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  1.   Preparing for Registry Editing If you're a system administrator or technical-support specialist, you're certainly able to provide many examples of situations where users called for technical support when encountering registry problems. Sometimes (fortunately, this case isn't common), the user encounters registry-corruption problems before he or she can start Windows for the first time. Registry corruption is especially likely when inexperienced users modify the registry, because they often set incorrect values or even delete necessary keys. All these actions result in registry corruption. Before proceeding any further, it is recommended that you study alternative methods of modifying the registry and various techniques for registry backup and recovery. There are several alternative methods of editing the Windows NT/2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 registry that you can use to solve the problem or configure the system parameters. Some of these methods were described in Chapter 1. Some Internet resources provide various tips on solving problems, using complicated registry-editing procedures. Users with a sound knowledge of the functionality provided by newer releases of Windows may find simpler and, at the same time, more elegant solutions, since most problems can be solved using Control Panel applets and other administrative utilities. Caution If you make an error while modifying the registry (for example, by setting incorrect values or deleting vital registry entries), you may prevent the system from booting. Whenever possible, modify the system configuration using Control Panel applets or other administrative utilities. Registry editor should be used only as a last resort. System administrators may wish to restrict user access to the registry in order to protect the system configuration. This topic will be discussed in detail in Chapter 9. So, you need to open the registry and solve your problems by modifying it. This is a normal situation and you'll probably edit the registry directly. Some methods of configuring and troubleshooting the system, discussed later in this book, do require direct editing of the registry. However, before you go any further, you need to back up the registry. Registry backup is the first thing that should be done before you begin editing the registry. Never start editing the registry without backing it up. Everyone makes mistakes, and registry editor (which will be discussed in the next chapter) doesn't have the Undo command that is present in most programs. Don't create unnecessary problems for yourself (unless this is
  2. the type of thing you enjoy doing). There is a ready solution, and the solution is registry backup. Windows XP and products of the Windows Server 2003 family provide various methods for registry backup and recovery, along with reliability enhancements. Some of these features were inherited from Windows NT/2000, while others were first introduced with the newer versions of the operating system. This chapter provides detailed instructions on performing these procedures. Here, we will try to cover nearly all of the existing methods of registry backup. Microsoft documentation and Microsoft Knowledge Base articles always contain standard warnings that inform the user about the potential danger of direct registry editing. Microsoft doesn't guarantee that problems caused by registry editing can always be solved. If the system registry is corrupted and you have no backup copy, it's possible that you'll need to reinstall the operating system.  
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