HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG (HKCC Registry Hive)

Details on the HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG Registry Hive

Screenshot of the HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG registry hive in Windows 10
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG Registry Hive (Windows 10).
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HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG, sometimes shortened to HKCC, is a registry hive that's a part of the Windows Registry. It doesn't store any information itself, but instead acts as a pointer, or a shortcut, to a registry key that keeps information about the hardware profile currently being used.

HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG is a shortcut to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive. More specifically, to that hive's \SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Hardware Profiles\Current\ registry key.

It's there that the information is truly stored - HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG just provides a quick way to get there.

Therefore, HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG really just exists for convenience. It's easier to access the data in the other registry key - to view and modify it, by just going to HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG. Since they contain the same information and are always connected to each other, you can make changes in either location to get the same results.

How to Get to HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG

As a hive, viewable at from the top level in Registry Editor, HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG is pretty easy to get to:

  1. Open Registry Editor.
     
  2. Locate HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG on the left side in the Registry Editor tool.

    This hive is listed at the bottom of all the other hives in Registry Editor, right below HKEY_USERS.
     
  3. Tap or click on HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG or do the same to the arrow to the left to expand the hive.

Note: HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG may be difficult to find if a previous visit to Registry Editor was left on a key deep in the registry.

Just collapse any open subkeys (by tapping or clicking the arrow to the left) until you get back to the list of hives, which is where you'll find HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG.

Registry Subkeys in HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG

Here are the two registry keys you'll find under the HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG hive:

  • HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG\Software
  • HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG\System

See Microsoft's Windows Server 2003/2003 R2 Retired Content document for more information on the hardware profile information seen under HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG. That document is a PDF file. You can read about the data in the \CurrentControlSet\Hardware Profiles\ registry key, which is the same as what's found in HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG, on page 6730.

More on HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG

Like I said above, HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG replicates whatever is found in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Hardware Profiles\Current\. This means that if you edit anything in the former registry key, it will be reflected in the latter, and vice versa.

For example, if you add, edit, remove, or rename anything in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Hardware Profiles\Current\Software\ key and then exit and reopen Registry Editor (or refresh with the F5 key), you'll see that the change took place immediately in the HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG\Software\ key.

You may notice that there are multiple registry keys inside HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Hardware Profiles\. That's because that registry key is used to hold all the hardware profiles for the whole computer. The reason you only see one hardware profile in the HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG key is because it's only pointing to one of those hardware profiles - specifically, to the one that pertains to the user that's currently logged on.

Note: In some versions of Windows, you can create additional hardware profiles from the System link in Control Panel. Click or tap the Hardware tab and then Hardware Profiles.