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As well, strongly typed data can be stored in the registry, as opposed to the text information stored in . This is a benefit when editing keys manually using , the built-in Windows Registry Editor.Because user-based registry settings are loaded from a user-specific path rather than from a read-only system location, the registry allows multiple users to share the same machine, and also allows programs to work for less privileged users.
The terms are a holdout from the 16-bit registry in Windows 3, in which registry keys could not contain arbitrary name/data pairs, but rather contained only one unnamed value (which had to be a string).
The Windows Logo Program has specific requirements for where different types of user data may be stored, and that the concept of least privilege be followed so that administrator-level access is not required to use an application.
The key located by HKLM is actually not stored on disk, but maintained in memory by the system kernel in order to map all the other subkeys. On Windows NT, this key contains four subkeys, "SAM", "SECURITY", "SYSTEM", and "SOFTWARE", that are loaded at boot time within their respective files located in the %System Root%\System32\config folder.
The registry also allows access to counters for profiling system performance.
In simple terms, the registry or Windows Registry contains information, settings, options, and other values for programs and hardware installed on all versions of Microsoft Windows operating systems.