How to change default values in registry with DSC registry resource

Hi all,

I’m trying to change the default value for a key. When I try do this with the Registry Resource it simply creates a “second” (Default) value in key. Is it a bug or am I doing it wrong?

        Registry WinDirStatDirectoryConfig {
            DependsOn = "[Archive]InstallWinDirStat"
            Ensure = 'Present'
            Force = $True
            Key = 'HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\Show WinDirStat\command'
            ValueName = "(Default)"
            ValueType = 'String'
            ValueData = '"C:\Program Files (x86)\WinDirStat\windirstat.exe" "%1"' 

The “(Default)” isn’t a discrete value - that is, it isn’t an ItemProperty the way other values are. For example, in the shell, you’d do this to set a key’s default value:

Set-Item -Path HKCU:\Software\ScriptingGuys -Value “MyNewValue” -Type string

You’re just setting the value of the key itself - not creating a new ItemProperty. So you don’t specify a ValueName.

The problem is that the Registry resource mandates ValueName - which sort of suggests that it can’t work with keys (“items”) but only with values (“item properties”). If it can’t directly modify a key, then there’s no way to set the default value.

You could probably work around this by using a Script resource, and using Get-Item and Set-Item in the Test{} and Set{} script blocks.

Many thanks for the response Don.

I think I’m going to make a custom resource as I need to make changes to user hives as well which the Registry resource does not support.

The default value is actually an empty value name, but of course, MOF doesn’t allow you to have empty strings assigned to Key properties.

In a similar resource I wrote for modifying local GPO registry.pol files, I worked around this problem by combining the key / value names into a single Key property. If you wanted to modify the default value, you’d just specify a key path with a trailing backslash. This might be a good thing to log on Connect, or to add in the form of an xRegistry resource down the road.

I have submitted a suggestion on Connect (

I tried your workaround plus variations to it but could not get DSC to modify the default value. I wrote a Script resource to get around the problem.

Thank you Dave and Don for your time.

Looks like this was fixed with the Powershell 5.0 release. If you set the ValueName="" it will now set the default value.

@Chris, thanks for the heads up. You are correct! It’s now been fixed :wink: