
REG_COLOR_RGB
[*]
4 bytes
A color description
REG_DWORD
4
4 bytes
A DWORD (32-bit)
value
REG_DWORD_BIG_ENDIAN
5
4 bytes
A 32-bit value stored
in reverse order of a
DWORD value
REG_DWORD_LITTLE_ENDIAN
4
4 bytes
A DWORD (32-bit)
value
REG_EXPAND_SZ
2
0 or more
bytes
A string with an
optional
environment
substitution
placeholder
REG_FILE_NAME
[*]
0 or more
bytes
A filename
REG_FILE_TIME
[*]
Unknown
A file time
REG_FULL_RESOURCE_DESCRIPTOR
9
Varies
with
contents
A list of hardware
resources
REG_LINK
6
0 or more
bytes
A Unicode string
naming a symbolic
link
REG_MULTI_SZ
7
0 or more
bytes
A collection of
Unicode strings,
each separated by a
null character, with
the final string
Type
Table B.1: Known Registry Data Types
Data Type Size
Index (If
Known)
Description
terminated with two
null characters
REG_NONE
0
Unknown
A data object with a
defined type of
REG_NONE for
data that needn't be
otherwise classified;
different from
REG_UNKNOWN
REG_QWORD
11
8 bytes
Twice the size of a
REG _DWORD; a
64-bit integer
variable
REG_QWORD_LITTLE_ENDIAN
11
8 bytes
The same as a
REG_QWORD in
size and format
REG_RESOURCE_LIST
8
Varies
with
contents
A list of resources
used for a device
REG_RESOURCE_REQUIREMENTS_LIST 10
Varies
with
contents
A list of resources
required by a driver
REG_SZ
1
0 or more
bytes
A string terminated
with a null
REG_UNKNOWN
(Undefined) Unknown
[*]
An object whose
type cannot be
determined because
the data type index is
not valid
At this time, these object types appear to be unsupported by Windows XP.
Now, to determine what type a particular object is, the registry stores a data type index value
that indicates the data type of the object. For instance, a REG_SZ object has a data type index
of 1. For those objects in Table B.1 without a data type index value, Windows will list them
with a type that is equal to their hexadecimal value.
Oh, there is always the possibility that some additional data types will be added as Windows
XP matures.
Tip Look in a RegEdit .reg file, and you will see many instances of hex(n) where n is a
number, typically between 0x0 and 0xFF. This number is the object's data type. This
allows RegEdit to import (and export) registry data without having to know the data
format.
The following sections describe the compatibility of each data type.
REG_BINARY
REG_BINARY holds binary data. It is compatible with RegEdit.
REG_BINARY is the most basic data type used in the registry. Windows is able to express
every registry data type in REG_BINARY form, although this can be very inconvenient.
Windows saves a binary object in the registry as a length and a series of bytes. When a
REG_BINARY object is stored in the registry, the length parameter is preserved. However,
the user is unable to change the length parameter except by changing the object's actual size.
REG_COLOR_RGB
REG_COLOR_RGB holds color definition. It is compatible with RegEdt32 (from earlier
versions of Windows).
REG_COLOR_RGB holds an RGB color index, which may be displayed by RegEdt32. None
of the registry tools is able to create a REG_COLOR_RGB data object, and it cannot be
determined whether Windows XP or any component supports this object type.
Future versions of Windows may support this object type. However, there is currently no
support for the REG_COLOR_RGB object.
REG_DWORD
REG_DWORD holds a 32-bit number (that's 4 bytes, folks, no more, no fewer) expressed in
either decimal or hexadecimal. REG_DWORD is compatible with all registry tools.
Like REG_BINARY, the REG_DWORD type is a basic data type for registry value entries.
REG_DWORD_BIG_ENDIAN
REG_DWORD_BIG_ENDIAN holds a DWORD value. REG_DWORD_BIG_ENDIAN is
compatible with custom-written registry tools. The original Windows NT 4 Resource Kit's
RegChg program worked with this registry data type.
Different computers store numbers in memory in different orders. Two orders are used: big
endian and little endian. The Intel processor stores numbers in little endian format.
In the big endian format, the 4 bytes of a DWORD value are stored with the highest-order
byte at the highest address and the lowest-order byte at the lowest address. See Table B.2 for
an example of how the value 0x12345678 (in decimal that's 305419896) would be stored at
memory address 0x5.
Address
Table B.2: A DWORD Value Stored in Big Endian Format
Value
Address
Table B.2: A DWORD Value Stored in Big Endian Format
Value
0x5
12
0x6
34
0x7
56
0x8
78
REG_DWORD_LITTLE_ENDIAN
REG_DWORD_LITTLE_ENDIAN holds a DWORD value. REG_DWORD_LITTLE_
ENDIAN is compatible with RegEdit. (Note that this data type is typically treated as
REG_DWORD.)
In the little endian format, the 4 bytes of a DWORD value are stored with the highest-order
byte at the lowest address and the lowest-order byte at the highest address. Table B.3 shows
an example of the value 0x12345678 (in decimal that's 305419896) stored at memory address
0x5.
Address
Table B.3: A DWORD Value Stored in Little Endian Format
Value
0x5
78
0x6
56
0x7
34
0x8
12
Windows runs on computers that store numbers in little endian format. Some operating
systems are designed for big endian computers. When an operating system is designed for a
different endian than what the hardware supports, the operating system will convert as
necessary.
Tip Endian is a hardware issue, generally. The importance of knowing how numbers are
stored in memory is usually only important when transferring data between two different
types of computers. Therefore, it is generally unnecessary for users to consider endian
issues. The only time that endian format becomes important is when you are transferring
data between two dissimilar computer systems using raw binary transfer methods. Since
virtually all transfer methods (including data transfers over the Internet) do not use raw
binary transfers, it's rarely an issue.
In all cases, the Windows XP registry treats REG_DWORD_LITTLE_ENDIAN as a
REG_DWORD type. There is no real difference between these two types in the Windows XP
registry.
REG_EXPAND_SZ
The REG_EXPAND_SZ data object contains a single string terminated with a null; a null is a
character whose value is zero. The REG_EXPAND_SZ data object is compatible with
RegEdit and all other registry tools. This string may contain one or more unexpanded
environment variables.
There are many examples of REG_EXPAND_SZ in the registry, most of which are references
to files accessed from the environment variables %SystemRoot%, %SystemDrive%, and
%Path%.
Windows substitutes environment variables when percent (%) signs surround the name. In a
command-prompt window, the command SET displays a list of all the current environment
variables. These environment variables (with surrounding percent signs) are also used from
command prompts or in batch files. In the next example, lines that I typed are in bold; the
lines starting with REM are comments:
Windows 18:05:31 C:\TEMP
REM–display the contents of the environment variable SystemRoot
Windows 18:05:32 C:\TEMP
set systemroot
SystemRoot=C:\WINNT40
Windows 18:05:34 C:\TEMP
REM–Use the environment vari