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Registry browsing and tweaking

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Microsoft
Registry Tools
Registry Cleaning Monitoring Snapshots Backups  
           

Standard Microsoft registry editor (regedit/regedit32; see 141377 about differences between Regedit.exe and Regedt32.exe ) is OK, but there are better tools: 

Tools you probably should not use:


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[Jul 5, 2005] Sample Chapter from Microsoft® Windows XP® Registry Guide by Jerry Honeycutt Mapping Tweak UI

Command Prompt

If you're a command-line junkie like me, you'll appreciate file name and directory completion. The MS-DOS command prompt supports both of these features, but you have to enable them first. Table 5-27 describes the settings in the Command Prompt category in Tweak UI. Set the value CompletionChar to the keystroke you want to use for file name completion, and set the value PathCompletionChar to the keystroke you want to use for directory completion. You can use the same keystroke for both values. The value you use for key is the ASCII key code. Thus, Tab is 0x09. The value WordDelimitersis a string of characters that delimit words on the command line when you press Ctrl+Right Arrow or Ctrl+Left Arrow. Create these values if they don't exist.

Table 5-27 Values in Command Prompt

Setting Name Type Data
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor
File name completion CompletionChar REG_DWORD key
Directory completion PathCompletionChar REG_DWORD key
HKCU\Console
Word separators WordDelimiters REG_SZ separators

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Sample Chapter from Microsoft® Windows XP® Registry Guide by Jerry Honeycutt Mapping Tweak UI

Command Prompt

If you're a command-line junkie like me, you'll appreciate file name and directory completion. The MS-DOS command prompt supports both of these features, but you have to enable them first. Table 5-27 describes the settings in the Command Prompt category in Tweak UI. Set the value CompletionChar to the keystroke you want to use for file name completion, and set the value PathCompletionChar to the keystroke you want to use for directory completion. You can use the same keystroke for both values. The value you use for key is the ASCII key code. Thus, Tab is 0x09. The value WordDelimiters is a string of characters that delimit words on the command line when you press Ctrl+Right Arrow or Ctrl+Left Arrow. Create these values if they don't exist.

Table 5-27 Values in Command Prompt

Setting Name Type Data
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor
File name completion CompletionChar REG_DWORD key
Directory completion PathCompletionChar REG_DWORD key
HKCU\Console
Word separators WordDelimiters REG_SZ separators

Free Tools

[Jan 10, 2006] How to edit the Windows registry with Lavasoft's RegHance

Why might a Windows professional want a more capable registry editor than Regedit? To answer this question, you must first look at several common reasons for editing the Windows registry.

Reasons to use RegHance over Regedit
The following sections list several reasons why you might need a faster, more efficient registry editing tool.

Registry editing is just part of Windows support
Those who support or troubleshoot Windows systems will find that a certain amount of registry editing comes with the job. Although Windows consoles and utilities offer what might be called "mediated editing" of the registry (which goes on behind the scenes under the control of such tools), sometimes direct registry snooping and editing speeds problem solving. This is particularly true when software without uninstall utilities must be removed from systems, or when uninstall programs leave unwanted detritus behind.

More quickly create Windows images
Those who create Windows images for automated installation via Microsoft's Remote Installation Service (RIS) or by using various ghosting techniques often find that editing the registry on a master image is the fastest way to fine-tune a configuration en route to finalizing the desktop, group policy, logon, or other settings. Once a working master is tweaked, tuned, and tested, it can then be distributed in bulk around a network (or an entire enterprise).

Backing up and restoring the registry are important skills
Those who seek to back up or checkpoint Windows systems will benefit from a working knowledge of registry backup and restore techniques (or ways to roll back to earlier registry versions), because the registry basically represents the "configuration database" that describes Windows' (and related applications) presence, behavior, preferences, settings, history, etc.

Learn more about Windows' inner-workings
Those who are curious about Window's internals and inner workings can learn a lot by looking around inside the registries. "Before" and "after" snapshots of the registry when compared to one another-for example, using the Windiff.exe utility included in the Windows 2000 Resource Kit or in the Windows XP Support Tools-can reveal exactly what happens when software is installed or when Control Panel tools or Windows consoles operate on the registry.

Definitely a step up from Regedit
Windows professionals and other interested parties will find it necessary to interact with the registry regularly, and that a good editing tool for such interaction can be helpful and worthwhile. Though RegHance doesn't support some highly advanced registry handling functions (more on this topic later), it is definitely a step up from Regedit.exe.

Also, RegHance is tightly integrated with Ad-aware. This is likely to make it appealing for those who depend on Ad-aware (and Ad-watch, the companion event tracker that watches the registry closely, among other points of Windows focus) to tell them what spyware, cookies, pop-ups, and other external influences may be doing or have done to their systems. Simply put, installing RegHance along with these tools makes it easy to observe and investigate registry changes that spyware can attempt to make or succeed in making.

Registry Jumper - freeware registry navigation utility Provides HTML view of registry using regjump protocol.

Registry Jumper is a small utility that makes system registry navigation easier. This tool allows you to open desired registry keys in Windows® Regedit by one click. Works in two modes: GUI mode and command-line mode (opens the registry key supplied as a command-line parameter). Additionally, Registry Jumper handles the "regjump://" custom protocol, which, for example, can be used in links in HTML pages to point to specific registry locations.

Registry Jumper advantages

Commercial tools

PC Magazine Registry Cleaners article contains the list of commercial tools some of which contain registry editor. some of them, for example Reg Organizer, has free 30 days trial:

ChemTable Software's Reg Organizer 2.0 ($29.95 direct) can either perform a general check for Registry problems or specifically analyze and edit areas like shared DLLs or start-up programs. It includes an excellent Registry editor that-among other things-displays the effects of a REG file before merging it into the Registry.

The program offers Registry-wide search-and-replace capabilities, and its Age System identifies recently changed Registry items. Among its many other features are removal of unnecessary files, identification of bad shortcuts, and Registry-style editing of INI files. The help system, however, didn't quite match up with the actual program.

Note: The new version of Reg Organizer is 3.1 Download it here. See what's new in this version.


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