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Troubleshooting and Configuring the Windows NT/95 Registry

div.main {margin-left: 20pt; margin-right: 20pt} Troubleshooting and Configuring the Windows NT/95 Registry


I am amazed every day at the amount of work it takes to produce a book like this. I am grateful for the tremendous work of Kim Spilker, Brian Proffitt, Brice Gosnell, Patty Brooks, and Margaret Bersen at Sams Publishing, the technical editor Toby Tapp, and many others whose names I do not know. Without their help, I would be lost. I appreciate their boundless patience, their enormous effort, and their unwavering faith in me.

I am grateful to my friends at Mastering Computers, who gave me the opportunity to work with Windows NT, and the countless doors they have opened for me. I would particularly like to thank Chris, Frank, Dan, Lorrin, and Aaron for making learning more exciting, and for all their encouragement, friendship, and help, particularly with tips about System Policy Editor. I would also like to thank Kristen, Dave, Laurie, and Brittany for making the road more fun.

But mostly, I am grateful for my sweet wife, Kimbrey, who loves me in spite of me, who puts up with all my crazy hours and ideas, and waits until I leave to shake her head at the zany things I do. She spends all I earn, but gives to me more than I could ever express. To her, I am forever indebted. About the Author

Clayton Johnson has been working with computers since 1983, and teaching about them since 1985. He has worked at all levels of the computer business from retail to manufacturing, with an emphasis on training. Since starting to teach seminars in 1991, he has taught over 900 seminars (and still counting). His seminars have taken him throughout the world, and his companies have had offices in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

He has written and published three other books, The Windows NT Registry, Trainers Hot Tips for WordPerfect 5.1, and Trainers Hot Tips for WordPerfect 6.0, and is currently a contributor to Windows NT Magazine. He has also written 16 seminars on topics ranging from basic computer skills to WordPerfect to Microsoft Office to hardware troubleshooting to Windows NT.

His current company, Tip City, is dedicated to creating and producing innovative training materials for the corporate environment where conventional seminars, videotapes, and CDs may not meet the training needs of the organization. Feel free to contact Clayton via e-mail at claytonj@registrymasters.com or visit his Web site for more Registry hints and tips at www.registrymasters.com. Tell Us What You Think!

As a reader, you are the most important critic and commentator of our books. We value your opinion and want to know what we're doing right, what we could do better, what areas you'd like to see us publish in, and any other words of wisdom you're willing to pass our way. You can help us make strong books that meet your needs and give you the computer guidance you require.

Do you have access to CompuServe or the World Wide Web? Then check out our CompuServe forum by typing GO SAMS at any prompt. If you prefer the World Wide Web, check out our site at http://www.mcp.com.

NOTE: If you have a technical question about this book, call the technical support line at 317-581-3833.

As the publishing manager of the group that created this book, I welcome your comments. You can fax, e-mail, or write me directly to let me know what you did or didn't like about this book--as well as what we can do to make our books stronger. Here's the information:

Fax: 317-581-4669

E-mail: opsys_mgr@sams.samspublishing.com

Mail: Dean Miller Sams Publishing
201 W. 103rd Street Indianapolis, IN 46290

This book is designed to give administrators the tools they need to effectively manage, troubleshoot, and configure the Registry for both Windows NT and Windows 95 systems. Other books focus on the technical and programming aspects, which have limited value to the administrator needing to help the organization's users. This book is not really designed for programmers. It is designed for administrators and users to allow them to understand, use, and optimize the Registry. With this book, you will get the level of technical information required to administer all the systems in your organization.

Windows NT and Windows 95 Registries are both covered in Troubleshooting and Configuring the Windows NT/95 Registry. There are some differences, and even more similarities. The Windows NT Registry is not "compatible" with the Registry from Windows 95, and there is no easy upgrade from one to the other. The differences are based on feature differences, file structure, and locations of entries.

With such a difference, why have one book that covers both? The use, editing, and policies for both are almost exactly the same. As an administrator, nearly everything we do with the Registry is exactly the same in both NT 4.0 and 95. With the proliferation of Windows NT and Windows 95, you may have a combination of systems in your organization that includes both types of systems. The release of NT 4.0 brought the interface in line with Windows 95, and the user-level functions are almost identical. Virtually all of the things that are different between the two Registries are based on the differences in the file structure.

The file structure for the NT Registry is UNICODE, and the file structure for the 95 Registry is ASCII. This allows security features to be implemented for the NT Registry that are not available for the 95 Registry. So, even if the content and the locations were exactly the same, the two Registries still would not be compatible. How to Read This Book

Obviously, you could read this book from cover to cover and learn nearly everything there is to know about the Registry. Alternatively, you can focus on information specific to NT or specific to 95. For a quick look at the common functions, see Table Intro.1. Table Intro.2 lists the functions, by chapter, that are specific to Windows NT, and Table Intro.3 lists the Windows 95-specific functions by chapter.

