Tech Tip: Access Win9x registries remotely

You can use tools such as Reg.exe to make changes to Windows 9x registries on remote PCs quickly and easily, using commands that you can add to login scripts and other batch files. But sometimes it's easier to access registries on other Windows 9x computers directly, so you can make the changes without having to script them.

Windows 95 and 98 make this possible with the Remote Registry service. To ensure that everything works smoothly, you must first complete some prep work.

In order for the Remote Registry service to work, user-level access must be in use on both the Windows 9x PC registry that you want to access and the Windows 9x PC that will access the remote registry.

After you've set the appropriate security levels, you need to install the Remote Registry service. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the Network applet of Control Panel, click Add, and double-click Service.
  2. Depending on your version of Windows, navigate to the following path on the Windows installation CD. For Windows 95, go to Admin\Nettools\RemoteReg. For Windows 98, go to Tools\Reskit\Netadmin\Remotereg.
  3. Install the service, OK your changes, and restart the computer.

If there are any problems with the user-level access setup on the computer, you'll receive a warning at startup that the service isn't available. You'll need to resolve this issue before you can access the Remote Registry service.

After setting up the Remote Registry service, you can access remote Windows 9x registries on other PCs. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) on the administrator's computer.
  2. From the Registry menu, select Connect Network Registry.
  3. Enter the name of a computer whose registry you want to access. It should have remote administration set up with user-level access, and it needs the Remote Registry service installed.
  4. The remote computer's registry hive will appear underneath the local registry in the left-hand pane.

Remember that you now have live and complete access to another computer's registry. Be sure that the computer is not in use while you make changes to its registry.

Note: Editing the registry is risky, so be sure you have a verified backup before making any changes.

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