Take Ownership of Registry Keys


Hello all! In today’s article, I am going to talk about taking ownership of registry keys. There may be a need for you to own a key to modify it for certain purposes (see my guide for 13 Epic Hacks), and this article will show you how to do to just that.

 

How Take Ownership of Windows Registry Keys

By Michael Sammels

How to modify the Windows Registry

The way to do it on Windows 10 is slightly different to Windows 8/8.1 – but not by much, so I will cover both here.

The first that I will discuss, before we delve into the deep is how to modify the Windows Registry, and what precautions you should take when modifying the registry.

In order to modify the registry, you will need to open the Windows Registry Editor. To do so, use the key combination Windows logo key + R, this will open the Run menu, where you want to type regedit.exe

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This will bring up the Registry Editor, where you can navigate through, add, edit and delete keys. The window layout hasn’t changed much since it’s facelift in Windows 95, however see the following screenshots for those who have not physically seen the window before:

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The next thing we should discuss is how I will talk about the keys. Now, in the conventional way of things, for example, in web browsing, we use forward slashes to separate things (example: http://www.microsoft.com/) – however, in the registry, we use backslashes instead (example: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE).

Now – we should discuss how the abbreviations work:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT HKCR
HKEY_CURRENT_USER HKCU
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE HKLM
HKEY_USERS HKU
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG HKCC

These are the abbreviations I will be using throughout this article, so if you need to refer back to this table at any point in time, feel free to do so.

In order to add a new key, you will simply have to click any whitespace on the right hand side (larger area) and select New -> DWORD (32-bit) VALUE from the context menu. If the key you want doesn’t exist, go ahead and create it! If it does already exist, simply modify the existing version.

Backing up! This is a very important step. From the registry editor, make sure “Computer” is highlighted and go to File -> Export…

This will save the entire registry with a name that you chose and a .reg extension. So you could have MyRegistryBackup.reg

In order to restore it you can either:

  1. Open up the editor and go to File -> Import…
  2. Double click the file and add it directly

You must always back up the registry before you make any modifications as it is easier to restore a file than it is to undo your changes.

The Windows XP, Vista and 7 Method

You will want to find the key you wish to take ownership of, and right click it, selecting “Permissions…”

From the window that pops up, you will want to click “Advanced”

Next you will wish to head to the Owner tab, select your username and press Apply.

It’s rather simple, to be honest. If you wanted the permission to go through sub-keys, then you will need to move back to the Permissions tab and select:

  • Include inheritable permissions from this object’s parent
  • Replace all child object permissions with inheritable permissions from this object

And this will extend the ownership down through all.

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