How to set or change registry editing permissions in Windows XP or in Windows Server 2003

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Article ID: 310426 - View products that this article applies to.
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SUMMARY

This step-by-step article describes how to use features in Registry Editor that are included in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, but that are not included in previous versions of Windows. In Windows XP and later, Regedit.exe is the only Registry Editor tool that is included in the operating system. Regedt32.exe is no longer a part of Windows XP or Windows Server 2003. A primary use of Regedt32.exe that was missing from earlier versions of Regedit.exe , was to set permissions and other security settings for registry keys and subkeys. That feature is now available in the version of Regedit.exe that is included in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

Note: If you try to start the Regedt32.exe tool in the Run dialog box of Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, Regedit.exe starts, and Windows does not generate an error message.

The version of Regedit.exe that is included in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 includes the Permissions and Favorites features. The Favorites feature was first introduced in the Microsoft Windows 2000 version of Regedit.

You can use the Favorites feature to put frequently-used registry subkeys on a list that is accessible on the Favorites menu. To do so, click a subkey, and then click Add to Favorites on the Favorites menu, type a name for the Favorites listing or accept the default name. The default name is the name of the subkey. The listing is then available on the Favorites menu, and you can click the listing to return to the subkey. To delete a listing, click it on the Favorites menu, click Remove Favorite, and then click OK to confirm the deletion.

The security features that are available in Regedit.exe include assigning permissions, auditing access to the registry, and assigning ownership of a registry key.

Assigning Permissions to a Registry Key

  1. Click the key that you want to assign permissions.
  2. On the Edit menu, click Permissions.
  3. Click the group or user name that you want to work with.
  4. Assign one of the following access levels to the key:
    • Select the Allow check box for Read to give permission to read the key contents, but not save any changes.
    • Select the Allow check box for Full Control to give permission to open, edit, and take ownership of the key.
  5. To grant special permission in the key, click Advanced, and then double-click the user or group that you want to assign special access. Under Permissions, select the Allow or the Deny check box for each permission you want to allow or deny.

Add Users or Groups to Existing Permissions List

  1. Click the key that you want to change the Permissions list for.
  2. On the Edit menu, click Permissions, and then click Add.
  3. In the Locations box of the Select Users, Computers, or Groups dialog box, click the computer or domain of the users and groups that you want to choose from.
  4. Click the name of the user or group, click Add, and then click OK.
  5. In the Permissions dialog box, assign a type of access to the selected user or group by using the guidelines that this article described earlier.
Notes from the Advanced Security settings:
  • If you want the inheritable permissions that are assigned to the parent key to apply to a subkey, select the Inherit from parents the permission entries that apply to child objects. Include these with entries explicitly defined here. check box.
  • If you want to reset the permission entries on child objects so that they are the same as the current parent object, select the Replace permission entries on all child objects with entries shown here that apply to child object. check box.

Changing Ownership of a Registry Key

  1. Click the key for which you want to change ownership.
  2. On the Edit menu, click Permissions.
  3. Click Advanced, and then click the Owner tab.
  4. Under Change owner to, click the new owner, and then click OK.
Note: You can permit another user to take ownership of a registry key only if you are the current owner of the key. To permit a user to take ownership of a registry key, you must first grant the user Full Control of the key. You can take ownership of a registry key if you are logged on as an administrator, or if you have been specifically assigned the permission to take ownership of the registry key by the current owner.

Properties

Article ID: 310426 - Last Review: May 30, 2007 - Revision: 7.6
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Standard Edition
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