Solved: How do I fix Registry Editor Error Opening Key: An error is preventing this key from being opened?

Problem: Error message “An error is preventing this key from being opened” prompt when opening specific registry key in Registry Editor on Windows.

The detail of the error message may different depend on the registry key that you are trying to open, the following are full error message:

Error Opening Key
Key cannot be opened.
An error is preventing this key from being opened.
Details: The system cannot find the file specified.
Details: Access is denied.

Error Opening Key. An error is preventing this key from being opened. Details: The system cannot find the file specified.
Error Opening Key. An error is preventing this key from being opened. Details: The system cannot find the file specified.
Error Opening Key. An error is preventing this key from being opened. Details: The system cannot find the file specified.
Error Opening Key. An error is preventing this key from being opened. Details: The system cannot find the file specified.
Error Opening Key. An error is preventing this key from being opened. Details: Access is denied.
Error Opening Key. An error is preventing this key from being opened. Details: Access is denied.
Error Opening Key. An error is preventing this key from being opened. Details: The system cannot find the file specified.
Error Opening Key. An error is preventing this key from being opened. Details: The system cannot find the file specified.
Error Opening Key. An error is preventing this key from being opened. Details: Access is denied.
Error Opening Key. An error is preventing this key from being opened. Details: Access is denied.
Error Opening Key. An error is preventing this key from being opened. Details: Access is denied.
Error Opening Key. An error is preventing this key from being opened. Details: Access is denied.

Follow below solution steps to resolve Error Opening Key issue.

Content Summary

Potential Causes
Solution 1: Access Manually
Solution 2: Execute Registry Editor with SYSTEM Account
Solution 3: Remove Reparse Points using Regln

Potential Causes

  • Registry Editor unable to handle the search query due to the registry key, location or data’s name is too long
  • Your Windows login account does not have the required permissions to open, modify or delete this specific registry key.
  • Reparse point or registry link with missing target key path.

Solution 1: Access Manually

You can try to split the search query or access the registry key location manually.

Solution 2: Execute Registry Editor with SYSTEM Account

Step 1: Download PsExec from Microsoft Sysinternals. The current version is v2.2.

Step 2: Unzip the downloaded compressed zipped file and you will get a folder called PSTools.

Step 3: Copy and paste all the content inside PSTools folder to your executable path, normally is >C:\Windows\System32

Step 4: Press Windows key once.

Step 5: Type cmd in the search box.

Step 6: Choose Run as administrator option to open an elevated command prompt.

Step 7: Enter the following command to launch Registry Editor with the SYSTEM account: psexec -i -d -s c:\windows\regedit.exe

Launch Registry Editor with the SYSTEM account PsExec
Launch Registry Editor with the SYSTEM account PsExec

Step 8: Search the query again.

Solution 3: Remove Reparse Points using Regln

Step 1: Download Regln from GitHub.

Step 2: Copy and paste regln.c to your executable path, normally is C:\Windows\System32

Step 3: Press Windows key once.

Step 4: Type cmd in the search box.

Step 5: Choose Run as administrator option to open an elevated command prompt.

Step 6: Enter the following command to delete the registry link: regln -d <link_key>
* Replace the link key with the registry key which caused the error.

Published by Thomas Apel

, a dynamic and self-motivated information technology architect, with a thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to system and network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. I enjoy the technical writing process and answering readers' comments included.