Jack J. Woehr
Windows 2000 Registry, by Paul Sanna, is a tolerable introduction to the Windows 2000 registry for those who have never been there before. It covers the basics and significance of the registry (hint: hasn't changed much since Windows NT 3.1 in August, 1993), how the system tools which manipulate the Registry operate (hint: hasn't changed much since Windows NT 3.1 in August, 1993), and an assortment of tips and traps relating to the Registry (hint: ... etc.).
Paul Sanna is a technical sales director. His insights (such as "As you can probably tell, the Registry is probably the most significant component in Windows 2000.") are on a par with those of a proficient, if unimaginative, NT Server administrator. The writing itself is skillful and well-edited, and overall production values, readability, layout, and textual conventions are industry standard and cleanly executed.
Windows 2000 Registry reveals early on certain symptoms of shovelware (shovelling in source material undigested), as on pages 130-135 where we are treated to decimal tables of all the RGB values for shipped Windows 2000 desktop color schemes, since, as the author notes "The data is stored in a binary format, so it's tough to determine the specifics for any color scheme."
In the second edition, I'd like to offer (free of charge), the following as replacement for those five pages:
Open Desktop->Properties->Display, click on one of the scheme's`color table entries, and read the decimal values from the color`wheel for that entry. If you are startled to discover that these`values are stored in the Registry in binary, change careers.
All doubt about the book's shovelware tendency disappears on page 243. The second half of the book consists of three appendices which are 100 percent shovelware:
- Appendix A is a printout of every key in HKEY_CURRENT_USER.
- Appendix B is a printout of object name, indexed by CLSID, of every object in the Registry.
- Appendix C is a printout of CLSID, indexed by object name, of every object in the Registry.
Windows 2000 Registry is fundamentally a kiddie book for Win32 novices. That's no crime, but neither is it justification for pages 243-457 being wasted paper. For $44.99, you could have had the tables on CD-ROM, where the mountain of minutiae would be much easier to search. Or better yet, instruct the reader how to obtain the values in situ. It's the difference between giving a person a fish and teaching them to fish.
Electronic Review of Computer Books
An explanation of the repository for the configuration information for Windows 2000. The material is organized by function and covers such topics as using the editors to inspect and modify the registry, using security tools, diagnosing and repairing problems, system and startup settings, accessing the registry from code, and managing hardware. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Read an Excerpt
The Registry. Such a simple sounding word, but in the world of Microsoft it is one of the core components for an operation system like Windows 2000 to function. No matter your skill level, there is always something new to learn about this most important component and the tools used to access it and, in some cases, modify it.
If you know about the Registry and its importance to Windows, feel free to skip ahead. But for many, the Registry is just another compu-speak word with little meaning. But it's not that complicated an idea. If you can imagine for a minute that Windows 2000 is a business, then the Registry would be its headquarters.
Just as a business can have multiple departments, with numerous duties and jobs and services, Windows 2000 does, too. We typically think of a business headquarters as the place where all the information needed to run that business is stored. Some of this information might be kept in satellite offices or even other cities, states, or countries. But in the end, there usually is one place that the important stuff resides (or at least a copy of it).
The Registry is the headquarters for Windows 2000. You will see that it contains more information than you'll probably ever have time to inspect. But all this information is 100% critical to Windows 2000's productivity and reliability.
By the time you finish the book, you'll see that the analogy between the Registry and a company headquarters isn't as far-fetched as it sounds. And you'll learn in the first chapter why Microsoft chose to create Windows 2000 in this manner.
Who This Book Is For
If you're a Windows 2000 Registry novice,you're going to learn a lot from this book. If you're a Windows 2000 Registry expert, you're also going to learn a lot from this book.
System and network administrators will find information that will save them time and energy that will translate to cost savings. If something can be manually configured on a server or desktop, a good bet is that there's a Registry setting that can accomplish the same task. Day-to-day users of Windows 2000 Professional will also find this book useful as long as they keep in mind that tinkering with the Registry without understanding the consequences will result in, well, consequences. But the good news is that knowing a little about the Registry can sometimes help typical users to do some things for themselves.
How This Book Is Organized
Following is a summary of the chapters and the information you will learn in each. Some of the information may not be needed by all readers, so feel free to skip ahead to the chapters that will benefit you most in your work and study.
