The solutions in the rest of this chapter will show you how to use the Windows Registry: how to find keys, how to automate changes, how to back up, and more. Use these techniques throughout the rest of the book, whether you're just playing around or trying to solve a problem.
Note that there are a few programs designed to make working with the Registry and its settings easier. For instance:
The options in this little Microsoft add-on make certain Windows settings more accessible, settings that would otherwise require editing the Registry. Note that the version of TweakUI used with older versions of Windows should not be used in Windows XP. TweakUI is available directly from Microsoft, as well as from http://www.annoyances.org. See Appendix A for a list of TweakUI settings, arranged by task.
This collection of tools for Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Me includes a bunch of settings, utilities, and context-menu add-ons that aren't otherwise possible with simple changes to the Registry. Among other things, a tool allowing you to search and replace in the Registry is included.
Taking a few minutes to make sure you have a good backup of your Registry now will save you hours of headaches later. But backing up the files that contain your Registry data (called hives) can be tricky.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE are, essentially, the
only true root keys, because the Registry's three other root keys are ...