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9. The Registry > 83. Don’t Fear the Registry

Don’t Fear the Registry

The Registry is the single best tool available for hacking XP. Here’s an introduction to how it’s organized and how to use it.

If you haven’t spent much time in the Registry, you can easily be cowed by it. At first glance, it’s a maze of apparently incomprehensible settings. In fact, though, there’s a method to the madness. The Registry is a hierarchical database of information that defines exactly how your system works, including virtually every part of XP and its applications. Editing the Registry database is often the best way to hack XP. In fact, you can make many changes to the operating system in no other way.

Even if you’ve never used the Registry directly before, you’ve changed it without realizing it. Whenever you change a setting using the Control Panel, for example, behind the scenes a Registry change is made that puts that new setting into effect. The menus and dialog boxes you see in XP are often little more than a visual frontend to the Registry.


  

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