INFO: Taking Ownership of Registry Keys

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Article ID: 111546 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q111546
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To take ownership of a registry key it is necessary to have a handle to the key. A handle to the key can be obtained by opening the key with a registry API (application programming interface) such as RegOpenKeyEx(). If the user does not have access to the registry key, the open operation will fail and this will in turn prevent ownership being taken (because a handle to the key is required to change the key[ASCII 146]s security).

The solution to this problem is to first enable the TakeOwnership privilege and then to open the registry key with WRITE_OWNER access as shown below:
This function call will provide a handle to the registry, which can be used in the following call to take ownership:
RegSetKeySecurity(hKey,OWNER_SECURITY_INFORMATION, &SecurityDescriptor);
Please note that you will need to initialize the security descriptor being passed to RegSetKeySecurity() and set the owner field to the new owner SID.

Taking ownership of a registry key is not a common operation. It is typically an operation that an administrator would use as a last resort to gain access to a registry key.


Article ID: 111546 - Last Review: February 28, 2014 - Revision: 4.1
  • Microsoft Win32 Application Programming Interface, when used with:
    • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1
    • Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
    • Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
    • Microsoft Windows 2000 Standard Edition
    • the operating system: Microsoft Windows XP
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbinfo kbregistry kbapi kbkernbase kbsecurity KB111546

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