Table Intro.1. Common Registry functions.
Function Chapter Number
The Role of the Registry


Registry Files


Registry Problems


Automatic Changes to the Registry


Making Manual Changes to the Registry


Using REGEDIT.EXE Remote Registry Editing


How the Registry Controls Hardware


Troubleshooting and Configuring
Hardware Registry Settings


Q&A for Hardware and the Registry


How the Registry Controls
Windows Networking


Troubleshooting and Configuring
Networking Registry Settings


Q&A for Networking and the Registry


How the Registry Controls Windows Users


Troubleshooting and Configuring User
Registry Settings


Q&A for Users and the Registry


System Policy Editor: Understanding


Policy Files
System Policy Editor: Understanding
Template Files


Managing the Local Registry
with System Policy Editor


Creating Custom Policies


Table Intro.2. Windows NT-specific functions.
Function Chapter Number
Protecting the NT Registry


Recovering from an NT Registry Failure


Making Manual Changes to the Registry


Windows NT and the HAL


Windows NT Networking and the Registry


Windows NT 4.0 Users and the Registry


Windows NT 3.51 Users and the Registry


Managing Domain Computers with System
Policy Editor


Managing Domain Users with System
Policy Editor


Cloning Windows NT


Table Intro.3. Windows 95-specific functions.

Chapter Number

Protecting the Windows 95 Registry


Recovering from a Windows 95 Registry


Windows 95 and Plug and Play


Windows 95 Networking and the Registry


Windows 95 Users and the Registry


Managing Windows 95 Users with System
Policy Editor


Cloning Windows 95


Sneak Peek at the Sections of the Book

The book is separated into sections that group common functions together. As an alternative to learning all the Windows 95 functions, for example, you could focus your efforts on System Policy Editor, in Part VII, "Advanced Registry Management." Whichever way you choose, there is much to learn and use in your organization.

Part I, "Registry Basics," gives the necessary information to get you started in understanding the Registry. What the Registry does, how it is organized, where the data is stored, and the terminology is discussed in detail.

Part II, "Protecting the Registry," gives hints, techniques, and step-by-step instructions so you can protect the Registries of your systems in your organization. The Registry can be fragile, and can easily be corrupted. Use the information in this section to ensure your Registries are secure.

Part III, "Making Changes to the Registry," explains and illustrates how the Registry is changed. Control Panel functions and the Registry editors are discussed in detail, allowing you to make the necessary changes to keep your system up to date and working in the optimum way.

Part IV, "Hardware Control and the Registry," focuses on the settings required to effectively control the hardware in your systems. Specific emphasis is placed on problem solving and troubleshooting, so that you can fix the hardware configuration problems that you are having.

Part V, "Networking Control and the Registry," is designed so you can control and troubleshoot networking challenges with NT and 95. Again, specific emphasis is placed on problem solving and troubleshooting, with network connectivity and configuration as major areas of concentration.

Part VI, "User Control and the Registry," will help you solve interface and usage problems that your users are having. It will allow you to change the nature of the interface, giving you choices and opportunities to reduce operator error and increase productivity and user satisfaction.

Part VII, "Advanced Registry Management," will take you beyond the normal editing and troubleshooting functions into the realm of organization-wide system and user management and control. The System Policy Editor can effectively make changes for every user on the network, if that is your choice. Cloning systems is also in this section, allowing you to quickly and effectively deploy standardized systems throughout your organization.

Part VIII, "Using Shareware Registry Tools," will introduce you to several shareware tools that can radically change your approach to the Registry. Step-by-step instructions will lead you through the process, and give you abilities not available in the standard offerings from Microsoft. Conventions Used in This Book

Unless otherwise indicated, all of the information applies equally with Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 95. Rather than needing a separate volume that would have a significant overlap of information, they are all included together. When included information applies to both, Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 will be referred to as "Windows." Anytime Windows 3.x or Windows NT 3.5x are referred to, they will be named specifically, and unless named specifically, the term "Windows" will not include them. Text Conventions New terms appear in italics.

All code appears in MONOSPACE.

Placeholders in text (words or text that are actually typed) are in monospace italics.

Code that is too long to fit on one line will be broken, and a code continuation character (Â) will be inserted at the beginning of the second line. The text should actually be entered on one line without breakage.

NOTE: A Note box presents interesting pieces of information related to the surrounding discussion.
TIP: A Tip box offers advice or teaches an easier way to do something.
CAUTION: Caution boxes present warnings and describe the consequences of particular actions.
WARNING: A Warning box advises you about potential problems and helps steer you clear of disaster.

SOLUTIONS: A special feature of this book are the Solutions. These special sections demonstrate how to solve tough problems with creative answers in a question and answer format. An index of Solutions can be found on the inside front cover of the book. A Word About Editing the Registry

Because the Registry is so critical to NT and 95, any damage to the Registry can make the system unusable. Make sure the Registry has a good backup (using the detailed information in Chapters 4 and 6), and use extreme caution. With a secure backup, you can recover from nearly any failure.

I hope you enjoy it. Good luck on your journey.

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