Regedit – Cannot create value: Error writing to the registry.

I guess this is your typical newbie mistake on Windows Vista, but even so I had a hard time finding the solution on Google so I thought I’d post about it.

When I was trying to add a key in the Registry Editor, regedit.exe, I got an error message saying “Cannot create value: Error writing to the registry.”
I have never seen this on XP (but then again I don’t edit the registry that often), but since this is Vista with UAC (User Account Control) I thought it might have to do with permissions so I tried to run regedit.exe as Administrator but to no avail.

Finally I figured out that I did not have the right permissions in the registry tree.
The solution is simply to right click on the folder and select Permissions. You may not even have the right to change the permissions, if this is the case then first you have to take ownership – click Advanced and then the Owner tab.

Funny thing about my folder is that the owner was a group called “TrustedInstaller”. After I had taken ownership, I wanted to change it back to the “TrustedInstaller” group but it was nowhere to be found. Apparently you can’t change it back – it is not a group but a service and part of Windows Resource Protection (WRP) as noted by Richard Civil and others in this TechNet post.

Two other useful newbie things I found out – thanks to this post by Tim Sneath of Microsoft – when trying to figure out how to run a regedit.exe as Administrator in Vista was this:

  1. Run from the XP Start menu is now replaced with Start Search bar in Vista. Simply type regedit.exe (or cmd.exe etc.) in the search bar and hit Enter and it will run.
  2. To run an application with Administrator privileges using this method, instead of hitting Enter you hit Ctrl+Shift+Enter.

19 Replies to “Regedit – Cannot create value: Error writing to the registry.”

  1. Hello there, i did everything in the tut, but im still having the same error appearing, the registry path is

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\DEVICEMAP\Scsi\

    It works in most other paths, just not this one 🙁

    Im using Vista Ultimate

    Help would be appreciated!

    Thanks
    Xp10r3r_3X

  2. Thanks for the bit about restarting Outlook after setting securities on Macros. I guess I’m so used to Outlook telling me when it needs to restart that it didn’t occur to me there would be a case where it wouldn’t tell me.

  3. You can actually change the owner back to “TrustedInstaller”. Simply follow the below mentioned steps:
    a. Right-click on the registry and choose permissions
    b. Click Security tab
    c. Click Advanced button
    d. Click Owner tab
    e. Click Edit button
    f. Click on Location and choose local machine name.
    g. Click Other User or Group and type in:
    h. NT SERVICE\TrustedInstaller
    i. Click Apply and you are done!!!!!!

  4. hi devendra i tried your trick but after editing the ownership it says cannot save to the explorer retry .. please mail me about this problem

  5. Thank you! I wanted to get through the XP OOBE Activation in XP Mode, and I tried the registry trick, which only hid OOBE, I still had to activate. To get the Activ. to work, I had to change the Binary Key. It didn’t allow me. This works! Thanks!

  6. excellent tip! One could run into a situation like that with services config in VISTA. critical services like gpsvc and Schedule cannot be started via GUI, but with your hint, one gets it working again.

    neither GUIs (sysinternals AUTORUNS) nor “sc” handle this problem appropriately. The problem arises after deactivating all services in VISTA downto 6 crucial ones – which is possible.

    But it’s hard to come back from that without above knowledge. ty!

  7. I’m trying to change my bluetooth device and I did all of the steps using this link. www eightforums com/customization/15321-tutorial-how-change-device-names-device-manager.html but I get to the CTRL + F to find the driver key that I copied and pasted and then I right click and press New –> and then String Value, but it says “Cannot create value: Error writing to the registry.” I have no idea what to do now. Please help, it will be greatly appreciated.

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