How to offline edit the registry

Boot into a install disk. Click next.

install disk boot screen

Click Repair your computer.

select repair computer

Select your windows installation.

select windows installation

Open a command prompt by clicking on Command Prompt.

open command prompt

Start regedit by typing regedit.

Highlight the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key.


From File menu, select Load Hive to load the offline registry file you need.

Short overview of some hive paths:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM      -> %windir%\system32\config\SAM
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM   -> %windir%\system32\config\system
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE -> %windir%\system32\config\software
HKEY_USERS\Default          -> %windir%\system32\config\default
HKEY_CURRENT_USER           -> %userprofile%\ntuser.dat

After the file dialog closed regedit will ask for a key name. Anything (e.g. Offline) will do as long you can tell it appart from the other hives.

name the key

the offline hive

Now you can edit the registry.

Make sure to select Unload Hive from the File menu when finished to save the hive. Unloading a hive only works when selecting the key of the hive to unload, else the menu item will be grayed out.