Chapter 1: Introducing the Registry
Here, you learn what the Registry is, where it is stored, and why it even exists. Warnings will be provided here (and continually through the book) on the dangers that can befall your operating system should you make changes haphazardly. And finally, a detailed breakdown of how the Registry is structured is presented. This breakdown will give you the basic building blocks for how the Registry stores its information.
Chapter 2: Using the Editors to Inspect and Modify the Registry
The two major tools used to access the Registry are described in detail for you. Since there are two tools, you will also be shown when using one over the other will provide you with an advantage in performing your duties. Descriptions are also provided on how to customize the look and feel of each tool as well as to learn basic uses.
Chapter 3: Putting Security in and Around the Registry
There are issues with security that you will need to be aware of when accessing and modifying the Registry. Warnings are issued again and with good reason. Windows 2000 comes with many tools and you will no doubt be using these tools in conjunction with the Regedit and Regedt32 skills picked up in Chapter 2.
Chapter 4: Diagnosing, Repairing, and Preventing Windows 2000 Disasters
Okay, they happen. And you've got to know how to fix them. But knowing how to prevent them in the first place is a skill worth having. This chapter shows you how to use the Recovery Console, Emergency Repair Disks, and other options that can help "save the day." What do these things have to do with the Registry? Well, you'll see that much of the information that is used to repair a server or workstation is information pulled directly out of the Registry.
Chapter 5: Using the REG Utility
A new power tool is available in the Windows 2000 Resource Kit called the REG utility. Power users will love it and administrators will find themselves saving time by learning its intricacies.
Chapter 6: System and Startup Settings
Most people don't think about what goes on inside that machine when you flip the power switch. Windows 2000 performs myriad tasks before you ever get to the desktop. This chapter will walk you through the process and explain to you why the Registry is so important to the hardware as well as the software in your computer. You'll also be provided with details that will finally allow you to start customizing the Registry by making changes using the Registry editing tools described earlier.
Chapter 7: Configuring Quality of Life Settings
Don't like the way your desktop works or looks? Change it. You can use the power of the Registry to do some amazing things that will make your computing life easier (or at least easier to look at). This chapter provides you with the specific settings you can use to do all kinds of tricks. Some of these are simply shortcuts that you can do normally using the Control Panel. Others are "hidden" tricks that aren't that easy to do except from the Registry.
Chapter 8: Managing Desktop Configuration
The Registry stores a wide range of details about a workstation's desktop configuration. You can read in this chapter how to configure via the Registry a range of desktop elements, such as the command prompt, message display, Start menu, Control Panel, and more.
Chapter 9: Configuring Microsoft Office 2000
When you consider that one of Microsoft's most popular application suites is Office 2000, it makes sense that the Registry should allow you to do some customization of applications such as Word or Excel. From installation to that (sometimes) annoying help desk assistant, you'll learn how to make Office 2000 more enjoyable to install and use. As with earlier chapters, you're given specific Registry settings that can be set to customize your own Office desktop.
Chapter 10: Accessing the Registry from Code
Now that you have the basics down from earlier chapters, it's time to turn "Pro" with the Registry. The Regedit and Regedt32 tools are great, but sometimes you have to go to the source. Programmers and power users will find this information quite valuable and perhaps indispensable. For everyone else, just understanding how the Registry works with third party applications can give a better understanding of its importance.
Chapter 11: Network Tweaks in the Registry
Registry support for Windows 2000 network features and services is broad. This chapter will show you some of the more useful ways to manage network connections via the Registry.
Chapter 12: Working with Group Policy
Group policy is a tool available in Windows 2000 for system administrators to help manage and control users' desktop configurations. This chapter discusses how group policy works and how to use the group policy tools, as well as how to see all of the Registry keys and entries that support group policy.
Chapter 13: Hardware Management
Most users don't realize that the hardware in their computers isn't the entire story. There is software involved that allows the Windows 2000 operating system to "talk" to the hardware. And, no surprise, the Registry is where much of this information is stored. You will learn exactly where and how the Registry manages all the moving parts.
Appendix A: HKCU Entry Names and Keys
This appendix provides a listing that shows all the Registry keys sorted by entry name from HKEY_CURRENT_USER (HKCU). Specifically, the listing shows all entries by name and the key in which each resides.
Appendix B: Class ID Reference
This appendix includes a table that provides a reference of the CLSID to the object each one represents. The list is based on a fresh install of Windows 2000 with only Microsoft Office 2000 installed.
Appendix C: Object Reference
This appendix provides a table which shows the class ID for each of the objects installed into the Registry by Windows 2000. The table also reflects an installation of Window 2000.