Enable Registry Editor disabled by Administrator or Virus

Registry Editor is a useful utility in Windows which allows users to easily change advanced Windows settings by altering registry keys present in a hierarchical arrangement called the Windows Registry. Despite being such a powerful tool, Registry Editor is not totally error-proof.

A simple virus infection is all it takes to render it useless. Or, there are times when your administrator has actually disabled Registry Editing. When you try to open the Registry Editor in one such computer, you are likely to receive the“Registry editing has been disabled by your administrator” error. Due to this error, it is impossible to remove this restriction using the Registry Editor itself.

Enable Registry Editor
Windows Registry Editor

This article suggests some workarounds for re-enabling Registry editing in a computer running Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003/ 2008, Windows 7,, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.

Enable Registry Editor using the Group Policy Editor

  1. Click on Start. Go to Run. Users running Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7 or Vista, go to Search.
  2. Type gpedit.msc and press Enter.
  3. Navigate to User Configuration/ Administrative Templates / System.
  4. In the work area, double click on "Prevent Access to registry editing tools".
  5. In the popup window, encircle Disabled and click on OK.
  6. Normally, Registry Editor will be immediately accessible. If it is not, restart your PC.
Group Policy Editor is not available on home editions of Windows.

Enable Registry Editor
Getting access to Registry editing

Related: Enable Task Manager disabled by Administrator or Virus

Enabling Registry Editor using UnHookExec.inf from Symantec

Symantec has created a small .inf file which can be installed to remove restrictions on modifying registry keys at the click of a mouse. Most viruses, spywares, Trojans or worms normally affect the shell\open\command keys which allows them to run each time when a file of specific type is executed. Normally, they associate their execution with .exe files. UnHookExec.inf not only enables registry editing but also removes such associations.

Just save UnHookExec.inf and install it by right clicking and selecting install. Installing the file will not show any popup or notice box.

Enable Regedit by simply running a CMD Command

  1. Open Notepad.
  2. Copy the code given below and paste it.
  3. reg add "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System" /t Reg_dword /v DisableRegistryTools /f /d 0
  4. Save the file as EnableRegistry.bat. Run this file as Administrator if you use Windows 8, Windows 7 or Windows Vista. In Windows XP, simply open the file. CMD will flash for a second and then disappear. This indicates successful execution.
  5. Log Off and Log Back On.

Visual Basic Script to Enable/ Disable Registry Editor

Doug Knox has created a VBS Script which allows users to easily enable and disable the Registry Editor. Just download regedit tools.zip, extract the VBS file and double click on it. This script reverses the current state of the Registry Editor. If registry editing is set to enabled, this script will disable it and if it is disabled, it will enable it.

If the above link does not work, copy the code given below in Notepad and save the file as *.vbs or Registry Editor.vbs.

Option Explicit
Dim WSHShell, n, MyBox, p, t, mustboot, errnum, vers
Dim enab, disab, jobfunc, itemtype
Set WSHShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
p = "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System\"
p = p & "DisableRegistryTools"
itemtype = "REG_DWORD"
mustboot = "Log off and back on, or restart your pc to" & vbCR & "effect the changes"
enab = "ENABLED"
disab = "DISABLED"
jobfunc = "Registry Editing Tools are now "
t = "Confirmation"
Err.Clear
On Error Resume Next
n = WSHShell.RegRead (p)
On Error Goto 0
errnum = Err.Number
if errnum <> 0 then
WSHShell.RegWrite p, 0, itemtype
End If
If n = 0 Then
n = 1
WSHShell.RegWrite p, n, itemtype
Mybox = MsgBox(jobfunc & disab & vbCR & mustboot, 4096, t)
ElseIf n = 1 then
n = 0
WSHShell.RegWrite p, n, itemtype
Mybox = MsgBox(jobfunc & enab & vbCR & mustboot, 4096, t)
End If
After running the VBS file, if Registry editing is not enabled, try restarting your PC.

Also: Password Protect Folders in Windows

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Author About
Akhilesh Sharma maintains and writes Tweak And Trick. He is a technology enthusiast and a science student.
You can contact him at tweakandtrick@gmail.com .

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