HKEY_USERS (HKU Registry Hive)
The Windows Registry is a crucial component of the operating system, acting as a central repository where system and application settings are stored. Within the Registry, there are five primary hives, one of which is HKEY_USERS (HKU), responsible for storing user-related settings and preferences.
HKU Hive Overview
The HKU hive is created when a user logs into a Windows system. Each user on a system has their own unique subkey within the HKU hive, identified by a security identifier (SID). This subkey holds all configuration information related to the user, such as desktop preferences, application settings, and user-specific data.
Additionally, the HKU hive contains two important subkeys that are crucial for Windows operation. These are:
1. .Default: This subkey contains settings that apply to all users on the system, regardless of whether they have logged in yet or not.
2. S-1-5-18: This subkey contains configuration data for the local system account.
HKU Hive Structure
The structure of the HKU hive is organized into subkeys, each containing values and data specific to that user or system account. The following is the typical subkey structure within the HKU hive:
– S-1-5-21-1518786474-1234567890-123456789-1001: This subkey contains all configuration data for user account with the SID “S-1-5-21-1518786474-1234567890-123456789-1001”.
– .Default: This is a subkey containing settings that apply to all users on the system.
– S-1-5-18: This is a subkey containing configuration data for the local system account.
HKU Hive Usage
The HKU hive is used by Windows and third-party applications to store user-specific configurations. Some typical uses of the HKU hive include:
– Storing desktop and appearance settings for a user.
– Storing user-specific application settings, such as the last used file folder or the preferred font size.
– Storing user-specific credentials, such as the user’s Windows password.
HKU hive Manipulation
Editing or manipulating the HKU hive can cause serious problems and should only be done by experienced users or IT professionals. Incorrect changes to the HKU hive can cause applications to malfunction or even cause Windows to become inoperable.
One way to edit the HKU hive is by using the Registry Editor tool. It is important to back up the Registry before making any changes, and create a system restore point in case something goes wrong.
In conclusion, the HKU registry hive is a critical component of the Windows registry, responsible for storing user-specific configuration data. It is vital for Windows operation and should only be modified by experienced users or professionals.