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In Windows, each network interface is enumerated with a particular {GUID} which are then assigned connection names (e.g. "Local Area Connection").

Particular IP setup information such as DHCP vs static are stored in the CurrentControlSet\Services key of the registry. There are two places some of this information is stored:

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\{GUID}\Parameters\Tcpip

and

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\Tcpip\Parameters\Interfaces\{GUID}

Both keys share certain values such as EnableDHCP or IPAddress. When issuing netsh commands on the active session, it is the second key whose values are updated immediately.

My question is what is the difference between these two keys, and when does Windows use one or the other for configuring the network connections?

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Not an answer but I don't think the GUID stuff is used by anything. According to the MSDN docs the stuff under the services subkey has to have an associated service registered or it's ignored. See technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc780045(v=ws.10).aspx –  TheFiddlerWins Aug 20 '13 at 13:57
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