PRB: 'Error Accessing the System Registry' Message When Displaying VB/VBA References


When you access the References dialog box in the Visual Basic integrated development environment (IDE) or any Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) enabled application, you receive the following error:
Error Accessing the System Registry
Also, when you access from REGEDT32.exe, some registry keys are dimmed and inaccessible. For example:


Other problems you may encounter with these Registry keys include:
  • You cannot delete these keys, not even from the local Administrator account.
  • You cannot Assign or View Permissions.
  • You cannot Take Ownership of the keys.


The cause of this problem is a full/Clean Installation of Crystal Reports

Business Objects has documented this issue with Crystal Reports in their own Knowledge Base article:
According to Business Objects, this problem no longer occurs with Crystal Reports or higher.


WARNING: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT is dynamic and is built on startup. The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes key is read into memory and is accessible as HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT. If you add a key to HKLM\Software\Classes, it is immediately replicated to HKCR.

Steps to Correct this Problem

First you need to figure out which registry key or keys are affected. This can be done in two ways:
  1. Use REGEDT32.exe to scan for keys that are dimmed in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\TypeLib and HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID.
  2. Use the RegMon utility from Run the filtering processes for Visual Basic, and then try accessing the References dialog box in Visual Basic. When the error occurs, switch to RegMon and make note of the last keys which were successfully read or written. (These should be from HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\TypeLib or HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID.)
You can then fix the permission problem in the following ways:
  1. Load REGEDT32 and locate the keys that are dimmed from the preceding step 1, or the keys that you noted from step 2. (Note: If you used step 2, once you locate the key, look at the key or sub-key that immediately follows it in the Registry. If you did not have the appropriate permissions to access the key, it would not have even been logged through the RegMon utility and, as such, the entry you noted in step 2 will be the last successful read/write. Therefore, the one that followed it caused the error to occur.
  2. On the Security menu, give the appropriate permissions to the key so that you, and Visual Basic, can access it:
    • Administrators - Full Control
    • Everyone - Read
    • System - Full
    • Users - Read
    • Modify the user list to suite your needs.

  3. Sometimes REGEDT32 is not able to access the key, and it gives you an error stating that the security account information cannot be retrieved or found. You can fix this in the following ways:
    1. On the Control Panel, double-click the Services icon.
    2. Verify that the Task Scheduler is running and start it if it is not.
    3. Open a command prompt. (DOS Prompt) (Note: The window caption says Command Prompt.)
    4. Type the following command to schedule a new command prompt:AT 13:10 /Interactive cmd.exe

    5. Change 13:10 to whatever time you want the cmd.exe (command prompt) to run: for example, one or two minutes from your current time.
    6. Wait until this new command prompt starts. (Note: The window caption is similar to C:\Winnt\System32\MSTask.exe.) If the command prompt fails to start, please see Knowledge Base article 193852 "Task Scheduler May Fail to Run Job When Scheduled"

      Because the Task Scheduler is running under the SYSTEM account, the new command prompt is created running under the SYSTEM security context.
    7. From the new command prompt, type the following, and then press enter:
      REGEDT32.EXEBecause you start this process from the SYSTEM command prompt, REGEDT32 is also running under the SYSTEM security context.
    8. Repeat the preceding step 2, and then reset the permissions.


For additional information on Registry problems caused by the Crystal Reports installation, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

268553 PRB: Visual Studio Installation Problems if Crystal Reports 8 Is Installed
259569 PRB: Installing Third-Party Product Breaks Win2000 MDAC Registry Settings
For additional information on a possible problem with Task Scheduler, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

193852 Task Scheduler May Fail to Run Job When Scheduled

Article ID: 269383 - Last Review: Mar 25, 2004 - Revision: 1