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Which registry hive for software configuration settings?

Posted on 2011-02-28
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Can anyone point me to a definitive article or two that details which registry hive I should be writing configuration settings for my .NET software to? I want a regular user to be able to make configuration changes without have to log in as an administrator. This is more of an issue under Win 7; under XP we used to write everything to HKLM\Software, but this is not working under Win 7. And what's the difference between the hive I would use for a client program versus what I would use for a service? Thanks!
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Question by:tcianflone
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Expert Comment

by:Daniel Van Der Werken
ID: 34998660
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/256986

You should be able to use HKCU fine as long as you're okay with the settings being user specific.
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Expert Comment

by:slingo
ID: 34998946
You should load up the .DEFAULT hive ideally - NB this is NOT the same as the default profile on the machine :-)
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Expert Comment

by:Adam Leinss
ID: 34999188
Isn't .DEFAULT for the system account?  Why would you use .DEFAULT verus HKCU?
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Author Comment

by:tcianflone
ID: 35039248
We experimented some with this. If we put the config setttings in HKCU, each user has to configured the software individually. This is not acceptable for our environment. If we put them in HKLM\Software, then they are the same for all users, BUT a user cannot make any config changes in Win 7. In Win 7, it looks like you have to log in as the local machine admin (not just a domain admin) to set config with them stored in HKLM\Software. Is that the intended security scheme for Win7? In Win XP, users could make config changes in this same scenario.
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Expert Comment

by:slingo
ID: 35040256

I'm afraid I know nothing about Windows 7. My experience of Microsoft is don't touch their new OS's for the first couple of years!

Sorry I can't help.
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Accepted Solution

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David Johnson, CD, MVP earned 1500 total points
ID: 35040336
yes that is what you have to do.. as Vista/Win7 will virtualize hklm and it will in fact be written to hkcu

here is an article that you might find interesting http://www.registryonwindows.com/registry-security-2.php
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Author Closing Comment

by:tcianflone
ID: 35083225
Article was the most helpful one posted but could have used additional info.
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