what is it and how to fix it
An error with the message “Windows could not find regedit.exe” can occur due to infection of the Windows operating system with malicious software, corruption of system files or drivers for various devices in the computer. Also, such an error may be the result of an unsuccessful Windows installation.
If you didn’t already know, regedit.exe is the executable file responsible for launching the Windows Registry Editor. The latter, in turn, is the brain of the entire system. It is worth noting that users extremely rarely encounter registry problems, but if something does happen to it, then it is often something really serious.
What is causing “Windows could not find regedit.exe”?
- Malware or viruses work. Perhaps some uninvited guests were able to get into your system. Viruses and malware can affect the operation of Windows in different ways, for example, steal personal data, cause random errors, or even disable the system by making all sorts of incomprehensible entries in its registry.
- Damaged system files. The Windows registry constantly accesses various system files. If the registry stumbles upon the file it needs, but it was damaged, then the system will give the user a corresponding error. There is a chance that “Windows could not find regedit.exe” appeared precisely because of damaged system files.
- Incorrect settings for local group policies. Windows Group Policy is a powerful tool with which you can block and access various system components. If access to the Windows registry was blocked in the local group policy editor, then the error is not so surprising.
- Incorrectly configured Windows environment variables. Environment variables are values that store all information regarding the system environment. Every Windows process has a set of environment variables with their specific meanings. And if these environment variables are not configured correctly, then you have every chance of encountering this error.
- Unsuccessful Windows installation. Registry problems often occur after a poorly installed Windows installation.
Before we get to the solution methods …
- Make sure you are logged in with an Administrator account.
- Boot into Safe Mode. If you cannot achieve this with the usual steps, try using the Recovery Environment (Windows RE) on your Windows installation media.
Solution “Windows could not find regedit.exe”
Solution # 1 Launch antivirus scan
Systems that have been infected with viruses and other malware, during their operation, face many problems, including the inability to gain access to the registry editor.
Try running an antivirus scan on your computer. You can even use Windows System Defender. One way or another, check the system for threats, and then get rid of them if they were found.
Solution # 2 Recovering system files
Corrupted system files can cause a whole bunch of problems for Windows – the error “Windows could not find regedit.exe” is one of these problems. Fortunately, damage can be repaired using the System File Checker, which is built into Windows.
Press Win + R to bring up the Run window in front of you. Next, write in an empty line the value cmd and press the combination Ctrl + Shift + Enter. As soon as the Command line window opens, write the command into it sfc / scannow and press Enter.
Now you need to wait for the scan to complete and restore damaged system files, if any are found. Restart your computer and check for registry problems.
Solution # 3 Run DISM Tool
DISM is a system for serving and managing deployment images. This tool will help you restore the Component Store and Windows System Image, thereby fixing the problem with the registry.
Open Command Prompt again (with administrator privileges, of course), then run the following three commands in it:
- DISM / Online / Cleanup-Image / CheckHealth
- DISM / Online / Cleanup-Image / ScanHealth
- DISM / Online / Cleanup-Image / RestoreHealth
All of these commands can take some time to complete, so be patient and wait for them to complete. Then restart your computer and check for the “Windows could not find regedit.exe” error.
Solution # 4 Changing the settings of local group policies
The Local Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) is responsible for creating many policies that apply to various components of the system, thereby regulating how it works. Access to Registry Editor may have been denied through a specific Group Policy.
Let’s try with you to go to the local group policy editor and fix the situation.
- Press Win + R;
- enter value gpedit.msc and click “OK”;
- then go the following way:
- ↓ User config
- ↓ Administrative Templates
- ↓ System
- find the policy called “Deny access to registry editing tools” and double-click on it with LMB;
- put a check mark next to the “Disabled” option, and then click “Apply” and “OK”;
- restart your computer and check for registry problems.
Solution # 5 Change environment variables
Environment variables contain all information regarding the system environment. Literally every process in Windows has a set of environment variables with their unique values. If these environment variables were not configured correctly, it can cause many system-wide problems.
- Press Win + S;
- enter “System” and select the found result;
- click on the line “Additional system parameters”;
- now click on the “Environment Variables …” button;
- select in the new window the line called “Path” in the list of user variables and click on the “Change …” button;
- click “Edit” again and insert the following line:
- % USERPROFILE% AppData Local Microsoft WindowsApps
- save your changes and restart your computer.
Check for the error “Windows could not find regedit.exe”.
Solution # 6 Replacing damaged regedit.exe
Your Windows may not be able to access the Registry Editor because the regedit.exe file has been corrupted. You can replace this executable file using the contents of the Windows.old folder
- Log into your system in safe mode;
- go to the system partition of your drive and open the folder Windows.old;
- then open the Windows folder and copy the file regedit.exethat will be there;
- go to main folder Windows on the system partition and paste the previously copied regedit.exe file into it.
If you do not have the Windows.old folder (it remains in the system after the previous version of Windows), then you can get this executable file on some other computer. As soon as you replace regedit.exe, restart your computer and check if the error “Windows could not find regedit.exe” has been fixed.
Solution # 7 Restore registry entries
There is a chance that some of the entries in the registry on your system have been changed, as a result of which you can no longer access the registry editor. You can reset the registry entries to their defaults by creating a small file on your computer.
Open Notepad and paste the following lines into it:
“SM_GamesName” = “Games”
“SM_ConfigureProgramsName” = “Set Program Access and Defaults”
“CommonFilesDir” = “C: \ Program Files \ Common Files”
“CommonFilesDir (x86)” = “C: \ Program Files (x86) \ Common Files”
“CommonW6432Dir” = “C: \ Program Files \ Common Files”
“DevicePath” = hex (2): 25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d, 00,52,00,6f, 00,6f,
00.74.00.25.00.5c, 00.69.00.6e, 00.66.00.3b, 00.00.00
“MediaPathUnexpanded” = hex (2): 25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d, 00,52,00,
6f, 00.6f, 00.74.00.25.00.5c, 00.4d, 00.65.00.64.00.69.00.61.00.00.00
“ProgramFilesDir” = “C: \ Program Files”
“ProgramFilesDir (x86)” = “C: \ Program Files (x86)”
“ProgramFilesPath” = hex (2): 25,00,50,00,72,00,6f, 00,67,00,72,00,61,00,6d, 00,46,
“ProgramW6432Dir” = “C: \ Program Files”
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
Save the file in a convenient location and name it “RegFixing.reg” (be sure to give the file the REG extension!). Now right-click on the created file and select “Merge”. Next, restart your computer and check if the registry error has been fixed.
Solution # 8 Restoring or reinstalling the OS
It also happens that nothing helps some users at all – neither restoring system files, nor adjusting environment variables, nor replacing regedit.exe with a working file. If you are in the same position, then all you have to do is either restore your Windows OS or reinstall it altogether. You can use a restore point (Win + R → rstrui), if available, or return your computer to its original state (Update and Security → Recovery → Get Started). If the system restore does not resolve the error “Windows could not find regedit.exe”, then it’s time to reinstall Windows.