How to Disable Network Access to Windows Registry


How to Disable Network Access to Windows Registry

When you disable network access to Windows Registry, you make it harder for remote attacks to compromise your data and your computer. It is a way of protecting yourself from other users’ intended, unintended, or malicious reconfiguration of your computer’s operating system.

In this post, we will have a look at the importance of the Windows Registry, as well as how you can stop it from being accessed over the network.

What is the Windows registry used for?

A Windows Registry is a computer’s local database where almost all basic settings for the computer’s hardware, software, applications, and the operating system itself are stored.

This database comprises various entries and values required to control the behavior and optimal performance of the configurations, locations, user preferences, and other data related to ensuring the secure and healthy running of software and hardware installed on or connected to, the computer.

Every time a software solution is installed, the operating system creates a new subkey in the registry and updates it by writing relevant entries into it. And every time changes are made to the way the software works, the registry is updated accordingly. The same thing goes for the hardware installations too.

After installation, the new entity uses the registry to get its instructions and references to help it run according to the users – and the operating systems’ – parameters and requirements. Other software and hardware installations can also refer to the registry to find out where the new software has been installed – including where its files and databases are located – so they can interact with it effectively.

The registry is divided into a group of databases that are placed in a hierarchical order for easier access to the configuration settings.

Windows Registry is available on all versions of Microsoft Windows – including Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10, for example.

Why do we need to disable network access to the Windows Registry?

We have just seen that the Windows Registry is a critical component that allows for the smooth performance of the software and hardware of a computer.

It is, therefore, quite easy to see that tinkering with the registry can have serious consequences. An unqualified user can cause the system to crash, while a malicious user can use it to compromise not just the individual device, but continue to persistently attack the entire network.

Apart from malicious intent, there’s always a chance another user – sharing the same device – may mess something up due to carelessness or simply not knowing better. They can accidentally delete an entry, change a value, or make a typo that could render software and hardware useless.

Therefore, every Windows device that is on a network, or is used by more than one user, needs to be protected against threats that may come across its connectivity – be it from within or outside the network. This is why it is recommended to disable registry access from the network.

The procedure to disable network access to Windows Registry is somewhat similar for the various versions of Windows; thus, we will next see a breakdown for each operating system for clearer and more accurate instructions on how to go about it.

Note: Before you edit your registry, you should always make sure that you have a backup copy of it in case of an accident or a misconfiguration. Whenever Windows asks if you want to make a backup while attempting to edit it, do so – don’t be lazy, be safe. Alternatively, you can manually export the entire registry by right-clicking on the “Computer” icon at the top of the registry and selecting “Export” – you can also choose “File” from the menu and then select “Export”.

Windows 7 - back up your registry

How to disable network access to Windows Registry on Windows 7

Here’s how you can disable access to Windows Registry on Windows 7:

Windows 7 - run services

  • Run “services.msc” and press OK.
  • Wait for the Windows Service Manager to launch.
  • Once it is up and running, scroll down and look for “Remote Registry” on the right-hand side panel.
  • When you find it, double-click on it.
  • Go to the “General” tab and change the “Startup Type” to “Disabled”.
  • Click on “Apply” and then restart the computer.

Windows 7 - disbale the remote registry

You can take this step further and block access to Windows Registry tools. Here’s how:

Windows 7 - regedit

  • Click the Start button. In the Search field, type “regedit”.
  • Right-click on the regedit.exe icon and click “Run as administrator”. This will open the Windows Registry Editor.
  • Navigate to, and expand, the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Policies/System

  • Click on the “Edit” menu at the top, click “New,” and then “DWORD Value 32bit”.
  • Rename this new DWORD to “DisableRegistryTools”.
  • Next, double-click on it and set the value to 1 – then click OK.
  • Close the Registry Editor.

Windows 7 - disable registry tools node

Restart your computer, and you will find that access to the Windows Registry has been blocked when it reboots.

How to reverse denied access to the Windows Registry

In some instances, you might need to restore access to the Windows Registry. Here’s how to revert the changes you have just made:

Windows 7 - run gpedit msc

  • Run “gpedit.msc”.
  • On the left panel go to “User Configuration”, then “Administrative Templates,” and finally, to “System”
  • Double-click on the parameter “Prevent access to registry editing tools”.
  • Check “Disabled” and click OK.

Restart your computer, and you will have regained access to the registry once it has rebooted.

Windows 7 - revert changes to registry blocking

How to disable network access to Windows Registry on Windows 8

You can use the last method mentioned above to disable network access to the registry on a Windows 8 machine:

  • Run “gpedit.msc”.
  • Go to “User Configuration,” then to “Administrative Templates,” and then to “Prevent access to registry editing tools”.
  • Make sure that “Enabled” is checked and click OK.

Once the machine reboots, the registry will be inaccessible. To revert it, simply go back and select “Disabled”.

How to disable network access to Windows Registry on Windows 10

The first method you use to disable network access to Windows Registry in Windows 10 is the same as in Windows 8.

You can also do it by going about it, this way:

  • Run “regedit” and click on OK.
  • Next, navigate to:


  • Double-click on the “Start” REG_DWORD on the right.
  • You will see an editable text box under “Value data”. Delete any other number and simply input 4.
  • You can also create a new DWORD (32-BIT) Value and rename it to “DisableRegistryTools” and then enable it by setting its value to 1, just like in the other Windows versions.

To demonstrate, here’s a short video of how you can do it:

Disable network access to Windows Registry – now

A good administrator will make sure to disable network access to the Windows Registry on all the devices on their domain.

This would be considered a critical step in ensuring the security of their networks and the Windows machines they connect to. Preventing users from accessing this integral part of the operating system stops harmful changes from being made – whether intentionally or unintentionally – and compromises or even crashes the computer.

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