The registry, although only a few users are aware of them, dates back to before Windows 95: its first implementation dates back to Windows 3.0, from which it has evolved over the years (and with various versions of Windows) to His most recent incarnation, that of Windows Vista.
The introduction of the registry in Windows 3.0 was made necessary by two new in this version of Windows:
* The platform Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) to Microsoft, for its operation needed a stable storage to store the components installed in the OLE system; requirement was satisfied by adding in the WIN.INI file in the [Embedding].
* The File Manager and Program Manager, for which it needed a location to store the associations between file types and applications that manage them, which was created in the WIN.INI file as a section [Extensions].
The Windows Registry 3.0 was greatly limited by the residence in a text file, in Windows 3.1, this limitation was circumvented by moving the whole registry in a single text file, Reg.dat. This file was certainly an improvement over the WIN.INI, but it did have a limit on the maximum size of 64 KB; this serious limitation meant that software developers continue to use external files to store settings of their applications.
In Windows 95, the structure of the register was completely redesigned, not only was separated into two files (and USER.DAT SYSTEM.DAT), but were also removed almost all restrictions previously imposed (the maximum size in the first place) and was promoted the widespread use as a substitute for external configuration file.
Objective of a secure operating system, Windows NT, and systems derived from it have a strategy further: each key (node) Registry has its own access control list (ACL), which then allows you to specify restrictions the user that tries to access it. In addition to this major difference, even here the record has been broken into multiple files, although in different ways, and each user profile includes a version of the key settings on the user’s HKEY_CURRENT_USER.
Edit the registry
To edit the registry manually, Microsoft provides with its Windows operating system application specific, Regedit.exe or Regedt32.exe (depending on system version). The availability of an application to edit the registry, however, does not imply that this is a task for all: a distraction when editing the registry can lead to making the system unusable, precisely because of the sensitivity of this, many producers of software applications have specialized in editing the registry with a graphical interface more similar to the Control Panel, and therefore more familiar to the average user, some companies also produce programs for the automatic cleaning of the register operation is also potentially dangerous.
Even Microsoft itself offers free a little program called TweakUI, which allows you to change many parameters of the graphical interface of Windows and to make some small optimizations.
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