Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fixing/Editing corrupt Windows Registry without booting OS

If you run across a problem with your registry, but regedit won't let you modify the entry, here's an alternative. You can create a live CD with Windows on it using PE Builder. Using that to boot into Windows, you can then access the registry entries for the Windows installation on your hard disk. This can be very helpful, especially if you have viruses or spyware that are embedded in your registry.

1. Create your BartPE boot CD so you have a "live" version of Windows to use
2. Turn on the computer and boot from the CD
3. Once the BartPE environment is loaded, click on Go, then Run
4. Type Regedit and click OK
5. Select the Hive on the left that corresponds to the one you want to change in your install. Go to File->Load Hive
6. Browse to the location on the hard drive of the hive file. Typically they would be in C:\Windows\system32\config.
7. Give the loaded hive a name so you'll know which one it is, such as MyHive
8. Go ahead and change the value(s) that are giving you problems
9. Click on the hive that you loaded (MyHive), then go to File->Unload Hive. DO NOT forget to do this
10. Restart the computer

Original post about editing the registry offline:

Microsoft KB 307545:

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