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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Windows 2000 Registry

Windows 2000 stores its configuration information in a database called the Registry. The Registry contains information for users, system hardware, software, and other settings. Windows constantly references the Registry during its operation. You can edit the Registry in order to alter your OS in some fashion. For example, to run a program at startup you could add the string programname.exe to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Run. Incorrectly editing the Registry can severely damage your system. If you do damage your system, you might be able to repair the Registry or restore it to the same version you were using when you last successfully started your computer. You can resort to reinstalling Windows if it is damaged beyond repair, but you might lose any changes that have been made.


Incorrectly editing the Registry can severely damage your system.

The Registry is organized hierarchically as a tree made up of keys, subkeys, hives, and value entries. There are three types of values: String, Binary, and DWORD. There are two Registry editors included with Windows 2000: Regedt32 and Rededit. In Regedit the keys have icons similar to the folder icons in windows. With Regedt32 you can set the security for Registry keys. Also in Regedt32 you can view or edit the value data types REG_EXPAND_SZ and REG_MULTI_SZ. With both Regedit and Regedt32 you can edit the Registry of other computers on the network if you have administrative rights and the Remote Registry Service is running on the other computer.


  • PC-compatible desktop/tower computer system with Windows 2000 installed


In this lab you will use Regedit to change some basic colors on the computer. You will edit the string My Computer\HKEY_USERS\45 CHARACTER\Control Panel\Colors\Menu, where 45 CHARACTER is a unique identification number assigned to the user. There should be only one registered user on the computer, the Administrator. The Menu string is 212 208 200 (Gray) by default. For this Registry string there are three numbers that range from 0 to 255. They represent a value in their respective color: red, green, or blue. Four basic colors are listed in Figure 3.20 as an example.

Figure 3.20Figure 3.20 Basic colors.

  1. Edit a string.

    1. Boot to the Windows 2000 desktop.

    2. Start Microsoft Registry Editor by clicking Start, Run. Type regedit and click OK.

    3. You will see a window similar to Figure 3.21. Expand HKEY_USERS by clicking the plus (+) sign next to its icon.

    4. Figure 3.21Figure 3.21 The Regedit.exe registry utility.

    5. Expand the first 45 CHARACTER key. It could be s-1-5-127520070-1808537768-1060284298-500 for example.

    6. Expand the CONTROL PANEL key.

    7. Click the COLORS key.

    8. In the righthand window look for the string value Menu and record its type in Table 3.30.

    9. table 3.30Table 3.30

    10. Double-click the Menu string. Your screen should look similar to Figure 3.22.

    11. Figure 3.22Figure 3.22 Editing a string.

    12. Record the value data in Table 3.31.

    13. table 3.31Table 3.31

    14. Enter 0 255 0 for the Value data, and click OK.

    15. Close the Registry Editor and restart the computer.

  2. View the results.

    1. When the computer has restarted to Windows, click the Start menu.

    2. Record your observations in Table 3.32.

    3. table 3.32Table 3.32

    4. Right-click the desktop and select Properties.

    5. Click the Appearance tab.

    6. Under the Item drop-down menu select Menu.

    7. To the right of the drop-down menu is a field called Color. Click it and then click Other.

    8. You will see a window similar to Figure 3.23. Record the Red, Green, and Blue values in Table 3.33.

    9. Figure 3.23Figure 3.23 Menu color properties.

      table 3.33Table 3.33

    10. Enter 212 for the Red value.

    11. Enter 208 for the Green value.

    12. Enter 200 for the Blue value.

    13. Click OK to close the Color Properties.

    14. Click OK to close the Display Properties window.

    15. Restart the computer.

  3. View the Registry string value.

    1. When the computer has restarted, start the Registry Editor and browse to the Menu string as in steps 1a–f.

    2. Double-click the Menu string as before.

    3. Record your observations about the value of the string in Table 3.34.

    4. table 3.34Table 3.34

    5. Close the Edit String window.

  4. Export the Registry.

    1. In the menu bar, click the Registry menu and then select Export Registry. You will see a window similar to Figure 3.24.

    2. Figure 3.24Figure 3.24 The Export Registry File dialog.

    3. Under Export range click the All radio button.

    4. In the Save In box confirm that the default location is MY DOCUMENTS. If it is not, change the default location to MY DOCUMENTS.

    5. In the File Name box enter sample registry export for the filename and click Save.

    6. After a few moments the Registry files will be exported to MYDOCUMENTS. Close the Registry Editor.

    7. From the Windows desktop, double-click the My Documents icon.

    8. Right-click the sample registry export and click Properties.

    9. Enter its size in Table 3.35.

    10. table 3.35Table 3.35

    11. Close all windows.

What Did I Just Learn?

An important part of the Windows operating system is the Registry. If mishandled, editing the Registry can cause system instability or render the OS inoperable. Care must always be taken when working in the Registry. In this section, you learned how to modify the Registry as well as export the Registry. You practiced the skills needed to

  • Use RegEdit to change a string

  • Export the Registry and view its size

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