How to quickly switch between HKCU and HKLM branches

The registry in Microsoft windows is a database to store the settings for the operating system and other software. Kernel, drivers, service-based application and user interface are typically found in the registry. The registry editor is used to add, edit, restore, import and export the keys. There are multiple root keys (key beginning with HKEY is a root key) to windows operating system. But, our focus is on the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE branch and HKEY_CURRENT_USER branch only. These keys are required to do most of the changes under windows operating system (e.g. Installation of new Software).

Now, it is possible to quickly jump between these keys if the branches between both keys are identical (or the folder/branch you are working on also exists on the other key hierarchy). You can go from editing a subkey under one branch to a similar subkey under the second branch. For example, you do not have to come out of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and navigate back to the same key in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER branch. Rather, you can easily switch between the branches while working on the same key. This saves you a lot of time and effort.

Keep in mind that this isn’t necessary. You can easily change the same key from both branches by simply navigating via the registry key tree (on the left side of registry editor). The shortcut switch we are presenting here is just for the people who want a quick way of switching between branches for the same key.

Method 1: Switch via Right Clicking

Switching between the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE branch and HKEY_CURRENT_USER branch is very easy and can be done with just a couple of clicks. Simply follow the steps given below

  1. Hold Windows key and press R
  2. Type regedit and press Enter
  3. Now, double click HKEY_CURRENT_USER
  4. Use the hierarchy tree on the left pane to navigate to the key you want
  5. Once done, right click the key and select Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. It will switch to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE branch on the same key.

You can, of course, do this the other way around as well. You can switch from HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE to HKEY_CURRENT_USER.

Note: You can only switch if the same key exists on both branches (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and HKEY_CURRENT_USER). But, you don’t have to worry about knowing whether the key exists on both branches or not. Simply right click the key and check its options. If there is no option Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER or Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE then that means the key doesn’t exist on both branches.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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How to quickly switch between HKCU and HKLM branches

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