How to Disable Access to the Registry Editor in Windows 10
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Do you have an intelligent, curious child who knows their way around the Windows registry? Or maybe you want to prevent a guest user on your machine from editing the registry. You can prevent users from making changes to the registry by disabling access to it.

Today we’ll show you how to disable access to the Registry Editor in Windows 10 using the Group Policy Editor and a third-party tool. These methods disable access to the Registry Editor for all users, including the current administrator account you’re making the change in.

About the Group Policy Editor

The Group Policy Editor used in a Windows domain environment allows a network administrator to control the settings on all the computers in the network.

If you’re using a personal PC running Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, you also have access to the Group Policy Editor. But it’s called the Local Group Policy Editor.

The Local Group Policy Editor allows you to tweak some additional Windows settings that aren’t available in the PC Settings app or in the Control Panel. Many settings in the Local Group Policy Editor change registry values for you. So if you’re not comfortable editing the registry directly, use the Local Group Policy Editor instead.

Converting to an Administrator Account

The user account for which you’re blocking access to the registry editor should be a standard account—but you’ll need to temporarily make the account an administrator account to disable access to the registry editor. Then, you should switch it back to a standard account.

You can convert a standard account to an administrator account 5 Tips for Managing Windows User Accounts Like a Pro 5 Tips for Managing Windows User Accounts Like a Pro Windows user accounts have evolved from isolated local accounts to online accounts with various privacy challenges. We help you sort out your accounts and find the settings that work for you. Read More , or vice versa, at any time. But if you only have one administrator account, you cannot change it to a standard account. You must have at least one administrator account at all times in Windows.

To convert a standard account to an administrator account, open the Start menu and click the Settings icon.

Open PC Settings from the Start menu in Windows 10

On the Windows Settings dialog box, click Accounts.

Click Accounts in Settings in Windows 10

Click Family & other users in the left pane and click the user account you want to change on the right under Other users. Then, click Change account type.

Click Change account type under Other users in Windows 10 Settings

On the Change account type dialog box, select Administrator from the Account type dropdown list and click OK.

Change account type catalog in Windows 10 Settings

The user is labeled as an Administrator.

To make the user a Standard user again, return here, click Change account type, and select Standard user on the Change account type dialog box.

Standard account changed to an Administrator account in Windows 10

Disabling the Registry Editor (Group Policy Editor)

You should back up your data The Ultimate Windows 10 Data Backup Guide The Ultimate Windows 10 Data Backup Guide We've summarized every backup, restore, recovery, and repair option we could find on Windows 10. Use our simple tips and never despair over lost data again! Read More , back up the registry How to Back Up and Restore the Windows Registry How to Back Up and Restore the Windows Registry Editing the Registry unlocks some cool tweaks, but can be dangerous. Here's how to back up the Registry before making changes so they're easily reversed. Read More , and make a system restore point How to Create a System Restore Point How to Create a System Restore Point System Restore helps you roll back your Windows system to undo negative changes. Here's how to create a System Restore point anytime. Read More before making changes in the Local Group Policy Editor.

To disable access to the Registry Editor, first make sure the account you want to restrict access in is an administrator account. If not, follow the steps in the previous section to convert it to one. Then, log in to that account.

Press Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box. Then, type gpedit.msc and press Enter.

Open the Group Policy Editor in Windows 10

In the Local Group Policy Editor, navigate to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > System in the left pane.

Then, double-click the Prevent access to registry editing tools setting in the right pane.

Double-click the Prevent access to registry editing tools setting in the Local Group Policy Editor

On the Prevent access to registry editing tools dialog box, select Enabled in the upper-left and then click OK.

Close the Local Group Policy Editor and reboot your computer.

Enable the Prevent access to registry editing tools setting in the Local Group Policy Editor

For the user you want to prevent from accessing the registry editor, be sure to convert their account back to a standard account. Standard users cannot make changes in the Local Group Policy Editor. They get an error message when they open it.

Group Policy Error in a standard user account

The Local Group Policy Editor still opens, but there are no settings available to change.

Local Group Policy Editor in a standard account

Once you’ve disabled access to the Registry Editor, any user who tries to access the Registry Editor, will see the User Account Control dialog box User Account Control and Administrator Rights on Windows 10 User Account Control and Administrator Rights on Windows 10 Whether you use an Administrator or a Standard Windows account, what matters is your User Account Control security level. Here's what you need to know. Read More . Then, the following error message displays.

Registry editing has been disabled by your administrator message in Windows 10

To re-enable access to the Registry Editor, open the Prevent access to registry editing tools setting again in the Local Group Policy Editor. Select either Not Configured or Disabled on the Prevent access to registry editing tools dialog box.

Disabling the Registry Editor (Policy Plus)

This method is for Windows 10 Home users only.

Windows 10 Home does not include the Local Group Policy Editor. But if you’re using Windows 10 Home, you can use the free, portable, open source program Policy Plus instead.

If you’re using Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, you have access to the Local Group Policy Editor. You don’t need to use Policy Plus. In fact, you shouldn’t. The Local Group Policy Editor overrides Policy Plus. So it doesn’t make sense to use Policy Plus if you already have the Local Group Policy Editor.

To use Policy Plus, download the EXE file and run it. No installation is needed.

Not all templates are included in Policy Plus by default. To download the latest policy files and add them to Policy Plus, go to Help > Acquire ADMX Files.

Select Acquire ADMX Files in Policy Plus

Accept the default Destination folder and click Begin.

Acquire ADMX Files dialog box in Policy Plus

Click Yes to open and load the ADMX files in Policy Plus.

Click Yes to open and load the ADMX files in Policy Plus

To disable access to the Registry Editor using Policy Plus, select System in the left pane. Then, double-click  the Prevent access to registry editing tools setting in the left pane.

Double-click the Prevent access to registry editing tools setting in Policy Plus

On the Edit Policy Setting dialog box, select Enabled and click OK.

You may have to change this setting and reboot a few times for it to take effect.

Enable the Prevent access to registry editing tools setting in Policy Plus

Policy Plus also allows you to search for settings by unique ID, registry (search by key path or name or value name), and text (find in title, descriptions, and in comments).

That’s it! Now the registry editor should be restricted for the user account. Of course, this isn’t the only way to reduce privileges on Windows. Check out some other ways to restrict access for users by locking down Windows accounts How to Lock Down Windows User Accounts How to Lock Down Windows User Accounts Letting people use your computer while you're gone could lead to problems. We show you how to restrict Windows features on standard or child accounts so others can't access sensitive info. Read More .

Explore more about: Computer Security, Windows 10, Windows Registry.

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