I had to reinstall windows but forgot to backup settings from an app from the registry. I still have the old registry in Windows.old/Documents and Settings/me. I think it's the ntuser.dat file. Is there any way to browse this file like you do with regedit, so I can get my settings?


3 Answers 3



  1. Press Win+R, type or paste regedit, and press Enter.
  2. Click the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key.
  3. Click the File > Load Hive menu, and select the registry hive file (eg. NTUSER.DAT).
  4. Choose an unique name, and click OK.

The registry hive will be available inside the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key, ready to be explored. When you're done, click File > Unload Hive.


Yep, this is possible.

Open up registry editor.

Click File > Import.

Change the dropdown to Registry Hive Files (*.*), and select your ntuser.dat file.

When it asks for a name to mount as, choose something like "temp registry mount".

Find what you want and when you are done, right click and choose Unload Hive.

All done!

  • it doesn't appear in the list
    – windozsux
    May 17, 2014 at 18:19
  • 1
    k I managed to unhide the file but when I load it in the registry editor it says "The key will be restored on top of key: Computer. All value entries and subkeys of this key will be deleted. Do you want to continue the operation?" Heck no, I dont want to overwrite the current registry :/
    – windozsux
    May 17, 2014 at 18:31
  • -1 because I imported the registry into a subkey I created (HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-18\Environment\MyHiveLoad) but then I was not able to "Unload" it because buttons for unload it are disabled on that branch (and because it was imported not loaded). Then I tried deleting them, and it deleted many of the keys, but many cannot be deleted (throws errors when deleting) So now I don't know how to fix it. Aug 22, 2020 at 21:59

As an answer to remove the new unwanted registry keys; Download notepad++ , the portable one from the official website and place in folder on root of your main drive (C:\np) Write down the path to the unwanted registry or copy paste the path in a text file on the root of your main drive (C:\path.txt)

you'll have to boot into recovery mode Power off -> F8F8F8F8 -> repair your computer Now go for command prompt Depending on what screen you are on Keyboard -> user -> (if auto repair shows) cancel -> yes -> advanced recovery options -> command prompt Type these seperately Cd \ -> cd np -> dir -> (you'll want the main executable for np) Now with that open File open Browse to C:\windows\system32\config
And you'll have to do some snooping, but your goal is to find the unwanted registry keys. That's why I had you copy the path earlier, because this part goes so much smoother. You'll have to open each file that has to do with user. Not system not security and not Sam. Once found. DON'T DELETE ANYTHING!!!!! go back into cmd without closing np -> copy (registry hive file name) (registry hive file name).bak Now you can delete the unwanted keys, save and exit np, close cmd and restart. You can check that the keys are if fact gone through regedit. If they are still there then you'll have to do the same thing with one of the other registry files.

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