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Chapter 35. The Registry > What Is the Registry?

What Is the Registry?

The Registry is Microsoft's answer to the hodgepodge of configuration files, INI files, and mysterious hidden setup files that plagued the early days of DOS and Windows. Programs need a way of saving settings, preferences, file locations, license and registration information, last-viewed file lists, and so on. Before the Registry, you had to take a "create-your-own" approach to storing this information. The result is that you ended up with dozens of setup files scattered all over your hard disk, who knows where, and containing, well, who knows what?

The Registry is the answer to this mess. It provides Windows and 32-bit Windows applications with an organized way to store configuration and preference information. Information is stored in a consistent way, in one place, for all programs. (There are exceptions, of course, which I'll tell you about later.) And it's so easy for programmers to use that nearly every application now uses the Registry.


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