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An Easy Fix for Hidden XP Registry Problems

I had recently installed Windows XP on my main production computer. I thought it was time, now that Vista is here. I just hated XP, we have XP on most of our computers. After the installation I found more errors in the Registry then anyone would believe. The installation went smoothly but could not install my sound, video and a few other devices. It turns out that XP has several hidden Registry problems .

As many of my readers know, my main production computer has been Windows ME since 1999, and never formatted. I just really like ME. Windows ME recently started giving some problems with "Out of Memory" errors. This is Windows default error message when Windows does not know what the problem is. I did not have the time to look for the problem; so after a little thought I decided to install a new OS, Windows XP Professional with SP2 (Service Pack 2) as a slipstream.

For those who do not know what everyone means when they talk about slipstream and XP. Basically you create a folder, I386, on your hard drive. Copy all the Windows installation files from the I386 folder on your Windows CD. Then you copy in all the SP2 files, overwriting the original files. Then make a new CD and install Windows.

I installed Windows XP in its' own new folder and then deleted my old Windows folder. I even renamed the Program Files folder before installing so I would have a nice clean installation. This allowed me to keep all my files, as XP will delete the Program Files Folder on a new install.

After installing Windows, I had problems getting my some of my hardware installed, like the sound card, display adapter, and modem. Every time I would try to install the drivers the hardware wizard would report "Invalid Data".

A search for an Invalid Data error on Google returns what seems to be very common in Windows XP. Especially after SP2 is installed.

Well after a little research I found that the Key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SYSTEM\ CurrentControlSet\Enum\PCI had its permissions set to allow only the System full rights, and administrators only read rights. This means that I cannot change or install any hardware that was connected to a PCI slot. The hardware wizard could not update a driver. I researched this on Google and found out that supposedly an earlier release of SP2 did set the permissions like this. Just another bug in Windows I guess. If you read our newsletter "So What's a Service Pack Anyway?" I think you'll find it very funny.

After I fixed the permissions, I was able to install my hardware successfully. I then decided I needed a new Registry tool to find any other Keys that may have had their permissions set incorrectly. I wrote a tool called Damaged Keys and added it to Registry Drill. It found 3 CLSID and Interface Keys that I could not write to and that any normal Registry cleaner could not read or delete; all belonging to Flash. This should not be.

Upon investigating these Keys I found that all the permission where set correctly, expect that"Everyone" was set as deny. Now there was the problem; "Everyone" over rides everyone else. The System and Administrator are part of "Everyone".

During a conversation with a colleague, he ran the Damage Key tool on his machine. It turned out that he had even more errors then I did. Possibly during a Windows update, the entire Hive HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT was set for "Everyone" to have full control. Nothing else, no Administrators, Users, or System permissions. This is OK, I guess, as it allows anyone to have full control over the Keys. This would be the equivalent of a Window 98 Registry. Then again, why do I need Windows XP if it does not have anymore security that the OS I just replaced?

Maybe you should download the latest version of Registry Drill, and run the Damaged Keys tool on your XP, 2003 machine and see what hidden Registry problems it finds.You should have no problem fixing these hidden Registry errors. You will also find in its Help file a section on how to reset permissions. Below is a list of Keys that should be returned as NOREAD_WRITE and should not have their permissions altered.

HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Protected Storage System Provider\S-1-5-21???????????
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Remote Desktop\Pending Help Session
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Credentials
HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1- 08002BE10318}\Properties (or similar key)
HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Eventlog\Security\NetDDE Object
HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Eventlog\Security\SC Manager
HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Eventlog\Security\Security Account Manager

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