Enable or Prevent access to Registry Editor in Windows 10/8/7

In this post, we will see how to disable, restrict or prevent access to Registry Editor or Registry Editing Tools using Group Policy Editor or by tweaking the Windows Registry in Windows 10/8/ 7. We will also show you what you can do if you cannot access the Registry in Windows 10.

Prevent access to Registry Editor

On a shared computer, you may want to allow registry access to some users. One can always use the Group Policy Editor, which is available only in select versions of Windows 8, Windows 7 or Windows Vista or one can tweak the Registry settings to do it.

Prevent access to Registry Editing Tools using GPEDIT

To do so, type gpedit.msc in Windows Start Search Bar and hit Enter to open the Group Policy Editor.

Prevent access to Registry Editor

Click Open User Configuration > Administrative Templates > System. Now double click Prevent Access To Registry Editing Tools setting. Set it to Enabled. Click OK.

This setting disables the Windows registry editor or Regedit.exe. If you enable this policy setting and the user tries to start Regedit.exe, a message appears explaining that a policy setting prevents the action. If you disable this policy setting or do not configure it, users can run Regedit.exe normally. To prevent users from using other administrative tools, use the “Run only specified Windows applications” policy setting.

However, this process locks out ALL users, including yourself. You may not be able use the registry editor, but you may still use it in silent mode by using the /s switch. To regain access, you have to again revisit Group Policy Object Editor when required, and change the policy to Disabled or Not Configured.

To enable it again, change the setting back to Not Configured.

Disable access to Registry Editor using REGEDIT

To do so using the Registry Editor, you must have Administrative rights. Next, ensure that the Users account is an Administrator Account, if not, change it, to it.

Now open Regedit, and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System

Prevent access to Registry Editing Tools

In the right pane change value of DisableRegistryTools and set it to 1.

Exit.

Change back the account type, in case you had changed it earlier. Having done this, this user will not be able to now run regedit or merge .reg files. If any user  tries to edit the Registry, he or she will get the message-

Registry Editing has been disabled by your administrator

In such a scenario, a non-admin user will not be able to make system changes using Regedit.

To enable it again, change the value back to 0.

Windows 10 regedit won’t open

If for some strange reason, you cannot access registry windows 10/8/7, do the following:

Open an elevated command prompt windows, type the following and hit Enter:

REG add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v DisableRegistryTools /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

You may also add it using the Run box.

You may also use our freeware Ultimate Windows Tweaker to enable or disable Registry Editor on the fly.

See this post if you want to disable Command Prompt.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.