Weird Vista Registry Issue

I'm attempting to track down a very strange Windows Vista registry permissions issue that hit me on two machines, that I've found mentioned in random various forum posts across the Internet, that has no known cause or solution, and which I cannot seem to reproduce in a VM though I've seen it happen on 2 machines across 4 Vista installs.  I'm hoping everyone that happens to read this post will take a few minutes to check the following and contact me directly or leave a comment with a way to communicate back to you.  Here's what to do:

  1. Run regedit.exe, everybody's favorite Registry Editor.
  2. At the root node of HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, right-click and select Permissions from the context menu.
  3. Report what you see.  The first image is correct.  The second image is the problem scenario.

image reg

Subsequently, every subkey that is created or modified after this problem occurs has no permissions attached to them, causing all sorts of issues like COM components not being …

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