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HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE

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Definition: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE is one of several registry hives in the Windows Registry. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE contains the majority of the configuration information for the software you have installed and for the Windows operating system itself.

The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive also contains information about currently detected hardware and, beginning in Windows Vista, information about your computer's boot configuration.

The following registry keys are located under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\BCD00000000
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\COMPONENTS
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Schema
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SECURITY
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM

Note: The keys located under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE on your computer may differ somewhat depending on your version of Windows and your specific computer configuration.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE does not actually exist anywhere on the computer, but is instead just a container for displaying the actual registry data being loaded via the subkeys located within the hive, listed above. Because of this, you, nor any program you install, can create additional keys under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.

The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive is global, meaning that it's the same no matter which user on the computer views it, unlike HKEY_CURRENT_USER which is user specific.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE can be accessed by opening Registry Editor and then clicking on the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE "folder" on the left side of the program window.

Also Known As: HKLM
Examples:
"Due to its value and size, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE is one of the most commonly corrupted portions of the Windows Registry."

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