For experienced users, the Windows Registry Editor is a powerful tool that enables them to make a variety of modifications and add new functionality to their computers. However, in the hands of a beginner, it may become a huge risk, since one wrong action might completely destroy your Windows system. Here’s how to deactivate and re-enable the Registry Editor on your Windows 10 computer to prevent your friends or coworkers from mucking with your computer.

Disable Access to Windows Registry on Your Computer (June 2021)

We’ll teach you how to block access to the Registry on your Windows 10 machine through three different methods. To deactivate the Windows Registry on your device, we’ll use the Local Group Policy Editor (gpedit) and the Registry Editor (regedit). When you receive your PC back, we’ll also teach you how to re-enable access to the Windows Registry Editor. Please keep in mind that the techniques listed below are for Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

Disable Registry Editor in Windows 10 Using Group Policy

1. First off, open the Local Group Policy Editor. To do that, use the Windows keyboard shortcut Win + R simultaneously to open the Run dialog box. You can also search for “Run” in the Windows Search Bar. Now type “gpedit.msc” in the Run window and hit Enter or “OK” to open the Group Policy Editor.

gpedit.msc

2. In the Group Policy Editor window, move to the following path using the left sidebar: User Configuration > Administrative Templates > System. In the right pane, double-click on the entry that says “Prevent access to registry editing tools“.

3. On the next window, select “Enabled” and hit Apply or OK. Finally, reboot your PC for the changes to take effect.

Disable Registry Editor in Windows 10 Using Group Policy

4. Now, when you try to access the Registry Editor (regedit) on your Windows 10 PC, you will get an error message, as seen below.

Disable Registry Editor in Windows 10 Using Group Policy

When this option is enabled on one account, the modifications will be applied to all users on that machine, including admin accounts. It’s worth noting that you’ll need to be logged in with an Admin account to utilize the technique above. After you deactivate the registry editor, no one else on the computer can use it. However, by following the instructions below, you may simply reverse the modifications.

Disable Access Using Windows Registry

1. Firstly, open the Windows Registry Editor. To do that, search for “regedit” in the Windows Search Bar and click on the first result.

2. In the Registry Editor window, use the left sidebar to navigate to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies. Now right-click on “Policies” and select New -> Key from the menu. Name the new key “System” (without quotes) and hit Enter.

3. Next, select the newly-created System folder (click on it) if it’s not selected already. In the right pane, right-click on the empty space and choose New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name the new key “DisableRegistryTools” (without quotes) and press Enter.

4. Now double-click on the new DWORD and change its hexadecimal value from 0 to 1 or 2 (check below to see what the values mean). Click on “OK” to save changes and reboot your PC for these changes to take effect.

Disable Access to Windows 10 Registry on Your Computer

Here are the DisableRegistryTools values:

0 – Registry Editor enabled
1 – Registry Editor only works in ‘silent mode’ using the /s switch while in the command prompt
2 – Registry Editor disabled, cannot be started normally or silently

Please keep in mind that this policy only applies to the current user’s account. If you wish to apply the policy to all users on a PC, you’ll have to repeat the procedure for each one. Also, if you don’t have access to the Group Policy Editor, don’t use the value “2.” In such a scenario, re-enabling the functionality would be a little more complicated, as you will see.

Re-enable Registry Editor on Windows 10

  • Method 1: Using Group Policy

To re-enable the Windows Registry using the following method, you have to sign in from an Administrator account.

Open the Group Policy Editor and go to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > System as described earlier. Now double-click on “Prevent access to registry editing tools” in the right pane and choose “Not Configured“. Then, click on OK or Apply to save the changes.

That’s it. You can now access the Registry Editor on your Windows 10 computer again.

  • Using Command Prompt

Once you have disabled the Registry Editor, you can also re-enable it using the Windows Command Prompt. Here’s how you go about it:

1. Open Notepad and copy+paste the following code: Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System] "DisableRegistryTools"=dword:00000000
. Now save it as a registry file (.reg) by hitting the “File -> Save as” option. You can name the file anything you want, but for the purpose of this demo, I’m naming it “EnableRegEdit.reg“.

Re-enable Access to Windows Registry on Your Computer

2. Now, open the Command Prompt in Admin mode. To do that, search for “command prompt” in the Windows Search Bar and click on the “Run as Administrator“.

3. Then, run the following command: cd C:\Users\[username]\Desktop to navigate to the path of the Reg file. Remember to use the actual location of your file. If it’s on your desktop, the file location will most likely be the same as mine, but don’t forget to use your own username in the command.

Re-enable Access to Windows 10 Registry on Your Computer

4. Next up, copy+paste the following command to enable the Registry and press Enter: regedit.exe /s EnableRegEdit.reg

Re-enable Access to Windows 10 Registry on Your Computer

That’s it! Your DisableRegistryTools DWORD value will now revert from 1 to 0, and you should regain access to the Registry Editor.