The Windows registry has become the bane of many an administrator's existence. In fact, it's so important that a lot of people don't like to even touch it, let alone make too many modifications.
However, it can be important to understand how certain aspects of the registry can affect your users, applications, and servers. To help you out, Sysinternals offers Regmon, a freeware utility that allows an administrator to monitor registry activity in either an overall or a very granular way.
Regmon goes beyond a snapshot of the registry by letting you watch real-time changes to the registry. It can be particularly useful when you're having problems with installed software. And if Regmon displays too much information on the screen, it provides the ability to filter the output to a manageable level.
Available from the Sysinternals Web site, download Regmon as a Zip file with an executable inside. You don't need to install anything else. Regmon runs on Windows 9x, Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003.
Note: Editing the registry is risky, so be sure you have a verified backup before making any changes.