How to Edit Offline Windows Registry from WinPE

August 7th, 2016 by Admin Leave a reply »

When your computer no longer boots up or you’re unable to login to Windows, a registry hack might fix your problem. To access the registry for an unbootable Windows installation, you should use a WinPE bootdisk. In this tutorial we’ll walk you through the steps to load / edit offline registry hive from WinPE.

Before get started, we need to know the locations of Windows registry hives:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM: %windir%\system32\config\SYSTEM
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM: %windir%\system32\config\SAM
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SECURITY: %windir%\system32\config\SECURITY
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE: %windir%\system32\config\SOFTWARE
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT: %windir%\system32\config\DEFAULT

How to Edit Offline Windows Registry from WinPE?

  1. Boot your computer into WinPE. Open a Command Prompt and run regedit.exe to open the Registry Editor.

    command-prompt-from-winpe

  2. In the left pane of Registry Editor, highlight the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive (or HKEY_USERS).

    highlight-registry-key

  3. Click the File menu and select Load Hive.

    load-hive

  4. Browse to your Windows partition and select the registry hive which you wish to load. In my example, the registry hives are located in the directory D:\Windows\System32\Config.

    select-registry-hive

  5. Type a key name whatever you like (e.g. “OfflineReg“) and click OK. The name will be used to create a new node in the tree so one can browser the offline registry.

    enter-key-name-for-loading

  6. Now under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key, you should see a new key named after the name you typed previously.

    offline-registry

  7. Expand the new key, browse to the desired key or value for editing. In my example, I browse to OfflineReg\Software\Microsoft\IdentityCRL\StoredIdentities and delete its subkey.

    modify-offline-registry

  8. When you finish with the modifications, highlight the key you created previously (e.g. “OfflineReg“). Click the File menu and select Unload Hive.

    unload-hive

  9. This will unload the hive and all changes made will be saved to the offline registry.