Open Windows 7 Registry without Elevation

There may be a need or want to edit your registry profile for tweaking your user profile account or simply repairing your user profile registry.

When editing your User Profile registry (HKCU) as a Standard User, elevating the registry is not required because you have write and read privileges for your registry database. If you elevate the registry then you are not editing your registry profile but the Administrator’s registry profile and the machine’s registry database (HKLM).

In this blog post I will show you how to launch the Windows 7 Registry Database using the Registry Editor.

CAUTION

Modifying the Window 7 Registry may result in an unbootable computer or a malfunctioning application due to an incorrect modification.

Open Windows 7 Registry without Elevation – Start Menu

  1. Click Start Orb.
  2. Type:

    regedit

  3. Click regedit to launch the your User Profile registry for Windows 7.

Version 1.1
Edited: May 16, 2012

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Opening the Registry Editor without Elevated Privileges

When editing the Windows Vista Registry in the HKCU (HKEY_CURRENT_USER) hives there will be no elevation required because this part of the registry affects only your user account in Windows Vista. If you need to open the Windows Vista Registry with Elevated Privileges then read "Opening the Registry Editor with Elevated Privileges".

Here are the instructions that I use to edit the Windows Vista registry for the current user.

WARNING

Editing the Windows Vista registry can cause serious issues such as system instability when editing/deleting the wrong entries. Please use the Registry Editor with extreme caution.

CAUTION

Before making any changes to the Windows Vista Registry, please backup your Windows Vista Registry by creating a System Restore point using the direction from "Create a System Restore Point".

Opening the Registry without Elevation

NOTE

To enlarge the images, simply click on the images you would like to view. With Internet Explorer 7, you can right-click on the image to select Open in New Tab.

  1. Click on the Start Orb (commonly known as the Start button).
  2. Type regedit,exe in the Start Search field on the Start Menu. Refer to Step 1 on the Image below.
  3. The Programs in the Start Menu in the left pane will populate. "regedit.exe" should appear.
  4. Click on regedit.exe to launch the Windows Vista Registry Editor. Refer to Step 2 on the Image below.
     

  5. The Registry Editor window will open. Refer to Image below.
     

NOTE

To enlarge the images, simply click on the images you would like to view. With Internet Explorer 7, you can right-click on the image to select Open in New Tab.

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Version 1.2
Edited: May 3, 2012

Opening the Registry Editor with Elevated Privileges

You may need to open an Elevated Registry in Windows Vista to edit registry entries that are located in the system entries such as HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE or HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT. You do not need to open an elevated registry to edit your user registry (HKEY_CURRENT_USER). If you do edit the HKEY_CURRENT_USER when you are working with an elevated registry then you are not editing your user’s registry. You are actually editing the account that lets you have elevated privileges. Here are the instructions that I use to open the Windows Vista Registry with Elevated Privileges.

WARNING

Editing the Windows Vista registry can cause serious issues such as system instability when editing/deleting the wrong entries. Please use the Registry Editor with extreme caution.

CAUTION

Before making any changes to the Windows Vista Registry, please backup your Windows Vista Registry by creating a System Restore point using the direction from "Create a System Restore Point".

Opening an Elevated Registry

NOTE

To enlarge the images, simply click on the images you would like to view. With Internet Explorer 7, you can right-click on the image to select Open in New Tab.

  1. Click on the Start Orb (commonly known as the Start button).
  2. Type regedit in the Start Search field on the Start Menu. Refer to Step 1 on the Image below.
  3. The Programs in the Start Menu in the left pane will populate. "regedit.exe" should appear. Right-click on regedit.exe to access the context menu. Refer to Step 2 on the Image below.
  4. Select Run as administrator in the Context menu for "regedit.exe". Refer to Step 3 on the Image below.
     

  5. A UAC Prompt should appear to allow access to the elevated Registry Editor. Click on Continue to allow the Elevated Registry Editor to open. Refer to the Image below.
     

  6. The Registry Editor window will open with elevated privileges. Refer to Image below.
     

NOTE

To enlarge the images, simply click on the images you would like to view. With Internet Explorer 7, you can right-click on the image to select Open in New Tab.

Related Articles

Version 1.5
Edited: May 3, 2012

Regedit Disabled by Administrator

Windows XP Registry Editor (regedit.exe) can be restricted by enforcing a policy on machines or users. These policies are typically applied at businesses to control access to programs and system properties. For Home users, the Registry Editor can be disabled as well by these policies but usually Malware is the culprit in disabling the Registry Editor instead of the Administrator. If you are a home user and see the picture below when trying to open/launch Windows XP Registry Editor then there is a good chance you are infected with malware.

NOTE

Ensure your computer is malware free before applying the following solutions.

Here is the solution for the Registry Editor policy restriction problem. Administrative privileges is required to perform the following set of solutions.

CAUTION

Before making any changes to the Windows XP Registry, please backup your Windows XP Registry using the direction from "Using ERUNT to back up the Windows XP Registry".

Manual Steps Using Group Policy Editor

NOTE

The Group Policy Editor is only available for Windows XP Professional Edition.

  1. Click Start and then Run.
  2. Type gpedit.msc in the Run dialog box.
  3. Press ENTER on your keyboard.
  4. In the Group Policy Editor navigate to:

    User Configuration > Administrative Templates > System

  5. Double-click Prevent access to registry editing tools.
  6. Select Not Configured.

NOTE

If the Registry Editor is disabled per User basis then the above method will not work, you will need to use the Manual Steps Using REG DELETE.

Manual Steps Using REG DELETE

  1. Open a Command Window.
  2. Type

    REG DELETE HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v DisableRegistryTools

  3. Press ENTER on your keyboard.
  4. Type

    REG DELETE HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v DisableRegistryTools

  5. Press ENTER on your keyboard.
  6. Type EXIT and press ENTER on your keyboard.

NOTE

You may need to log off then log on to your user account or restart your computer for the changes to take affect.

Automated Fix Using an Registration File

  1. Download regedit.dsbld.reg to a folder on your hard drive.
  2. Right-click regedit.dsbld.reg to select Merge.
  3. Now the registration entries are added for you.

NOTES

The regedit.dsbld.reg file is from my web server (http://lprf.homeserver.com).  You also can view the contents of the regedit.dsbld.reg file by right-clicking the file and selecting Edit. You may need to log off then log on to your user account or restart your computer for the changes to take affect.

Platforms Tested

  • Microsoft Windows XP Edition

Version 1.4
Edited: May 2, 2012