How To Take Ownership Of A Registry Key in Windows 10

Registry Editor is a tool for advanced users who need to change Windows settings which are not available in the GUI. The main purpose of the Registry Editor is to view and change the settings in the system registry. Some Registry keys cannot be accessed due to their permissions. To get access to such a registry key, you’ll need to take ownership and grant full access permissions to your user account. This post explains the required procedure.

Just like permissions and ownership concepts exist for objects in the NTFS file system, they exist for Registry keys as well. Starting with Windows Vista, in fact, a large number of OS-specific registry keys which store Windows settings as protected by Windows Resource Protection so that they can’t be easily deleted or modified. You may need to modify these keys in certain situations. For that, you need to take ownership as well as set permissions (access rights) on them. Usually, the protected keys have ownership set to TrustedInstaller, a special built-in user account which exists for advanced security.

Taking ownership is quite simple and can be performed with the following steps.

Take ownership of a Registry key

  1. Run regedit.exe from the ‘Run’ dialog (Win + R) and go to the branch for which you need to change permissions.
  2. Right-click on it and select the ‘Permissions…’ option from the context menu.Take Ownership Of A Registry Key 1
  3. Click the ‘Advanced’ button to open the ‘Advanced Security Settings dialog’.Take Ownership Of A Registry Key 2
  4. If your user account isn’t the current owner, click on the link ‘Change’.Take Ownership Of A Registry Key 3
  5. Enter your user name to the text box and click OK.Take Ownership Of A Registry Key 4
  6. Click on the ‘Apply’ button  to replace the owner of the current branch.Take Ownership Of A Registry Key 5

If the current key has subkeys, you may need to replace their owner too. For that, turn on the option ‘Replace owner on subcontainers and objects’ , and then click ‘Apply’.

After you change the owner of a registry key, you almost always need to change its permissions before you can actually modify the key. You have to switch to the ‘Permissions’ tab in the ‘Advanced Security Settings’ dialog to do so.

Get full access permissions to a Registry key

  1. Open the ‘Advanced Security Settings’ dialog for the registry branch.
  2. If the current key has inherited permissions from its parent key, you may need to disable inheritance to remove all the restrictions (if they exist). Click ‘Disable inheritance’.Get Full Access To A Registry Key 1
  3. Click on the ‘Add’ button.
  4. Click ‘Select a principal’.
  5. Fill in your user account, and click ‘OK’.Get Full Access To A Registry Key 2
  6. Enable the option ‘Full Control’.Get Full Access To A Registry Key 3

Permissions can be set both ways. You can set them only on the required sub key after disabling inheritance. Or you can set permissions on the parent key and all its subkeys. To do so, enable the ‘Replace all child object permissions with inheritable permissions from this object’ option. This will push permissions down the keys hierarchy to all child objects.

How to restore the TrustedInstaller ownership

  1. Open the ‘Advanced Security Settings’ dialog for the registry branch.
  2. Click on the link ‘Change’.
  3. Type ‘NT Service\TrustedInstaller’ as new owner name.Restore Trustedinstaller For A Registry Key

I am using Windows 10. If you are using Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 or 8, the dialogs would look different, but it’s not that difficult to find the required options and change them.

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Author: The MFTNEXT Team

The MSFTNEXT project is a small team of authors who love to engage with the latest technology and gadgets. Being passionate Windows bloggers, we are happy to help others fix their system issues.

4 thoughts on “How To Take Ownership Of A Registry Key in Windows 10”

  1. I followed all the steps outlined but still cannot Expand the key in question. Expand is grayed out on the context menu and double-clicking does nothing. There is no error message. Can you assist?

  2. How to Disable inheritance? Since when I click on that option 2 choices are shown to me in a pop-up window>
    1) Convert inherited permissions into explicit permissions on this object
    2) Remove all inherited permissions from this object.

    p.s. when I chose 2nd option, then everyone from the list is completely deleted
    So what to do?

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