The Windows Registry is a critical component of Microsoft Windows operating system, containing information that controls how the computer functions. The registry is divided into several main areas, each with their own purpose or role in the system. Understanding these key areas and what they contain is important for managing Windows performance and troubleshooting any problems.
1. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (HKLM): This key contains configuration data for all hardware, as well as system-wide settings that applies to all users. The information stored here includes device driver settings, currently loaded programs, and network connection settings.
2. HKEY_CURRENT_USER (HKCU): This area contains all of the settings for the current user only, such as screen resolution, installed printers, and desktop wallpaper.
3. HKEY_USERS (HKU): This key stores configuration settings that are specific to each user account on the system, such as application settings and network passwords. It also contains a backup copy of the HKCU settings, so that settings can be restored if there is a problem.
4. HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT (HKCR): This area holds information about file types and how they interact with applications, such as which application should open when a particular type of document is double-clicked.
5. HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG (HKCC): This key contains settings that are specific to the current hardware configuration, such as printer settings and options for power management.
6. Software: This area contains information about installed software applications and the paths to their files and other settings. Configuration settings for these applications are also stored here.
7. Security: This key is responsible for maintaining user security settings and access rights. It also includes settings for disabled user accounts, audit policies, and user rights assignments.
8. System: This area stores various system-level settings, such as start-up and shutdown options, device drivers, and the Control Panel.
9. DEFAULT: This key stores the default values for new keys and subkeys.
10. SAM: This key holds local user account information, including username and password hashes.
These are the main registry areas to be aware of when managing or troubleshooting Windows systems. Knowing what each area contains and how they interact can help you identify and resolve problems quickly and effectively.