Chapter 1 , was just that: it was an introduction, and it was gentle. Now it’s time to get down to business and focus on how the Registry actually works. In this chapter, you’ll learn how the Registry is organized, both logically and physically, and how data gets into and out of it.
Since the Registry is such an important part of Windows 2000, understanding how it’s put together is crucial to learning how to use, modify, and protect its data. Let’s start by examining the basic structures and concepts that underlie the Registry. Once you understand how these pieces fit together, we can move on to the data that actually lives in the Registry.
You may find it helpful to think of the Registry as a filesystem; their organizations are similar in many respects. Both have a well-defined hierarchical structure, and they both support the concept of nesting items within other items. Files are identified by names and paths. Likewise, every key in the Registry is identified by a full path that identifies exactly where to find it. Since the Registry can be shared and accessed over a network, this full path can optionally include a computer name, which works as it would for a file share. The data within a file can be interpreted by applications that understand that file type. So it is with Registry keys, whose values can be understood and used by applications, kernel services, and other Registry clients.