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Where are the XP Registry Hives

Posted on 2006-11-10
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
  I have been out of the loop for a while. Actually the need just hasn't been there for years. Windows 95/98 had two registry files in the Windows directory. system.dat and user.dat which were the main registry "hive" and the user "hive".

   With the advent of Wondows 2000 and XP Microsoft truely went to "hives". The user hive looks straight forward. ntuser.dat in the profile directory. Is that the only file associated with the user hive?

   Exactly what composes the system hive and exactly where are they located? Thanks!
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Question by:jimbecher
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jkr earned 250 total points
ID: 17917378
Here's a small table that illustrates which hive is assiciated with what file:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM  --> \Winnt\System32\Config\System
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM --> \Winnt\System32\Config\Sam
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SECURITY --> \Winnt\System32\Config\Security
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE --> \Winnt\System32\Config\Software
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE --> Volatile hive
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Clone --> Volatile hive
HKEY_USERS\<security ID of username> --> \Documents and Settings\<username>\Ntuser.dat
HKEY_USERS\<security ID of username>_Classes --> \Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows\Usrclass.dat
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT --> \Winnt\System32\Config\Default
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by:jsvor
jsvor earned 250 total points
ID: 17917491
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Expert Comment

by:johnb6767
ID: 17917520
Also, under C:\documents and settings\UID\ntuser.dat, if you want to load a specific one for a specific user....
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by:jimbecher
ID: 17917635
Thanks for the quick response guys!
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