Curious about windows registry hierarchy

March 20, 2010 at 06:27:22
Specs: Windows XP, 2.0 GHz, 512MB
When should "HKCR\Directory\shell" be used instead of "HKCR\Folder\shell"? What is the difference in what they control and how they are used? I have XP-Pro SP2 installed. I have searched using Google but have not been able to find the answer. My reason for asking is mainly curiosity, I am not experiencing and problems relating to these two keys. Thank you.

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March 20, 2010 at 19:45:04

I posted the same question on another site and
<"VA(s)T" Senior TEG Forum Member>

explained it to me. Below is his explanation.

There is no difference!

With DOS 2.x, IBM/Microsoft introduced multiple directories on a single disk. Under Windows Microsoft started to use the term "folder" instead of "directory" but the two are interchangeable. I guess the term Folder came with the windows shell icon, more looking like a folder then a directory.


The following is my reply to his post :


Thank you for taking the time to explain this to me. What you have told me does in fact test out. After backing up my registry, I removed two subkeys and their values from "HKCR\Folder\shell" and added them to "HKCR\Directory\shell" and the options were displayed in my context menu and functioned identically as they did when they were subkeys of "HKCR\Folder\shell" The two subkeys I swapped are shown below.

1. Control Panel:

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\Control Panel]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\Control Panel\command]

2. HijackThis:

@="C:\\Program Files\\HijackThis\\HijackThis.exe"



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May 15, 2010 at 06:45:59
Except the answer is wrong!

Add a subkey key to [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\] and it will appear on the context menu of drives and directories (referred to as Folders in Windows). Add the key to Directories and of course it will apply only to have to create a separate key for drives.

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\] Applies to BOTH keys below!

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May 15, 2010 at 20:25:50
Thank you very much for the information. I am going to post a link to your reply here on the other forum. I appreciate you taking the time to give me the correct answer.

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