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How to Disable Access to the Registry in Windows 7

If you don’t know what you’re doing in the Registry, you can mess up your computer pretty good. Today we show you how to prevent users from accessing the Registry and making any changes to it.

Using Local Group Policy Editor

Note: This method uses Group Policy Editor which is not available in Home versions of Windows.

First type gpedit.msc into the Search box in the Start menu.

gpedit_start

When Group Policy Editor opens, navigate to User Configuration \ Administrative Templates then select System. Under Setting in the right panel double-click on Prevent access to registry editing tools.

1reg

Select the radio button next to Enabled, click OK, then close out of Group Policy Editor.

2reg

Now if a user tries to access the Registry…

regedit_Start

They will get the following message advising they cannot access it.

3reg 

Using Registry Enabler & Disabler 3

If you’re using Home or Starter version of Windows 7, you can use a neat utility called Registry Enabler & Disabler (link below). This app works on XP and Vista as well.

4reg

There is no installation involved so you can run it from a flash drive, disable the registry, then take the flash drive with you while a the user is on the machine.

5reg 

Again, if the user tries to access the Registry they will get the following error…

3reg

Using one of these options will stop users from gaining access to the Registry or running any registry hacks. Of course if you have a shared computer, you may want to set up other users with a Standard Account, as they won’t be able to make changes to the Registry anyway.

Download Registry Enabler & Disabler 3

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 05/10/10

Comments (6)

  1. Strodtbeck

    Great advice for users not just administrators. Many users are often running as administrators instead of in a user account thus making Windows much less secure. Moving to a user account and disable access to the registry will go a long way to securing your windows machine, and the registry program you mention is a great little tool.

  2. Jon

    I love HTG but are you kidding me? Are you going to cover each different setting you can make with the Group Policy Editor? You can pretty much disable everything through Group Policy. That’s the reason that Windows is so much better than Mac OS X.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Once again, a great article.

    Can this be achieved by a tweaking a registry key, or only through gpedit.msc?

    Thanks!

  4. will

    wow what an ugly interface
    can easily be done with a bat or vbs file

  5. WB3000

    Which is why I always have a patched copy of regedit and cmd.

  6. Jon

    @Anonymous Coward
    gpedit.msc merely makes changes in the registry. It’s an easier (and safer) way of modifying the registry for these settings.
    There isn’t anything you cannot do with customizing Windows through gpedit.msc (or the registry) but this is getting to be a bit repetitive at HTG.

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