Microsoft

Fix a registry on a dead system

Learn to fix a registry problem on another PC and restore it to the unbootable PC.

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Sometimes a registry problem causes a computer not to boot or to prevent logon. If you can't boot the computer, or you don't have any other means to restore the problem registry file, you might be able to open the registry on another computer, fix it, and restore it to the problem PC.

In order to fix the registry this way, you must be able to boot the system through a diskette or dual-boot configuration and gain access to the file system. You also need to be able to copy the registry file to a removable media with sufficient space to accommodate it or be able to copy the file across the network.

Here's how to modify a remote registry locally on your computer if you can't connect to it across the network:

  1. Boot the other computer with a boot diskette or dual-boot OS and then copy the problem hive file to a removable media or directly across the network to your system.
  2. Log in as administrator on your system and run REGEDIT.EXE.
  3. In the Registry Editor, select either the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE or HKEY_USERS window, and then choose Registry | Load Hive.
  4. Locate the file copied to the system in step 1, select the file, and click Open. This loads the hive into the local registry as a subkey of the selected key.
  5. Make the necessary changes to the damaged hive and then choose Registry | Unload Hive.
  6. Copy the hive file back to its original location on the problem computer. Restart to test the system.

Note: Editing the registry is risky, so make sure you have a verified backup before making any changes.

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