Python registry grepper

Thursday 2 October 2008

In writing the python registry switcher, I needed to search the registry for references to my old Python version. Another good use for a Python script:

""" Search the Windows registry.

import _winreg as reg
import itertools

RegRoots = {
    reg.HKEY_USERS:          'HKEY_USERS',

class RegKey:
    """ A handy wrapper around the raw stuff in the _winreg module.
    def __init__(self, rawkey, root, path):
        self.key = rawkey
        self.root = root
        self.path = path
    def __str__(self):
        return "%s\\%s" % (RegRoots.get(self.root, hex(self.root)), self.path)
    def close(self):

    def values(self):
        """ Enumerate the values in this key.
        for ikey in itertools.count():
                yield reg.EnumValue(self.key, ikey)
            except EnvironmentError:

    def subkey_names(self):
        """ Enumerate the names of the subkeys in this key.
        for ikey in itertools.count():
                yield reg.EnumKey(self.key, ikey)
            except EnvironmentError:
    def subkeys(self):
        """ Enumerate the subkeys in this key.
        for subkey_name in self.subkey_names():
            if self.path:
                sub = self.path + '\\' + subkey_name
                sub = subkey_name
            yield OpenRegKey(self.root, sub)

def OpenRegKey(root, path):
        rawkey = reg.OpenKey(root, path)
    except Exception, e:
        #print "Couldn't open %r %r: %s" % (root, path, e)
        return None
    return RegKey(rawkey, root, path)

def grep_key(key, target):
    for name, value, typ in key.values():
        if isinstance(value, basestring) and target in value:
            print "%s\\%s = %r" % (key, name, value)

    for subkey in key.subkeys():
        if not subkey:
        grep_key(subkey, target)

def grep_registry(args):
    for root in RegRoots.keys():
        grep_key(OpenRegKey(root, ""), args[1])

if __name__ == '__main__':
    import sys

Most of this is a pythonic wrapper around the _winreg module, with a few simple functions at the end to actually search the registry.


Eli 8:11 AM on 3 Oct 2008

Thanks - this is really useful.
A couple of comments:

1. Your grep_registry function is weird. It expects sys.argv as an argument and this isn't intuitive for general-purpose use. It's better to make it expect just a list of search items

2. Whenever I'm dealing with the registry, Regscanner is very helpful. Hope you know about it.

Ned Batchelder 9:55 AM on 3 Oct 2008

Yes, you are right: I shouldn't pass sys.argv to grep_registry, I think I changed it back and forth too much, and didn't notice I'd left it in a strange state....

Kyle Brooks 7:48 AM on 4 Oct 2008

In RegKey.__str__(), do you really mean to display the hexadecimal value of self.root if it is unknown?

Ned Batchelder 9:07 AM on 4 Oct 2008

I did intend to display the root as hex if unknown. Granted, this is an odd case, since I only ever use known roots. But the registry constants for the hives are specialized integers that are best displayed in hex. Did I miss something?

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