Selecting the Registry for Your Target Device (Windows CE 5.0)

Send Feedback

Choosing the correct registry will improve the characteristics and behavior of your target device. The registry type is invisible to applications, but it will change the persistence, boot sequence and speed, and memory usage on your target device.

There are two registry options you can use to select the registry for your target device:

  • RAM-based registry
  • Hive-based registry


The RAM-based registry stores all registry data in the object store, which is in RAM. Therefore, registry data persists on warm boots but not on cold boots.

The RAM-based registry is efficient on target devices that often warm boot; it is inefficient on target devices that often cold boot. The RAM-based registry is best suited for single-user target devices with battery-backed RAM or with a lack of persistent storage to use.

The OS allows you to retrieve all registry information to provide the ability to backup and restore on cold boot. However, it is an item-by-item process and can be very slow for a large registry.


The hive-based registry stores all registry data in files, also called hives, which can be located on any file system. This allows OEMs to easily persist the registry across cold boots without powering RAM.

The hive-based registry is most efficient on target devices that cold boot often but rarely or never warm boot. It is best suited for target devices with persistent storage or multiple users.

The hive-based registry also provides separate user hives so registry configurations can be customized differently for each user. A multi-user system will contain several user hives. A user's hive can be mounted on logon and unmounted on logoff.

See Also

Registry Types | Registry Fundamentals | Advanced Registry Concepts

Send Feedback on this topic to the authors

Feedback FAQs

© 2006 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.