Registry Shortcuts Help

Table of contents

1. Introduction

A registry shortcut is like regular shortcut but instead referring to a file or folder it refers to a registry key. The shortcut allows to quickly navigate to the registry key in Registry Editor and to view the values for the key in Windows Explorer.

Registry shortcut files have extension .reglnk (not shown in Windows Explorer). They are written in INI format in UTF-8 encoding with byte order mark.

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2. Installation and removal

Administrative rights are required to perform installation and removal.

Automatic installation

Use the provided installer to install and remove the product.

Manual installation

Copy the product's file to desired location and register it with the regsvr32 utility:

regsvr32 regshortcuts.dll

To uninstall the product, run regsvr32 with the -u option:

regsvr32 -u regshortcuts.dll

then delete the file. You may need to logoff prior to deleting as the shell extension modules are usually locked by shell.

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3. Creating registry shortcuts

Note To avoid context menu clutter, the commands described here are hidden from the menu by default. In order to see them you need to invoke the context menu while holding <Shift> key.

The registry shortcuts can be created when clipboard contains one or more registry key path in text form. Hold <Shift> key and right-click a folder where you want to create shortcuts, then click Registry shortcuts > Paste from the context menu.

Created shortcut files will be given the name of the key. The existing files with the same names will be preserved and the name of the new file will be appended with the sequential number. The shortcut then can be manually given any descriptive name.

A registry path in clipboard is recognized as such if it contains the name of a registry hive. Both long and abbreviated hive names are recognized. The part of the path preceding the registry hive name is ignored, if exists.

Multiple registry paths in clipboard should be placed on a separate line each.

Typically you will be copying a registry path from a document, from the address bar of the Registry Editor, or by clicking the Copy Key Name from the context menu of the Registry Editor.

Listed below is an example set of registry paths which you can copy to the clipboard all at once and create the shortcuts for them with a single click.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList\Profiles

If you have some registry keys bookmarked in Registry Editor then you can create the shortcuts for those keys by clicking Registry shortcuts > Create from Registry Editor bookmarks from the context menu of a folder.
You can also do the reverse operation - see Bookmarking registry keys in Registry Editor.

When the key name contains characters that are not allowed in file names, then such characters are encoded in the shortcut name as '%xx' where 'xx' is the hexadecimal code of a character. For example, character '?' is encoded as '%3f'. The percent character itself is encoded too as '%25'. A pop-up infotip displays decoded shortcut name.

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4. Browsing registry shortcuts

The shortcut's key path and the date of modification of the registry key are displayed in pop-up infotip of the shortcut, in the details pane of Windows Explorer, and in Windows Explorer columns named [REG] Key path and [REG] Date modified. If the referred key does not exists then nothing is displayed in the date column.

The shortcut's key path can be copied to the clipboard by clicking the Copy key path(s) command from the shortcut's menu. If multiple shortcuts are selected then the key path of each one is placed on a separate line.

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5. Opening registry keys

Double-clicking a registry shortcut opens Registry Editor with the corresponding key selected. If the key does not exist then the nearest existing parent key is selected.

Values contained in a registry key can be viewed without opening Registry Editor (see Viewing the values from a registry key).

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6. Bookmarking registry keys in Registry Editor

Registry shortcuts can be bookmarked in Registry Editor. Click Bookmark in Registry Editor from the context menu of the registry shortcuts and select one of the options, then open Registry Editor to navigate between the keys without having to open separate Registry Editor window for each shortcut. The Add option adds the selected shortcuts to the existing bookmarks, and the Replace option deletes the existing bookmarks before bookmarking the shortcuts.

The bookmarks are stored in the following registry key:


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7. Viewing the values from a registry key

When a registry shortcut is selected in Windows Explorer the preview pane displays the contents of the key the shortcut refers to (see pic. 1).

At the top of the pane a full path to the key is displayed in hierarchical form together with the date of modification of the key, and below it the table is displayed which lists the values from the key.

For each value its name, data and type is displayed.

Numeric values are displayed in both hexadecimal and decimal form.

Each value of multi-string values is displayed on a separate line.

For binary values at most 12 bytes are displayed; if the size of the value is larger than that, an ellipis is added to the end of the displayed data. Additionally, the binary value is displayed as ASCII text.

If the registry key cannot be accessed then the error message is displayed and the failing key is shown in red.

Pic. 1. The contents of FileSystem key displayed in preview pane of Windows Explorer.

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8. Getting further help

You can send questions and feedback by e-mail: support (at) evilapp (dot) com,

or via Twitter:

Follow @evilapp to receive notifications about new product releases.

You can also subscribe to RSS feed.

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9. Version history

version 1.2 released 28-May-2018
Registry key paths can be copied to clipboard.
Windows Explorer columns display path and modification date of a registry key.
Modification date of a registry key is displayed in pop-up infotip and preview pane.
Registry shortcuts can be bookmarked in Registry Editor without deleting the existing bookmarks.
Registry shortcuts can be created from a path copied from Registry Editor address bar.
version 1.1 released 09-Dec-2017
Registry shortcuts can be bookmarked in Registry Editor.
version 1.0 released 17-Aug-2016
First release

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10. Disclaimer

The software is provided "AS IS" without any warranty, either expressed or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. The author will not be liable for any special, incidental, consequential or indirect damages due to loss of data or any other reason.

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