If you are looking to learn what HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE is and how to access it, read this short guide that will explain the definition, location, and registry subkeys of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
What is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE?
All Windows settings and low-level application settings are stored in a database called the Windows Registry. Stores device drivers settings, user interface, kernel, paths to folders, Start menu shortcuts, location of installed applications, DLL files, all software values and hardware information. However, if you open the Windows Registry, you may see several root keys, each of which contributes to a specific function in Windows. For example, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, abbreviated as HKLM, is one of the Windows root keys. Includes configuration details for:
- Installed software
- Device drivers
- Boot Configurations for Windows 7/8/10/Vista,
- Windows Services and Device Drivers.
How to access HKLM via Registry Editor
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE or HKLM is often called the registry hive and can be accessed using Registry Editor. This tool helps you to create, rename, delete or manipulate root registry keys, subkeys, values and value data. It can be used to fix many problems in your system. However, you should always be careful while using the Registry Editor tool because even one wrong entry could render the device unusable.
Note: Therefore, it is advised to make a backup of the key before performing any operation using Registry Editor. For example, if you want to delete residual or unwanted files, you should not do it yourself unless you are sure of the entries. Otherwise, you can use a third-party registry cleaner that will help you remove all unwanted registry entries automatically.
you can open HKLM Through the registry editor as follows:
1. Launch the dialog box Run By pressing my key Windows + R together.
2. Type regedit as follows and click “OK”.
3. In the left sidebar, double-click on Computer to expand it and select the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE folder option, as shown.
4. Now, again double click on the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE option to expand it.
Note: If you have already used Registry Editor before, it is already in an extended state.
List of keys in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
There are several registry key folders such as inside the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key folder, as shown below:
Note: The registry keys listed may differ depending on the version of Windows you are using.
- Subkey BCD00000000 – The boot configuration data necessary to run the Windows operating system is stored here.
- Component subkey – Configuration settings for all components in the Windows operating system are stored in this subkey.
- Drivers subkey – Details about drivers, software and hardware installed in your system are stored in
- Drivers subkey. It gives you information regarding installation date, update date, working status of drivers, etc.
- Program subkey – The program key is one of the most frequently used subkeys of Registry Editor. All settings of the applications you open and user interface details of the operating system are stored here.
- SCHEMA subkey – It is a temporary registry key created during a Windows update or some other installer. They are deleted automatically, once you complete the Windows update or installation process.
- HARDWARE subkey – The device subkey stores all data related to the BIOS, devices, and processors.
For example, consider the navigation path, ComputerHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINEHARDWAREDESCRIPTIONSystemBIOS. Here, all current BIOS and system data are stored.
Hidden subkeys in HKLM
A few subkeys are hidden in Registry Editor by default and cannot be displayed. When you open these keys, they may appear blank or empty, along with their associated subkeys. Here are the hidden subkeys in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE:
SAM subkey – This subkey holds Security Accounts Manager (SAM) data for the domains. Each database contains group aliases, user accounts, guest accounts, administrator accounts, domain login names, and so on.
Security sub-key All user security policies are stored here. This data is associated with the domain’s security database or the corresponding record on your system.
If you want to view the SAM or SECURITY subkey, you must log in to the Registry Editor with the System account. The System account is an account that has higher permissions than any other account, including the Administrator account.
Note: You can also use some third-party software tools like PsExec to display these hidden subkeys in your system. (not recommended)
We hope this guide was helpful and that you are familiar with HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, its definition, how to access it, and the list of registry subkeys in HKLM. Also, if you have any queries or suggestions regarding this article, feel free to leave them in the comments section.