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Useful Windows Registry Keys

Modified on Fri, Dec 18, 2015, 8:36 AM by Administrator Categorized as Windows Registry

Windows Explorer Context Menus for Files

HKCR\.extension\(Default) defines the ClassName for files with the specified extension
HKCR\ClassName has a subkey for each additional command on the Explorer context menu. The name of the subkey is used as the caption for the menu selection
HKCR\ClassName\MenuCaption\command\(Default) command line executed when the menu option is selected. Uses the %1 convention to specify the file name selected. Note: Do not use long file names for the executable. Instead, use the MS-DOS name.

Programs Run at OS Startup

Each entry under the following keys represent the Name and Executable file for apps to run when Windows starts.

  • HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnceEx

Windows System Folders

The following registry entries are found within the HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders registry key. Note that dragging and dropping any folder specified here to a new location in Windows Explorer will change the corresponding registry entry here. This is the preferred method of changing these entries.

Registry Entry Sample Value
AppData C:\WINNT\Profiles\pgj01\Application Data
CacheC:\WINNT\Profiles\pgj01\Temporary Internet Files
FavoritesC:\WINNT\Profiles\pgj01\Start Menu\Favorites
ProgramsC:\WINNT\Profiles\pgj01\Start Menu\Programs
Start MenuC:\WINNT\Profiles\pgj01\Start Menu
StartupC:\WINNT\Profiles\pgj01\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

Windows AutoRun Feature

Registry Folder HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\Explorer\ or
Registry Key NoDriveTypeAutorun (DWORD?)
Registry Values
Hex ValueDecimal ValueBit (zero-based)Disables AutoRun on ...
0x110drives of unknown type
0x4 42removable drives
0x8 83fixed drives
0x10 164network drives
0x20 325CD-ROM drives
0x40 646RAM disks
0x80 1287drives of unknown type
0xFF 255(n/a)all kinds of drives

MRU (Most-Recently Used) Lists

Visual Studio 2005Projects and SolutionsHKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\8.0\ProjectMRUListFile1, File2, ...


COM+HKLM\Software\Microsoft\COM3This hive has many entries for the COM+ catalog
GetSetting and SaveSetting VB functionsHKCU\Software\VB and VBA Program Settingsthis key has a subkey for each AppName submitted to the SaveSetting VBfunction
Drive MappingsHKCU\NetworkThis key has one sub-key for each drive mapping on the system. Each sub-key has an entry called RemotePath (among others) to indicate the path the drive is mapped to.
Drive Mappings (Windows 7)HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MountPoints2This key contains a subkey for each drive mapping. Each subkey contains an entry called _LabelFromReg which can be edited much like renaming a drive mapping in Windows Explorer, but without the restriction on length.
Application PathsHKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\App PathsThis key has one sub-key for per application. The name of each sub-key is the short name of the EXE file (e.g., winword.exe). Each sub-key has the full path to the EXE file as its default entry.
Add/Remove Programs ListingHKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Management\ARPCacheThis key has one sub-key per application installed. Some of them are GUIDs
Installed versions of .NET Framework HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDPThis key has one sub-key for each version of the .NET framework installed
Internet Explorer menu bar visiblityHKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\AlwaysShowMenus (REG_DWORD)If 1, menu bar is always visible; if 0 (zero), menu bar is visible only when user presses Alt key.
Registry Editor favoritesHKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Applets\Regedit\Favorites 

Version and Edition of Windows and SQL Server


reg query "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion" /v ProductName

SQL Server

SQL Server 2005 (Version 9)
reg query "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Tools\Setup" /v Edition

SQL Server 2008 (Version 10)
reg query "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools\Setup" /v Edition

SQL Server 2012 (Version 11)
reg query "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\110\Tools\Setup" /v Edition

SQL Server 2014 (Version 12)
reg query "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\120\Tools\Setup" /v Edition

SQL Server Instance Names
reg query "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\Instance Names\SQL"

SQL Server Edition of Instance
reg query "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\<instance-name>\Setup" /v Edition

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