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Published: July 18, 2016 | Applies to:

While moving to a registry key in Registry Editor for Windows 10, if you get "An error is preventing this key from being opened'' message, fix it here.

Registry Editor present in Windows helps us to quickly modify any setting by overriding manual settings. Whether it is a how-to guide or is a troubleshooting fix, Registry Editor finds its applications in both of them. If you’re new to Windows, you can explore more about Registry Editor tool in our getting started guide:

Getting started with Registry Editor

Today, in this article, we’ll discuss an issue happening in this tool that prevents you from opening a registry key. Sometimes while opening specific keys, this problem comes into play. The error message received in this case and its corresponding screenshot are shown below.

An error is preventing this key from being opened.

The system cannot find the file specified.

FIX An Error Is Preventing This Key From Being Opened For Registry Editor In Windows 10

You may spot this error message under following conditions:

  • If you searched for registry key/location/data whose name is too long that the tool can’t handle it
  • When your account do not have required permissions to open/modify/delete a specific registry key

If first point is true in your case, you can try splitting your search query. If you’ve complete registry location available, you can access it manually, key by key. If second point is true in your case, you need to run Registry Editor as SYSTEM account rather than administrator account (default). This can be done using a command-line tool named PsExec. Here is what you need to do:

FIX : “An Error Is Preventing This Key From Being Opened” For Registry Editor In Windows 10

1. Firstly, download PsExec tool by Sysinternals from Technet using following link.

DOWNLOAD LINK

2. The downloaded compressed (.zip) file can be extracted using right click -> Extract All option.

FIX An Error Is Preventing This Key From Being Opened For Registry Editor In Windows 10

3. Upon extracting file, you’ll get PSTools folder. Copy all the content inside this folder to C:\Windows\System32 folder. You can replace C: with your system root drive.

FIX An Error Is Preventing This Key From Being Opened For Registry Editor In Windows 10

4. Right click Start Button and select Command Prompt (Admin). Type this command and press Enter key:

psexec -i -d -s c:\windows\regedit.exe

FIX An Error Is Preventing This Key From Being Opened For Registry Editor In Windows 10

This will launch Registry Editor with system account and hence the error to open a key will no longer occur now.

That’s it!


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