The Windows Registry is a critical database that stores essential low-level settings for the system and other applications. Although you can change various settings on your system (for example, disable automatic updates, etc.), it is not advisable to modify the registry unless you know exactly what you are doing. A small error could result in many problems on your system, so you should make a backup first. But if you want to prevent users from changing things, you should block access to the Windows Registry.
The most savvy users in technology matters are aware of the risks of manipulating the Registry; but this may not be so obvious to the less experienced. It may be that you share your PC with another user. If the other person tries to change some settings, it may be that the instructions they find involve modifying the registry. This could result in errors and other issues on your PC.
If you want to prevent others from making changes to the configuration of your PC, you can block the opening and editing of the Windows Registry. In this post I will show you how to do it using 3 methods:
Block access to the Windows Registry using group policies
The easiest way to prevent users from opening and editing the registry in Windows is by using the local group policy editor. But you can only use this option if you have Windows Professional, Enterprise, or Education.
Follow these steps to block access to the Windows Registry:
1. Open the Run window (you can use the keyboard shortcut Windows + R).
2. In this window, type gpedit.msc and click OK to open the Local Group Policy Editor.
3. Navigate the following route:
User Configuration> Administrative Templates> System
4. In the right pane, double-click the policy Prevent access to registry editing tools.
5. In the new window that opens, check the Enabled option and then click Apply.
You can close the Local Group Policy Editor. When someone tries to open Registry Editor, they will receive the message ” The administrator has disabled registry modification.”
With this method you will block access to the Registry and prevent it from being modified by any user, including yourself.
When you no longer need this option and want to allow access to the Registry Editor again, you must follow the steps at the beginning of this method; but in step 5 you must choose Disabled or Not configured.
Block access to the Windows Registry from the Registry itself
If you have Windows 10 Home, then you will not have access to the Local Group Policy Editor; but you can still prevent access to the Registry Editor by modifying the Registry itself.
Unlike the previous method, which blocks access to the Registry for all users, with the Registry method you will need to perform the process on each user account that you do not want to be able to access the Registry.
To prevent access to the Registry using the Registry, you must follow these steps:
1. Open the Run window with the Windows + R keyboard shortcut , type regedit in it and press Enter.
2. When Registry Editor opens , navigate the following path:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER> SOFTWARE> Microsoft> Windows> CurrentVersion> Policies> System
If the System key does not exist, you will need to create it.
3. In the right pane, right-click on any empty space and select the New > DWORD Value (32-bit) option .
4. You must name it DisableRegistryTools and set its value to 1.
Now when someone tries to access the Registry Editor they will also get the message ” The administrator has disabled registry modification.”
With this method you can block access to the Registry Editor of the current user. To allow access again, you must log in with another administrator user account and change the DisableRegistryTools value to 0.
Block access to Windows Registry using additional application
With the Protect My Folders application you can lock and protect the Windows Registry Editor using a password. In this way, no one will be able to access the Registry without using the corresponding password.
1. You must download Protect My Folders and install it on your computer. The first time you run the program it will ask you to set a password. You must be careful to remember or save the password you set in a safe place, because if you will not have problems accessing it.
2. On the Protect My Folders screen, click the Add / Lock button .
3. The Add Files and folders window will open, in which you must choose the file C: \ Windows \ regedit.exe and click Add then OK.
Now when someone tries to enter regedit (Registry Editor) they will get an error message like the following:
This method will prevent users from accessing the Registry Editor. In order to enter, you must run the Protect My Folders program, enter the password and unlock the regedit.exe file
Avoid modifying the Windows Registry
As you can see, if you want to prevent users from modifying the Registry, reducing the possibility of damage to the system by improper handling, you have several ways to do it. The easiest method is using the Local Group Policy Editor, but you can also do it from the Registry itself. Another alternative is to block access using the Protect My Folders program.
This post is focused on how to prevent access to the Registry Editor in Windows 10, but the steps are similar to do it also in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7.