No two snowflakes are alike. It’s not quite true to say that no two Registries are alike, but they can vary significantly from machine to machine. There’s a standard set of keys Windows 2000 uses, but even this standard set varies somewhat, depending on whether the computer’s running Windows 2000 Professional or a member of the Windows 2000 Server family, what optional components are installed, and how the machine’s network connection is configured.
The Registry help files included with the Windows 2000 Resource Kit (as well as the material in Chapter 11 ) explain what individual keys are for, but using that data to grasp what’s important is like trying to build a watch out of a bag full of parts; it’s much more instructive to examine a working watch and see how its parts relate. To provide a working watch for your entertainment, this section examines the most important subkeys of the root keys described earlier in this chapter.
HKLM ’s purpose is to store all the important configuration data for the local machine. It doesn’t contain any information about other machines on the network or about user-specific configuration data; instead, it’s nothing but settings for the machine where it’s stored. HKLM has four important subkeys.
All the keys and subkeys of HKLM\HARDWARE are generated by Windows 2000 at boot time and exist only in memory; they aren’t stored on disk. This may seem odd, but when you consider the Windows 2000 ...