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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

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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

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  • It may also be greyed out if you don't have sufficient rights. – Tobias Knauss Apr 2 at 13:58
  • @TobiasKnauss Regedit generally needs to be run as Administrator anyway, doesn't it? – mwfearnley Apr 7 at 7:55
  • 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. – Tobias Knauss Apr 8 at 9:32
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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.

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