Centrally manage remote Registries

Many remote Registry editing programs are available for Windows NT. IntraSoft's KeyVision 2.0 is an enterprise-level Registry maintenance utility that lets you use a Web browser to manage your Registries. KeyVision lets you save remote Registries to a central location for updating and archiving. You can edit one Registry setting or a group of settings to fix problems, lock or unlock machine features, or implement new software policies across your network.

KeyVision uses a client/server Registry management approach to accomplish its goals. One centralized server is the KeyVision Server, on which you create a database to hold your Registry data. A special NT service, KVServer, operates in the background to accept data from your client systems. You must install a special program, KVAgent, on each client system. This program collects Registry data and sends it to the KVServer service. In addition, KVAgent accepts updates from the KVServer service and applies them to the local Registry. Using this client/server approach, you maintain two copies of your Registry: one on the local machine and another on the server.

Installation and Setup
Installing KeyVision involves only three components. You need to install the KVServer NT service and the KVServer COM Server on your system. The latter component lets you use a Web browser to manage Registries. You must install the KVAgent program on every machine you want the KVServer to manage. For each component, you must provide an installation location and answer some questions, such as the name of the machine on which the KVServer resides (for the KVAgent software), the path to a location where you can access Web files (for the COM component), and your SQL Server login and device information (for the KVServer software).

Before you use the Web interface to manage your Registries, you need to set up KeyVision's security. During installation, the software creates three NT groups: KeyVision Operator, KeyVision User, and KeyVision Admin. You assign users to these groups to establish a security level for each user. Members of the Operator group can update the Registry, whereas members of the User group can only view Registry data. Admin members have update privileges and configuration capabilities.

Using the Software
KeyVision lets you update groups of machines simultaneously. KeyVision groups data by common Registry keys rather than by individual machine names. You can see these groupings in the Key View mode. While in this mode, you can easily make Registry changes.

Screen 1 shows a typical editing session. The KeyVision interface consists of three panes. The top pane contains a toolbar with Registry functions and other commands to execute. The bottom left pane contains a treeview of the Registry area you're editing. The bottom right pane contains detailed information about the item you select in the bottom left pane. To make a Registry change, right-click an entry in the bottom right pane and select Edit from the pop-up menu. To add a new Registry key, right-click within the treeview to indicate where you want to insert the new value.

KeyVision has a built-in security feature known as Milestones. Milestones are events you define that establish reference points for the software to roll back to (i.e., to undo changes you've made). Don't rely on KeyVision's Milestones feature for security. You need to create an up-to-date Emergency Repair Disk (ERD) before you make any Registry changes.

The Bottom Line
KeyVision's price is steep in large enterprise environments with many machines. To evaluate KeyVision for 30 days, download a free trial version of the software from the company's Web site.

KeyVision 2.0
Contact:
IntraSoft * 919-419-9427 or 888-539-8474
Web: http://www.keyvision.com
Price: $495 for 25 licenses; $25 for each additional license, For volume pricing, contact the vendor
System Requirements: Windows NT Server 4.0 or NT Workstation 4.0, Web server, SQL Server, 32MB of RAM, 64MB of hard disk space