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What is the difference between HKEY_CURRENT_USER and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE?

Ok, so I know the difference which is the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE is everything that is on that machine and HKEY_CURRENT_USER is everything on the current user, but here is the problem.

I checked the software installed under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and it doesn't have them all. So I went digging else where and found that while all the software installed on my computer isn't displayed under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE they are displayed under HKEY_CURRENT_USER.

I would think that it should be the opposite and that all the software should be under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.

Any one knows why this is?

This is because I am writing a Software inventory software which gets the software list from the registry.

It depends on the software program - some programs are designed to have the same settings for all users and these will put their info in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Other programs are designed to have different settings for different users (or be installed for only one specific user), and their info will be in HKEY_CURRENT_USER.

And some programs ask you when you install them which way you want it to be.

For your inventory program, you need to think about who's going to be using it and under what conditions, to decide what's best for your users. If it's possible that different people will be using the program on the same computer, and those people will want different settings, then you shouldn't use HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE for any setting that is user-specific (but you could still use it for something that is always the same for all users - for example maybe information about printers connected to the computer).

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