Windows

NTuser.dat file: How to correctly load Windows Registry Hive

The Registry Editor is an advanced tool for viewing and modifying settings in the registry. This information contains information about how your computer runs etc. See the following hyperlinks for some Windows Registry contents I have written. What is Registry Editor and how to access the registry hives, and how to search through the Windows registry.

You may want to load a ntuser.dat file into the registry (regedt32) for editing, the “Load Hive” option is grayed out in the Registry menu. This is because most times, you have accidentally clicked on a wrong hive as shown below. You need to load a hive into a specific key, so it’s necessary to select a key first.

To load a ntuser.dat file into the Windows registry is only possible, this gives us the possibility
– Load another users HKEY_CURRENT_USER (ntuser.dat) and change the user’s settings without logging in with the user.
– Load an offline registry database and extract settings to import in the current registry database.
– Load an offline [HKEY_USERS \.Default] and change the login screensaver to Reset Administrator Password
– Load and edit the registry database on a parallel installation without needing to boot it first.
– Repair the registry without using a parallel installation.

You can load hives into HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE or into HKEY_USERS. Once you've clicked HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, the "Load Hive” menu item will immediately become available as shown below.
– Highlight the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE or the HKEY_USERS. In my case, it was the “HKEY-USERS” I needed to load up.
– Select the root of the tree (HKEY_USERS) as shown below.
– Next Click on File

In the drop-down list, select “Load Hive” as shown below.

Next, you will have to select the ntuser.dat file you wish to load. This will prompt you to browse through your Windows directory for the location the file is.
– Select the file and click on OK

When prompted for a name, enter a name that is descriptive and easy to remember. The name will be used to create a new node in the tree so one can browse the offline registry.

Go to the newly created node and edit whatever you like (The changes are written immediately to the offline registry database). One can import and export between the newly created node and the current registry just browse between the corresponding keys.

But in my case, I had to delete a Registry key. You will be prompted to confirm the deletion, simply select “YES” as shown below.

When done modifying, select the newly created node and in the menu select “File” then click on “Unload Hive” as shown below.

You will be asked to confirm if you want to unload the hive, click on Yes as shown below. That is all what is needed to load and unload a hide.

See the following link on how to load Windows Registry Hive with PowerShell. I hope you found this blog post helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment session.

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