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deleting HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers

Posted on 2016-07-25
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Last Modified: 2016-08-11
Is deleting HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers OK.... will it effect anything else.  Nuance support just did this on my win10 PC.
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Question by:Xetroximyn
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Rizzle earned 252 total points
ID: 41728385
It depends.... The reg key thats been deleted is responsible for managing application compatibility mode, if you don't use/need application compatibility then you should be fine.

Did they actually delete the key itself or entries within the key?
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by:McKnife
McKnife earned 62 total points
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You never delete registry keys unless you are perfectly sure. Export them, rename them, but never just delete them. Can you restore it from a backup, like from an image backup of your pc? Then you should do this before that image gets overwritten.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 62 total points
ID: 41728411
Windows will rebuild the key if it's removed (but not all keys are that lucky!) it's a very blunt way of removing any .exe's that have been either set manually to run in compatibility mode of have otherwise crashed on running and Windows has "Guessed" at the best setting to apply to prevent a program that's been caught by AppCrash from doing it again.

If they removed it they ought to also delete HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Compatibility Assistant\Persisted

I don't think anyone would recommend this as a first line of troubleshooting so assume they looked at the Key values and decided it was quicker to kill all of them rather than "prune".

Backup as McKnife points out always a wise move, and if you have anything else set in compatibility mode in your Win 10 install currently expect it to misbehave until AppCrash recreates the KeyValues needed or you manually set Compatibility.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 62 total points
ID: 41728420
That has always been Nuance's solution for PaperPort not loading in W8 and W10, as described in these PaperPort knowledge base articles:
PaperPort will not load in Windows 8.1
PaperPort will not load in Windows 10

This has also been their solution for other Nuance products, such as Dragon Naturally Speaking, as described in this knowledge base article:
Naturally Speaking appears to be running in Windows compatibility mode message appears when launching

I know many users who have made these registry edits with no problems — and they even fix the problem sometimes, but not always. Regards, Joe
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by:McKnife
ID: 41728427
Of course this key does not "rebuild" - how should it. When we delete it, application compatibility settings are lost. When we redo those manually, sure, then the values return one by one, but you need to remember what you set before. So deleting without saving it is pretty idiotic. It takes a second to rename it and test and, if not successful, rename it back so you don't lose anything, that is what nuance should recommend and do.
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by:Obaid ur Rehman
Obaid ur Rehman earned 62 total points
ID: 41728444
It is best to create a backup of registry before deleting any entry like McKnife wrote.
It has worked for some people without any issues and it might not affect you as well.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 41728450
> So deleting without saving it is pretty idiotic.

Of course, and that's why Nuance says this in (at least some of) the knowledge base articles (copied here under "Fair Use"):
IMPORTANT: This article contains information about editing the registry. Before editing the registry, make sure you understand how to restore it if a problem occurs. Follow the steps below to back up the registry:

1. Open the Registry Editor by clicking "Start > Run". Type in "regedit" without the quotes and click "OK".
2. Export a backup copy of the Registry in case problems occur during the following procedures by clicking "File > Export".
3. Save this file to the Windows Desktop and name the file "backup". (Keep "backup" for a few days and if all is well, this file can be deleted.)
Regards, Joe
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 41728466
Of course this key does not "rebuild" - how should it.
The key HKLM\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers is recreated at reboot if not present - the values aren't
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