Registry DataBase : Windows NT hive location
By default, hives are stored in %SystemRoot% \System32 \Config, except HKCU which is in %USERPROFILE%.
  The file Ntuser.dat contains the user profile.
  The file Ntuser.log is where modifications made to Ntuser.dat are logged.
  The file Ntuser.dat replaces the files usernamexxx and adminxxx in previous versions of Windows NT.
  The file Ntuser.dat located in %SystemRoot% \Profiles \DefaultUser replaces the file Userdef in previous versions of Windows NT and is used to create the HKCU key of each new user who will log on.
  The file Userdiff located in %SystemRoot% \System32 \Config is not related to any hive. It is used to update a profile generated with a previous version of Windows NT.
4 file types are associated with the hives :
Extension   Description
None   Hive.
System.alt   Backup of HKLM \System.
*.log   These files are logs of the modifications made to each corresponding hive.
*.sav   Hive backups as they were after text mode Windows NT installation procedure. Thus, if installation fails during the graphic installation procedure, the installation wizard will be able to use those backups to restart the graphic installation procedure, without having to go through text mode installation procedure again.
Here are the registry REG_SZ entries corresponding to the hive's locations :
System : NT
Key : HKLM \SYSTEM \CurrentControlSet \Control \hivelist
Default value Null
Files Not strored on disk, this hive is dynamically recreated at each startup and is loaded into memory as volatile hive.
Default value \\Device \\Harddisk0 \\Partition0 \\WINNT \\system32 \\config \\SECURITY
Files Security, Security.log, Security.sav
Default value \\Device \\Harddisk0 \\Partition0 \\WINNT \\system32 \\config \\SOFTWARE
Files Software, Software.log, Software.sav
Default value \\Device \\Harddisk0 \\Partition0 \\WINNT \\system32 \\config \\SYSTEM
Files System, System.alt, System.log, System.sav
Default value \\Device \\Harddisk0 \\Partition0 \\WINNT \\system32 \\config \\DEFAULT
Files Default, Default.log, Default.sav, Default.log, Default.sav
Default value \\Device \\Harddisk0 \\Partition0 \\WINNT \\system32 \\config \\SAM
Files Sam, Sam.log, Sam.sav
Default value \\Device \\Harddisk0 \\Partition0 \\WINNT \\system32 \\config \\NTUSER.DAT
Files Ntuser.dat, Ntuser.dat.log


© Franck Kiechel 2000-2001