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Registry values may contain backslashes in their names, but doing so makes them difficult to distinguish from their key paths when using some legacy Windows Registry API functions (whose usage is deprecated in Win32).The terminology is somewhat misleading, as each Registry key is similar to an associative array, where standard terminology would refer to the name part of each Registry value as a "key".
The Registry also allows access to counters for profiling system performance.There are seven predefined root keys, traditionally named according to their constant handles defined in the Win32 API, or by synonymous abbreviations (depending on applications): Like other files and services in Windows, all Registry keys may be restricted by access control lists (ACLs), depending on user privileges, or on security tokens acquired by applications, or on system security policies enforced by the system (these restrictions may be predefined by the system itself, and configured by local system administrators or by domain administrators).Different users, programs, services or remote systems may only see some parts of the hierarchy or distinct hierarchies from the same root keys.Each Registry value stored in a Registry key has a unique name whose letter case is not significant.The Windows API functions that query and manipulate Registry values take value names separately from the key path and/or handle that identifies the parent key.Each value can store arbitrary data with variable length and encoding, but which is associated with a symbolic type (defined as a numeric constant) defining how to parse this data.
The standard types are: A multi-string value, which is an ordered list of non-empty strings, normally stored and exposed in UTF-16LE, each one terminated by a NUL character, the list being normally terminated by a second NUL character.
Windows Vista and later operating systems provide transactional updates to the Registry by means of the Kernel Transaction Manager, extending the atomicity guarantees across multiple key and/or value changes, with traditional commit–abort semantics.
(Note however that NTFS provides such support for the file system as well, so the same guarantees could, in theory, be obtained with traditional configuration files.) The Registry contains two basic elements: keys and values.
When the 32-bit Registry was created, so was the additional capability of creating multiple named values per key, and the meanings of the names were somewhat distorted.
For compatibility with the previous behavior, each Registry key may have a "default" value, whose name is the empty string.
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