Unable to delete certain registry keys - Error while deleting key

Support for Windows Server 2003 ended on July 14, 2015

Microsoft ended support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

Symptoms
  You may get the following error message when trying to delete a registry key:

"Error while deleting key"

Cause
  This can be caused if you attempt to delete a registry key that contains embedded null characters. These characters are not visible when viewing the registry entry.
Resolution
  To delete a registry key that contains an embedded null character, you must first replace the null character with another character. You can accomplish this by using the RegDelNull tool from Sysinternals. This tool is available from the following URL:

 http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897448.aspx

More Information
  Usage: regdelnull <path> [-s]

 -s Recurse into subkeys.

 It is not possible to manually create a registry entry with an embedded null character. This usually occurs due to a corrupt application install or similar. It is also possible for the Windows kernel to embed a NULL character in a string to form a complete key name. If this entry is then accessed from user-mode, it is not possible to open the key containing the embedded null string.

Note This is a "FAST PUBLISH" article created directly from within the Microsoft support organization. The information contained herein is provided as-is in response to emerging issues. As a result of the speed in making it available, the materials may include typographical errors and may be revised at any time without notice. See Terms of Use for other considerations.
Properties

Article ID: 2021860 - Last Review: 03/23/2010 22:57:00 - Revision: 1.0

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  • KB2021860
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