Windows Server Troubleshooting - Registry Editor

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The Registry is organized in a tree structured hierarchy similar to the file system. The file system has folders, subfolders, file names, file types, and files. The Registry has keys, subkeys, values, REG types, and data. The Registry Editor shows this structure and provides an interface for making changes. Each value has 3 parts as follows.

Part Example  
Name SystemStartOptions  
Type REG_SZ
REG_BINARY
REG_DWORD
REG_MULTI_SZ
REG_EXPAND_SZ
String with internal Zero termination
Binary hexadecimal
Double word hexadecimal
Multiple string entries
Expandable string usually contains environment variable
Data FASTDETECT  

If the data type is wrong, then the configuration will be misinterpreted, misused, ignored, or rejected.

Registry terminology is shown in the following dialog.

RegEdit Features

Windows 2000 and NT had two registry editor programs. All features have now been combined in one program. Some of the valuable features that were missing in old versions are as follows.

  • Load and unload hives for another computer or another user. When the hive is loaded it can be modified or fixed if it is damaged.
  • Configure permissions and auditing
  • Search for keys, values, or data

Keyboard Exercise

Caution! Inappropriate changes to the Registry will cause your system to behave in unexpected ways and my prevent it from starting. 

Let's create a key and value in the Registry using RegEdit. Although these entries will be ignored, it will give us some experience with RegEdit.  Start RegEdit and select the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE. Create a new key called MyOwnStuff. Select this key and create a new String Value called MyOwnConfiguration and set the data to "Hello".