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Monitor and record registry changes


quinriva
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Does anyone know of any programme that will monitor and record any changes to the registry. Basically I reinstall windows a lot and some applications particularly game won't run if certain registry values aren't set. Basically I want to record all the changes that are made on an initial install of the application so that when I reinstall windows I can just update the registry instead of reinstalling the whole game just for a few lines of code.

Cheers.

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  • 4 months later...
There are many programs that take before and after snapshots of your registry. One popular one is RegSnap.

Google is also your friend.

Isn't this the same exporting the whole registry, calling it 1.reg, then exporting

the whole registry after and calling that 2.reg?

The problem is still that you need to compare those 2 registry files properly.

I found a program to at least compare the 2 registry files - ExamDiff Pro

You can set the filter to show only added text and then apply that filter but heres

why it doesn't always work: if you have an ADDED registry key, like this:

[HKLM_Software_AcmeSoftware]

"an_entry"=00000001

Thsn, this is fair enough, the DIFFERENCE between the registry files is OK and its

all clear, but what about when a program puts entries in the "SharedDlls" key, then

you get this confusing matter:

[HKLM_Software_AcmeSoftware]

"an_entry"=00000001

"some_shared_dll"=00000001

See how the "some_shared_dll" entry there does not have any [sUB_KEY] above it!

This is the real kicker.

What we need is a program that, when it finds an added entry (stuff on one line in double quotes

and NOT stuff in square brackets) it needs to see if any registry sub-key existed there before, in

the case of shared DLL files ,yes there is already a key in the Microsoft Windows XP registry, which

your program might add entries to!

This means you have to sift through it trying to spot those gaps like in the above quote, where

theres a gap it means it has not "recorded" the change to the KEY, because there is no added

key! In an ideal world, ExamDiff Pro could take this into account comparing registry files and

give us this correct result:

[HKLM_Software_AcmeSoftware]

"an_entry"=00000001

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\SharedDlls]

"some_shared_dll"=00000001

The software however, only compared files, it doesn't take this into account and I don't

know of any software that will check to see if the "entry on its own" had a subkey already

in the original 1.reg. Well, it DID have a [KEY] above it, because its there on its own with

a gap!

Edited by LeveL
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formerly from sysinternals now microsoft has their grubby paws on it: regmon

Yeah but the problem is comparing the two files:

001 - Registry exported BEFORE installing program.reg

002 - Registry exported AFTER installing program.reg

Exporting the registry before and after is simple, its the comparison afterwards thats

hard, because if you have a program that puts in shared DLL's and it puts in 1Mb worth

of entries, theres no way you're going to be able to check through the "changes" picking

out all the places where it might have put an entry under an already existing key.

The problem is - your program (WinDiff, ExamDiff or whatever) only picks up the changes

so it is NOT going to pick up on changes where your program puts an entry in under a key

that already exists in the Microsoft Windows Registry like for instance the shared DLL's

key, or the installed programs key!

I know of NO program that takes this into account, you would need a program expecially made

for comparing registry files.

Edited by LeveL
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cant you use something like Wininstall LE 2003. this alows toy to take before and after snapshots of the system state when installing programs. this will record all registry keys added removed and changed. iirc (i dont have any examples to hand to check) it saves a reg file that you can then use to rewrite the reg.

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