NAME

hivexregedit - Merge and export Registry changes from regedit-format files.


SYNOPSIS

 hivexregedit --merge [--prefix prefix] [--encoding enc] \
         hivefile [regfile]
 hivexregedit --export [--prefix prefix] hivefile key > regfile


DESCRIPTION

Please note hivexregedit is a low-level tool for manipulating hive files directly. To merge or export registry changes to Windows virtual machines it's better to use virt-win-reg(1).

Given a local binary ("hive") file, there are two modes. --merge imports (merges) changes from a regedit-format file into the hive. It is similar to using the /s switch in Windows regedit.exe.

--export exports a Registry key (recursively) into the regedit format.

ENCODING

hivexregedit expects that regedit files have already been re-encoded in the local encoding. Usually on Linux hosts, this means UTF-8 with Unix-style line endings. Since Windows regedit files are often in UTF-16LE with Windows-style line endings, you may need to re-encode the whole file before or after processing.

To re-encode a file from Windows format to Linux (before processing it with the --merge option), you would do something like this:

 iconv -f utf-16le -t utf-8 < win.reg | dos2unix > linux.reg

To go in the opposite direction, after using --export and before sending the file to a Windows user, do something like this:

 unix2dos linux.reg | iconv -f utf-8 -t utf-16le > win.reg

For more information about encoding, see the Win::Hivex::Regedit(3) manpage.

If you are unsure about the current encoding, use the file(1) command. Recent versions of Windows regedit.exe produce a UTF-16LE file with Windows-style (CRLF) line endings, like this:

 $ file software.reg
 software.reg: Little-endian UTF-16 Unicode text, with very long lines,
 with CRLF line terminators

This file would need conversion before you could --merge it.

SHELL QUOTING

Be careful when passing parameters containing \ (backslash) in the shell. Usually you will have to use 'single quotes' or double backslashes (but not both) to protect them from the shell.

CurrentControlSet etc.

Registry keys like CurrentControlSet don't really exist in the Windows Registry at the level of the hive file, and therefore you cannot modify these.

CurrentControlSet is usually an alias for ControlSet001. In some circumstances it might refer to another control set. The way to find out is to look at the HKLM\SYSTEM\Select key:

 $ hivexregedit --export SYSTEM '\Select'
 [\Select]
 "Current"=dword:00000001
 "Default"=dword:00000001
 "Failed"=dword:00000000
 "LastKnownGood"=dword:00000002

"Current" is the one which Windows will choose when it boots.

Similarly, other Current... keys in the path may need to be replaced.


EXAMPLE

 $ virt-cat WindowsGuest /Windows/System32/config/software > software.hive
 $ hivexregedit --export \
     --prefix 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE' \
     software.hive '\Microsoft' > ms-keys.reg
 $ hivexregedit --merge system.hive \
     --prefix 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM' additions.reg


OPTIONS

--help

Display help.

--debug

Enable debugging in the hivex library. This is useful for diagnosing bugs and also malformed hive files.

--merge
 hivexregedit --merge [--prefix prefix] [--encoding enc] \
         hivefile [regfile]

Merge regfile (a regedit-format text file) into the hive hivefile. If regfile is omitted, then the program reads from standard input. (Also you can give multiple input files).

--prefix specifies the Windows Registry prefix. It is almost always necessary to use this when dealing with real hive files.

--encoding specifies the encoding for unmarked strings in the input. It defaults to UTF-16LE which should work for recent versions of Windows. Another possibility is to use ASCII.

--export
 hivexregedit --export [--prefix prefix] hivefile key > regfile

key is a path within the hive hivefile. (The key should not contain any prefix and should be quoted to defend backslashes from the shell). The key is exported, recursively, to standard output in the textual regedit format.

--prefix specifies the Windows Registry prefix. It is almost always necessary to use this when dealing with real hive files.

--prefix prefix

Hive files and Windows Registry key names are indirectly related. For example, inside the software hive, all keys are stored relative to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE. Thus HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft appears in the hive file as \Microsoft.

The hive format itself does not store this prefix, so you have to supply it based on outside knowledge. (virt-win-reg(1), amongst other things, already knows about this).

Usually it is sufficient to pass the parameter --prefix 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE' or similar when doing merges and exports.

--encoding UTF-16LE|ASCII

When merging (only), you may need to specify the encoding for strings to be used in the hive file. This is explained in detail in ENCODING STRINGS in the Win::Hivex::Regedit(3) manpage.

The default is to use UTF-16LE, which should work with recent versions of Windows.

--unsafe-printable-strings

When exporting (only), assume strings are UTF-16LE and print them as strings instead of hex sequences. Remove the final zero codepoint from strings if present.

This is unsafe and does not preserve the fidelity of strings in the original hive for various reasons:

This all happens because the hive itself contains no information about how strings are encoded (see ENCODING STRINGS in the Win::Hivex::Regedit(3) manpage).

You should only use this option for quick hacking and debugging of the hive contents, and never use it if the output is going to be passed into another program or stored in another hive.


SEE ALSO

virt-win-reg(1), the Win::Hivex::Regedit(3) manpage, the Win::Hivex(3) manpage, hivexsh(1), dos2unix(1), unix2dos(1), iconv(1), http://libguestfs.org/.


AUTHOR

Richard W.M. Jones http://people.redhat.com/~rjones/


COPYRIGHT

Copyright (C) 2010 Red Hat Inc.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.