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Summary

The Registry is a powerful collection of data, without which Windows XP and the applications that run on it could not function. The elimination of many of the legacy .INI files that the Registry is now used for is reason enough to create such an information store. You should not make it a regular habit to make changes to anything in the Registry, especially when the change can be done using other utilities like the Local Security Policy utility. However, it is a good idea to become familiar with the data tree in order to better understand how a single Windows XP machine stores information specific not only to the operating system or applications but also to the users themselves.

The Registry is complicated and should be respected, but there is no reason to fear it if you take the time to understand it and to back it up before you make changes. Most of the time, you will probably edit the Registry to use an interesting tip found in a book or magazine article or to apply a fix found somewhere like the Microsoft Knowledge Base. Just browsing around through the Registry, however, can give you some powerful insight into how Windows works. You may even very well be the next person to come up with an interesting tip for others!


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