The keys at the root level of the hierarchical database are generally named by their Windows API definitions, which all begin "HKEY".[2] They are frequently abbreviated to a three- or four-letter short name starting with "HK" (e.g. HKCU and HKLM). Technically, they are predefined handles (with known constant values) to specific keys that are either maintained in memory, or stored in hive files stored in the local filesystem and loaded by the system kernel at boot time and then shared (with various access rights) between all processes running on the local system, or loaded and mapped in all processes started in a user session when the user logs on the system.
The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (local machine-specific configuration data) and HKEY_CURRENT_USER (user-specific configuration data) nodes have a similar structure to each other; user applications typically look up their settings by first checking for them in "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Vendor's name\Application's name\Version\Setting name", and if the setting is not found, look instead in the same location under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key[citation needed]. However, the converse may apply for administrator-enforced policy settings where HKLM may take precedence over HKCU. The Windows Logo Program has specific requirements for where different types of user data may be stored, and that the concept of least privilege be followed so that administrator-level access is not required to use an application.[a][5]

Also like the file system, PowerShell uses the concept of a current location which defines the context on which commands by default operate. The Get-ChildItem (also available through the alias ls or dir) retrieves the child keys of the current location. By using the Set-Location (or the alias cd) command the user can change the current location to another key of the registry. Commands which rename items, remove items, create new items or set content of items or properties can be used to rename keys, remove keys or entire sub-trees or change values. 

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