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Chapter 6. Working with the Windows Regi... > An Overview of the Windows Registry

An Overview of the Windows Registry

In Windows Me, the basic structure of the Registry has changed in a crucial way. As in previous versions, Windows Me stores portions of the Registry in two files: System.dat and User.dat. Windows Me adds a third file called Classes.dat. These are binary files, and unlike INI files, they contain no plain text. As a result, you can't view the Registry with a text editor such as Notepad or WordPad; instead, you need a specialized tool. Windows Me also turns on the Read-only and Hidden attributes of all three files so that you can't accidentally replace, change, or delete them. At startup, Windows combines information from these files to fill the Registry with data.

  • System.dat— Contains configuration data specific to the computer on which you installed Windows Me, such as hardware details. This file is always located in your Windows folder (typically C:\Windows).

  • User.dat— Contains configuration data specific to the current user. On a single-user system, this file is also located in the Windows folder. However, the location of User.dat changes if you've configured Windows to use separate profiles for each user who logs on. In that configuration, Windows creates a separate copy of User.dat for each user and stores it in the folder that contains that user's profile. If I log on as Ed Bott, Windows stores my User.dat file in C:\Windows\Profiles\Ed Bott.

  • Classes.dat— Contains information about file types and program associations on the current system. In Windows 95 and Windows 98, this information was stored in System.dat.


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