This post shows how to fix the Registry Editor cannot rename the specified key; name already exists error. Windows sometimes throws an error message when you try to rename a key in the Registry Editor. The error says:
Error Renaming Value.
The Registry Editor cannot rename [key]. The specified value name already exists. Type another name and try again.
This could occur if the ‘rename’ value you’re trying to enter already exists in the Windows Registry. Or, when you try to use an existing name with a different letter case. In this post, we will explain why the Error Renaming Value error occurs and how to fix it.
Fix The Registry Editor cannot rename, The specified key name already exists
Windows Registry essentially doesn’t have a ‘rename’ function. When a user tries to rename a key, it recreates the entire key structure (root key and subkeys), gives the user-specified name to this new key, copies over values to the root key and the subkeys, and then deletes the old key. It all happens so quickly that it appears as if the Registry Editor is renaming a key. When the new key name matches an existing name in Windows Registry, the registry editor cannot recreate the key structure, which results in the Error Renaming Value prompt. If you get the same error prompt and you’re not able to figure out why you’re getting the error, we’ll help you sort it out.
We recommend the following solutions to fix the Registry Editor cannot rename the specified key name already exists error:
- Use a name that differs by more than just the letter case.
- Check whether the key is a system-critical registry key.
- Gain full permission to edit the registry key.
Let us have a look at these solutions one by one.
1] Use a name that differs by more than just the letter case
Windows Registry is not case-sensitive. So it would read ‘Test_key’ and ‘test_key’ as the same. While renaming a key, make sure you do not enter a name that matches an existing key name, irrespective of its letter case. If you do so, you’ll get the Error Renaming Value prompt. Search for existing Windows registry keys to make sure the name you’re trying to enter doesn’t already exist in the system.
Also read: Windows Registry Editor Tips & Features.
2] Check whether the key is a system-critical registry key
Make sure the key you’re trying to rename is not protected by your system. Windows will not rename system-critical registry keys, since these keys may cause irreversible damage to your system. You may also not be able to rename registry hives, which are top-level keys (HKEY_CURRENT_USER, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, etc.) in Windows Registry.
3] Gain full permission to edit the registry key
Sometimes, you need to take full permission for the registry key and then try. Some registry keys cannot be altered unless you take ownership of the keys. If you try to modify such keys without ownership, you may run into errors, such as error creating key, error editing value, cannot import; error accessing the registry, etc.
- Right-click on the registry key and select Permissions.
- Click on the Advanced button.
- Click on the Change link if your user account is not listed as the Owner.
- In the Select User or Group dialogue box, click on the Advanced button.
- Then click on Find Now button.
- Select your user account from the list of search results.
- Click on the OK button.
- Again click on the OK button.
- Your name will appear in the Owner field. Select the ‘Replace owner on subcontainers and objects’ checkbox.
- Click on the Apply button.
- Then click on the Add button.
- In the window that appears, click on Select a principal link.
- Repeat steps 4-8.
- Select the Full Control checkbox under Basic permissions.
- Click on the OK button.
I hope this helps.
How do I rename registry keys?
To rename a registry key, launch the Registry Editor and locate the desired key on the left panel. Then right-click on it and select the Rename option. Type the new name for the key and press Enter. Please note that to rename a key, you may have to take ownership of the key or need to have Create Subkey access to the root key and Delete access to all its subkeys.
How do I give permission to modify a specific registry key?
In some cases, you need to give permission to modify or change a specific registry key on Windows 11/10 PC. In such situations, you can use the RegOwnit app. However, if you want to do it manually, you can follow this guide to take ownership or full control of a Registry key to edit it as per your requirements.