How-To

How to Disable Access to Windows Registry

Windows can be tricked out a lot by hacking the Registry, but it’s not something a beginner should be playing with. here’s how to disable user access to it.

Windows can be tricked out a lot by hacking the Registry, but it’s not something a beginner should be playing with. In fact, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can really screw up your computer.

Whenever we write about something cool you can do with Windows by making a Registry tweak, we always tell you to back it up first. That way if something does go awry, you can restore it back to its original working state.

But maybe you would rather not have to worry about anyone in your house or the office messing with it at all to save the headache. Here’s a look at how to disable access to the Windows Registry using Group Policy Editor.

NOTE: You will need to be Administrator to enable this setting. If you have a shared computer and don’t want other users on your PC making Registry changes (or installing software), set up their account as a Standard User. Also, note that Local Group Policy Editor is not available in Home versions of Windows.

Disable Windows Registry Access

To disable access to the Windows Registry, press Windows key + R to open the Run dialog.

Type: gpedit.msc in the Open box and click OK or press Enter.

Open Local Group Policy Editor using the Run dialog

Navigate to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > System. Then, double-click Prevent access to registry editing tools on the right under Setting.

Prevent access to registry editing setting

Select Enabled in the upper-left and click OK.

Enable the Prevent access to registry editing tools setting

Close the Registry Editor by clicking the X in the upper-right corner of the dialog, or by going to File > Exit.

Close Local Group Policy Editor

After that, if a user tries to access the system’s registry for any reason, they will get the following message letting them know access is denied.

Registry Editor access error dialog

This is a helpful setting if you want to allow other users to have Admin privileges, but don’t want to take the risk of something going wrong if they try poking around in the Registry.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Ziggy

    For those that have Win 7 Home or Vista (!) here’s a handy link that will guide you through the steps in disabling/re- enabling regedit (http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/116415-regedit-enable-disable.html).

    As with anything to do with the registry think hard and long before making changes and, as Brian stated, “… back it up first. That way if something does go awry, you can restore it back to its original working state”.

    Mucking around with the registry (unless you know what you’re doing) is akin to dancing with your worst nightmares in an ice tub.

    • Brian Burgess

      @Ziggy:

      “Mucking around with the registry (unless you know what you’re doing) is akin to dancing with your worst nightmares in an ice tub.”

      That is a colorful way of stating it! nice.

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