Microsoft KB Archive/168646

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Using Regedit with Regedt32 to Search for Registry Values

Article ID: 168646

Article Last Modified on 2/27/2007


  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q168646


Your Windows NT or Windows 2000 computer may not start due to an entry in the Registry. You will receive an error message, in certain instances, pointing to the registry value causing the problem. The Regedt32.exe program does not allow you to search for the actual registry values or data, only registry keys.


To overcome the problem, you can install a second copy of Windows NT or Windows 2000 in a temporary folder on your computer and follow the steps outlined below.

To successfully search a loaded registry hive:

  1. Install a parallel copy of Windows NT or Windows 2000 into another folder on the local hard drive.

    WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious, system-wide problems that may require you to reinstall Windows NT to correct them. Microsoft cannot guarantee that any problems resulting from the use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use this tool at your own risk.
  2. Start Regedt32.exe from the newly installed version of Windows NT or Windows 2000 and open the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key on the Local Machine subtree.
  3. Click Load Hive on the Registry menu. Browse to the following registry file on the original operating system installation:

    %SystemRoot%\System32\Config\System (or software depending on what area the problem is occurring).

  4. Type a temporary name in the dialog box, such as test.
  5. Start Regedit and open the Hkey_Local_Machine folder.
  6. Click the Test registry key.
  7. From the Edit menu, click Find.
  8. Type the registry entry you are trying to locate, and then click Find Next.
  9. Repeat the process until you find the correct key.
  10. Write down the correct location (path) for the registry key.
  11. Quit Regedit.exe, and from within Regedt32 locate the path found in step 8.
  12. Do any required modifications, and then select the newly loaded key. Click Registry from the menu and Unload Hive option will appear.

This is helpful when you are not certain of the location or error message that you are trying to fix. Be sure to quit Regedit, and then unload the hive from Regedt32 after making your changes.

Additional query words: regedit regedt32 values data keys

Keywords: kbenv KB168646