RISC OS (not to be confused with MIPS RISC/os) uses directories for configuration data, which allows applications to be copied into application directories, as opposed to the separate installation process that typifies Windows applications; this approach is also used on the ROX Desktop for Linux. This directory-based configuration also makes it possible to use different versions of the same application, since the configuration is done "on the fly". If one wishes to remove the application, it is possible to simply delete the folder belonging to the application. This will often not remove configuration settings which are stored independently from the application, usually within the computer's !Boot structure, in !Boot.Choices or potentially anywhere on a network fileserver. It is possible to copy installed programs between computers running RISC OS by copying the application directories belonging to the programs, however some programs may require re-installing, e.g. when shared files are placed outside an application directory.
Critics labeled the registry in Windows 95 a single point of failure, because re-installation of the operating system was required if the registry became corrupt. However, Windows NT uses transaction logs to protect against corruption during updates. Current versions of Windows use two levels of log files to ensure integrity even in the case of power failure or similar catastrophic events during database updates. Even in the case of a non-recoverable error, Windows can repair or re-initialize damaged registry entries during system boot.
Prior to the introduction of registration-free COM, developers were encouraged to add initialization code to in-process and out-of-process binaries to perform the registry configuration required for that object to work. For in-process binaries such as .DLL and .OCX files, the modules typically exported a function called DllInstall() that could be called by installation programs or invoked manually with utilities like Regsvr32.exe; out-of-process binaries typically support the commandline arguments /Regserver and /Unregserver that created or deleted the required registry settings. COM applications that break because of DLL Hell issues can commonly be repaired with RegSvr32.exe or the /RegServer switch without having to re-invoke installation programs.
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Windows NT kernels support redirection of INI file-related APIs into a virtual file in a registry location such as HKEY_CURRENT_USER using a feature called "InifileMapping". This functionality was introduced to allow legacy applications written for 16-bit versions of Windows to be able to run under Windows NT platforms on which the System folder is no longer considered an appropriate location for user-specific data or configuration. Non-compliant 32-bit applications can also be redirected in this manner, even though the feature was originally intended for 16-bit applications.
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In Mac OS X, system-wide configuration files are typically stored in the /Library/ folder, whereas per-user configuration files are stored in the corresponding ~/Library/ folder in the user's home directory, and configuration files set by the system are in /System/Library/. Within these respective directories, an application typically stores a property list file in the Preferences/ sub-directory.
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