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.
Prior to the Windows Registry, .INI files stored each program's settings as a text file, often located in a shared location that did not provide user-specific settings in a multi-user scenario. By contrast, the Windows Registry stores all application settings in one logical repository (but a number of discrete files) and in a standardized form. According to Microsoft, this offers several advantages over .INI files. Since file parsing is done much more efficiently with a binary format, it may be read from or written to more quickly than an INI file. Furthermore, strongly typed data can be stored in the registry, as opposed to the text information stored in .INI files. This is a benefit when editing keys manually using RegEdit.exe, the built-in Windows Registry Editor. Because user-based registry settings are loaded from a user-specific path rather than from a read-only system location, the registry allows multiple users to share the same machine, and also allows programs to work for less privileged users. Backup and restoration is also simplified as the registry can be accessed over a network connection for remote management/support, including from scripts, using the standard set of APIs, as long as the Remote Registry service is running and firewall rules permit this.
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.