How-To Geek

Take Ownership of a Registry Key in Windows 7


We have previously written about how to take ownership of files and folders in Windows 7, but there may be times when you need to take ownership of or assign full permission for certain registry keys. This article shows you how to do this.

NOTE: Before making changes to the registry, be sure you back up the registry. We also recommend creating a restore point you can use to restore your system if something goes wrong.

To take ownership of a registry key, open the registry editor, if it is not already open. Type “regedit” in the Search box on the Start menu and pressing enter when regedit.exe is highlighted in the search results. You can also click on the regedit.exe link to open the registry editor.


If the User Account Control dialog box displays, click Yes to continue.

NOTE: You may not see this dialog box, depending on your User Account Control settings.


Navigate to the key you want to take ownership of. For this example, we chose the following key:


Right-click on the desired key and select Permissions from the popup menu.


On the Permissions dialog box, click Advanced.


Click the Owner tab on the Advanced Security settings dialog box. Select the owner name in the Change owner to list box. If you want to take ownership of all the subcontainers and objects, select the Replace owner on subcontainers and objects check box.


If you want each child object (subkeys) of the selected parent object to have permissions inherited from its parent object, select the Include inheritable permissions from this object’s parent check box. If you want the permissions on the selected parent object to replace those on its descendant objects, select the Replace all child object permissions with inheritable permissions from this object check box. Click Apply to apply your changes.


A dialog box displays warning you that all subkeys of the object, in this case the Display key, will inherit permissions from the object. Click Yes if you want to accept this and continue.


Click OK to close the Advanced Security Settings dialog box.


You are returned to the Permissions dialog box. Select the desired user name from the Group or user names list and select the check box under the Allow column for the Full Control row. Click OK.


To close the Registry Editor, select Exit from the File menu.


NOTE: Be careful when taking ownership of registry keys and changing them. If you are not sure what you are doing in the registry, it is best not to experiment with changing registry keys.

Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 10/26/11

Comments (2)

  1. Tech Checkers
  2. george webber

    I have had several keys recently that would not allow me to take ownership of them. Error mssg: Access Denied. Tried finding solutions for this on the web, but have been unsuccessful. Any tips on dealing with these?
    It really bothers me that some software, etc. can write something to my registry that I don’t have control over.

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