I want to load the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive from another installation of Windows (e.g. X:\Windows\System32\config\SYSTEM), but apparently I can't load the hive because the "File -> Load Hive" menu item is disabled:

Registry Editor - Load Hive grayed out


2 Answers 2


You need to load a hive into a specific key, so it's necessary to select a key first:

Registry Editor - Select HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key

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:

Registry Editor - Load Hive Enabled

  • It may also be greyed out if you don't have sufficient rights. Apr 2, 2020 at 13:58
  • @TobiasKnauss Regedit generally needs to be run as Administrator anyway, doesn't it?
    – mwfearnley
    Apr 7, 2020 at 7:55
  • 2
    No, in my business Win 10 computer I can start regedit with my user account (no local admin rights) and no UAC prompt is shown. So I can start regedit, but I cannot do a lot. Apr 8, 2020 at 9:32

Even if you chose the correct key to load a hive into, this may result from insufficient user rights. If you're running under a user account and open regedit without admin rights, you may not be able to load a hive.
I have seen that on my own business laptop, in which I have a user account without local admin rights.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.