Dangers in Editing the Registry
To complete the tour of the Registry, we will look at one of the more bizarre and potentially dangerous vagaries of the Registry tools. Let us perform a little Registry magic trick. Make sure the CompTIA key is selected, open the Edit menu on the RegEdit32 menu bar (no right-click context menus, unfortunately) and select the Add value option. The Add Value dialog appears. Set the value name to Registry Magic!, and the data type to REG_MULTI_SZ. Click OK to create the value.
You will be prompted to provide some data for the new value. Enter any text you like, and click OK to create the value.
When the value has been created, take a close look at the RegEdit32 display.
The REG_MULTI_SZ named Registry Magic is clearly there. Now, watch closely as this key vanishes before your very eyes!
Close RegEdit32, and open RegEdit. Navigate to HKLM\Software\CompTIA, and take a close look. Abracadabra, the REG_MULTI_SZ value has vanished!
Whilst this may not be a particularly impressive trick, it does illustrate one important point. If you use RegEdit for your Registry manipulations, be aware that when viewing the contents of keys there may be values you cannot see. This is especially important when preparing to delete registry entries and keys.
Why has Microsoft not merged all the features into one tool instead of forcing administrators to use both RegEdit and RegEdit32? Another good question and one that only Microsoft can answer. It does seem somewhat illogical to require two tools where one will suffice, but that is the situation. As a recommendation, this author finds RegEdit far easier to work with for every day use, and only uses RegEdit32 when its features are specifically required. Providing you are aware of each tools limitations, the decision is simply personal choice.
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