How to Fix Registry Editor Cannot Import File Error in Windows 10

How to Fix Registry Editor Cannot Import File Error in Windows 10

The Windows registry is a critical database that stores information about the applications, services, and hardware used to run Windows. Experienced users often modify it to change operating system or application settings to make Windows work in a certain way, which is not possible otherwise. Well, even you can do registry hacks on Windows 10 to customize how it works. But what if the registry editor can’t import a registry file to your Windows PC? This error can be confusing.

Fixed registry editor cannot import file error

The thing that is supposed to help us resolve an error itself must be resolved. Ironic. Well, I hope you are ready with your sleeves rolled up because these solutions deserve your attention.

Warning: We assume that you are familiar with the registry entries. If you don’t know how to inspect .reg files, we don’t encourage you to download and use registry files from random locations without understanding what they are for – these files can crash your PC or make it unusable.

Here are all the possible solutions to solve when your registry editor cannot import a file and generates an error.

1. Precautions

We recommend that you learn how to back up, restore, and modify registry files before proceeding. It will also help you resolve errors in the future and change settings to get the most out of the Windows operating system. Note that these files are essential for the operation not only of third-party and system applications, but of the Windows operating system itself. Failure to make proper backups can cause many problems. You may need to reinstall the entire operating system, and you don’t want that. Also back up your data to the cloud or to an external hard drive. And always use safe mode for such tasks.

2. File format

Do not download or import registry files from unknown or dangerous sources. This means avoiding shareware sites, torrents, and new or unknown sites. We are talking about system changes, and you should certainly not take it lightly. Also make sure the file is in the correct format and ends with the extension .reg. Select the file, right click on it and choose Properties from the context menu to confirm its extension.

3. Blank line

Do you see the error “The specified file is not a registry script” when importing a registry file? Open the .reg file in Notepad or your favorite text editor and check if the first line of the file is empty.

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Delete the empty line if there is one, save the file and try again to import the file into the registry editor. Try not to tinker with the code values ​​in this registry, unless you are sure.

4. Administrator rights

If you are using a desktop computer, you must ask the IT administrator or your supervisor to grant administrator rights to your user account. Only then can you edit or make changes in the Registry Editor which also involves importing registry files.

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Do you use a personal computer? Open the registry editor from the Search menu with administrator rights. Try to import this reg file again.

Note: The following patch is suitable for those who use a multi-computer configuration. The .reg file must be on the same computer as the one you are trying to import it to via the registry editor.

5. Location of the registry file

Where does your computer save registry files? This is an important question. Since importing registry files requires administrator rights and access, the file must be saved to a drive to which the user account has full access. Logging in with an administrator user account in Windows is sufficient for a personal computer. You may need to contact the administrator for a desktop / corporate computer.

6. Grant registration authorization

Standard user accounts are not allowed to modify registry entries. Only administrator accounts have these privileges. To grant permission, launch Registry Editor and navigate to the folder structure into which you were trying to import the registry file.

For example, I’m using the Computer HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SECURITY folder because I need to import a registry file into the Security folder, as shown in the screenshots below.

After accessing the corresponding folder on your computer, click Edit on the menu and select Permissions.

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Click the Advanced button in the following popup window.

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You will see a list of entries for different types of users with different levels of access. Find your username and make sure it has full control under the Access tab.

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You can double-click on the entry to modify the access control or on the Permissions tab, click Add at the bottom to create a new entry.

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Select the top level folder to give full access to all of the folders and files (technically called keys and values) it contains.

7. Take possession of the register

Open the Registry Editor again and click Permissions under Edit.

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You can also choose a folder or a sub-folder, right-click and select the Permissions option. The difference is that the changes will be applied to this folder and everything in it. Otherwise, you make changes to the parent folder from top to bottom. The other steps remain the same.

Click the Advanced button.

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Click Edit next to the Owner header where you should see the name of your administrator account.

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Type administrators (in the plural and not in the singular, which will cause even more errors) in the box “Name of the object to select” and select Check names to check the integrity.

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You should now see the administrator account username there.

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You will be returned to the previous screen when you click OK. You should now see a new checkbox under the owner. Check the box “Replace owner on sub-containers and objects”, then click Apply and OK to save the changes.

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Your user account should now be able to make changes to the folder. Check whether you can import files into the Registry Editor or not.

Note: Depending on your computer, system configuration and level of access to the user account, you may see a separate tab for the owner. The steps to appropriate will be slightly different in this case.

Save all changes

I hope you were able to import this registry file after trying one of the solutions mentioned above. The Registry Editor is a complex tool and you should not experiment with it or manipulate it – unless you know what you are doing. Well, we always recommend that you take all the necessary precautions. I know I keep repeating this, but I still cannot stress this enough. I also invite you to use Safe Mode when making these changes.


Can’t fix or troubleshoot an error on your computer? Messed up the registry key? Click the link below to find out how to reset or restore your computer to a time when everything was in working order.

Last updated on May 5, 2020

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