On my XP SP3 box, I happened on to a strange entry under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT. The key was a single English word, and it had no default value, any subkeys, or even any values at all. I scrolled around a bit, and noticed a couple more. Here's a list:

also an and are be but by coordination far file. install installer. invasive keywords leaves more must Note of probably problem PROGID's, R6 R7 require so solve specific that There this thumbsup unaffected. uninstall using version ways would

I've left the capitalization exactly as I found it, as well as any punctuation that was included. My conjecture is that someone (or some thing) treated a chunk of English text as if it was a .reg file (perhaps by believing that it was possible to have comments in a .reg file).

I know I can safely remove these entries. The mystery (which might have no sensible answer) is how they got there in the first place. Any ideas?

  • Your conjecture sounds reasonable to me. – Moab Jul 4 '10 at 21:03
  • It almost looks like a dictionary or word-list file, though I don’t see how it could have been accidentally interpreted as a REG file and imported since Regedit would have errored out because the file would not have had the right format. – Synetech Jun 26 '11 at 22:26
  • Unless this or this is you, then you are not the only one. Is it from a game? Word-lists list that remind me of King’s Quest type games. – Synetech Jun 26 '11 at 22:33

The most likely explanation is that you installed some software and the installation program had at least one bug related to the registry. You'd be surprised how often installation programs have these kinds of bugs. Not enough attention is paid to this part of software development and - particularly with Windows - the details of software installation can get very complex. Anyway, all it would take is for the person programming the installer to get a registry root or key wrong to produce what you're seeing. Often the installed program will still work as it either creates the required keys when it runs or uses default settings. If registry entries had timestamps you'd have a better chance of tracking it down since you might remember what you installed on that date. Freeware and shareware installers tend to be the worst offenders, but Microsoft even messes up their installers (gasp!) Hopefully the developer caught this problem and fixed it, but if you're able to track it down, you should let them know anyway. A bit of searching leads me to suggest that the offending installer was the one for Google Sketchup; have you ever installed that?

  • Oddly, yes I have installed sketchup, and interestingly a colleague's machine without sketchup ever installed does not have the odd entries. Now I suppose I should go open a fresh VirtualPC and install sketchup to be sure.... – RBerteig Jul 16 '10 at 2:32
  • Oh, and I'm never surprised by installer bugs. I know that the installer is often the least-tested component, and it is also the hardest for a small shop to test well. MS, of course, has no excuse. My day-to-day PC runs XP but has no C: drive. When first installed, that quirk scared any number of installers... these days the situation seems much improved. – RBerteig Jul 16 '10 at 2:35
  • > at least one bug related to the registry It might not even be the installer, but the program itself. It’s not that hard to forget to escape the string with the reg key and end up with missing slashes. ;-) (Though the compiler should warn you about bad escape characters, it’s possible that a reg key could have no invalid escape characters, eg HKCR\ReallyCoolApp_files.) – Synetech Jun 26 '11 at 22:24
  • @Synetech: It could be the program, but in my experience that's less likely as it's the kind of thing that would turn up in testing. Whereas installer programs are typically not tested thoroughly enough and/or developed by less-talented programmers. – boot13 Jun 27 '11 at 8:04

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