How To Read a REG_EXPAND_SZ Value From the Registry

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This article describes how to read a REG_EXPAND_SZ registry value.

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IMPORTANT: This article contains information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For information about how to back up, restore, and edit the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
256986 Description of the Microsoft Windows Registry

WARNING: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

The information about the registry editor in this article is for Microsoft Windows NT-based computers and Microsoft Windows 2000-based computers. If you are running a Microsoft Windows 9x-based computer, you need to use the Regedit.exe file instead of the Regedt32.exe file.

NOTE: This article uses a registry key, which is created just for testing purposes, and the registry key should be deleted when you complete testing.
  1. Start the Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe).
  2. Locate the following key in the registry:
  3. On the Edit menu, click Add Key, and then add the following registry Key:
  4. Expand the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software value. Locate and then select the VfpREGTest key that you added in step 3.
  5. On the Edit menu, click Add Value, and then add the following registry value:
       Value Name: TestREG_EXPAND_SZ
       Data Type:  REG_EXPAND_SZ
       Value:      %WINDIR%\System
  6. Quit the Registry Editor.
  7. In Microsoft Visual FoxPro, create a program and enter the following code:
    *Start of Code
    #DEFINE HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT           -2147483648
    #DEFINE HKEY_CURRENT_USER           -2147483647
    #DEFINE HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE          -2147483646
    #DEFINE HKEY_USERS                  -2147483645
    LOCAL nKey, cSubKey, cValue, nSuccess, cValueRead
    cSubKey = "Software\VfpRegTest"
    cValue = "TestREG_EXPAND_SZ"
    nSuccess = ReadREG_EXPAND_SZ(nKey, cSubKey, cValue, @cValueRead)
    IF (nSuccess > 0) THEN
       =MESSAGEBOX("Function Successful.")
          ? cValueRead
       =MESSAGEBOX("Function Not Successful.")
    * This function reads a REG_EXPAND_SZ value from the registry. It will return
    * the number of characters in cValueRead if successful and store the 
    * expanded string in cValueRead. If not successful, it will return 0 and 
    * cValueRead will be empty
       PARAMETERS  nKey, cSubKey, cValue,  cValueRead
       * nKey The root key to open. It can be any of the constants defined below
       *  #DEFINE HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT           -2147483648
       *  #DEFINE HKEY_CURRENT_USER           -2147483647
       *  #DEFINE HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE          -2147483646
       *  #DEFINE HKEY_USERS                  -2147483645
       * cSubKey The SubKey to open.
       * cValue The value that is going to be read.
       * cValueRead The expanded string read from the registry
       * Constants that are needed for Registry functions
       * WIN 32 API functions that are used
       DECLARE Integer RegOpenKey IN Win32API ;
          Integer nHKey, String @cSubKey, Integer @nResult
       DECLARE Integer RegQueryValueEx IN Win32API ;
          Integer nHKey, String lpszValueName, Integer dwReserved,;
          Integer @lpdwType, String @lpbData, Integer @lpcbData
       DECLARE Integer RegCloseKey IN Win32API Integer nHKey
       DECLARE Integer ExpandEnvironmentStrings IN WIN32API;
          String @lpSrc, String @lpDst, Integer nSize
       * Local variables used
       LOCAL nErrCode       && Error Code returned from Registry functions
       LOCAL nKeyHandle     && Handle to Key that is opened in the Registry
       LOCAL lpdwValueType  && Type of Value that we are looking for
       LOCAL lpbValue       && The data stored in the value
       LOCAL lpcbValueSize  && Size of the variable
       LOCAL lpdwReserved   && Reserved Must be 0
       LOCAL lpDst          && The string after it has been expanded
       LOCAL nSize          && The size of the string to hold the expanded string
       LOCAL nBufferSize    && Size needed to store the expanded string
       * Initialize the variables
       nKeyHandle = 0
       lpdwReserved = 0           
       lpdwValueType = REG_EXPAND_SZ
       nErrCode = RegOpenKey(nKey, cSubKey, @nKeyHandle)
       * If the error code isn't 0, then the key doesn't exist or can't be opened.
       IF (nErrCode # 0) THEN
          RETURN 0
       lpbValue = ""
       lpcbValueSize = 1 
       * Get the size of the data in the value
       nErrCode=RegQueryValueEx(nKeyHandle, cValue, lpdwReserved, @lpdwValueType, @lpbValue, @lpcbValueSize)
       * Make the buffer big enough
       lpbValue = SPACE(lpcbValueSize)   
       nErrCode=RegQueryValueEx(nKeyHandle, cValue, lpdwReserved, @lpdwValueType, @lpbValue, @lpcbValueSize)
       IF (nErrCode # 0) THEN
          RETURN 0
       * Expand the Strings
       * We need to get the size of the buffer needed
       lpDst = ""
       nSize = 1
       nBufferSize = ExpandEnvironmentStrings(lpbValue, @lpDst, nSize)
       * Make the buffer big enough for the expanded string
       lpDst = SPACE(nBufferSize)
       nSize = nBufferSize
       nBufferSize = ExpandEnvironmentStrings(lpbValue, @lpDst, nSize)
       * Check to see if we were successful
       IF (nBufferSize = 0) THEN
          RETURN 0
       	  * Strip off the null at the end of the string
          cValueRead = LEFT(lpDst, nBufferSize - 1)
    RETURN nBufferSize
    * End of Code 
  8. Run the code created in step 7. A message box displays, which maintains either the success or failure of the function. If the function is successful the message box text states:
    Function Successful
    If the function is unsuccessful the text states:
    Function Not Successful
  9. You can replace the nKey, cSubKey, and cValue, with your information.


For additional information about obtaining values from the registry, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
244675 How ToUse Windows Script Host to Read, Write, Delete Registry
(c) Microsoft Corporation 2000, All Rights Reserved. Contributions by Mark Barnard, Microsoft Corporation.


Article ID: 265331 - Last Review: June 22, 2014 - Revision: 3.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Visual FoxPro 3.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Visual FoxPro 5.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Visual FoxPro 6.0 Professional Edition
kbapi kbcodesnippet kbhowto KB265331

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